Sunday, February 28, 2010

Auto focus

Here is not how I recommend spending your Sunday: research used car prices, reliability ratings, and other pertinent information related to being prepared for negotiations with dealers. That's what I've done for the overriding portion of the day. Maybe it's good for putting in me a fighting mood heading into the car search tomorrow, but mainly it stirs up how much I loathe this process.

Two cars that I thought looked promising in their online listings have sold. Curses! There's another one similar to those with a slightly higher sticker price, which just means more battling to get it down to what I want to pay. (This is assuming the car checks out, of course.)

My dad is here to help, and we're ready to get to work first thing in the morning. Please let it go quickly and as painlessly as possible.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gold medal memories

The first Olympics I clearly recall watching are those from 1984. I imagine I watched some of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980--somewhere I have some commemorative stickers that came in boxes of Pop-Tarts--but I don't remember taking them in. All I recall of the '80 Summer Games in Moscow is the U.S. boycott. Were they even covered on television here?

The earliest memories I have of Olympics viewing is laying on the floor of a hotel room near Toledo on President's Day weekend and watching ABC's coverage from Sarajevo for the Winter Games. I want to say it was a hockey game, but memories can be tricky. I feel fairly certain, though, that I raptly watched as the TV glowed in a darkened room and unfamiliar sports appeared before me. The '84 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles were promoted like crazy, perhaps best remembered via the McDonald's scratch-off cards that awarded free food if Americans medaled.

As an aspiring sports journalist I wrote a piece for the local weekly newspaper about the 1988 Calgary Winter Games with the hope that it would start me on the road to being a published writer outside of the school paper. (It didn't, probably for a very good reason.)

I've continued to watch the Olympics as obsessively as my schedule permits. Why? Obviously seeing the best athletes competing is a big attraction, but I also like the international flavor and the way that it takes hold of the world's imagination (or so I'd like to think) for the event's duration. In the summer of 2004 it was cool to hang out for a bit in a public lot in downtown Toronto to watch the events being projected on a big screen. Caught up in the Games, I also visited Olympic Spirit Toronto, which opened shortly before I spent a few days in the city.

There's just one day left in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I'll be sad to see them end. I find it comforting to be able to come home and watch a curling match or spend the night viewing whatever the day's events are. Chances are I won't see most of these athletic competitions again until 2014 and probably won't miss them. (I'd really like more curling, though.) Nevertheless, for the last couple weeks almost nothing else has held my attention like the Olympics. Hurry back soon.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Even more K Factor

Let's take a break from my week of blogging about the car accident. (On a side note, though, I'm now coming to the realization that I really got my bell rung. I feel OK but just a little off. I've been busy and trying to stay on top of things. What I really need is to take it easy.)

Anyway, I've been linking to The K Factor segments from a British TV show. Here is this week's piece. No, it doesn't really make much sense to me either.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A crash education

Almost first thing this morning I got the news I had been expecting. My car is totaled. Granted, if you see that picture above, that seems pretty obvious, although in fairness to my dazed self on Saturday night, the left side of the bumper didn't exactly look like that after the accident. I'm sure that's some body shop inspection there.

I was pleasantly surprised that the settlement offer was a smidgen more than what I paid for the car in July, including the trade-in of my previous car. I was expecting to get lowballed, but the offer was reasonable. I pressed a couple of points--the four nearly new tires, mainly--and squeezed a little more out of the insurance company. All in all, I feel like I did all right in the process.

I was in for a bit of a shock when I stopped by the body shop to swap out the radio I bought with the factory-installed one. In the cold light of day--and probably with a clearer mind--the seriousness of what I'd been in hit me. The rear passenger door no longer opened properly, and the gas tank door would not close. There was some minor damage to the dash from the radio popping out.

The shocker, though, was seeing the driver's seat. It was twisted to the right. I remember that I couldn't adjust the seat when I got back in the car to move it to the side of the highway, but I was just chalking it up to not having all my wits about me. It turns out that the recliner in the seat was bent. The force of the impact launched me backwards and twisted the seat. And I was struck from behind. Whoa.

A worker at the body shop said there was no question that the car would be totaled. In reading the damage he also doubted that the driver who hit me slowed down at all.

Seeing my car in this state made me appreciate even more that I escaped relatively unharmed. Sure, I've had some pain and fatigue this week, and the process of settling all this is a hassle. I don't look forward to getting a car to replace this smashed one. Still, I'm feeling pretty fortunate that the car absorbed serious damage and not me.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Saturday night's car accident was kind of scary in retrospect, but since it caught me unaware, the actual experience of being in a car hit at a high speed wasn't frightening in and of itself.

No, one of the scariest things is to get a phone call in the middle of the night. Let's face it, if the caller is someone you know, then the reason for someone giving you a ring when most people are sleeping can't be a good one. If you don't know the person on the other end (or if it's someone who wouldn't typically call you), then the call simply can't have a positive outcome.

As a resident assistant for two years in college I received my share of harassing dead of the night phone calls. Sometimes the other person would just call repeatedly and hang up. Other times they would leave vulgar, insulting messages. (Due to this I rarely answered but instead screened through an answering machine.) And of course there was the late hour door pounding, among, among other lovely things that immature young men in dormitories do. (Once in a great while I'll get such calls from inebriated students, but thankfully it's not too common these days.)

It's pretty easy to understand why these experiences can be scary. Getting roused from deep sleep by something unexpected can be disorienting. It's all the worse if what one awakens to is intimidation or hostility.

I flashed back to some of these instances last night. At 4:32 a.m. I was jerked out of a Valium-aided slumber by a ringing phone. Huh? What? I was not going to get up and answer. Then about a minute or so after the phone stopped ringing there was a single thump on my front door. Now I was getting somewhat nervous.

At this point I did get up and checked the caller ID, which just displayed "private caller". It didn't appear that a message was left. I carefully peered outside the blinds to see if I could see anyone around. I didn't spot a soul. The same went when I looked out the peephole.

I did see that the newspaper was already delivered, which seemed extraordinarily early, but assuming that the periodical was tossed, that explained the rap on the door. It was just a terrible coincidence.

I'm going to assume the call was a wrong number, but laying there as all this was going down and afterward, my mind kept rendering frightful scenarios. I don't need this. Seriously.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And out come the wolves

More post-accident fun and games:

-Today yielded two calls that I answered from collision shops seeking my business and a hang-up from another. (My lack of a home voicemail message may have caused the caller not to leave a solicitation.) One personal injury lawyer left a message. They're only going to increase in the following days, aren't they?

-Thankfully I only put my home number on the police report. The officer asked if I wanted to list another but pointed out that those numbers would be on the public record. I may not have been thinking entirely clearly then, but at least I realized that I didn't want my cell phone number out there.

-An employee of the body shop where my car was towed expects it will probably be considered totaled. I spoke with an adjuster from my insurance agency who said it would likely be a close call. The other insurance company plans to evaluate the car tomorrow.

-I feel a little less aggravated if I must replace the car. I've found a couple similar versions with comparable mileage, even if it is a bit more than what mine has. The good news is that they're listed at about the price at which I bought my car, meaning that I should be able negotiate them down some. That could help "recover" the repair money I've dumped into my currently incapacitated vehicle.

-Yes, even with the freakish problems I've had with the car, I would still like to have the same make and model in a replacement if possible. I enjoyed the handling and interior headroom, and I know what to expect. (I've certainly researched it enough.) The city miles per gallon are less than I'd prefer, but there will always be some trade-offs. I'm not thrilled with the sight lines or low vantage point of the rental car I'm currently in, but that has reinforced why I picked the car I bought in July.

Labels: ,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Picking up the pieces

Thanks to all the well wishers regarding the car accident. I've had friends and family asking questions and giving advice, so I'm kind of tired of talking about it. Nevertheless, it has occupied my time for most of the day, so here are the updates, if you care to read on:

-Knowing that I was going to spend a good deal of time dealing with this matter today, I did not go to work. (I really need to be there on Tuesday, so if ever there was a day to punt this week, this was it.)

-I now have a rental car. I am paying for part of it out of pocket, much to my chagrin. I also didn't appreciate how they tried to sell rental insurance as if I'll be serious hurt if something happens to the car while I have it, even if I'm not at fault in an accident. (My insurance should be sufficient, right?)

-Since my neck has been getting sorer over the last two days, I decided that I ought to listen to what others were telling me and have it checked out just in case. The big decision was where to have it done so that it meant (ideally) zero out of pocket for me. The urgent care facility pointed me toward the emergency room. After asking some questions at the ER about how to proceed, I settled on it.

-Sure enough, I have cervical strain and sprain, otherwise known as whiplash. I can't take the heavy duty prescriptions except once I'm home for the night since they'll wipe me out.

-I have no idea if the car can be fixed. I'm hoping it can. I'm really hoping this isn't long and drawn out.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I have to believe that last night's accident scene was about as low key as such things can be, especially for a situation that had the potential for much worse outcomes. (Google Maps lets me show about where the northbound crash occurred.) I was calm and matter of fact. I took care of contacting AAA for a tow truck and both insurance companies to get the claim process in motion.

I'm not quite as composed about it all today. After the adrenaline wore off I noticed that my neck is a little tender/sore. I expect it's mild whiplash, which is to be expected. My family is trying to steel me for dealing with the insurance companies, which could be quite a battle regarding what it's worth if the car is considered totaled.

There's already the potential fight about a rental car. My insurance says it covers $15 a day. The rental car company doesn't even rent anything that low. This is not going to be fun, is it?

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Born under a bad sign

I haven't had anything to write about in recent days, but this isn't the way I wanted to get blog fodder.

I went downtown tonight to attend a concert only to arrive and find word spreading that the show was cancelled. Sure enough, a quick check of the artist's tweets found that issues with the sound system had forced her to call it off.

I set off for home and was on the highway when I came around a curve and (the next part isn't 100% clear) saw a car stopped in the middle of the three lanes. (I believe there may have been a car between us that swerved around the stopped vehicle and went on, but honestly I'm not sure.) I stopped my car in time and with plenty of room.

Just as I came to a stop I found myself being thrown back. The radio popped out. The GPS flew off the dash and into my lap. My hat came off. I had been slammed into from behind. It took me a few moments to realize what had just happened. I was dazed, mentally rather than physically.

I could go into more detail, but I'm starting to feel tired now and ought to wrap it as quickly as possible. The stopped car that set it all in motion had apparently flipped over due to driver error. Two witnesses who saw this happened and stopped to attest to it--I didn't see this part--suspected the driver of that car was intoxicated or high. I think that was pretty clear as he kept asking what happened. (Uh, dude, you just flipped your car completely and, amazingly, landed on all four tires.) I stopped to avoid hitting him. The kid behind me plowed into me, likely at 60-65 mph, because he was coming around the turn only to find me sitting there.

I don't think he could have stopped in time if he tried. Considering where it occurred, I think it's probably very fortunate that this didn't turn into a massive pileup. No one was injured, although we'll see if I'm sore at all in the morning. I didn't necessarily feel all that lucky right away, but the more time I've had from it, the more I'm thinking this could have been a whole lot worse.

The tow truck driver suspects my car will be written off as totaled by the insurance adjuster. I expect that he's right. I am not thrilled at the prospect of going through the car buying process again, just seven months after I did it, nor am I thrilled at the money I sunk into this car in the short time I've owned it. I replaced the instrument cluster, the trunk latch, and the front passenger door lock. I put four new tires on it about a month ago. I had a window smashed and the radio stolen. Not that I believe what I'm about to say, but clearly this car has some bad vibes.

Nevertheless, one thing I noted about this car over other versions of it was that it felt heavier. I don't doubt that the stoutness of it helped in sustaining the rear impact. For as hard as I was hit--I don't recall hearing any brakes or the collision itself--the rear bumper and trunk ably absorbed it all.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, I wasn't angry when this happened. I told the teenager who hit me not to worry about it, that I doubted there was much he could do to avoid it despite being at fault and that the insurance companies would take care of it. I imagine I seemed remarkably calm. Yes, I'm fatigued by the thought of having to deal with no car on Sunday and the insurance adjusters and the car search and potentially losing money in all this. In the end, though, for a night that left me with two minuses in the form of a cancelled concert and a wrecked car, I'm glad that the most important number is zero injuries.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 19, 2010

Passing the time

While I tread water on the blog, here's a mention of yet another Olympic athlete who knits. Also, indie rocker Marnie Stern is also a knitter. Stern's music is probably an acquired taste, especially for what I perceive the readership is accustomed to, but the song I've embedded below made my 2008 Archies list. (It's the best on an album that I'll admit can be a challenge.) Enjoy, hopefully.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still more K Factor

Part three of The K Factor is now online. And that's all for today.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another gold medal knitter

Joining the USA's Hannah Kearney as gold medal winning knitters at the Vancouver Olympics is German biathlete Magdalena Neuner. She also keeps a knitting blog on her website, although clearly she's been a little busy and hasn't repaired the MySQL errors on the knitblog's main page. If ever this site has such problems, please know that it must mean I'm preoccupied with claiming my own Olympic gold.

(Site update: comment moderation returns for an undetermined period of time since massive comment spamming has cropped up again.)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow day

I wasn't expecting, but was pleasantly surprised, to wake up and find that today was a snow day. I was going to have a fairly full day of writing ahead of me at the office, so to get an extra day and the freedom to work from home to accomplish all (or part) of that was very welcome.

We've had one of the snowiest Februarys on record here--25.1 inches as of this morning, which doesn't include today's snowfall--and a steady amount of the white stuff this season, but this was the first time I got a full day off. I don't know if I could say I made the most of it, but I finished two-thirds of what I need to have written for tomorrow.

Plus, there was plenty of Winter Olympics viewing, including two complete curling matches. I'd been wishing these Games fell during vacation time so I could watch more of the daytime coverage, so a snow day was a gift.

Eventually I ventured outside to trudge over to the rental office to retrieve a package. Tramping through the shin high drifts took me back to childhood days when slipping into a snowsuit and playing in the white stuff was one of the best parts of winter.

I've been stressed out about a lot of things lately, so having this free day to do with as I pleased was a real relief that I very much needed. Yes, I did spend a significant portion of it working, but I've removed some of the pressure I would otherwise be facing if I hadn't tackled that workload. I'm not going to get greedy and wish to get tomorrow off, but one of these every once in awhile is good for what ails you.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic knitting

I interrupt my extensive Winter Olympics viewing to pass along that United States moguls gold medalist Hannah Kearney is a knitter. Apparently she's even been working on a hat when not preoccupied with training or competing in Vancouver.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

I confess that I have no particular affinity for Valentine's Day, but I'm not opposed to it either. Honestly, I find the haters' moaning about it being a Hallmark holiday more annoying. For the single and unattached it can be a day to feel a bit lousier than usual, but it's not like that's the intention behind it. That's just how it sometimes works out.

How have I dealt with it in the past? I don't remember. Recent years have found me doing something myself and not being particularly concerned about it, which can be easier said than done but whatever.

Now today did not get off to the best start as the arrival this morning of an e-mail pertaining to a festering sore of a work matter--seriously, when will it ever end?--put me in a foul mood right away. I figured it was best not to forward it along to my co-workers and ruin their weekend as well, so the best way to deal was to go back to sleep for awhile.

Then it was watching the Winter Olympics, having a good early supper at North Market, attending the hockey game (a loss but at least a well-played game), and flipping on the Olympics coverage I recorded while gone.

I'm not sure why everyone seems to think that reveling or moping are the only ways to acknowledge the day. Maybe it's my male perspective that it isn't something that should be a big deal, especially if you have no reason to observe it. Still, I am kind of glad that it will be over for another year.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Participation ribbon

The Olympics are off and running, and I'm going to try to finish a project during them. A few weeks ago I started a hat at the lone knit night I've been able to attend so far this year, but I dropped some stitches off the dpns and wasn't comfortable using four needles, so the WIP was ripped out.

I attempted to restart it a couple times prior to the Winter Games, but one malady or another--twisting the project, casting on one stitch too few, leaving an excessively long tail--led to me frogging it over and over. So it's going in Ravelympics even though it should have had much more done on it already than essentially starting from scratch again.

I'd like to be more fully engaged with Ravelympics than I will be. I won't be challenging myself. I won't be doing very much. If I can just get one hat done--something I have been able to whip out within 24 hours of starting--I'll be satisfied. Right now that's an achievement in itself.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lowest of the low

I've gone back and forth whether to write about today's topic, mainly because this isn't really the proper place for it. (What is the right spot will be clear soon enough.) Since it's one of the things occupying my thoughts, I've decided to go ahead and tackle it here. Understand that this is not an issue for whatever readership I have left at this blog.

As some of you know, I keep another blog where I post film reviews and use my real name. I'd been letting it slide for awhile, in part due to some weirdness that I'll not bother to explain, but finally got around to doing a massive update to it recently.

To my knowledge, I don't have a regular readership. Instead, I tend to get visitors funneled to my blog via a review aggregate site. Chances are these people must find my pullquotes sufficiently interesting or infuriating to check out what I had to say.

Most of these people look at one review and go on their merry way. Other than seeing their hits in my site traffic data, I have no other proof of their visits. That's fine.

Then there are those rare ones who have something to get off their chests. Most of the time their comments are brief; sometimes they leave big footprints. Rarer still are those who choose to send an e-mail rather than post a comment. Inevitably, though, these folks share one thing: a desire to direct anonymous and unremittingly nasty and crude anonymous jabs about and at me.

Look, I know they're trying to get a rise out of me. That's evident enough when they compulsively return to the particular post to see if I've responded--something I never do--or have deleted their comments. (I'm consistent in removing vulgar comments or personal attacks. I don't use that kind of language on the site and won't tolerate it from some hotheaded stranger.)

Today brought someone who obviously didn't like something I'd written. He--and it's surely a he--then made a nonsensical connection to another film that I must have reviewed more favorably. (I didn't.) Then he dropped a veiled racist comment and called me a pretty ugly name.

Whatever. Fine. I don't like getting that garbage, but I realize that having random strangers deciding you're one of the worst people in the world because you dare to publish opinions about movies on the internet (and thus obviously think you're better than everyone else) comes with the territory.

I removed the comment only to find several hours later that the same person had come back and posted the exact same thing again, this time with the added bonus of making a new Blogger profile to call me out as the top verboten term for the female anatomy. This is coupled with someone else in recent days who insulted me and keeps checking to see if I've deleted his comment or responded. (In this instance I haven't taken it down yet because I figure he'll eventually wear himself out and stop checking.) So I've gone to comment moderation and will probably shut down comments altogether.

What I just don't understand is how some people get so angry at a stranger over something pretty inconsequential that they absolutely must let the writer know how terrible he is in the crudest possible terms. OK, so we have different opinions on what we like? That's deserving of spitting venom? I'm not exactly a provocateur in how I write, so such hate-filled reactions catch me off guard.

Does it make me angry? Regrettably, sometimes it does get under my skin. I know, consider the source. Plus, at least I'm standing behind my words with my name, which is more than these people do. Nevertheless, I'm saddened when I see this internet cowardice masquerading as speaking truth to power, whether it's aimed at me or my colleagues. How deeply unhappy and pathetic must one be to waste even a minute or less to engage in such behavior?

As I said up top, I've not stirred up this kind of reactions on the blog. Let's not start it either. Or at least hold off until I say (insert your favorite yarn) is splitty.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let them begin

The Winter Olympics start tomorrow, which means that the Ravelympics resume too. I haven't committed to anything, but now that my two time-consuming work projects are finished, perhaps I can pair the Games with new knitting.

I can't say that I'm up to speed on what's going on with the Ravelympics or if I needed to sign up already or anything, for that matter. Actually, I'm wondering where the first 42 days of this year went. Having let the days go by, I may be asking myself, well, how did I get here?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


While I try to recover from/endure the barrage, here's a performance clip of Beach House performing "Zebra" from their new album Teen Dream.

Being tired and somewhat burned out at the moment, I kind of wish I could reside in this album's soothing sonic textures. Listening to it will have to suffice.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Monday I put in a marathon work day so that I'd have everything done for the two shows today. My thinking was that I'd be a lot more at ease if I didn't have to deal with even the tiniest detail. I have to log a lot of time preparing each element, and doing so takes up a lot of space in my head. I am more than ready to clear it all out.

When I left the office late on Monday evening, I felt like a great weight had been lifted. All that remained was actually taping the programs. At this point in the process that feels like a formality, as though I've already given birth (in a manner of speaking) and just need to pretend to do it again for documentation purposes.

And then the snow came. Working at an institution of higher learning, we're not as subject to the skittish decisions of administrators spooked by the predictors of precipitative doom, otherwise known as TV weatherpeople. We close much less often and even then don't shut down for the entire day. Sure, we were getting a fair accumulation of snow this morning, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

I went out for lunch and didn't really think the main roads were that bad, but the snow felt wet and heavy, which was a distinct change from the morning. A quick check of closings showed other universities calling off evening classes. I figured it was just a matter of time until we did. (These cancellations occur in chain reactions.) Finally, we were alerted that the campus would close mid-afternoon.

Rather than finally put all that hard work to rest and completion, it must be rescheduled. Frankly, I still sort of feel like it's done. The expiration date was tonight. We'll give it another try in a couple days.

(And for what it's worth, it stopped snowing--or snowing in any meaningful way--when the campus shut down for the day. I got home in about the same amount of time as usual. Maybe it's worse out there than I realize, but I think the hype outdid the reality. As usual.)

Labels: ,

Monday, February 08, 2010

More K Factor

Last week I informed you of a British TV show doing a knitting competition of sorts called The K Factor. Now it's time to see the first contestants.

I'm picking up on the reality show competition riff, but I feel like there's something I'm just not getting about this.

Blog business: After 24 hours I think I can turn off the comment moderation. The problem was just one spammer, and I think he/she has gone on his/her merry way.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 07, 2010

An end in sight

I'm headed into the home stretch of one of my busiest periods of the year. I've done a lot of writing this weekend, and if all goes well I will have just one last intense day of office work to wrap all of the necessary preparation.

Sure, there are a couple of other pressing concerns at work that I'll need to be on top of immediately after surviving what's consumed the majority of my time for the last week-plus. I'm not thrilled at the prospect of having no real recovery time, but at least I won't have to be generating content, just managing situations.

So what, you say? Understandable. I'm just rambling. The main point is that I do see an end in sight and hope to be getting back to some knitting content of my own. There's just not been the time for it of late.

Late addendum: I've temporarily gone to comment moderation because in the span of three minutes I got thirteen comments from a spammer in Taiwan before I put the clamps on and stopped who knows how many more. I expect to lift this within a day or two. In the meantime, don't let this stop you from commenting if you feel like it.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Been busy all day working from home. In the meantime, here's a Q&A with local alpaca farm owners. Back to normal tomorrow.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow advisory Friday

This week has weighed heavily on me, so I decided that I'd be better off taking it easier today, if you consider seeing three films a way of taking a break, and working a full day on Saturday. Thing is, we were due for snow, and potentially quite a bit of it, today.

Nothing was on the ground when I got up this morning, but by the time I headed into Columbus the thick, wet snow was coming down at a good pace. Drivers were predictably overreacting and maintaining a much slower speed than necessary.

My first stop of the day was DK Diner. Their donuts received a rave review, and since the diner was in the general vicinity of where I was going, this seemed like a good place to go. Was it ever. It looked like they'd been cleaned out of most of their selection, but what I tried was really, really good. Eating a regular breakfast here will be a must at some point.

Three movies and about eight hours later I ventured home confident that my new tires would serve me well on the snow-covered roadways. I ordered them just before the last decent winter storm but wasn't able to get them installed until after it. This is the first significant amount of snow and ice we've had since then, so I was kind of eager to see how the car handled.

On the highway I felt very much in control. The car was less stable at a lower speed on the city streets, which seems counterintuitive, but these roads definitely haven't been cleared or treated as well. The most important thing is that the old tires would have stranded me along the side of the road, put me in a ditch, or something much, much worse. Let's hear it for new tires, even if I hadn't figured I'd need them just yet.

I stopped at a place near me for takeout food in the nick of time. They mentioned that they would be closing at 8 p.m., which indicated that the roadways were starting to shut down a lot of businesses in the area.

I'm expecting the roads will be significantly worse on Saturday. I noticed a lot of water and snow on the highway, and that stuff is only going to freeze and create a bigger mess overnight. We've supposedly received about a foot of snow--I'm having some difficulty getting a precise figure for this area, so that may be high--and have more on the way after midnight.

This could potentially blow my work plan, but maybe it's for the best. A big part of what I need to do is write, so if I can stay boarded up at home on Saturday, hopefully I can pound out what I need to finish most urgently. The rest might be feasibly finished at the office on Monday. The only problem: I'm not sure I have much to eat around here. Good thing there's a grocery store about two-tenths of a mile from my apartment.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Black and white and read all over

I suspect that I am a rare breed among those in my age group. I am a longtime newspaper subscriber. I got a subscription once I was on my own after college and have had it ever since. I read the newspaper with regularity as a kid and have really never stopped.

Recent years have not been kind to the newspaper industry. The internet has cannibalized a lot of the audience because much of the content is available online for free. The Columbus Dispatch tried putting articles behind a pay wall a few years ago but eventually relented. Their reason for backing off seems pretty obvious. Not enough people were willing to pay for the content, so they just went elsewhere.

Yesterday I received a letter informing me that my subscription rate will be increasing at the start of the next billing cycle. The shocker was what the new price will be. It's going up an unbelievable 48% from when I was last charged in November and 51% from a year ago. (I'm paying about $44 per thirteen weeks of delivery. The adjusted price is approximately $84 over the same time period.)

I still prefer to read a physical newspaper, but as much as it hurts me to cancel the subscription, there's simply no way I can justify paying that kind of exorbitant increase. I expect my reaction is or will be a common one among subscribers. If this is a tactic to keep the paper financially strong, the result may hasten its death instead.

I don't know how healthy its finances are, but this reeks of desperation. I checked out the subscription rates posted online. A discount is shown only for subscribing every day. All the other packages show "convenience" as the savings off the newsstand price. The weird thing is that the Sunday only price is actually 99 cents more than what's listed on the product itself. (Perhaps this means the price is going up.) Whatever, the case, so much for considering getting just the Sunday paper. Just getting it would roughly cost what an annual subscription has been.

I guess I better enjoy the papers that will still be coming until early March. After that a regular part of my longtime daily routine will come to an end.

Addendum: I think my percentages are off and should be double what I have listed, but you get the point.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The K Factor

I assumed The K Factor was just a parody sketch on a British show. Apparently it is an actual competition for knitters on show called TV Burp. I didn't read the rules, but the official website will only play video for those in the UK, so I'd wager U.S. knitters are out of luck.

There's even a Facebook page for The Knitted Character, although if you want more information about that, you'll have to check it out yourself. (I don't have a Facebook account.)

I can't say that I know what to make of this, but I imagine it will lead to some pretty wild projects.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


True to what I anticipated yesterday, I'm thoroughly wiped out today. So, in the proud filler tradition, I present to you Googling with Kittens.

Labels: ,

Monday, February 01, 2010

On hold

All right, it's going to be rough here for the next week. I have an imposing amount of work to finish, and I've already started things off with yesterday's marathon session and accompanying late night that necessitated taking a two-hour nap after work today.

I'm still striving to blog every day and to find things of interest so that I'm not slapping up lame filler like this. I know what I want to write about, but I'm going to need more time than I have tonight to do it justice.

I suppose it's natural that these things occur. Life and work don't move aside because there's blogging or knitting to do. Then there's the fact that I've been blogging daily here for nearly three years. Say what? Has it really been that long?