Winter driving tips from the Non-driving chick who grew up in the Sticks!

‘Tis true I don’t drive so what qualifies me to give my 2cents on this matter? Simple really I grew up in the country where you learn winter driving skills before you can walk!

First things first: SUVs and 4wheel drive do NOT A DAMN THING if you are stuck, all they will really do is insure that you remain stuck till some one comes along to pull you out! SUV’s are big and heavy so alll you will do is sink in further, 4 wheel drive only works if you are in 1st or 2nd gear and are creeping along, flooring it will do nothing for you!  If you want a car that will be good to you in the snow think Northern European: Saab, Volvo (preferably the older models) etc. These cars are built to withstand the  nordic winters.

Next: non clumping chunky kitty litter, at least two BIG bags in your trunk. They will give you a bit of usefull weight if your car is rear wheel drive and when you get stuck sprinkling some under your tires will give you some traction.

Finally: Snow Tires if you don’t have them all the Saaba/volvos and Kitty Litter won’t do crumb for you. Yes they are pricey but they are much cheaper than that repair bill/replacement cost on your car because you had All Seasons, lost control and went into a spin out.

A little Nauseous around the edges.

I’m not even sure where to begin so I’ll start at the beginning and give the Cliff’s Notes version. Back in September, a Philadelphia prostitute was raped at gunpoint by 4 men and when the case went to prelim trial the Judge ruled it was “theft of services” and not “true rape”. Gah! WTF??!! Basically because this woman has sex with men for money she can’t get raped…ok so then I want to ask this Judge if she thinks a woman can be raped by her husband?

I first read about this case on Hobo Stripper‘s Blog and have followed the case further on Bound, Not Gagged. It astounds me that there are still people who feel that Sex Trade Workers are some how less deserving of support and protection than non sex trade workers. That rape is an occupational hazard and they should just suck it up and move on. I’m at that point of angry with this judge that words are failing and communication is only becoming possible through clicks and grunts.

Why the Sonata?

I was asked in the comment section of my previous post why I chose the Sonata so I figured instead of writing a huge long reply I would just make it into a post…

I have been spinning for about two years now and in that time I have owned 4 wheels (a Louet S-10 single treadle, Ashford Joy DT, Ashford Kiwi and now a Kromski Sonata). Some may say that’s a lot of wheels in a short time but I don’t think so, I’m trying to find the right wheel for me and it’s been a bit of trial and error but a great learning experience! So far I think I have a good combination with the Sonata as my portable and the Kiwi as my stay at home and with the jumbo head the wheel I do all my plying on.

There are still a few wheels out there that have caught my eye so I will probably at some point decide to switch things up or just accept my fate as Gadget Junkie and start a collection of wheels. A friend once joked that my Dad had raised me well by instilling in me a fascination with mechanics, engineering and general all around tinkering as my earlier interest in fixing cars has turned into an interest in building a better wheel…Rachel H- consider this my application to be your first shop grunt.

Enough with that, onto the question at hand! The Sonata won out over some stiff competition…Louet had the Victoria (S95) coming out at the same time, there was the Little Gem by Majacraft (which Denny owns), the Canadian made Lendrum (Laura‘s wheel), and then there are all the custom wheels like Merlin Tree’s the Hitchhiker and Robin Wheels Wee Robin both of which I was able to test run at Rhinebeck.

I spent a chunk of time lurking around various Yahoo groups reading opinions and reviews of different wheels, looking at the manufacturers websites as well as talking to every spinner I know and I put together all this information with my own wheel experiences and narrowed down the list. Issues like space in my tiny bungalow is at a premium and I have a toddler who is a budding spinner (Rachel H pointed out her hand reaching for the wheel in the previous post) had to be taken into account as well. So the wheel needed to be small enough to be tucked out of the way but not so small when folded out that I felt crowded and also be able to cope with a toddler.

Louets Victoria was leading the list until I was able to get a hold of some measurements…it’s shorter (not by much mind you) than the Joy and I sold my Joy because I found the treadles were too small for my size 9 feet and I felt like I was “spinning into the orifice”, (Louet addressed that concern by designing the wheel so that the flyer tilted up).
The treadle set up on the Victoria is similar to the Lendrum in that the treadles are connected to one “drive shaft” which is then connected to the wheel, this ended up being the “thing” that took both the Lendrum and Victoria off the list as I just don’t like how that type of set up feels when spinning and I feel as though I don’t have as much control when treadling. It’s totally a personal quirk, I really like having two separate “drive shafts”, one for each treadle that are connected to the wheel.

Next up was the Little Gem, it’s a pretty wheel and I even found a review  that mentioned how it was toddler friendly as there were virtually no small or moving parts for Jr. to get into. It sounded great! I was all for getting one until one Knit Night a bunch of us were talking wheels and I said how I equated my Joy to a temperamental teenager (it was finicky and I was quite convinced that it did the absolute opposite of what I wanted it to just out of spite!) and that was why I was looking to sell it and get something less cantankerous. Denny said that that was precisely why she liked her Little Gem, she found the fine tuning a bit of an exciting challenge. So the Gem was off the list.

The Hitch Hiker went off the list only because it is a single treadle and I’m a hardcore DT gal. It was a great spin when I gave it a go at Rhinebeck!
The Wee Robin came off the list simply because of price, it’s about 1200$ US and the length of the wait list (last I heard was about 3 years)…it’s a beautiful wheel and you can totally see that Gilbert put a lot of thought into both form and function. This was a hard decision as I really loved spinning on this wheel at Rhinebeck and had to seriously think about not putting down a deposit. I do hope to one day have one of his wheels but it will have to wait till I have a safe place (read: studio/conservatory) for it.

By process of elimination I was left with the Sonata, I checked the measurements and it had a good orifice height, the treadles were well spaced apart, of a good size and they were individually connected to the wheel just the way I like it. There are also “Add Ons” like a fast flyer and a jumbo head  The foot print was a good size and looked quite stable and finally the wheel had a “Look” I liked…everything was in it’s favor even the price was good for me. There were only two things holding me back: the bag was an extra 120$US and there wasn’t a dealer close enough for me to give it a test run as the three Canadian dealers are a few provinces away. The extra cost of the bag was easily fixed when I found Copper Moose had a holiday special that included the carry bag but I was still a bit nervous about buying without a test run. Then I came across a “if you knew now what you knew then” thread about buying your first wheel on one of the spinning groups and there were a lot of opinions on all sorts of wheels and Kromski wheels came up a lot. As I was making my way through all those opinions another thread about portable wheels came up on another board and the first wave of Sonata’s had been shipped out by this time so there were comparisons being made between the Sonata and other portable wheels that helped me even more so I placed the order with Copper Moose.
The Woolery has recently added a really great page on their website that gives the stats of the four different folding wheels they sell and I suggest people start there if they are looking for a folding wheel.

Dawson College News Coverage

This event is simply horrific and it is being made more so by the media’s coverage. News anchors saying things like: “if you are an eye witness and or have any photos, video or anything you want to share please call us with your stories”. Tactics like this were why I couldn’t/wouldn’t hack-it in Journalism school. I knew this wasn’t going to work for me when in my Law and Ethics class (oh the irony!) when we were told that our job is to sell papers plain and simple.

Remember kids: If it bleeds it leads and “the truth” is irrelevant in the face of sales.

On Complaints

I had a huge long post about whiny people, false sense of entitlement and such but I have decided to keep this post short…

First of all: NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING!!!!Get over yourself already!
Secondly: If you are making a complaint about something that the person you are speaking with cannot fix but they give you the contact info for the person who can don’t:

*Make some derogatory comment about “us Kids” then say we need to “get some responsability for once in your life”

*State that this is unsatisfactory customer service…Unsatisfactory customer service would be to blow you off.

Or most aggravating of all:

*Competly pussy out and shirk from the business car being handed you like it’s a nasty diaper and say ” well no that’s ok you can just pass along my sentiments to them”… If you are not willing to take ownership of your complaint and voice it to the appropirate person who CAN ACTUALLY HELP then it’s clear that your concerns aren’t that serious and you just like the sound of your own voice or perhaps you are hoping that someone else will stand up and do it for you…

On power ballads

Recently I stumbled across the last 30 minutes of an episode of Heavy: the story of Metal and thanks to the glory that is the intarweebs the full 4 episode series was located and I was able to watch it all…It is a poorly kept secret that I am a bit of a headbanger…(my love of AC/DC and Slash is well mocked among certain friends…but that’s ok…I’ll just be teaching their kids to sing the whole Twisted Sister library as revenge)…I have realized that I need to rebuild my collection of albums as many were either stolen by Exs or sold to buy groceries and pay rent…but I’m digressing…

My Point is this: Power Ballads are not such a bad thing. I know many of the guys who were interviewed hated writing and preforming this type of song, and many did so under duress from the record companies for the sake of album sales…the strandard formula for single releases were first single= traditional metal song, second single= power ballad. Don’t believe me check the charts for the years 1980 to 1998…as hated as these songs are (although Jani Lanes’ hatred of Cherry Pie trumps all) by the artist there is many a teenaged boy who is forever thankful to the existence of these songs for helping facilitate him rounding the proverbial baseball diamond with a chick. These songs only raison d’etre is to get your girlfriend into the backseat of your car and hopefully she will have forgotten her pants in the front seat.

So gentlemen I understand it pains you to sing it but there are a whole lot of guys who owe you big for recording these songs…

Mr. Darcy revisited

While the weather yesterday left a lot to be desired, I took the opportunity while Abi was napping to watch the film version of Pride and Prejudice that came out recently. I enjoyed both the film and the earlier miniseries that turned Colin Firth and his portrayal of Mr. Darcy into shower head massager fodder for many people but I was disappointed with some aspects of the film. I felt that certain aspects of Regency/Georgian society were ignored, in particular the manner in which men and women and the diffrent classes interacted and that the film just went too fast and seemed to rely on the viewer having read the book so that the story jumps could be filled in on your own.

As for which Mr. Darcy I preferr…that’s a bit tricky, I wasn’t too thrilled with Matthew Macfadyen’s protrayal in the beginning as I felt that he was having a bit of trouble making Mr. Darcy his own but eventually found it and came across (in my opinion) as a Regency version of Lloyd Dobbler, I was half expecting to see him hanging arround ouside Lizzie’s window with a piano forte playing the Regency equivalent of “In Your Eyes” and that the scene of him walking along the field in the early morning mist with his long coat all fluttery behind him is right up there with Colin Firth walking up to Pemberly with his wet shirt after his dip in the river…

No snappy title here…

I was going to blog about this horrible person I had to deal with at work today but Chris suggest that perhaps I not as people have been fired for blogging about their work. My theory was that I wasn’t defaming work just the wretched person who came in but he still cautioned me against it. So I will err on the side of keeping a paycheque and instead tell you about my freebie list…For those who have no clue of what I speak I’ll give you the short answer. Your Freebie list is a list of 10 famous living people who if the chance came up you could snogg/shagg without any recourse from your mate as they too have a freebie list and things go both ways…

So onto My Freebie List, I’ll just let you know that this is in no particular order of preference and is a work in progress…

So far it has John Cusack, Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen…Am I the only one who thinks it interesting that two of the three have played Mr Darcy?! Anyway there is also Hugh Grant (didn’t he too play Mr Darcy?! I think I see a trend…) and Simon Pegg…So yeah I’m up to only five!!! Oh crap! I think I need to start to channel my inner 13 year old more as I can’t for the life of me fill out my the remaining spots on the list right now…!

Hmmm…..this will require some serious thought…

Dumb and Dumber

So Harpers plan to give parents 100$ per child a month is more than likely to be clawed back by the Ontario government from families who are recieving social assistance!

What the hell!!!??? Personally I would be happier with more daycare spaces that follow the Quebec 7 dollar a day system than the 100$ that will be clawed back by the province. Seriously there has got to be a better system than what we are being offered.

Train delays and the Knitting Olympics

Things were going so well this morning until the subway train I was on went out of service 5 stops from where I needed to be. I was making good time and would beable to get myself a coffee on the way but something had happened that had stopped service from Broadview to Keel stations on the Bloor line. We were directed up to the bus platform where we were then directed where to stand and wait for the Shuttle buses (which the Operator guy mumbled under his breath was god only knows where) I decided to take one of the Streetcars along Dundas where I could pick up the University subway line to get up to work…Needles to say I got to work 45 minutes late and a little annoyed but I wasn’t angry with the TTC I was actually quite fed up with all the people bitching and complaining to the TTC staff and anyone else who seemed to walk by about how this had just ruined their day etc. I have to say that I really am at the end of my rope with hearing pointless customer complaints, (this is perhaps a sign that I should start to look for a diffrent job) and general bitching and chewing. The TTC guy who was standing at the bus platform really didn’t need to be screamed and swore at like he was the cause of the train derailment (that was one of the rumors another had to do with track damage) so everyones Sunday morning would be ruined. All I have to say is yelling at the messenger might make you feel better but they don’t deserve it, you won’t get any closer to your destination and you just end up looking like a major Asshat.

As for my Knitting Olympics project… well I had to send it to the frog pond already. Luckily I was only a few inches into the process but it just capped off a poopie day rather nicely.