Walking by feet

This last week I have spent alternately throwing up with stomach flu and spontaneously bursting into tears. Yesterday I received in the mail the bulletin for the service of a family funeral I had been unable to attend along with updates of another family member’s progressive illness. “Every day gets harder…and there is nothing we can do…we must make the most of every day.”

As with most funerals, I found out more about the person who died than I had ever known in life. But the really important things are the personal memories. I remembered what he handed me the last time I saw him, and went and dug it out of my collection of business cards:
card2 card1 card

That side of the family was always playing practical jokes at family gatherings, weddings and funerals alike.   Is that what I can take away from this?

Today I sat in McDonald’s drinking coffee and evesdropping on the amateur philosophers at the next table, a group of black guys in their 60’s who seem to be there every day. “Who has eyes let him see” one intoned, loosely, very loosely,  paraphrasing Matthew 13. ” Oh ye of little faith. Sometimes we walk by sight, and sometimes we walk by feet.”

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On the bias


What’s the difference between sewing with the grain and sewing on the bias of the fabric? Fabric has a straight grain and a cross grain; sewing on the bias means cutting the fabric so the seam is at a 45 degree angle to both.

A gown or undergarment in a 1920’s bias cut style can be fun to wear, especially if the material is satiny and you have a perfect figure.  It has a stretchiness and clings to curves.   On the other hand, some more recent styles with chevrons or diagonal stripes can either have some of the stretchiness of a t-shirt or feel vaguely uncomfortable.

bias-bridal-gown bias-chevron-skirt bias-jean-harlow bias-gown1bias-skirt bias-top

Sewing on the bias can present some difficulties because of the stretchiness of the material. Zippers may be difficult to put in and seams may pucker. The cross grain can also be a little bit stretchier than the straight grain, so it may not hang straight without an added center seam.

Here is a flared skirt that looks like it might be bias cut because of the way the material drapes, but if you look at it more closely, you’ll see the seams are actually either on the straight grain or the cross grain of the fabric. The last diagram shows how to take a pattern meant to be cut on the straight grain and cut it on the bias.

bias-flared-skirt bias-skirt-pattern5 bias-sleeve-layout1

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Decoding Russian Spam and Mojibake

Just overnight, 50 new spam comments have appeared in my spam filter. Out of those, 25 were in the Russian language and the others were all in English, although 2 or 3 of those had Russian addresses. Russian spam seems to be increasing exponentially at the same time that I’m getting bored with it.

For a while I was letting a few through on one thread.  From this I was able to determine that the Russian word блог is blog, Спасибо is thank you, сексапил is seksapil (sex appeal?), and finally from a comment on another post, I was terribly excited to find out that  гавнокоментов (спама), is the word for orgavnokomentov (spam).

Translation is simple enough. Just highlight, copy, and paste it in the box of a machine translation tool like Google Translate or Foxlingo, and hit the “translate” button to see a quick approximation.  If you like to play with languages a lot, you can even install the Firefox language toolbar.

Once in a while a bit of Russian spam turns up that’s completely unintelligible. In the WordPress spam filter this comes across as a series of question marks and can’t be decoded, but in some formats it has distinguishing symbols and can be decoded.  Here is an example from another website:

Ñïàñèáî çà ñòàòüþ.. Àêòóàëüíî ìíå ñåé÷àñ.. Âçÿëà ñåáå åùå ïåðå÷èòàòü.

mojibake1This is called mojibake and is what happens when your software can’t decode non-standard character sets in Cyrillic, etc. For this you need a decoder, like:


which  tells us this is written in ISO 8859-15=>windows1251 and yields the following Cyrillic characters:

Спасибо за статью.. Актуально мне сейчас.. Взяла себе еще перечитать

The Cyrillic characters can now be translated with your preferred system.  In Google Translate this gives:

Thanks for the article .. News to me now .. Took another reread.

In all fairness I would have to say that not all the Russian spam has been useless. So far I have discovered a very amusing Russian horoscope (http://www.astrogoro.ru/) page,  a blog about herbs: Lechimsya herbs–recipes and tips for travolecheniyu (http://fiter.ru/)and one for Therapeutic nutrition: all about a healthy diet (http://leched.ru/), and this one with interesting pictures of presumably Russian buildings Stroyblog: blog on construction and real estate (http://topsstroy.ru/), all brought by the same one or two spam bots and none with any comments.  If this is someone’s business plan, I sure can’t figure it out, but I’m not about to give them any links either.

Note: Within five minutes of publishing, this post was published in an English language, Russia-based splog, a blog created solely of content ripped off of other posts, without crediting the original. Maybe that’s the business plan, that the material from their blogs is scraped.

Hubcap has a posse


Hupcap the Fighter: Small. Brave. Puma-hearted.

Posted in Rumproast. Tags: , . 5 Comments »

From Russia with Spam

A few weeks ago I peeked in my spam filter and saw a bunch of foreign language spam all in Russian. Why me?  I had posted some comments on a blog with Russian language excerpts–maybe that was it.  So I posted another comment and asked if everyone else was getting a lot of Russian spam.  No, they all get spam, they said, but in different languages, not just  Russian.

For some time now I have been translating the Russian bon mots with the help of Google Translate, and if I like them I set them free onto the blog with their links neutered. For some reason they like my post E-Arabs; nothing could be more off-topic–it’s about blogging in the Middle East.

russian-spam2Now, just overnight, there are 38 new spam comments, 16 of them in Russian. The screenshot  on the right shows a bunch of them in my spam filter with the identifying information blocked out. (click to enlarge)  Several of them have the identical message, although with different user names. Looking closer, most of those different user names come from the same IP address. So quite a few of those messages are from the same person, or at least the same building.  Most of the messages are obviously spam but a few of them look like legitimate blogs.

The most interesting message so far has been from a Russian horoscope website that gave me a very interesting prediction for January and February:

The cluster of planets in the house of extreme situations, said that the Twins will find SuperDuper way to celebrate the beginning of the year, almost two months, Venus gives them a powerful seksapil and, of course, an unforgettable adventure.

I had forgotten all about the prediction, until a few days ago someone named HP left a series of amazing comments on a thread that resonated so strongly I instinctively typed “HP, marry me.”  Oh dear, what did I do?

Now there is no one on earth more cautious about internet strangers or for that matter more paranoid than I am,  and I certainly have ample experience in detecting and deflecting mere booty calls, but could this be more than a fun intellectual romp though the blogosphere?  Perhaps my “seksapil”– this does mean “sex appeal”, doesn’t it?–is not in myself but in my stars, and a true adventure is about to unfold.  Let’s hope this gets interesting.

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Weather Button

weather4buttonWGN, Chicago’s Channel 9, has easily the best–and probably most expensive–weather graphics of all the local television stations.  A huge amount of complex information can be grasped with just a glance.

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Go not gently into the night

Rail, rail, against the dimming of the light.

Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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Viking Kittens


And now for something completely different. This looping video of the Viking Kittens always cracks me up. And it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to understand the lyrics to this song.  If you’re still in a bad mood after watching it, check out the 404 party on this  404 message page.

vikingoverlordkitten3reversed1 vikingoverlordvalhalla
(BTW, the real Vikings didn’t wear horns–only the Hollywood ones did.)

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Sleipnir on Gotland Stones

Very interesting graphics of Odin’s eight legged horse Sleipnir appear on Gotland picture stones. (This post continues a discussion inspired by thread at LH; previous posts  here and here) . Read the rest of this entry »

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For Kron’s daughter over at LH. (Click picture to see larger.) Whenever I want to check the weather in Norway I just peek at the Norwegian webcams.