Wednesday, August 12, 2009

bridge marker

bridge marker
Originally uploaded by nonesuch
Er... "SEMCAS LARIBVS VIALIBVS EXVOTO SACRVM?" I think it says, uh, basically, "Romans built this." Am I right?

Actually, I found a monograph titled "Within the Confines of the Romano-Celtic World: The Gods of the Roads" by Francisco Marco Simón in which he says that this is one of 2 such inscriptions in Asturias, of 40-odd found throughout Celtic regions of the former Roman empire. He cites it as an example of how Celts reshaped foreign Roman ideas of religion to suit their own spiritual needs. He records the inscription as "Sem(pronius) Cas(sius) / Laribus / Vialibus / ex voto / sacrum." The Lares Viales were gods of the highways and byways, the deities who protected travelers. Evidently, they were particularly popular in Celtic lands. Simón writes:
In the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, in the province of Hispania Citerior, Latin epigraphs document the establishment of the worship of certain deities, the Lares
Viales, with very few mentions in the rest of the Empire, and this has led various authors to suggest that these Latin theonyms were really referring to indigenous deities traditionally venerated in the areas in which these inscriptions appeared...

Thus, the Lares Viales are documented in the north-west of the Peninsula, with most of the occurrences in the conventus Lucensis and, to a lesser extent, in the Bracaraugustanus and the Asturum. As well as the thirty-odd epigraphs found in the north-west, the Lares Viales are also found on altars in other zones of Hispania Citerior corresponding to a substratum which might be considered Hispano-Celtic...

These authors have stated that the worship of the Lares, introduced by the Flavii in these barely Romanized north-western areas which steadfastly held on to their Celtic traditions, “smothered the Celtic religion as it was, and its barbaric nature disappeared under the cloak of the Lares” (1969, 231). This would have been an ambiguous process, since “it was especially in the provinces and among their inhabitants that the concept of Lares or Penates, a precise concept in Roman thinking, took on, accompanied by the epithet patrii, its broadest, vaguest meaning, that of a protective deity...."

snail and its trail

snail and its trail
Originally uploaded by nonesuch
When I visited Spain this spring, I had kind of a love affair with the snails. They're so decorative. There is such variety in their patterns and coloration within such a limited palette; I never got tired of looking at them. I think it got a little tiresome to wait for me to take all their portraits, though, which was the only thing that kept me in check!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)

There was an article in the NYT this week about bullying. It said that the American Academy of Pediatrics plans to publish a recommendation for a new model of bullying prevention. The model was “developed by Dan Olweus, a research professor of psychology at the University of Bergen, Norway, who first began studying the phenomenon of school bullying in Scandinavia in the 1970s.” The programs are designed to “work at the school level and the classroom level and at the individual level; they combine preventive programs and directly addressing children who are involved or identified as bullies or victims or both.”

What's really cool: “the Olweus approach focuses attention on the largest group of children, the bystanders.” The article quotes a medical authority as saying, “Olweus’s genius is that he manages to turn the school situation around so the other kids realize that the bully is someone who has a problem managing his or her behavior, and the victim is someone they can protect.”

Read At Last, Facing Down Bullies (and Their Enablers)

Friday, May 29, 2009

the uselessness of my upcoming degree

In an article for The Atlantic, Matthew Stewart has these encouraging words:
The first point to note is that management education confers some benefits that have little to do with either management or education. Like an elaborate tattoo on an aboriginal warrior, an M.B.A. is a way of signaling just how deeply and irrevocably committed you are to a career in management.

Read The Management Myth at The Atlantic's website.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Did yinz know about Aclyptico?!

From the UK's Daily Telegraph:

Hollywood's superhero movies have bizarrely paid off. Meet Shadow Hare, a 5’7” man armed with handcuffs, a Taser, pepper spray, and tights. All that's known about him is that he's 21, and claims to have been abused as a child and brought up in foster homes, the Telegraph reports. He says he's going to clean up the streets of Cincinnati and that he's currently working with San Diego-based superhero Mr. Extreme to “track down a rapist.” Other members of the so-called “Allegiance of Heroes” include Wall Creeper from Colorado and Aclyptico from Pennsylvania. Local police are not taking the Allegiance seriously (surprise!), although four members have been filmed helping the homeless.

I am stunned. I had no idea that Pennsylvania had a superhero. Aclyptico. What do you think--is he from Pittsburgh or Philly? Surely not Harrisburg. I am intrigued.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Kudos from American Standard!

American Standard complimented my use of their toilet and faucet in my bathroom remodel! Hee hee -- this tickles me for some reason.

Where my news at?!

BBC America no longer broadcasts a news program in the morning. I cannot watch these bobo burlesque shows that masquerade as members of the fourth estate (I'm talking to you, Today Show), so what shall I do for morning news? Gah.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

strange totemic charm

strange totemic charm
Originally uploaded by nonesuch
The little witches left this at the top of my mom's driveway. Though I can only guess their purpose in this strangely crafted symbol, I think they mean no harm.

If this woodland charm is meant to influence my mom to continually purchase ridiculous amounts of Littlest Pet Shop merchandise for little girls' birthdays, then I can vouch for its effectiveness.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How does our garden grow?

How does our garden grow?
Originally uploaded by nonesuch
I never started seedlings for a garden before -- one of the many things that's different about life with Daniel. He's kind of a farmer. This is good. And I imagine it will be very good indeed at dinnertimes this summer. :-)

The little greenhouse has a styrofoam insert with holes for specially made plugs of starter soil. He let me put the seeds in the plugs of soil. Each plug is sort of cone shaped, with a hole at the big end where you can insert seeds -- two seeds per plug, in case one doesn't germinate. You pick up the seeds with tweezers, one seed at a time. It feels ridiculously precise. I'm used to thinking of growing things as being kind of disorderly, but these little guys are starting life according to a plan. There are no square pegs in the styrofoam grid, fellahs. Get busy photosynthesizing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A quotidian frustration made charming

This post by Christoph Niemann in his New York Times blog illustrates the influence a good designer can exert when crafting the presentation of a topic, in this case a commonplace irritation:
My Life with Cables

Friday, March 06, 2009

Success! A hat he'll wear

He will wear this one!
Originally uploaded by nonesuch
In accordance with The Cult of Done Manifesto, item #11 ("Failure counts as done. So do mistakes"), I am happy to report success after my initial failure to make Daniel a hat.

I have never had a boyfriend who would wear things I knitted for him, so I'm happy to know that it feels good. I thought it would.

Cult of Done Manifesto encountered on BoingBoing.

Abbreviated Instructions for Tubular Cast On (Circular Knitting)

  1. Using smaller needles, cast on half the required number of stitches.
  2. K1, P into the running thread between stitches.
  3. Repeat these rows at least twice:
    • K 1, bring yarn forward, sl 1 as if to P, take yarn back.
    • Take yarn back, sl 1 as if to P, bring yarn forward, P1.
  4. Switch to larger needles and K1, P1 for desired length.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tubular Cast On - I learned it for my latest project

Here's something I learned while knitting a hat which Daniel wouldn't wear:

Tubular Cast On (Sometimes Called "Double Knitting")
for K1, P1 Ribbing in Circular Knitting

In order to work tubular cast on, you must know how to cast on using the double cast on (also called "long-tail") method. For tubular cast on in circular knitting, you will cast on half the number of stitches you need. This will be an even number, because K1, P1 knitting in the round requires an even number.

You will need:

  • Circular or double pointed needles (DPNs) of the correct size to achieve your gauge over 1x1 ribbing
  • Circular or DPNs one or two sizes smaller, if desired (tubular cast on is very elastic, so you may want to use needles one or two sizes smaller for the cast on rows)
  • The yarn for your ribbing (main yarn)
  • Yarn of a contrasting color that is the same weight as your main yarn (contrasting yarn)
  1. Using a slip knot, tie together the main yarn for your project and a length of scrap yarn of the same weight but in a contrasting color.
    The scrap yarn will eventually be pulled or clipped out of the ribbing and discarded.

  2. Put the slip knot on the needle.
    Use the smaller needles if you are using 2 sizes of needles.
    The yarn that makes the slip knot will not count as a stitch. At the end of the round you'll just push it off the needle.

  3. Cast on half the number of stitches you need.
    The main yarn for your project should form the loops over the needle.

  4. K 1, P into the running thread between the stitches.
    Repeat until the round is complete.
    To work the last stitch, purl the running thread and the last stitch together.
    Remove the slip knot from the needle.
    Join the beginning and the end of your cast on row, being careful not to twist the stitches.

  5. Repeat these rows at least twice:
    • K 1, bring yarn forward, sl 1 as if to P, take yarn back. Repeat until the round is complete.
    • Take yarn to the back, sl 1 as if to P, bring yarn forward, P1. Repeat until the round is complete.

  6. Switch to larger needles and work K1, P1 ribbing for required length.

  7. Pull or clip the scrap yarn out of the ribbing.
Wicked good method. Looks great.

I have a somewhat loose tension, it seems, because I achieve pattern gauges pretty reliably using needles 2 sizes smaller than those specified in patterns. I have had good luck using smaller needles for the first few rows of tubular cast on.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cool: the Yoshimoto cube, invented by Japanese Naoki Yoshimoto in 1971.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Video by körner union

As mesmerizing as a video directed by a group with an umlaut in its name should be.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Am I crazy, or does this message read like porno spam?

I have a 3 bedroom apartment that I rent out. Right now there's only one guy in the apartment renting one bedroom, because I had some tenants vacate the apartment in the middle of their lease term. They left me kinda high and dry. I had trouble finding 3 people who wanted to sign a lease together. After many prospective tenants asked me whether I'd just rent a single room, I decided to offer the bedrooms for rent individually. I hate doing this, and won't do it again if I can help it. I'd rather just have one lease signed by all the tenants.

Anyway, because 2 bedrooms are empty, I advertised them in the "Rooms and Shares" section of Craigslist. I've gotten a few responses, some weirder than others... Am I crazy, or is this message really reminiscent of those suggestive quasi-pornographic spam emails?

From: Raeann Rose
"" <>
Date: Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 6:55 PM


My name is Raeann Rose and i am a student at the University of Pittsburgh school of nursing....I am also a young professional banker....Nursing is my second carreer path. You can look me up on facebook under Raeann Rose I am an impressionistic artist, who loves to cook, loves sports, and is a lot of fun:) I'm looking to rent ASAP for the time you have specified. My family is from Germany and Slovenia....I speak a decent bit of German....I am very neat, love the sciences....and am really looking forward to meeting you. Give me a call if you might be interested!

a presto,
Raeann Rose

Friday, January 09, 2009

Art celebrating whiskey

Design consultancy Johnson Banks has developed this stunning exhibit of art from whiskey barrels that was designed to celebrate Glenfiddich Single Malt. My favorite is the piece designed for the 30-year-old single malt, an age-darkened barrel lid that states, "I will wait for 11,000 nights."

Wonderfully, the designers have shared posts (with photos!) revealing some of their process and inspirations. An unexpected Friday treat.

Aside: I love the term, "the angel's share."

No more farmshare

I canceled the farmshare yesterday.

I enjoyed the vegetable boxes I got in the summer. They had an interesting variety of produce, and sometimes contained more than I could eat. The winter boxes have been disappointing, containing a reliable supply of dirty potatoes and weird prepared foods (I mean -- a ziploc bag of sauerkraut? Really?), and there's less in the box even though they're charging me more.

Last week, Daniel and I were doing our weekly grocery shopping at the Market District Giant Eagle, and while we were buying our apples we noticed a display of turnips, a root vegetable that had been included in a recent farmshare box. "Hm," said Daniel, giving me a significant look. "99 cents a pound."

The turnips were lovely, fat and firm and gorgeously purple and white. The ones in the farmshare box had been whithered and fading, still edible but in their last hours of viabilty. A vision of those flaccid, dirt encrusted turnips taunted me. They and their similarly undesirable brethren (moldy onion, wrinkled beets, and rotten potatoes) had cost me $19.50 the previous week. I looked at Daniel in disbelief. "I'm getting raped."

"I didn't want to say."

"Why not? I kept asking you if you thought the farmshare box was worthwhile!"

He shrugged. "I wanted you to draw your own conclusions." I gaped at him. "It's your thing. I didn't want to tell you whether to keep doing it."

I glared and turned back to the bin of turnips. They fairly glowed there on their bed of plastic moss. "Well, I want to support local farms," I muttered.

Daniel spun the plastic bag of apples to close it. Turning toward the produce scale, he said, "These are local."

Thus it came to pass that the farmshare operation made me feel like a fool, whereupon I cancelled my subscription.