Monday, April 16, 2007

Where my thoughts are today...

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The BBC World Service conducted this interview with Daniel Vice of the Brady Campaign:

BBC: (on passing "common sense" gun laws) …In fact, the laws are getting less strict not more strict.

Vice: Sadly at the federal level, we have had some success at the state level, for example, after the Columbine shootings Colorado passed a law requiring background checks at gun shows. But in Virginia you can go to a gun show and buy a semi-automatic military-style assault rifle – no background check, not even a record of sale (BBC commentator: "Oh my…), you don't have to tell them your name.

BBC: Why is that the case?

Vice: Partly I think it's the myth of the power of the gun lobby. The National Rifle Association has a lot of money, which they give freely to our elected officials and very few are willing to stand up and say no. But we've seen that when they do, and there are some who do, that they are supported by the American public. People support common sense gun laws and we're hopeful that our leaders will finally stand up and say enough is enough and protect our children.

BBC: When tougher laws were introduced in Colorado after the Columbine shootings, what was the public response there?

Vice: The public was supportive of that and we've seen that gun laws work. For example, in other countries that have passed tough gun laws there's no where near the level of gun violence that we have. And at the federal level we're working to change that, where we can't succeed there we'll go at the state level, and if we have to change our leadership that will come too.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Idle hands are the devil's work, but busy hands are the dissertator's bane

Oh dear knitting, how I've missed you.

I thought I could be a studious worker on my dissertation during this semester of enforced solitude but then I started looking at knitting blogs and websites and now I'm hopelessly distracted. Here's my latest project: an Anthropologie capelet that just about everybody who's knitting and blogging has been making. It's super easy, which was good for lapsed knitters like me who forget how to do yarn-overs and other simple stitches (not that I got the yarn-over right at all in this shrug, don't look too closely!).

Here's the link (I have yet to figure out hypertext):

I used three full 50g balls of Rowan Starlight (because everyone loves a little sparkle). I only bought two when I started but had to go back to Knit a Round for another when it was clear that two was going to make a very, very short little capelet. I should know better than to wander around a yarn shop unsupervised, but my favorite part of my little capelet is the LOVELY shell pin I found while browsing. It's from

Now I'm working on a lovely spring shawl from, my new favorite site for cool and free knitting patterns. And, yes, I have since figured out the yarn-over. Now if only the weather would warm up again so I can wear short sleeves!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Not your average catnip mouse

Gehrig and Max were especially pleased with the contents of their package from their Kitty Grandparents in Minnesota.

Note: we should have included some common everyday object for a sense of scale (a ruler, a quarter, a Volkswagen Beetle). It's not a "Honey, I Shrunk the Cats" scenario, although that could be cute in itself, but rather this is the largest catnip mouse you've ever seen. I guarantee.

As ever, "Value Village," my favorite thrift store in the entire Twin Cities, is responsible for being the source of this fantastic find. That's the fabulous thing about thrift and consignment stores, you find the most amazing things you never thought you needed but just have to have because you know you'll never find something like this again.

Max and Gehrig send their thanks and best wishes for a tuna-filled Easter Monday.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Monday, April 2, 2007

spring in Ann Arbor

I went for a walk last Thursday because the sky was so blue.

When we moved here in January everything was dark and bleak, so it's nice to see the city in color and sunshine. It's amazing how quickly the transformation takes place from mud and slush to green grass and blooming flowers.

These photos trace my walk from Glen, through Kerrytown, and then back on Depot.

I took the same walk again today to get some ingredients for the Rajma I'm making tonight and as I was buying some cilantro at Sparrow Market I got a British penny in my change! At first I thought it was a Canadian cent (because of the Queen, of course, and also since we were just in Ontario yesterday it seemed more possible than usual to be receiving Canadian money) but it's a nice shiny "Penny" (it even says so). Lucky me! I checked the current exchange rate (for those of you not following the currency markets as of today 1.97 GBP = 1 USD) and, little did they know it, it's as if Sparrow gave me 2 cents instead of one. Now I just need to get over there to England to spend it...