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In my sphere, or dimensionless point (I don’t know that my life is broad enough right now to be a sphere of any diameter) of existence it’s usually about starting too many projects at once.  Or not starting the unpleasant ones at all — that seems more reasonable to me.  Listening to or reading the comments of artisans, fellow crafters … is it self-indulgent to start lots of things?  I have all kinds of experiments going on.  But a lot about my life would look self-indulgent and childish to most people.

I’m enjoying the sensation of not coughing my lungs out any more.  Whatever I’ve had, it’s awful but gets over quickly.

I hope I didn’t infect anyone else, especially since I worked at the shop yesterday.  I tried to keep my distance.  If the only way forward is for just one of my recent contacts to start sneezing and wheezing, I must regretfully choose a lady from more southerly latitudes who came in and complained that none of our yarns were suitable for her climate.  I apologized that Vermont produces so little cotton but showed her some locally-dyed stuff, which she rolled her eyes at.  She also barked with laughter at a shop-sample coat — “that old thing.”  Evidently a pattern she’d seen before.  Some of the nicest local wool yarn we carry, she dismissed as “rough.”  (Well yes, stupid; it’s for making cold-weather outer garments, not tampons.  Honestly.)  She didn’t buy any of our crummy old junk, of course; as she pointed out, “when you’re going on a plane you have to be very selective.”  Have a virus, honey, they’re nice and small.

I do think of myself as grown up; I’m just a jerk.

But when people aren’t jackasses I’m as happy to see them if they spend nothing or $100.  Even if someone just comes in for directions or to ask what the name means.

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I watched this show on PBS; it’s about a pickpocket and whether he’ll go straight or keep on picking pockets, but really about whether he’ll become a police informer and to what degree.  “Completely, arbitrarily, out of nowhere, stop stealing anything from anyone” is never an option.  And “become a major, evil criminal” is probably not either; he keeps mailing people’s wallets back to them.  In their set, or guild, this is the expected thing to do.  They only take the big bills, they don’t bother with cigarette money.  I had to look up the exchange rate, because I have to admit, I didn’t even know what ballpark they were in.  If people are carrying tens of thousands of rupees on them, that’s still some major cash.  The pickpocket said it was like a bucket out of the sea, but if that were true people wouldn’t have started carrying ATM cards.  That was becoming a new frustration for them.

The pickpocket guild offered lots of training.  Things like touching a spot on a wall blindfolded; taking a coin out of water without causing a ripple; slicing open a cloth pocket placed on a piece of fruit without cutting the fruit’s skin.

All the pickpockets talked about doing with the money was seeing movies.  Fifty thousand rupees (that is a lot of cash to be carrying around on you) just meant so many more movies.

Did he really believe the police would pay him more for information than he could make by stealing?  Forever?  How would that work?  Granted he was only 22 but did he really believe that or just want to, pretend to?

What would be some legal jobs you might be good at, if you were a very skilled pickpocket?  More than a pickpocket:  a pretty good teacher of pocket-picking.

Fly tying?

Bomb defusing?

Bobbin lace?

Just a mild, peaceful sense of well-being involving two pillowcases full of clean laundry, nice leftovers for lunch, and miles upon miles of good yarn at very low average cost.  Because yesterday after the board meeting I went to Phyllis’ house, which is a temple of peace that bestows happiness on everyone who enters, and looked through the forest of cones of Harrisville yarn showered upon us all, collectively, by someone who recently died, and took a modest amount which still is a lot.  And today some other stuff came, and the average of (ton of free stuff) and (half ton of not at all unreasonable stuff) is really pretty good.  And now I can open my factory.

The front seat of my car is full of yarn, and the back is full of snow tires.  Because they belong in the barn with a family of skunks, and it’s unfair to bother crepuscular animals with young children.  Yeah, because that.

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(image source:  pbs.org)

July 12:  To mark the 330th anniversary of the death of French astronomer Jean Picard, the customer with the best guess about the length of an unlabeled skein of yarn wins the skein.

July 13:  Feast of Saint Clelia Barbieri — 20 percent off all spinning supplies and yarns containing hemp (for us, basically Hempathy).

July 14:  Bastille Day, duh, bring back the discount on red, white, and blue yarns.  But also the birthday of Rosey Grier:  76 percent off all wool (wool? sheep? the Rams? get it?) embroidery floss.

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(image source:  extremecraft.typepad.com)

July 15:  Elderly Men Day in Kiribati — all elderly men get a free whatever.  One free thing off the notions wall.

July 16:  Elderly Women Day in Kiribati, but the shop’s closed Mondays, oh well, suck it up, you can always borrow an elderly man’s free thing.

There is or was a snake in the living room.  Early Thursday morning it was resting in a pile of yarn, probably recovering from the uncomfortable sensation of being stared at by a cat.  You would think yarn would be good camouflage for a snake, and you would be right in my case, but shouldn’t be, because most of what I have is fingering and laceweight.  The garter snake, although slender, is a considerably heavier gauge than those.  This one was dark with a pale green stripe and large eyes.  It went behind the baseboard heater somewhere.  I found a cat-toy fishing pole and was hoping it would come out so I could capture it deftly as seen on TV.

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(image source:  wildfilmhistory.org)

It probably found its way back outside again.  This building is not well insulated.  I guess the roof is, the attic/crawlspace anyway, which is certainly why we don’t have eagles getting in here and lounging in people’s yarn.

So happy that Hulu has it.  Thirty years later it’s still without equal.

(source)

In Haiti, MSF and local workers set up inflatable hospitals just like back in the 144th Evac Hosp (UTARNG).  Great photos!

(Photo by Benoit Finck)

Is  Timothy Taylor.  I’m using his online textbook, Principles of Economics, which costs between $0.00 (online only, with ads that are actually not annoying) and $29.95 (printed copy).  (There are also options for ad-free online and printable .pdf.)  This highest price is like, one-quarter to one-fifth the cost of typical micro-macro books I’ve used in the past and it is even a very well-written book.  It’s just so logically organized and thoughtful instead of frenetic and cartoony and look-how-hip-and-groovy-I-am-to-use-Madonna-tickets-to-explain-demand-elasticity.   I’m so freaking happy with this.  Hope the kids are too.  One guy in one class said he was having trouble installing Microsoft Silverlight (which is needed to read the ebook) for Mac.  Hopefully this can be worked around; I have a couple of extra copies people can use in a pinch.  So, bottom line, a person who doesn’t already own Cod and has to buy it used from the campus bookstore and uses Taylor online with ads spends no more than $7.50 on books for my class.  Power to the people.  HELL yeah.

I was reading wedding announcements in the Sunday New York Times, the ones that go into detail about how the people met, what their parents do, what they had at the reception, and where they’re going to live.  This week there are two lawyers in New Orleans who met at a lawyers’ pickup football game there.  They ran into each other — really ran headfirst into each other.  She had a concussion, which somehow gave him new confidence; his solicitous follow-up calls turned into dates, etc.  Anyway, the announcement said her mother wrote a play, Dance of the Seven-Headed Mouse — what?  Do I have a concussion?  No, it turns out to be a real play. if not a wildly successful one.

Another of this week’s couples are a cake decorator and an explosive ordnance disposal technician.  I’m sorry to say the obvious cute meeting story there is not how they met.  They went to Quinnipiac together, that’s all.

Many people have told me it’s a good idea to detoxify one’s attitude now and then by avoiding the news.  This has to be true to the tenth or maybe the hundredth power for comments posted to online news and editorials.  Ugh.  Vomit.  Purge.  I had a supervisor in Louisville who was just a little tech-phobic and — coincidentally, don’t mean anything by it — a devout Catholic.  Once after we’d been chatting about my excessive surfing on company time (!) I showed him a “Prayer to St. Isidore” I’d found in … Atlantic Monthly?  well, somewhere.  Meant a bit satirically by the magazine; St. Isidore has apparently been chosen as a patron saint of Internet users, and the official prayer basically asks for his guidance and protection along those wily intertubes.  Months later the boss asked me to find something in his office (no, really) and while rummaging around I found that Prayer to St. Isidore taped in a corner of  his monitor.  The original is here, fwiw.  I may not have shared his religion but I was sort of pleased to have retrieved this little tidbit of inspiration that he found useful.  (Hey, my birthday is the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi, patron saint of television!  Gnarly.)  Meanwhile, we of unbelief aren’t down with intercessory prayers to saints but we can easily remember these two commandments, as we venture through cyberspace: 

1) many of the assholes we seem to meet are mere sockpuppets of the one true Sphincter, so be of good cheer;

2) be not an asshole like unto those fallen ones, nay, but keep it up with the good cheer thing.

Tidings of the season, etc.

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