Friday, November 30, 2007

There Were Cheers!


Fingers and brain numb, but I did it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Intentional or Not - You be the Judge

Okay, I adored the menswear edition of "Project Runway" for many reasons last night. (I'm sure it says something about me that I was much more excited for the designers to meet Tiki Barber than Sarah Jessica Parker, not that I don't think SJP is lovely.) But, for me, the moment where I just lost it was with Elisa - who does have a special organic, let's just see where it goes and oh I imbued it with my essence kind of thing - but even so had produced really nice garments (okay the first had that fugly train thing, but if you took the train away...). But so while everyone else was really enjoying the opportunity to work with male models, Elisa, very sweetly mentioned that she was not comfortable watching him undress so she was going to turn away while he changed into her outfit. And in the interview she said, "I have a boyfriend, and he is actually the only person I've ever fitted on intimately." Now, most of me is sure she only meant fitted in the tailoring, garment making sense. But come on, the double entendre is just so...there.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

For Your Amusement

I really enjoyed the MTV showing of the Legally Blonde: The Musical. And while there are many wonderful moments, this one I find particularly amusing. It is the courtroom scene where Elle feels certain that the pool boy is gay (which movie watchers will remember) but it leads to this song about stereotypes (including the question - is he gay or European) that I just love.
Go - watch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Burgundy, Gold and Black

Sean Taylor was a safety for the Washington Redskins, a Pro Bowl player. He was also a twenty four year old man, a partner to his fiancee, and a father to a one year old girl, a son, a brother, a friend. My thoughts are with his family as they face this difficult loss.
The Washington Post story, registration required, is here.
The (morphing as news is receieved) Wikipedia entry is here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Like Potato Chips

As I said, they are like potato chips. This one was knit on 10.5's (Knit Picks Harmony Options) with Araucania's Patagonia Nature Cotton (201 I think) held double. I made the plain old cable bigger again, in part because 10.5 is a size down from what the pattern calls for and also because I have a big head.
Another Unoriginal Hat

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Always Check Under the Hood

I found this story over at Plot Monkeys, although my google checking skills have not turned up any verification, so I am assuming it is made up. But it's still funny.

A couple drove their car to Wal-Mart, only to have their car break down in the parking lot.

The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car in the lot. The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection, she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis.

Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned private parts into glaringly public ones. Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand up his shorts, and tucked everything back into place. She took a deep breath and stood up boldly to face the crowd. She looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband, who had been standing idly by.

The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his forehead.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Power of Reading

Many of us feel that the radio DJ is spying on us because we will hear break up songs when we are heartbroken and love songs when we are not. I have heard that should you start thinking about having kids, the world seems to fill up with pregnant folk and folk holding tiny babies. God knows, you can be surrounded by the coupled at inopportune times.
Books often work the same way. You will find something in a story that just reaches out, possibly even makes you wonder if the author might have been reading your diary. And sometimes, reading about a character's story can help you with yours. That is of course why those of us who love reading spend so much time discussing it because we understand how these stories and their entertainment can have deeper meaning. (It is also why we get annoyed when something comes close and doesn't quite seem to make it.)
But really, all of this is to get you to click on this link, where someone else talks about how reading helped them. Go on.

Proper Thanks

Getting thanks is a bit like getting compliments. You graciously accept them all, even if some of them seem a bit automatic or even empty. (Don't look a thankful gift horse in the mouth - or something like that.) They are also like compliments in that it is typically not appropriate to demand them, even when they are deserved. But it can create some interesting tensions. If, for example, you gave someone a gift and didn't get acknowledgement of it's receipt*, it can be difficult. You may contact them trying to make sure they are okay, you may have conversations with them, you may even make sure that the gift was received - worried perhaps that it had gone astray. Now, Miss Manners says, after a few gifts, someone who continuously fails to acknowledge your gifts, may be removed from your gift giving list. (She also points out that there are some people in your life, that however right you may be, that for whom such a decision may cause more trouble than being right is worth and to consider that.)
But what are the legitimate - if not entirely excusable reasons - someone might not give thanks?
Well, as referenced above, they may have forgotten.
If it was an event that garnered a lot of gifts, there may have been some confusion over who was the gift giver. (Yes, there are steps to prevent this, but sometimes those detailed lists get lost.)
They may be trying to figure out how to properly thank you.
They may think they have thanked you. (One poor woman on "Oprah" had carefully written out thanks for every one of the wedding gifts and then gave her new husband the job of taking them to the post office. Two years later, they were cleaning out the garage and found the box of thank you cards - all addressed - just sitting there. Hubbie had put the box down for a second, got distracted and never got un-distracted.)
They may know full well they need to thank you but circumstances have taken up their time unexpectedly.
So, as we head into a season of thanking and thankfulness - may I suggest, say thank you to lots people, say it sincerely, and while you are giving thanks, give yourself an extra one (or two) for any that might have gotten missed.


*Note: I promise, promise, promise that this is not a veiled attempt to wring thanks out of someone. The holiday made me start thinking about thanks, and this is where my mind started to go.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So Cool

A little late on this one, but Steven King says that Nora Roberts is cool. And who am I to argue with Steven King about cool?
But, it would also seem, that if you have been aware of the Nora Roberts cool before this official pronouncement, by having read many/most/all of her books (or even possibly owning a bobblehead) then, you too are cool. So, congratulations on being cool!
(And if that didn't make you cool - first, I'm so sorry, and second, check Steven King's list, maybe something else makes you cool.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Books: Tall, Dark and Filthy Rich

So, Jill Monroe had a little contest where if you stuck yourself in her bio (there's a reason for all of this, but anyway) you could win either her new book or Gena Showalter's next release.
So, I won - yay! And I asked for the Gena book because I had in my possession Tall, Dark and Filthy Rich.
Tall, Dark and Filthy Rich is part of the Million Dollar Secrets line - a group of co-workers won the lottery. Except a former co-worker who used to participate in the club wants a piece of the money, so none of them have it yet. This is the story of Cole, a TV producer and Jessie, a private detective. Jessie and Cole went to high school together. Even though I don't have a big high school crush I'd like to revisit I still love these. Perhaps because the book speed romance makes more sense to me if there's some history. But Jessie is brought in as a guest on the TV show, sparks fly, and the two are both fighting relationship since neither is in the right head space for long term right now. (Or are they?)
I have not read any of the others in the Million Dollar Secrets, and while there were references to some of Cole's co-workers and co-winners finding love, not enough for it to take away from this story. (The issue of the winning is however not resolved in this book.)
It was a really enjoyable (and hot- being a Blaze and all) read.

All Entwined

I loved the Entwined pattern - it is beautiful in its simplicity. So, I, erm, had to hit the yarn store and find some chunky yarn. I found this Farmhouse Yarns Lumpy Bumpy Yarn and it was perfect.
Lumpy Bumpy
Because it's a thick and thin I went down an size and added a few extra stitches, but the pattern is easily adaptable and knit on the long side (still my favorite way to make scarves). It was a fairly quick knit, taking only a few days (one was admittedly a weekend day). And now I have a scarf that keeps my hands warm and still lets me find stuff in my purse. (What, it's a big purse.)
Entwined

Monday, November 19, 2007

Football and Teen Disney

I possibly spend a larger than average amount of time watching the Disney Channel for someone of my young but not youthful age who is also childless.
Anyhoo, it made for some fun watching football this weekend (Redskins and Cowboys - nuff said - really - nuff said) listening to the announcers who somehow got on the topic of Hannah Montana. One made a comment about Hannah being it if you were a young girl and that it's pretty good stuff. The other announcer responded, yes, it's the best of both worlds. Hee!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Repost: Being Helpful

I got the same emails again this year, so I am reposting this with an updated link.

I figure anyone who reads blogs, probably knows about Snopes, but some things it doesn't occur to you (or me) to even validate and since I got this email from three unrelated sources in three days, I thought I would pass it on. There is an email circulating suggesting you send a card to a recovering soldier this holiday season. And while that is a fabulous and amazing idea, the postal service - for the safety of the military personnel - no longer accepts mail addressed generically to "A Wounded Soldier" or "Any Servicemember". However, Walter Reed lists on their site several organizations who support service members and their families, including America Supports You which allows you to email a service member. Also, the Red Cross is running a mail call where you send cards to them, and they distribute them to servicefolks. So, if you wish to do this, these are the ways that your support will actually get through.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Enjoy Your Fake Lawn While You Can

An interesting thing happened in Silver Spring, MD. A few years back the downtown revitalization that I remember people talking about for Silver Spring when I was in high school (you know, just a little while ago) started to actually happen. Part of all the construction was to include a civic center. But since the civic center had to wait for stuff (money, zoning, the whole rest of the area to not also be in construction) they put down this fake grass stuff. Now, those not in the know, just knew there was fake grass. And it was kind of funny - in a could they not afford real grass kind of way. But it was a nice expanse of fake grass, with a bench or two. And people, especially in nice weather, started to hang out there. Come down for the shopping or the eating or the movie-ing and then sit out on the fake lawn. People picnicked, they tossed around balls, they sunned, they read, they chatted.
So, as Marc Fisher pointed out over a year ago community was already enjoying the space. And so folks started to wonder, did we really want to spend all that money to close down the space in the hopes that it would later reopen as something for the community when it kind of already was?
Well the lawn's got a little while longer while they put together the construction bids, so enjoy it while you can.

Thanks to DCist for the link.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Proud to be Unoriginal

When I saw Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat - it spoke to me. Something about a quick project on big needles or something. Although I used skinnier yarn, so even doubled it wasn't quite as quick but it was just as fun and this may be this year's knitting potato chips for me. (I'm such a flitter knitter, who can tell.)
So - using yarn from my lovely swappers, I cast on.
I started with the Burgundy Cherry Tree Hill yarn and while I used the yarn doubled, I also doubled the stiches. I did this in stockinette for a little over an inch, then I did a purl row and one more knit row. The idea was to create a little itch preventing liner. Then I upped the needle size and did one row of all decreases to get the stitches back to normal. I did end up making the simple cable (compared to the, um, two part cable that separates and comes back together) eight across instead of four across because the Araucania Magallanes is a lighter weight, even doubled, and I have a big head. (Literally.)
Unoriginal Hat
I still need to sew up the brim (although its is cute with the roll effect, it does not help with the slight itch in it's current configuration).
So, I cast on Saturday evening while movie watching, and worked a little Sunday Morning and then again Sunday evening so it wasn't quite the one one movie sitting I imagine it would have been if I used chunkier yarn but it was still quick. And fun. And I like the end result.

Words People Understand

One of the ongoing debates I have with myself is about words. Because words have specific meanings, but those meanings do evolve. My linguistics professor talked about the word intercourse which now is so often linked with the word sexual that the sexual part is almost implied.
But, I also think people understand context and how that affects things. And while there are plenty of jokes to be made in the English language where we have homophones and homonyms and all sorts of things that can be so confusing, we seem to get by.
ChaliceChick had a discussion about words a while back, and one commenter gave the example that the word dike in the Netherlands has a perfectly legitimate and non-pejorative meaning that is unrelated to the possibly offensive or possibly reclaimed slang word for lesbians in the US.
So, while I recognize that the word ho right now is used pejoratively to describe women as whores I also have no trouble understanding that a person in a red and white suit using the word repeatedly is expressing what some might call holiday cheer. So, I am saddened to hear that a recruitment firm warned Santas in Australia that use of the ho, ho, ho might be found offensive and they might want to refrain. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Truth in Labeling

You know how sometimes you label a file or folder something and then you come back weeks or months later and stare at it convinced that someone else must have broken in and left a funny named file on your computer. And then you open it, realizing that this is your file but why is it called that. And you read on, and slowly the thought process that led to the naming convention comes back to you and how it seemed totally obvious at the time and yet, now, it seems a little silly that you would have called it that.
Well, apparently (facts are still being gathered and all that) some folks at the DC Office of Tax and Revenue wanted to prevent that. And with setting up phony refunds to corporations, there were a lot of facts to keep straight, it seems. So, the company that received the fake refunds - Bilkemor LLC.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Victory Goes On

Everything I write is sounding crabby, so we are going to stick with knitting. Pretty yarn makes me happy.
Dark Victory
Dark Victory is almost done. I need to seam up the sleeves. I made the sleeves more of a 3/4 length which has nothing to do with my hating knitting sleeves (nothing at all). I also was a little worried about the neckline so I decreased a little faster than called for, which means it has more of a scoop neck than in the original (which I like).
I like the look of the twisted stitches and enjoy how that works on the yoke. I also think the ribbing on the sides - which looks strange when knitting because the ribbing is a little taller than the woven stitch - is so clever and may have to use this pattern as a guide for other sweaters.
And I cannot say enough how much I adore every fleck in the Terra yarn. It is soft and sproingy and nubby and each color is completely fascinating to me.

ETA: Over at Spincerly Yours I found the link to the errata which explains why my bottom looks different. I tend to just go on figuring I am personalizing the design but, you know, if you're into correctness. Or at least understanding why it looks different.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's Not That I Mind My Age

I really don't mind being in my thirties. Sure, when I was thirteen I had grand plans for who I would be by now, but I am happy where I am. No, the thing that continues to get me is all these young people. And that each year the people who are younger than me - well there are a lot of them.
I called one friend (back in our twenties) and said, "Do you realize there are professional football players that are our age? Or younger?" (Now some of them who are my age are retired, but we won't even go there.) My friend had gone to a football school so she was quite aware of this, and not so impressed with my revelation.
I was in Starbucks with a friend who pointed to a group of teens seated nearby and said, "They could be our kids." No they could not! I mean okay, technically I am theoretically biologically capable of producing children, and have been so long enough that I could have produced a teen. But even my grand plans (not that those count for much) never had me parenting a teen at this stage of life.
And sure, there was the time they handed me the youth group list with all the birthdates and I realized several of them were born after I graduated high school.
But here's what I just realized. All those people younger than me? There are more of them born every day. Every day more and more people who are younger than me come into this world.
In some ways - it's a bit comforting. There are so many. It's the circle of life. And let's face it - I can't change my age, and don't want to. But man, there are a lot of you young folks. Now, get off the lawn.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Proof of Knitting

Not very artfully draped, but the ocean love goes on.
Ocean Love
I am actually making progress on the sleeves to - helps when you get to break out the big needles.
A couple of folks on Ravlery were flashing theirs without sleeves, and - it does not look as cute sleeveless on me - so sleeves it is.
I really have enjoyed this pattern and have some thoughts about trying it again.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

ROFL at a Tomato

This may be less funny to others. But today, this made me laugh and laugh. It helps that I knew about the fundraiser and the potential payoff, that I'm a big Television Without Pity fan, and a "My So-Called Life" fan, but in the end watching a tomato get on the subway - how can that not make you smile?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

All the Pretty Pencils

I read a lot of blogs - journal blogs, knit blogs, television blogs, pop culture blogs, and writer blogs. So, I have run across a link or two or five about the writer's strike. I was reading Pamie when the significance of the WGA strike occurring during NaNo hit me. I don't mean that in the sense that they planned it that way. But isn't it interesting that at this time of year when writers, many of them not currently holding that as their official (ie paid) job around the world dedicate themselves to trying to write 50,000 words in a month (in addition to working those other jobs, and maybe cooking or cleaning or knitting or hanging with the cat, and sleeping too) that a group of writers have agreed to stop working until they can get a contract that includes things like the internet. (In case it catches on.)
I am working on owning the title of writer, and part of my struggle is that since I don't get paid for it (right now) it doesn't seem like my job. But that's silly, if all I wanted to do was make money I would have gone and learned to be a computer programmer back when. And I do write. Maybe not every day (I'm working on that.) But I have no trouble calling myself a knitter and I've been doing that for way less time than I've been writing.
But these people who call themselves writers with ease and dedicate themselves trying to make that their job every day (even though we all know shows get canceled at the drop of a hat and the next crop of shows doesn't come out for a while) they had to stop. So, while I sit there staring at the screen wishing it was as easy at it seems when I think about this stuff in the shower, other folks who had great ideas for stories to tell me, had to stop.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It Better Sparkle

Because really, not even exaggerating, this is the fourth time today they have vacuumed the carpet in the hall. Don't get me wrong, I am glad they are vacuuming it, really I am. But oh my god, what with it being leaf blower season and the neighbors upstairs and next door shifting all their worldy goods I am getting just a little bit cranky. (Can you tell?)

Book Obsession

Okay, be honest with me here, this happens to other people, right? Today is the release of Alyssa Day's latest warriors of Poseidon book, Atlantis Awakening and I get twitchy just thinking about. I need this book. Need to have it in my possession. I need it even though I have a book stack that's a bit high when you factor in the crazy work hours plus NaNo. I need it even though I am in the middle of a book and I just bought several books this weekend (signed even) that I want to read right now. (Okay not right now, but the second I finish what I'm reading now.)
And really, they will still have copies tomorrow or Thursday. I think. I'm sure the print run on this one was bigger so that I don't have to worry they will run out the way they did with Atlantis Rising.
It's like the yarn thing. As Yarn Harlot says, "What if some strange disease made all the sheep bald tomorrow?". Or wiped out the cotton plants. You wouldn't laugh at all the times you bought four skeins of something because it was too pretty to leave behind. You'd feel pretty smart.
And while the writer's guild strike doesn't affect book writers (unless they are also script writers, but they can and will still write books) it does mean I'll have a little more reading time. So really, it's totally normal to want to stock up. Right?
Just in case some strange occurrence prevents me from getting to the book store tomorrow.
Update: Twitching over. Got it. Read it. Loved it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Focusing on the Wrong Part of the Story

George Washington University has had reports recently of swastikas and other hate graffiti drawn on dorm room doors and/or white boards. What did I notice? GWU has a dorm called New Hall. Let me tell you, my university built a new dorm during my years there, and despite the fact that many of the dorms were named after a professor, they named it: New Hall. Personally I thought it showed a lack of creativity. If no one could agree on a professor in the university's last five hundred plus years of history worthy of having a dorm named after them then surely there was something else. And if no one could think of anything, well that's why there are naming contests. Because really, New Hall? What happens if they build another? Does it become Newer Hall?

It's Fun to be Erudite

Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.


Thanks to Lorraine for the link.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Synchronicities

In high school English we called them fabulous realities, stories you could almost never get away within fiction, because people would say it was too coincidental to be true. My mother and her husband were in town last week so we went out to dinner Tuesday and again Thursday. Both times my mother mentioned a gentleman from a neighboring town was participating in a solo ocean race. That Thursday my mother mentioned she had not checked today, but some folks had finished, so assumedly he was close. I got in the car to head home and NPR was airing "The World" and the answer to their GeoQuiz. As the source for their answer - they talked to Mr. Burkhalter. So, of course I called my mom and told her that he had finished and I knew this because he was talking on the radio.

Did I mention?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all that. And I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but things continue to be crazy at work, so I could not have chosen a worse time to add to my mental load, and yet, as another participant said, the idea of disappearing into my character's world for a while is so appealing I couldn't not do it.