Monday, May 31, 2010

Virgo Virgo Virgo...


Did Imelda Marcos start like this? I do love shoes.

Summer skirts...the long and the short of it...

I spent the weekend reorganizing the big closet in my bedroom. There are two closets in the master bedroom: a big one and a small one. I usually manage to keep the small one fairly tidy, but the big one had become a catch all. It was time to go through everything and I did, with the end result being the closet is now pristine, but my bedroom is a disaster, because that's where I moved the discards and I haven't packed all of them up yet.

Still, it feels good to finally have my closet organized again. After the fire, I thought I'd gotten pretty good at paring down and discarding what I don't need, and I think for the most part that's true, but going through my closet and the armoire in my bedroom, both of which were filled with clothes, I felt like I was just this side of becoming a hoarder, a truly frightening idea. However, with an empty armoire and an organized closet, I think I can safely say that there's no danger of that in my immediate future, thank goodness!

I've posted some big pics because I'm pleased with the result. The closet didn't always look like this. When we bought the house, this closet was nice and big but it had a single, sagging, pressboard shelf on 3 walls with a wooden clothes rod suspended beneath it. There were also two truly awful built-ins that managed to waste almost as much space as they occupied. After the fire I gutted this closet, painted it, and designed the new one, using Elfa shelving from The Container Store. Closet Maid makes excellent knock-offs of this shelving sold for a fraction of the cost at Home Depot, but I wanted several features that were unique to Elfa so in this closet I used Elfa.

I hung it all myself. It's very easy to do. You simply locate the studs, attach the top track, (a horizontal metal piece - make sure it's level) to the studs, and then just slide the hanging standards (vertical support pieces) onto the lip on the bottom of the top track. Attach the shelf brackets where ever you want a shelf. You can vary the depth of the shelves you're using, and although I like the ventilated shelving for a lot of reasons, Elfa now makes solid shelving too. You can have the shelving cut to size, or you can buy long pieces and cut them yourself (I've done both). I'm pleased with the end result, if I do say so myself.

Post Script: Goodwill Industries is probably pleased too. After initially posting this, I dropped off a full carload of discards.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

R.I.P. Martin Gardner...

Martin Gardner died Saturday. He was 95. I first became aware of him 41 years ago, when I was 19, and just discovering Scientific American. He wrote a monthly column called Mathematical Games for that magazine. Math has never come easily to me, and I was never able to solve his puzzles, and yet somehow he always managed to intrigue me, and I looked forward to his column each month.

Then I discovered The Annotated Alice, (first published in 1960). If you haven't read it, this book is every geek/trivia lover's idea of heaven. Gardner was an expert on Lewis Carroll, and often described as a kindred spirit. In The Annotated Alice, he explains where Carroll was going (or coming from): the riddles, jokes and literary references as well as the context in which much of the book was written. In the first few pages, when Alice speculates, "I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth!"'s the beginning of Gardner's footnote: In Carroll's day there was considerable popular speculation about what would happen if one fell through a hole that went straight through the center of the earth. Plutarch had asked the question and many famous thinkers, including Francis Bacon and Voltaire, had argued about it. Galileo (Dialogo dei Massimi Sistemi Giornata Seconda, Florence edition of 1842, Vol. 1, pages 251-52) gave the correct answer: the object would fall with increasing speed but decreasing acceleration, until it reached the center of the earth, at which spot it's acceleration would be zero. Thereafter it would slow down in speed, with increasing deceleration, until it reached the opening at the other end. Then it would fall back again. By ignoring air resistance and the coriolis force resulting from the earth's rotation (unless the hole ran from pole to pole), the object would oscillate back and forth forever. Air resistance of course would eventually bring it to rest at the earth's center. The interested reader should consult "A Hole through the Earth," by the French astronomer Camille Flammarion, in The Strand Magazine, Vol. 28 (1909), page 348, if only to look at the lurid illustrations." I'll concede there are readers to whom that footnote doesn't sing, but I'm not one of them. It sang to me; from that point on I was hooked on Gardner, who even translates Jabberwocky ("Twas brillig, and the slithy toves..." Bryllg (derived from the verb to bryl or broil), "the time of broiling dinner, i.e., the close of the afternoon..."

As if that weren't enough, Gardner was also an outspoken foe of pseudoscience, writing columns for The Skeptical Inquirer. He was a terrific writer, and a terrific man. If you haven't read The Annotated Alice, check it out. He will be missed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Congratulations Mike!

I'm off to Tucson to attend Mike's graduation from the University of Arizona where he's earned a BFA in visual communication with an emphasis in graphic design. Yes, I'm VERY proud of him, and I can't wait to see him.