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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Links to helpful sewing guides

In preparation for making a dress for Showcase on August 24th, I've been doing some research. I wanted to make this dress:



Not the wedding gown, but the dress in the upper corner. I thought it would be nice to do in a dark purple.

SyFabrics.com had this Plum L'Amour Satin for $4.99/yd.



And Fabric.com had this Amethyst Duchess Satin for $8.98/yd.



So, I've been looking at the instructions for that dress and come to find out, it calls for "bridal loops" which is a row of loops on a tape used for all those little buttons you see on the back of wedding dresses and other higher end fashions.



Since I'll be changing in the bathroom at the hotel from the semi formal daytime event to the formal evening event, I don't really want to have to ask random strangers to button me up. So, I'm trying to figure out how to put in an invisible zipper. Believe it or not, I've done very little with zippers and I've never put in an invisible one. It seems pretty easy.
I found this website about how to sew an invisible zipper with nice drawings to help illustrate.
http://www.sewing.org/enthusiast/html/el_zipinvis.html

The dress also calls for horsehair braid which I've never used before, but I also found this website about how to apply horsehair braid to hemlines, with photos.
http://www.farthingales.on.ca/crinbraid.htm

Anyway, I ended up finding a lovely formal gown in a light blue at Value Village for $20. It needs a little work, but I feel like I have much more time to make alterations and decorate a dress than to build one from scratch. I'll take photos and post about it when I get started.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Italian songs

Testi & Canzoni is a website that specializes in lyrics for italian songs, but I found that all the song lyrics were there in English as well. They have a pretty good selection and I had fun looking at the English version verses the Italian version, even though I don't speak (or read) Italian. But who knows, maybe looking at the songs side-by-side could help me learn a few words of Italian. :D

When I buy music, I tend to buy the actual physical CD for the music I like instead of buying (or illegally downloading) the digital versions. If I want a digital version, I'll just rip it myself for use on my iPod or to keep on my PC for listening to while I'm at work. I LOVE to sing (anyone who knows me at all can testify to that.) I often find myself singing to songs that I know how they go, but I don't know the exact words. This gets especially frustrating because I usually end up not having the liner notes nearby. So, I find myself Googling for the song lyrics when I've gotten tired of singing "mmmm dmm daaa" instead of the actual correct words.

Right now I've gotten to that point on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album. I know the tune on all the songs, and the songs are just so moving that I want to belt them out, but I don't always know the words. But, Testi & Canzoni helped me out with that little problem. Now, at least when all my co-workers have to endure my bad singing, they get to hear the correct lyrics. Of course, once I actually know the words, I tend to sing louder, so I'm sure my co-workers are super happy about me actually knowing the lyrics. But that's what headphones and office doors were made for, right?

A couple of great how-tos

Beckie from Infarrantly Creative has an excellent how-to on painting flowers on your toes complete with great photos.



And Mosquito found a really awesome step-by-step on how a web comic author goes about getting his comic ready. Thanks to Kazu Kibuishi for the completely fascinating window into his process.

Zenni on Fox

You may remember my previous post about Zenni Optical. Well, there's a news story about Zenni on Fox where they follow a family ordering glasses for their kids online. They send the glasses off to an optometrist to check out the prescription and the prescription was correct. There were some issues with the son's glasses, but it was based mostly on a value that their eye doctor refused to give out and they had to measure on their own. All in all I think ZenniOptical.com seems like a pretty good deal.





Agent Orange

Someone simply referred by the name "Orange" supposedly spilled the beans on some focus group testing for the MAG and is the topic of an article on Kotaku. I'm glad this came out because it keeps some buzz going about the game, even if it isn't exactly all that accurate. I'm just surprised that anyone would think that they could be part of a small focus group -- that signed an NDA -- and not have their identity discovered once they go around blabbing.

Custom Labels

Label World is a company that does Digital Printing and makes custom labels, such as
Wine Bottle Labels. They have some nice looking products, but their intended customer is large businesses such as food, drug and cosmetics manufacturers. So, if you have any need for a large quantity of labels for your production needs, you can give Label World a look-see.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Interview with our head designer on Gamespot

Some more details were revealed today when Andy was interviewed by Gamespot. I'm surprised by a few things he said -- not that we're doing them, but that he actually announced them, like the release date.




http://www.gamespot.com/video/950933/6194223/mag-interview-1  

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MAG

Our game was announced at E3 today during the Sony presentation. Andy Beaudoin, the lead designer on MAG, talked a bit and then we showed our teaser trailer. There was a minor leak on the forums yesterday, but I've been pretty amazed that the info about this game hasn't seen the light of day until now.




Diet

Well, my diet has gone all to hell lately. I'm trying to eat healthier in general as opposed to being really strict and eating just "diet food." I need to practice better eating habits so that I can maintain a healthier weight. But we went on vacation and we didn't eat the best and since I've been back I haven't eaten very well either. My in-laws are in town and we went out to eat last night and were going to go to Elliott's Oyster house, but the wait was too long, according to my in-laws, so we went to the little fish and chips shack next door because "it was the same thing" and all they had were the deep fried versions of things. So, I had the fish and chips which ruined my entire day's eating.

Tonight we're going to Ray's Boathouse for dinner. Although it's mostly fish, I'm sure they aren't exactly cooked low-cal. I think I may get

Smoked Chatham Strait Sablefish 
corn custard, roasted grandview zucchini, tomato fondue 


That sounds pretty good. Hopefully it won't be too heavy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Order Glasses Online

I need to get some new glasses. I've had the ones I'm wearing now for like 8 years or so. I don't wear them super often, so they are in good shape, but I'm just tired of the style.

There's a site called zennioptical.com that sells prescription glasses online. They have some cute frames like these







And the prices are good. I'll have to go to my eye doctor to get a prescription and order a pair of these to see what the quality is like. With prices like these, I wouldn't mind getting a couple different pair so I'd have some different options.


Drunk Driver

I've been meaning to talk about this for a while. I had an experience with what can only possibly be a drunk driver.

This happened on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at approx. 9:30pm PDT. I was driving home from my dance lesson and while on Westbound 520, I saw the car in front of me swerve a bit. At first I didn't think too much of it because the traffic was light and we've all had those moments when we're changing the radio station or whatnot and you sort of swerve a bit.

Well, I watched this person swerve around quite a bit. Then I decided to call 911. I gave them the license plate number and as best of a description of the car that I could.

Then when I went to merge onto I-5 North from 520, this person at the last minute decided they needed to go that way too and almost crashed into the concrete barrier.

I stayed behind this person, even though I could have easily passed. I just somehow felt responsible and -- I don't know. I guess I figured if I was behind them I would be quicker to notice an accident and be able to avoid it better than someone unaware.

Well, as it so happens, this person got off at the same exit as me. So, I decided to call 911 again. But, apparently I was connected to a different 911 office since I wasn't on the freeway anymore and they didn't have my previous report. Since I was driving, I hadn't written down the license plate number and at the time I wasn't in a position to see it clearly, so I gave it as I remembered it, but I couldn't really remember much.

Anyway, at one point I pulled up next to this person and the woman in the car was so drunk that she could barely keep her head from bobbing. I was so disgusted. I wanted to do something. I was so sure that she would hit someone and kill them, but I had called the police twice with detailed directions on where she was located. I maybe should have followed her home (or wherever she was going) but I turned off to go to my house and just hoped that everything would be ok.

Should I have done something more?

Stem Cell Research

From CNNMoney, here is an interesting press release.


Press Release:

Taking Control: Future Therapies for a Host of Serious Diseases May Be Found in Women's Menstrual Blood



July 07, 2008: 01:28 PM EST


OLDSMAR, Fla., July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With today’s hectic lifestyle, where most women are juggling careers, family, relationships, and a host of activities, the idea of possibly facing a serious illness in the future is not something that readily comes to mind -- especially when a woman is in the prime of her life. But what most women don’t know, is that the key to treating a number of possibly life-threatening diseases that she, a parent, a sibling or even her children may face in later years, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, may be found within her own body -- in vital stem cells, which can now be harvested from her own menstrual blood.

Now, thanks to the revolutionary research and technology of C’elle, a service dedicated to providing women with a safe and easy method of collecting and preserving stem cells found in her menstrual fluid each month, even the busiest woman can take control of her future, right in the privacy of her own home. With C’elle’s non-invasive collection process, menstrual cells are processed and cryo-preserved (stored at a very low temperature) for potential cellular therapies that may be used in the future. These self-renewing cells one day may even be used for sports medicine or cosmeceutical treatments, such as anti-aging therapies.

"C’elle enables and empowers a woman to take control of her future health, and possibly of those genetically closest to her, in a fast, painless and stress free way," said Michelle Kay, Marketing and Sales Manager for C’elle. "We live in exciting times, as science and technology are discovering how extremely valuable menstrual blood stem cells really are, and the enormous treatment potential they represent for future therapies. C’elle’s ongoing research is supporting these promising findings."

For more information about C’elle, please call 1-877-892-3553 or visit www.celle.com.






Menstrual blood contains stem cells? For Real? Wow. So if this is true, why are the government agencies spending all their time on fighting over the embryonic stem cells? I did a little research and found some articles in various medical journals and other reputable sources. In 2006 there were some Japanese researchers that first presented the results from some research at a medical conference. Quite a bit of research has gone on since then.

Apparently experiments in lab dishes were successful in showing that menstrual stem cells can be grown into various organ tissues, including brain, lung and heart! This is more successful than other adult forms of stem cells, and is much less controversial than using embryonic stem cells.

Additionally the menstrual cells are very easy to collect. Women between the ages of 12 and 45 produce them regularly every month. This really is an incredible discovery and I'm glad I found out about it.

So, this C'Elle company is providing kits that women can use to collect and store their own menstrual stem cells, which can be used in the future if the medical technology advances in stem cell research and if the woman ever needs these cells for medical treatment that can involve stem cell therapy. I think it's a pretty good idea. For several years they've had the service to save and store umbilical blood just for those same reasons. Why not provide it for menstrual blood?


Monday, July 7, 2008

Home from Colorado

We got home a few hours ago. We had a lot of fun.

There's a few photos of our trip.

We left on Saturday, June 28th and went to Yellowstone on our way down to Crested Butte. We got there late and just had dinner in our hotel room and went to bed.

On Sunday we went into the park.



Mosquito and Punkin concocted a story about how the geysers are fake and here's one of the reasons they decided to come up with this story:



We had a picnic in the park:



Then we went to see Old Faithful.



Then on Monday, we drove on to Crested Butte and stayed with mosquito's family.

Tuesday we didn't do much.

Wednesday we went horseback riding.



Thursday we went river rafting. The water was FREAKING COLD and mosquito and I both fell out of the raft.  During my little swim I lost the green bandanna I was using to keep the sun off my head.  :(  The last photo was one our guide suggested as a joke -- act serious while using our paddles upside-down.



Friday was the 4th and we went to a parade -- in fact Punkin was even in it! Before the parade we had pancakes at the firehouse and mosquito played fireman.






Afterwards we went fishing.



Saturday we did nothing.

Sunday Mosquito and I started our drive home. We stayed the night in Boise, ID and then finished the drive home today. We stopped in Roslyn on the way just to get a photo op.