Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Chloe Wins It

09 March 2006

My mother is a huge fan of Project Runway, despite not really being a fashion afficianado (though she does have a humongous wardrobe).

As a teenager, I took several classes in tailoring because, at that time, there really weren’t as many options for someone large (especially not someone who was just big, not fat).

Anyhow, one of the things I’ve learned over the years of sewing and knitting is that the fit of a shoulder is critical. For example, one of the typical problems of a blouse (or shirt) from today’s ready-to-wear is that if one lifts one’s arms, the sides of the blouse/shirt lifts. This is bad fit.

So, getting back to Project Runway.

Santino has no idea how to make a garment’s shoulders. Therefore, sleeves also elude him. Some people have said they didn’t understand the comments about Santino’s outfits being poorly made (or poorly fitting). Well, go back and look at all the garments he did — and how he (failed to) managed shoulders and/or sleeves. Now, granted, he designs around this limitation, but I’d like to believe that the next Great American Designer could actually make a suit that didn’t require being pinned to another designer. Ugh.

I’m really glad Chloe won. You did good, girl. Some people didn’t like the first dress. I thought it was stunning.

Daniel V. may have a job, since Michael Kors offered one. I’m sure we’ll see more of his work — his white coat was, imho, stunning.

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A Multi-Prong Approach

21 February 2006

Lately, I’ve been taking a yoga class twice a week (though I may take it a third day so I don’t stiffen up quite so much over the weekend).

I first took yoga as a teenager, back when hatha yoga was hatha yoga, and the pronunciations seemed to come from Hindi speakers rather than Tamil speakers.

This quarter, I decided to enroll in a yoga class at foothill. Not only were the poses named with the English (rather than Sanskrit) names, the pronunciation of Sanskrit (even for words like savasana) threw me off.

So, it turns out I’m taking Iyengar, and, while I wasn’t paying attention, it took over as the dominant form of yoga in the U.S. There’s reasons this is a Good Thing, mostly having to do with each of the postures being designed to strengthen and/or flex certain things and precision helping in that regard.

However, right now, Just Doing Anything is quite difficult for me. I’m in even more chronic pain than usual. Yoga teacher will chide me, “You could go deeper.” I respond, “Well, it took me prescription muscle relaxants and pain medication to get even this far, so that’s where I’m going for now.”

The other day, when I was in tears of frustration because there was so much I couldn’t do, one of the instructor’s assistants said that I could go do Child’s Pose if I wanted. I pointed out that I can’t even do that without a supporting bolster (which, since this class isn’t in a yoga studio, I didn’t have access to). Fortunately, I’m now starting a restorative class in a yoga studio. Yay.

I’ve discovered that my weak spots weren’t the ones that I’d thought were weak — sure those were too, but they weren’t the primary problem areas.

The harder part, though, is that I hurt more (on average) than I did before — and expect to do so for some time. That’s the nasty part about working through chronic pain (and fibromyalgia in particular). In fact, that’s why I’m up writing this at 4:45 a.m. — I haven’t been able to sleep yet.

Anyhow, one of my problem areas has turned out to be weakness in the muscles on the top of the feet, which frequently hurt after yoga.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that a friend of a friend runs a site called betterhealthguy.com, and he has mentioned help achieved with the detox foot pads.

Well, I’ve discovered something: these also work particularly well for sore shoulders and sore tops of feet. There’s a few other places they work well, mostly where the ache is very close to the skin’s surface. For example, I’ve found them helpful when my knuckles hurt, or when my mousing hand gets a knot in my forearm. I use gold for the bottoms of my feet and blue for everywhere else.

To put this in perspective, when my primary pain is in one of these places, using the pads can cut the quantity of analgesics I need by 1/3 to 1/2 plus make me feel just a bit better overall. At first, I wondered if this were simply placebo effect, but that would have worn off in three months, and I’ve been using the pads for six.

Unfortunately, today I’m out, so my shoulders hurt and my feet hurt.

I should have more in a couple days, though….

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T. Sue, Thought Two

31 January 2006

One of the things that surprised me about Sue was that she had only two fingers, not the three I remember T. Rex having. In part, this is due to finding more complete skeletons over the years.

But to see an animal that large, with arms literally the size of human arms (yes, really), and two long claws at the end of the hands. Just two.

And, so help me, maybe it’s where I had a side trip in 2002 when I visited South Dakota, but all I could think of was corn forks.

T. Rex arms aren’t really long enough (especially given the head size and angle) to hold something to eat, so the only other thing I could think of was sort of impaling something edible onto a tree so one could eat the part above the point of impalement.

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Chicago, Saturday: T. Sue

28 January 2006

By the time I woke up, Strata had caught her flight back home.

I got up, ate a Luna bar, then headed to the Field Museum for two things: to see Sue and to see the Pompeii exhibit.

When I first walked in the building, I’d started to pass one of the dinosaurs before I looked up, realizing what an incredibly long neck it had. How long? I was unable to get the neck completely in my camera’s view (I didn’t think to try from the upper level, darn it).

Even though I’d arrived just in time for my Pompeii exhibit, I decided that Sue was a bigger priority. I went over to see her, stunned both by how large (and how small) she was. Her pelvis bone was much larger than I’d expected — it had also suffered some damage, including a missing tip. One of the museum staff was there answering questions about Sue, and generally joking.

“We’ve been going out for seven years,” he said. “I like older women.”

When I asked him about the pubic bone, he said that the leading theory about why the bone a) was so large and b) had suffered so much wear and tear was likely due to the fact that a T. Rex, like a chicken, slept in a squatting position, resting on the pubic bone.

The image that went through my head went something like: Chicken Run, only with T. Rexes. Hrm.

I was also surprised at how much characteristics one could see in the bone, including breaks and mends, as well as some of the attachment points. In all, Sue is an extremely well-preserved (and prepared) skeleton.

After visiting with Sue, I went to have my morning coffee and some soup, then headed over to the Pompeii exhibit, where I had to wait in line. Frankly, it was a much bigger exhibit than I was expecting. While there was the usual jewelry, and so on, I was quite stunned to see entire frescoed walls (three walls of one room, actually) and the variety of goods displayed.

I also felt quite humbled to see a statue believed to be from Julius Caesar’s father-in-law’s place in Herculaneum. Quite amazing.

There were precious few places to sit; the place was also quite packed. By the end, my feet were quite sore, but I managed. After that, I bought a t-shirt (for Rick) and an Octopus plate for myself.

I rested for a bit, then re-visited Sue again before going upstairs to see Sue’s real head (the real head is too heavy for the model of the body, thus it’s upstairs with a replica on Sue’s skeleton).

I wandered around through several other exhibits, including one about Tibet and another about the Southwest Pacific before heading back to my hotel.

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Chicago, Friday

28 January 2006

Friday was the 37 Signals “Getting Real” workshop, which was a lot of fun. There were ways the company approached getting projects done that (quite frankly) hadn’t occurred to me, in part because I hadn’t worked with that sort of team before.

I still haven’t decompressed, so I haven’t really thought about what I learned. What I can say, though, is that my fingers were really arthritic afterwards from all the typing. A few good yoga stretches (and a nap) helped with that, though.

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Chicago, Thursday

26 January 2006

I arrived in Chicago for the 37 Signals “Getting Real” workshop Thursday night. Boss lady Strata Chalup and I decided to go out for Brazilian food, where they bring slabs o’ meat to your table. We’d both been feeling a bit protein-starved, and I’d never had Brazilian cuisine before.

OMG, it was fabulous. They kept bringing by pieces of meat prepared different ways to the table. While I’m not usually a beef person, I liked their rump roast the best, though absolutely none of it was bad. They also brought side dishes of fried bananas (yumm!), mashed potatoes and fried polenta in french fry shapes.

As Strata put it, “This is the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of meat on a stick.”

If you’re ever in Chicago, highly recommended.

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Anyone Know of a Good Replacement for Chartsmith?

11 January 2006

I’m frustrated.

I haven’t been able to create (and save) new charts in Chartsmith for months. Blacksmith’s tech support wasn’t helpful.

Now, another of my old charts won’t open, and I really relied on that one. Yes, I have backups, but that’s not the point, really.

I’m really peeved.

Thing is, I’ve never found anything I like as much, but maybe something’s come out that I didn’t know about.

Help?

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The End of the Northern Lights

31 December 2005

Today we got an emergency call from mom, who told us that aanother of our favorite stores in Menlo Park was closing: Northern Lights, purveyors of fine Scandinavian goods. Worse, they were closing for good in an hour. Rick donned his lutefisk t-shirt, and we went in Getaway Car 2.0 to downtown Menlo Park.

Rick looked at a Dale of Norway cardigan, then went over to find a pullover. By the time he decided he wanted a cardigan, it was gone. The only other cardigan in his size was in pastels with a white background, so he passed on that one.

However, later, we were in luck, because the lady who was coveting it thought it might be the wrong size, so she gave it to Rick. He bought both a cardigan and a pullover (the pullover was one of the Salt Lake City Olympic sweaters). We also got a three-candle candelabra, some candles, some flatbread, and a beautiful serving set, all at an extremely reasonable price.

Except, of course, when one loses a local store, the cost is too much.

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Retailer 2.0

23 December 2005

It’s that time of year to whine about that bit of shopping we desperately need to have — but don’t.

I’ve been asking retailers for years to be able to enter an item, then find which of the stores near me happens to have that item in stock.

Is it really so hard?

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The Year in Brief

23 December 2005

Trips taken: 7
Seattle, Calgary, Glasgow, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Diego.

Airlines flown: 5
United, Air Canada, British Airways, American, Southwest

Traveler’s Century Club countries visited: 4
United States (Continental), Canada, England, Scotland (none new)

Conventions where I was a speaker: 3
Further Confusion, BayCon, Loscon (I had to cancel Conjecture, alas, because I was coming to San Diego the following week for RubyConf)

Conventions/Conferences where I was a volunteer (either for that convention or representing another): 7
Further Confusion, San Francisco Writer’s Conference, Norwescon, BayCon, Westercon, Loscon, LISA.

Obsure music found and acquired: 3
Boney M (German import), Florian Zabach (old vinyl, yeah), Blancmange (UK import)

Artists whose tunes I bought off iTunes: 76
Backstreet Boys, Guided by Voices, Marcy Playground, White Stripes, Daft Punk, Caesars, Tears for Fears, Dorothy Hall, Faith No More, Gary Hoey, The Gypsy Hombres, Mojo Nixon, Marie Osmond, The Stranglers, Erasure, Beck, 4 to the Bar, Yaz, Thurle Ravenscroft, Dublin City Ramblers, Toni Basil, Devo, The Nylons, M, Boney M, Lenny Kravitz, The Rubinoos, Duffy, Rockpile, The Monkees, Billy Connolly, The Real McKenzies, The Presidents of the USA, U2, David Lee Roth, Buggles, Scritti Politti, Sparks, Weezer, Jack Costanzo, Jack Johnson, The J. Geils Band, Miriam Makeba, Die Lollipops, No Doubt, Harry Belafonte, Cake, Enya, Daler Mehndi, Donny and Marie Osmond, Puffy AmiYumi, REM, Split Enz, The Wallflowers, American Bread, Bay City Rollers, Bowling for Soup, Martin Mull, Mocedades, The Dandy Warhols, Osibisa, El General, David, Wes Montgomery, Thalia, Madness, Jonathan Butler, ABC, Jean Knight, Tom Jones, Wild Cherry, Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, The Weavers

Favorite Guilty Pleasure bought off iTunes:
Die Lollipops, Pata Pata (Safari-Song)

Movies seen in theatre: 1
Serenity, which I loved.

Programming Languages Learned: 1
Ruby, of course. You knew that.

Ruby on Rails projects shipped: 3

Rails projects in progress: 5, maybe 6 as of later today….

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