Diary of a Marked W•man


Paris, May 2008

Sun. the 4th: Opening the file manager in my website on Geocities I saw all the files were gone, including the index page. I used the "contact-us" form and 2 days later I was advised that my website was functioning properly again. Before I got that good piece of news I googled my name and there were only very very few instances where my name appeared. I tried the Wayback machine but apparently it had not crawled my site since 2003. It said I had put a bot to prevent crawlers from indexing my site. Whaaat?

Sun. the 11th: Today I installed the vintage stereo receiver I bought on eBay recently. I needed a little e-mail hand holding, having not used a tuner-amp in the last 30 years or so, and I got scared when I looked up on Google for advice and saw that if the impedance was not right you could kill your unit just like that. Now the hardest part will be to find good music to play. The speakers are very good British ones my little bro gave me back in 2002 to replace those he took from my storage while I was in the US and lost track of.

I had to do some furniture switching because computer was resting on one of the speakers so to free the speaker I put in its stead 2 cubes that are filled with LPs (which belong to li'l bro) and in this manner these cubes are no longer in the way. Now the speakers need to be on stands, not resting on the floor. While I was doing the moving I cleaned because the area, what with the cables etc. and the hard to move speaker and computer, was quite dusty and hard to reach.

This coming week I hope I'll finally receive the wicker items I bought back on February the 11th. I have received another funny notice that the parcel has arrived and is available not at my post office branch nearby but at the other branch farther in the 12th district.

Last month I wove 3 or 4 bands on my tablet loom, I even found a way to make bands shorter than 350cm but I had the idea to make netted shopping bags to replace those that are given out free in the produce department (and end up in the trash). So I brushed up my knotting skills and have been trying to make one bag by following the isntructions on the book "Down East Netting" but I had to stop when I found that a thread join I had made was preventing me from continuing, and the reason this join was there was because I had not put enough thread on the shuttle. Morality: fill the shuttle to the gills before you start netting and you won't need to make joins.

Wed. the 21st: Sometimes I may read too much in what people say, and I had this kind of experience for about 3 days thinking the man who sold me the receiver and asked a few personal questions had a special interest in me. So I ended up asking if he was married and he replied that he was, but that was after I had already asked him to come to Paris to install the metal supports for the loudspeakers that he invented and he had already said that he was not against it in principle. Then I learned that he lives a stone's throw from the Mediterranean coast and as small as France is compared to the USA, this meant an 8 hours-100 euro car ride each way and even with my best effort to pay him decently for a day's work doing small repairs in my apartment together with the install of the speaker fixations, plus the purchase of a cassette deck from him, I couldn't pay for his time on the road. I could not either find a satisfactory sleeping arrangement unless I bought some piece of furniture. Why would he spend all this time travelling for me? I didn't feel comfortable with the idea after all. So I ended up cancelling my offer and apoligizing for any inconvenience.

I have these past month or so been actively involved on a forum about the environment and what we can do individually to consume less resources and recycle and save. But I was annoyed by a woman who goes by the handle "Persephone". I had the impression she was out to get me because every solution I proposed she tried to shoot it down. On a thread about laundry, I uploaded a funny pic from the 1930s or 40s of a man sharpening knives on a grindstone that is activated by the pedals on his bicycle and suggested that this system could be adapted to a laundry drum in order to remove the water from the laundry by centrifugal force, so she replied something like: You're going to spray the pedestrians with the water coming off this drum. She had not reflected that the knife sharpener was at work in the street and that a person doing laundry had no business being in the street and that it would be very inconvenient, not to say impossible, to go out in the street with a laundry drum attached to to bike every time one needed to force the water out of laundry before drying. I said the bike would have to be stationary like those bikes for indoor exercise. She had no reply to this but most of the time she replied to my comments in a very short time as if she was constantly watching the activity on the forum. She gave me the impression that her environmentalism was just a facade because she had no drastic action in mind. Most of her contribution was to suggest switching from one brand to another, even for make-up and she acted with the tone of a leader and several times asked people to follow her example. She also said several times that she was 20 years old and I ended doubting it. More and more, her petty aggression and mean-mindedness reminded me of my mother and it would be just like my mom to take the identity of a 20 year old so it was all I could do at one time, after she said one more time that she was twenty years old, not to reply and say that she forgot the 4 before the twenty, because that is how we say 80 in French, "4 times twenty". But I didn't want to waste adrenaline on such a speck so I just unsigned myself from most threads since I had said all I had to contribute and nobody was bringing any new info.

On the subject of how to reduce our consumption of plastic shopping bags I came up with the idea that we should all learn how to net like fishermen, to make our own netted bags that can replace those at the produce stand for weighing fruit and vegetables. A forum participant sounding just like mom with another handle immediately asked me "so what are you waiting for? Do you have a blog, to teach us how to do it? and other challenging language implying that I was all talk and no action. For Chirst's sake, I had just come up with the idea and she was berating me for not having a video tutorial up already. Just like mom. I researched my books, started netting, wrote instructions, wrote Rita Bartholomew from knotsindeed.com to ask if she was interested in having her site translated into French and she responded enthusiastically that she had the space to host a copy of her own site in the French language so I started translating instructions for beginning netting etc. but was not satisfied with the way she handled my contribution and today I wrote her saying I didn't wish to continue this way because I had no control on the final product of my translation and I was losing too much time writing her what corrections she needed to make and getting upset when I saw that several days later she still had not made them. I also saw that one page I had translated had disappeared even from her own english website. On the other hand she sent me a pdf attachment saying she needed my comment on it but I couldn't open it. The file was 18Mb and she offered to split it and re-send but since she wasn't even doing correctlythe two pages I had translated, there was no point in going in yet another directions.

I posted the news about my translation on the forum, and link to knotsindeed, gave info on where in France to find the netting needles, what thread to buy, what to use for a mesh stick and all the info I could think of to get people started. I tried to upload a photo of a circular netting I had just done but the server did not complete the upload and instead a sign said "photo suppressed" so I uploaded all my netting pictures to a new album on my Flickr account and posted a link to that album.

While searching my mind for a ready-made mesh stick I thought about a tongue-depressor because these have a good width for netting shopping bags, so I looked it up on the net, saw on a commercial link that they come in boxes of 100 for USD1.5. I added the info about tongue depressor to the forum thread without mentioning the commercial link, just saying doctors among us, or people in contact with them, could get tongue depressors for mesh sticks, and within a very short time a forum user replied "You don't need to be a doctor, you can buy them by the box of 100 for USD1.5. A new comment was posted. It was the moderator who reminded users of the rules and removed the link to the commercial site.

Then I had the idea to look up what cocobolo wood looks like because Marie-Jo of the filet website had acted so impolitely after I wrote 2 good book reviews for the books she sells and she posted them on her site, that I had a suspicion she had sold me a cheap tongue depressor for US$15 just by saying it was made of cocobolo wood. And lo and behold, I was right! Cocobolo is a dark reddish wood and what she sold me is made of light tan wood. But she tipped me off hrself to her dishonesty because my elogious reviews and friendly note afterwards must have made her feel very uncomfortable so she just acted outrageously. I told her I wanted to buy one of the books she is now selling and she didn't even reply. So after I saw she had bamboozled me I wrote her a note:

Marie Jo,
The mesh stick that you said was made of cocobolo wood and sold me for 15 USD is one of those tongue depressors that sell for aprox. USD 1.5 for a box of 100 pieces. Which means the price of ONE tongue depressor is 0.015 and you multiplied it by ONE THOUSAND to sell it to me under the guise of an exotic wood. Here is a page showing what cocobolo wood looks like and it sure doesn't look like what you sold me:
Not to mention the little dishonesty you did when you used first the correct exchange rate but the second time an inflated rate because you wanted euros instead of you tanking currency.
Shame on you!

And here is my email to Rita at knotsindeed:

I found it, then I couldn't find it anymore a few hours later. I translated all the links at the top of your pages and at the Pattens and Images page so you could do the exact same organization as your English language site. Even if the pages are not yet translated, it would help me if you did that. So the links are empty so what? It isn't going to bother anybody.

I have noted on the "learn to knot with thread" that you haven't replaced the title with the translation I gave you in my email of Friday. The title ein French is: COMMENT NOUER LE FILET AVEC DU FIL - and you need to remove the word FINIS at the end.

But I'm afraid this solution of hosting the French translation on your site isn't going to work anyway because I have no control of the final result and it would be faster if I created a site myself instead of writing you to tell you what corrections I think are needed and getting upset when I see that they aren't made a few days later.

This was the other alternative I proposed you and it would be better for me. Besides even if I used images from your site it wouldn't violate your copyright since you grant permission to copy for non-commercial use. However I would give you credit for all the drawings and link to your site on every page. I don't need your permission to do that but I am informing you beforehand out of courtesy.


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