Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Updates and New Years...

It's almost New Year's Eve, today being December 30th... Today is my sister Heather's birthday. She is 13. YAY! Happy birthday, Heckie!

I've been spinning my "wine" Ashland Bay merino. Another 98 yards of worsted. It's all yarn now, no more of that roving left. I think a beret/slouch hat for myself... But this seems to be my answer for every bit of yarn I get my hands on nowadays, so who knows what it will end up being. If I'm not careful I'll spin all my stash before NaSpinMoMo on Ravelry... That's a lie... I don't think it's possible with the leaps and bounds my stash has grown by in the last month, and will continue to do so for at least a week longer, most likely (keep reading)...

I brought three knitting projects with me on vacation - I can't remember if I mentioned this before - and when I sat down to start at least one of them last week, I found I have no needles with me for any of them, despite the fact that I've brought all my knitting needles with me. And despite the fact that there is an LYS somewhere near here, I've yet to get over to it when it's open to buy some needles of the correct type and size. Fail, Rachael, fail.

But that's okay because I've found other things to do with my time. Like trolling etsy and ebay for pretty things. I've ordered four rovings, and alchemied another one on etsy (because i just couldn't find what I wanted in the right color/fiber). *facepalm* What was that about not increasing my stash until I had knit it down? That's okay though (*shifty eyes*) because this stuff is for very specific projects. At least that's the intent. I want to make socks for the boys... Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, that is. In their favorite colors. Stripes. Some thick socks to wear on cold days in their trailers or in their house while playing Guitar Hero or whatever it is that they do... Why not. I'm going to aim for a dk or worsted weight and I don't expect that to be too very difficult. I'm also making them matching hats (hats that will match their respective socks, not hats that match each other's). Yes, more hats. Don't judge me. Of course, I have no idea when I'll finish these or when I'll give them to the boys because I don't expect to go to any more conventions any time soon. Susan wants me to come with her to the Vancouver one perhaps, and while Vancouver is beautiful, I have no money for a con that expensive in my hometown, let alone one that will require the addition of round-trip cross-continental, international airfare costs. So maybe I'll give them to Jared at EyeCon again. A day ticket there, I can swing that if I really want to... I just wish they'd up their security and have the damn thing at a time of year when Jensen would maybe want to come too... But I totally understand why he doesn't and if I were him, I don't think I would either. Not that I fault Jared for coming... I guess what I mean to say is, I can see why Jared wants to come to the EyeCon conventions and I can see why Jensen doesn't and I totally support their decisions and think it's perfectly right for them to do what they do... So, yeah... Superwash roving for socks, regular roving for hats. Ordered and on its way here...

Other than that, today I'm just waiting for my parents to get here. They're on their way back from the cabin to where we live in Florida and on their way through SC, they are stopping by the Burough. They should be here any minute...

And that's about it... So if I don't get a chance to say so before then: Happy New Year! May it be a year full or rewards, love, understanding and peace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the holidays...

So, as most everyone who knows me knows already, I'm away from home for the holidays visiting relatives in South Carolina through the New Year. Tonight is the third night of Chanukah and I just lit the candles a few minutes ago. As there are no appropriate windows here to put them in, I've got them on the table next to the laptop computer I'm typing on... Also don't want them out of my sight in case something might happen to them. I'm cautious that way. No one else is here just now. Susan hasn't come home from work yet to the best of my knowledge and Jason had to run down the hill to help a friend of his track down a doe he just shot while the chicken for dinner is marinating.

Btw, I'm copying and pasting the transliterated (and for those who might be curious what these strange words mean, the translated) Chanukah blessings here so I don't have to keep looking them up somewhere on the web every night. (I have a hard time remembering the Hebrew for the second half of it.)

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav, ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Chanukah.


Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Chanukah.

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
she-asa nisim la-avotenu ba-yamim ha-hem ba-zeman ha-zeh.


Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who wrought miracles for our ancestors in the days of old at this season.

(The third I've copied and pasted here is only said on the first night.)

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
she-hecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.


Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us,
and enabled us to reach this season.

In other news, the package that Ilana sent me arrived a little bit ago. YAY! Thank you, Ilana!!!! I haven't opened it yet. It's sitting on the table downstairs with all the other wrapped gifts waiting to be placed under the tree because I was thinking maybe I should wait for Christmas... but... I'm thinking I'll go open it in a little bit since it's a gift for me, and it's Chanukah now, and I don't want to wait, I want to see what it is. Why not? Why not, indeed. :D

Monday, December 15, 2008

O.O *meep*

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE HD


Dude, May 1st, I am so there! *loves Wolverine*

In Hugh Jackman related news: I saw Australia last weekend and it was awesome! I really loved it. I usually hate Baz Lurhman films, but Australia instantly became one of my favorite movies ever.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pretty things...

So I went to the LYS today... It's only the second time I've been, as I only found out about it a few weeks ago on Ravelry. It's somewhat close to me in the northern part of the county... Fiber Arts, Inc. YAY! I don't have to drive all the way down to Knit n' Knibbles!!! Fiber Arts, Inc. doesn't have any spinning stuff (though neither does Knit n' Knibbles last I checked), but if one has a serious need for some premium yarn, they've got a wide enough selection. And that's what I needed today.

Yesterday, I found that I don't have time to spin up some more roving for the mitts Maria wants. There was just no time to narrow down to a pattern and try to get the right weight and then also knit them. I want to leave to go to South Carolina on Thursday, so the mitts have to be done before then...

So I found some lovely alpaca-bamboo yarn called Mirasol Qina. It's SOOOOOOO pretty. It's got this beautiful sheen to it and kinda jumped off the shelf into my hand. So soft, so sleek. I kinda love it... Also found a lovely pattern and I'm about half-way done with the first mitt. (I work fast under pressure, y'all.) Pictures will eventually find their way to my Ravelry stash & project pages, if not here.

So if you're interested in this sort of thing, and haven't already done so, get a Ravelry account and find me on there. Same username.

Friday, December 12, 2008

That book meme that never stops going around...

I could have sworn I've filled this out like 3 or 4 times, and every time there are slightly different books in a slightly different order... but here it is again because I know I've read more of them now...

Instructions:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
3.5) strike the books you've read but HATED.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (I want it in Latin)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen (I am reading it presently.)
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres Mans
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (in French in school)
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Counting the one I'm reading right now, I've read 16 of them... *nods* Cool...

40 Motivational Speeches in 2 minutes...

To inspire those of you who might need it in getting all holiday preparations done before Chanukah/Yule/Christmas (or perhaps just to make you smile through the stress):

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Knitty, YAY!!!

It's taken hours for it to start loading quickly and completely for me... I guess there were a lot of people really happy about the new issue too.

I really like the Amy Clark Moore Interview. How awesome is she? Also the article about dyeing roving, which is something I'd really like to try, but haven't yet gotten to... And I'm glad that the Fiber Fiesta includes some reviews of BFL fiber because I have been wondering about it. Looks like nice stuff.

On to the patterns, starting with the handspun ones:

I love the Esteem pattern! I want to make that! O.O

Rusty Nail is also gorgeous! I want! And the Black Rose socks and fingerless mitts!!! I feel like Christmas has come early, y'all... You know, I've noticed with the past several issues, I like the the handspun patterns better than the others for the most part... They're just so neat, and I can more easily see how I can customize them for myself. I guess that's the nature of the beast.

I love Fern Glade! I'm thinking of making that at some point very soon. I've been looking for a slouchy/beret type pattern (there are so many out there...), and this might just be it.

Larus + Ardea is pretty too. I don't know if I'll make them, but I do like the two-tone edges.

Socks!!! Now, as we might have noticed, I have yet to successfully complete a pair of real, all the way down to the toe socks. Pedicure socks, yes. Whole and complete socks, no. Fargyles is really tempting. I love textured things. And they look freaking nifty! Also, I love Plaited Points.

I will probably never make them, but Oomingmacks makes me laugh. Likewise Socktopus...

Barkalounger would be torn to pieces by my dog. No chance. She loves chewing on felted wool way too much...

Not too very enthused by any of the sweaters... Just not feeling them this time...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Projects for after the Holidays...

So I'm pretty much done with the Christmas/Chanukah/Holiday knitting I needed to do this season. It's all posted up on my Ravelry. I just need to seam up and felt my mom's slippers, and sew some suede on the bottom if she thinks they slip too much (although, I haven't done so with mine and they don't really slip like socks on a wood floor like they did when they were first made). Other than that I'm going to make a hat and mitts for my friend Maria, who is moving to DC the first week of January and will certainly need such things, but she hasn't given me guidance on patterns yet.

So I'm thinking of what I need to make for myself (shocking as that is). And what I need is a hat. A hat that won't mess up my hair, but will help keep me warm when it's cold outside. From the research I've done, it looks like slouches, tams and berets are less likely to muss one's hair than beanies or other close-fitting hats are, so I'll be looking into those. Never made that kind of hat before... Also, new mitts wouldn't be a bad idea as my Fetching mitts are getting a bit worn. Also... I want some Oncleows. *nods sagely* I think I'll start on those first while I'm waiting to hear from Maria, since it's a set pattern, and I haven't found the other patterns I want to use yet.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

SOB!

God damn President Bush and his cronies to Hell for this, if such a place should exist... which I don't really believe it does, but I sincerely mean that for the love of all that's Holy. Something that makes them sorry for what they're doing needs to happen to them, and since Divine Retribution seems more likely than anything else, I must petition for that. Look at what he's doing now!!!! And what the EPA is letting him do!! Stupid useless tool of the Big Polluters that the EPA is... People who work at the EPA, who are in charge of rubber stamping this, you should be extremely ashamed of yourselves for your betrayal of your purpose, the American people, and your children. I'm sure you're not at all ashamed, but karma will remember you, I hope.

Why can't Bush just sit on his hands for his last weeks in office? Surely he knows how much the country and the world hate him and that something like this will not endear him to anyone except the coal companies??? But perhaps I've answered my own question and Bush has fat retirement plans to get to courtesy of some corrupt indulgence from the coal companies themselves, if he just makes sure that this gets through while he's the lamest duck to ever be lame, huh? Idiote! (Because I have to link to something that makes me laugh... This post is otherwise too infuriating.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

YAY!!! Finally!!! Something!!!

So. My application with the county has been processed and sent to the department that handles the hiring of substitute teachers. I just got off the phone with that department. I had called to see if I needed to send a copy of my resume or set up an interview or anything like that. No, the woman said, they don't take resumes or do interviews for sub applicants. All they do is review the application and then send a letter to the applicant as to whether or not they're hired. (That they don't even meet the applicants face-to-face before hiring them seems awfully strange to me, but whatever...) The woman was very nice, and took my application number and checked her computer to see when I could expect to hear from them. She said they have a large number of applications to review right now, but that they should get to mine by the end of this week and I should receive a letter from them sometime next week, if they're able to contact my references in a timely manner. Woot!! :D It's taking forever to get this done, BUT! It is moving forward, and that makes this little Capricorn ridiculously happy. *stops to do Shawn's Snoopy dance from last week's Psych*

Also, on a similar front: My GKT scores came in the mail on Friday. They were waiting for me when I got home from marathon shopping. I passed all sections of the test! WOOT! I have no idea what my scores were precisely because they only report the actual score if that section was failed, if it's passed all it says is "PASS." So, yes, YAY!! Now, I need to apply for my certificate of eligibility and get cracking on my grad school application. *is giddy, dancing and going with it*

Friday, November 28, 2008

Coal River Mountain update

So Massey has gotten approval for one of their permits. Just one... It's for about 195 acres of the 6600 that they want to destroy. Still, it is one too many, if you ask me.

And the CEO is crazy. Like... I worry about him if this is his world view crazy... He invented a new word in his tirade too. Check out the article and then go send a letter to the Governor of West Virginia to help stop Massey from destroying Coal River Mountain, k? Gov. Manchin is the only person who can really stop what they're doing, so let's put the pressure on, yeah?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spinning and garden adventures...

So I've been spinning since receiving the roving I ordered earlier this week. I've got the 1.5 ounce sample of gray Shetland, one ounce of the 4 ounces of Merino, and two ounces of Falkland spun. I've only been blocking these skeins for about half an hour after washing them and then drapping them across the clothesline in the yard so they will dry quickly, which has worked very well. Two hours after I ply the skeins, they're dry and ready to use. *loves this*

I've been using the new-to-me predrafting technique described at Knitty, and spinning differently than I have before. I read somewhere quite awhile ago and can't remember where that if you put little spin into your singles, and then a lot of spin into the ply, you get fluffier yarn and the fiber goes farther. So I decided to try that and I have to say, it's very true. I've also been figuring my yardage, which I've never really made of point of doing before. Out of the latest ounce of Falkland, I got 126 yards of fingering weight yarn, which is exactly the weight I was hoping to get for the project for which I made it. The first ounce I spun turned out to be worsted weight when I gauged it and about 100 yards (still not bad and I'm sure I'll find a use for it). The ounce of Merino is 115 yards of worsted, which is the weight I need for my planned project for that too. I had never gotten over 100 yards out of an ounce before to the best of my knowledge and I'm quite thrilled about this!

The Falkland ounce is still a little damp on the ends that were hanging downward, so I had to adjust it so they are in the sun now so it will dry completely faster. (OMG! English verb tenses!!!) As soon as it is, it will be swatch time! *does a little dance*

Some pictures of the roving before it was spun and after:

Merino:




Shetland:




Falkland:




All of them:




And here, have some pictures of what's going on in my yard right now... You'd think it was May and not mid-November.

Some kind of flower that grows in water. Don't know what it is:


Apple blossoms:


Grape hyacinths:

I didn't mean for those to be coming up right now, but they surely are and I just hope that they don't die because they're coming up at the wrong time of the year...

A frog... or toad... or something... chillin':


I've looked it up and I believe that the frog is a "green frog," as seen here.

Our 13(?) goldfish:


The garden:

Beets:


Radishes:


Broccoli (which probably won't grow fast enough):


Carrots and parsnips:


Assorted lead lettuces and garden peas:


Mustard greens:


Turnips:


Collards:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Go make yourself heard...

Because he's awesome, President-Elect Obama has set up a website where we can all send his people our ideas about what needs to be done in this country.

Change.gov

Check it out!

Some talking points I thought important to bring up:
  • Energy independence, but in a green way. No more mountain-top removal coal mining. No more lies about "clean" coal. No new nuclear power plants. Wind, solar, hydroelectric, tidal, geothermal - FTW!


  • Agriculture - NO NAIS! Support for family farms, organic farms, local agriculture projects, education, etc. Down with factory farming!


  • Reducing the amount of energy Americans currently consume. More efficient cars. More solar panels on residential, public and business buildings. Clotheslines available for everyone to use, YAY!

More Supernatural Spoilers, Ilana...

I wouldn't say a word, but I just have to.

Dear Eric Kripke:

I, and I'm sure many other fans as well, would very much appreciate it if you would consult the Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test before writing female characters ever again. I'm not kidding. Anna was terrible. I can't remember the last time I saw a more ridiculous female character on screen.

Now, please understand, I loved Jo, Ellen, Missouri, Mary, Jess, Pam, Ava and many of the other female characters who have been written for the show. I grew to see the purpose of Bela, and by the end of the season, I didn't mind her so much. Even Ruby isn't so bad, though I still don't trust her. So it's not that I hate female characters. Far from it. But Anna scored a whopping 58 on this test, which qualifies her to be killed dead. I feel like you've just wasted two episodes here on tripe and I want to know what the hell the point of that was supposed to be. I don't mean that at all in a good way.

Seriously, Kripke, please just let Sera Gamble write the show. This episode was awful, and at least last week had some redeeming moments due to Sera's genius and wit. Fifth Element, yeah, okay, I guess. But other than the resounding amazingness that is Jensen, Jared and Misha, I kind of unequivocally hated "Heaven and Hell."

Also, the Impala? Really? You needed to desecrate it for a re-enactment of Jack and Rose's love scene from Titanic like that? Really?

I do, however, like Ruby a little bit more than I did after these episodes. Just a little. And Genevieve's acting is getting better, week by week.

Signed,
Not Impressed

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I has mail!

128294874760157500heywhyun.jpg
more animals

Fiber mail at that! I got the order of roving from Copper Moose via ebay for Holiday gifts, and also 5 1/8 pounds of raw llama from Tareena, a friend of mine who lives in Orlando.

Tareena, until very lately, worked on a llama farm, which is having to shut down due to hard times, and Tareena would like me to get this fiber processed and make her something to remember the llamas by. I certainly will do that. It's lovely long-stapled stuff. There's about 2.75 pounds of gray/brown, which is very soft with very little if any guard hair, and a little more than 2 1/3 pounds of white/gray, which does have some guard hair, but I'm sure the processors can take care of that.

Now, I just need to find a processor who can clean it... I may send off the alpaca Ilana sent me several years ago and the pound of clean but uncombed lambswool I got from Yarns Etc. earlier this year at the same time, if they can process that at a good price too. We'll have to see... I've never sent fiber to a processor before, and I know some places won't take small lots unless they can process it altogether at the same time or they charge extra. I wouldn't mind the lambswool being blended with the others, but I'd like the alpaca, each to be kept separate, and each of the llama lots to be kept separate as well... So I'm going to have to do some searching... I wonder, is there's a group on Ravelry about fiber processors??? *makes mental note to check*

From Copper Moose, I got 8 ounces of Falkland for presents (and it is very white for natural fiber, just as I had hoped), 4 ounces of sky blue European Merino for myself, and he sent me a sample of the Shetland that I wanted and might not be able to use. A very generous sample, I might add! Almost 2 full ounces, according to my scale... I really do adore him because he's so very accommodating and is all about the customer service... something I very much appreciate because there's always a question about whether or not one is getting good fiber when it's ordered through the internet. Something so tactile and prone to veriations in quality and hand not being able to be touched before it's paid for... It can be sketchy. A lot of people are very understandably nervous about buying spinning fibers via the internet. But I've always been very confident about what I'm buying from Copper Moose. The only place I'd trust more is what is now Gate City Yarns in Greensboro. But in this case, speed was a necessity, so Copper Moose...

First impressions on the Falkland: It's not silky like Merino usually is, but in ever other respect it is just as soft. I can't wait to spin it!

Dude! Tubular Cast-on!



This looks kind of amazing and so very genius and useful... I wonder if there's a bind-off equivalent... *wonders*

Friday, November 14, 2008

Le sigh...

So the Shetland might not work out. Even though I inquired ahead of time and was told that the Shetland in question was not from Louet, after I bought it, the seller rechecked their suppliers and indeed the Shetland is from Louet after all... So I might have a reaction to it. He is giving me a refund for that portion of my order and he's sending me samples of the Shetland with the Merino and Falkland so I can test it. But this will delay my package going out until Monday, so I won't get the fiber earlier than Wednesday but Thursday is more likely. If the Shetland falls through, he does have some nice looking alpaca in the right colors from Ashland Bay and Peace of Yarns, so I'll give that a shot. I like alpaca...

Yay! and other things...

I got the coat I wanted! I'm so happy about that because I really kinda love it. Now, I just have to wait until it gets cold enough to wear it or for Christmas to come because it should be cold enough in Virginia. We're going to the cabin for the holidays... the only reason I won't go is if I still haven't gotten the subbing job. My mom thinks I should go anyway, and she might convince me yet, but my neighbors are going to Spain for Christmas and they have asked me to pet-sit their dogs. It would mean more than $300 if I do, which is a lot of money, you know... That would more than pay for all the presents I'm making with a generous bit left over... so we'll see. I probably will end up going to Virginia despite this temptation, just because I know my mom has got some valid points.

  • I'll eventually get a job and make money.

  • I don't need the money, I just want it.

  • I can't buy holiday memories with my family.

  • What's the use of staying home to offset the cost of the gifts I'm making/buying, when everyone would rather have me there in person than a gift.

A lot of valid points... So... yeah... And I'm sure my friend Maria, who will be pet-sitting for us, and is also moving to DC in January to attend grad school at American University, would appreciate the extra $300 that she won't have to borrow for the semester if my neighbor would want to hire her if I'm not here, since she'll be living at our house while we're gone anyway.

I also got the roving ordered that I need for the rest of the Holiday gifts I'm spinning/knitting... It should be here Wednesday at the latest. I can't wait! I got some Falkland, which I've been wanting to try for the longest time. I've heard different things about it. Some say that it's like Merino, and others say it's more like Corriedale, so I'm eager to find out for myself. In any event, it should be very soft. And I also got some Shetland in two different colors. I love Shetland! OMG! I think I want Shetland sheep at some point... They're just so beautiful, cute and lovely, and their wool is dreamy... They'd be good sheep to have, I think... And for myself, because I want to make myself a hat to match my beloved pashmina scarf, I got some European Merino in Sky Blue. From Ashland Bay. I'm wishy-washy on Ashland Bay. I think their Corriedale is seriously inferior, useless stuff. Easy to spin maybe, but not for anything I'd want to make with it. It's too coarse! Who wants coarse Corriedale? It defeats the purpose... Ashland Bay's Corriedale, imo, really isn't a good example of the breed's fiber. I've gotten absolutely heavenly soft, comfortable Corriedale from other suppliers and especially from individual farms, stuff that's closer to Shetland (but not quite as fine as Shetland), so I don't know what's wrong with their stuff. But we'll see how their Merino is. I have hope. The color is certainly very pretty on my computer screen.

A note on Merino... I've never been overly fond of it because despite it's softness, it can be a little tricky to spin. I find it kinda... sticky... generally... But I recently heard from a vegan PETA person at a knitting gathering that the Merino industry is rather evil. Not an unusual thing to hear from a vegan PETA person, since it seems everytime I hear anything from anyone that extreme it's with the attitude that anyone who doesn't treat animals like they would another human being or better is cruel and immoral... So I didn't really take her at her word. The things she was telling me made no sense as far as what I knew of raising sheep for wool. Mistreating sheep damages the wool and the value of the fiber on the market, and therefore the bottom line, so even the most callous industrialist - I would think - would want happy, healthy sheep that are well taken care of if sheep fiber were their business... I would think... So I did some research because what she was telling me was just so disturbing. She, of course, made it sound like all Merino sheep are mistreated, and I told her that I found that very hard to believe, and that most of the roving I get is from a small farm in NC (which is true, most of what I spin comes from Spinners' Ridge and Gate City Yarns - formally Yarns, Etc. in Greensboro). I told her that it's very easy to find wool produced under ethical, caring, healthy conditions, that all one has to do is talk to their suppliers. She didn't seem to believe me and prefers to stick with acrylic... because the petroleum that acrylic is made from doesn't hurt animals, you can see the logic there... :/ Oh, well... Even so, here's the 411 on Merino mistreatment... European and New Zealand Merinos are protected by law from the mistreatment they are subjected to in Australia - some barbaric practice called "mulesing" (I think I spelled that right), which I won't describe because it's just too disgusting. It's illegal in almost every country that produces quality Merino, but not in Australia. There it is widely employed to control parasites. Seems to me there must be better ways to go about that. So I'm inquiring where the Merino I buy is produced and boycotting Australian produced Merino, until the country outlaws the practice. I don't want fiber with that much blood and pain attached... just, no...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So... that was awkward...

I went to lunch with my friend Maria today. We went to the mall because it's near her work and it's fast and she only has an hour for lunch. After we ate (because it doesn't take a full hour when you get your food in 10 minutes or less), we walked down to Old Navy really quick. They have a coat that I want and I wanted her opinion on it as I don't trust their mirrors. Just as soon as I get some more money in my account, I'm going to snap it up. It's cute. I kinda love it. (Picture here.) I'd love it more if it were lined in cotton or bamboo or really any natural fiber instead of polyester, but until I have several hundred dollars to spend on a designer coat or I get good enough at sewing to make my own or the McFashion industry starts using things other than petroleum synthetics to line coats, I'm going to have to grit my teeth and bear it... Maybe at some point I'll be able to rip the lining out of it and replace it with something better... *hopes* Anyway, Maria approved of the coat.

On the way back to my car, as we were talking and having a nice walk through the mall, we were accosted by a nice but still kinda rude young woman... And this is where the awkward that I can't help but be amused by for some reason today happened... This girl was younger than us, going by her unfortunate overuse of eyeliner and mascara and her Abercrombie & Fitch attire. She wanted to tell us about Jesus and pray with us and get us to verbally say we accept him as our savior so that she would know we would go to Heaven when we die... You know... *cocks eyebrow*... Now, Maria is a Christian, but she finds proselytizing extremely and uncomfortably distasteful. And I, as we all know, am a heathen Jew. LOL! So she asked us how we knew we'd go to Heaven when we die. Maria didn't speak at that point, I think it was too awkward, so I did because it's automatic at a certain point and I can't stop myself... Like I said, awkward... Now, I could have gone off on a shpil of what I really think about such a question... about how we don't know and neither does she really because there might be a Heaven or there might not, none of us can prove or disprove it, and really why does it matter all that much when there's so much we have to be doing, indeed so much that we are obligated to be doing, while we're alive anyway... But I didn't, because we would have been there half the afternoon, so I just said the very simple, "Because God loves us," as if it were self-evident because I figured that was an answer she was probably looking for, and she certainly seemed to think it was a good answer and heartily agreed with me. I interrupted her at that point and told her, in hopes that she'd leave us to our business, since she interrupted our conversation by coming up to us as if she knew us in the first place, that we were leaving the mall because Maria had to get back to work right away, but she refused to take that hint and said she would walk with us. o.O Right... 'Cause that's not creepy at all... So she fell into step beside me, and prayed aloud that God would allow us to accept Jesus so she, personally, would get to see us in Heaven, as she so ardently hoped she would. Honestly, I had to check myself not to laugh out loud. As it was, I know my lips twitched of their own accord into a very amused smile. I couldn't look at Maria because I knew if I did, I would have started laughing. And then, in a tone as if she were talking condescendingly to children - a tone I've heard many times from people such as her and normally it makes me want to tell them where they can stick their Bible, but this time it did not, this time it was just too amusing - she asked us to repeat after her, "I am a sinner, but I love God and I accept Jesus Christ in my heart as my lord and personal savior." (Or something to that general effect and I'm sure she would have capitalized that sentence differently...) I very-- I'm not sure what my tone was... I guess I was too amused by her youthful, zealous naivety to be pissed like I usually am at proselytizers... Anyway, I said to her, "Oh, I can't say that. I'm Jewish." And shrugged at her. She looked so very, very genuinely disappointed... I can't quite convey it in words. Just really, so disappointed that that was my answer. I have to laugh remembering it. And then she looked to Maria. I said, because Maria had such a look on her face, like she didn't know what to say to this girl, "But she could say it, if you want her to." And Maria just kinda shrugged and said she already had said it because she's a Christian. I'm not sure what the girl said or did at that point, other than she finally left us alone, but I think she was reasonably pleased with that answer. As soon as she was out of earshot, I said, "Well, that was awkward." And Maria added, "We really need to learn not to talk to people." It's true, we so do need to learn that. Gets us in trouble every freaking time... I felt compelled to add that at least we know better and don't give money to people who beg for it on the street. So that's something... And that launched us off on some reminiscences of times people begged us for money and/or we saw pickpockets in Europe. *nods* That happened to both of us a number of times over there. Way more than in the US...

So that was my day so far... LOL!

Because I'm not tired yet...

(though I hope to be shortly) and I'm trying to distract myself from the fact that the roving I ordered did not work out for me to spin (I am allergic to Louet brand roving... who knew?), but I'm sure Ilana will enjoy it and have better luck... I'm going to ramble a bit about things not very important in the grand scheme, but currently relevant to myself... Jewelry, fashion, colors and the coalescence thereof...

So... I have an awesome blouse I bought a few months ago. I had a coupon for a free $30 at Lane Bryant, I needed several shirts for the High Holy Days, it fit well, the color wasn't vile, I bought it. It was about $11 after discounts were applied. I love shopping wins. Plus it's 100% cotton, no petroleum-based synthetics - FTTW! I didn't think much of it at the time, it was just something I could buy to fill an immediate need and hole in my wardrobe. I have since fallen in love with it. It's a midnight sky blue. It has... not Swiss dots (since those are embroidered in) but something very close to them woven into the fabric and ever so slightly puffed sleeves. It goes with my coral necklace that I asked my sister to make for me because such color combos are IN according to the people who decide these things, as portrayed in the film and novel "The Devil Wears Prada." (Also, they say that bold, "statement" jewelry is the thing. And will continue to be the thing for at least the next year.) I am in love. Honestly, it is my favorite outfit right now and I fully intend to wear it half to death before Spring when it might be out of style. *nods sagely*

The coral necklace came to me one day in July. I was gazing at some coral beads in a bead shop and I thought I usually hate wearing such a bold red, but omg, those would make a pretty necklace! But I wavered on it for a few weeks and didn't buy the beads until almost September because until then I didn't have a vision of what I might want the necklace to look like. But I did buy them and had them sent to my sister and told her I just had to have some fabulous 18" long necklace made with them (and maybe some silver spacers). And she, being the talented, totally genius lapidary artist she is, did just that, as you can see by following the hotlink above. (If anyone reading this feels they must have one just like it, please do contact her through that page and inquire. She is always happy to make additional copies of an item, and I'm fairly certain she still has some of the same beads left.)

And what happens... Bright red is one of the "top" "IT" colors of the Fall '08/Winter '09 fashion season according to Pantone, who are apparently those IT people ultimately responsible for the why fashion colors are significant/cerulean sweater scene in "The Devil Wears Prada." I didn't know that at all going in. I just thought, omg, I love those red coral beads! Must have! Because I don't really pay attention to things like that until clothes are in stores and people are wearing them. I buy what I like because I like it. Or I buy what I don't totally like but find acceptable at the time because I need something for a specific purpose. I don't usually plan ahead. Especially accessories, which are almost always an after thought, if they're thought of at all.

So because I called the red so well for something I just had to have for the Fall/Winter this year... not really caring, except that I sorta do, I'm trying to figure out what I just have to have made for the Spring/Summer in '09... This is what happens now that I fully intend to take advantage of the fact that my sister is a jewelry-making goddess... I found some lovely deep sky blue turquoise 6mm rounds at Michaels (on clearance, the silly people!) the other day. Snatched those up and am now plotting. I have no idea what I want done with them, but they are so very pretty... I may go back and buy more... Maybe a really long, loopy, drapey necklace...? I dunno...

I also want a hamsa necklace SO bad! I don't have one! I find that shocking and wrong! I don't know what color I'll have that put together with when I find a pendant... Maybe many colors? In a trade-bead sort of look, except not because I'm not terribly fond of trade-beads... Although, maybe evil-eye beads? I dunno yet... I still haven't been able to find a hamsa in stores, only online, and they tend to be kinda pricy... like as much as I usually pay for all the beads and/or finished necklace altogether... and I find that shocking and wrong too... Because apparently, "ethnic" inspired jewelry of the Middle Eastern/African/Asian/Indian variety is going to be the thing in fashion jewelry (in addition to the bold stuff) this next year... So where are the hamsas in stores? Because we wants it precious, yeas, we do...

To continue the list of jewelry-wants, I'm coveting my mom's pearl necklace that she got from Lara... If Lara has another 26 pearls left, I might just have to ask her to make yet another one for me... Mom let me wear it because it was required for an outfit I wore to synagogue several weeks ago, and it looked so good and I felt to very chic! So now, I want one myself... Although, I'm sure Mom will let me borrow it anytime because she's awesome like that...

Just to note, colors I'm really feeling good about right now (in no particular order): true red, aqua, robin's egg, Tiffany blue, London topaz, midnight sky blue (although apparently Pantone is calling it "Twilight Blue"), indigo, navy, autumn sky blue, turquoise, aubergine, amethyst, bottle green, slightly-on-the-blue-side grass green, forest green...

Meanwhile, I need to go back to the drawing board for some of my planned Holiday gifts, revise and start the search for appropriate roving again... Ah, well... I'm sure it will work out. I'm thinking now black, white and gray Shetland will serve for my immediate needs and I'll worry about colored rovings once those are squared away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spinning... the upcoming holidays... and other random things...

I have been longing to spin again. I have no roving that I want to spin immediately however. I have recently remembered that several years ago I bought 1 pound of fine white Shetland roving in order to spin lace weight.

Can you imagine? A whole pound of handspun Shetland lace weight? The intention was to eventually use it for a wedding veil. 'Cause I'm me and these are the kinds of ideas I get. Now, I still want to knit my own lace wedding veil... possibly using the Unst Bridal Shawl pattern from Heirloom Lace... but I don't think I'll manage it in handspun lace weight. I'd be too afraid - at this point anyway - of the singles not being strong enough and snapping in places during blocking, and I've yet to produce reliable singles thin enough to be plied and still qualify as a fine lace weight. So Jamieson & Smith or Jamieson of Shetland (no relation between the two companies, from what I understand) it will likely be.

Back to the point... So I had taken just a bit out of one 8 ounce bag many months ago to do a little spinning demo for some friends who were gazing with considerable wonder at my spinning wheel. Maybe a 10 inch piece? There was a little more than half that length still in a little plastic baggy, set aside in my yarn basket. I had never taken it back out to my fiber storage. This morning, I was just reading about pre-drafting and thinking I have got to try this NOW! So I found that little bit, pre-drafted it and started spinning...

I don't know if it's the pre-drafting or the fact that Shetland is such gorgeously yummy stuff, or what! But this... It is so deliciously lofty and soft! My goodness! I've never spun anything so lofty! It's so full of air, I find it hard to believe that it doesn't float away. About 12.5 yards of heavy worsted weight (or maybe even bulky weight... it's 6 wpi) out of maybe 6 or 7 inches of roving... Luscious! Nowhere near as evenly spun as I'd like, but I didn't realize how lofty it would get after washing when I was spinning. (It dried almost instantly! 30 minutes and it's barely damp!) I'll know next time. Pictures are impossible for the moment... Maybe after the sun has risen there will be light that will show it well outside. Inside, all is blurry... (Oh, I'm listening to Emma by Jane Austen at librivox.org right now. It's affecting.)

GAH!! I love spinning yarn!

Thank goodness I have a pound of roving on the way from a nice vendor at etsy, yarntospin. Dark green and dark blue Corriedale (8 ounces each). These are for Holiday gifts, and I know not all of it will be used for that purpose. There's more I need to order for gifts, but I haven't figured out what exactly yet. A natural black fiber, a burgandy or purple fiber (or both), and perhaps a natural white/cream fiber... And maybe some hand-painted roving... This last being only a gift for myself because I long to spin one... especially now that I know of the wonders of pre-drafting... I have quite a few which I'm coveting in my favorites list at etsy.

Meanwhile, I find myself in need of two very different patterns for mitts. I'd like them to be patterns I haven't knitted before (which takes Elann's Marquise Gauntlets, and Knitty's Fetching and Dashing patterns out of consideration). Recommendations? I'd ask for suggestions of very specific kinds of patterns for very specific purposes here, but I don't want to give away the plan in case gift recipients might be reading. If you wish to help me with this, message me through Ravelry or through my e-mail if you have it...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Anysoldier.com

Passing this along, especially now that it's nearing the "Holiday Season"...

If you'd like to send care-packages to our troops stationed overseas, but you don't know anyone over there and don't know what or where to send things, check out this website. There are tons of requests from our troops, and everything they get is much appreciated. You can narrow the search, if you'd like by choosing soldiers from your home state, soldiers who are stationed in a particular country, or soldiers serving in a particular branch of the military. There are a few more sorting options as well...

I have no idea what I'll send. There's so much that they need! I don't know where to start... Should probably just pick someone at random and see what I can do for them.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So genius!!!

The Coupon Wallet... I just hope at least one of the color options is made out of cotton or some natural fiber... Because this is exactly what I've been looking for! (And it's made in the US! Kudos!!)

Post-Election Pumpkin Puree...

So, a hearty "Good morning, Mr. President-Elect Obama!" I can't sleep. T'ain't happenin' right na'h. Far too excited!

Last week, my dad bought a Cinderella pumpkin... aka what is properly called a Rouge vif d'Entempes. (I've always liked them. They're so pretty...) He bought it for my mom to explode in her one of her science classes the Monday after Halloween. But I convinced them to let me go out and find her a carving pumpkin, rather than have her explode a beautiful, huge pie pumpkin like that. Found 'em at Albertsons for $0.99 each. So I get to do as I like with the Rouge vif d'Entempes...

After the election had been called, and President Obama had made his speech in Chicago, I needed something to do with my hands. Knitting was not enough. Sewing, pppffffttt!! The newly-successful-at crochet, uh-un. Time to massacre a pumpkin. So I looked back on my dear friend Ilana's blog to when she massacred a similar pumpkin last year (Very useful link you've got posted there, btw!) for tips on how to tackle it, and I got to carving... Several hours later, I've got a ton of pumpkin puree and the kitchen-- actually, the whole house smells so good! One of the things I dislike the most about carving pumpkins is the smell. It smells kinda gross. But this one! OMG! So sugary and yummy! Like pumpkin pie without the spices!

Now, all I need is some recipes to make with this yummy stuff... Suggestions are welcome... And I might go out and get some small, Connecticut Fields pie pumpkins and puree those as well...

Oh, and I'm saving the seeds. They're going in the ground in January, if I can manage it. I want to try growing them "off-season" for Florida because large vining squashes have never been successful for me in the later Spring and Summer, when all the literature says they should be planted here. If I had room out there right now, I'd plant a few tomorrow, just to see.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween is like Christmas!

LOL! Not really... But my friend Joe brought me the leftover chocolate cake with raspberry filling from his office Halloween party because I helped him make it last night and it is YUM!

Check out Joe's awesome Captain Jack Sparrow costume! I made the pants...



And my friend Chelsea just bequeathed unto me an entire trash bag full of Lopi yarn. She is awesome! It's old stuff... Her mom has had it for a long time... I've never heard of the company: "Arctic Sheep." It was made in Iceland.



I've got two dark green, one navy blue, one red, seven light green, and eight undyed natural white.

Going by the photographs on the one pattern pamphlet she had for it, I'd say the late-80s? It's hard to tell...



But it was mothproofed, so it's undamaged despite its age. I'm not terribly sure how I feel about the mothproofing. I looked it up, and supposedly, the pesticide that is used for such things is stable and does not come out, as it is applied like an acid dye, and exposure to it is supposedly safe and insignificant. And there's still vegetable matter in the wool... like a significant and surprising amount. So that makes me feel a lot better, as far as the harshness of the chemicals it was exposed to during processing, whether it's for reasons of ignorance about how bad chemicals can be and not burn away grass or not... I dunno... Also, due to age, I wonder if it would be easier to wash the chemicals out... I would think they'd only stay around for so long, and not indefinitely. I would think. In any event, it's lovely stuff, and I think I'll use it for felting projects. Lopi is heavenly for felting. Or maybe a rug...

Meanwhile, now that everyone has departed for their evening activities, I'm knitting dishcloths for holiday gifts and watching the Live TAPS Investigation of Fort Delaware on the Sci-Fi Channel... Interesting things going on. Disembodied voices in the dark and stuff...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yeah... that's about it, I guess...

Got this from Ilana...

***********

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

20 Impressionist, 6 Islamic, 4 Ukiyo-e, -30 Cubist, -24 Abstract and 12 Renaissance!


Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.


People that like Impressionist paintings may not alway be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy



***********

Yeah... I adore Degas and Cassatt and several others of the Impressionist movement. There's so much of the visual arts world that this quiz ignores, but it's still pretty well spot on here... I think.

***********

More quizzes...

Your result for The ARE YOU A HEDONIST? Test...

Somewhat Hedonistic

36% Hedonistic!


Your answers tell me that while you find your own happiness to be important, you care more about the happiness of those around you. You are likely a charming, effective, generous, friendly, practical, responsible, and traditional person. Good for you!

Take The ARE YOU A HEDONIST? Test at HelloQuizzy





Your result for The Celtic Goddess Test...

Tailtiu

You scored 35 Tailtiu, 9 Brigid, -14 Aine, 11 Macha, 4 Rhiannon and 1 Cerridwen!



You should worship Tailtiu [said TELL-tay] - the Irish goddess of the land. Foster mother to the Sun God Lugh. She sacrificed her life, dying, clearing the fields of Ireland so that the new crops could grow. Lught dedicated funeral games in her honor and you can still celebrate her at Lughnasad on August 2nd.

Take The Celtic Goddess Test at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This is kinda awesome...

And it rhymes...



And so is this (added Oct. 29, 2008)...

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Coal is NEVER Clean...

This is yet another of my PSA posts...



Seriously... Even if coal could be burned in a way that is "clean," mining it and processing it are EXTREMELY dirty. Coal mining pollutes the immediate environment around the mining operation, causing asthma, cancer and other serious health problems in humans, as well as water sources, which carry the pollutants - including many which cause cancer and kill entire freshwater ecosystems - downstream where people are directly exposed without knowing that it's happening. Coal companies are not required to notify people who live downstream that the pollutants could kill them and their children or even that the pollutants are being released into their water. Coal companies are not required to clean-up their own mess. They profit (just like some bankers you might have heard about recently) and taxpayers pay for the clean-up, if any clean-up happens at all. THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL!!!

Promote and support wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal energy! Go here or here or here to learn just a few of the ways you can help.

Pass it on...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stash knit-down... and other things...

So... I've been trying to get rid of things, rather than continuing to accumulate, and cleaning out things. I feel like I'm cleaning up my burrow, getting ready to hibernate for the winter, and maybe I am. I've been busy this week. Perhaps it's a way to procrastinate? Since I'm usually too tired by the time I'm done to even think about studying for the GKT which is on Saturday... I dunno... I will get around to looking at it at some point. I'm not terribly worried about the GKT though. After all, I graduated with a GPA above 3.0. Could something called the General Knowledge Test be that great a challenge? The math, perhaps, because I suck at math, and will review some of that before Saturday, but I'm not terribly worried at all about the essay or verbal sections...

So, yes... Procrastinating...

I've been mending things that I come across. Two pillowcases with ripped seams, shirts and pants that were missing buttons and various other sundries. Nothing makes me feel more productive than taking something that was unusable because it was in want of repair and making it useful again...

I also got rid of a whole bunch of tea... My tea cupboard looks terribly bare now. I had a lot of old tea hanging around though. Got rid of everything that had artificial flavors 'cuz why when there's so many good natural flavors in the world? And I got rid of everything that was out of date. I had stuff that's marked "best if used by Jan 05" in there! o.O That was awhile ago, you know. *sighs* So yeah... very little in the way of tea in there now. Maybe 15 kinds? (LOL! Can you tell I'm a tea person in extremis?)

I've been going through my yarn stash and allocating some for certain projects so I can use it up and some for distribution to friends who are new to knitting and don't have a stash yet. I've got a lot of yarn! Only a fraction of it is in my Ravelry stash. I should maybe list some of it there as being up for trade or sale because seriously some of this stuff I will never use. This is not to say that I don't want more yarn. All fiber addicts know that you always want more yarn. And it's not that I have so much that I have no where to store new stuff - because I can always find more room for the good stuff. It's just that I have so much that I don't want and so much that needs making into useful items. So I'm trying to knit-down and give away my stash as much as I can.

I've also been looking at old projects of all sorts.

  • I frogged a headband tonight. I decided the pattern was too fussy. I want to do something else with the yarn. (Cotlin from KnitPicks.) Not sure what, since both of the other patterns I have which use one ball of this yarn aren't things I'd like to make either... For now, it's going in the stash. It's too nice to use for something I don't like...


  • I've been working on two 1864 Ladies' Winter Shawls that I started several years ago and which have been lying around half-finished ever since. I have only the fringes to finish on those now.


  • I also picked up and have been working on an embroidery project that I put aside many, many years ago. In fact, I can't remember when I started it exactly. I know I put it down because working with a tiny needle like that for hours on end for many days in a row makes my tendinitis act up (this time, I'm being more careful) and it got so bad that I had to wear a brace for three weeks straight. I think that was my Freshman year of college. Which would be... like 6... 7 years ago? Something scary like that... But I've picked it up again. I find that some of it might be out of alignment and I might need to rip out some of it and fix it. Right now, I'm basting in guidelines so that I can better judge if things need drastic correction. I'm very willing to do that if necessary because when this is done, it will be so pretty (if I do say so myself)! It's my own design. A cross-stitch castle surrounded by rose bushes at the top, and two cross-stitch dragons passant facing each other at the bottom. In between, a little verse in fanciful script and bands of stitching... like a band sampler, I guess. The only band that I have done right now is the two-tone double-herringbone. It's all on light blue linen. Very pretty. I originally meant to make it for a young cousin when she first got her own bedroom - princess themed - when she was about 2, but she's much older now, so I think I'll keep it instead. I'll post pictures soon.


Once the old projects are done, I'll pick up the more recent ones which are now hibernating - like the Hey Teach sweater I started about a month ago. And maybe I'll finally get around to painting the mural I've got sketched on the walls in the bathroom...

Randomly - I really like the version of As You Like It with Bryce Dallas Howard that was done last year...Check it out if you haven't seen it. Shakespeare in late 19th-century Japan with some people in western clothes and some people in Japanese. It is very interesting. I love unexpected adaptations of Shakespeare... That things like that work just goes to show Shakespeare's eternal genius.

I seriously enjoy these lines:

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.
I would not change it.


Speaking of Shakespeare... Even if you don't watch Doctor Who (and you should if you don't), you'll probably still find this funny (though of course, it is funnier if you do watch Doctor Who). I laugh myself silly every time I watch it and I think I've seen it at least 100 times now. Catherine Tate, for those who don't know, played "Donna Noble," the most recent of the Doctor's companions. David Tennant plays the 10th Doctor. In this video, Catherine Tate plays "Lauren Cooper," an obnoxious British schoolgirl who likes to drive her teachers crazy. It's a sketch kinda like the reoccurring sketches on SNL. Anyway... Watch...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Captain America

So... I love comic book movies. I'm not crazy for them, I don't analyze them, I don't freak out if they mess things up (generally speaking), I don't read the comic books they're based on, but I see pretty much every one that's released. I enjoy them. My favorites are The X-Men Trilogy (pretty much only because of Hugh Jackman - he saved it I think - and the amazing Patrick Stewert and Ian McKellan), Spiderman 3 (cause I thought it was a really good way to end the trilogy and that they knocked it out of the park), and Iron Man (cause Robert Downey Jr. is completely AMAZING! in it and I adore him to pieces).

Iron Man, of course, started something new though... It was the first of the many films that studio will produce about The Avengers. The second, of course, was The Incredible Hulk. The next will be Thor and then in 2011, Captain America. The Captain hasn't been cast yet. Fan boards are abuzz with suggestions and speculations. I have two suggestions... I'm sure neither will be listened to... as is usually the case, but until official word comes down from the studio, I hope anyway. I've heard that they want someone younger than both of my fav's, but honestly, I can't imagine anyone in their early-to-mid twenties playing the part. We're not talking Private America... it takes a little time at least to get promoted to Captain, you know. Early 30s seems more reasonable to me than early-to-mid 20s.

So Jensen Ackles would be beautiful and amazing, and he's my number 2 choice.

But my number one - simply because he exudes this amazing energy like he does CO2 when he exhales and just as easily and I find that incredibly hot, I don't care what, and I think that would serve him well as Captain America - John Barrowman. For real and true. I know he's 41 years old, but I defy anyone who doesn't know that to guess a single day over 33 on one of his bad days! Seriously, he's so young looking, it's superhuman.

And when I first heard they were doing Captain America as a movie, I thought of John Barrowman in the role instantly. Jensen is freaking gorgeous and amazingly talented too, and would do an amazing job. I don't mean to slight him in the least by picking John Barrowman over him. I wanted him for the young Captain Kirk in Star Trek 11 so bad and was so disappointed that he wasn't cast. But yeah, John Barrowman for Captain America. *nods*

Seriously, check him out:



Isn't he SO Captain America?!?!?! He is. *nods sagely* And he said at ComicCon when asked that he would love to do it, so yeah... *hoping so much*

And this gorgeous man can sing too (not that that has anything to do with Captain America, but God I love to listen to him sing!):


*passes out from his smokin' hotness*

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ilana, avert thine eyes...

There be beaucoup spoilers for Supernatural Season 4 here...

And this is going to get very weird and be of no interest to anyone who doesn't watch Supernatural.

S
P
O
I
L
E
R

S
P
A
C
E
.
.
.

k... So there's a question of whether or not Sam has been having sex with Ruby off-camera this season. Now, personally, I doubt it. I mean, yeah, it's possible, but it hasn't been at all confirmed, only very vaguely suggested by circumstantial evidence and in ways that could have completely different explanations, and until it is confirmed - either by Kripke himself or because it's said or shown directly on-screen - I won't believe it. Sam doesn't show any kind of affection toward her. He just won't let Dean send her back to Hell. She doesn't show any particular affection toward him, unless one can take a sympathetic tone of voice as affection. And I've heard many plausible explanations for why Ruby was walking around Sam's motel room in her underwear and a tank top in "Lazarus Rising" (and btw, Sam was nonplussed and fully-dressed himself). It seemed like roommates to me, friends maybe, but not friends-with-benefits.

Even though Jared said this. Actors are often wrong about assumptions they make about their characters and where story lines are going. For example, several years ago Daniel Radcliffe said he thought JK Rowling would kill Harry Potter in the last book and that's how it would all end, which obviously didn't happen. And Orlando Bloom thought that Legolas was younger than Arwen and that Boramir's death was the first time he'd ever had to deal with someone he was close to dying, even said that's the way he was playing things, with these character details in his mind, even though there is nothing in The Lord of the Rings, related novels or movie scripts that would suggest either of those things. In fact, the strongest evidence, found in The Silmarillion, is that Legolas is actually even older than Elrond, Arwen's father, and that he's been battling evil things in Middle Earth since at least the First Age (The Lord of the Rings is set in the time period known as the Third Age). Jared could be just as wrong in his assumption about what Sam and Ruby have been up to in the interim between seasons.

But this question has started some of the most angry and impassioned debate this fandom has ever seen, I think. And if Sam has been having sex with Ruby, I do agree in a very general sort of way with those who have said that Sam would then be raping the woman Ruby has possessed, and indeed, helping Ruby to torture the poor woman. And that is unequivocally wrong and so not cool and Sam should be beaten about the head and neck for not realizing it, and even more so if he did realize it and did it anyway. A swift kick in the balls would be nice too. And if Kripke and the other writers didn't realize that that's essentially what would be going on here if they took this route, they need to have their laptops confiscated for a while and have a time-out to think about what they've done, followed by an appropriately contrite apology for being impetuous and not thinking things through. And if they did realize that Sam would be raping this woman and did it anyway and on purpose, then they just went way darker than I ever thought them capable, and I'm not sure what an appropriate punishment would be in that case because I'm far too shocked by that possibility to come up with one.

Because by Supernatural's own mythology, a person who is possessed by a demon can be conscious of what's going on around them, and to them, but they are entirely trapped and unable to do anything to help themselves or anything or anyone else. Therefore, a woman (or man for that matter) who is possessed is incapable of consenting to anything. And even if the woman whose body Ruby has possessed has been killed, as the Katie Cassidy version of Ruby turned out to be, as we saw in 3.16, if she wasn't dead at the time her body was possessed, her soul and consciousness could be kept alive and trapped inside her body by the demon, as we saw with Meg in Season 1. Even if she dies instantly or within minutes of Ruby leaving her body because of damage incurred while she was possessed, like Meg in "Devil's Trap," that doesn't matter. She still would have been in there while all this has been going on.

However, if the body that Ruby is possessing is essentially an animated corpse, as the FBI agent in "Jus In Bello" and Isaac after he died in "The Magnificent Seven" both seemed to be, if the woman's soul and consciousness is no longer there and she wasn't killed or pushed out by Ruby in order that Ruby could possess her body, I don't have nearly the problem with it. In fact, I don't think I would have any problem with it. Other than, ew, Sam, did you have to? She's a demon! And before anyone brings wank here about it being necrophilia in that case, I disagree. The body isn't dead and rotting as long as Ruby is in it. She lives and breathes inside that body, and eats french fries and pizza, and her heart beats and her brain thinks, so essentially, it would have become Ruby's body, and it's alive as long as she's possessing it.

Furthermore - on the ever-growing list of reasons why I don't think Sam has had sex with Ruby - since Sam has been possessed himself and made to do horrible things he didn't want to do by the demon who had possessed him, I can't for one minute believe the feelings and perspective of the person being possessed by Ruby wouldn't occur to him before he did something stupid. No, and I don't care that it might have been out of blinding grief over loosing Dean. Sam has been shown to be too freaking up tight about such things time and again, even while his opinions on other subjects have changed drastically. He always has seemed to keep his physical needs under tight control, bolted down, and he internalizes more than he seeks outside comfort. I'm not saying it's healthy, but that seems to be what he does. I think it would have been far more in-character if he went out and killed some evil things and then went back to his motel room - alone - to bury himself in a bottle of Jack in order to deal, than that he at any point fucked the grief away with Ruby in the body of a poor possessed woman.

Also, Sam is and always has been shown to be what I would call an exceptionally Good Boy when it comes to how he conducts himself around and toward women. He's entirely sincere with no pretense or ulterior motivation with both Jess (yeah, that's different because that was a long-term relationship) and Madison, and as much as he can be with Sarah Blake. He doesn't flirt casually, even with women he finds attractive. He seems to see that women are not objects of any sort at all and each is a unique and complete person unto themselves, and when he talks to them, it's in a straight-forward manner. I'd argue that while Dean is not a misogynist - that he loves and respects women in general and in particular - he also has a tendency to objectify and put females into nice little boxes without necessarily seeing very far beyond the label he's given them, or they've given themselves, especially if he sees them as a focus of sexual desire, because boy doesn't think with his upstairs brain enough to do otherwise. (It's cute though... in fiction, anyway. Despite myself, I have to admit that. But I also think what Sam does is just as cute and would have a lot more real-life success, at least with me.) Dean has almost nothing else but pretense and ulterior motivation when he talks with women he's attracted to... he wants to get in their pants and he'll say just about whatever he needs to to get there. Now, I won't say he's wrong to do this (he only seems to do this with women who know the score and aren't likely to be offended by his attempt or surprised when he kisses them good-bye), I'm just saying that he's very different from Sam.

In a most recent example of this kind of difference between the two of them, Sam was disgusted when Dean called the barwench a "barwench" in episode 4.06, and he seemed not a little disgusted that she let Dean get away with calling her a "barwench." Now, in the barwench's defense (and yes, I know her name was "Jamie" and that she was a perfectly lovely person), I myself in a similar situation - dressed as a St. Pauly Girl barwench, serving drinks in a bar during Oktoberfest - wouldn't blink at being called a "barwench" by a patron either. It's part of the costume and the persona in that case, and it's all in good fun to play along and go with it. Dean just was being harmlessly flirtatious, he was playing and she knew it and played back (though he was entirely sincere in his desire to pick up said barwench for some after-hours nookie, and he got shut down cold that time too, though he was eventually successful). It's as my friend Karina pointed out, guys who call their brothers out on the inappropriateness of calling a woman dressed as a barwench a "barwench", like Sam did, are not the kinds of guys who would have sex with a woman who can't consent. It does not jive (to borrow the usage from television production) track.

So yeah, I think if anything indecorous was going on with this Sam and Ruby situation, without the writers walking us down the path with Sam to let us know just why and how things have been turned on their head in this area of his character as well, which they have not, it would be seriously, seriously out of character for him. Saying that Sam was trying to be more like Dean wouldn't cut it here. If it were just anonymous one-night-stands, that would be very Dean-like and very anti-Sam-like of this supposed new more Dean-like Sam, but Ruby wouldn't be a one-night-stand, she sticks around, and that she's a demon in a possessed body would go against both Sam and Dean's characters.

Okay... This was weird. I know. But I wanted to post it here because this is the most likely place where I post such things that Kripke and Co. might find it, if (and that's a very big "if") they ever would.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So...

I went to Shabbat services tonight. Alone because no one else would go with me. I'm glad I went though... although there was no one there who I knew. There were people whose faces are familiar, but none that I'd say are close friends or that were at one time particularly close friends, but one, who is the mother of a boy I went to preschool with. Thought that quite strange. Perhaps many of them, like us, don't usually go to Friday night services anymore, now that their kids are grown and have moved away. That none of the kids were there surprised me too... None of the kids I grew up with, that is. Many of them are in college or grad school, and if they go to services, it's likely they go to the Hillel at school here, or wherever it is they are, rather than to a synagogue, and of course, several have moved far away.

There were, however, lots of children there, including the rabbi's daughter who is a toddler. Several of them ran around and played quietly in the corners and in other rooms during the services. I find that practice of our synagogue rather delightful. That kids are welcome to play, as long as they don't disturb the service. (Never having gone to another, I don't know if it's different or the same elsewhere.) It was that way when I was little too. But when I was little, we didn't meet in a synagogue, not having raised enough money to build our own building yet. We met in a borrowed-just-on-Friday Episcopal church, and they had kneeling benches (if they have a proper name, I don't know it), which of course we didn't use, but the kids liked to do what we weren't supposed to do (because if we weren't careful, they would drop very loudly and echo in the large, tile-floored room with the cathedral ceiling)... We'd unfold and lower them very carefully, as quietly as we could so we wouldn't get caught, and then sit on them, on the floor, instead of on the hard, uncomfortable wooden pews. As far as I remember, the kneeling benches were only marginally more comfortable, being padded, but we were smaller then and it had the air of something forbidden. LOL! That's one of the few things I remember about that building, the kneeling benches. The only other things I remember from that church were the tiny gruesome paintings along the walls on both sides of the room of a bleeding, thin, near-naked man being hurt by other people that I much later realized must have been the Stations of the Cross (because, of course, being Jewish and 5 - 8 years old, I had no idea what they were at the time and I don't remember ever asking. I knew it had something to do with Christianity, and I knew that the cross carried in the paintings was mirrored by the huge what must have been twenty foot high cross hanging above the alter and in front of the most magnificent organ I have seen to this day - seriously, it was gigantic and had dozens and dozens of pipes sticking up like spires all along the back of the sanctuary... These being other things I remember, obviously), and the kitchen and food hall, where we'd have refreshments every Friday after services and occasionally Passover Seders and other parties. I remember that the ladies' room was tiny and always smelled of soft soap and flowery air fresheners. It might have been yellow. I remember hiding under tables and playing with other kids, my childhood friends, laughing and running around. That's about it. Okay, enough reminiscing...

Tonight, the rabbi talked about Sukkot's pagan roots because Sukkot is this week. He talked about how the Jews were not the first to think to do a special ritual in their fields at harvest time in order to ensure plenty through the winter. His mentor when he was in seminary explained to him once the correct way to shake a lulav and etrog on Sukkot. The lulav is three types of tree branches (palm, myrtle, and willow) bound together with palm leaves in a very elaborate fashion and the etrog is a citron that smells very strongly of lemon. They are to be smelled and held together and shaken in every direction out of doors on Sukkot, to the east, south, west and north, then up and then down. This is meant to symbolize that God is in every direction and everywhere. He said his mentor said not to point the lulav downward, but to keep it upright and just lower it when it got to the part where it's shaken down. Because if he were to point it down "that would be paganism." He said he laughed because that's just how close this ritual is to ancient pagan Near East custom. And you can easily imagine similar rituals in other types of pagan religion throughout history. He said that doesn't make Sukkot invalid or a "fake" holiday as some critics have said. To him if anything it makes the festival more valid. Because here is something extremely ancient, thousands of years old, that predates the Jewish religion by hundreds if not thousands of years, and it has been adapted to Jewish belief (as have many other things). We've, essentially, made it our own and found our own meaning in it. (To read more about this ritual, you can find info here.) Indeed...

He also talked about the pagan roots of Purim (that it was like a Mid-East/Persian Mardi Gras - and near to the same time of year as the modern Catholic Mardi Gras - long before it was the celebration of the bravery of a beloved Persian Queen of Jewish descent) and speculated about the pagan roots of Chanukah... because although the Maccabean Revolt certainly happened, it's not exactly an original idea to have a holiday involving the importance of light timed somewhere around the Winter Solstice. Double indeed. It was very interesting... He also talked about not being perfect, that the festivals aren't perfect, that we ourselves aren't perfect and should not expect either to be perfect. He talked about how beautiful the weather is this time of year, and how pleasant, and about how the existence of bread is a little miracle and so before we eat it we say a prayer of thanks for it - called "the Hamotzi." (This is for bread, specifically, and this prayer is not the same as saying grace, which is said over any and all types of food.) It was a nice little sermon. I wish, as I usually do after a thought provoking sermon, that I could remember more about it, more about the deeper meaning of it, or at least get a copy of it. I feel weird about asking for a copy though, so I never do...

They're having a Sukkot service on Monday evening, and Tuesday at mid-day... Since I have nothing else in particular to do, I'm thinking of going to those too, or at least the one on Tuesday.

My other goal for the weekend is to write a resume. Next week, I want to apply for a job with a private tutoring company. Still haven't heard a thing from the county about subbing. I think it's rather rude that they ask people to e-mail to inquire about the status of their applications and not to call the office, but don't have the courtesy to e-mail them back at all for more than five days now. Could they really get that many e-mail inquiries? Oh, well, if they're going to be that way. They can get back to me when they feel like getting back to me. In the mean time, I'm prepping for the GKT, which I'll take on October 25th, and looking for other options, of which there are actually quite a few I've been quite excited to find.