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Difficult times

Yesterday I did one of those things that truly sucks to do but at the same time is truly important to do: I went to visit a dying friend. Doug was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer about half a year ago, underwent (unsuccessful) treatment over the winter, and last week moved to a hospice home.

I was there for about an hour, and it was simultaneously lovely and heartbreaking to see him. His body was clearly failing him and he was in much pain, and though he didn’t talk much his eyes twinkled occasionally as it was clear he was hearing and enjoying the conversation around him. Doug and I had worked at the same dot-com startup (which he co-founded) a little over a decade ago, and I remember him most for his intellectual curiosity, his love of words (he wrote crossword puzzles for The New York Times), and his love of theater, especially Stephen Sondheim. In fact, Doug was responsible for my proper introduction to that music. One day at work he was horrified to discover that I didn’t know much about Sondheim and set out to rectify that immediately: we spent the next hour listening to Pacific Overtures in his office. The last time (before yesterday) that I saw Doug in person, in fact, was in the spring of 2003, when he organized a group of people to see a professional production of Pacific Overtures at the Arden theater in Philadelphia.

I left the hospice yesterday with a heavy heart, fairly certain I would not see him again. And feeling a bit sad and bewildered by the randomness with which these sorts of things happen to people. Over dinner last night I explained to my seven-year-old daughter that I had gone to visit a friend who was dying and told her about him. “Is he a nice person?” she asked. “Oh yes, very nice,” I told her.

This afternoon the message went out: Doug is gone. I read the post and started crying, and my daughter started crying too when I told her what happened. “Why are you crying?” I asked, since she’d never met him. “Because he was a nice man and I miss him,” she replied.

You know what? He was a nice man. And a lot of people will miss him.


Today is a special occasion

May the Fourth be with you!


My current project

This is the Cloisonné Jacket from the fall 2010 issue of Interweave Knits. I’m actually knitting it in the yarn called for in the pattern, Berocco’s Ultra Alpaca, and so far it’s going all right.

I had consulted with a friend about how to convert this knit-flat pattern into one knit in the round and had worked out all the fiddly details. But once I started the two-color section, I didn’t like the bulk created by carrying both colors through the middle part (which would later be cut, folded under, and sewed down). Figuring that the pattern was written flat for a reason, I decided to follow it as written.



This post serves two functions: to let me try out the WordPress iOS app, and to introduce these two little fuzzies.


Yup, that’s pretty much right

Procrastinate? Who, me? Never!


Which title do you prefer?

This is the best registration form ever. Just take a look at the many possibilities under the “Title” drop-down menu. Wow.


What seems to be the problem?



Wow. Just wow.

That’s pretty much all I can say after reading this account of one man’s actions right after the tsunami that hit Japan last month:

Needless to say, poor Hideaki Akaiwa, concerned for his family, rushed out of his office in time to see his city completely submerged under an obscene ten feet of water that buried everything from houses to businesses. He ran to the high water mark and stared helplessly into the sprawling lake that once used to be his home.

But it gets even worse. Hideaki’s wife of twenty years was still buried inside the lake somewhere. She hadn’t gotten out. She wasn’t answering her phone. The water was still rising, the sun was setting, cars and shit were swooshing past on a river of sea water, and and rescue workers told him there was nothing that could be done – the only thing left was to sit back, wait for the military to arrive, and hope that they can get in there and rescue the survivors before it’s too late. With 10,000 citizens of Ishinomaki still missing and unaccounted for, the odds weren’t great that Hideaki would ever see his wife again.

For most of us regular folks, this is the sort of shit that would make us throw up our hands, swear loudly, and resign ourselves to a lifetime of hopeless misery.

But Hideaki Akaiwa isn’t a regular guy. He’s a fucking insane badass, and he wasn’t going to sit back and just let his wife die alone, freezing to death in a miserable water-filled tomb. He was going after her. No matter what.

How the fuck Hideaki Akaiwa got a hold of a wetsuit and a set of SCUBA gear is one of the great mysteries of the world.

You can read more of this amazing story here.


Happy Pi Day, everyone!

Yup, it’s 3.14 again!Everyone loves the 3.14 kind of pi. But what’s your favorite pie?



That’s pretty much all I can come up with after hearing this. I cringed as I heard it, especially when I realized that it goes on and on and on.

Can someone remind me again why people still think this guy has any sort of credibility?

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