Furry Friday, 9/4/20.

Okay, if it works.

Bouncy, bouncy.

Cheetah cuddler. Cheetah sounds.

They spin to create a vortex that pulls in insects and other tasty treats.

Sea lion chorus.

Posted in Animals, Furry Friday | 3 Comments

It’s Thursday. Time for some rants.

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

But before the rants, here are the WaPo’s recommendations for what to look for in a mask. You probably already know most of this because you are smart and well-informed, but just in case…

“So, we’re not going to recommend any specific brands. There simply hasn’t been enough medical research comparing retail mask options for us to rank any particular product over others. But we can tell you what to avoid, and give you some advice to help you narrow your web searches and shopping list.

Avoid futuristic or gimmicky looking masks. Quite a few sellers have been advertising masks with “breathable valves” or vents sewn into the fabric. These don’t work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No matter how slick it looks, the valve defeats the purpose of the mask, which is to completely cover and filter your airways. Stay away from any mask with zippers, Velcro or mouth flaps for the same reasons.

Surgical masks are good, if you can get one. The safest mask you can wear is an N95 mask, but these are in short supply and generally reserved for medical professionals. Simpler surgical or “medical procedure” masks — the powder blue ones in every hospital TV show you’ve ever seen — are good too, but again, you may have trouble finding a genuine one, depending where you live.

That leaves the wide, wide world of simple fabric masks sold online and in stores. Many of them resemble the blue TV doctor masks, while others have patterns and look more like an article of clothing. How to pick the best one?

Look for quality material. A non-peer reviewed study by the Royal Society found that masks with a high thread-count, made of cotton or a cotton-blend fabric performed better than competitors. Definitely stay away from loose-woven or knitted material, as well as neck gaiters. Also stay away from material that’s hard to breathe through, such as vinyl.

“Layers are good. Masks work by physically catching infectious particles as soon as they leave your mouth. Some particles will manage to pass through the first layer of fabric, so good masks should have at least two layers. Tom Frieden, who directed the CDC for eight years during the Obama administration, recommends looking for masks made of three layers.

Washable is good. A good quality cotton-based mask can simply be hand washed with detergent or thrown in the washing machine at the end of the day, per the CDC. Just make sure you wash it after every use, or the mask can build up bacteria that you’ll be breathing in the next time you wear it.

“A web search should turn up plenty of options for washable, cotton-based, double or triple layer face masks. Any of them will be better than wearing no mask, and the differences between them may not be a matter of objective quality so much as which one works best for you.

The mask needs to fit you, literally: If it’s too big and fits loosely around your cheeks, unfiltered air will leak out the edges. If it’s too small, it won’t fully cover your airways. But a mask also needs to fit your lifestyle and personal quirks. Find one that is comfortable and that you like wearing (or at least don’t totally hate.) It won’t matter how high the thread count is or how well it filters microscopic particles if you can’t stand keeping it on your face.”

From StumblingOverChaos.tumblr.com

Posted in Rants, various | 5 Comments

Unraveled Wednesday, 9/2/20.

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.


No photos of the knitting because I spent all day yesterday tearing my hair out with accounting stuff. No time to take photos. Next week… I hope.

I finished the first of the three remaining stripes on the plaid afghan. Even with my ingenious yarn cake management system, it took me at least halfway through the stripe to get the hang of it again. As a reward for sticking to it I promised myself that when the stripe was finished I would switch to the Moderne Log Cabin afghan, which has large blocks of mindless garter stitch.

After working on the ModLogCab for a week, during which it got progressively larger and more unwieldy, I promised myself that when I finished the current block I would go back to the plaid afghan.

The grass is always greener, etc.


A Case of Need by Michael Crichton (originally published as by Jeffrey Hudson). Found this in the Kindle app on my iPad. Medical thriller, okay. 2.5 ★

The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook by Josie Brown. Ditto above.

The Split by Sharon Bolton. Decent thriller set in Scotland and on South Georgia Island. Plot is fairly improbable, though. Multiple personalities? Really? 3★

If It Bleeds by Stephen King. King is such a good storyteller. 4★

A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths. This is #4 in the Ruth Galloway series of semi-cozies. 3★

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths. #5 in the series and head and shoulders above the previous ones. The Goodreads ratings reflect that; the previous ones had ratings in the 3.5-3.9 range (out of 4). #5 and subsequent books all have ratings of 4 or higher. 4★

No more photos of book covers next to my review/rating. WordPress has decided everyone must use their new, *improved* interface which does not seem to allow inline pictures like the classic interface did. I tried to go back to the classic, but it seems that the only way to do so is to sign up for the Professional version… which costs $284. Sorry, no way.

And now, time for a chuckle. I am trying to lose the corona 10. How about you?

Posted in Unraveled Wednesdays | 3 Comments

Blather in bullet form.

  • I am still using up the spiral bound notebooks from my kids’ school days. Note: said *kids* are now 35 and 31, respectively.
  • Given the size of the remaining stack, I have attained S.A.B.L.E. notebook status.
  • I realized today that whenever I have trouble with a physical object of any kind, I turn it over to Smokey to resolve. Burnt-out track lighting bulb(s), sticky jar lid, and the latest, trying to get the lotion from a refill packet into the pump bottle it was (theoretically) designed to fit. Edited to add: he figured out exactly how the refill pack was supposed to work… in about 2 seconds.
  • August, plus possibly late July and most of September, is the time of year when my super-soft nails attain a nice length worthy of polish. In a few weeks; the humidity will drop to desert levels and they will, one by one, break off. ::le sigh::
  • I guess the silver lining of short nails is that I will no longer have random number typos; “3” instead of “e”, “4” instead of “r”, “8” instead of “i” Yes, they are that long, and yes, I am that bad a typist.
  • The hummingbirds have all but disappeared, flying away to their winter quarters somewhere in South America.
  • As soon as there were fewer hummers, we started getting woodpeckers — downy, hairy, and even a pileated.
  • And as soon as there were woodpeckers, the chipmunks and squirrels largely stopped raiding the feeders.
  • Gonna throw some corona facts at you right here. link from Chris
  • The weather has become delightfully cool — highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s. Yay for sleeping with the window open!

Posted in Miscellaneous | 9 Comments

Fiber monday.

Llama, llama, whose got the llama!

First class cherry blossom yarn bomb.

Knitting noodles. And snow.

Posted in LInks knitting | 5 Comments

Let’s tour our bathroom, m’kay?

One day last week Smokey and I were lying on his bed playing Boggle when suddenly there was a crash from the bathroom. The wall cabinet had fallen off its hangers, apparently because one more dust mote settled on it, causing it to exceed the 50-pound weight limit.

On the left, the fallen cabinet. On the right, its replacement,
stolen from the downstairs bathroom, which we seldom use.

The cabinet had been jam-packed before, with scarcely room for another bottle of anything. We went through it all before putting it back and eliminated a LOT of stuff — OTC meds that were years beyond their use-by dates, duplicates, things we will probably never need again. Now everything has breathing room, assuming that shampoo bottles respirate.

This was rather a big deal for us, which just goes to show how boring our lives are.

One thing led to another, and Smokey searched out the spare roll of bathroom wallpaper. (I had decided to repaper the room roughly 25 years ago, but couldn’t finish until Smokey replaced the medicine cabinet above the sink with a new one we had bought. That never happened.)

Now we get to the heart of the story. A few years ago Smoke replaced the towel bars with sturdy grab bars, which served as towel bars plus being a safety feature. But they attached in slightly different locations, leaving the old mounting holes exposed.

This bothered him. (Not me. Even as picky as I can be about appearances, somehow I never noticed those holes.)

Now that he had the wallpaper in hand, he became very, very clever.

On the left, an untreated hole and a camouflaged one.
One the right, another camouflage job.

Yes, he found nails with heads wide enough to fill in the holes… and covered the heads with wallpaper.

This is (one of the many) reasons I love him.

If any of you have DIY partners, let me introduce you to a useful YouTube channel: Project Farm. The owner tests various DIY tools and products in the same manner as Consumer Reports. He tests epoxies, duct tape, air filters, super glue, penetrating oil, dry wall anchors, impact driver bits — whatever those are — and much more.

Posted in Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

Links… and rants.

Be patient with your local bookstore.

Poop FTW!

Remember that the Washington Post’s coronavirus page is not behind a paywall.

Got an hour? Here are four (4!) link posts from Chris and Chaos.

Posted in Links | 3 Comments

Furry Friday, 8/28/20.

It’s the panda cam at the National Zoo!

More pandas!

They are singing.

Posted in Animals, Furry Friday | 4 Comments

Coronavirus testing info.

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

I listen to Dr Michael Osterholm‘s weekly podcasts on the coronavirus pandemic. Last week he talked about, among other things, the different types of tests and what each is good for. I found it interesting and thought you might, too. (I cannot guarantee that I got all of it exactly right. Check out the FDA link below for more authoritative info.)

Diagnostic tests. This is the RT-PCR test, which has both high sensitivity and high specificity. This the test for folks who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have had a known exposure to the virus. It will tell them with a high degree of accuracy whether they are infected.

Screening test. This is a rapid, point-of-care test using the subject’s saliva. It should be used on people who are asymptomatic and have no known exposure. It is 10% or more less sensitive than the diagnostic test.

Surveillance test. This test is useful to know what is happening in a community, and the results are not necessarily returned to the subject. A large number of blood samples are tested for antibodies to determine the prevalence of coronavirus in a given community. This is the antibody test; it can give false positives, but testing at weekly/monthly/quarterly intervals will show community trends.

The FDA has more detailed information about the various type of tests here.

Posted in Coronavirus | 4 Comments

Links, schminks.

The endings have changed.

Posted in Links, Rants, various, YouTube | 4 Comments