Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Amazing Lace Update #5

Instead of packing, I'm going to tell you about the latest with me, Peachy and Sublime. Peachy and I are making great progress with our tangles - I mean issues. But we have decided to hold off knitting until we make better progress. So, Peachy joined us on our trip to Atlanta, but no new stitches were knit.

Sublime and I did make some progress. And Sublime has forgiven me for getting so wrapped up in the author discussions that I purled where I shouldn't have. (Sublime is also taking it well that I left the pattern back home. Ooops.)

Perhaps Oprah Heard About Lance?

I'm happy for the guy. Really. But, I'm with the wonderful Ms. Weiner - Independence Day is a gay holiday? Totally missed that.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

No, I'm not Getting Commission for This

But I love the Tide to Go! Yes, I know. It's shameless of me. But let's say you're - not a slob - but have been known to spill on your silk pants at lunch. And while you work a desk job, if this is not taken care of, you will forget about the stain and walk nonchalantly around for the rest of the day, not remembering to hunch, or tie a shirt, or do whatever else is necessary to not proclaim to the world, "I am a messy eater!" Enter the Tide to Go.
You have seen the ads. And here's the thing, it pretty much works like that. Okay - not entirely. It doesn't dry with super fast speed, the way it does in the ads. But if, for example your lunch today was a pot pie. And you dropped some glop on your pants. (I love pot pies, but that stuff binding the filling, it's not really gravy, it's not really sauce, it's glop). The very pants you just washed last night. Right smack in the middle of your thigh. So, you pull out your TtG (which interestingly does not smell like Tide to me, but hey, it works). Apply*, rub, and wait. And now it's gone. So cool!

*(Singing optional.)

Another Non-Update

I have much to tell: knitting progress, exciting book/author news, and the story of my hunt for living space. And so, I will try to gather my thoughts on that and have something for next week. Really. So, for now I have less me stuff.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Things People Should Know #7

There are plenty of ways to meet people. Even at college. College may seem big and daunting, but there's lots of people there. You can talk to them in class. You can join clubs, sororities or fraternities. You can hang out in common areas or the student union. There may be lonely moments, but at a state college, such as University of Central Florida, you are never really alone. And, you know, it's in Orlando. So there are lots of other people nearby also.
But one thing that would not be a good idea, not a good way to meet people, is to set fire to a couch. Because meeting people in a fire evacuation is a neat idea, except when you are the firebug. Just not something most people are looking for. So stick to the more traditional methods.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Project Runway - Ep 2

I'm not going to try to recap the whole episode, there are lovely people who already do that. One of the reasons I hesitated to try to encapsulate the various characters after the first episode, is we all know things develop very differently than first impressions might lead you to believe.

Before, I get into that - two things I wanted to point out that I'm glad to see back this season. I'm glad they have brought back immunity for the winner. I think, as others have speculated, offering immunity encourages the designers to try for winning rather than just surviving. Certainly not all of the designers aimed for mediocrity last season, and of course Jay - who won the first season never won any of the challenges, but still I think it adds incentive. Which makes more fun for me!

Also, I'm glad to see that the model choosing has returned to season 1 format - with the winner picking first, and then random for the rest. I think it encourages swapping (at least at the beginning) in the best way. Last season only letting people change if the winner changed, meant there were few changes and people got very attached to their model, and therefore really affronted if there was a switch.

(And by the way, if you haven't seen the episode, I am going to spoil, to stop reading.)

So some snap judgments, or since it is the second episode, whatever the judgment is made with slightly more (if highly edited) information.
Allison - While I didn't love what you and Jeffrey created, I have high hopes for your work.
Angela - You didn't make a sketch because you were so busy trying got suck up to Kayne. So in the end no one picked you (client or designer). And, I think Vincent's a bit nutty, so I understand that it would be challenging to work with him. But really, you told him the idea sucked. I understand the frustration of a team member who isn't clear on how you can contribute. And after all your complaints, the dress was nice. It wasn't the best, but it certainly wasn't the worst. So, suck it up. Here's hoping (for the sake of everyone else) that you're gone by the next team challenge. (Note: Apparently the wonderful Tim Gunn tried to negotiate some discussions on contribution between them and Vincent wasn't interested. How much of this is due to Angela's poo-pooing the design continuously, who knows.)
Bonnie - I'm a little worried about you, but time will tell.
Bradley - Can't decide - is it cute nervous or annoying nervous.
Jeffrey - You are getting on my nerves. Oh, and femi-nazi is not code for bitch. Don't use it if you don't know what it means. Actually, just don't use it.
Katie - I think your inexperience may end up being a problem (you are not this year's Daniel), but you worked hard on a design you weren't sure of.
Keith - On my nerves, babe.
Kayne - I love that you didn't assume you were a shoo-in with your pageant experience. I love that you took a risk (in a good way) with the color and made it work. And you created a fabulous dress! (Which won!)
Laura - I love that you picked a teammate you knew would stand up to you, and the dress was elegant!
Malan - I had thought I would dislike you. You seemed so pretentious, but I just melted when you talked about how your mother told you fashion was silly and you were going to make it in spite of it. The design was a great idea, it just didn't work out. And you bravely took responsibility for the vision, and then the failure. Bye bye, Malan! Maybe next season!
Michael - So far you're work has been great. Looking forward to seeing what else you bring.
Robert - I still think you should have won last week, and this week you proved to be an excellent team member, supporting your teammate's choices on the runway.
Uli - The judges loved your design (so what do I know), but while interesting, I didn't feel your dress worked as either a pageant dress, or, as Tara had requested, a red carpet dress.
Vincent - I think you're a little nutty babe. And hey, I wouldn't want to work with anyone who said my work was ridiculous. But by shutting her out of the process, you eliminated the opportunity to say in the judging that you gave her parts and she didn't execute.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not That There's Anything Wrong With It

Perhaps in my summer bubble I have somehow missed the reason Oprah and long time friend Gayle felt the need to clarify their heterosexism heterosexuality. But apparently there was a need. And the folks at Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch have a lovely response, so I will send you there. In the Spirit of Oprah

Be Careful Out There

In the spirit of the stories I am about to share (link to), let me share a family car moment. My grandfather lost much of his short term memory in his later years, such that he recalled things from ten or more years very well, but had trouble remembering that he was now partially blind, or where he was, and when they were going back home. My grandmother, still understandably adjusting to all of this, drove with my grandfather to the airport to pick up a relative. (This was pre-September 11th, when one could still park the car in the arrivals lane and run in to look for someone.)
Well, she ran in and my grandfather waited in the car. Someone asked my grandfather if he could move the car up a bit. And he said, "Sure." (Or so we imagine). Well, it was a case of the spirit being willing, but the flesh being unable to execute well. So my grandmother got back out of the terminal to discover the car more dinged than it had been when she left - just moments before. Grandpa was okay, the car survived, and no one else was hurt. But next time, Grandma took the keys with her.

Yes, it seems the roads are full of all sorts of hazards and oddities. And I do mean the drivers. A Michigan grandmother got into an argument with her grandson and so - as children have throughout the ages - he decided to find his mother. In grandma's Escalade.

Also in Michigan, yet confined to the stock car track, an eleven year old is in second place for the season.

And in Minnesota, two young drivers set the cruise control and then attempted to switch drivers while the car was in motion. They had apparently never heard the adage about changing horses midstream. It appears the resulting crash did not injure anyone outside the car, and hopefully those inside will recover.

Thanks to Wasted Blog for finding me these gems.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Hate to Make Fun

I hesitate to make fun of the dead, so instead I will point you to this moving sneak preview of the eulogy for Robert H. Brooks, founder of Hooters.

The Amazing Lace Update #4

In the craziness, I missed out on challenge 4, but Sublime and Peachy have forgiven me for my navigational lapse there. So, progress - not a lot to speak of. And no pictures at the moment (I will try to remedy that tonight but no promises. As my apartment turns into packing central, what little knitting I have been doing has been on a mitred square blanket (the simplicity soothes me).
But Peachy have spent some time trying to work out our snags. And since we travel again this weekend (yes, I have a trip before I move - I create my own stress) I expect good progress next week. And yes, I have promised that Sublime will get some time on this trip - although I'm off to check the latest travel requirements to see if sublime has to get checked.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bad Customers

Yesterday I went to a bagel place for a sandwich. I used to work in a bagel place - back before bagel places were the trendy in every town center thing they are today. I say this not to indicate some sort of pre-trend prescience on my part, but to say that I have an understanding of the challenges of working in such a place. (Although since I was there pre-trend and we were in a mall, I had to explain to people daily that yes - everything was on a bagel, and no, those were not donuts. Which I imagine happens less these days.)
As I arrived there were three people in various stages of being helped, and one guy on the phone and in line. The phone thing bugs me - having worked in a call center (yes this is really all about me), it is really annoying to deal with people who think so much of their time, and yet, so little of yours. To add to the annoyance, he was unable to stand still while talking, which I sympathize with, but again, another reason to make this call later. This perpetual motion made getting to the end of the line a challenge, since the store was narrow, and made finding a safe place to stand an issue. When it looked like he was close to receiving attention from a person, he ended his call (thank goodness for all involved). However, it appeared he had his heart set on something involving a wheat bagel. Which they did not have yesterday. Apparently, this escaped his notice while waiting in line on the phone, in full view of the bagel selection. And apparently the idea that they would not have his wheat bagel was so unbelievable to him that he asked three different employees before finally taking himself out of line to regroup.
Meanwhile, a male-female couple (I presume) had moved behind me in the line. Now interestingly, the employee who had stepped up to take dancing phone man's order, was apparently not able to move to then take my order. (Which, despite my sarcasm, I am actually okay with). But, because of the open prep space leading to the cashier space, it had the appearance that I and the two people behind me were being ignored, as we watched three employees do various things that did not involve assisting a customer. The female half of the duo behind me started to ask, loudly, why no one was able to help us. She then stated that someone should stop cleaning the prep space and start helping. Perhaps the visible prep space gave her immunity from payback, except of the delaying kind. Fairly shortly, I was assisted - and then she was also.
So really, I have no point here, except to share.

Well, I thought I had no real point. But then I saw this on Wasted Blog: Shop staff to 'red card' rude customers . Hmmm.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Things People Should Know: The Project Runway Edition

I understand that there is something different about reality shows where you are demonstrating a pre-existing talent in the hopes of skipping over steps to make it big in the industry of your choice. That you may feel your talent is the only thing you'll need. Yet, as I watched the first episode of Season 3, I was struck with the irony that season two and now season three have brought us people who are unfamiliar with the show and the concept of reality shows in general. (Or perhaps, over-familiar but we will get to that).
The first season of any new show, participants can be forgiven for not knowing entirely what they have signed up for. They answered a casting call that, one assumes, sketched out a concept that appealed to them - or a prize that appealed to them. But they had no idea how the challenges would be worked.
So I find it fascinating that it was season two that brought us a contestant who thought the magical reality elves were really doing all the sewing behind the scenes and someone who had apparently never used an industrial sewing machine before. Now to be fair the contestant who thought there were magical elves can be forgiven for feeling there was more going on than viewers at home were really seeing. And the first season's crop produced such great stuff, one could argue she had no idea how they would accomplish that without magical elves.
Also in season two, there was Santino, who apparently never saw the dress Austin created for the challenge that eliminated him, or so one assumes, since he bought the exact same fabric for a challenge where one of the judges was a contestant from the first season. (This was a memorable fabric with a dip dye effect, we are not talking navy charmeuse here).
In last night's episode we had the first challenge, which was - as it had been before - innovation. In this case the contestants had to find items in their apartment to use for their outfit. A number of them used sheets, shower curtains, and window curtains. (There was also a moment where returning to the apartment they had recently ripped apart, several of the contestants were saddened to discover the reality elves had not restored order to their apartments or replaced the items they used.) So the first contestant, Stacey, fell due to her inability to use an industrial sewing machine. (To her credit, she gamely hand sewed her item, but it meant she did not have time to finish it well.) As Adam, at Things Thrown Together Five Minutes Ago said, - "if I knew I was going to be on Survivor, I'd sure try to learn how to make fire before I left. If I ever make it to The Amazing Race, I'll finally learn to ride a bike. And . . ."

PS - Having now caught up on the divine Tim Gunn's podcast for the episode, he chuckles at the thought that the designers thought they were at the Plaza and that housekeeping, along with a decorating team should have raced in while they were at the workroom. I have great sympathy for coming back to that while drop-dead tired - but again. As Tim would say, "Make it work".

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Things People Should Know #5

From Boing Boing: "I am not a terrorist" is a bad ring tone. Especially when you are in an airport.

Just Trying to Do Your Job

My company is in the midst of our yearly evaluations, part of which included completing a survey which asks, "Do you have the tools you need to do your job?" I find it interesting in light of recent stories about AOL employees and a tired Comcast employee. In the two cases that got the most play (if you will) the employee in question was fired. But, as Alison points out, why are they being penalized here?. I mean don't get me wrong, sleeping on the job is grounds for a serious discussion. And I certainly don't know what other events might be in any of these employees employee histories.
But, for me, the funny about the Comcast video was that dealing with Comcast was exhausting even for its own employees. I feel less bad about the fact that I have dealt with rude, unhelpful, or unknowledgeable people there as often as not, when I discover that's the kind of service they give their own employees. And it certainly helps explain why they need a four hour appointment window, if their employees need to block out hours of time to get the information they need to assist the customer. (One could suggest more in depth training for their service techs, but I don't want to go crazy here.)
When I have frustrating situations with companies, I rarely am looking for a firing. Typically I want reassurance that a process change or training change will occur to help make sure my problem doesn't reoccur. I don't want to experience the same old issues, just with new employees. But maybe that's me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I am hunting for a new place to live. It occurs to me that home hunting and dating are very similar. So much so, that this is likely not the first time someone has noted it. The only big exception I can come up with (other than the obvious) is that they say love finds you when you are not looking and I feel fairly certain that does not work with apartments.

But in both cases you start off with a long list of requirements. As you see more and more places (or people) your list begins to change. Some things fall off the list (maybe I could live outside the Beltway and not die). Things you had not previously thought of end up on the list (must not floss teeth with book cover). And you realize that in the end, you are not going to find perfection. You will hopefully find something that suits your current needs and will grow well with you. It won't always work out. Sometimes hidden clauses or quirks will appear.

There will be adjustments and compromises. But if you find the right combination of all that, it will be worth it. I hope.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Amazing Lace Update - Take Two

Blogger ate my post!

Okay - I have just returned from a week of various travels, which accounts for the silence. Peachy has now been to Connecticut (and since we travelled - and knitted - by car and train, places in between too.) And, in case you were wondering, I was not doing the driving, so no DWKs for me. Peachy's second ball had suffered serious angst in the dying and drying process and proved to be in quite the tangle. So two lovely women we encountered in Pennsylvania took over the de-snagging process for a while and claimed to enjoy it. I never knew Peachy was such a people yarn before!

Sublime opted to stay behind for this journey. So far, there doesn't seem to be any tension over that.