Archive: April 2008

waterproofing canvas

for future reference: five canvas waterproofers. Iosso Water Repellent is the only nontoxic one there.

I admit it.

I just took a personality test which asked if I "prefer to stick with things that I know", which I do, but the corollary is that I prefer to know a lot of things.

two "DIY" shoes

... from shoe companies. youtube videos:

backpack shopping

I wish there was more outdoor gear designed like this Lafuma "Eco" backpack. It's hemp plus recycled polyester, and designed with less fabric and fewer plastic bits. Plus, they don't have weird brightly colored panels like most packs. The color of the pack on Lafuma's site is pretty flash: mottled grey with red tabs.

The other pack I'm looking at is the Osprey Stratos 40, which has a bunch of straps for compression and gets universally awesome reviews. Also, I can go check this bag out in person at REI. If I were to get a new pack this spring (doubtful: I already have a pack), this would probably be the one.

recent wikipedia lookups

  • Haberdashery - a shop that sells accessories like hats and gloves, and also sometimes buttons and ribbons.
  • Muntjac - a small omnivorous deer with tusks.
  • Round robin - a pact or petition.

shoe sizes

international shoe size conversion chart. with inches and centimeters as well as shoe sizes.

current book list

Books that I have started recently but have not finished, oldest to newest:

  • Feminism and Science Fiction, by Sarah Lefanu. This needs to be read with a good SF library at hand.
  • Skin, by Dorothy Allison.
  • Trampoline, a short story anthology edited by Kelly Link.
  • The Best American Short Stories, 2006, edited by Ann Patchett. I haven't gotten past the table of contents.
  • The Body in Pain, by Elaine Scarry.
  • Tin House, Vol. 9, #3: Off the Grid.
  • Learning Python, by Mark Lutz.
  • The SFWA European Hall of Fame, a scifi short story collection edited by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow.

This stack is only seven inches high but feels overwhelming. I probably won't need any more books until at least July; I won't have finished the stack by then, only gotten more impatient with it.

quoth HBO

Says John Adams in part 5 of the eponymous HBO series: "Thanks be to god that he gave me stubbornness, especially when I know that I am right."


CHDK -- extra firmware for Cannon digital cameras. Looks like fun. (via)

soil test

UMass soil testing service. $9, tests for heavy metals, among other things. Important for anyone gardening in cities or next to houses that may have been painted with lead paint! If there's lead in the soil and you're a long-term resident, you can do plant-based remediation (so cool).

magazine of *stuff*

Materials Monthly -- a monthly publication from Princeton Architectural Press that includes actual material samples. For example, issue 11 has "Prismatic Stainless Steel", "Hand-finished Acrylic Floor", and "Silver Reflective Film". It comes in a box! via kottke.

cell phone customization

Got a fancy new cell phone tonight (thanks ben!) and found that the only ring tones it will play are .mmf format. Converted my aiffs to wav, then used a crunky but free and handy tool from Yamaha to turn those into mmfs. The phone is a Samsung T509, and the converter software is Yamaha's "Wave to SMAF Converter". mmf!

Now if only I could replace those menu icons...

words for "poor"

Ben recently asked a question about what words to use when talking about poverty.


Coworking in Boston. This article on Betahouse culture is pretty off-putting, though. (Betahouse is a Boston coworking space)

spicy oven fries

My friend Rachel posted a potato recipe on her lj a few weeks ago, and I made it and it turned out really well. My variation goes like this:

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Put in two tablespoons or so of flour, some adobo powder, and some cumin in a little bowl and mix it up. (alternatively, use flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion and garlic powder)

Rinse and dry a couple of potatoes (Yukon golds are delicious of course) and slice them into eighths, lengthwise. Put the slices in a big bowl, drizzle with olive oil and mix up. Drop the flour mixture on top and stir the slices 'till they're coated. Set them skin-down in a pan, then stick 'em in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until they start to get brown.

These are kind of like home-spicy-fries, crispy and spicy on the outside. I think I ate an entire cookie sheet of them.

eads recommends

The BBC TV series "Planet Earth": "It is the coolest nature show ever."