Thursday, April 29, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he's supposed to be doing at that moment.—Robert Benchley

I can knit untold rows while the laundry languishes, the dirty floors fester, and the inside of the fridge auditions for a George Romero movie.

Spreadsheet as Design Subterfuge
And while my Excel reports fester, here’s what I know: If you’re working in an office and you get the urge to create, there’s nothing better than using Excel as a charting tool.

A window rapidly hidden when the boss pops in. You can put a dummy worksheet in front of your charting page, click on the tab, and your 40-row repeat chart is immediately whisked away from prying eyes.

Joe and I were talking about using Excel this past weekend. He used it to chart his Fashion of the Christ Fair Isle. It truly is a good charting tool, especially if you don’t want to spend money on the charting software that’s out there. You can color and size the squares, the rows are automatically numbered, if you like, you can stick symbols into the squares if you prefer, you can even draw in the squares if you want to do your own cabling symbols. I set up a palette of squares first and then cut and paste what I want from that.

I’m thinking about including directions on how to use Excel to chart in my book. Many people aren’t comfortable with Excel or haven’t used it at all. It’s probably one of the most powerful MS applications available to the great unwashed and yet at its simplest, it can do very elegant functions.

If you’ve got Billy Gates’s Office, you’ve got Excel, if you didn’t know that.

I’m in a D. Parker Mood
As I always say, Dorothy Parker’s my inspiration, although I’m not nearly as depressed. Joe was asking me where Tontant Weader comes from. To refresh your collective memories, DP had a column in New Yorker magazine called Constant Reader, wherein she reviewed books. Her famous one-line review of AA Milne’s House at Pooh Corner: "Tontant Weader frowed-up."

If you’re interested in Ms. Parker (and you should be, she was a wit of the first water), check out Dorothy Parker’s New York. And read Marion Meade’s bio, What Fresh Hell is This? All of Dorothy Parker's poems are located online here.

Somewhat coincidentally, DP was also a prolific knitter. Perhaps she was truly the original Knitting Curmudgeon. I’ll leave you with one of her rare and handy poems, one which I think addresses aging far better than some moronic red hat.

The Little Old Lady in Lavender Silk
I was seventy-seven, come August,
I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I've experienced zephyr and raw gust
And (symbolical) flood and simoom.

When you come to this time of abatement,
To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
As to what you got out of it all.

So I'll say, though reflection unnerves me
And pronouncements I dodge as I can,
That I think (if my memory serves me)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

In my youth, when the crescent was too wan
To embarrass with beams from above,
By the aid of some local Don Juan
I fell into the habit of love.

And I learned how to kiss and be merry- an
Education left better unsung.
My neglect of the waters Pierian
Was a scandal, when Grandma was young.

Though the shabby unbalanced the splendid,
And the bitter outmeasured the sweet,
I should certainly do as I then did,
Were I given the chance to repeat.

For contrition is hollow and wraithful,
And regret is no part of my plan,
And I think (if my memory's faithful)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

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