Friday, August 31, 2007

Dear Rhode Island

You are very nice. I have relatives that live near your border, and I love the TF Green airport. You have great beaches, cheaper gas, and one imagines you are the home of Newport Creamery, which has great ice cream and frappes. But I am not like you. No matter what some quiz says.
Nor am I Virginia, lovely though it may be. Or Georgia, or Maine, or really I should just give up because I'm sure they aren't counting DC as a state and I know it's not a state.
Oh - wait I did it! I turned myself into DC! And yes it totally does count, even if I figured out how to make myself six or ten states first. (Because, really, couldn't one argue, that my insistence the results do not fit me, makes me more DC. I was set up to believe I was other states, really, DC is who I am.)

You're the District of Columbia!

While you really like to believe you're in control of everything around
you, there is more than meets the eye. In spite of your attendance in several parades
and your almost unending ability to vote, you actually are getting taxed without being
represented! In spite of this shameful double-standard, you are still unendingly loyal
to your country and your flag. You love monuments, memorials, and museums. If you were
a type of berry, you would be a marionberry.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

PS. Thanks to chalicechick for the link.

A Question of Taste #3: Not to Be All Judgy

I've heard it said the reviews reflect more about their author than the work being reviewed, and I think there's something to that. So, goodness knows what it means that I am about to review other people's reviews - again. I recognize that user reviews are opinions. These people are not professional reviewers, this is just a summary of their experience with the product. And I have found some reviews enormously helpful to me in making my choices. But oh man.
In the last two days, in looking at user reviews for books, I have found the following:
-I was unable to enjoy a book about such a slut, since I feel such a person must be a bit used up.
-Anyone who enjoyed all the drinking in this book is probably an alcoholic in need of intervention
Now, it is not my intention to start a flame war with the authors of these reviews. They of course have every right to express their opinions in the manner that they see fit. However, it seems to me that user reviews should be a bit less judgmental. I recognize the paradox in asking someone to share their judgment of a product without being judgmental.
For example, I was in a book store and was asked by a fellow patron about a book. I told her I had read the book, it was beautifully written, but ultimately since the main plotline was about the main character sleeping with her friend's boyfriend, I had been unable to fully enjoy it.
Now that's a really fine line, I realize. But I was trying to convey that I have trouble reading about characters who are unfaithful when that unfaithfulness is the whole plot. I recognize that infidelity is just as real (if not more) as many of the other crazy things I read about, but for me I have trouble with that and it affected my ability to enjoy the book, while I was able to recognize the lovely crafting. Just as there are statues and paintings I am able to recognize the brilliance in their crafting, but in the end would not want them hanging in my home.
So, while I appreciate people sharing the things that impacted their ability to appreciate the story, surely they could have expressed it in a way that didn't suggest that anyone who like the story must be an alcoholic, used up slut.

Note: Those are not direct quotes, and that is intentional on my part. They were on different books, and as far as I could tell were written by different people.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crazy Sweater

Okay, a while back I happened upon a yarn sale.I did some color organization while in the store, and got some assistance from the lovely staff there too. And then I dug out the rest of my stashed Nature Cotton and Savannah Bulky and oh, look there's some Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton too. And I stacked them up on my air unit thingy and I played. I have to say the sight of all that yarn sitting there was a joy to behold. This year, instead of a holiday tree, I might make a yarn tree to show off my stash. This was the final tower.
Yarn Tower
I had a pattern in mind, Emerald which I already knew, from some Ravelry scoping, looks lovely in bulky cotton.
I cast on.
More crazy
At one point I was trying to decide whether to reuse colors, so I cast on the sleeves to see how much yarn I had left. I decided to continue on with new colors, although with a tweak to the color changes, I probably could have made it work.
Crazy sweater with sleeve
But I like what I did. So, now I'm sewing up sleeves. I was too lazy to create separate balls of yarn so I knit the sleeves flat so that's the bulk of my finishing. And possibly a final block.
Crazy Sweater - still finishing
I should have tried it on, before finalizing button placement, I may get a toggle once I'm done to make it easier to change.
But, I love it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Long Journey

On this anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I have been thinking. I think there is a phenomenon where a person (family, neighborhood, city, state, country) experiences a tragedy and everyone gathers round. There are casseroles and donation drives and sympathy and love. And then, it dissipates. It is not that our loved ones do not understand that the recovery process is long, it is that for them they need to start to redirect their focus. And so, we are left with less time in which they want to hear, less time they volunteer to help, and in some ways that is really hard because you feel they expect you to be over it but you are not. You are broken still.
And I wonder if that is part of what is going on with Katrina (and even possibly Iraq, but different story). It's not that people don't get it that the areas of the Gulf Coast are still recovering, there are still people who have homes that are literally broken. And, the next concern, as those affected by Hurricane Isabel discovered, is that when the next disaster hits - be it flooding in the midwest or another hurricane - FEMA needs those trailers back. And while those trailers were meant to be temporary, while I'm sure every person who moved into a trailer thought it was just for a few months, the process has turned out to be much harder than expected. I say this not to lay blame with the bureaucracy, while I'm sure there may be some. But at this distance it is easy to suggest that people who have not finished rebuilding, not gotten their lives back together, well, they must not be trying that hard.
They talked on television this morning with Haley Moon, a teen who wrote Tears of Katrina talking about the emotional after effects that she and others went through following Katrina. One of the other teens said she was so relieved to discover she wasn't the only one who felt that way. Teenagers often mask their pain, as do the rest of us. But I think it's also about this phenomenon of thinking you should be happier by now. I remember my father once saying to me that I was in charge of my own happiness. And while that is very true, it did little to assuage my feelings of sadness and insecurity.
So, if I may suggest, hug someone today. Listen to their story. And tell them yours.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Books: It's Not About the Accent

Sometimes I learn. I did, for example, not linger to read Caridad Ferrer's latest in Starbucks. Okay, I took It's Not About the Accent with me this weekend and did read it in front of others a few times, but I figured the early part was safe. (And I only got through the first chapter before I was back home.)
Because, wow. Adios looked at a high schooler in a world of adults. Accent is about a college freshman, so the new world theme is there, but the story is a bit older. Just saying.
Caroline decides to take college as the opportunity to reinvent herself, tired of being Just Caro from a small town in Ohio, where she is part of the sixth generation of her family to live in the same place. Caroline decides to kick it up a notch, having learned that her beloved Nana Ellie was a Cuban immigrant, she amps up the suntan, dies her blonde hair brown, and introduces herself as Carolina, trilled 'r' and all.
Well, it had great results. First party of the summer session she attracts attention of several guys, one in particular who is just so cute.
Then, tragedy hits, and it is the quiet Cuban guy from Miami who helps Caro pick up the pieces. And Caro ends up on a journey to find out more about her roots, the real ones.
While this story is technically YA, since the main character is in college, I think the appeal is global. We all have those turning points, those places where we try to tweak who we are, with different results. I laughed - more than once, I cried - more than once, I finished off the story, ignoring both knitting and television in less that twenty four hours.

Pink is Cool

I recognize that pink occasionally gets a rap for being girly or young, but really, just like any other color, it is quite versatile. So, I was a little befuddled to hear that a judge offered pink t-shirts as part of a sentence for two criminals in Alabama. So, I searched for pictures wondering if perhaps it was a neon pink, which doesn't suit a lot of people and is hard to match or something. But actually, the shirts these two wore were very nice pinks. So, really it was the fact that the shirts stated "Convicted of..." that made them punishment, not the pink.
I find this alternative sentencing really interesting. I think in this country we suffer from a confusion about what we are trying to attempt with criminals, trying to achieve both punishment and rehabilitation at the same time. While this falls clearly in the punishment camp, I think it seems appropriate based on the crimes - public intoxication and theft - and certainly an interesting attempt at providing a punishment that should hopefully deter future offenses while not adding to crowded prisons.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Books: The Adventures Continue

I am apparently a slow learner. I took Kate Braestrup's Here if You Need Me with me to Starbucks. Now there was thought behind this as my choice from the TBR pile. I knew it was going to be a slowish day at work Friday and I wanted to to pick something that would not make me nuts not being able to read it. This is not to say I expected it to be boring or bad, it is to say I have better self control when it comes to putting non-fiction down.
Here if You Need Me is the story of Braestrup's journey to and of becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, something her husband had planned to do before his death. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me to stash a second book in my bag in case it got to be a bit much to read in public. It didn't. So, as I nibbled away on some food in Starbucks I hit the chapter where they prepare her deceased husband's body. And there I was in Starbucks, holding back tears again.
Well, other than that, I did well. I read the book over the weekend, in spots. I made other people listen to parts (not too often, I showed some restraint). Remember how I said non-fiction tends to go slowly for me? Finished it Saturday night.
It's a great story about this woman who is a UU minister who works as a chaplain for the Maine State Game Warden Service. It's sad, as I mentioned, in parts. It's lovely in parts. Braestrup talks about being raised in a fairly agnostic family, and the reactions to her choice to become a minister, a little about being in seminary as a UU, but mostly about being a chaplain. What that means for families who have need of the Game Wardens, for the wardens themselves and for her.
One of my favorite parts is her recounting of a discussion she had with a warden after they recovered a fisherman who's sled had fallen through the ice. Their discussion was fairly non-descript, but later one of the other wardens passed on that that discussion really helped him. As people who work or have worked in any helping profession (paid or unpaid) know, sometimes it is the simplest moments, where you just listen or just talk that have such meaning for the other person.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Words Can Change the World

Most people know this. Certainly authors know this. Readers know this.
My mother is coming up on a full year breast cancer free. (I understand the term remission is out of fashion with doctors these days.) I have a friend who's mother is looking at quite a few years more than that. I have two co-workers, one still in treatment who are survivors. And a net friend going up against a battle. And then there is the other list, the list of folks I know who's battle has ended.
Marjorie M. Liu found this quote from Grace Paley, who lost her own battle this week:
Whatever your calling is, whether it's as a plumber or an artist, you have to make sure there's a little more justice in the world when you leave it than when you found it. Most writers do that naturally, see that more lives are illuminated, try to understand what is not understood and see what hasn't been seen.
Alison Kent* is going to buy a copy of Coming Together for the Cure, an anthology from which proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation - one for every ten comments (up to 250). Then she is going give away copies. So, go comment. And maybe buy the book anyway. Or donate. Or knit something pink. Whatever makes sense for you.

*I can't recall now where I first heard about this, so apologies if it was from you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fun with Fandom

I saw this over on Marjorie M Liu's blog and totally had to try it.
List twelve characters from any fandom (which I am interpeting as from any sci/fantasy/paranormal movie/book/TV), and then answer the following questions.

1. Kira (The Dark Crystal)
2. Sarah (The Labrinth)
3. Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)
4. Neo (Matrix)
5. Joe (Eureka)
6. Buffy
7. Kim Possible
8. Noah (Kay Hooper's SCU series)
9. Miranda (Kay Hooper's SCU series)
10. Wesley (The Princess Bride)
11. Helo (Battlestar Galactica)
12. Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica)

1. Who would make a better college prof, 6 or 11?
Helo, because he has infinite patience. Buffy likes leading and teaching, but ultimately I think Helo would do better.

2. Do you think 2 is hot? How hot?
Well, Jennifer Connelly was something like fourteen when she played the character, but sure.

3. 12 sends 8 out on a mission. What is it? Does it succeed?

I'm not so sure Starbuck buys into the woo-woo powers that SCU deal with so she would totally set him up to fail. But Noah would, of course, succeed which would really impress Starbuck.

4. What is or would be 9's favorite book?
Something fun, but well written. Maybe she'd like Christine Feehan or something.

5. Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or the other way around?

These are not fealty people, but Sarah would bend to that faster than Buffy.

6. For some reason, 5 is looking for a roommate. Should (s)he share a studio apartment with 9 or 10?
Joe's pretty laid back, but I think he would enjoy hanging with Miranda a little more.

7. 2, 7, and 12 have dinner together. Where do they go, and what do they discuss?
Oh my God, I totally want to join them! Well, Kim eats a lot of junk food and Starbuck eats a lot of the world ended food, so I think Sarah's picking the restaurant, somewhere nice, but not too dressy where they can get some really food food.

8. 3 challenges 10 to a duel. What happens?
Poor Luke, he's really good with the force and all that, but Wesley is more determined. But hopefully, they would go to first blood or something.

9. If 1 stole 8's most precious possession, how would she/he get it back?

Well, 8's most precious thing is probably Miranda, but assuming we are talking about an item and not a person, wings will only help Kira so much. But I also think she's feel really bad and give it back.

10. Suggest a title for a story in which 7 and 12 both attain what they most desire.

The Defeat of Drakken and the Cylons.

11. What kind of plot device would you use if you wanted 4 and 1 to work together?

Well, Neo and Kira are both questy folks, so definitely some sort of quest/save the world type deal.

12. If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would you get along?

Oh, we shop and gossip, it'd be great.

13. If you could command 3 to perform any one task or service for you, what would it be?

Mind blank. No idea.

14. Does anyone on your friends list write or draw 11?

Don't know.

15. If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, which would it be?

I think Sara's sense of drama would have her choosing Neo.

16. What might 10 shout while charging into battle?

Charge! (Not original, I know.)

17. If you chose a song to represent 8, which song would you choose?

I got nothing. And I love songs. But - nothing.

18. 1, 6, and 12 are having dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets to eat it?
Starbuck. She's so over that I'll be polite. She's been eating algae, okay.

19. What might be a good pick-up line for 2 to use on 10?

Could I see you sword? (Okay, I didn't mean that to sound quite as dirty as it does.)

20. What would 5 most likely be arrested for?

Playing with the time/space continuum - again.

21. What is 6's secret?

That she's a slayer.

22. If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?

I think Helo is faster, but Miranda's sneaky. I'd bet on Helo though.

23. If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, would you feel safer in the company of 7 or 8?

While Noah can hold his own, Kim would be faster with the kick-ass. Although Noah might be more forbidding looking.

24. 1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's sinister secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that s/he is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this fic?
Crystals in the Matrix.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Knitting Journey

The irony is not lost on me that I am now entranced with several summery tops just as we hit a span of cool weather such that if I had finished one of the many long sleeve sweaters I have been working on, I could actually wear them. And here we are and it's still summer - summer, sumer, summer - and yet we are talking about NaNo again and what to do for preparation and all that. And one person suggested the the NaNo folks were on to something when they said use NaNo to start something new rather than trying to dig up something old because if you haven't been working on it there's a reason and trying to force it is a recipe for disaster.
And in thinking about the wisdom of this, I came to a similar thought about knits.
One of the things I have tried to share and believe and all that is that there are jobs and roommates and friends that don't work out. But all of that teaches you more about who you are and what you really want, so it is valuable in that respect. And really, the partially finished projects hidden in nooks and crannies about the apartment have something to teach me. Sometimes a pattern fits a mood but the mood passes. Sometimes something is so simple or so complex it requires a specific mindset, that hasn't yet returned. Sometimes sleeves are boring. But sometimes you have to put up with the boring so that you can get to the end. And sometimes I misplace the pattern, which says less about my knitting desires but a bit about my need to find a better system for caring for my patterns. So these unfinished objects aren't signs that I'm a flitterbug or lazy or a bad knitter. They are signs of my knitting journey, as I learn that stockinette will only hold my attention for so long no matter how cool the yarn is, or that things that are knit on fours are subject to knitting black holes in my knit country or just that if it requires complex blocking or finishing it may sit there for quite a while.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Yarn

I realized I had been remiss in sharing some of my yarn purchases. I have one or two that are headed out to other folks, so I won't talk about them just yet, even if I bought a similar skein for myself.
I have talked a little about my love for Nikki yarn, and you can imagine my joy when finding the LYS had a new colorway.
Nikki and Patagonia
And there just happened to be some Nature Cotton in a coordinating blue. It was like a sign!
Anyhoo, I hit a new(ish) LYS this past weekend and picked up more cotton (it was on sale) and also some gorgeous Neighbor Fibre Co stuff. I heard about this somewhere in blogland, and just love it. I love the idea of supporting local crafters and Karida has created a monster as I feel I must support all the places I live, have lived and/or regular frequent. And since rarely are you ever squarely in one neighborhood, but often straddling or bordering a few, that is a lot of yarn. And then there are the ones that are just pretty (okay, they're all pretty.)
Yarn Goodies
So this one, hanging with the cotton is Kingman Park, which, falls into the just pretty category. (No offense Kingman Park. You are lovely, but I have never lived there, and I haven't spent much time there, so my allegiance to your namesake yarn is because it's pretty.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Book Rant #14: Technology is Tricky

I have the utmost sympathy for authors and how technology wreaks havoc with their plots. I always think of Jada Pinkett's character in "Scream 2" yelling at the movie screen, "Star 69!" However, if a digital camera is featured in your book, such that you name the model and discuss it's relative price and worth in more than one part of the story, someone in the process should know a little about digital cameras. Enough at least to know, that if you drop the camera, cracking the display screen, that the picture is not lost. Because in modern digital cameras (which this is, the book is published in 2006 and the camera is one I have lusted after myself, so I am particularly familiar with it), the images are stored on a memory card. So dropping the camera may affect your ability to take more pictures, it may affect your ability to view the pictures you have using the camera as the viewer, but as long as the memory card is in tact, the picture is safe. And any teenager who has saved up for an expensive digital, and been using it, should know that.
It's such a shame, because it is a beautiful story and this huge miss annoyed me even more because it mucked with an otherwise beautifully crafted piece.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Book Rant #13: Nitpick Again

In one recent read, the hero and heroine are out for a drink, and engage in some flirtatious reparte. The heroine thinks to herself that she is woman of the world enough to know what the hero is insinuating. It was such a whiplash moment for me because it seemed perfectly obvious what the hero was insinuating, requiring minimal worldliness. In the same story the hero plants a smoldering kiss on the heroine and her internal monologue states that she feels it all the way down to her [brand name] shoes. Now perhaps this was an attempt at subtle product placement, but to me it felt like it wasn't that great a kiss if she was spending all that much time thinking about her shoes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Still Knitting

Well, the questionnaire was likely a big clue, but I went and joined the Knit 1 Tea 2 Swap.
I have been knitting, but I've also been really busy so the knitting is glacial except for something I'm calling my Crazy Sweater which is mostly stockinette so the perfect unwind from an eleven hour work day, but I'm saving that one up. So.
Karin Slaughter, author extraordinaire and, who knew, knitting enthusiast(well, okay, Crazy Aunt Purl knew, and probably others of you)had a little contest on her website. Knit a little something in honor of a famous serial killer and you could win. And we know I like the knitting, and the winning, and reading to. So, I knit up this hat using Sugar 'n Cream in and Midnight Magic Ombre (I think) and Soft Teal with a Jute accent.
Ted Bundy Hat
Yes, that's a little baseball bat, since Ted liked to use that on his victims. I thought that was more subtle than covering the hat with ketchup or some of the other ideas I came up with. (What? It's a serial killer hat.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Power of Books

I had parents who often watched television and movies with us and discussed the characters choices, so it always made sense to me that entertainment could be a gateway to both critical thinking and also better conversations with people. They do it in school, have everyone read a book and discuss the character choices and the framework of the discussion. Although it seems to me that many people come away from that under the impression that if the book wasn't really hard to read, then it isn't worthy of such critical discussion.
Stephen King talks wonderfully about how reading was never really dead, even for kids, but some of the powers that be only seem to count the stuff that makes you feel more superior when you finish. And don't get me wrong, everyone should read what they want (unless you are in a class, and they want you to read something, you might want to go do that). But that means everyone. It's the reason this whole chick lit backlash is silly. If you don't like chick lit or vampires or trashy stuff or literary stuff, don't read it. There are loads of books out there, find the ones you want. Don't get stuck thinking you are supposed to read something else, or it doesn't count if the book you're reading has a half naked person or a pair of shoes on the cover. It's all good.
This was brought home to me as I began read Suzanne Brockmann's Force of Nature last night. In her dedication she mentions what I'm sure is just a small sampling of the stories people have told her after reading Hot Target. See, in HT, which is part of the Troubleshooter's series about Navy SEALs, FBI agents and civilians working through interesting situations, FBI agent Jules Cassidy, who appeared a while back in the series, gets a subplot of his own. A romantic triangle, even. The reason any of this is noteworthy, is that Jules is gay. And in the dedication, Suzanne tells the story of her wonderful son. In fact, go read it, I'll wait.
So, in the dedication Suzanne mentions stories of people who were inspired to start conversations with their loved ones after reading HT.
So, read what you want. Read what inspires you. If it's Pulitzer Prize winning or a book club selection or green, it doesn't matter. It's all good.

Knit 1, Tea 2 Swap Questionnaire

Yes, I am a swap addict.
Knit 1 Tea 2 Color Swap Questionnaire
1. Do you like loose tea or bags, or both – something you want to try?
Both. I find bags convenient (and more portable) so use them often, But I do also have an infuser that gets a lot of use.

2. What is your favorite kind of tea (Brand, flavor, variety, etc)?
I tend toward flavored black teas. You can't go wrong with earl grey, but I have also played with tropical blacks, caramel blacks, and mixing teas. Oh and chai is a serious part of my life too.

3. Favorite color in regards to tea or one you would like to try? (black, green, red, and white) (keeping in mind that this is how this swap is set up).
I love blacks. Whites are awesome and there are great reds. Green i tend to find bitter, but if you mix it with enough fruit, it's all good.

4. Would you say you were a tea pot kind of person or just a hot water heater kind?

5. What tea accessories would you like but have never purchases for yourself?
Hmmm. I'm sure there is stuff I don't even know I need, but I guess paper filters for making your own tea bags.

6. How do you prefer to be pampered? (examples: mani/pedi, bubble bath, yummy treat, etc). Yes! Although I think mani/pedis and yummy treats occur more often than baths in my life.

7. If you were a kind of yarn what would you be and why?
Hmmm, I would definitely be variegated. And soft. The only question is would I be a nubby cotton or a smooth wool.

8. If you had to knit/crochet baby booties, a fun fur scarf, or a fair isle sweater, which would you choose and why?
Well, I have made a fair isle sweater, so that seems to make sense. I have also made a fun fur scarf, and while I do not have the burning hatred of fun fur that so many do, I am dabbling in more natural fibers these days.

9. What other event would make you skip a tea party? (A garden party? A book club meeting? A yoga class? Opening night for a new action thriller? etc?)
It would have to be really good, so more likely either a family event or a youth group event. So nothing more fun (not that garden parties, book clubs, yoga or action movies aren't fun, because they all are, but tea parties rock.)

10. What treat would you consider essential at your tea party? (Sweet? Salty? Scones? Those petite pastry trays with a couple of all sorts of things? Little crust less sandwiches?)
Well, I would feel totally robbed if there were no sweets. I also think scones should be there. I love a little savory to break it up too.

11. When buying yarn for a project how do you choose - do you buy the one called for or do you substitute? Sometimes I look at a pattern and can envision it in a yarn I have seen, so I'll check the gauge and see if that works. I usually do look to see what yarn they suggest, and if it's a yarn I love or have been craving, then sure. I would say, more often than not I deviate from the suggested yarn.

12. What do you carry your knitting/crocheting in when on the go?
Bags, purses, totes - I have many and tend to rotate.

13. Favorite movie to watch while knitting/crocheting?
Since we're on summer series, I would have to go with "Eureka" which is TV and not a movie, but there you go. "Intervention" is also good, since often it makes you want to look away anyway.

14. Are you a traditional tea cup kind of person or a mug type of person? Do you care if they match?
Mugs. I have gazillions since I used to buy everything Starbucks put and sale and then some. I do also have a set from China that has cups, which I have been "saving", but I need to get over that and just use it.

15. Favorite childhood birthday party?
No idea. I only remember snippets of watching movies or going to children's theatre. But they were nice.

16. Favorite type of scone and jam?
Plain scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

17. If you use candles, what is your favorite scent?
Right now I have crisp apple and pure linen.

18. If you could choose 3 people to have 'tea' with, who would they be and why? (famous or not, living or dead).
Keanu Reeves, just because I'd really like to talk to him, particularly about being Hawaiian and Chinese and in the public eye. Lauren Graham because she seems like she would be a lot of fun. And Nora Roberts, so i can pick her brain. (Nicely.)

19. You've been invited to a tea party, what 'props' will you wear (formal or casual)?
I don't get enough opportunities to wear my party clothes, so for tea, definitely.

20. Any allergies/preferences you have or are willing to admit to?
Not a fan of scratchy textures.

21. Anything we missed that you want your pal to know?
I think we're good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Naming of Hurricanes

I was up in Connecticut when Hurricane Bob struck. I was far enough from the eye, that it was more like a really bad thunderstorm, but we were close enough to the coastline that we helped out with some of the boat and dock preparation. And the whole time I was thinking, Bob? Really? Bob is not a scary or even serious name. I recognize that there are a lot of rules about hurricane naming, order of names, concurrent alphabets for the Atlantic and Pacific, use of female and male names and so on. But it was with Bob that I began to wonder if by restarting the alphabet each year, we had somehow run out of good names. Or if the namers had run out, since one imagines there are a lot of names that haven't been utilized.
I was thinking of this as I hear that Flossie is headed for Hawai'i. I mean, Flossie? I do recognize that you don't want to use up really good names, for example, I imagine there are not a lot of people naming their children Katrina right now, and it's a lovely name that right now has a negative association for people. But surely we can do better than Flossie.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Take

In the ongoing discussion about reality shows and on how success compared to real world success - I have some thoughts.
It seems that actual real-world experience is a benefit. Of course successful shows attract that as we are starting to see with shows such as "American Idol". (This is not to suggest that Kelly Clarkson, for example, did not have real world experience, in fact I think that's part of why she has been so successful.) Their success in launching careers attracts, over time, people with a higher level of experience. One of the things I always liked about "Nashville Star" was that by requiring that you have a song that is unreleased it by definition attracts people who have either been writing their own stuff, or working with enough people in the business to have been given rights to a song.
A while back there was some concern with the Grammys that things had gotten a bit mainstream. If I recall the solution was that after the initial voting, they had more focused groups involved with final voting. The theory was that the large group voting was causing the mainstream effect. I wonder if a similar thing happens with these shows, so that the people who win are often not the people that folks feel strongly about. And so the second and third runner ups get better post-show success because the people pulling for them were really committed to it.
Of course the other alternative if that the second and third runner ups are caught in a slower burning frenzy so that they have better opportunities to make good choices.
I-used-to-be-sorta-famous shows aside, there was tons of talk about Miranda Lambert (second runner up from season one of "Nashville Star") making a record deal that gave her a ton of creative control. I'm not so sure that that year's winner had the same choices. I also don't know if Buddy Jewell would have been helped by that but it seems like it might.
(The other interesting thing I learned from the NY Magazine article was that reality show contestants where sex is, you know, encouraged are required to be tested for STDs. Whereas the Bravo pool, just tells the contestants not to have sex for a month.)
Thanks to ALOTT5MA for the link.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Book Rant #12: Word

I went to an all-girls school, so perhaps I am more familiar with this - having letters addressed to, "Dear Alumnae", while my college (which is coed) sends me letters addressed to "Dear Alumni", but really it is such an easy thing. And I get it that there are tons of words in this book and that was the only one I noticed that was wrong. And I have heard authors talk about stuff that they had one way that got fixed in one of the edits. I am sure copyeditors have similar horror stories, I just haven't had the opportunity to hang out with them.
But if your book is about a bunch of girls who attended an exclusive all-girls school then surely they would refer to themselves as alumnae and not alumni. Sure, since alumni is often used for a mixed group in the way that many masculine nouns are, it is not completely incorrect. But, really, when the group is entirely feminine, alumnae is most appropriate. Unless that's the big secret that they've been hinting at with one of the graduates. Somehow, I think not though.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday Chuckle

From the hard to believe files, we have Peed Plumbing.
Don't believe me: go here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Five Things

A fellow cherry talked about living how you want since you never know how long you have. As I mentioned, a high school classmate died unexpectedly in her sleep last week. So, I thought I would come up with five things I haven't done and pledge to get them done. They aren't grand, they are just things I have been meaning to do and haven't made proper space for.
1. Swim. In the pool in my apartment building. Last summer I was so caught up in the whole unpacking thing. This year - no excuse. Did it - several times. I actually miss it now that it is closed.
2. Finish a story. I would love to finish my NaNo story, but since I'm putting a deadline on this stuff, just something.
3. Finish a sweater with sleeves. You laugh, but as many sweaters as I have cast on this year...none of the long sleevers have made it off the needles. (And I wonder why I can never find any needles.) Progress. The Crazy Sweater. Yay!
4. Contact at least five people I have fallen out of touch with. As is so often the case, when these things happen you realize how much you wish you had stayed in better touch with people. This was way easier than I thought. I not only reached out to over five people, I heard back from over five people. Yay!
5. Get the boxes out of my kitchen. I know, I know. I keep trying to attack it methodically, but clearly I need a better method. Not much fun, but it is tied to getting my place in shape to invite people over. Progress. More Progress.
Updated with progress - 9/13/07, 11/14/2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New Fear

I have acquired a new fear, thank to my fellow knitters on the internet. (Thanks, Guys.) I have been reading longer than I have been knitting, so I have had the opportunity to discover that there are levels of appreciation for reading and the books that provide such entertainment. People who take your book to Atlanta and never give it back. People who borrow your book and then give it to someone else. Or one horror I heard tell of, someone who let their child play with (not read) a book while holding a soda. (Guess how that ended.) Now, none of these people are inherently evil. They just don't treat their books the way that I treat mine. Which is fine, but it does mean I am a bit careful about who I loan books to. If it's a good book, I plan to read it again. Therefore, I want it back, in approximately the same condition it left in.
But, since you don't really lend yarn, it had not occurred to me that there were issues there. As a yarn addict, I have yarn spread throughout my apartment. (My apartment is not actually that big, but anyway.) As my yarn buying expands, I do have some precious yarn - some silk, some alpaca, or even something in a specific dye lot. It had not occurred to me - until now - to worry that people might not view my yarn with appropriate reverence. That they might toss a ball of hand-dyed silk about or put their grubby fingers on the cashmere (if I had some). So, thanks, something else to worry about.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Record for Chocolate

I have a cold and am suffering from a related lack of sleep. So perhaps that's why I find it especially funny and yet pathetic that a woman was arrested for stealing fudge. Now, while I don't recommend or condone stealing, I have an appreciation for fudge and could understand how one might be overtaken by an immediate need for some. Some. However, stealing so much fudge that it is falling out of your pockets even after attempting to flush some down the toilet is wasteful. Certainly there is no passel of children on their last legs for want of fudge. (And really, stealing more than you can consume is especially rude.)
But the story is even better since the woman herself called police concerning a separate matter and in the course of talking with her, the police found the overflowing fudge suspicious and began looking into that.
Perhaps this woman has some issues, and if so, I hope she gets the help she needs. I am tickled by the idea of applying for a job somewhere and having to explain you were arrested for stealing fudge. (I don't know why that seems sillier than televisions, but somehow it does.) But really, leave some for the rest of us.

Friday, August 03, 2007

You May Have Your Opinion

I know most people get this, and the ones that don't probably aren't listening anyway. We were talking last night about the age of entitlement - about how someone who ignored their drink sitting on the bar at Starbucks, waited ten minutes before asking about it, and then when the barista kindly apologized and immediately offered to make a fresh drink, the customer's friend said, "They should give you a free drink for that." Here's the thing - you paid for a drink, you should get it. And sure, you paid for it with the expectation that it would arrive soonish and all that, but really if the drink was there (and even if it wasn't, things happen) what you really should get is what you paid for. If someone decides to go further on your behalf, then great, but more than that you do not deserve.
And I have been trucking along on my mystery stole, and we are now far enough that the theme has been revealed along with the final schematic, and some people don't love it. But here's the thing - you don't have to love it. But it is a mystery stole, the project was entered into it with all participants aware that they did not have all the info up front. The result was a mystery. If you weren't willing to take the plunge, then you could not participate or sign up, but hold off before you started. And I would like to add, this is a free pattern. All the work and effort into gathering this group and charting and breaking it up into chunks - that was all volunteer.
Now of course people can express their disappointment. They don't have to love the pattern. That happens to me all the time with stuff when I have the full pattern. But it is not the designer's fault (unless there are errors, and even then sometimes that's one of the other people who touched the pattern). The designer's job is to give you a pattern that works. How much you love it is up to you. If you don't love it, I'm not saying you can't say that, but this is where that whole "I" statement thing is great. You can say the pattern doesn't speak to you. It isn't to your taste. But getting mad because the pattern doesn't create what you wish it created, that's not anyone else's fault.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Enough With the Deep Thoughts

Between the stories of joy and sadness coming out in the wake of the MN bridge collapse and hearing that a high school classmate I had lost touch with passed away unexpectedly, I have had enough with the deep thoughts for today.
So, instead I offer this.
Made of Sugar and Cream Yarn in Hot Green and Key Lime with #4's and based on the Bubby pattern this bear is gearing up for the move to his new home which will be with an about to be one year old. I expect him to be well gummed. In preparation, I jiggled his head many times, just because I could. (You knit the head second, so until body is sealed off the head jiggles something fierce.)
It was a quick, in a weekend kind of knit. A nice break from some of my other projects.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Yes!: Clue 1 Completed!

However many weeks later (it's not a race, I have other things knit and not, and really it's not a race, speed is not important...) I have finally finished Clue 1 for the Mystery Stole!
I have learned a lot about myself and my limitations and my willingness to live with and love imperfections (I love them all!), er that is to say personalized design features. And really, I got to the point where I was a little jealous of all the folks trying to figure out how to entertain themselves amid long stretches of plain stitches (if I keep going there are plain stitches?) and in all fairness I don't mean to imply that this pattern is overly difficult or hard to follow. But it is a constantly evolving pattern, which makes it kind of cool to do as a mystery project where you have no idea of the whole picture. This works very well for people like me who never read the recipe or the pattern through before doing it anyway.
And this yarn is plied pretty tightly so it has survived being tugged and frogged and all that.
MS3 - Clue 1
I am using the bamboo circulars which do have a bit of a bump at the join. I think with silk that works pretty well to keep suicidal stitches from leaping off the needles but certainly if I had an overly delicate yarn it might be problematic.
I have clue 2 printed out and who knows, I might get that finished, you know, this month or something.