Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It's 2010.

Things I didn't think we'd (still) have in this, the Space Age:
  • 3D glasses
  • Analogue watches
  • Wool underwear
  • Sunhats
  • Knickerbockers
  • Keys
  • Corsetry
  • Punks
  • Cancer and co.

Things I didn't expect
  • The web
  • Maori renaissance
  • Computers for preschoolers
  • No USSR
  • Bread machines, rice cookers, pasta makers, fruit dryers, popcorn makers...
  • The Urban Chook Fad
  • No monorail

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dinosaur feather notes.

Wikipedia's dinosaur clades Saurischia and Ornithischia are the two basic sorts. 
Wikipedia on dinosaur feathers, maybe feathers arose with Ornithodira, the last ancestor of both pterosaurs and dinosaurs (which includes birds). 
Wikipedia's beautiful tree of life

Fossil feathers head to toe on a dromaeosaur, a close relative of velociraptor and thus, with Tyrannosaurus Rex, a part of the advanced therapods who have bones like modern birds (and sharp teeth not like them). (Science Daily, April 2001)

Tianyulong confuciusi, a feathered Ornithischia. Ornithischia includes armored herbivores such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus. (National Geographic News, March 2009)

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Mrs. Beeton again.

It really was a surprisingly acceptable substitute for milk, though different (less sweet, less white, more filling). Like soy milk substitution, I don't think I'll take up pouring beaten egg into my coffee regularly. 

Yeah, egg in coffee. I needed the conjunction of a fresh-laid egg and nerve. The egg has become easier, fowl houses are fashionable among my friends (and if any of you want to start with bantams I think I know 3 young hens in search of a good home) and so the nerve was provided by the example of my daughters keenly eating raw egg out of bowls this afternoon. For those concerned about the possibility of eggy lumps in the coffee: there were a few, they sank. I left that half inch in the bottom. 

I think I'm more likely to take up still more nutritrious coffee though I might try to do it without boiling either the milk or the coffee. 

1864. INGREDIENTS - 1/2 oz. of ground coffee, 1 pint of milk.

Mode.—Let the coffee be freshly ground; put it into a saucepan, with the milk, which should be made nearly boiling before the coffee is put in, and boil both together for 3 minutes; clear it by pouring some of it into a cup, and then back again, and leave it on the hob for a few minutes to settle thoroughly. This coffee may be made still more nutritious by the addition of an egg well beaten, and put into the coffee-cup.

Time.—5 minutes to boil, 5 minutes to settle.

Sufficient to make 1 large breakfast-cupful of coffee. 
(This recipe also from Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, first published in 1859-61, now available from http://www.mrsbeeton.com/)
I'm reading Kathryn Hughes' biography of Isabella Beeton, a book better than eggy coffee. 

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Let's drink to that and the passing time"

I am turning 40. It's not a complete surprise to me that I am reaching this milestone, and I am unutterably glad that I did not have the proper assistance to leave off at 39 and six months, but it's still a little weird to consider that I have reached an age I remember my friends' parents being when I thought I was an adult already.  

I was born before people walked on the Moon, when I was a baby lock-knit cotton stretch-n-grows were high-tech and all nappies were washable. As a child I went to Star Wars in the original theatre release, played Zork, D&D and Traveller, and no-one's kitchen had a dishwasher, microwave oven, or any silicon implements. As a teenager I was deeply ashamed of the 1981 Springbok Tour, personally affronted by the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, wore a pink triangle badge to support the Homosexual Law Reform Bill and seriously argued the relative merits of Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe. I was at university back when education was free and unemployment was rising on a spring tide. 

Things have changed, but I still don't have my jet pack


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shihad with strings.

"Shihad have done the unthinkable. They have made a pop record. ....There is even a ballad, with strings."

Suddenly I remembered Hamish Laing's mother in bright sunshine, telling me at a Wilton Playcentre do a long time ago that he and some Wellington High mates had a band, that it was good, that they'd been experimenting with wiring up his younger sibling's violin. (I was reading Nick Bollinger's somewhat inflammatory Listener review of Beautiful Machine of which the gist is that Shihad have changed, but not too much).

Now I'm curious, did Tom Larkin, Jon Toogood or Phil Knight go to Wilton Playcentre too?

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Time travel.

The second thesis I didn't write for my Masters in Philosophy was about how time changes us; me-2008 is related to me-1995 but importantly different. The third thesis I did actually finish for my Masters in Philosophy was about how art represents (we pretend). I riffed on themes in Mimesis As Make-Believe by Kendall Walton. A few weeks ago I was checking the VUW Philosophy website thinking that after Iris starts school perhaps there's a course I could do some tutoring for and be able to play Ultimate with the Vic teams during school hours as well as earn a little money. To my surprise I discovered there's a mini-conference celebrating Walton's work at VUW tomorrow. Me-2008 is going because I feel I sort of owe it to me-1995, and besides, I'm still curious.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where I'm at.

I just wrote a letter to a friend I haven't seen in a long time, I want to go to bed and so I'm not going to write a blog post too but I doubt he'll mind me putting it here.
I'd like to write properly, but it seems unlikely this month as Hazel's taking a bit of settling into her second year of school. She's at the primary school I was at, Iris is at the playcentre I was at too. Most people in most of the world and through most of time raise their children where they were children themselves but it still feels odd to me.

I'm about to turn 39. In a very biologically appropriate way I've spent my thirties working with children. Other people's first of all as, of the four years I spent in the US while Sean was in graduate school at Indiana University, Bloomington and I went along for the ride, I spent the last bit working in "daycare". Then we came back here and I puttered around for a year with a couple of part-time jobs, one of which was in "early childhood education" and since then I've been Mum. If Mum is a job it's the best and hardest one I've ever had but we've decided to stop at two (though I wouldn't bet this lovely old sunny house in Northland on that) in order to retain the opportunity for work-life balance.

I'm thinking I might well do some art school courses when Iris gets to school in a year. I have some big scale installation-type projects growing in my mind (eg. a box a person can crawl into and peer out of because the sides are a web of yarns: somewhat related to those nail and yarn pictures of the seventies but less regular) and if I can fight akrasia far enough to get around to tidying the playroom on a fairly frequent basis surely I can get some of them out of my mind and into the world.

I write a blog. Or at least, I text my blog the occasional sentence and form intentions to write more some other time. http://susan.sean.geek.nz if you're curious.

If you're actually curious you could read this: http://karapoti.blogspot.com/

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Word? Asphasia.

In New Zealand in 1986 if there was a car a hoon was proud of it might have been a Ford Escort, it might have had it's engine changed so it had a 2l one, it might have mag wheels, a spoiler, and some sheepskin accessories, but it must have had speed stripes and on the back window, a ...

a thing, you know, a black plastic collection of short horizontal planes, what did we used to call those things?

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Hazel's first graduation: the reality.

There was a cake. The chair got decorated and immediately dismantled. There is a card; it's still at Playcentre. There were best wishes but no hugs that I noticed, possibly because I didn't cry. My eyes misted up as I gave my speech but I was performing so it didn't go any further. Hazel decided to swap the presents so that Playcentre gave her what she chose for it and she gave it what it gave her, very sensibly I think, the outfit was a bit small even if it was all class and the horse has lots of little accessories to lose.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006


Yes! I caught a frisbee in the endzone.

I even caught it and didn't throw it to the ground during the game. I threw some nice catchable throws to receptive-looking people and that's an improvement. I'll work on eliminating the ones to people who aren't my team next time.

Last night at the Playcentre dinner I was sitting between Dee.run and Half-pie when the person opposite turned the conversation to meeting people over the internet. He reckons it's odd. The person you meet could be anything, and how can you think "Phooarr!" about an email anyway? He reckons that if he were single he'd go places where people go to meet each other; the pub, a tramping club, maybe pick up a mixed sport.

I'm a woman who role-plays and I did Philosophy at university, I never had to think about where to meet people, I had men of imagination and mental agility with me wherever I went, including the internet.

But I have just picked up a mixed sport, and having done so I'd say it was an almost opposite set of information to what you find out about someone from an on-line interaction. On-line you discover how your new friend uses words when they have the time to do it carefully, what they think is funny, how they think and some stuff that's important to them. At Ultimate I find out how people use their bodies and space, how they deal with failure, pain, stress, and success, how they communicate under pressure, and whether they care about winning.

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