25th April Weekly Roundup

Posted on Apr 25, 2008 in Blather, Books I Wrote | 19 comments

I wrote that post title as if I plan to write a roundup every week. But it’s not like I’m committing, or anything.

This week began in upstate New York for Passover with family. I love seeing my family despite my to-the-core loathing of my second hometown. Thankfully, I was only there for two days and thus wasn’t required to spend any time in public. It’s the public part that leaves me crumpled in a neurotic wasteland. So, there’s that. Oh, also, there was a visit with my best high-school friend’s kid (and said friend and her family), and that was really great.

Jet lag returning to the west coast is a delight, and I mean that in all seriousness. I enjoyed waking up at the crack of dawn at the beginning of the week, even though I spent those evenings a drooling, inarticulate mess.

Despite the persistent chill, there’s mounting evidence that spring has arrived. Our lilac tree is about to bloom, and our rhododendrons have already started. When I’m through writing this I’ll be taking a folded-up old camping mattress outside to keep my knees dry while I do some serious weeding.

In an attempt to feel more connected to the outside world while I work from the vacuum of my home, I’ve started using Twitter. Less commitment than IM, since a conversation isn’t expected and I only have so many IM conversations in me in a day, and those need to be actually work-related. So. Stalk me if you’d like, eh?

Speaking of work. Given that we work on a given issue of the magazine quite actively for around nine months, I don’t know why the last three weeks before a press date seem so crazy. But they do. Not in a bad way. I’ve been spending my days editing PDFs (Adobe reader’s edit mode is terrible [is this just a Mac thing?]; the functionality is great, but it runs very slowly as I progress through a file. Like, PC circa 1994 slowly). This is when the magazine really starts to come together, as the files I receive start having things like photos and schematics in them. We’ve tweaked our text layout for this issue, and I do a happy dance every time I open up a new pattern.

It would seem this first weekly roundup is more of a brain dump. So be it.

French press tips?Got any advice about how to make a killer cup of coffee with a French press? I’ve used mine a few times, with mediocre results only.

I’ll wrap up with some geekery. My sci-fi fixation continues. In honour of traveling to Ohio last week for the tv taping, I read Old Man’s War. I’ve read John Scalzi’s blog occasionally over the last couple of years (he writes a lot about writing; good stuff), but this is the first book of his I’ve read. It was thoroughly enjoyable; clever premise and storytelling in that not-too-deep sci-fi style that goes down so smoothly. So smoothly, in fact, that I read more than half the book during the first leg of my trip, necessitating my purchase of another novel in the Minneapolis airport. I finished William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition this week; it was great. (Gibson is a Vancouverite, which keeps with my theme, see. Scalzi’s from Ohio, just like his protagonist.) I’m totally enamoured of the fashion and trademark neuroses of the main character, and feel strangely compelled to ditch my wardrobe in favour of all black all the time. So simple.

Scalzi blogged yesterday about 1-star reviews of his books on Amazon.com and how he’s not so much bothered by them. In answer to his request, here’s a 2-star review of one of my own books (ok, none has a 1-star review, which I chalk up to not that many people chiming in [not that I'm inviting negative reviews]):

For Teach Yourself Visually Crocheting:

Save your cash: The format does not work well for this. Huge yarn and large hooks negate the delicacy of what crochet can be. The projects are ugly and I would not want to learn from this book. Waste of good money

Hmm, I disagree with most of the reviews for this book. I thought the photos were small and all looked the same — I got absolutely nothing useful from them. Additionally, this book glosses over some of the key things for many projects: turning and starting in a round. I felt like I learned these stitches in spite of this book, as opposed to because of it. Looking through “Crocheting for Dummies” it looks like it would be much better by showing clear diagrams instead of photos and spending more time on things like when and how to turn, and what each stitch should look like.

Have a great weekend!

  • http://quiltingmick.blogspot.com Michelle

    To make great french press coffee:

    1. Make sure you’re using good ground coffee that is suitable for french press. Grinding your own is best – grind to medium if you do this.

    2. Warm the press with about an inch of hot water. Pour this out before putting your coffee in.

    3. Put your coffee in. A heaped tablespoon per person, plus an extra half tablespoon per couple. Add your water a minute after it has boiled – ideally, water should be 95 degrees celcius. Don’t overfill the press.

    4. Plunge slowly after 5 minutes or so. And enjoy!

    Hope this works for you. It’s what I’ve always done. If it doesn’t work though, it could be a couple of things – quality of ground coffee or the fact it is very different to filtered coffee if that’s what you usually drink.

    Good luck!

  • http://quiltingmick.blogspot.com Michelle

    To make great french press coffee:

    1. Make sure you’re using good ground coffee that is suitable for french press. Grinding your own is best – grind to medium if you do this.

    2. Warm the press with about an inch of hot water. Pour this out before putting your coffee in.

    3. Put your coffee in. A heaped tablespoon per person, plus an extra half tablespoon per couple. Add your water a minute after it has boiled – ideally, water should be 95 degrees celcius. Don’t overfill the press.

    4. Plunge slowly after 5 minutes or so. And enjoy!

    Hope this works for you. It’s what I’ve always done. If it doesn’t work though, it could be a couple of things – quality of ground coffee or the fact it is very different to filtered coffee if that’s what you usually drink.

    Good luck!

  • http://buttercup42.blogspot.com/ Chris

    Imagine my surprise to see your name on The Whatever. My needle & hook/fiber craft obsession collides with my love of Scalzi’s blog. I can’t get anyone to read The Whatever, even tho I’ve tried and linked to it several times. Thanks for participating in his One Star Challange. At least I know there is another fiber addict out there who reads what I do.

  • http://buttercup42.blogspot.com/ Chris

    Imagine my surprise to see your name on The Whatever. My needle & hook/fiber craft obsession collides with my love of Scalzi’s blog. I can’t get anyone to read The Whatever, even tho I’ve tried and linked to it several times. Thanks for participating in his One Star Challange. At least I know there is another fiber addict out there who reads what I do.

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  • http://www.kimwerker.com Kim Werker

    Whoa. Thanks for the heads-up, Chris! I’m having a super-geek tingly morning!

  • http://www.crochetme.com Kim

    Whoa. Thanks for the heads-up, Chris! I’m having a super-geek tingly morning!

  • http://www.knitgrrl.com Shannon

    Geekiness is awesome. That is all.

  • http://www.knitgrrl.com Shannon

    Geekiness is awesome. That is all.

  • http://www.kimwerker.com Kim Werker

    Shannon: Yes. Yes it is.

  • http://www.crochetme.com Kim

    Shannon: Yes. Yes it is.

  • http://mkcarroll.typepad.com M.K.

    I’ve been a Scalzi reader for years! Making Light, a group blog he sometimes pops up on, has a fair share of knitters so I suppose it’s not a surprise we’re reading his blog too.

  • http://mkcarroll.typepad.com M.K.

    I’ve been a Scalzi reader for years! Making Light, a group blog he sometimes pops up on, has a fair share of knitters so I suppose it’s not a surprise we’re reading his blog too.

  • http://mkcarroll.typepad.com M.K.

    Oh, and of course that French press could use a smocked jacket. :D I’m revising and reformatting the pattern; it’s been a slow, steady fundraiser for Knitters Without Borders and I’m hoping that an improved version will nudge more people into buying rather than just downloading it for free.

  • http://mkcarroll.typepad.com M.K.

    Oh, and of course that French press could use a smocked jacket. :D I’m revising and reformatting the pattern; it’s been a slow, steady fundraiser for Knitters Without Borders and I’m hoping that an improved version will nudge more people into buying rather than just downloading it for free.

  • http://notensionknits.blogspot.com/ Jennie

    Kim, perhaps it runs counter to the purpose of embracing 1-star reviews, but I have to say I disagree with everything in those two reviews. I taught myself to single crochet on my own and then bought Teach Yourself Visually Crochet. I’ve loved it so much, I gave in to my already existing urge to buy your other books. I turn back to it any time I need a tip, including on how to do the very things the second reviewer claims it doesn’t explain!
    I guess my point is, good for you for owning those reviews – it’s inspiring – but know that somebody out there likes your work. I just don’t happen to like Amazon. ;)

  • http://notensionknits.blogspot.com/ Jennie

    Kim, perhaps it runs counter to the purpose of embracing 1-star reviews, but I have to say I disagree with everything in those two reviews. I taught myself to single crochet on my own and then bought Teach Yourself Visually Crochet. I’ve loved it so much, I gave in to my already existing urge to buy your other books. I turn back to it any time I need a tip, including on how to do the very things the second reviewer claims it doesn’t explain!
    I guess my point is, good for you for owning those reviews – it’s inspiring – but know that somebody out there likes your work. I just don’t happen to like Amazon. ;)

  • http://www.kimwerker.com Kim Werker

    Thanks, Jennie. I’ll be happy to consider your comment a very welcome secondary bonus of embracing 1-star reviews. More so, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the crochet!

  • http://www.crochetme.com Kim

    Thanks, Jennie. I’ll be happy to consider your comment a very welcome secondary bonus of embracing 1-star reviews. More so, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the crochet!

  • http://www.shophola.com shophola

    oh thank michael, i'll try your recipe

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