ellarien: laptop (Computers)
Today I took my old, thoroughly retired Behemoth laptop back to the store from whence it came, and they gave me nearly $50 in trade-in for it. Which is ... about three per cent of what I paid for it in 2004, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I feel at least ten pounds lighter with it gone -- it always was an unwieldy lump of a thing, even before it succumbed to WinXP-rot and slowed to a crawl.

Then I put the trade-in gift-card towards a basic e-reader -- a Sony Pocket Edition, which lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of more recent gadgets -- it doesn't have a touch screen or wireless or even an expansion slot, but it works fine for what I want. This way, while my dead trees are in transit I can read without being dependent on the Palm's not-so-great battery.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
"Clothes purchased today will be ready by February 31th."

Also, lots of yellow and black, horizontal stripes, painfully bright neon pastels, tops with half the front missing, foreshortened dresses and skirts, and cap sleeves. (Seriously, I tried on a dress that by its proportions looked as though it might be long enough -- only to discover that the belt was round my ribs and the skirt was barely knee length.) And high-heeled many-strapped sandals that look even more like instruments of torture than the usual female fashion shoe.

On the other hand, lots of nice blues and a sufficiency of natural linen, and striking black-and-white florals.


Dec. 19th, 2009 02:12 pm
ellarien: christmas ornament on cactus (Christmas)
Mini-muffin trays, vital to the fabrication of mince pies, were conspicuously absent from the grocery store. Also, I picked up everything I need for beef stew except the beef, and they didn't have any seasonal gift tags.

So, I'll be heading Target-wards again this afternoon. If I can get beef and piecrust there as well as trays, I won't need to go back to Safeway. I suppose if they don't have muffin trays there, I could do mini-turnovers instead, but it wouldn't be the same.


Nov. 27th, 2009 04:43 pm
ellarien: yin-yang fish drawing (fish)
I just traded in a couple more surplus bags of books at the local used bookstore and "entertainment exchange," and picked up from the classical music rack something entitled (as copy-pasted from iTunes)

彩なす島の伝説 沖縄島唄

which Google translates as "Legend of the Island of Okinawa Shima Uto eggplant" and Babelfish as "彩 The legendary Okinawa island of the island which is formed 唄" which I guess wildly might actually be something like "The legend of the formation of the island of Okinawa."

It sounds like a variable number of voices singing, presumably in Japanese, with a jaunty accompaniment of clicky percussion and plucked strings. Not my usual sort of thing, but not unpleasant.

Also, my copy of Win7 for the HP laptop arrived today -- closely followed by an email announcing that it had been dispatched and please to allow 5-7 days for delivery.

Talking of Win7, I wonder if there's a way to stop it randomly switching on the Canon printer. I suppose I could disable the software power-up in the printer driver, but it's sometimes handy to be able to send something to it from the other room, without going in to press the button first.


Oct. 3rd, 2009 07:02 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I have achieved respectable shoes, with the help of a charming young man at Macy's. It was a pretty satisfactory afternoon all round, in fact; yay for pants that sit comfortably around my waist and sweaters that come down below it, and also for compliments from random strangers. I think it helped that the weather has cooled down at last, and everyone's in a better mood.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
It's been another 100-degree plus day, but I went shopping for fall clothes anyway. Inside the air-conditioned mall it wasn't too unbearable to think about sweaters and long pants. I didn't do too badly, though Sears, my usual resort, was still firmly in summer-clearance mode.

Read more... )

It will be a few weeks before I can think about wearing any of that, I suspect.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
The trouble with shopping online is that they don't always tell you everything that, in hindsight, you might have wanted to know.

Like the fact that the dress that finally arrived today weighs nearly 2lb. It's linen -- which I knew -- but heavy linen: tea-towel heavy, if not curtain-heavy. It's also in a style amazingly reminiscent of one my mother had in the late 1950s or early 60s, in which I used to play dress-up in the seventies -- full skirt, wrapover bodice and a concealed side zip -- but I don't mind that. The person who gave it a bad review because they couldn't figure out how it went on was either not trying very hard or was a bit fuller in the bust than me (not uncommon) and couldn't find the side zip. I actually wriggled into it before finding the zip, and then had a sticky moment when I couldn't work out how to reverse the process.

I usually spend my Tucson summers in lightweight viscose challis dresses from Sears. Natural fibers are supposed to be cooler, but I'm not sure about this.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
If you were designing a digital alarm clock and could only spare one LED to designate AM/PM, why would you have it light up for AM rather than PM?

I treated myself to a new clock radio with an iPod dock. The theory is that I might be more inclined to go to bed earlier if there was something on before midnight that I wanted to listen to; my NPR station fills its dead air with jazz, which I don't care for, until the BBC comes on at midnight, but it's the only thing I can stand to listen to in the morning. The gadget is ridiculously high-tech, self-setting and daylight-savings-time observant, though unfortunately not cognizant of non-daylight-saving timezones. I had to take the iPod out of its rubber skin to dock it -- the first time it's been naked since I brought it home; it looks quite different and unfamiliar. Of course I'll have to reskin it in a couple of days to take it on my travels.

They're already putting out the Valentine's stuff in Target. They also had a couple of Eees on display -- 9" screen ones, with Linux, for $299, but no specs visible.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I don't think this is going to be a good clothes season for me. Actually, I'm not sure it's going to be good for anyone, but what do I know? Maybe there are hordes of women out there who look great and feel comfortable in calf-length, flared, bias-cut skirts with loud plaid patterns, or sweaters with three-quarter sleeves and/or only one button, or pants with turn-ups. Turn-ups! I thought those went out in about 1970, and the skirts were giving me early-eighties flashbacks.

I eventually emerged somewhat mollified, with a pair of semi-dress slacks (dark brown), a cable cardigan (dark brown), an entirely frivolous faux-swede jacket (dark brown), a knit-fabric cotton skirt with a lace inset above the hem (dark brown), and a clingy, silky long-sleeved knit top in cherry red, but it was a fairly depressing experience. (I like dark brown, okay? And I don't care for muddy yellows and blues and greens, on the whole.)

Also, the lighting and mirrors in the Macy's dressing room were really unforgiving about the amount of grey in my hair.
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
I went shopping today, and came home with more or less what I was after: Read more... )


May. 18th, 2008 10:15 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
The West Coast heatwave seems to be moving this way, perhaps just on time to deliver our first 100-degree day right about on schedule in spite of the unusually cool spring we've been having. I'm as ready as I can be; I stumbled across a small treasure trove of those dresses I like in Sears yesterday, and grabbed the three they had in my size; one predominantly purple, one predominantly red, one a bit of both, all on black grounds. It's a shame I don't have any black sandals, really ... or at least, the only pair I have is not really practical for walking any distance.

I was seriously contemplating an evening two-piece outfit I found on the clearance racks in a different store -- a long sheath dress with embroidered jacket -- but I decided that it was too old for me, not really my color (I like dusky rose or crushed strawberry or whatever they're calling it this year, but don't think it goes with my skin tone), and in any case much too formal for the kind of conference dinner that would be my only opportunity to wear something like that. And I couldn't get a fitting room, anyway.

I also took advantage of what may be the last halfway cool evening for a while yesterday, by cooking up a batch of chicken stew. I can't live on salad all the time -- that just leads to over-dependence on the student-union Mexican and pizza places.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I did some electronics shopping this afternoon, mostly for storage/backup media. I was somewhat surprised, when I unpacked my purchases, to notice that none of them bore the once-ubiquitous "Made in China" tag; in fact, two out of three items were at least "assembled" in North America, and the third in South Korea. Fluke, or a side-effect of the dollar's bad year?
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Kleenex Extra Large tissues ("facial" tissues to Americans, for some bizarre reason) have been impossible to find in the shops this year. It hasn't been much of an issue so far, but in the snorfly stage of a cold I really miss them. This morning it occurred to me to consult Google on the matter -- whereupon I discovered that they can be ordered from Amazon. By the case.

I guess that's this year's allergy season taken care of, at least.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
There's a definite trend towards packaging more DVDs in less space, which makes a lot of sense if storage space is a constraint on purchases. A whole season of many shows can now be had in about the space that used to occupied by a VHS cassette with a couple of episodes.

I thought I had alleviated the Summer Jacket Problem, but I realized when I brought my purchase home that it fails the Pockets criterion, though nicely meeting the Lightweight, Washable, Long Sleeeved, and Light Brown requirements. (I don't like to expose my bare arms to the searing summer sun, so I walk around in 100-degree weather with a lightweight blazer over my dress. As far as I can tell, I may be the only person in Tucson who does this, so suitable garments are hard to find. The extant ones are all looking rather tired, and the one I bought last year fell apart on the third washing.)

It's just as well I stocked up on brown and beige and olive over the last couple of summers, because this spring's fashions seem to be all pink and black or turquoise and black, with a bit of grey for variety.

The Waldenbooks at the mall is gone, closed up and stripped bare. This came as a bit of a shock; it didn't show any particular signs of imminent closure the last time I was in there, which I think was just after Christmas. The B. Dalton closed down years ago, so the mall is now entirely bookstore-less.


Nov. 10th, 2007 05:30 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
The DVD player achieved its third strike last night, so today I sallied forth and picked up a new one -- for about a third of the price of the original. It occupies about the same volume as the old one, too, but with a different aspect ratio that necessitated some rearrangement and a great deal of plugging and unplugging and untangling of the insane rats-nest of cables in that corner of the living room, but it's all squared away now.

In the course of wandering around the home-theater department of BestBuy, I noticed that most of the TVs on display are now HD flat-panel models. I also noticed that if I wanted to replace my basic 19" CRT (not that I do) I'd have to go up to a 26" to get the same size picture.


I meant to put Stargate in the music, not the location -- but clicking on the location link will actually get you to Cheyenne Mountain.

Also, my computer is Scrabble-enabled again! The version I had didn't work on XP; the new one is billed as XP-compatible, but also runs on Vista just fine.

Dude ...

Aug. 28th, 2007 12:12 am
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
I have just ordered a shiny new desktop. (I know, wrong century's ad slogan ...)

2GHz Core Duo processor. 500Gb hard drive. 2Gb RAM. 19" flat panel.
(Okay, not quite bleeding edge. I don't need bleeding edge, I just want something with room to breathe!)

It may be the cheapest computer I ever bought, with the possible exception of the 1989 Amstrad, and allowing for inflation and exchange rates even that isn't certain.

ETA: It won't actually ship for a couple of weeks, though. Which probably means it will show up (at work) when I'm in Boulder.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Next time, laundry first, then mall. You know it makes sense.

Also, next time should probably be in about five years, maybe ten. If it wasn't for the jacket problem, that is. Oh, and shoes. (Sigh.)
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Apparently, the latest trend in costume jewelry is big rings. Really, really big, really ugly rings; lumps of wood or plastic the size of baby potatoes; stones the size of pigeon's eggs. If they don't catch on, Macey's jewelry buyer is going to be in serious trouble this winter.

Why is it so hard to find clip-on earrings that aren't tacky? I understand it's a small segment of the market, and not populated by serious earring wearers, and that there are practical constraints on the design, but it still seems to me that the designers could try a tiny bit harder. This goes double or triple when it comes to dangly styles.

This is completely the wrong time of year to be shopping for jewelry boxes. I should try again closer to the holidays.

If there's a distinction between what Macey's call a camisole and what Marks and Spencer call a vest, it isn't one that's obvious to me.

Monday off

May. 21st, 2007 10:21 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I declared today an honorary holiday -- I might even be able to count it as time-in-lieu of Memorial Day, when I'll be working. In Honolulu, but working.

So I pottered around the apartment, and tagged the last five months of photos, and changed the filter on the furnace and turned the furnace off for the summer and realized that there's an awful lot of black soot on the control panel, which it's never done before. Time to ask management to get it serviced, I think, but no enormous hurry as I shouldn't be needing it again until October or November. In the afternoon I went down to my local Bookman's 'Entertainment Exchange,' a used-book store that also does media and general bric-a-brac. The intersection it's on is under threat of serious upgrading, which means that the whole area has been suffering from planning blight for a while, and I wanted to spend down my trade credit while the place was still in business. It still seems to be going strong at the moment -- now with Wi-Fi -- and I found a selection of mostly paperback books and a couple of movies, and promptly fell headlong into an Elizabeth George mystery set in my favourite part of Derbyshire.

Oh, and I think I can add baked salmon fillet to the list of things that are improved by a good dusting of black pepper and basil leaves. The salmon was as good cold today as it was hot yesterday. Black pepper is good on avocado, too. (Black pepper and basil leaves are what I have, so they tend to get sprinkled around when I'm in a vaguely culinary mood.)

Also achieved words, but not in enormous quantity, just a modest 539 to keep things ticking over.

Mission Statement

Reading, writing, plant photography, and the small details of my life, with digressions into science and computing.



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