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2015-10-07 04:13 pm

OSB 2015 - Bringing Security to Your Open Source Project (Video & Slides)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I gave two talks at Open Source Bridge this year, and they’ve recently put the videos online. Here’s the more serious and informative of the two:

Bringing Security to Your Open Source Project

Abstract: With high profile breaches in open source projects, the issue of security has become one of great import to many people. But many projects, especially smaller ones, are intimidated by the idea of a security audit. This talk will discuss ways for smaller projects to experiment, learn, and even have fun improving their security. No PhDs in security required!

Video embedded below:

[Confreaks.tv video Link] [youtube link]

I’m a bit sad that they cut out the introduction I got; it was pretty hilarious.

The motivation behind this talk is that when I tell people in open source communities that I do security for open source projects, I get a lot of interest but people always say they don’t know where to start and quite a lot of them buy into the idea that somehow just being open source makes you secure. That can be a big push towards security for some projects, but it’s not a panacea, so this talk is an intro to how to do a security hackathon and be welcoming to folk who want to help with your security.

[Bringing Security to Your Open Source Project (Slides)] The slides are in the video as well, but sometimes this is easier! If you look at the slides, you can also see a rough version of what I’d planned to say in the notes section.

One of these days I’ll transcribe the talk and set up a blog post with slides as images for folk who don’t aren’t into videos for whatever reason (I know I don’t watch very many myself unless I’m multitasking), but I thought I’d share the video first rather than wait. Hope you like it!

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2015-10-05 06:59 am

A simple hat in progress

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Most of my energies have gone into the house lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been making things too, just that I haven’t had as much time for writing up of late. So here’s what’s currently on the needles while I start sorting through the backlog of photos and creations:

A simple hat in progress

This is from a little ball of Misti Alpaca that I picked up on the last day of my tatting class (more on that later!) as a treat. And it *is* a treat. I wish I could justify the cost and time of a sweater made out of this stuff — its light, soft, and seems pretty warm. Maybe someday.

The plan, half-executed, is to make a little tiny soft hat that can be stuffed in a jacket pocket. A thin tuque, I guess. Since it’s dark, it currently reminds me of what my sister and I called “crime hats” on Buffy (due to her penchant for putting on a tuque before doing anything vaguely criminal in a several episodes).

Pattern so far:

Yarn? Misti Tui from Misti Alpaca. Sport weight, chains of thin alpaca.

What’s the gauge? 6 st/inch on US 7 (4.5mm)

What’s my head circumference? Around 21 inches

Since I didn’t want much negative ease (i.e. stretch), that meant 21×6 = cast on 126 stitches

Brim ribbing: k3, p1, k1, p1 repeat 21 times

Repeat brim rows until you reach an inch or so then switch to stockinette

My plan is to continue the stockinette without decreases to make slight kitty ears. We’ll see how it works out!

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2015-10-04 10:52 am
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Current state of the house/me

Sorry about the crummy and poorly written update, but since people keep asking me:
  1. Hardwood floors are in and don't stink so much any more from the finishing (it was really bad for a week or so)
  2. Tile floors are started, but the decorative tile bit is apparently slow-going. No ETA.
  3. Still no baseboards, but they'll happen after the tile is done.
  4. I still want to do one more coat on the laundry room but ugh, so tired of it all.
  5. Still some touch-ups where we got wall paint on the ceiling but I need John for some of them so they'll keep 'till after he's back.
  6. I think we're probably hiring pros for the rest.  Definitely for the tall parts, but we've been so wiped out lately that I think paying pros is the right compromise.
  7. Unpacking has started, but it's slow because I can't carry that much on my own and we don't want to put up all the shelving until the baseboards are in.
  8. There's still a *lot* of cleanup needed from the construction and reno; there's drywall and sawdust everywhere and tape and paint buckets and ladders in random locations around the house.
I'm without support this week to deal with cleanup and minor unpacking.  Let's be honest, I was without very much support last week too because he had demos to prep, and the week before that because he was getting artemis ready, and there was the week where J's parents were visiting (which was a nice break!) and there was some travel before that too.  J's doing the best he can given his travel schedule but between his travel and mine we're looking at only a handful of days of overlap where we're both in the same city for all of October.

We got some living room furniture up while we were both here so I can sit and read in my big comfy chair, and that's nice.  And now when I clean things they don't immediately get covered in sawdust or drywall, which is an amazing luxury that has not been true for all of September and some of August. Hopefully we'll be able to find a new cleaning service, but there's not much point at the moment.

I did get my desktop up and running so I can play video games for some escapism.  Still haven't found most of the cables or my keyboard and mouse, so it's kind of cobbled together and has no sound, but we made do last night.

Did some digital cleanup today too.  Reviewed a couple of ebooks that I won't repost here because frankly, they were both in need of editing (The down side to getting free books off the internet in exchange for fair review, I guess), but you can read them at that link if deeply flawed larpers and psycho-magical crime-fighting lesbian vs lovecraftian horrors are your kind of thing.  You'll be disappointed, though; I was.  Answered some emails that had been sitting in my inbox; if you were expecting an answer from me on the subject of something or other, re-send because I'm pretty sure I answered anything that still needed answering but I might have been heavy-handed with the archive button.  Declined some job interview related requests.  Unsubscribed from a lot of mailing lists, probably should unsubscribe from more since I'm not really reading them.

I've got a bunch of of posts I need to write and queue up on my maker blog, but not sure if I'll get started on those tonight.  Want to hit up the farmer's market and I'm betting once I'm outside coming back in to sit at a computer for hours won't seem so appealing!

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2015-09-13 11:14 pm
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Painting continues

Painting is much more fun now that we're past the annoying part of the ceiling. Because of all the holes the ceiling was retextured, and slightly off-white and stupidly obnoxious to get paint in all the nooks and crannies but impossible to see when it wasn't daylight. So yeah. Crankypants T and J. After 3 coats, it is looking ok, but I still kind of want to spray paint the ceiling downstairs rather than do this again.

Anyhow, main floor is starting to look good.
1. Hallway is now light blue (but needs another coat).

2. My office is mostly done in a lovey medium blue that turned out exactly like I'd hoped. We'll take the tape off tomorrow and do some touch up (mostly to cover a few blue spots on the ceiling).

3. The powder room is now a lovely teal that, as I hoped, goes pretty nicely with the wood in there. It also needs tape removal and touchup.

4. The laundry room and pantry ceilings are done (white, because the floor in there will be terracotta coloured tile and I didn't want to push J's colour palette too far) but only one wall of the laundry has a coat of paint on it, because we were rather eager to have a washing machine again (and the new machines are great! They even sing a little song when they're done, which is adorable.)

5. There's a couple of closets that need doing. I prepped one last night and J's dad gave it a first coat, but the other two aren't prepped.

That's all we're planning to do on that floor right now. I'm going to do the kitchen after I refinish the cabinets and know what colour they will be, and we're going to pay pros to do the two-storey parts of the house (living room, dining room, upper portion of the stairs and probably the hallway up there too because the walls connect). We're taking a break after this floor because coming home and painting every night is exhausting, and because the basement is full of stuff and it'll be easier when the main floors are done. Hopefully the flooring guys will be able to come in shortly after we get the painting done!

Other than that, got some stuff going on in lives that intersect my own that's going to make this a hard week, but please don't ask about it because it's not mine to share, just don't be surprised if I'm quiet at a time when you might think I'd be showcasing photos of the newly painted house.
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2015-09-10 01:27 am
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Painting has begun

We got some minor dents and holes filled yesterday, and taped a lot of things today.

I have learend that scotch brand blue tape is inferior to 3m "original" blue tape (despite being made by the same people), because the former has "scotch blue" written all over it in yellow, making it much more annoying to see if you've got a nice straight edge.

We have a first coat of ceiling paint on my office, the hallway, and the powder room. The laundry and pantry are on the todo list and I actually got them taped but not painted. I hate textured ceilings a lot and look forwards to making paid professionals handle the 2-storey rooms, but I am trying to remind myself that the ceilings are the worst and it will be more fun when I get to the walls. Paid professionals likely can't show up 'till october and I am eager to be done with some of this before the flooring guys come back to finish.

Anyone who requests pics can click here.

(Actually, that's true any time. I'm a photographer, and I like taking pictures of things. So when I don't supply a picture, there is typically a reason. Seriously, I got asked for pictures of an entirely theoretical concept project that I had just invented while in the airport and I was not pleased.)

The plumber is coming tomorrow so there will at least be laundry again soon. I'm wishing John hadn't ripped out the laundry sink; it would be really useful right about now. (He plans to replace it but hasn't done so yet)

But yeah, exhausted, cranky, and do not want to hear about the bright side of anything from anyone unless you are willing to show up at my house for the next 4 days and paint.
terriko: (Default)
2015-09-03 11:43 pm
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In which I finally give up and put out some bloody chairs

We've had the house for 2 months, and I finally couldn't take it any more and put out some bloody chairs and a table that's actually inside. (previously I had to sit on the deck for breakfast)

Not *literally* bloody chairs, although I did smash up my pinkie finger pretty badly today, the only blood shed by me this evening came from a scratch on my ear and didn't reach any chairs. (Although there was a close call with a mosquito...)

So, yeah.

But more precisely, here's the state of renovations:

- The wiring inside the walls is done, but not everything has a terminator and cover panel. J is doing that so we'll be paying the low-voltage wiring guy tomorrow and letting him be done. Yeay!

- The drywall folk have closed all the holes, but there appears to be sanding and texture work to be done. I am hopeful that we will be painting this weekend but won't know for sure until J talks to them tomorrow.

- The plumber didn't want to put the connectors in for the washer/dryer hookups until the drywall was done, so we have had no laundry since we moved. Hopefully the plumber will be in next week, but J didn't want to call until he's talked to the drywall team.

- The flooring is on hold until the drywall mess is cleaned up, which is quite sensible...

....but OMG I've been living in a single bedroom for 2 months because the rest of the house either has no floor or is filled with boxes we can't unpack and I'm sick of it.

So in summary:


Seriously, I know no one loves renovations and having contractors tromp all over their house, but I think it's significantly worse for me than it ought to be. I haven't had any predictable quiet solo time since more than 5 months ago when J's dad moved in with us and I need to introvert so hard that some days I don't even want to deal with J, let alone a bunch of smelly strangers who make everything filthy. But then on top of that (and that would have been more than enough), I'm finding that my lingering PTSD from the breakin two years ago is making the constant stream of strangers an actively terrifying experience in little ways that I can't always anticipate and prepare for. I'm also on day 3 of post-travel headaches so I'm a bit generally cranky.

So yeah, hating on the reno with a passion that I don't think the average person can even understand.

One kind of awesome spot, though:

Our low-volage wiring guy is so passionate about this work and such a good friend to J that he's been pretty much acting like a general contractor for us while we were out of town this weekend, going way above and beyond in making sure the drywall guys didn't slack off. What a nice guy! I've told J we really need to give him a bonus!
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2015-08-19 01:19 am
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Albuquerque scars

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my mind.
As I remind my boyfriend that when he closes a window he must latch it
because that one time, a man saw me alone in the house and tried all the windows until one opened.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my mind.
As I hear a car slow behind me and brace myself for the catcall,
thinking "I should have put in earphones" so that they might believe I cannot hear them.
So they won't honk or swerve in front of me, because they think they deserve my attention.

But here the car turns without anyone rolling down the window and I breathe a sign of relief.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my heart.
As I listen to a story about an unknown device a coworker found,
and I think "that would be a great whatsit for the 2600 meeting"
only to remember I don't go to those since I moved. They wouldn't be the same.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my heart.
As I sign the paperwork to donate part of my salary to my old library there,
and think about how poor my neighbourhood was and how many of those kids could use more books.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my heart.
As I gather parts for my latest project and wish I had a Sunday hacknight coming up
so I could show it off even though it's not working, and people would still be excited.

Sometimes I am reminded that it is micro tears that make muscles strong.
And the heart is a muscle.
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2015-08-16 11:40 pm

Birchbox July 2015

July's birchbox is an eye searing art deco piece:

Birchbox July 2015

I actually love the idea, but I think they could have used better colours. (It actually looks better in the edited photo than it does in real life)

Birchbox July 2015

But enough about the box, let's talk about what's inside...

Birchbox July 2015

amika Un.Done Texture Spray

I didn't love the smell of the last amika product I got, so I wasn't too excited to receive this one. Even more so when I found out it was a "texture spray" which is completely not a thing I use or even want, since I associate "texture" with the way my hair felt when I used to wash it in hard water. Thicker and heavier are not things I want with hair whose predominant styling influence is gravity.

So perhaps I didn't give this product much of a chance. I used it lightly because it stinks and I don't love this type of product, and perhaps as a result not only does it smell but it also didn't seem to have any effect at all. (But again, the pull of gravity on my hair is rather hard to resist.)

Regardless, not a product I'm going to ever use again. I'm never sure what to do with these, so it'll likely languish in my guest bathroom. Maybe I'll get a nice bin with a note saying "free" on it to put in the bathroom and hope that visitors will take it off my hands?

Birchbox July 2015

COOLA® Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face

I do think it's a bit crappy of Birchbox to put this sample in after we just had a coola moisturizer last month, but I suppose summer is only so long. It's a product I liked enough that I wasn't too sad, anyhow. Just like last month's mango-scented offering, this manages to be light enough on the scent that it's a nice alternative to generic sunscreen. This scent is probably even easier on the nose than the mango, which I guess might make sense as it's a facial moisturizer. Given the choice, I'd probably go with the mango one, but I really like mango.

Birchbox July 2015

dr. brandt® microdermabrasion skin exfoliant

This is a fine-grained skin exfoliant that seems to work really well on my skin. I've now had a few chemical exfoliants that felt more like snake oil than effective products, but this one left my face very much scrubbed clean. It's of the variety that feels like super fine sand in moisturizer, which I guess seem to be the physical ones that work best on me. It has a very light fresh scent, maybe a little citrus-y or mint-y?

I even tried it on my lips, which were pretty chapped from being in Las Vegas (neither deserts nor air conditioning are easy on skin) and it seemed to help without actually pulling chunks of skin off. (I imagine lip balms are a better solution, but it's been days since we left and I'm tired of them being chapped so I thought I'd try a quicker method.)

I like this enough that I'd probably consider buying some when my supplies run out, but I use so little exfoliant per use, and exfoliate so irregularly now that I don't live in the desert that I anticipate that all my exfoliant needs will likely be met by birchbox samples. Probably just as well, since at nearly $80/2oz, this is a pricey one.

Birchbox July 2015

Juice Beauty® STEM CELLULAR™ CC Cream

As far as cc creams go, this is a reasonably nice once, and I am pleased that "desert glow" the colour I recieved, seems to match up well enough with my skin tone. It uses zinc oxide, so it's more of a physical sunscreen, and it leaves a little bit of a sparkle.

Unfortunately, the big down side is that I don't love the smell, which smells like like old sunscreen mixed with maybe a hint of spilled juice. Disappointing given the company name.

Happy to use it and it seems like an effective product, but the smell is off-putting enough that I'll stick to other products in the class of cc/bb/moisturizer/sunscreen.

Birchbox July 2015

stila look at me liquid lipstick trio

I chose the colour "Venezia" which is a coral colour, because I already owned "Beso" (the red) and have a decent number of lip sticks in pink.

Unfortunately, I think I chose poorly. I like my red version of this product, but the coral colour doesn't suit me, and with it being such a bold product, it's kind of awful. I have pictures somewhere, but again, I don't know where my little camera is at the moment. They're awful, anyhow.

As far as the formula goes... "stay all day" is definitely an exaggeration, since it doens't make it through a meal with me, but very few lipsticks do so I don't think it's fair to expect that of it. I'm starting to suspect that there's some art to eating in some ladylike manner that I've never learned, since only lip stains tend to make it through a meal with me. It doesn't tend to smudge on my face, though, so it stays at least in one very important respect.

It is completely unforgiving on chapped lips, highlighting any line of dry skin. They recommend you plump up with a lip balm first, which does help some, but still not a great option if you're in need of some lip repair. There's a reason I keep sticky lip balms around: they're forgiving.

I'm very sad I didn't choose the pink, as I love the little tube and get a kick out of the opaque effect, but I'm probably going to have to do some experimentation to modify this colour if I'm going to wear it. Thankfully I don't mind experimenting with lip products so this could be fun, or perhaps I'll give up and offer it up to someone with a different complexion. Or maybe I'll use it as a cheek tint?


Nothing too stand-out in this box. Liked the exfoliant and the sunscreen, turned off by the scent of the cc creme and the hair texturizer (although the latter was probably doomed to fail), and totally got the wrong colour of lipstick. Alas!
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2015-08-16 09:57 pm

Birchbox June 2015

Summer being what it is, only more so because of the move, I haven't really kept up on reviewing stuff here, so my apologies that there's going to be a bit of a review dump this evening as I see what photos I took and what hasn't gone up yet.

So, June's birchbox had a few possible options, and I got the "say yes" version:

Birchbox June 2015

I admit to disappointment with the box part of things: "say yes" is not a motto that I appreciate in the context of the overwhelming number of things I'm asked to volunteer for. Don't even get me start on the feminist critiques of this push to have women say yes to more things. Frankly, it's gotten to be one of those vapid pieces of advice that I could do without. I thought both other boxes were better, since they were on more of an adventure theme.

Crankiness about the box it came in aside, though, I was pretty pleased with the samples.

Birchbox June 2015

COOLA® SPF 50 Sport - Mango

When I heard about this product, I thought "like the world needed more obnoxious scented products you're supposed to slather on." Do you know how much sunscreen you're supposed to wear for maximal effectiveness? Adding scent to that is a landmine.

But this product won me over. The scent is light, on par intensity-wise with the usual smells that exude from my sunscreen, but way more pleasant because it's reminiscent of a delicious fruity drink rather than something I associate with sweat in my eyes and sunstroke. But beyond that, it's just a really nice sunscreen. Not too greasy, seems to work. I'd still prefer unscented when possible, but this is a nice way to change things up and make sunscreen feel like a treat rather than a chore. That actually might be enough reason to add some to my collection of go-to products.

Birchbox June 2015

Temple Spa Good Hair Day Shampoo and Temple Spa In Good Condition Conditioner

The shampoo of this set is so-so for me: it's too gentle for my hair (as in, it leaves it more oily than I prefer), and there's something about the scent that I didn't fall in love with. They claim it smells like ylang ylang, eucalyptus and patchouli. I think maybe it's the patchouli that isn't for me, but I don't know ylang ylang that well.

The conditioner, on the other hand, I absolutely love. It's much more effective for my hair than its counterpart, and the smell of peppermint, rosemary, orange and lavender smells refreshing and awesome to me.

I'm not much for buying higher end shampoos since it gets pricey with my long hair and frankly, easier to get supermarket brands like Herbal Essences or Garnier generally do me fine in both the smell and effectiveness categories.

But a bottle of conditioner lasts me a *long* time and this smell is enough of a treat that I might consider picking some up. Of course, that would mean I'd have to actually use up the many products I found languishing in corners during the move...

Birchbox June 2015

L. Erickson Narrow Grab and Go Pony

I had a good laugh when I read the accompanying card that said this would be a "bold pop of colour" -- that hair tie is pretty much exactly the colour of my hair. I guess maybe some of the colour options had more, uh, colour.

Generally speaking, I don't see the point of overpriced hair ties. I lose a lot of them, and paying more than a few cents each would just make me more sad about losing them. That said, this is a really nice hair tie. The bead doesn't catch on things, it's wide enough to wear around my wrist comfortably, and the texturing seems to help it stay in my hair without being so tight that I sigh with relief when the thing is taken out. This became my go-to hair tie as our weather turned hot, although I'm not sure where it's gotten since the move and I am, of course, actually sad about that.

Is it wrong that I kind of want more of them? They're more than a buck each even in the larger pack, but I still might spend some birchbox points on them anyhow.

Birchbox June 2015

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

Somewhere I have pictures of myself wearing these, but I'm not sure where my other camera has gotten to right now so you'll have to do without. They look silly as these things generally do, but they're very nice and cool and relaxing. One set is not enough for me to decide if they're actually effective, but they were pleasant and I enjoyed using them!

Birchbox June 2015

Marcelle Mini Waterproof Eyeliner

Again, I may have pictures of me wearing this, but they must be on the other camera. Sorry!

This is my first real foray into wearing coloured eyeliner and I'm sold on the concept. As someone with fairly deepset eyes (the Japanese heritage helped with those), I find that getting eyeshadow to stay put is a pain and no one can see it at all when my eyes are open. I have some nice primer so I can play with looks when I've got time (which, honestly, is usually Saturday morning before I go to the library or Sunday before I go to the farmer's market. I live a glamorous life, let me tell you), but it's not a thing I wear daily because it's very low reward for high investment.

This blue eyeliner is rather the opposite: a few strokes of this creamy pencil along my lash line and I've got brilliant colour that people can actually see even when my eyes are open. It's fun, easy, and creates a look I was happy to wear at DEFCON or even in my office, where most technical women are pretty light on the makeup and it's only the marketing and manager types who wear much. (Dress like the career you want, and all, but I tell people makeup is part of my social engineering skills and I love hilarious face colours more than I love conformity anyhow.)

The colours are great, the effect striking but not off-putting, and my only complaint is that under some circumstances, the formula doesn't entirely stay put, so I do have to be careful about checking my eyes for little blue smears. I want to buy the little set from Marcelle that birchbox has available, and since they've got a nice offer with the Marcelle eye-makeup remover in August's box I may just go for it. But I do feel like maybe I should try offerings from other companies with different formulae too.


I guess you can't judge a box by its cover: despite my distaste for the packaging, this box had a lot of really great samples in it. I loved the eyeliner, the sunscreen, the hair tie and the conditioner enough to consider buying more, thoroughly enjoyed the eye mask even though I probably won't get any more of them, and only the shampoo really wasn't a product for me. Pretty good!
terriko: Evil Soup (evil soup)
2015-08-15 09:14 pm
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Concrud in the eye?

Came home from Defcon and promptly got another eye infection.

Yup, peri-orbital cellulitus, again. Last time was January, so at least they didn't have to give me different antibiotics. If I catch it again, they're going to CT scan my head to see if there's something wrong with my sinuses.

Between the exhaustion from moving, the exhaustion from con, exhaustion from renovating the house, the exhaustion from the infection and now the exhaustion from the antibiotics (which are much stronger than regular ones so they destroy my gut biome)... let's just say I'm having a lot of trouble being civil. Or doing much beyond sleeping and wanting to murder things.

Here's hoping the coming weeks are better.

Rather than going on about everything sucks, here's a few good things:
  1. The antibiotics are working, so I don't have to run to the ER for antibiotics via IV.
  2. J figured out why the laundry room smelled funny and fixed it.
    • (When he took out the sink, he didn't think about filling the sink trap to stop sewer gas from coming in.)
  3. I got a departmental award!
    • This is especially impressive as security folk rarely get these, so it was super cool of the team I worked with to include me.
  4. I bought a bike today!
    • It's not an impressive one, just a cruiser-style putzing around town kind of deal, so it doesn't really replace my road bike.  But it *does* mean I'm not horribly trapped when J takes the car without warning me first, and it does mean I can go back to taking my sweet time on finding a road bike that fits me perfectly.  (This has been a struggle; I'm both small and reasonably picky, and thus I haven't had much luck test riding things.)  I should get it tomorrow; they're going to put the fenders and rack on for me.

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2015-07-25 10:40 am
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Some quick house updates with pictures from twitter/g+:


The broken AC that I was very worried about turned out to be a small burnt out part that cost $88. Since I had visions of replacing $10k worth of AC, this was a huge relief.

The walls still have holes, although the cabling work is mostly done as is the plumbing. Drywall repair is going to be $$$ but we budgeted for that going in, so that's ok.


My friend A points out that we have lots of space for ceiling cats.

The wallpaper is gone by my hand, including the horrible painted over wallpaper. I declined to remove the cheerful wallpaper in the Harry Potter Room below the stairs because it amuses me.


I found some mildew in the drywall. It seems like everything's dry behind in the wall, so I'm hoping we can replace the insulation we ripped out and close it back up, but we'll probably have someone look at it first.


Alas, since the walls aren't closed yet, we can't get painters in. In the end, it's looking like I'll be painting the basement myself while John's out of town.

The carpet is gone, except for the living room.


Nothing's been done with the living room yet because it's full of boxes and we need somewhere to move them before the flooring guys can proceed.


The floors are going in now. We did some of the removal, but have hired folk to put in the new stuff. It looks great so far!


Not sure we'll have floors by the time the moving truck comes on Tuesday and deposits the remainder of our stuff in the new house, but our lease is up so we'll just have to deal!
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2015-07-11 06:07 pm

Yarn of the Month Club review, June 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I knit all these samples right away, got them blocking… then had houseguests, bought a house, and generally didn’t write this blog post. But the package for July arrived today, so I guess it’s time!

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

June’s theme seemed to be “Linen” which seems like a decent summer theme. I hadn’t really felt linen until recently, only heard about it in stories, and it sounded soft and light there. But linen yarn, when you first get it, is usually sort of stiff and hard. I gather it gets soft with age, and I know it has lots of great properties, but I haven’t gotten over this faint feeling of disappointment every time reality clashes with the imaginary linen in my head. Maybe working with it more will help, though!

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

Note: I’m using the new flickr sharing code, which uses javascript to add a header/footer after the image is loaded. I can’t decide if I like it aesthetically or not, and it seems to leave the page loader spinning forever, which I definitely don’t like. But I figure I’ll try it for this post anyhow. Comments welcome!

The pattern: Garden Party Headband

Ooh, a crochet pattern! It’s a cute little scalloped thing and something I might actually try, but I haven’t tried it yet.


Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

Berroco Linus

“Delicate and textured fabric for breezy garments”

5 sts/inch on US 8

50% Acrylic 20% Linen 18% Nylon 12% Rayon

159 yds color: 6812

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

So right after telling you that linen is stiff, I’ve got to say that this totally isn’t. It’s a delicate little ribbon of fabric that knits up into something that feels strangely like a kitchen curtain to me, light and yellow and letting lots of light through.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

I enjoyed working with this, even though you have to be careful where you put your needles so as not to tear the delicate threads in the center of the ribbon.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

The pattern chosen is definitely not square, and doesn’t stay square even after blocking. The photo above is after blocking, the photo below is in-progress, and you can see that there’s a definite lilt in both. I’m sure it won’t matter for a blanket square, but worth noting if you were making a breezy summer scarf with this swatch pattern. Although honestly, a little tilt would probably just make a scarf look more modern, anyhow.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

Overall, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, and I think this experiment has made me feel more interested in trying other ribbon yarns or lighter linen blends that aren’t just the typical linen/cotton.


Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

S.Charles Collezione Audra

“Indulgent and silky with strong stitch definition”

5.25 sts/inch on US 4

76% Linen 12% Silk 12% Viscose

205 yds color: 04

This is a really weird yarn, with that core of stiff linen combined with silk and viscose. I’m not sure about the colourway, which is 3 separate strands of grey, off-white, and peach wrapped together.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

That said, it was kind of fun to knit with. The stitch definition is amazing and the swatch interesting enough to showcase it. Although I was worried about it initially, it wound up blocking pretty close to a 5×5 square.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

Verdict? I would be happy to work with this yarn again as long as I could get another colourway. But I’m honestly not sure what I’d make with it, given how stiff it is. Maybe if I trust in it softening up it would make a great summer lacy overlayer thing — it certainly holds a pattern pretty nicely.

Creative Linen

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

Rowan Creative Linen

“Undemanding work horse of a yarn which is easy to wear”

5.25 sts/inch on US 7

50% Linen 50% Cotton

219 yds color: 643

This is a hefty linen/cotton blend where I feel that the cotton feel dominates, so it feels sturdy but not quite as stiff as some. It was lovely to work with, and really shows off the swatch pattern.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

I’d say that their assessment of it as a wearable work horse yarn seems reasonable.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

I’d consider this as a possibility for lighter toddler knits and for amigurumi toys for kids where you know there’s a good chance they’re going to get chewed on a lot. I’d probably wear it myself, although I think given the climate where I live, it’s unlikely that I’ll be knitting too many cotton sweaters. I could see doing dishtowels with it, which is more likely to happen. Especially with the swatch pattern included.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

I really love that swatch pattern, although the reverse side is pretty boring.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

In summary, this is a cotton/linen blend that I’d consider adding to my arsenal.


Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

These swatches took some serious blocking to try to get them to 5×5 squares, and they didn’t even quite make it. I was glad I’d finally invested in some blocking mats so I had a more sturdy surface for pinning them!

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

They were all different experiences and showcased a pretty wide range of linen options, which was pretty neat to me as someone who hasn’t worked with linen much. Plus, I quite liked a couple of the stitch patterns which were also new to me.

Yarn of the Month Club, June 2015

Overall, quite happy with this month’s mailing!

PS – I took a lot more photos than usual for this month’s mailing and didn’t use them all. If you’d like to see the swatches pre-blocking with rulers and such, here’s a link to the full yarn of the month collection.

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2015-06-29 11:27 pm
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Exciting times chez moi: public talks, house, houseguest swap

- I gave two talks at Open Source Bridge. I think they went well! Links to slides and stuff on my speaking page: http://terri.toybox.ca/speaking/
- J and I took possession of our new house (on the same day as I was giving both of said talks!)
- J's dad moved into his own lovely 2 bedroom apartment on Saturday and we helped him get it set up
- Also on Saturday, my friend R from Ottawa came to visit for the weekend
- Also on Saturday, our friends C and M arrived from Denver for the week
- We had our first bbq at the new place on Sunday
- R took off today (Monday)
- GSoC midterms are due this week
- my day job workload is heavy (but not yet unpleasant) this week
- our yearly "invitational open source community leadership summit" is happening next weekend (that's what the Coloradans are up for)
- J is the best and has been handling most of the finding of contractors for the new house
- R is awesome and helped us move some pretty significant amounts of stuff while I was too headache-y to walk up and down stairs.

J and I had apparently mis-remembered when our lease is up, so we only have 1 month of overlap with the new house. This is not a problem since J's travel schedule meant we'd planned most of the stuff before August anyhow, but it does mean a bit less wiggle room.

The house is awesome and the yard is more awesome and I'm sorry but I'm too wiped out to deal with requests for pictures this week so please don't ask. I'll put some up when I've got the spoons for it, but I have a touch of concrud/headache/nausea on top of all the stuff going down this week and it's not going to happen for a while. Thanks for being understanding!
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2015-06-20 01:25 pm
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Book review: It's Raining Men (or maybe just succubi)

It's Raining Men: Slacker Demons Book…
It's Raining Men: Slacker Demons Book One
by Jennifer Stevenson

Chloe's been dumped by yet another loser so she turns to sympathetic bartender Archie, who suddenly claims that it's the fault of terrible sex demons (including himself) and she's been selected to receive a rain of good men as part of victim's compensation. Wacky hijinks ensue.

The demon-lover trope of paranormal romance is usually a big yawn for me because they usually pair it with a "he wants to be better for her" style plotline that takes itself entirely too seriously, but this book is silly and flippant enough about it to be fun. I don't know that I'll bother with any more of the series, but this was a fun summer read on its own.

I received this one free from Librarything in exchange for fair review.
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2015-06-20 12:18 pm

Book Review: Knit Wear Love

Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for…
Knit Wear Love: Foolproof Instructions for Knitting Your Best-Fitting…
by Amy Herzog

I really loved the idea of Amy Herzog's Knit to Flatter book, which is about finding and adjusting patterns to suit you. It's a great book (from what I can tell without actually following any of the patterns since I just had it from the library for 3 weeks), but I found that the patterns didn't inspire me, so it hasn't gone on the list of things I want for my personal knitting reference library.

Knit Wear Love has solved this problem for me: rather than focusing on body type, the designs are more heavily focused on aesthetic: classic, sporty, bohemian, etc. She's got some really cute details, and it's showcased by lovely photography. Plus, of course, huge numbers of charts, advice about fit, etc. It's pretty much everything I wanted in a sweater book. I borrowed a copy from the library to check it out, but this one is going on my personal library wishlist for when I'm interested in tackling a sweater for myself.
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2015-06-20 11:54 am
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Book review: Powers vol 1 and 2

A few books going back to the library today:

Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection,…
Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection, Vol. 1
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming (Illustrator)

This graphic novel is an exploration of what it would be like to be a cop in a world with superhero celebrities. It's decent, and I know lots of folk who like the grittier, broken superhero genre who would enjoy this. I felt like there were some really great world and character ideas set up and it was worth reading for that, but I also felt like the pacing and the genre didn't quite do it for me. I'm happy to recommend it to people who like the genre, though.

Also, I want to note that I don't really recommend the "definitive hardcover collection" for light reading. It's a huge coffee table book, lovely but hard to read in bed.

Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection,…
Powers: The Definitive Hardcover Collection, Vol. 2
by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming (Illustrator)

I liked the first volume enough to pick up the 2nd book, but I found the pacing even more off in that one, to the point where I was tempted to just flip through pages until it got to the point. Too much media retrospective, not enough story. I feel a bit bad complaining about this because I think the media treatment of superheroes is part of the point, and the puff piece media clips feel like they've been dropped from an alternate reality in a good way. But the problem is that I dislike reading/hearing these things normally because I don't care about the celebs in real life, and thus it didn't help me care about fictional celebrities any more than I do about the real ones. I guess they are a clever device but ultimately not one that worked for me. Your mileage may vary. Still quite the story, but a bit hard to get through at times.
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2015-06-18 04:09 pm

Definitely a right-brained brain hat

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I actually did complete this hat before giving it to M for Christmas 2013, but apparently I can’t find pictures of it (or the kraken hat I made for S the same year), so instead you get this one photo of it with only one side completed:

Definitely right-brained

BTW, I chose the title for this post because of my half-finished picture. But for those of you who don’t know, the whole “right brained / left brained” thing is kind of BS and you might want to read up on it. The myth comes from some research on epileptic patients where the two halves of the brain were severed and they don’t seem to generalize to humans with normally connected brains.

From the article linked above (because I’m not looking up pubmed for a knitting post):

There is a misconception that everything to do with being analytical is confined to one side of the brain, and everything to do with being creative is confined to the opposite side, Anderson said. In fact, it is the connections among all brain regions that enable humans to engage in both creativity and analytical thinking.

“It is not the case that the left hemisphere is associated with logic or reasoning more than the right,” Anderson told LiveScience. “Also, creativity is no more processed in the right hemisphere than the left.”

Anderson’s team examined brain scans of participants ages 7 to 29 while they were resting. They looked at activity in 7,000 brain regions, and examined neural connections within and between these regions. Although they saw pockets of heavy neural traffic in certain key regions, on average, both sides of the brain were essentially equal in their neural networks and connectivity.

(tl;dr: Brains are much more versatile than pop culture might have you believe.)

So there’s your science tidbit for the day. Let’s go back to talking about knitting.

The pattern

Brain Hat (KNITTING PATTERN, not actual hat)

by Alana Noritake
($5 on Ravelry)

This is a pretty simple pattern: make a skullcap, put a lot of i-cord on it. But it’s worth buying yourself a copy of the pattern because it includes a bunch of pictures of the hat in progress and finished, as well as photos of brains and insight on how to make it look good. I definitely felt like I got my $5 worth and had a much better hat for it!

My notes

I made the brain hat for M, who’s allergic to animal fibers, so I was somewhat limited in my choices of yarn. I think I used knitpicks comfy, which is a cotton-acrylic blend that’s quite nice to work with (soft and a little more stretchy than straight cotton). This worked pretty well, to be honest, but doesn’t make for the warmest of hats. This makes it not so great as an all-winter Canada hat, but ok for warmer climates or indoor costume use.

If I did this again again, I’d probably make 50% more brain icord and take more time pinning it to be absolutely perfect. I just didn’t allot quite as much time as I should have before xmas so I was frantically making this on the plane to Ottawa and at my parents’ house before it got packaged up as a present.

Overall, though, a fun pattern and one I’d be happy to make again, given a lot more time or a knitting machine that produced icord.

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2015-06-15 04:10 pm

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I made this Twilight Sparkle for a friend and then, uh, took a year or something to get it to her. I am the worst at mailing things (in the end, J gave it to her in person and I never mailed it!)

The pattern

This is a pattern I made myself, and this Twilight Sparkle is actually one of the first ponies I made after I had actually published the pattern. (I also have a set of teensy tiny felted ones that I haven’t finished up and photographed yet… someday I’ll get through my backlog of projects to document!)

[Crochet Pony Pattern inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on my website (toybox.ca)]

[Crochet Pony Pattern inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Ravelry]

(You can tell it’s been a while because she’s still just a unicorn!)


Since I wrote the pattern, I don’t have much more to say about it, so here’s a bunch of pictures of the pony!

Body only:

Violet Pony for Katie

I do love that she’s a bit posable….

Violet Pony for Katie

Those legs are surprisingly bendable!

Violet Pony for Katie

If I wanted to her to have a bigger range of positions I could have wired her legs, but this is just the qualities of the yarn and stuffing.

Violet Pony for Katie

Her head also moves, although maybe not as much as the legs

Violet Pony for Katie

And here she is with a mane and tail and cutie mark: I don’t love her eyes (I haven’t found a great way to do them; these were drawn on fabric and sewn on), but she does look more expressive with them!

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Closer look at her rump so you can see the cutie mark. Or make jokes about butt-shots, whatever.

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Did you notice what book it is?

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

I chose it for photos because of the colour, but it does seem like something she might enjoy, eh?

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Maybe one day I’ll do a version with the wings…

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Or at least one for myself!

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Overall, my biggest regret on this one was not sending her out sooner. Sorry about the delay, Katie!

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2015-06-14 07:06 pm
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Book reviews: Two books I'm not sure how to write about

I haven't really been on top of book reviews. That's somewhat intentional in that I decided to focus on documenting my maker-y projects instead, but I noticed today that it meant I haven't been doing a great job of keeping up with the books I've been sent in exchange for fair review, so I guess I'd better get back into the groove if I want to keep getting free books. Here's two from the library as a warm-up.

Both these books have somewhat unusual protagonists. They're challenging in different ways.

When Everything Feels like the Movies…
When Everything Feels like the Movies (Governor General's Literary…
by Raziel Reid

I heard about this book because it was on Canada Reads, although being out of country I didn't manage to actually catch the episodes talking about it when they were broadcast so I still went in mostly not knowing what I was in for. The idea of coping with high school by imagining it as a movie set intrigued me.

I'm finding myself at a loss as to what to say about this book. It's authentic in that way that people don't always like to see high school depicted, with swearing and sex and violence and feelings with raw edges. For all that intensity, it's as playful as it is painful, as well as insightful and hard to put down. It takes "gay (trans?) kid not fitting in to small town" and pushes it out to an extreme that YA isn't often allowed to go. I loved it and was horrified by it at once, and I guess that's the point. I kind of hope it actually does get made into a movie.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick…
The Slow Regard of Silent Things
by Patrick Rothfuss

This is a book that's so hard to pin down that the author's forward warns you that you probably won't like it. Which honestly, I think is a brilliant piece of marketing gimmick in that it challenges you to try. (Perhaps I am being too cynical here, but it's true.)

Since it doesn't exactly have a plot so much as a gentle unfolding of the life and mind of one small woman, I found it very hard to get into it when I was reading it in dribs and drabs. If you're going to give it a try, set aside an evening where you can immerse yourself in Auri's world, magical and strange as it may be. I doubt anyone would promise you'll like it, but at least you'll have given it a fair chance.

I highly recommend accompanying the afterward with some Dar Williams, which seemed during my reading to be the musical equivalent of what they were talking about.
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2015-06-11 04:09 pm

February 2015 Knit-a-long: A very belated part 2

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

You might remember that I posted week 1 and 2 photos from this KAL, but forgot to post the other two weeks of photos and finished object photos here. I finished this back in March at the end of the KAL, so it’s a bit late!

Pattern: Fern Lace Shawlette

Fern Lace Shawlette by Michele Bernstein ($6 on Ravelry)

Michele is also known as PDXKnitterati. This is the first pattern of hers that I tried, but definitely not the last!

Week 3 photos

February 2015 KAL (Week 3))

I don’t normally block as I go like this, but the KAL had prizes for folks who posted photos every week (I even won one early on!), so I wanted them to be beautiful. I actually sort of think I should do this “block at the end of each week” thing a bit more often, since I was forever pulling out the lightly blocked end to admire it or show it off.

February 2015 KAL (Week 3))

The teacup pincushion was made by a friend of mine, isn’t it adorable? She sells them online if you want your own! Just check out Flying Corgi Studio on Etsy.

February 2015 KAL (Week 3)

Week 4 photos

I love those beads! I wasn’t too sure if I’d like having a mix of colours like this, but I really really do.

February 2015 KAL (Week 4)

Look at this week 4 photo… it’s hard to believe I finished in time, but it went so fast once I started decreasing!

February 2015 KAL (Week 4)

Week 5 photos… with the designer!

The designer who created this absolutely lovely pattern was doing a trunk show at Twisted during the Rose City Yarn Crawl, so I scheduled our shop visits so that I’d get to meet her.

February 2015 KAL (Week 5)

She’s a super talented designer, and I highly recommend you check out her other patterns on Ravelry. Her patterns are really well-described, she always has great photos, and good tech editing. And of course, they’re utterly beautiful! She had a few on sale earlier in the year and I bought a few and picked up yarn during the yarn crawl to make them, so expect to see a few more of her designs featured here!

February 2015 KAL (Week 5)

Also, I’ve got to say that I think her knit-a-longs are really fun and well-run. She’s got a great crew of people who participate and I found it super motivational to see everyone’s photos and comments. Plus she keeps the momentum up with weekly prizes and always has good advice if you need it, including for ways to modify and adapt a pattern to suit you better. I haven’t done a lot of knit-a-longs so I can’t really compare, but I can definitely recommend joining one of hers.

Finished Object!

February 2015 KAL (Week 5)

I am so pleased with myself for finishing! I’m not a fast knitter, so I was worried I’d never keep up with the KAL.

February 2015 KAL (Week 5)

And finally, a wingspan shot:

February 2015 KAL (Week 5)

Thanks to my friend M (the same friend who made the teacup pincushion!) for taking the photos with me in them! She’s the best friend: she flew all the way from Ottawa to come to the yarn crawl with me.


Great pattern, great KAL, and I love my finished shawllette. I wasn’t too sure how much I’d wear it, but it turns out that the weather (and sometimes the excessive air conditioning) is surprisingly conducive to shawl-wearing. I got a shawl pin to go with it so I can wrap it around my shoulders and not think about it, so it’s just like having a slightly lighter cardigan.

I think I’ll be making some more shawlettes in the future now that I know how much I like them!