Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 9

Day 14+7+36, October 13. 55 new, Auckland 53, Waikato 2; 1719 in the cluster; 529 active, 1190 recovered. Parts of Waikao and Northland will remain in Level 3 (no picnic) until Monday. Auckland remain in level 3 (with picnic) and the rest of the country Level 2. I wasn't able to make this tulip flower. But she's still very beautiful.
Day 14+7+37, October 14. 71 new, all Auckland; 1790 in the cluster; 599 active, 1191 recovered. Two Asian Auckland "sex workers" were found in Blenheim, 90 min from us on the South Island. They tested negative, thank goodness, but their names, ages, and CCTV/police footage were all over within hours of the news breaking. Judge denied name suppression. Northland absconders, one of whom obtained essential worker status illegally, well that's hush hush. WTF. 
Day 14+7+38, October 15. 65 new, all Auckland; 1855 in the cluster; 664 active, 1189 recovered. 
Instead of pruning dead branches like I planned, I threaded. Or tried to, I'm using some of my favorites, 20/2 and 60/2 cotton. But 2/60s are getting harder and harder to see, and unlike 20/2s I could never "feel" that size, so un-pairng from the 20/2s involves bending over and looking out from a different part of my glasses. And then further bending-over for threading both threads. Still, the combination do magical things to "colors", so, worth it.   
Day 14+7+39, October 16. 41 new, Auckland 40, Waikato 1; 1895 in the cluster; 640 active, 1247 recovered. Today was Super Shot Saturday Vaxathon, a somewhat hastily-announced vaccination day, in over 120 different locations around New Zealand. There was live television in the 1980s telethon style, (with sign interpreters in most locations, which was impressive,) different locations offering food, drinks, prizes; musos, dancing; politicians, celebrities, sports starts, medical professionals, and never forget, so many volunteers. The weather was fabulous in most places, it appears. 
I said previously that we come from a certain time and a certain place, so we find vaccine hesitancy incomprehensible. But, you know, if folks like the festivity and can be swayed, or just as important, if rural folks can get it done easily, (there was a fly-through at a small rural airport for people with small planes,) why not. Jacinda was hoping for 100,000 shots today; around 6PM I think we cleared 125,000. I'll get the numbers tomorrow. 

Ben pruned trees I had intended to all week; I kept digging up weeds, but also put in/moved a few plants. Ben cleared about a third of our long-decommissioned veg patch. We hastily stuck some seeds in, which may not have been the wisest way, but heck... And I discovered blackbirds decimated my cornflowers all along the driveway. 
Rain tomorrow. 
Day 14+7+40, October 17. 51 new, "in Auckland and Waikato"; 1945 in the cluster; 621 active, 1322 recovered. Yesterday 130,002 got jabbed: 39,025, firsts, 90,977, seconds. 65% over 12 is fully vaccinated, 85% half-ly; low-ish, but considering we've had vaccines for unspecial folks since mid-July, OK-ish. It's the rest of the folks, rural and/or with other practical impediments, or card-carrying antis, who are going to bard to reach. 
The first thing I saw on the Internet this morning was this Guardian article. It's confirmed something I suspected awhile. A couple of weeks ago Level 3 with picnic, (and two or three more stages,) signalling we are no longer aiming for eradication, and the vaxathon, were rather suddenly thrust upon us. A group of usual-suspect "scientists" said they weren't consulted about the levels, and don't recommend complicating something we more or less got used to. The government said they were consulted; fine-tuning of the levels was meant to move Auckland to Level 2 incrementally; this is the new direction with a largely vaccinated population in mind. Rumor is we're going to ditch the Levels system and move onto traffic light system; so far I can't make sense of it. Hospital system is under pressure as is; border quarantine is making a lot of folks unhappy; there will be home quarantine, (yikes!) and travel, (YIKES!!). The linked article is worth your time; the interactive graphs alone are pretty neat.
Today's is another unedited but selective showing of our veg patch. At 3AM I woke up panting, imagining neighbourhood cats pooing and knew I must stick all the stakes we've got left. We had wind and rain today, but first thing tomorrow, definitely. 
Day 14+7+41, October 18. 60 new, Auckland 57, Waikato 3; 2005 in the cluster; 633 active, 1370 recovered. Auckland will remain in Level 2 (with picnic); this status will be reviewed on November 1. Parts of Waikato remains in Level 2 (no frills, I think); status to be reviewed on Friday. Northland will enter Level 2 on Wednesday. The rest of us remain in Level 2. There will be an announcement on the new traffic light system on Friday. 

Day 14+7+42, October 19. 94 new, Auckland 87, Waikato 7; 2099 in the cluster; 713 active, 1384 recovered. The media started to report not only how many got jabbed, but how many remains unjabbed. The number of genomically unlinked cases are increasing, but I can't find today's number. 
[EDIT: 183 unlinked cases.]
I weeded for four hours this afternoon, but for the time I spent, it was such a small area I was so disappointed. The wind picked up again, as did the temperature, and I'm afraid all the tulip petals will be blown away in the next few days if it keeps up.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Yet-Unnamed: Part 1

I should start recording my process/progress on my latest yet-unnamed project/s before I start to forget.

Sometime in early October, I remembered Refinery has two exhibitions early next year to which I could potentially submit weavings; one is RAW and the other is Changing Threads. I looked up due dates, which turned out to be five days apart in February. 
I have a few givens. Because I have been experimenting with Summer & Winter, with 20/2 and 60/2 mercerized cotton, I want to continue to work with these. I also have a few preliminary idea of size and shape of the finished piece, and how to hang it. 
Remembering the experience of weaving the purple piece, which I started on the day of the last US election, and because I am currently in that precarious in-between place of Level 2 lockdown, (not strict, but not exactly "almost normal",) I have in mind working on themes such as "uncertainty" or "disinformation".
To this end, I thought the cloudy look of my "old wallpaper" (hereafter abbreviated as OW) sample would suit, so I looked for data on how I wove OW, to no avail. However, I found another sample, the only other that I wove on this warp in a similar manner but which didn't wash/finish to look like OW.

After looking over more colorful Summer & Winter samples, however, I wondered if a noisier, more confusing, discordant look expressed the idea better. 
After a few days to-ing and fro-ing in my head, I realized I only have one sample with the OW look, and must sample more before assessing which look is more suitable. With no written data, I had a closer look at the sample:
* The warp threads are 60/2 silver blue for tie-down shafts, and 20/2 pale blue in pattern shafts;
* The wefts are 20/2 yellow for tabby and 20/2 medium blue for pattern;
* I couldn't tell how many shafts I used, neither for tie-down nor pattern, but pattern shafts appear to be probably no more than four; 
* I have no idea how I threaded except it was random;  
* Tie-down is diamond-shaped. It could have been 1-2-3-4-1-4-3-2-1; I wove this on Klik, so there are enough shafts, but I also think unlikely because of the relative "complexity" of lifting. 
* I also have no idea when I sampled this.
* Sett is probably between 84 or 90EPI, slightly more crammed than 42 or 45EPI counting only the 20/2 ends. 
OW probably works when there are not many hues. The interest is in the texture and overall pattern, which may be distracted by many hues. I can see mixing 60/2 to create nuance, but less so 20/2 unless they are very close hue and value. On the other hand, if seen from some distance, as this would be in an exhibition, many in the close hues/values may make the piece appear more intense.
I looked at what threads I have on hand. Out of habit I checked for cones of same hue: I have some oranges but no reds in 60/2; I have yellows; I have many 60/2 in what I call "raincoat" colors, pale, indecisive blues and greens, along with one or two pale blue 20/2s, but no gray 20/2 which I prefer. Because of the number of cones in very similar hues, I made a short sample warp in oranges.  
It is possible to weave more than one look, e.g. a blurred, cloudy "uncertainty" vs. noisy, screamy "confusion" or "disinformation". One technical possibility is to use the pattern shafts in blocks, which may allow larger patterns, visible from a distance.  

For the next few days, however, I will be threading this. I'll use only 1 and 2 for tabby and 3-12 for pattern, as I thought using all 16 would make sampling too cumbersome. I plan to weave the real deal on the big loom downstairs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Plague Diary Season 3 Week 8

Day 14+7+29, October 6. It's not looking great on Auckland's first day of the slightly loosened Level 3, and I'm getting a little confused, learning new place names as well. 39 new, Auckland 30, Waikato 9; some of these folks live further south of the special section in Waikato; 1420 in the cluster; 334 active, 1085 recovered. Sadly there was the second death from this cluster. There was also a "weak positive" from an essential worker testing in Northland; I'm not sure if this person is included in today's number, but we can only hope Delta hasn't jumped that far north.
Gang members have a few positive cases among them, and are largely unvaccinated. Ben tells me a Gang Boss who lives outside Auckland was hired by the government/ministry and was given essential worker status to go into Auckland and tell his lot to get jabbed. 
I peeled and juiced 41 limes. While peeling, the oil in the skin flew all over and I was sneezing like it's a terrible hayfever day. The peel went into the oven for low-temp fan grill because we had rain all day. I was going to make lime, vanilla and ginger cookies, too, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow. The sneezing and juicing wore me out. And I still have to kneed bread tonight. 
I was eager to start working on a new weaving project, but at this point it's mostly inside my head, or sorting out logistics, like asking exhibition organizers if it's OK to post about the project in process; like asking my source if certain colors are still available; figuring out the approximate size of the piece; and how a piece of softish fabric must be hung to obtain/maintain a certain shape in the air. I love inside days.
Day 14+7+30, October 7. 29 new, Auckland and Waikato; 1448 in the cluster; 362 active, 1085 recovered. I've been saying I'm copying Radio NZ numbers, but I realized just today I've been looking at the government's Unite Against CIVID-19 all the while. I watch the updates, most days live, but I'm loosing the plot. Hibiscus Coast, north of Auckland, might have had a case yesterday; apparently there is the highest concentration of old folks' care homes. Today there was a bit of talk about enhancing testing options. Also, the boundary of Waikato's Level 3 area is changing at midnight. Also, just now on the late news, the aforementioned weak-positive truckie tested positive in Northland. Also, doctors and modelling peeps in the press are cautioning Delta will spread and increase, and this summer is going to be different from other years. In other words, we are following New South Wales and Victoria's pattern.   
Today inadvertently turned into an all-day-kitchen day. I first had to repair an exploding bread; then I peeled and juiced 58 limes, which took an awfully long time. Some were tiny, about the size of a big grape, so I got roughly the same amount of juice of 41 yesterday, and less peel. After the bread came out of the oven, I didn't wait long enough, and the peel turned crisp and bitter, not suitable for our usual use like salads, baking, soup and bean dish decoration, but we liked the bitterness so I crushed the lot into very small pieces and we'll use it as bitter flavoring.
By then, it was well after 3PM; I had two things I was desperate to try on the loom, but I was too tired. Then Ben commented we don't have any junk food in the house, and I didn't want us to buy a lot when we go to the supermarket on the weekend, so I made cookies. I got out the usual recipe, I intended to put in extra almond meal but forgot; I couldn't wait for the oven to preheat properly so I stuck the cookies in anyway, but they turned out quite nice. They are properly-dried lime peel, vanilla and ginger cookies, but the most noticeable is the sweetness of almond, and a hint of salt. And then I was really tired, Ben had to cook dinner. 
Tomorrow, some loom time. Also some weeding and more planting, if the sun comes out as promised.
Day 14+7+31, October 8. 44 new; (Auckland 41, Waikato 3 from TV ONE); 1492 in the cluster; 406 active, 1085 recovered. Remember the "Auckland truckie" with a weak positive from a few days ago? Turned out it's a she, who obtained essential worker status under false pretense; the status was revoked about the time positive result came out and the phone number was invalid. This person, with another woman, had travelled around Northland for four days before getting tested. It took a while to track her down, while no locations-of-interest was announced. "Out of abundance of caution," the whole of Northland, (where vaccination rate is low,) is going back to Level 3 for four days. Some of us might have had a sense of something like this; Jainda has been promoting vaccination somewhere for a couple of days. Ben says there is a group of doctors spreading anti-vax vids somewhere up there.


I had a sick day; I'm paying the price of baking and eating too much wheat flour. But I feel black forest brownies coming my way soon.
Day 14+7+32, October 9. 34 new in Auckland and Waikato; 1527 in the cluster; 402 active, 1123 recovered. Understandably there is great frustration in Northland about the two women who pranced around while at least one of them was Covid positive. The first woman has been uncooperative so the second woman hasn't been "found". The police has some CCTV footage of the two, and a few locations of interest have been identified. A former politician is amplifying a rumor he might have read on Facebook regarding their identify. What a mess.
Then there is a man who is in the process of moving out of Auckland into a rural property. He did everything right, getting permit, being tested regularly, scanning. He tested positive on his sixth surveillance test, but working on his case is going to be much easier.
This afternoon we went to the supermarkets; we got most of what we needed in the first but needed a few more and went to a second. With a bunch of junk food and a few non-junk in our trolley, I joked with the checkout lady we have veggies at home. She said everybody loads up on alcohol and chips on Saturdays; today her shift felt very long so she was going to do the same come home time. I didn't tell her we've already loaded up on the alcohol, but thanked her for working the long shift; she was too busy to talk to us by then, but she sounded slightly more chipper greeting the next customer. 
Day 14+7+33, October 10. 60 new, Auckland 56, Waikato 3, Bay of Plenty 1, (the last to do with the Auckland man moving); 1587 in the cluster; 438 active, 1164 recovered. I was talking to friends today that Delta is coming to the South Island and Nelson any day; we started to talk about the coming summer in terms of, "If we're still in Level 2." 

Ben always said the secret to a successful weekend is to get up early. Ugh, I have a hard time getting up any time of the day, weekend or otherwise. By the time I crawled into the kitchen this morning, this is what the kitchen looked like.
Over 20 years ago, he learned how to make tagliatelle from one Gino Rocco of Blenheim. (Remember his cafe across the street from... was it the post office?) Ben loves this, but you know, carbohydrate, so he hadn't done it in ages. He also makes mean udon noddles, too, but he can get a little fussy. 
Measure twice, cut once.  
With pasta drying, he moved on to peeling capsicums. 
Watching such an industrious husband from a comfy position, yours truly felt slightly guilty and set out  on the ambitious task of cleaning the house. With all the weeding we've been doing, there have been increased mud and plant material invading our living quarters. Days growing warmer, we walk around the house barefoot so we detect these foreign objects easily, and they've been accumulating to an uncomfortable level. "Why don't you vacuum more often?" I hear you ask. Well, that's one option. The other is to put on thick socks, until just the right moment arrives to tackle the problem.
Day 14+7+34, October 11. 35 new, all Auckland; 1622 in the cluster; 452 active, 1170 recovered. Alert levels remain the same: Auckland in Level 3 with picnics; Northland and parts of Waikato, regular Level 3 until Thursday unless otherwise announced; the rest of the country, Level 2. Auckland schools will not reopen next week. Vaccination will be required for health and education sectors; details of who exactly they are to come soon. The rouge companion of the rouge Northland traveller was located tonight.
Today was another one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't (change alert levels)" for the government. I think the whole country was upset with yesterday's 60, in three parts of the North Island. Some of us on the South Island have always wanted a travel ban between the islands, except essential workers, since there have been no cases on the South Island for a long time; tourist destinations are opposed; the government isn't interested. More realistically, though, these days we're all holding our breath, waiting/dreading to hear about a case on the South Island. 

Today Ben was exhausted from all the cooking yesterday. I was going out to weed in the morning before either the rain or wind came, but with the pending update, (these days, it's 4PM Mondays after Cabinet meetings,) I felt so... in-between, so I marinated chicken two ways and just hung around the kitchen. 

This is a view from Ben's office towards our driveway. I am getting really good at selectively showing you our place. My favorite hellebore patch, meanwhile, is knee high in convolvulus. I've got to finish the patch Ben and I have been working on, and move on.
Day 14+7+35, October 12. 43 new, Auckland 40, Waikato 3; 1664 in the cluster; 476 active, 1186 recovered. The second rogue Northland traveller tested positive. 
Right now, if you stand in front of my new oven and look out the window, you see the tips of the Elena rose with leaves that come out dark red which gradually turn bronze green to green; a small Japanese maple with leaves that start burning orange red that's already softening, and will turn yellow green in a few weeks; the big cherry tree whose petals are almost all gone but the young leaves are coming out; sasanqua with tiny leaves repeating the density of the maple; abundant lime tree that Ben recently trimmed; and the dark red camellia that we sometimes forget we have. And beyond, neighbor's lemon tree and palm fronds in a distance. In a few days the cherry leaves will obscure the lime and the camellia, but for just a few days, the layers and the depth is so complex and messy and magical, especially in the mornings.
I tried to capture it on three mornings on two devices unsuccessfully. The red of the camellia is brilliant and more visible in real life. This was taken this afternoon; I had to zoom hard and the mood is quite  different, but it's the best I can manage.