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1  How the Fire Started: Toasting Waffles in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: April 12, 2010 01:48:47 PM
Last month, Mr. & Mrs. Tota of Florida began their morning with a craving for waffles but received a kitchen fire instead.

According to this article, Elizabeth & Nicholas Tota's toaster caught fire and caused smoke damage to their condominium. Thankfully, the Totas suffered only minor injuries.

To investigate, I traveled back in time & space to take these photos of the Tota toaster:

Minutes later—even though the toaster's lever had popped back up—the waffles remained stuck inside:

Then this happened:

Poor toaster. Ah well, it's gone to a better place and lives on as a familiar-looking screensaver:

Downloadable wallpaper:  1680x1050 1024x640 iPhone

On March 9, 2010, the Totas made waffles in a defective toaster...

And that's how the fire started.

Here's a behind-the-scenes video of how I started the fire:

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2  Japanese for All Occasions in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: March 25, 2010 05:37:29 PM

Konnichi wa.

That means "hello" in Japanese, and I learned it from this 1990 book, Japanese for All Occasions by Anne Kaneko:

I don't speak Japanese (nor do I fluently speak Cantonese, even though I'm Chinese), but it's always handy to know new words in new languages.

So here are some practical Japanese-to-English examples (with corresponding page numbers) that are useful for all occasions:

p.71 - Kono chiizu o kinō kattan' desu ga, furukute taberarenain' desu.

"I bought this cheese yesterday but it's so old that we can't eat it."

p.116 - Moshi-moshi. Sanbyaku-san gō-shitsu desu ga, rāmen o motte kite kudasai.

"Hello? This is room 303. Can you bring a bowl of needles." *

* (I misread "noodles" as "needles". Please do not eat!)

p.146 - Piinattsu ga nodo ni tsumatte iru.

"He's got a peanut stuck in his throat."

p.209 - Honjitsu wa, watashi no tsutanai hanashi o o-kiki itadaki, makoto ni arigatō gozaimashita.

"Thank you for listening to my poorly delivered speech."

p.21 - Dewa mata.

"See you./Bye!"
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3  Raining Cats and Dogs (...and lots of pix!) in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: February 08, 2010 05:12:27 AM
In Vancouver, we're sensitive about our reputation as a rainy city. In 1998, many Vancouverites became enraged when actor David Duchovny joked, "Vancouver is a very nice place, if you like 400 inches of rainfall a day."

With the Olympic-sized attention arriving here soon, our rainy self-consciousness has resurfaced.

I thought it might be therapeutic to crochet some raindrops. So I made 14 of them, stitched cat & dog heads on each, gave them names, and felt well-adjusted again.

Raining Cats:

Raining Dogs:

To share this rain therapy, I searched for a public space to hang these raindrops. I chose the Davie Village Community Garden because it's the downtown site of a yarn-bombing from sunny last summer:

After some rainstorms, Jessica Glesby's knitted wall has seen sunnier days:

The wooden trellis above the garden, however, remained clear and that was where the Raining Cats and Dogs found their new home last week.

My girlfriend MJ was videotaping while her mom guided my installation of the raindrops. Here's a video of the stringin' up process!

The cat and dog faces are enjoying the sight of human faces looking up at them, for once.

(There are more photos on my Flickr. I'll update my blog post as the Raining Cats & Dogs installation inevitably evaporates.)

As all eyes focus on Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, I hope these raindrops show that we Vancouverites can be proud of the rain that makes our streets shiny and our lush trees grow.

If we remain a little insecure about our rain, our citizens can try repeating MJ's defiant catchphrase: "Yeah, it rains in Vancouver. So what?"

We're just dancin' and singin' in the rain!

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4  Cone Critters: Cat & Dog in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: January 18, 2010 11:57:04 PM
When I'm not working on my WooWork blog, I'm saying yes to YES Mag: The Science Magazine for Adventurous Minds. Since 2006, the YES Mag team has kindly invited me to draw for each educational issue.

In the Nov/Dec 09 issue, I drew a piece titled "Urban Dining", about the eating habits of city animals:

An urban duo included a fox and a kitty-in-a-cone:

Last month, I crocheted an amigurumi version of this edible cat:

Another piece I drew (in the Mar/Apr 09 issue) was titled "Lost", which detailed the body language of dogs:

Jim the dog was the star:

I crocheted Jim too. He'll have to express his body language through a cone body:

Over the holidays, I mailed both Cone Critters to the YES Mag team as a gift. Everyone seemed to enjoy the fuzzy treats. I hope you enjoy ice-cream in the winter too!

Ruff Ruff! Meow Meow!*
(*translation: Yes to YES!)
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5  Hare-Cut Necklace in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: January 10, 2010 02:24:40 AM
Since 1993, the person responsible for my multi-coloured hair has been a talented stylist named Jeannie.

My girlfriend goes to the same salon, and discovered that Jeannie likes morbid fashion accessories, such as skulls and eyeballs. (In the 1980s, Jeannie was her small town's rare, rebel punk-rocker teen.)

Recently, Jeannie reached her 25th anniversary as a hair stylist. To celebrate this milestone, I made her this macabre necklace out of yarn and fishing wire:

I hope that those snippy scissors and unlucky rabbit bring her good luck!

Hooray for standing out from the crowd and for encouraging more to do the same!
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6  All Thumbs in Crochet: Completed Projects by WooWork on: December 23, 2009 02:52:44 PM
As a teenager, my favourite TV show was "Siskel & Ebert". Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert would debate the pros and cons of a film before declaring their ultimate rating: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.

Ah, if only I could review my everyday life in the same simple way....

Now I can!

This is the All-Thumbs Portable Reviewer. Thumbs Up on this side:

Thumbs Down on the other:

And here are my Woo Reviews!

The movie "Up": Thumbs Up

The movie "Fired Up": Thumbs Down

Jalepeo chips: Thumbs Up

Parking tickets: Thumbs Down

My local yarn store, "Black Sheep Yarns": Thumbs Up

The Staples store that accepted my online order for an office chair, then mistakenly delivered that chair to an Alan Wu (even though our last names are spelled differently) before forcing me to visit the store in persontwiceto receive my refund for the now out-of-stock chair: Thumbs Down

Stepping into my shot: Thumbs Down

Long-term effect of the 2010 Olympics on the Vancouver economy: undecided

Our finite existence in the infinite universe: Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down

The supportive & encouraging community on Craftster and the regular readers of my WooWork.com blog, including my girlfriend and my mom: Thumbs Up!

...and Happy Holidays!
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7  Eye See 3D in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: December 15, 2009 12:32:08 AM
After 3 weeks of steroid drops, my left eye has recovered from it's blurry situation and I can see clearly now.

The rain is gone.

Hopefully, it will be many years before I return to the eye doctor. Until then, I made this eyeclops guy for the eye clinic:

He now lives on their front desk, next to a plastic eye toy:

I love seeing in stereo vision again, and I appreciate my overall eyesight even more. To celebrate my 3D vision, I'll enjoy a 3D movie this weekend.

If you'd like to join the 3D fun, bring out your 3D glasses (I bought mine from here or you can make your own) to see the eyeclops in an eye-popping way!

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8  Shark Fin Soup in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: December 03, 2009 07:33:34 PM

My girlfriend (MJ) and I recently watched a documentary where fishermen sliced off the fins of sharks, then tossed the bodies back into the sea to drown. The brutal practice of shark finning is fueled by the high price that Chinese restaurants can charge for shark fin soup: $30 to $40 per small bowl.

Outraged, MJ resolved to never drink this popular Asian delicacy again. I agreed.

Last month, MJ and I attended my cousin Ray's wedding, where they served shark fin soup. It didn't look exactly like this:

Despite insistences from my relatives to "eat it, it's good for you", MJ politely yet firmly refused to drink the soup.

Bravo, MJ! I'm proud of you for standing up against shark finning.

What did I do? I'm embarrassed to say I caved to family peer pressure and finished my bowl.

But from now on, I will follow MJ's example and skip the shark fin soup. I will listen to Sherman the Shark:

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9  Sour over Lemonsharks in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: November 05, 2009 11:47:02 PM
Wikipedia? More like Wrongipedia!

Did you read their article about the lemon shark? Laughable!

Not only does the site fail to mention the pale yellow skin of the lemon shark, but their page shows a photo of the wrong shark!

Everyone knows what a real lemon shark looks like:

The lemon shark is often mistaken for a lemonhead shark, which was named after Lemonhead candy from the 1960s.

This is a lemonhead shark:

Someone should fix Wikipedia and correct their shameful errors & omissions about lemon sharks.

Until then, I'll be getting my facts about citrus fish elsewhere!

Sourly yours,

Old Man Howie

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10  Beware the Box Monster in Amigurumi: Completed Projects by WooWork on: October 27, 2009 11:02:31 PM
What is the scariest monster you've seen on Halloween? A zombie? A werewolf? A ghost?

When I was a pre-teen boy trick-or-treating, I saw a creature that chilled my blood.

From a distance, the figure looked like a box: a box with feet and long arms that dragged on the pavement. The box was the same height as I was, so there must have been a child wearing that odd disguise.

As I approached the box costume, I saw that it wore a ghoulish, terrible face. And then it spoke:

The voice was gravellylike an elderly manbut distorted like a smoker's artificial speaking valve. Was there a grown man inside that child-sized costume? Was it even... human?

The box costume became the Box Monster. I ran away, convinced the Monster's snake-like arms would grab my ankles and pull my fright-filled self into its eternal embrace.

I made it home alive, but I stayed frightened of the Box Monster for many nightmarish nights. If I never went trick-or-treating again, my excuse was that I had outgrown it. But I knew the real reason:

So be careful this Halloween. There are scary monsters out there. And there is one monster who may put you in a box too.

Beware the Box Monster
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