Something Pithy Here

"Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop." -- The King of Hearts

I'm an adopted Texan. As they say, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" I post pictures and opinions as suits my mood, mostly because I can. Hooray Internet! 

So far I have three blogs here. By the Way is the oldest. I started it in 2003. I lost a couple of years to Vox because I was too lazy to bother to export when they shut down. I consider it an exercise in accepting impermanence. When I followed my husband to Singapore for his first expat assignment, I started (T)expatriate: A Southern Girl in Singapore. That covers 2010 and 2011, give or take. Next came Oslo, and (T)expat 2: Norwegian Boogaloo,  in 2012. Now I'm back home, and back on By the Way.

Pix live on Flickr. I toss links out on Twitter when I feel like it. I'm still not sure what to do with G+ but I kinda like it.



We have done so much “invisible” work on the house, it’s nice to finally have something to show off! We used the Behr online color tool and despite a miscommunication with the contractor (our fault) we love the result. The scariest part was wondering if the main house color (we chose “Spanish Galleon,” partly because of the name ;-) would be anything close to what we saw on the computer screen. Happily, it is just the color we wanted.

The Behr tool is really neat—you can upload a picture of your house (or room, if you’re painting an interior) and then apply the colors to various areas. We had this awesome Don Springer watercolor of our happy abode so I scanned it in to see if it would work. Here’s the original:

Watercolor by Don Springer

And here’s what we came up with after some online fiddling:

color tool

This really gave us a great idea of what to expect! We tried lots of different colors and settled on these (except for the red—we ended up with something darker, but this is close).

The miscommunication was that we intended all the major trim to be the lightest color, but the printout that we gave the contractor was … unclear. So they did the columns in Vanilla Custard, as intended, and the rest of the trim in River Bank. Oops! After we got over the initial shock, we decided that the mistake might have been for the best. The columns really pop, and the lower contrast between the two greens on the rest of the house is sort of calming. They also did a fantastic job of picking out some extra details—the red around the attic windows and the tips of the chimneys, matching the window sashes and the trim on the columns, was a nice finishing touch.

We’re not quite decided what will be next, but we have plenty of time as we have to rebuild the war chest before we embark on the next Renovation Adventure.

I was going to buy the book anyhow…

Now I may buy two copies, just because.

I got a form email from Amazon explaining that Patrick Rothfuss’ second book would not be shipping when predicted. Ensaddened, (I stole that word from the link I’m about to post—what a great word!) I did a quick google on “patrick rothfuss book 2” and very quickly came across his explanation.

I’ll be adding a new blog into my RSS feed, obv. And whenever the book does appear, I’ll finish it all too quickly, as usual, but I think I’ll actually appreciate it even more….

Godspeed, Curtis Anthony

If you’re lucky, there are some people in your life who simply are. They’re people that you love and you know they love you, without question.


I am immeasurably lucky to have had my dad’s best friend, Curtis, to care about me for my whole life thus far. I believe that he still does.

Time-suck, thy name is FaceBook

So I finally signed up for facebook, and I have to admit that it is uniquely addictive. My high school wasn’t very big, and it seems like just about everybody is already there. I let it get my email contacts and it found a whopping 55 matches! (I am really quite sure I don’t know that many people.)

I’ve been reading about facebook from a technical and business standpoint for years, so it was kind of weird to actually be in it. There are some things I can’t figure out, things I have to be overthinking (if facebook turns out to be as difficult for me as my short-lived affair with a mac was, I think I’ll cry), but the friend-finding stuff is pretty wild, and I especially like that you can have a conversation around any object—a status update, a photo, a new friend. The umpty-eleven views of it all are still kind of confusing, but it sure has been fun catching up with so many folks.


Last weekend we went to the Supercross. I got tickets for the MO as a Christmas present. They were good seats:

Good Seats

The whole thing is much more of a spectacle than I remember seeing in Atlanta many years ago. The top ten or so riders had WWF-style introductions with videos, theme songs and laps around the outside of the track to collect all the screaming encouragement from their fans.

The one thing we really couldn’t see much of was the starting gate, so our whole section stood up for the first lap of each race, trying to make sense of the muddle in the first corner, but it was not much use. Being right in front of the big jumps was easily worth the tradeoff of missing the holeshot.

This video is of the first lap of the first qualifying heat for the Lites:

One of the most surprising things was that we could feel the heat wash over us each time those Monster fireballs went off. This video shows the fireballs when James Stewart crosses the finish line to win the main event:

Finally, I cannot resist the opportunity for a great panorama shot, so here is the whole track as we saw it:

supercross panorama

(More pix in the Supercross pool on flickr.)

Game On!

Nan’s gift certificates + super-cool 3d edition of Settlers for Christmas + awesome friends = potential for January to be a banner month!


So many games, so little time….

Gooooooo Gators!


That said, that was some horrible sports coverage. Did Fox forget there was a football game going on? Why no replays of the bazillion penalties? Why all the stupid camera angles on the few plays they did deign to show us again? What do they have against showing us a play clock? Weird (and very long) broadcast. Good result, though :-)


Check out this post at Cute Overload! Okay, here’s a preview:


Baby chicks (redundancy alert) really are cute. When I was a kid we had chickens for a while. (Rabbits, too, but that doesn’t have anything to do with this story. I just tossed it in there because bunnies are cute, too.) I built (well, prob’ly my dad built) an incubator for a sixth-grade science project and hatched a couple of eggs. I got a yellow chick and a brown stripey chick. I named the brown one Parsley (nope, no explanation for that) and I don’t remember what I called the yellow one. Buttercup, maybe? They were very cute but not really exactly fun pets—messy and not very affectionate. Which is just as well because neither chick lived to chickenhood. The yellow one got et by a weasel or some other predator-du-jour and the brown one drowned in a water dish. Not too bright, chickens.

More Wire Work

In my fit of creativity last week I also finished up a bracelet that I started quite some time ago.

Japanese 6-in-1

The larger links are sterling that Mom and I made and the tiny ones are niobium (the “air” mix) from Spiderchain. It’s a Japanese 6-in-1 weave and I finished it off with two foldover clasps right next to each other.

Japanese 6-in-1 Closure

This is super-comfortable and I’ve been wearing it almost every day since I finished it. The only sad news is I’m almost out of those luscious little niobium rings, so it’s time for a reorder! (Okay, I guess that’s not so sad after all, is it? The big question is whether I’ll be able to talk myself into a different color mix. I love love love these colors but all the others look so pretty too….)

When at first you don’t succeed….

Try, try again! It took three tries to get these links and things to work together, but I’m really happy with the end result.

I originally wanted to make a “chain” with the twisted brass jump rings joining alternating Swarovski rings and gold-filled stampings, but the jump rings weren’t quiiiiite big enough. So I fiddled around some and came up with the first effort:

First Try

This looked pretty good on the board, but had a tendency to flip around when I actually wore it. The backs of the Swarovski rings are shiny silver—they look chromed—and the proportions weren’t quite right, either.

The MO and I discussed it over lunch (hey, gotta take advantage of a captive audience! plus he has good taste) and that led to the second attempt:

Second Try

This was very much the look I wanted, but the sizes just didn’t play well together. The crystal rings kept hopping up too high (as you see in the center one) and as much I wished this would work, it just didn’t.

I went back to the best part of the first attempt, the dangle, and tried again. This is the end result and I love it.

Third Time's a Charm

I was worried that the rings would flip, but they stay put for the most part. Turns out the earrings are particularly fab. They’re just approaching too heavy for me, so they’re not all-day-wearable, but they move well and of course they’re SHINY….

After looking at the pictures again, I think I want to try my original chain idea but just with the crystal rings and the big jump rings. Looks like I’m going to have to buy some more beads!

Surreal Phone Call of the Day

We are short-staffed this week so I get to answer all the phone calls at work. 99.9% of them are AT&T and the others are wrong numbers. This one was particularly amusing.


Confused Guy: Do y'all do watch repairs?

Me: No, we're a software company.

CG: Man, I don't know what is up with Yahoo. The first number they gave me was for a flooring company, and now you guys.

Me: .... Wow.

CG: Well, I've got another number. Third time's a charm, right?

Me: Good luck with that.


My very own Not Always Right episode ;-)

Siriusly, you cannot do that.

This morning on my way to work I found out that the Sirius Led Zeppelin channel had become quite definitely unLedded. BOO! The bland and distinctly non-Robert-Plant-ish alt-pop-boy voice that issued forth from my speakers was entirely unwelcome. I am bereft. Plantless. It was soooooo good while it lasted, but now it's back to channel 24, KTRU and CDs. Sigh.

Kalashnikitty for Christmas!!

Eric is printing up a batch of Kalashnikitty shirts, and this time he's also doing long sleeves and sweatshirts. I still have the t-shirt I ordered a few years ago and it looks great. These are really good quality shirts. Here is the scoop:

OK, guys and gals, I have gotten a lot of emails in the past few months about people wanting Kalashnikitty shirts and have decided to do up another special run just in time for Christmas.  These make great gifts for the people you love, and the people you love to piss off!  They will be in your hands before Christmas.

New for this year - long-sleeved shirts (add $3) and sweatshirts (add $4)

I will be taking orders until Sunday, November 23 and the order with my shirt maker will go in on November 24.  I should have the shirts in my hands and shipping out by the first week of December and they will ship out immediately by Priority Mail.

Here's the procedure for getting the shirts (this makes it a LOT easier for me to track and ship these things ASAP)

Email me ( with the following:

1 - Number and sizes you want - sizes are Child's Medium, Child's Large, Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large, Adult XL, Adult 2XL, and Adult 3XL.

2 - Your name and address

3 - How you would like to pay for them (Check, Money Order, Paypal)

Only one color - a light ash grey (very nice) - shirts are high-quality, do not fade or shrink, long lasting, very soft. Image is screen printed, NOT iron on or transfers.  I've never gotten an email from any of my previous customers saying, "The shirt shrunk, faded, looks horrible after 3 months, etc." - these really are quite nice shirts.

Pricing - I have, in the past 6 years, never raised the price, even though my cost has gone up.  I'm STILL not raising the price yet - even though shipping has gone up, I'm going to eat that since you all have been so great to me over the years and I want to make these available to as many people as I can.

Any size up to XL is $20, 2XL is $21.50 and 3XL is $22.00

Long-sleeve shirt add $3.  Sweatshirt add $4.

Shipping via 2-3 day Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation is $5.00 for 1 shirt, and an extra $2.50 per shirt after that.

Check, MO, or Paypal is good for payments. If using Paypal, add 4% to the total payment, including the shipping.

** When you email me your order, include your full name and mailing address. I will email you back with the total.

Note: Make sure you contact Eric directly. I'm just advertising :-) And in case you've forgotten (or heaven forbid, don't know!) how awesome the Kalashnikitty is, here's a pic....

It's Kalashnikitty Time!

And now I'll be ordering my sweatshirt. Purrrrrrrrfect :-)

Ft Lauderdale Collage

Ft Lauderdale Collage, originally uploaded by TXMagpie.

Smashing Magazine had a roundup of photoshop tutorials and this one in particular caught my eye, so I thought I'd try it.

Mom and Dad -- recognize the location?

I used the Creative Commons search in flickr to find the sailboat and the compass rose (actually a backlit photo of an origami box!) and used a cardboard texture from I kind of like the results :-)

Probably really uninteresting unless you're a scrapgeek

For the most part I'm pretty happy with Vista. I especially loooove the built-in Windows Photo Gallery and I use it exclusively to organize my pictures and all my digital scrapbooking elements. The programmer in me sometimes wishes I could do more complex queries, but really, it's good enough for most situations. The only trouble I've had is noticing that every now and then a thumbnail goes wonky. I didn't realize what was going on at first, because what happens is you get a tall skinny line instead of a real thumbnail, and I was just labeling them as ribbons, 'cause hey, that's what they looked like.

wtf happened to my thumbnails

Then I saw it actually happen while I was looking--there is a brief flash of the "real" image and then the skinny line appears. I poked around on the net and found lots of "my jpgs are corrupted" and "how do I fix my thumbnail database" posts but nothing seemed to be exactly what I was seeing. In my case, the files themselves are fine. It's just that the thumbnail isn't right. I could use the file in FotoFusion or GIMP just fine, but of course I never did, because I couldn't see the darned previews in Photo Gallery. After a bit of investigation, I decided that the problem was probably the resolution settings in the file properties. In a typical messed-up thumbnail, a 3600x3600 background jpg would have a huge "horizontal resolution" and tiny "vertical resolution" value.

wtf happened to my thumbnails 2

Okay, great, but how to fix it? I poked at the files every way I could think of and eventually gave it up. Recently I came back to this problem. This time I found this thread: (see the 18 Sep 2008 response from Philip Fortier (MSFT)) so I at least had verification that (a) I wasn't crazy and (b) I was on the right track. I tried again, and I've figured out how to fix the files using GIMP.

  1. Open the file in GIMP
  2. Open the Set Image Print Resolution dialog (Image >> Print resolution in the version I'm using)
  3. If the X and Y resolutions are "right" (e.g., 72 or 300 dpi) then you can cancel this dialog
  4. If the X and Y resolutions are screwy, then click the link icon to unlock the proportions from each other and fix the values so they are the same and "correct" (in my case all the messed up files are 3600x3600 backgrounds so I set them to 12x12 print size at 300 dpi)
  5. Save the file right over itself from GIMP and smile as the thumbnail magically appears in Photo Gallery--you won't even lose your tags or ratings or anything (or at least I'm not losing them--ymmv)

wtf happened to my thumbnails 3

Unfortunately this is not a quick process, but I figure I'll do it a bit at a time, just like I did in tagging the files in the first place. I'm just REALLY HAPPY to finally have a solution.

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