There are 1100 wildfires burning around California. I think about 1099 of them are in this area. The smoke was so thick this morning that I couldn’t see any of the hills around our place, and my eyes and throat are getting sore. If I wanted this air quality, I’d live in London.*

I’m sad that Big Sur is burning. I camped there way back in 1991 during the Red Dirt Salsa Tour** and it was the first time I’d been in a redwood forest. It was also the first time I saw Steller’s Jays, which remain one of my favourite birds. At dawn, a bunch of them would be lined up on a branch over our tent, with their shoulders hunched up, all muttering “bleah” to themselves under their breath. I’m exactly the same way in the mornings. As the day went on, they’d get more cheerful, especially when we were eating. They’d fly down and eat off the same plates that we were eating from.

And this is just weird. It’s awfully hard not to cynically suspect “lobbyists” at work (and I finger-quote the word lobby, since I’m pretty sure the Supreme Court is not supposed to be lobbyable). The Second Amendment was pretty clearly for a militia and I really don’t follow the argument of ignoring that. The NRA is already talking about challenging states’ registration, waiting period, and limitation laws*** because they “infringe” the right to own a gun. Guh.

Today, I am leaning towards the “moving back to Canada sooner rather than later” opinion.

* A Londoner friend told me that at his university’s orientation, new foreign students were asked about how living in London was affecting them so far. After thinking a bit, one guy said solemnly “Well, my snot’s black now”

** After graduating university, two friends and I decided to drive south until we had half our money left, then turn around and drive back. We made it down to LA, because we camped most of the time. It was a fun trip – about fifteen days and $600 each, as I recall, most of which was gas.

*** Like, say, the one that says that someone with a restraining order against them shouldn’t be sold a gun. How unfair.

Go see Kung Fu Panda. It’s pretty awesome. If you don’t like Jack Black, don’t be put off by the fact that his voice is in it; it’s not a typical performance (I don’t think). And like one of the reviews says, it’s really refreshingly pop-culture free but still manages to have humour and interest on all levels (child through adult).

So I’ve actually been asked to put some knitting content here; Ravelry really diverted all of it but Ravelry's still in beta so you can't see it. I think I know what someone really wants to see, but I haven’t started it yet, so she’s out of luck.

Here’s something I was pretty proud of, because the original instructions not only were in Latvian, they had a lot of errors. With language help from a lovely person on Ravelry, I came up with workable alternatives, though it did turn out a different shape from the original. The mad doily woman strikes again! It' s on 2.25mm needles, 16/2 linen, for those that care.

And also in knitting related content I joined a team for a cancer relay* that, as its shtick, has decided to knit constantly while doing the relay. Apparently, though, the Cancer Society wants money as well as knitted items. Imagine! I really hate begging, and I especially hate begging from friends, but if you were going to donate to some kind of disease-based charity anyway this year, you could consider my Relay for Life Team, maybe. If you wanted.

* Like, anti-cancer. To raise money towards finding a cure. Just to be clear.

Owie owie owie. I have the worst sunburn I’ve yet suffered here and my face hurts. It’s only on my face; the rest of me was covered by a pirate costume*, and I suspect the worst of it happened on the ride home in a convertible, where I couldn’t wear my hat and the wind kept me from realizing the ravages that the sun was wreaking.

Speaking of burning (ooo, nice segue!) there are lots more fires here, including a big one what is burninating one of my favourite wineries and that turned the sky on Friday into a dark hazy mass and the sunset into something apocalyptic. Every morning now the traffic reports feature road-side grass fires. The moisture level in the vegetation in the hills (monitored to get an idea of the fire risk level) is at normal levels for August and it doesn’t rain here in summer. It is duh-RYE!

My company summer picnic thing was Friday; we took the day off and all went to Great America for the day, which was really quite far from my idea of fun. But I found the place that served beer, and actually had a good time chatting with some of our sales folks whom I don’t see very often. And I ended up going on one rollercoaster at the end of the day since I figured if it made me ill I’d be going home anyway, and it didn’t. Maybe I’m getting my rollercoaster legs (and stomach) back. Maybe Katamari and Lego Star Wars is training me!

Update: I just got back from lunch at one of my favourite places, and the waitress, a motherly Vietnamese lady who barely comes up to my armpit, peered into my face as she brought my iced coffee and said “Ooooooh, you got bad sunburn!” Yes, I know, thanks. My skin feels like an unpricked grilled sausage casing and I suspect it’s glowing slightly. This is going to result in something that ends in “-oma”, I just know it, even though I had so much aloe on my face last night that I looked like a glazed doughnut with limbs.

* Yes, it was NorCal Pirate Festival time again!

** The Flight Deck, to be precise. It was a short ride (like, a minute or less, I'd say) which helped a lot.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone. R:tAG went up to KublaCon and I spent the day completely alone at home. It was fantastic and just when I started to think “OK, it’s been about ten hours of isolation, maybe I am reconciled to human contact” the phone started ringing with family and friends calling. Good timing!

It’s been a shooty-action-movie sort of fortnight; we’ve seen 3:10 To Yuma, Indiana Jones and the Implausible Crystal Plot,* Iron Man, There Will be Blood,** Shoot ‘Em Up,*** and Crank, and that’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure there was another bulletfest in there somewhere. 3:10 To Yuma was quite good, Iron Man was good if you like the genre, the rest were enh for me (which was too bad, because I was quite excited about the Indiana Jones movie).

Other than that… hm. Not much to report. Oh, you should read The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon, if you like noir detective stories with a twist. I really liked it.

Oh, and with dance, I took a workshop with Sabine about sword dancing and it was great. She is amazing, and about eight feet tall, and gorgeous, and has huge sharp swords. What’s not to like? I don’t know if she’s just a really good teacher (well, she is) or if I’m starting to learn differently, or if the particular subject was just easier for me for some reason but this was a workshop where I really felt like I got something out of it. Yay, swords!

* Motto of the movie: “Wait, what?

** Motto of the movie: “This soundtrack is violating my ears, without lubrication”

*** Motto of the movie "I call no way!"


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