geekery, drawing and then some

2009 (old posts, page 5)


Over the weekend I planted some seeds for plants I eventually want to plant outside on my balcony. I started out with courgette (zucchini), sage, thyme, rosemary, Tropaeolum, mustard and several types of beans.

Some have already started germination, even the tiny thymeseeds start to look green. Others, not so much yet. Patience….

Tidied up balcony.

Installed a rack. I installed a rack for my empty pots and to put my herbs on.

Perhaps I can put some plants that like shade on the middle layer.

Hike over artificial island.

20090510-224531-1 This afternoon we hiked over a small artificial island (it’s a Dutch thing). We saw a very weird larva there.

Bf said it eats through wood so I told Nano to sit and stay away from it so it wouldn’t jump at her and bite her.

Ofcourse she didn’t listen and attacked it, tossing it in the air. It did seem unhurt, I suspect she wanted to toy with it because we paid more attention to it than to her.

Hurray for home-grown veggies.

20090506 Bonsaibasil 001 I got the confirmation from the tax-company that I’ll get a (preliminary) tax-return which should mean the money arrives in my account tomorrow or so.

To ‘celebrate’ we went out and got some stuff for my balcony: pots / containers / soil), and seeds and plants.

I got four long wooden containers (they look great!) and the following plants:

  • 4 tiny celery plants
  • 4 tiny parsleys
  • 4 tiny corn salads
  • 1 big cucumber plant (with baby cucumbers)
  • 1 small sweet pepper plant
  • 1 bonsai basil (very nice!)
  • 1 small lovage

and seeds for: spring onions rosemary garlic chives corn salad * courgette (or zucchini or summersquash depending on where you live)

Through a friend I got three tomato-plants, seeds for beetroot, basil, parsley, peas and several types of beans. I’m still looking for pinto-bean seeds, but they seem somewhat unavailable in the NL. I also still have rocket-seed, Tropaeolum and tons of seeds for sprouts (alfalfa, garden cress, etc).

I think I have enough…. (though boyfriend promised me oregano and thyme plants / seeds)

I want a bunch of smaller pots to put herbs in. It’ll look nice and helps to sow in phases.

I’m looking forward to seeding and growing, especially the sprouts. I seem to be able to eat bread again, so that would mean nice summer sandwiches with veggies and cheese and herbs and such :D

I have a balcony on the south, and even though most Dutch people think we do not get any sun, I can assure you we do. It gets pretty hot on my balcony, which I hope will help with the somewhat exotic plants (cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, courgette).

Now I only need a garden-hose, cause I’m not dragging water over every day :P

We haven’t set it up yet, but will take pictures when we do.

Shopping lists


[Updated: 2009-12-11: I no longer recommend Shopper, as of version 5.0. This paid app started to display ads and other cluttering info. See my newer post for more info ]

I generally make a shopping list when I go out buying groceries (about once per week). I used to go nearly every oter day, and spent money on food I hoped I could eat (but usually couldn’t) which turned into one big waste pile which didn’t feel good, money and waste wise. I put myself on a ‘shopping list diet’ basically, not buying anything that’s not on the list. I check the pantry and the fridge before I go out and note what I need to buy. I read somewhere that if it wasn’t important enough to put on your list while checking pantry and fridge, it’s certainly not important enough to buy in the store just because you see it.

I do stray from this a bit, sometimes, when in the store I remember I need to buy dog-cookies (not in my pantry, so I don’t see that I need too) or better, when they’re on sale. I want to have a good enough stash of dog-food and treats for my dog. So occasionally I will stray from the list a bit, however, in general, the list really works. I have basically cut my grocery spending by at least 40% (yes, I did overspent horribly on groceries for a while).

For my shopping list making I’ve used Shopper for iPhone since September last year (and I admit I’ve strayed from the list a lot until last month, nothing to do with the program). I love the way it works, though I have flirted with other programs in the meantime. See, what I missed was the option to set the price based on store (to see where I could get the best deal). Realising today I had never e-mailed them to tell them that, I went to the website and found an entire page about Shopper v3 with all the functions I missed.

Now I can’t wait for it to come out. I’m sure I’ll love it. I love Shopper v2 for its simplicity already. Can only get better… ;)

A balcony garden.

With the weather getting hotter I looked at my balcony to see what I want to do with it this year. I browsed the internet and find a whole site about Square Foot Gardening. Though I have limited space, I think I can manage a few boxes about 30cm x 30cm (1’x1’) in a row. Not technically what the site mentions, but close enough.

I have a bunch of strawberry-plants that could go in, and I want more fresh herbs (I hate buying them in the store). Mmm project!

In need for a goal. A clear goal.

I need a goal. I’ve been drawing more (will post actual drawings and sketches and doodles soon) recently, but where does it go? Though I like drawing for the sake of drawing, I also want to do more with it, but I have no clue what. Boyfriend said I should make a book, like Danny Gregory or Michael Nobbs. Well, he actually called them ‘them lot’ cause he forgets the names.

This sounds nice and all, but I feel I should have some kind of message, or something to say at least if I do that. I guess I don’t really feel like I have that much to say (and you wonder why I still talk so much…).

I need a clear goal badly. Do I want to publish (self-publish) a book with my drawings? Should it have a theme then? What do I talk about? Where am I going with all this?

Routines, rituals and purpose.

Nano in the water. Today Nano and I walked to our default swimming-spot. She does the swimming, I just stand on the side. It got pretty warm so I sat on the grass as she hopped into the water and dragged herself to the mud. On our way home she rolled around on the grass and in more mud, which resulted in a trip to the bathroom after we came home. She did not enjoy that much, however, napping on the balcony in the sunshine seemed to make up for it.

While sitting in the grass I thought about Michael’s post about routines. Like Michael I have worked on a drawing routine and routines in general. My life in general got pretty thrown upside down with the surgery and I still feel I haven’t quite got my life back in order. Ever since surgery everything revolves around food and eating, or as my boyfriend recently said ‘You’re either preparing food, or trying to get and keep it in.’. I had little choice but to just do exactly that, as part of recovery. I make food, I eat, I drink, and I try to do things around that. Any type of routine I have, revolves around food.

Recently I’ve had this itch. I want to do more and especially do more drawing. Despite having a bit of trouble getting it into my daily routine, I want to, I have to do more drawing, more creative stuff. I want to get back to that situation where my schedule and routines don’t revolve around food and eating, but the eating becomes a part of the routine itself, without being the routine itself. I do try to make food-preparation as creative as possible, by trying new recipes and making a nice lunch for the days I go to work. But it’s still about food and eating. I need working routines, I’d love some inspiring rituals and I want some meaningful purpose in my life.

I need more than just food.

The drawing habit: day 9.

imgI did do some drawing today, just not the regular kind.

I wanted a handdrawn design on my website for quite some time, and then Michael Nobbs tweeted a site with a whole list of handdrawn designs. This of course meant I should get my act together and do it.

I spent the entire day doodling, and working with my graphic tablet. Soooo tired.

And so very happy with how it turned out!

I think everything works as it should, feel free to comment if it doesn’t.

The drawing habit: day 8.

Drawing habit: day 8 After a week of drawing I suddenly didn’t draw for a few days. Not sure why, I just had all these other things to do suddenly. I decided to draw something I wanted to draw for a while, but thought would be too hard to draw.

Pretty satisfied with how Zoji turned out. I call him Zoji ‘cause we’re very good friends.

Bit.ly + TextExpander + Applescript = WIN!

I wanted an easy way to shorten my URLs through one of the URL-shorteners out there. I liked bit.ly, because it’s nice and short, has an easy to navigate web-interface (without a mouse) and I can use its magic with my terminal (cURL).

I also very much like TextExpander and after googling a bit, I ofcourse found an Applescript for TextExpander and Bit.ly. That link also shows how to set it up in TextExpander, very handy! The script does not however use your actual bit.ly account so you can keep track of the URLs you shorten. I tweaked it and made adjustments and it took hours and ofcourse, then I find this which is almost exactly what I had, except with URL-encoding (yummy). The only problem with that one was that I couldn’t get it to have the URLs show up in my recent history. The ‘history=1’ didn’t seem to work.

I tweaked some more and came up with something that completely does what I want. I use OmniWeb so I replaced the

set the PageURL to (the clipboard as string)


tell application "OmniWeb" set PageURL to address of active tab of browser 1 end tell

If you use safari, use

tell application "Safari" set PageURL to URL of front document end tell

I’ve made this as readable as possible, the ‘¬’ do matter in Applescript.

tell application "OmniWeb" set PageURL to address of active tab of browser 1 end tell

set login to "YOUR LOGIN" set api_key to "YOUR API KEY" set the EncodedURL to urlencode(PageURL) of me

set curlCMD to ¬ "curl --stderr /dev/null \"http://api.bit.ly/v3/shorten?format=txt&longUrl=" ¬ & EncodedURL & "&history=1&login=" & login ¬ & "&apiKey=" & api_key ¬ & "\""

\-- Run the script and get the result: set bitlyURL to (do shell script curlCMD)

return bitlyURL

on urlencode(theText)
set theTextEnc to "" repeat with eachChar in characters of theText
set useChar to eachChar
set eachCharNum to ASCII number of eachChar
if eachCharNum = 32 then
    set useChar to "+" else if (eachCharNum ‚↠42) and (eachCharNum ‚↠95) ¬
    and (eachCharNum < 45 or eachCharNum > 46) ¬
    and (eachCharNum < 48 or eachCharNum > 57) ¬
    and (eachCharNum < 65 or eachCharNum > 90) ¬
    and (eachCharNum < 97 or eachCharNum > 122) then
        set firstDig to round (eachCharNum / 16) rounding down
        set secondDig to eachCharNum mod 16 if firstDig > 9 then
            set aNum to firstDig + 55 set firstDig to ASCII character aNum
end if
if secondDig > 9 then
    set aNum to secondDig + 55
    set secondDig to ASCII character aNum
end if
set numHex to ("%" & (firstDig as string) ¬
 & (secondDig as string)) as string
 set useChar to numHex
end if
set theTextEnc to theTextEnc & useChar as string
end repeat
return theTextEnc
end urlencode

ETA (2010.09.30): bit.ly changed a few things so I changed the script above to reflect that