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Archive for July, 2009

First Visit to Quilt Tree

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I finally got off my duff and walked over to Quilt Tree this evening. Up ’til today I had gone exclusively to Seams Like Home due to its extremely close proximity to my place of work. (Well, except for one after-hours fail attempt to hit the quilt shop in Eagle River with my sister.)

I didn’t realize before going there that Quilt Tree is a combined quilting and yarn crafts shop. And they don’t waste any space. They have bolts of cloth on top of shelves and leaning against shelves on the floor, leaving just enough space to peruse. I didn’t wander into the yarn section — though I probably should have, since I need some supplies for my Halloween costume — but it looked just as crammed as the cloth half of the store.

The color and pattern selection is perhaps a bit more muted at Quilt Tree than at Seams Like Home, on average. The two stores have some of the same fabrics available, but there’s really not too much overlap. Not outside the batiks section, anyway — I haven’t decided how much I want to get into batiks yet, so I didn’t really look at them.

Quilt Tree’s fabrics are a hair pricier than those at Seams Like Home. It’s really a negligible difference, though, generally $0.50 a yard. Their fat quarters are priced about the same, and like Seams Like Home they’re willing to cut a fat quarter off of just about any bolt for you. Exceptions to that at Quilt Tree are upholstery fabrics and their selection of imported Japanese fabrics.

The imported Japanese fabrics are wonderful. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill oriental designs; they’re the kind of fabrics Japanese crafters like to use for their patchwork. The cloth designs varied from simple prints to cute prints to a few bolts that seemed designed to be miniature fabric stashes on a single bolt (having several simple designs spanning the length of the fabric in stripes). The ones I looked at all ranged from $15-$20 per yard. They tended to fit in with the trend towards more muted colors I saw.

Overall, it’s very nice. I’ll definitely be hitting there more often as I seek to inflate my fabric stash.

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A Quarter of a Century

July 11, 2009 Leave a comment

As of a couple of days go, I am 25. I have witnessed a quarter of a century.

The first major event I was really cognizant of was the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was living in upstate New York at the time. My father was still in the army, and I was under the impression that he would be reassigned to Germany. That assignment got changed to Alaska because of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Looking back on my life now, I can see that so much of it would be wildly different if the Berlin Wall had remained up for even a couple more years. So many of my nearest and dearest would likely be neither.

Ten years from now, elementary school kids will be learning about 9/11 out of their textbooks. The event will be distilled down to a basic description of the events — perhaps with a few teaspoons of propaganda thrown in. What those kids won’t read there is how the entire emotional climate of the world changed over the course of a few hours. Halfway through the school day I had a teacher completely can his lesson to talk about it. And when I got home and went to the online forums I moderated at the time, the general chat forum had a thread about it with quite literally a thousand pages. I don’t know how the database handled that thread, but the range of reactions people exhibited was astounding.

Fear has found the gaps in society and filled them like insulation, as stifling as it is warming. The number of things you can’t take on an airplane has increased a hundred fold; the manufacture of substitutes and specially-sized containers for air travel is now a booming business. It’s not just the United States, either. Japan is now fingerprinting all foreigners entering their country.

9/11 even affected the Super Bowl. When I was a kid, the Super Bowl was held on the last Sunday in January. During the week following 9/11, all air planes within the United States were grounded. The football schedule was set back a week, and the Super Bowl has been held on the first Sunday in February ever since.

I don’t think I need to say much about technology. Computers and TVs are both smaller and more powerful than people imagined possible 25 years ago. You can buy an electric toothbrush for cheap at the store. Libraries no longer use card catalogs. Video game graphics have become so impressive that young people today won’t even play older games because they automatically assume a game without the latest graphics can’t be any good.

Films often sport as much CGI as live action (assuming it’s not an outright 3D-animated film). That’s not the only change I’ve seen in film making. The one I’m least fond of is the tendency to make action scenes choppy and time-lapse-tastic in an attempt to make the acton seem more fast-paced. It only makes me irritated and/or nauseous.

Science has advanced a lot, I’m sure, though in smaller, less-noticeable increments for the most part. There are a number of things we take for granted now that weren’t available when I was younger. MP3s, for instance. You can carry hours of music around in your pocket. Used to be you were lucky to carry an hour and a half in that same amount of pocket space, and if you listened to it too much the sound got warped because the tape stretched out.

And speaking of MP3s, how about them law suits about piracy? The rise of the internet and information sharing in general? Intellectual property complaints FTL. Perfect example of how inflated society has become.

Anyway, I could probably ramble on for longer. I’m tired. Good night.

Making the Best Use of Recount, Part 2: Display Window Basics

July 1, 2009 Leave a comment

This is the second in a series of posts about Recount, an add-on for World of Warcraft. It gathers and reports on data taken during combat.

Segment List:

  1. The Introduction
  2. Display Window Basics
  3. Damage Done Details
  4. The DPS Report
  5. Damage Taken and Friendly Fire
  6. Healing Done

Display Window Basics

The main window is the only one you’ll ever see if you don’t play around with the addon much. It gives you the most basic summaries of the collected data, shown as ranked bar charts. It also has a number of buttons serving various purposes. Not all of these buttons appear on all windows.

Recount: The Basic Window

  1. Window Title
    This just tells you what you’re looking at. In the basic window, it’s the title of the data summary you’re looking at.
  2. Report Data Button
    Clicking this button opens up the Report Data interface, which allows you to share the listed data with your party, raid, guild, or anyone else you can message in the game.
  3. Options Button
    Clicking this button opens up Recount’s options menu. This is not the same as the Recount options under the Add-ons tab in WoW’s interface options! The Interface options panel for Recount and the options accessed through the add-on itself do completely different things.
  4. Button for Choosing Which Fight(s)’s Data to Show
    Clicking this button allows you to select one of several data collections to view analyses of. The default is Overall Data.
  5. Reset Data Button
    Clicking this button cleans Recount’s battle data slate. No confirmation is asked, and all data is irrevocably lost. Resetting the battle data can also be accomplished by typing /recount reset.
  6. Buttons for Scrolling Through Available Data Types
    The default data display is overall Damage Done. Clicking these arrows allows you to scroll through all of the data summary charts.
  7. Hide Recount Button
    Clicking this button closes the Recount display, but doesn’t stop it from collecting and analyzing battle data. This can also be accomplished by typing /recount hide. The window can be recovered by typing /recount show.
  8. Data Summary Display
    This is the ranked summary of the currently selected data type.
  9. Window Resizing Arrow
    Click and drag one of the lower corners to resize the window.

Coming Up Next

In the next section, I will start getting into the depth of detail you can eke out of Recount.

Book Review: Quilting Makes the Quilt by Lee Cleland

July 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Quilting Makes the QuiltI found this book at the Loussac Library, and I am so glad I grabbed it. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in quilting.

Cleland wrote this book to illustrate how big an impact the quilting design itself has on the final look of a patchwork quilt. To this end, she made five identical copies of each of several quilt tops, then quilted each top to batting and backing in a very different way from its quintuplet siblings. Classic quilting techniques are featured on some quilts; others break outside the box a bit. Excellent pictures of both full views and close-ups of the quilts do a fantastic job of illustrating the author’s point.

Although the book was written by a machine quilter, the information contained within applies to both machine and hand quilting. This is more of a book about design than technique, though the author’s perspective as a machine quilter leaks out a bit.

Bottom Line: The book is worth owning, but I found the concepts clear and simple enough that I don’t plan to buy it. It’s great for sparking one’s imagination, but isn’t much of a reference book. Although definitely a great book for a beginning quilter to look at, experienced quilters may or may not find it useful.