Thursday, September 29, 2005

Homo Florensis and other amazing things

Went to an Anthro. department lecture at USF tonight given by Dr. Peter Brown, who identified homo florensis earlier this year in Flores, Indonesia. It was a fascinating lecture! I could go on and on about it for hours. The lecture lasted about an hour and half and there were probably three or four dozen people who stood through the entire thing because there were no chairs left... There were easily 400 people in attendance. They should have held it in a larger auditorium instead of the Student Union Ballroom... but I digress. Dr. Brown is an excellent lecturer, very funny and passionate about his work, and if you get an opportunity to see him speak at another university or organization, I highly recommend going! It was a lovely evening... He told us a lot of info that hasn't been published yet. They've discovered a lot of new info in the last several months, and now have 7 - 9 individuals at the Liang Boa cave site in Flores. He said the cave was continually inhabited by homo florensis and then later modern humans for the last 94,000 years up until the last several thousand years. They have a lot of history to cover, and unfortunately for thoroughness and preserving information, the site director bypassed all the modern human remains and artifacts and they went 12 meters down through roughly 20,000 years of deposition in 2 months of excavations. Their original goal was to find out info on the earliest modern humans or human ancestors who lived in Indonesia, their main goal being to hypothesize how and exactly when modern humans reached Australia... What they found was something completely different, as we all now know...

But as I said, I could go on for hours!! I have lots of notes, and I'll answer questions if I can.

I saw a friend from high school, Laura, there. She graduated the same year I did and has had the same kind of issues wadding through USF as I have so we commiserate with each other on that level. She's thinking of majoring in Anthropology now, thanks to a Biological Anthro class that she's taking right now and finding particularly inspiring. She asked why I was there. I told her about the Archaeology class I'm in and that I have a family member in the field up in the Carolinas. I told her about the Borough House too and all that's going on there... I think if there are digs there in the next few years, there will be a few volunteers from Florida helping out... Me, Laura, and Laura's friend Liz, who was also at the lecture, is seriously into archaeology, is an anthro major, and is looking for somewhere to dig next summer. I promised to keep them both informed. Very exciting stuff!!

Other cool things that have happened this week:

I saw 4 wild peacocks looking for food along Dale Mabry Hwy in Carrollwood this afternoon, during rush hour. They were all young males (they had a peacock's bright coloring, but their tail feathers had not completely developed yet).

On Monday, I noticed that they just opened a Whataburger on Hillsborough Avenue... It's the first one I've seen in Florida, and although I have no plans to go there, I think it's kinda cool that a place I had previously only heard of on "King of the Hill" is now in town.

Also on Monday, I saw a doe grazing in the planned community "Westchase." It was about 200 feet in from Sheldon Road, a fairly busy four-lane road in the western part of Hillsborough County, near a man-made pond in a clearing on the other side of a densely wooded area from the street. She was beautiful, a grayish kind of bown and white... She perked her head up for a second when I looked over at her and then went back to munching on grass. It was really cool...

Charity opportunity

A very nice woman, named Heather, is collecting handknit or crocheted or quilted blankets for hurricane victims. She wants to get 5,000 by December to be given out during the holiday season. Here's her site for more info: I'm starting on mine tonight!

Irony and disappointment

Well, they had no bikes except very tiny children's bikes at Goodwill... So back to being SOL for an American made bike under $200. On the ironic side of things, I found an American made adult tricycle for $268.97 at Walmart of all places when I stopped in to price their Schwinns. But I neither want nor need a tricycle as it is too expensive and not at all manuverable when compared to a bicycle. Evenso, this is the only bicycle-like thing made in the US that I've seen since I began my search about three weeks ago.

So I'm disappointed about that, and the Roberts confirmation... On principle, I oppose anyone or anything that Bush and his cronies think is a good idea. And I got a link to this article in my e-mail from Oxfam America, "Housing Issues, Eminent Domain Top Concerns Among East Biloxi Residents". Here's a link:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bike update

Well, I went to Sports Authority in Citrus Park on the way to my job and they may have one type of bike there that is okay. It's an Iron Horse. The brand is based in New York State and was founded about 20 years ago and they make mostly mountain bikes and bikes for racing, but they have four different kinds of ladies' cruisers there. Three of them have stickers placed prominently below the handlebars which read "Made In China," however, the fourth has no stickers anywhere on it to indicate where it was made... I have to go back when I'm not in a hurry and get someone to tell me where it's made.


So I went back to Sports Authority and asked the guy working the bike section if he knew where the purple Iron Horses were made. He went into a tirade about his politics, how much he hates China and "the Commie-bastards who live there," and how there's hardly anything in the whole blasted store that isn't made in China... Yeah, yeah... That's why I'm asking if it's made in the US or China, guy. But he wouldn't really give me a straight answer, just kept saying, "Well, it's hard to find a bike made anywhere other than China these days." "I know," I said, "But these don't say where they're made. Do you know for sure?" "Well, the rest of the Iron Horses say they're made in China." "Yeah, I noticed that, but these have no stickers, so I was wondering if maybe they weren't, since the rest say specifically, but these don't." ('Cause there were like 6 of the purple ones on the floor, and none of them had stickers saying where they were made, but all the other models did.) "Well, those really aren't very good bikes anyway. What *you* want is a Schwin. I think even they're made in China now too, but they're the top of the line! I've got one over here, I can get it down for you if you want to take a look." No, no, that's okay...


So apparently, I have three choices.

1. pick out a $250.00+ bike from a boutique outfit that *is* made in the US *but* that's really over my price-range and way fancier than I need.

2. buy from China.

3. don't buy a bike.

It kinda unfair that those are my choices. It's my bank account versus my aspirations to actually live up to my political/economic values versus my health and the environment. That really sucks...

After brain-storming, I have a fourth choice that might rid me of my problems, which is to go down to the Goodwill Store instead... I think there's one on Hillsborough Avenue... Let's just hope they have ladies' bikes 'cause I've never gone there before and I haven't a clue as to what they have available.

"Made in the USA"

My goal is a simple one: find a cruiser-style (i.e. not "mountain" or "bmx") bicycle for somewhere around $100 or less that was manufactured in the United States by citizens of the United States in order to support American jobs... I do *not* want to buy a bike from China and I refuse to support the outsourcers, even if they have a perfectly lovely looking one for $53.97 at Walmart down the street. I want a bike to take around the neighborhood, to the grocery store for little things, and for exercise in the park. Is that so much to ask? Apparently so...

None of the major bike manufacturers manufacture their bicycles in the US anymore... Schwin, Pacific, Roadmaster, and Mongoose have *all* been bought out by a Canadian conglomerate "with offices in Asia." ::rolls eyes:: Huffy prominently displays "Made in China" on the frames of all their bikes, which is disappointing because the bike I had when I was in grade school was a "made in the USA" Huffy. Murray, although apparently British-owned, once made bikes in the US, but appears to have gone out of business because I can't find them *anywhere* on the net, let alone in stores. I went to hoping for help, but most of their info is either out-of-date or for Lance Armstrong wannabes... (I don't want a $300+ handmade-in-California-on-the-beach road bike for racing... I just want a nice, simple 26" lady's 1-speed bicycle, maybe with a nice little basket on the front or over the back wheel. Why is that so difficult?)

So I thought, okay, used... So I looked up bicycle shops in Tampa in the phone book. There is literally one place listed that says it has used bikes in the greater Tampa/St. Pete area, called "Anne's Attic" in extreme South Tampa, about an hour's drive from here. The place that used to have used bikes near the University has gone all new and mostly high-end (which makes no sense to me whatsoever)... and "Play It Again Sports," the used sports equipment store three blocks from here, says that they rarely get any bikes in these days. There's one place which might have some that I haven't checked yet - the Pawn Shop near the University (because occasionally there will be some displayed out on the curb), but anyone who's been around that part of Tampa knows why I hesitate to venture over there alone. Even fastfood restaurants in that part of town go into lockdown with bars on their windows as soon as the sun sets.

So, yeah, looks like for the moment I'm SOL, unless anyone has any suggestions...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The "ahh!" dream that wouldn't die...

I usually don't remember dreams, and even this one I can't remember in much detail, but the important bits are clear. I was excited because I got a new job at Publix, which is the greatest grocery store ever, except that it wasn't located where it actually is, it was where the local Bed, Bath & Beyond (which used to be a Winn-Dixie) is located... Anyway, it was my first day on the job, the other employees were really nice and we were having a great time bagging, and my boss, who was a non-discript very managerial looking person, told me to go ahead and do the take-backs (which I imagine grocery stores don't have very many of) so when the store closed there would be less to do before everyone could go home. So I thought, "Okay, this will be easy. I know this store like the back of my hand." Well, the cart was about half-full of stuff, including several jugs of milk. I figured those should go back first because they would spoil quickly. So I went to the dairy section of the store, but it wasn't there. I was looking all over the store for the darn milk, and I couldn't find it. And the boss was glowering at me, and I started thinking I was going to get fired and it just kept going and going and was never ending. It wouldn't die... I finally found myself awake, and I blame the whole thing on "Aqua-Teen Hungerforce" that was on my tv at the time (I usually sleep with the tv on) because I think Fry-Loc seemed to be having a similar kind of problem in that episode (not totally sure 'cause I was half-asleep still, but it seems like something they'd do). I think that's the closest I've ever gotten to that dream where you're late for something really important, like a job interview or a final exam, and then when you get there, not only are you in big trouble, you don't have any clothes on or you're in your pjs...

Monday, September 19, 2005

News of my little bro, Josh.

Josh is doing better the longer he's home... He's stopped smoking cigs as far as we can tell, which is very good (now, if only we could be sure that the pot and excessive drinking has stopped). Although, he might disagree that he's doing better 'cause he's had a hard time finding enough work to keep him busy (he still hasn't heard back from the local news station about the golf tournament work he did for them about a month ago). This may have changed however because he's started editing mini-shows for DJ Rossstar on . I highly recommend checking it out 'cause even though I have no idea who anyone in these videos are, I still thought it was pretty cool. Josh did all the editing, the special effects and the captions. I'm pretty proud of him. There will be new vids every week, I think. At the very least, this will get his name out there even more because this site is fairly well known in the punk music circle.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


... and not the cartoon! I finished processing the peanuts I harvested last month this morning. I've got about 100 for seed, and goodness known how many to eat (see pic!). I couldn't fit another pod in there if I had 'em. Yum!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fabric samples

Got the linen fabric samples that I order from today. they look really nice. I scanned them, but they didn't scan very well. The colors in the first sample look almost as they should, except that the colors are a little more harsh than they are in person. The greens and blues are much softer on the actual sample, and the light blue is more of sky blue than it appears in the scan. The second sample looks only somewhat like the scan. The pink is a lighter carnation pink, and the color of the stripes in the what looks like almost peachy-orange stripes is actually salmon pink. The brown stripes are actually natural flax colored. And the white samples in both are totally washed out, as you can see. I tried fixing it, but Photoshop was not cooperating. They are all 100% linen, and all of them are 5.3 oz/yard, except for the white and white/natural linen stripe on the second sample, which is 6 oz/yard. I'm wondering what would be best to get, and I welcome suggestions. With these prices, the difference in price is not an issue.

O Romeo, Romeo!

I just found out through the grapevine that Francisco Bosch danced Romeo(?) in an English National Ballet production of "Romeo & Juliet" at the Royal Albert Hall in London earlier this summer (and if this rumor is correct, Andrea was right in her pronouncement that he *is* Romeo). It was an in-the-round production... which he said is quite challenging and that there's "no place to hide." In one article, which was in AMX magazine (whatever that is), it says that he has been promoted from a corp dancer to "an artist of the company." So "yay" for him! (article here: but it's difficult to read, although there's a nice picture )

In the past, he's danced in, among other things, a reinterpretation of "Trapeze" with the English National Ballet, which he called the "highlight" of his dancing career (at the ripe old age of 22). Critics say he "smouldered" and I believe them after seeing his little dance in "Alexander"... (picture and article here: )

Why, oh, why doesn't Tampa appreciate ballet beyond the annual run of "The Nutcracker" at Ruth Eckard Hall? ... But then, even if it did, I don't think that the English National Ballet would come here anyway... ::sighs::

Next year, he will play King Tut in "The Curse of King Tut's Tomb"... which is a movie that recently should have finished filming if IMDB is correct. Hopefully, all his lines won't get cut from this one ::glares at Warner Brother's::...

While trying to dig for confirmation ('cause I'm wondering and research for my own edification is my life), I found this posting on's message board:

"Just watched Alexander tonight and noticed Francisco in weird is this?!? About 3 years ago, I danced in English National Ballet with him - I actually have him recorded on my video tape in a red mouse costume that he had to wear for the show! He was pretty new to the company then, didn't know anything about the movie back then. I remember from the first time I saw him in the studio I fancied him, but he never noticed me. I was just a little extra kid, and the company members never really talked to the kids. But one time I was backstage with him and he had a pretend gun (as part of the costume) and he fired it at me! Ha, my heart skipped a beat for a second and I didn't know what to say, and in the end I just ended up saying "ah, you frightened me". lol, but still it's quite cool to think that I danced with him. On certain nights, he had to pick me up on stage - I always hoped that I would be performing the same night that he was and always got jealous when my friend got picked up instead! Just wanted to share that with you guys. If you think he's an amazing dancer, you guys should go check out some ballet - Francisco, as good as he is, was in the bottom ranks of the company, mainly because he was new. But check out the principals...whoa! Amazing. "

How cool is that!? ::squee!::

k... fangirl moment over...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Welcome to TV-Land... and news from the Sunshine State

I've been watching all the new TV shows the last two nights while alternately knitting and working on homework. There have been some interesting programs... All three this evening had references to Mulder and Scully of "X-Files" fame ("Bones," "Supernatural," and "Law & Order: SVU"). I wonder why? Or if it's just coincidence...

Watching "L&O: SVU" right now... They're trying to indict the US Army for rape and murder for giving soldiers an anti-malaria drug known to have violent psychotic side-effects, which they concealed from the soldiers and their families causing one rape, two murders, one suicide and one attempted suicide in NYC alone (on the show, not in real life...). The DA just subpoenaed Donald Rumsfeld... got a bit of a thrill from the thought that they would do that (although I wouldn't expect him to be any more honest with a Grand Jury than he is with Congress or the American people... but that's a topic for another day.) This show's getting pretty ballsy this week. Real-life type corruption in the government (or as close as TV drama can get)... All the better to feed my conspiracy theories with, my dear.

"Bones" (on Fox) is a very interesting show... It's about a forensic archaeologist working out of Washington, DC with the "Jeffersonian Institute." ::winks:: It stars an unknown actress, Emily Deschanel, as Dr. Temperance Brennan PhD, and David Boreanaz, as Special Agent Seely Booth. Seely likes to call her "Bones" 'cause she hates it and she likes to remind him of her PhD 'cause he seems to hate that. And she's got a lot of really high-tech looking toys to play with, like catscan-type things that create just shy of instant hologram images of the dead people she examines. Pretty cool... and I'm sure there's a whole lot of forensic archaeologists would love to get their hands on something like that. The back and forth baiting between the two stars is very amusing and the science on the show is very interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it. You can find out more about the show here:

"Prison Break" was on last night. That one's also very interesting. It's about a guy, Lincoln Burrows, who was set up for the murder of the Vice-President's brother. He's on death row, less than a month from his execution date, his wife isn't talking to him, his teenage son has been having truancy problems with school, no one will believe that he's innocent and he doesn't know what to do. His brother, Michael, an engineer who helped with the design of the prison and has since had the blue prints tattooed all over the upper half of his body (hidden in a very intricate devil and angel gothic motif that is very cool), has gotten himself sent to prison by pretending to rob a bank so that he can break his brother out. He has to deal with being a new guy in the slam, making enemies just because he's breathing, trying to make allies without letting what they're up to get out, and disgustingly corrupt guards. What makes it even more interesting is that they have several lawyer friends on the outside working their butt's off trying to find a legal way to get Lincoln out... but it's difficult because what they are finding is more closed doors than they should and what seems to be a government conspiracy involving the CIA and Secret Service... because the Vice-President's brother apparently found out some things he shouldn't have and was going to make them public... And every time someone gets remotely close to figuring anything out, black suits appear and they disappear. My only issue with the show is that it's not quite as gritty and cut-throat as it should probably be... but then, it's on Fox and not HBO, so one can only expect so much... More here:

I taped "House" (also on Fox). Hear that this is its second season... I don't remember it last year, but the commercials looked interesting so I'll check it out as some point this week. Of course, coming up pretty soon will be the season premieres of "Smallville" (which I'm not looking forward to because if what I think is going to happen, happens, I won't be watching it anymore) and "Lost" (can't wait, can't wait! What's in the tunnel? Where does it go? Why did Kate scream? Who kidnapped Walt and why?...) Anyway...

The reason I taped "House" was because "Supernatural" premiered on the WB at the same time, and I've been waiting for that one since I saw the preview for it after the "Smallville" season finale like four or five months ago. It's about... well, I'm still not sure exactly what it's about. It's like "The X-Files" meets "The Ring." Now, I really wish I had never gotten talked in to seeing "The Ring" because I'm still trying to block that one out, but this show is freaky in a good way... Like the main-story arch episodes of "The X-Files." It's about two brothers who are searching for their father, who has recently gone missing. Since the youngest was just a few months old, their father has been obsessed with finding the thing that killed their mother. She was attacked by something in the baby's room and her husband could do nothing but watch as it killed her horribly. He's convinced that it's some kind of... demon, I guess. **spoiler** After looking in the town their father was last seen in, only to find that he had left them a message and moved on to somewhere in Colorado, and dealing with the "woman in white" ghost that had been murdering men for 20 years in that tiny town, the youngest, Sam, insisted that his brother, Dean, take him home because he wants to become a lawyer and had an interview with a law school rep. the next morning. Upon returning home, he went straight to bed, hearing the shower on in the bathroom and figuring that's where his girlfriend was, only to look up at the ceiling to see that his girlfriend was being killed by the same silent, creepy thing. As he screamed in horror, his brother burst in and pulled him out of the room just before the whole thing went up in flames (just what had happened to their mother). It ended on a very "screw law school, let's get this thing" kind of note. **end spoiler** I'm thinking that this could be a pretty good show. One thing I particularly like is that the dialogue between Dean and Sam is very brotherly... Half the time, it seems they can barely keep themselves from escalating it into a shoving match or all-out brawl. Such as here:

Dean Winchester: Nice work, Sammy.
Sam Winchester: Yeah, wish I could say the same thing about you. What were you thinking shooting Caspar in the *face*, you *freak*!
Dean Winchester: Hey! Saved *your* ass!

Other lines I found amusing:

Homeland Security Man: Can I help you, boys ?
Dean Winchester: No, sir, we were just leaving.
[two FBI agents walk past them]
Dean Winchester: Agent Mulder. Agent Scully.

Sam Winchester: When I told Dad I was scared of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45!
Dean Winchester: [totally unconcerned.] What was he supposed to do?
Sam Winchester: I was *nine* years old. He was supposed to say, "Don't be afraid of the dark"!
Dean Winchester: "Don't be afraid of the dark'"? Are you kidding me? Of course, you should be afraid of the dark! You know what's out there!

More info on "Supernatural":

On a totally unrelated note, but it was on the local news tonight and the reporters were bring kinda stupid and "we don't know why it's happening" about it... Alligators... Apparently, attack incidents in Florida have increased almost 300% to a present 14 per year in the last 15 years, sightings have been up and there are more incidents of alligators coming into people's yards and pools, and authorities are at a loss as to why. Hmm... I wonder? Could it be because a.) people are moving into and venturing into areas they have no business doing either (i.e. alligators' territory) and b.) people are stupid and do stupid things, like not respecting the alligator's space and feeding them(!!!)? I'm surprised that more people aren't attacked by alligators to be honest... I once saw two 8 or 9 year old kids, parents nowhere in sight, trying to *poke* a 4-foot alligator in their backyard with *sticks*... an alligator that the construction workers who had worked on their recently finished house used to throw leftover lunches to... Can you say "tonight at 11?"

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Been industrious...

I got the pocketbook slippers that I've been working on done tonight (pictured at left) . The pattern can be found here: They are very easy to do, require no blocking or complicated shaping, and are quite comfy and warm. I made them in 100% cotton... Bernat's "Cotton Tots" to be exact (one skein will make one pair with a little left over). They are very stretchy. They fit my size 11 W feet and could stretch a bit further, so significantly smaller footed people might want to adjust the pattern and experiment a bit. They work up very quickly, so that shouldn't be too much of a hardship. I actually did not make them for myself (and I might alter the pattern a bit when I make them again). I made them for my cousin, Stephanie, who is pregnant with her third child right now. She's due, G-d willing, in October, just in time for the cooler weather, so I worked up a whole gift pack of cozy, cuddly things for the baby (including the blanket pictured here in another post) and thought I should toss something in to keep her feet warm during those late winter nights of rocking and pacing. But shhh! It's a surprise, and besides, because of the extreme Jewish superstition surrounding pregnant women of which she and her husband are very observant, I can't give them to her 'til after the baby is born. Since I, with luck and blessings, still have a few weeks at least, I might work up another pair of them for her with the fit alterations I'm considering to see if they work better.

if you want to do something for the kids...


Can't believe I'm still awake... But since my parents got up for work and turned the news on, I've found it very distracting and infuriating, two things that are not conducive to sleep. If this entire tragedy has taught me one new thing (I already knew that this country can't find it's way out of a paper bag with two hands and a flashlight thanks to a certain administration), it's that this country is full of drama queens and a good number of them are in politics and journalism... Far fewer than would have been expected are in the entertainment industry, since large numbers of the members of those professions have rolled up their sleeves, stopped prattling and have volunteered in the trenches. I'm sure you don't have to ask why I would accuse members of the press and government of dramatic over-reacting and grandstanding for the sake of their own glory as long as you have a television or computer (or maybe a radio, but I don't know since I don't get my news there). It's insufferable though. The press and the government should be ashamed of themselves for their behavior over the past two weeks from CNN to FoxNews and on both sides of the aisle. But as Ed Helms said on last night's "Daily Show," by the time this is all over, the government will probably not be able to find enough medals to honor assholes involved in this catastrophe and the head of FEMA will probably have been dipped in bronze and given as an award to yet other idiot officials (pardon the strong language). Check out the "Daily Show" and their genius here: Run, do not walk, to watch the news clips, especially Jon Stewart's treatise on the "Inarguable Failure," although I would not commend the media to the extent that he did 'cause I'm a bit ticked at them right now... "Bush's Timeline" and "Beleaguered Bush" are also worthy of Peabody Awards... the latter takes a look at the ABCs (because, as we know, administration disasters are named alphabetically) of Bush failures... which I have reproduced for you here, for those without the ability to watch the video:

Major Disasters of the Bush Administration (those that have happened w/ +)
+ Abu Garib
+ Bin Laden
+ Chalabi
+ Deficit
+ Enron
+ Failure to find WMDs
+ Halliburton
+ Iraq
+ John Bolton
+ Katrina
- Locusts
- Mars attacks
- North Korea
- Osama & Jenna
- Pregnancy: Osama & Jenna
- Queer revolt
- Rodents of Unusual Size
- Syrian War
- Tigers
- Unicyclists, nuclear
- Voldemort
- X-rated Tape: Osama & Jenna
- Yam shortage
- Zero people left on Earth

For those of you wanting something to do right now, right this very second, go to: and their affiliate sites. Click, click, click... and maybe buy some early Christmas/Chanukah presents and help worthy charities at the same time... Shopping this way supports truly free trade and saves gas too!


Well, I might have been slow in figuring out what was going on with the commentators on my blog, but hopefully now it has been fixed thanks to the word verification option in the blogger settings. Anyone who might be reading this and having similar difficulties with people spamming your blog, go to the "settings" tab and then to "comments" to turn on the word verification option on your blog editing... page... site... thing... (sorry, channeling Pippin...)

My first handspun two-ply

These are pictures of my first attempt at handspinning. I used a top-whorl drop spindle and 100% black merino wool roving from and used their instructions printed out to figure out how to do it. I used only a little bit 'cause I had no idea what I was doing and didn't want to use up all of my wool messing up... I was a bit confued at first, but I finally got it going and after I did two lengths of singles, I plied them together (and nearly turned it into a hopelessly tangled mess). So this is handspun two-ply merino yarn... It's about 1/16" thick. If I had to guess, I'd say a bit finer than fingering, but thicker than crochet cotton? I stuck a measuring tape in there for scale. Sorry for the resolution again (I've really got to get another camera or something for quick digital photos...). I think it turned out really well. I was skeptical until I saw what it's supposed to look like because it is so different from machine made yarn. Maybe I was a Viking lass in a former life? ;D To be honest though, my second attempt was full of problems, the twist would get too tight and the yarn would break over and over again, so I think it was beginner's luck that I got this as my first result.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Knitting news!

Well, Knitty's Fall issue, and 3 year anniversary, went live this evening. I haven't heard about winning anything yet, but since the winners won't be final until the Fall surprises are unveiled sometime later in the month, at least, I *might* still be in the running... There are some very cool patterns in the issue. I highly recommend checking it out (the link is to the right). Seems a lot of people are in love with cables and lace this issue... and spinning too! There's a whole bit about spinning in the articles section. And it looks like I did pretty good compared to Amy's first try. That makes me feel much better cause I was learning from written instructions and had no idea what I was doing. I'll post a picture of my first bit of hand spun singles when I get a chance. For now, here's what I've been working on this evening...
It's a skinny scarf/belt that I've made for my mom. Very trendy and Shakira, no? The fringe is 18" long, and the belt is 36" long x 2" wide. Obviously it would be no help against the weather, but it is a nice little accessory for those of us who like scarves but only get to wear them about 2 weeks a year (the joys of Florida!)... I can make them in any color of knitting ribbon from Caron's Pizzaz! line. If you would like one for yourself, $15 + shipping. Contact me through the comments if you'd like one... or 2 or 3... They make great gifts! I can add more fringe, or longer fringe and I can make the belt segment longer as well for more generous waist/hip lines. Let me know and we'll discuss... And I'm going to try to get a better close-up pic too, cause this is some ridiculous resolution...

Highlander 5?

::am skeptical:: I just heard today that Lions' Gate Films is trying to make "Highlander 5: subtitle yet to be determined" (although, it's rumored to be "The Source" or "The Journey Continues"... there is also a rumor that it will be the first of a trilogy arch of "Highlander" films) with Adrien Paul *and* Christophe Lambert (according to - although they have been known to be wrong before)... No offense to Mr. Lambert, because Lord knows I thought he was awesome in the other Highlander movies, but playing a character who is immortal and totally immune to aging periodically over a 20 year period doesn't seem to be a great idea. He was starting to look a little long in the tooth in the last one. I ignored it as much as I could 'cause his character wasn't going to survive the film, but if he comes back for this one, I think it's going to be more than a little rediculous.

Filming is supposed to begin this month in Lithuania, and Adrien Paul is an executive producer, along with the production team from "The Series." I just hope Peter Wingfield is back to play "Methos" (and we see more screentime for him than the 15 minutes he got in "Endgame"), and the stupid continuity hiccup that was Kate MacLeod/"Faith" will be forgotten. They made a big deal in the series about Mac never having married and having been told by a gypsey woman that he "would bury many women but marry none." I'd much rather see Liz Gracen come back as "Amanda" and Jim Byrnes as "Joe" along with the rest of the gang rather than have another plot hole of bad writers. According to another source,, the rewrite of the script by David Abramowitz, which was just finished a matter of weeks ago, includes Methos and Joe, but I haven't found confirmation of this or of any of the other actors being connected with the film.

Anyway, more about "Highlander 5" will be posted here as info is released.


At the beginning and end of every semester, I tend to reassess my situation. Now is no different. Since I could only get in two classes this semester (thanks to USF canceling several classes that I needed for graduation, but apparently not enough other people did early on in the enrollment last spring), I have a lot of extra time on my hands. I'm trying to figure out how to fill it constructively.

I've ordered several patterns for costumes I need to make: the Georgian Stays and Quilted Pair of Bodies patterns from Mantua Maker, and the chemise pattern from Kannik's Korner. The stays and the chemise are for an historically accurate Colonial/Revolutionary War costume for reenacting events, and the pair of bodies is for the RenFaire. Hopefully, this will just be the tip of the iceberg where costuming and I are concerned.

I've started work on a very interesting knitting project... Well, several, actually... The first is a knitted purse that imitates wool tweed to some extent. It should look very nice once done. I don't know what I'm going to do with it though since I don't use that kind of handbag. Maybe I'll enter it in one of the contests at the State Fair in the spring? The second are several knitted belts that tie at the waist for my mom, upon request. I made up up in about 30 minutes the other night for Andrea's going away present and Mom liked it so much that she asked for several. Then I'm also thinking of making some dishcloths/facecloths. I got some 100% cotton worsted weight yarn the other day in a clearance sale and figured it might be a good idea for using it and a lot of other bits of similar cotton yarn that I have hanging about... Don't know what I'll do with those cloths right now, but I'm sure I'll think of something. I welcome suggestions however...

I'm continuing to work on the aran afghan that I started about a month ago. I have seven squares done and nine more to go. I'm also still working on the lace shrug that I started about two months ago. I really should probably concentrate on finishing that. It's only about another week's worth of work (if that) and then I can block it and it will be done...

(The Fall issue of Knitty has still not been released. I hope everything is going well with that and its delay is not a sign that anything unfortunate has happened.)

I've been looking at the upcoming movie released from now through January 2006. I do this periodically because my friends and I like to go in groups on opening night *a lot* of weekends and I'm the organizer. I've had to revise my list for the Fall/Holiday season because many movies have been moved around several times and some have been delayed as long as three months. "Beowulf & Grendel" has apparently been delayed until at least January. It was supposed to be released in October... ::sighs:: I'm still not sure what to think of "Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride." A new rendition of "Oliver Twist" will be released September 30th, the same day as Viggo Mortensen's film "A History of Violence." "The Legend of Zorro" with Antonio Bandaras will be released October 28th, and "Chicken Little," a very cute-looking animated film, will be released the next weekend on November 4th. "Walk the Line" (the story of the Man in Black himself), "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and (though notoriously inaccurate) "Pride and Prejudice" will be released on November 18th, posing a problem for our film group as to which we should see first. I think "HP" will win out. "Rent" will be released the following weekend on the 23rd. And December is just chock full of goodies! It's a good think the semester ends early in the month 'cause I think I'm going to want to be living at the theater for most of it. "Aeon Flux," "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Chronicles of Narnia," "Brokeback Mountain," "King Kong" (!) "Fun with Dick and Jane," "The Producers" (remake with Matt Broderick and Nathan Lane), "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" (cause well... Tom Welling's in it...), "Casanova" (Heath Ledger!! In two romantic-type movies in one month! Catch me as I faint!), "Hoodwinked," "CSA" "A Good Woman," and "The Libertine" to name a few are all on the list of stuff we want to see. I don't know how we'll get them all in... Probably won't... Probably we'll have to democratically vote, see what we can or just *have* to and save the rest for the slump that will no doubt happen in January or wait to see them on HBO (since that's what it's for)...

Much to my dismay, not only has "Beowulf..." been moved, but so has the other thing I was looking forward to seeing this Fall, "The New World" with Colin Farrell as John Smith. Say what you will, I think he's a great actor (this is where my dad would point out that I say the same thing about Tony Curtis - seriously, say what you will, I think they are both more than pretty faces). Christian Bale is also in "The New World" as John Rolfe and he's right up their with Johnny Depp in picking great movies (maybe not the most popular or obvious choices, but the film quality tends to be there), so I'm expecting great things here. "The New World" will be released in NYC and LA on December 25th and nationwide on January 13th. Super-bummed at that, since I *was* counting the days til November 9th.

I was reminded today with the cooler morning air that Autumn will be here sooner or later. Probably later... knowing Florida it won't feel like Fall all day long until the first of October (not that I'm complaining... I'm not... much...). So I also need to start planning for preparing the ground for the Spring 2006 garden. I have to put black plastic down to kill the grass and weed roots wherever I can. And I need to get things in place for the installation of the water garden that Joe will be installing as soon as the weather begins to cool in ernest. I also need to find someplace for the three roses I still have in pots 'cause Florida might not freeze often, but when it does the plants suffer all the more because it's a sudden change and not gradual, so the roses will need to be used to their new situation long before that happens. I just can't figure out logical places for them to go! Maybe I'll have to create some logical places... And I have to remember that we have to order the fruit and nut trees we've been planning for in October.

FYI: There are several public lectures this semester that the Anthropology department at USF is doing. At least one of them is something I definitely want to go to. On September 28th (?) at 7pm at the Marshall Center (aka the Student Union), the guy who discovered the "hobbits" in Flores, Indonesia is going to be lecturing about them and how they were discovered. I can't miss that! (Nevermind that I also have to write a paper about it for my archaeology class.)

I think that's it for the moment... I'm sure I'll find even more to keep me busy as the semester progresses, but this is a good starting point.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

it's just amazing...

This is an article on what's going on right now in the French Quarter... Sorry that the link wraps. Copy and paste, I guess?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Movie recommendations

Since I'm watching it right now, while trying to catch up on my back-logged e-mail, I thought I should mention this little gem of a movie. It's called "The Last of the Blonde Bombshells." It's about a group of women and one man who, during the blitzkrieg on London, formed a lovely little swing band that they called "The Blonde Bombshells." The one gentleman in the band dressed in drag because he was trying to hide from the draft board. Years later, the youngest of them, played by Judi Dench, wants to bring them all together again to play for her grand-daughter's school dance, just for old time's sake. Also starring is Ian Holm, as well as Olympia Dukakis. Valentine Pelka has a small roll. I'm not sure what his role actually is, but he seems to be a very dorky yet cool kind of school-teacher/chaperone (He's an old favorite of mine. Played one of the best villains ever on "Highlander: The Series."). I highly recommend this movie. It really is just too cute.

Friday, September 02, 2005

the "Survival of New Orleans" blog

CNN was just reporting on a blog writer who is camped out in his place of employment in downtown New Orleans along with some friends and co-workers. They obviously have some way of running at least one computer because he's been blogging since the storm. There are eye-witness reports he's written and digital photos he's taken of the distruction and mayhem going on around his building. Some of it is kinda tongue-in-cheek (I guess keeping one's sense of humor in these kinds of situations is the only way to stay sane), and other parts are extremely serious. You can find his journal here:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Working wonders...

Don't know how well these are going to show up here... but this is series of photos I took several mornings ago at about 6:30 - 7 am. There are wild vines growing on the rusted and falling down fence on the east side of our property and the sun had risen just enough to shine brilliantly through all the trees, just enough to illuminate the hundreds of tiny ants scurrying back and forth along the top wire, already going about their morning work.

Looking at these ants, hearing the birds sing in the trees and flutter about, and everything around them continuing their daily instinct-driven routines, while so much in our human consciousness is ever-changing, made me mindful of one of my favorite prayers/hymns, which I will now share in a very uncharacteristic move (I don't usually do this sort of thing).

It is from Exodus 15:11... In transliterated Hebrew, the text says: "Mi chamocha, ba'elim, HaShem? Mi chamocha, nedar bakodesh, nora tehilot, osei feleh?" Which literally translates, almost word for word, as, "Who is like You, among the gods, HaShem? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?"

(::putting on religious scholar's cap:: Now, to note, it does not actually say "HaShem." "HaShem" means "The Name"... meaning the technical name of G-d, which He tells Moses in the cave of the burning bush. In ancient times, this name would actually have been spoken, especially in the southern kingdom of Judah after the break-up of the Davidic kingdom (as opposed to the northern kingdom of Israel, where the word "Elohim" was much more likely to be used), but since at least the early Medieval period, there has been a taboo against uttering His name because it is considered too holy. Since at least that time, whenever it is spelled out in Hebrew texts, the word "Adonai" (Lord) is spoken or sung in place of the name, and more and more often when it is written, such as here, "HaShem" is used to indicate to the reader what the text *really* says without literally spelling it out. In most Bible translations, in fact, I daresay *all* English translations, anytime you see "Lord" in the text, the actual Hebrew word that was there was G-d's actual name. And anytime "G-d" is in the translation, the word was "Elohim." This is one way to be able to tell which source the passage comes from, or which sources it was compiled from if it was two accounts of the same event that were later combined. Those using "HaShem" were of the southern kingdom, and supported the Davidic monarchy. All passages that make David and his descendants look good and Saul look *really* bad were probably written in Judah. Conversely, all passages using "Elohim" were written in the northern kingdom, where the political climate was radically against the Davidic monarchy... The passages from these sources that mention them, tend to paint David and the monarchy in general as having been a bad experiment gone horribly awry and Saul or the time of the Judges was much preferred. There are other more complicated tells in the text that indicate who one is dealing with, but that's already getting to be a topic unto itself, so I'll save the Sunday school lesson for another time. I also tend to upset people with this kind of talk because I take all the religious mystery out of it... Sorry...)

It's a very pretty hymn when sung, but I can't find the melody we use in our synagogue anywhere on the 'net. In all the ones that I have found, the tempo is too slow and some of the words are much more drawn out. It is entirely possible that our cantor wrote the melody we use herself. She has done that for several other well-known hymns to the best of my knowledge.

Hurricane Katrina

I'm kind of at a loss as to what to say or do at this point, and I don't know where to start. We've made a donation through Lowe's (because - at least locally - they have said that they will double the amount everyone gives for the hurricane victims) and prayed for the sake of the people who have lost so much and in many cases everything. Other than that, I don't think we're in a position to do anything else useful at this point. Maybe in a few weeks or months, there will be something else to do. As I've said a hundred times since Monday, it's a mess.

At the same time, I know most, if not everyone, living in my area are supremely glad that Katrina didn't come here in a self-centered way that is very human. As someone who lives in constant awareness that hurricane season comes every year without fail on June 1st and lasts until the 1st of December, I know how terrible and frightening it is to watch the storm intensifying over warm waters and creep closer and closer to where I live, knowing how bad it will be if it does hit, and all the while praying that it will turn... We've been extremely lucky this season. But with every storm, I know it has to hit somewhere, it's the nature of the beast, and someone somewhere will have to suffer it's fury. It could have been much worse for those in Katrina's path, but it could have been less severe too... if the mandatory evacuations had started earlier, if hospitals had evacuated their critical patients early on, if the levees had been just a little higher (something that was recommended, but wasn't done because of cost), if communities hardlined the developers and refused to distroy wetlands and build in unwise locations... So much could have been done to lessen the damage from this storm to human life and property. I just hope (in additon to hoping that help comes quickly to those who need it) that, with the mosquito population likely to skyrocket out of control at least for a short period of time and so many people with no where decent to live, West Nile Fever doesn't move into the area or hasn't already, and that everyone who is stuck in the effected areas for the time being are smart enough not to drink contaminated water, even if it isn't stagnant.

And on that very unpleasant thought, that's the end of this blog entry...