• Office Decor

    At work we have something called the “Tasks Workboard,” and part of it looks something like this:

    Tasks Workboard

    The idea is if you want someone else to do something (especially if it might take more than a few minutes), you make a task on the Tasks Workboard, and the team leads will decide who on the team will do the task and what the priority is. Tasks can be anything from small bug fixes to enormous projects.

    People stop by our office asking for things without making tasks. Usually we are working on other things. Sometimes we are dealing with actual emergencies.

    So I cross stitched some decor for our office door.

    Make A Task

    Someone asked, “Isn’t that a little passive aggressive?”

    I answered, “No, it’s really quite direct.”

  • Business Ideas for North Park

    I live in a vibrant, walkable, gentrifying, hilarious neighborhood.

    The following widget will generate a small business concept that will fit right in!

  • Yarn Disaster

    Having spent more time than usual riding the bus lately, I have been doing a lot of bus-knitting. I finished off the legwarmers, and they have been put away for when Ironic Winter returns and we wear all of our knitwear and winter gear like models in a fashion shoot. There is plenty of yarn left, and I need to figure out what to make out of it. Perhaps some sort of coordinating accessory? We shall see.

    Next I was going to start some sort of scarf-wrap thing done in a stitch pattern that I found in my knit-a-day calendar on January 24, 2005 and have saved since then, waiting for the right time to arrive.

    Perhaps it is not yet time? Sorry, no photos. Everything has been either rewound into balls or tossed in the trash.

    The knit-a-day pattern is for a lace sampler. The project in the photo has two panels at the ends that are lacy-with-holes, two closer to the middle that are somewhat floral, and one in the very center that I can totally recognize as leaves. Is the photo right side up or upside down? Is the stitch near the top of the photo “ring stitch” or is it “bird’s eye stitch” (both of which are in the written pattern)? A cursory Google search will make it clear that both patterns go by both names, so I guess we just start knitting and see what we get.

    First attempt: I did not realize that row 7 could not possibly be right until I had knit it.

    R.7: k2tog, yo, k3, yo, (k3tog, yo, k3tog, yo), repeat () five more times, k2tog.

    All of the other rows maintain the same stitch count. None of the rows have more increases than decreases. This is supposed to knit up roughly rectangular, so it can not possibly be right. Rip out, re-wind, try again.

    I’ve tried this pattern with the good lace-weight yarn and then with the scrap lace-weight yarn and then just to get a sense of things in general with some really awful worsted weight yarn and size 11 needles (to simulate lace).

    After that I tried to see if I could make any progress by using the knitting machine. That was a disaster and a half, but it did reinforce my belief that half of the k2tog in this pattern should be ssk and that the k3tog should probably be s1, k2tog, psso.

    I’m trying to decide if I should fix the pattern, chart it out, and start knitting it again or if I should give up on knitting for today and do something else.

  • Tuesday Omens

    1. Last night I made some food in the InstantPot (praise be), but it finished after I went to bed. It could have sat on the “keep warm” setting all night, but Jim put it in the fridge. Instead of covering it with the official InstantPot lid (praise be), he covered it with a very flat glass lid from some other cooking vessel. By morning it had suctioned itself onto the pot so tightly that I needed to bring the food back to a boil in order to release it.

    2. I was late. Buses were late. I forgot to pack exact change, so I overpaid for the bus by fifty cents. I had packed regular knitting needles instead of lace tip knitting needles, so I couldn’t make a swatch for my ill-fated project that has been ripped out more than once. I forgot my hat, so I had to endure the sun as I walked the 1.5 miles from the bus stop to the office. Did I tell you about the dead rabbit that I saw on my way to work last week? Today there were two dead rabbits: the original dead rabbit and a new dead rabbit. It is very surprising how little is left of the original dead rabbit.

    3. Defeated the Team Rocket grunt but then was not given the opportunity to catch the shadow Pokemon.

    4. Safari ignores much of @media print CSS, so I’m going to have to tell the staff using the thing that I’m building USE CHROME ONLY USE CHROME.

  • The Sick Lady

    1. The sick lady has a very popular blog about being sick. The sick lady is young and attractive and she was struck—far too young—with a tragic disease. Is the sick lady going to die? What will happen to her perfect husband and perfect kids? We read the updates about doctor appointments and tests. We read about her acquired nonchalance about various medical indignities. It’s a perfect example of what I call the Veronica Mars narrative structure: There is an overall mystery to be solved over the course of the season (Is the sick lady going to die of her tragic disease?) but each episode tackles a smaller issue (family strife, a fight with the insurance company, balancing the demands of everyday life with the realities of being sick). Spoiler alert: The sick lady died.

    2. The sick lady has a very successful GoFundMe. I’m friends with the sick lady’s sister. A string of things went wrong, and then the sick lady finds herself facing a situation where her doctors recommended a very expensive treatment that the insurance company won’t touch. The sick lady has a lot of friends and relatives. They gather around her. They raise the money for the treatment. The sick lady may never be entirely better, but things are looking up. The story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is likely that she will live happily every after (at least for a while). You can read the updates on GoFundMe. A lot of people do. Remember, the GoFundMe is very successful.

    3. The sick lady posts a lot on Facebook. A lot. She is too sick to work, too sick to do much except post on Facebook. She is part of a lot of closed and secret Facebook groups that are populated by other sick ladies. The sick lady asserts that she will fire any doctor who describes her condition in words that don’t match with an ICD-10 code. She rejects their clinical experience, their judgements about what is possible and what is unlikely. The sick lady complains that she never sees her friends anymore; she says it is their fault, but they think it is hers. She never gets much better or much worse. Nothing drives the narrative. It is a dark and inartful nod to postmodernism.

    4. The sick lady doesn’t want to be the sick lady. The sick lady wants to have stories that have nothing to do with sickness and disability.

  • Tales from the Message Board

    1. We have a vast community on our site with a deep network of message boards. According to a query that I just ran on a back-up database (I wouldn’t run a frivolous query on the live database), there are at least 7260 different forums on our site. As they say on Twitter, this website is free. (Well, the message boards are.)

    2. There are rules! There must be rules! Everyone makes his own rules, though. Everyone wants his rules to be enforced. A user complains, about our moderation team: “please avoid reflecting your novice acts.”

    3. A user has posted content that is certainly not G-rated or PG-rated, and he wonders aloud why we keep deleting it. He keeps posting it. We keep deleting it. We have placed some narrowly focused restrictions on his account to prevent him from posting such content. He complains.

    4. We get a flood of requests from users for new features that they want for the message boards. They would like to know how many “thumbs up” (upvotes, likes, whatever you want to call them) each of their posts received, and they would like to be informed which post was liked when new likes are received. They want a much richer and more complex system of roles and permissions.

    5. While they rarely, if ever, come to the attention of the moderation team, the forums that strike me as the oddest are the world-building ones. The students in these forums assign each other a bunch of roles; they are countries and corporations and organizations of various sorts. And then they spend their time writing constitutions and bylaws and policies. They negotiate treaties and define monetary policy.

    6. Also more popular than you would think: Let’s count to 100000!. This thread currently has 22780 posts.

  • Lightbulb

    In my penultimate year at the University of Tennessee, I took a design course. It was awesome, and I learned so much. Hardly any of it would be the sort of stuff that you normally think about as design. I didn’t learn anything about structuring a page as a grid or about how to pick colors or when to use what typeface or any of that.

    How many designers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Does it have to be a lightbulb?

    And this leads me to the problem that I am working on today at work. (Sorry, work.)

    I was given the following task (lightly edited):

    Generate PDF version of [the stuff on the page]
    Staff regularly print out the [the stuff on the page]. This task helps them generate the document by one click instead of going through multiple copy-and-paste steps.

    So there is supposed to be a page with stuff on it, and then there is also supposed to be a PDF button that will take the stuff on the page and turn it into a PDF, suitable for printing. I think that the idea is to use some sort of nightmare tangle of PHP to take the information that would go on the page and also generate a PDF of it.

    You know what else can take the information on a page and prepare it for printing? The “print” option in the browser. We live in a world where we can use CSS to determine how things will appear on a screen and how they will appear when printed.

    I’m wondering if there is a good reason that this needs to be a PDF or if the staff could just print the information by… printing.

    Technical note: We shall see if this entry posts correctly and everything looks right. Previously I could only write and publish blog posts from my little laptop, but several days ago I put all the files that make the blog In The Cloud, and I installed the software the compiles them into HTML pages on most of my other computers.

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