Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hot Stuff, Baby This Evenin'

Sorry. That song got stuck in my head as I sat here, trying to figure out how to post about my evening. Oh, don't get all excited. This is me we're talking about here. First things first:

This is my finished gaiter, both flat on the chaise, and on my person. Enjoy my double chins. It's comfortable, warm, but I can see why they used a finer yarn for the original pattern. It works, don't get me wrong, but it's...chunkier than I think it should be, and it tends to roll. But, hey, it works. And that's what matters.

Now, on to the hot stuff. Much more interesting, in my opinion. I went to see No Country For Old Men this evening because I love the deeply wrong cinema that is produced by the Coen Brothers. Oh, my, in this they did not disappoint! The only reason to abstain from this film is a weak stomach. Seriously. This is one of the best films ever. EVER. I don't usually like Westerns, but this was not your typical Western. The bad guy...yeah, he wore a lot of black, but at the same time, you could see where he was broken off. It was like he was just a stump of a person, a sort of half-remembered ghost of what he might have been. Creepy. Very creepy. And kind of sad in an empty room sort of way.

I have to confess, I'm going to have to read the book, just to see if the book is as bizarre as the movie. Between the sagacious lawman and the oddly Zen hitman ("Don't put the coin in your pocket, or it will just become a coin...which is what it is.") it was a dizzying blur of wit, intelligent (and rather self-indulgent) rumination and spurting blood. My biggest disappointment was in the fake movie blood. Seriously, folks out in Hollywood. Thin that shit out, please? I'm tired of people bleeding what amounts to bright red motor oil. Human blood is water based. Keep that in mind when you next mix up your corn syrup and food dye, yes? The thick stuff makes for good, sticky spatter, but the real stuff isn't quite so viscous. At least, not in anyone with a total blood cholesterol level of under 1,500.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. No Country. If you've read the reviews, you know that basically what happens is a fellow named Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbles across a rather grisly scene of a drug deal gone bad while out in the desert hunting. Just prior, we see the incredibly deadpan and philosophical hitman, Anton Chigurh, getting arrested with his trusty, air-powered cattle gun, and taken off to jail by a rather neglectful deputy. In short order, Anton frees himself, takes his cattle gun and hies himself off to find another car. Moss, meanwhile, has found and made off with the cash from the drug deal, and rather foolishly comes back to the scene (it's an altrustic action, and one which ultimately he will regret). He gets chased away, but the people who paid the money up front find his truck and send Anton off to find him. All sorts of hijinks and hey-nonny-nonny ensue, as Anton tries to get the cash back for his employers and Llewlyn tries to get away and the rather laconic sherriff follows them both, hoping he'll get to Moss first.

The body count is extremely high, and the cinematography is luminous and golden--very like I'd imagine Texas actually is in dry season. Everyone turns in an incredible performance, even the people who merely walk on and serve as poorly appreciated cannon fodder for Anton's blank faced and silently austere violence. It was incredible to watch, the completely bland way that Chigurgh just...kills. I was going to say kills like it was his job, but hey, it was his job. He put as much visible emotion into it as I put into working my data entry job, which is to say none. The ultimate professional, or, as he himself puts it at one point, "You use the right tool to get the job done." I'm not sure I would refer openly to myself as a tool, but then again, I haven't got a gun that large with a silencer the size of my head, so I suppose my case is different.

The ending was a complete surprise--one that those around me will not be surprised to find I liked. It was ambiguous in the extreme, and the ultimate surprise is who managed to live to fight another day.

But, truly, Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurgh was the highlight of the movie. Despite the fact that he's stated in interviews that he purposely did not try to give the character a backstory in his mind to keep him blank, a total cypher, just watching him gives you a glimmer of what he could have been doing. Llewlyn Moss was in Vietnam (the movie is set in 1980). Dollars to donuts Chigurgh was, too. Or at least served in the military, seeing hard service. There is virtually no other way for someone to get that rather deadpan, slightly bored air when it comes to killing someone up close and personal, as he must do several times. One always gets the feeling that he'd rather be watching television, not because killing is a morally reprehensible act, but because now he's going to have to do laundry again and he just washed this shirt, dammit. It feels like the whole thing is a massive imposition on his time and effort, and not because he's killing and likely to get killed himself, but because he's vaguely bored by the whole thing. It's a character we've never really seen before, and I'm slightly giddy at the newness of it, the excitement of being shown a new critter. I want to go back and see it again, now, just to see if I was imagining it or if there really was this fabulous, rare animal peeking through the branches. God, so exciting. It's been a good long while since I came out of a movie theater excited. Seriously. It's so rare we get anything new....

Well, and I'm really tired. I think I'm going to have a bowl of cereal, order stuff online, then go to bed. And dream sweet, sweet dreams of relentless killers in cowboy boots.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Stuff to remember

No more talking of work. Actually, I have to, if only a little, to explain what I'm going to talk about. Oh, before I start up:

Gaiter--coming along swimmingly, after only one frogging. I cast on the wrong number of stitches. God bless Google--there was a website that explained what I was doing wrong when I entered in my stitch pattern (broken rib, if you want to know.) I should be done soon and will be posting a picture.

I also got a Ravelry account this week. It's a fabulous e-notebook, and handy for people like me, who surf for patterns without a printed yarn and needle inventory at their elbow. If I ever find time to inventory my stash as thoroughly as they seem to think I should!

I'll come back to this topic later. If my post goes as intended, it will tie in.

Anyhow, I was at work today, again being sulky that I simply cannot seem to thrive in a business environment, wondering what was wrong with me that I was not winning friends and influencing people, so to speak, when it struck me. I had just been agonizing with a friend that anywhere you work is going to be rife with politics and bullshit, and how much I hated that, and here I was, upset that I don't thrive in that environment. I finally asked myself, But do I really want to thrive in this type of environment? And all I could answer myself was NO! The subsequent question to myself was, Well, if you don't want to thrive in such environs, why do you take it so personally that you don't? It's not like you really put any effort into it, you don't want it, so why do you get so down on yourself about it?

This goes back to my training as a child. My grandfather, God rest him, was an artist. In modern terms, he was a graphic artist, if I interpret my Mother's recollections of what he did correctly. Anyway, my Grandmother, God rest her as well, had Ambitions and wanted to be a wealthy woman, but as the poor child of a large, Irish brood in the 1910's, she had no option but to marry it. Now, even I know--if you want to be wealthy, if you want a near certain shot at achieving lasting wealth and power, and you must marry for it, you don't marry an artist! But like millions of women even now, she believed she could change my grandfather, make him be what she thought he should be. It didn't work (alas), and when he died, she had to begin working outside the home. This made her very bitter, and the only thing I can think is that she, very like my own mother, God love her, had a sense that life owed her something, or that life should go the way she wanted it to go instead of being Life and, as such, rather capricious about things like how it goes.

So as a little girl, it was over and over impressed upon me that artists were fools, people who attempted to pursue creative lives were idiots who would die poor and lonely. Smart girls got real jobs that involved suits, nylons and high heels, and then married men in pinstripes and bulging pockets and retired to discreet domestic bliss. In particular, she wanted me to be a lawyer and from thence to politics (probably so I could marry the man who would be president.) Hah! I can't stand the bullshit in the boardroom, how would I tolerate it in the courts? Anyway, this is one of those most difficult, inborn, carved-upon-my-psyche things, a value that I held, even as I felt intense guilt over my creativity and desire to spend my time with my toys, making stuff. Oh, I intellectually knew this was silly thinking--Picasso was filthy, and most artists (while not rolling in it) are certainly not unloved, and really, is wealthy my value, or was it hers?

Today, though. Today was the first time I actually felt this. Why do I take it so personally that I can't succeed in business when I don't really care much for business? Why do I get so bent out of shape when at home and in private, I deride those values of profit above all else, including humanity? It's like a saint crying because the sinners don't like him. And I let it go. All that wangsting and being unhappy because I'm not cut out for the power suit and hose. I'm a barefoot princess, a new gen hippy. I'm a free spirit, and there's no cause for crying over that! At least not for me. If her aneurysm hadn't done her in years ago, I'm sure this sort of declaration from me would have killed my grandmother. But for the first time in ages, I feel free. I can set my own values and live by them, I no longer have to live by other's--which is lovely, as my values seem to be stricter--at least as regards professional ethics and the kindly treatment of my fellow man in the workplace.

So I tell my creativity coach about this tonight, and he again urges me to make a mandela or write a prayer or build a ceremony for myself for clarity on what I want my life to be like. I'm drawn to the idea of the mandela, and whenever he suggested I do this exercise before I would come over all shy because I'm not sure how to make a mandela. But today, I decided that, as a Free Spirit, blythe and bonnie and gay, I would make one as I think it should be made. I will make a personal, private Mandela, one that expresses me, and use that to make my intentions plain. I understand the need to learn the form and function of artistic expression, but first you have to let yourself play and express yourself. Once you play, once you've tried your various means of expression, you learn the "proper" ways, and then you figure out improper ways.

I'm excited to begin. There will be glitter. And glue sticks. And clay. Yeah, I like mixed media. But it's not about writing a sonnet, it's about...making something to serve as a sign for me. So it doesn't matter if anyone else gets it. That's just gravy.

So, anyway, at this point, I begin to think Maybe I should cast on for that sweater. The yarn is looking at me with longing, asking to be knit. And as with the gaiter, if I screw up, I can frog and cast on again. There are as many beginnings as I need. And no judgements. Not from me.

And I am glad.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


No, not my home or me, well, yes, me. I am tired of my current employement. Since no one is allowed a private life anymore, even on the web, I can't go into details because even though it's my opinion and I always state it as such, they could probably sue me. And they're just big enough...insert derrogatory comment heres to do so.

I won't insult the word Bitch by using it to describe them. Frankly, if my only choices are to be a bitch or a compliant, constantly irrationally cheerful mote of sunshine, I'll be the bitch, thank you very much.

Anyway, I never played well with others--I can scan my kindergarten report cards if you like--and job hunting is a particularly unpleasant activity for me. On top of the whole "I never get the ones I want" problem I have (both professionally and personally, but that's a post for another day), deciding to take a particular job (since I've never had a time when there was more than one from which to choose) is problematic. How do I know I'm making the right decision? Which way is the right way?

Currently, I'm online avoiding double checking my resume for a job out of state. I have a better than even chance of interviewing for this position, even though I'm probably not as qualified as others who might want it, due to who I know (heh, for once.) I don't know it's the right thing to do, to move. What if I move and the perfect opportunity opens up here? What if I move and I hate it there? What if I move and it turns out to have been the wrong choice to make?

I ruined myself by taking physics in high school. The concept of multiple realities and the billions of realities that open up at the making of each makes me freeze before the big ones (although I have no problem deciding between iced or hot mocha at Starbucks, although if I drop the hot one on my lap while driving my whole reality could change in a flash.)

Sigh. I think too much. And my cousin just walked in, and I want to talk to her about alpacas. That makes sense, it really does. Unlike most of my life.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've been keeping busy. I frogged the gaiter I was working on in the fine blue yarn (it's too fine for the project, even though it's the sort called for--ok, ok, it's too fine for me to use for the project. I really haven't got that much patience.) I restarted the same project in a heavier yarn, the red I used for my Rasta hat. I read the Yarnharlot's book, Knitting Rules!, in which she encourages you to make gauge swatches. If I hadn't taken her advice, it would have been impossible to convert the pattern for me. So I've got a swatch and a beginning pattern notebook, and I feel like a real-life, grown up knitter now. Well, sort of.

I'm still avoiding my sweater, though. I'm going through my chocolate time, if you know what I mean, and I feel this is a project to begin on a day when I'm feeling wrecklessly brave and confident, not sobbing into my cocoa-wheats at Hallmark commercials.

My cable's going in and out, too, and it's driving me nuts. I hate it when it sticks like that. I get about three seconds of a show, then a minute of black, then several more seconds of show, then black.... I'm about to slap someone. I want to watch this show! Grrrrr.

Oh, well. Gives me more time to read the book of Lovecraft stories I got out of the library. Thank God I don't tend to avoid authors based on their politics or personality, or I'd never read these. Eh. So far, he's no M. R. James, but he's ok.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Grrr, Blogger!

I started a post, but Blogger ate it. Which, considering the trouble I'm having getting a picture to upload, is not surprising. Let's try this again.....

I've got a picture here of the yarn I bought for my very firstiest sweater ever:

Isn't it pretty? The picture I'm seeing is quite blue, but in actual real-life, it's more purple. I need to test it for color fastness (which should take all of three seconds) but I'm hesitating. I'm hesitating on starting the sweater itself, too. I'm a chicken when it comes to my knitting, and since a) the sweater is so very, very pretty and b) the yarn is so very, very pretty, I'm hesitant to screw it up. But there's a big part of me that just wants to start it already. Sigh, I'm so torn!

I'm actually supposed to be going to my knitting group tonight, but today was the second day of my "baby-brand-new" gym habit, and my trainer wiped the floor with my weenie a$$. She's far better, and has more finesse than our last personal trainer (my place of employement, while not paying me fair market value for my services, does offer beautiful freebies, which probably more than makes up the difference--we've got a gym and personal trainer, yoga, pilates and a step class, mostly paid medical, fully vested 100% matching up to 100% of our salary 401(k), etc.) who, being a 300 lb former Marine didn't appreciate that, as a female, I sit to pee, or, more precisely, I have to stand up again to get out of the bathroom, and therefore didn't understand that several sets of 75+ speed squats were not a good idea. She modified my workout today to compensate for the fact that I hyperextend my knees (ie, bend them backwards when I lock them). Of course, "modify" does not in any way, shape or form imply she "simplified" or "made it easier"--to the contrary, I got double the ab work today. I almost puked, but my knees aren't sore.

Anyway, I just have to brag on my Nieceling. Four weeks ago, I purchased a book for her in New York City as part of her "Auntie Went On A Trip" swag. It was new. Brand new. Sparkly, even. I asked her to borrow it (I got her Golden Compass, a book I'd always thought of reading but didn't want to buy it for myself), so last Saturday, my father comes in and drops a book on the counter saying "here's the book --insert Nieceling's name here--said you wanted to borrow." I didn't even recognize it. Why, you ask?

Someone done read this one hard, y'all.

At least I know it's been read, LOL! Actually, I don't mind. There's something about a delicately curled and skinned book that speaks of a wanton, voluptuous enjoyment of the contents. This is the bibliophilic equivalent of what happens to Michel Cluizel 98% Dark Chocolate squares when I'm around. I can practically hear her little eyes licking every last word from the page. Another little pervy bibliophile in training. E-eexcellent. *tents fingers and taps them sequentially* Nephew is just as bad, only he tends to be easier on the covers, which is, frankly, surprising. For a little baby linebacker (actually, he got moved to center, which makes sense because in Pee Wee Football terms, hitting Nephew is a bit like ramming a cement wall; ain't nobody getting to the QB with him in front) he's awful delicate with his stuff. It's kind of cute, actually. Although I see it becoming obnoxious and tiring as he gets older. Sigh, fussy men are so...irritating!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I go away, I come back.

And where have I been, you ask? Why,

New York City, of course!

I had to include this image of Beethoven in Central Park here--I'm photobucket'ing the rest, and I may include the link here later. Beethoven is placed in a very odd location: Alongside the Grand Mall, facing a tree trunk. Literally. The Mall (and main walkway, actually) runs alongside the tree there. Who thought that was smart?

Anyway, I did get some knitting done while walkabout. A helpful tip: If you've ever had problems with motion sickness (thank you, I have) or haven't slept in over 24 hours (thank you, I hadn't at the time) or are slightly dehydrated, DON'T knit on take-off. Really, you'll regret it, quite athletically, either in the handy air-sick bag at your seat or in the miniature bathroom at the back of coach. Urgh. I won't be doing that again anytime soon!

To return to point:
This is a gaiter I began in the airport at far, far too early on the morning of August 31. It's the yarn my friend sent me, and it's soft as kitten fur. Just about as easy to deal with, too, but I imagine I will love it when I'm done. Probably not until then, but when I'm done, I will love it.

This is a hat I began right before I left and took up again last night when I realized I wanted to knit while watching Clarissa (oh, the things I will watch for Sean Bean. Sweet baby Jesus, Clarissa is a twat! I've seen the first two episodes, and so far I hate her only slightly less than sulfur in my water. She goes on and on about how virtuous she is and how she hates Lovelace for being an absolute rake, cad and bounder, but she keeps writing to him! Granted, he's Sean Bean in knee hose and frills *feels faint*, but honestly. Hypocrite much, Clarissa? Then, she writes him frantically begging him to save her from a forced marriage to Smallpox Survival Boy With Bad Hair, and gets pissy with him when he shows! WTF!?!?! Make. Up. Your. Mind. Personally, it's no contest for me. Ruin myself with Lovelace so SSBWBH won't marry me and retire to a life of genteel poverty. I'd be his doxy if he ponied up nice jewelry I could sell and invest the proceeds. Then the gentility might not be so impoverished, but whatever. I'm hoping they left tons out of the television version, because it makes. No. Freakin'. Sense. What. So. Ever., and if this is literature, I'll take schlocky novels any day. Then again, if I wanted the literary version, I'd have read it, but it seems very short of Sean Bean in the print version. Unfortunately.) It's that stupid homespun crap, and it's still twisting up tight as I knit, but I'm trying to knit looser than I usually do and it helps. If I finish it without garrotting someone with the circular needle, it will be a miracle.

Yes, it's a ball of yarn. I plan on making a pair of Cleaves with it and several friends of the same ilk. The funny thing is, I got enough yarn for the pattern, but realized a couple of feet in that there's one of those awkward break/tie ups. Not cool, imho. So I sent my mom, the Nieceling and Nephew off to get a couple more just in case there are tons of those knots in there. They bring me enough to make a whole 'nother set of Cleaves! I'm sure I can find something to do with it, if I can cope with the double pointed needles long enough to actually knit the Cleaves. Meh. Some people prefer them to the circular needles, but I can't understand why. If I could find a set of circulars short enough to do a sleeve, I'd be all over that like white on rice. Oh, well. Like I need more needles!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Busy, busy, busy.

I have been knitting and doing stuff, I promise, I just haven't been online to tell you about it. Mostly because I'm still not entirely over the whole labyrinthitis thing, partly because I'm up to no good, so to speak. Ok, ok, it's more like I'm doing a bit of authorized fanfiction, and it's taking a lot of time. I want to get it right, and it's so hard to know how to do so! Anyway, there's some other stuff I've been up to.

For firstly, I knitted a hat.

I was surprised to note the red yarn was self-striping--I just thought it was random. Huh. I frogged it twice, actually, and got tired of frogging it and just finished the damn thing already. Bastard yarn.

It's actually an inch shorter than it was supposed to be, but I ran out of the red. Ooops. Whatever. It's still sort of Rasta, as you can see, which was the intent, and I'm sure once I block it, it will fit better.

For secondly, I rescued a kitten.

His name is Pippin. He was going to go to a friend of my aunt's, but the friend weenie'd out, so he's staying with my aunt. He's mostly staying with her because her elderly cat loves him, and she'd do anything to make him happy. So, Pippin stays.

He also looks rather studly in the hat. When we found him, in the alley between the houses I work in (ha! An actual alley cat!) he was gray. All over. As you can see, several baths have helped. The fur is growing back in where he had burrs stuck in and when I say stuck in, I mean imbedded in his fur. We had to shave him down in spots to get them out. He's got some sort of burn on his back foot where he'll never grow fur again, but he really doesn't seem to mind. He talks a lot, and he's a bit of an attention whore, but he's sweet. He doesn't like dogs, though, which broke my dog's heart, as he loves kittens. Oh, well, he recovered from the rejection easily enough.
Rasta Dog says: Eh, mon, I gots de Malibu, you have de pineapple juice?
Ok, so the true effect is lost by the fact that I had to cut portions of this picture out and it was quite....awkward, but you get the point.
Oh, well. Best to be getting back to my research and writing.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Taking a small knitting break

No, really. I do.

This is the cross stitch I just finished for my boss. She's cool like that, and actually, she picked the pattern. It suits her, somehow. She requested I make the little heart black, but I decided to put the gold in there, too, because if she likes you, she's got a heart of gold. Otherwise, she's a vicious, vicious critter. Rather like a chow that way. :-)

Last weekend, I fell ill with labyrinthitis, which makes the sufferer incoherent as my last post attests and grants you incredible vertigo. It sucked. I developed it, according to the Doc In The Box (as my sister in law calls them--the immediate care clinic)* because of that nasty sinus infection I had last month. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I love my sinuses, they are so good to me!


Anyway, I was doing my cross stitch this weekend because while I was absolutely nauseated and flat on my back (because you really can't stand, or even sit upright efficiently, with your inner ear inflamed,) I tried knitting. It didn't work too well. Well, I could do it, but right now, while I'm still recovering (and brother, let me tell you labyrinthitis is tough to get over--I feel moons and planets and spy satellites better than I did last weekend, but I still feel Better today because I sang at church and all that deep breathing is restorative, but still off) the thought makes me cringe. It doesn't help that the project I'm starting is in the round on double pointed needles and a less pleasant technique I can't imagine. Unless I have to slaughter children and make my needles from their bones. That might not be very fun. Well. Depends on the child, one supposes.**

So I'm working on my cross stitch, feeling rather insecure. I got some oblique criticism on my technique several months ago, and it rather stung. Well, there are other reasons why it bit so hard, but primary among it was the fact that the person who taught me did hers the same way, and her mother worked hers the same way, and I thought I'd been doing it right. One of the few things I thought I could do right, and, frankly, well. So I put my needle away for a goodly while and processed this and went on with my knitting. Today, as I was making the blood red bunnies that flanked the black, black heart, I realized that...I took it completely the wrong way. Ok, ok, I was being oversensitive, too. I should have listened to the criticism and taken a lesson from it instead of getting all defensive. After all, being told we're wrong, or at least that there is another way of doing or looking at something is the way we learn.

I changed my technique slightly on this sampler, and to my surprise, the new way works. And it works better. And I feel stupid. Not stupid, per se, perhaps, but foolish at least. So I feel a little wiser for knowing I was foolish, which is no real consolation, but there it is.

Here are some other cross stitches I've done. All patterns are from Subversive Cross Stitch, which sells some kick-ass patterns, including "of course I care." And her book is priceless, for those who want bunnies and duckies and bears to make do naughty things on the borders of their own patterns. I'm personally in process of creating a new cross stitch pattern, "Perfection is for Pussies", because it really is. There's nothing brave or valiant about being perfect--after all, everyone admires it, seeks it and desires to be it. And gets lauded to the heavens when they are. However, to be flawed, to make mistakes and be human and, more than that, to acknowledge it and show it in front of an audience...that takes nuts. Big hairy ones. If people would acknowledge the bravery that goes into being a mere human in front of others, perhaps people like me could save a ton of money on therapy. As a recovering perfectionist *spits on the ground*, I am considering having this tatooed on my forehead, backwards, so every time I look in a mirror, I remember to always be brave and be myself, with all my flaws and errors.

Anyway, here goes. I'm only including the actual image of one--because it's not vulgar or objectionable. The second is a link, a link I will trust you will not click unless you are an adult, or at least adult enough not to get your panties in a knot over cusswords. It was work therapy--work was killing me (literally; I had one of those bulgy veins in my forehead, it was gross) and I needed to remind myself of something important. Which I then cross stitched to hang inside my desk drawer, but which has yet to be framed, much less hung anywhere.

Yeah, don't, cause I'm crazy, don't ya know. This one may get put on my desk proper. Maybe. As you can tell, I've also figured out the stupid rotation thing. Key is to rotate it first before you post. Sigh. I've got some editing to do.....

Here's the link to my other one. Seriously, if you're easily offended, don't bother. Not that anyone but my friends reads this blog (and there's few enough of them), but if you stumble across here and click on the link, realize please that you have been warned, not once but twice, and don't go crying to Blogger. See cross stitch above for my feelings in the matter. (Update: Give it a moment to load. It'll come up huge and you'll be able to see the color of my couch through the 14 count cloth, but once it finishes loading, it will show up smaller so that all of it fits on the screen.)

I've got to check that it worked and then rotate my other pictures, so if you drop by before I get the link working, come back tomorrow. I'm OCD, so you know I will get it working if it takes me all night to do it!

* I have an actual doctor, but it was Sunday before I got desperate enough to actually get dressed and seek medical aid. Seriously, I thought I was dying. They gave me a shot in my butt--I didn't know they did that anymore--that helped with the vertigo. Well, the room still spun if I tilted my head slightly, but I really didn't care anymore. I think it might have been some kind of illegal to let me drive away so impaired, but I made it home, so it's all good.

**I'm kidding, you nodcock! No matter how poorly socialized and trained a child is, they have the potential to get the shit kicked out of them and straightened out. Sheesh. Now, there are some adults I can name....

Friday, July 27, 2007

Long Week

It's been a long, trying week. Last weekend, naturally, was Harry Potter Weekend. I spent Sunday not reading it by knitting a version of the Animal Crackers hat from the aforementioned Harry Potter Knits book, then found out I did it all wrong. Well, right by the book's pattern, wrong by the actual hat in the movie. Sigh. I must do it all over again. Oh, well. Since I did one in four hours last Sunday, I know I can do another one in short order.

I've also been watching a lot of French films. Now, I know what you will think: How far will she go in her obsessive quest to see Gaspard Ulliel kiss another guy?* The answer is: I'm limited in that quest by the holdings of my online rental agency (the one with stores, too.) Alas, they do not seem to specialize in hot pretty-boy-on-pretty-boy action as far as I can tell, unless you could Y Tu Mama Tambien, which was probably where my particular prediliction began. That scene was hot, and you know I wouldn't argue if told I got to be in a Diego Luna/Gael Garcia Bernal sandwich. That had to have been the best day of Ana Lopez Mercado's life.

Anyway. I watched a set of very disparate films, and my mind is spinning. First I started with Amelie, a cheery little film that was entertaining and uplifting. Then I switched to Strayed (Les Egares, only add a bunch of accent marks over the vowels.) The change in thematic matter was a bit jarring, although I did get to see some interesting sights, heh, heh, heh. The third movie I watched, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, was not what the box promised. In my opinion, that is. The box text seemed to promise a dark comedy--or perhaps that was just the picture they used of Samuel Le Bihan. They chose a picture of him that looked...vaguely flustered and befuddled by the gamine, smiling Audrey Tatou. No, no it's not a black comedy, although black is certainly apt. And gamine isn't the word for Audrey Tatou's character--nutjob, psychobitch, your worst nightmare...those are far more apt descriptions of her character. I can't believe no one in the movie knew it, really she's good at doing crazy eyes. Then again, it wasn't much different than the character Amelie, who, herself, is a bit nuts.

I've been taking a break from knitting and reading (after the trauma of Harry Potter--no, no, I really can't speak of it anymore now) and am just...hanging out. Watching, interestingly enough, The Fifth Element, the movie in which I discovered that even Gary Oldman can suffer from a heinously bad haircut. It's the Diva's solo at moment, the lovely song from Lucia DiLammermore.

Sigh, and yet again sigh. I had wine with dinner and it has slightly dazzled my mind. Perhaps I shall go and fetch my root beer and Haagen Dasz and settle in for an evening with the telly. Bubby Dog has settled in for the night. He snores on the rug behind me.

*Don't ask me why I want to see him get some hot nooky from another pretty boy, it probably has to do with the extremely creepy and scary turn he did as the baby Hannibal. Come on, you know you want to see it, too.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Proof of Scarf

While today is the actual anniversary of the day Nieceling was birthed, I caved. Last night, her parents were attending a concert, and so I had possession of the children. Mbwahahahaha. Anyway, they decided they wanted to attend cinema--Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix--and Nieceling, having full knowledge of her gift, wanted to wear the scarf in honor of the event. So I presented it to her and she promptely swaddled herself up like a Dickensian office worker despite the balmy, 80 degree F weather. I grabbed my camera before we left so that I could get pictures of the thing for this blog, before it vanishes into her closet. Hence:

A close-up of the dangly-bobs at the bottom. I'm actually pretty proud of the larger photo (see below, apologies for the rotational difficulties.)

Looks nice wrapped around the bannister, no? They should use it for Halloween decor or something.

Then again, looks nice wrapped around a bashful Nieceling, too.

Evil Debbil Bunny approves. Actually, he's rather nice, for a rabbit. His name is Hassenpfeffer. No, no, I tease. His name is Snickers. He was highly impressed by the knitting on display. Really. This is his look of intense excitement. Which is rather like his look of boredom.

Anyway, I've got HP7 in my possession right now, but I'm loathe to read it. There's something so infinitely sad about the end of this particular era. I know I will have to read it, if only because eventually some idiot will spoiler it for me out of ignorance of the fact that I'm avoiding it, but. It's so impossibly bittersweet. I will finally know if Snape is good or evil or indifferent. I will know who lives and who dies. And I will know Harry's ultimate fate. I rather like the uncertainty. Right now, it's like a literary Schroedinger's Box--Snape is both good and evil, Harry lives and he dies, it ends happily and is a great tragedy--and the end is not yet determined because I haven't opened the cover. Ok, yeah, that was a bit far-fetched, but you know what I mean.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More scarfage.

I've finished up the body of the hated scarf and am working on the feathers now. I'll probably get two of the three that are knitted in today, then tomorrow the last knitted in and the tied on feathers. I'll be so glad to see the back of this darn thing.

Compound that by the fact that I had to move my stitches to a stitch holder so I could knit it in sections and I dropped every single stitch that was supposed to be on the holder. I think I used all the swear words in all combinations I've ever known, and a few that are completely new. Thank the Gods of Knitting that I finished the first feather and went back to pick up the stitches, or I'd have been royally screwed. And that no young, impressionable listeners were nearby. I'm fairly certain I recaptured them all, but it makes me nervous. I can't see the damn things between the fur and feathers, and it's turning into the scarf from hell. Very appropriate color for it, I must say.

And, to highlight how ill with yarn addiction I have become--little yarn whore that I am--I have photographic proof that my addiction is harming those I love most, in particular, my canid son. Witness:

Can you see it? Can you? Wait:

PHOENIX SCARF FUZZ! The worst part is he wasn't even aware of it. I am so ashamed. The first step is to admit you have a problem; I do. The second is to surrender your stash to a higher power, which is not happening. Oh, well. I'll just have to learn how to hide the signs of addiction: bags under the eyes from staying up late to bind off, calluses on the fingertips from the needles, bruises on the upper thigh from where I brace my left hand needle. Maybe it won't interfere with my work life or relationships. Yeah, yeah. I'm totally in control of my need for yarn. Totally.

(I'm so hosed....)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Oh, how I'm loving the scarf.

This is the beginnings of the Nieceling's birthday scarf, aka the Phoenix Tear's scarf from the Harry Potter Knits book. I'm so loving the process of knitting this scarf! The yarn is simply too easy to knit up! Why, I think I'll be done with the remaining two feet of scarf in less than an hour! [/sarcasm]
Seriously, folks, I can see why the crap was on clearance. Not that I'm not proud to have found a fabulous yarn that was hella-cheap (the yarn for the scarf, plus extra, only cost something like $8) but it's driving me up the wall. The furry part is irritating, and the only reason I haven't caved and got her something else is because now I'm doing garter with both fur and feathers held together. *shakes head* I can cope. It's dull, but I can cope. If she doesn't like it for whatever reason, I'll beat the child. Seriously.
And since when is knitting in flame red a good idea? The eye strain is wretched. :-p

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Musings on Creativity

Twice this week, I have been confronted by the concept of my creative pursuits and the place they fill in my life. And as Stan might say, I learned something today.

To speak of my creativity as something outside of me, or separate from the greater "me" (or the Ego, if you will) is not accurate. What little creativity I possess--although in my kinder moments, I believe it to be rather sizeable in amount--is what integrates the three parts of my mind. It brings together all of my rather chaotic and noisy voices, gives them all something to do, gives them a group project, so to speak, and in many ways brings me to inner peace. To go all Freudian (because in this case, it's the only framework that fits, really,) my mind is made up of three parts: Super Ego (inner judge, aka Prudence), Ego (the me that sits behind my eyes and drives) and the Id (basic drives, glandular hey-nonny-nonny, aka Nimue.) Nimue starts it out by driving me nuts with daydreams and fantasies, visions that are compelling to me, thoughts that are mostly impure and always amusing. Slightly vulgar and half-formed, these ideas are sent to the fore-mind (aka, me) and I then ask Prudence what she thinks. She will clean up the grammar (she is my Grammar Nazi), spelling, figures out what it will take to bring those inner visions to light (including editing for content) and gives me the 'plan' for developing it in the outer world to show others. Nimue then pouts for a few minutes, revises, sends her edits back, and so on and so forth until I step in and actually put the plan into action.

For a creative, artistic endeavour, there is an awful lot of logic going on, internal bickering and doing by committee. But moreso than anything else in my life--my family, my job, my friends--being creative, creating art, is the only time when I am completely integrated into one Being, and when I hit my 'flow'--that magical state when time suspends and I am absolutely content.

Now, I should point out that while the things I do may never see the light of day, or may not be to your taste, does not make them any less art. Art, in its most basic self, is an external representation of an authentic feeling or experience of the artist/creator. Which is why when I read stuff presented to me as 'literature', nine times out of ten my skin crawls, because a lot of what is considered 'literature' by the talking heads is so...posed. Unnatural. Verbal topiary, if you will. While there is a place for form and shape--I quite realize that some tropes are tropes for a reason; things do not necessarily mean the same thing to me as they do to you, and that's a topic for another day--I get the feeling that many of those books are written by English Majors who feel that that story is what Should Be Written. Bollocks. Very little of what is in them is authentic to the writer. It's just depressing Victoriana, recited back by good little boys and girls obeying the dicatates of their teachers. Which is why I believe the very best writers aren't trained to be writers, they're storytellers who learn how to write well.

To be certain, you must, if you wish to carry your story to the outside world, learn to write well. Skill is something that can be acquired if one is determined enough, and is truly secondary to the belief in the validity and importance of your inner vision. Now, "vision" is a loaded word, and quite often is nothing more deep and meaningful than "parties are nice." But if you truly, with every fiber of your being, believe that parties are nice, parties are necessary, parties are the secret of life as we know it, and you can write it that way--I may believe you, even though in my experience, parties suck. Seriously. I've never attended a fun one. Perhaps it's me. Back to my point....

Art is a complicated thing--it is a debate using skills and equipment that most high school debaters wouldn't dream of using to make their points, and while most people will disagree on the aesthetics, most can recognize art when they see it. Still and all, that's what it is. So perhaps creativity is simply the feeling that your inner vision is important, is valid, is worth making solid and real in the outside world.

Of course, it is worth pointing out that this, then, naturally makes art anything that reflects someone's authentic self. If you are an accountant, an Accountant to the innermost core of your being, a well-balanced set of books can be your art. If you are a builder, the house can be your creative contribution to the greater world. Any time you bring your inner vision to life, you make art. Runners doing the perfect sprint. Mailmen, getting the mail to the correct houses on time or early. Archivists, putting documents in order just so. Anything. Personally, I tend to write or play with textiles. I'm thinking of branching out into clay, because I've got some 'found' objects that are just begging for a three-dimensional display. I don't know that there's an office in the world that can contain my sort of visions, but there are many people out there, doing jobs in offices, who feel they aren't creative because they aren't dabbling with paints, and that is simply not true. The desk worker, if s/he is doing work in touch with his or her inner truth, is creating art. Art of a different level, to be sure, and not considered art by most, but art nonetheless. Because that is their inner vision-a job well done. Well-done filing is a thing of beauty, too. Just ask anyone who has tried to find 6 month old paperwork that they suddenly need.

And since art, being an inner vision brought to life through whatever means are to hand, is an act of creativity, by definition, all humans are creative. Perhaps I'm not the only person whose inner voices are bound by the spirit of creativity. I believe this is the tiny spark of the divine that we all carry, that little voice that tells us to make things, whatever they may be.

With that thought, I must now go walk my dog. He's calling me to become one with the trees and the evening wind. He's a bit of a poet like that.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Random Musings to the Tune of Bear Grylls

Why do I always sound slightly high on something when I decide to post? Yeesh. Granted, I am ever so slightly nuts, so perhaps "high" would be a nice change of pace for me. Well, to be honest, I'm only slightly neurotic. I have no problems with reality aside from it sucking. As you maybe can tell, I've had some book-learnin' in 'headology'. I find it a nice framework to think about how I think, which is a bit solipsistic, but a little solipsism can be good for you now and then.

And that bit about being high is beyond ironic, when you consider that, while I can hold my vodka exceptionally well, mild stimulants wreak major damage. Considering the godawful buzz I get off my mint tea (Bigelow Plantation Mint--faboo with honey, at least until my legs start to phase in and out of existance,) you can bet I'll never make a good crack whore. And certain depressants--sedatives in particular--make me anxious. Yes, my inner control freak can panic under 1mg of Clonazepam, and boy, does it suck. My mind is running in circles, making tiger butter around my brain stem, while my body is stuck in first. I HATE that feeling.

Double bonus points if you get the tiger butter reference. That is the trippiest, passive-aggressive-est children's book ever. EVER. You should all go out and read it.

Anyway, I get up to lots of things when I'm avoiding my knitting, and right now I'm not knitting the scarf for the Neiceling. So, my other hobbies, let me show you them.

1) Reading. I love reading. I read about four to five books per week, fewer when I'm reading something chewy. Typically, I like fantasy, science fiction and romance novels, because I enjoy the fantastic in my fiction. I'm inordinately fond of Harry Potter, and I'm in pre-mourning for whatever characters bite the big one in the last book, because after the end of Book 6, hooo, boy, I know it's gonna be a kick in the head! And I want to point out that, as a dedicated fan of the genre, I'm allowed to refer to romance novels as "trashy." The Smart Bitches tell me so.

2) Writing. Actually, I'm supposed to be doing a project for my 'creativity' teacher (he's my voice/piano/personal creativity coach, so he doesn't really fall under the heading "piano teacher" anymore, although that's what I tell my co-workers because it's great shorthand) that involves putting my portfolio of short stories together for him to review, arranging them as logically as possible with titles and stuff. As you can see, I'm right on that. :-p Actually, you can usually tell what I should be doing at any given point in time because I'm generally not doing it. When I'm supposed to be practicing piano, I'm knitting. When I should be knitting, I'm writing because the Muse is biting. When I think I should be writing, I can generally be found cross stitching somewhere, and my poor little piano is left sobbing in a corner all alone (a thought that's enough to prod me into practicing tonight.) I'm dependable like that. You'd think I could use this self knowledge to fake myself out and get myself where I should be at any given time, but no. I can generally out-think myself. Sigh.

3) Music. In theory, I've had over 10 years of voice lessons (not that you can really tell), and I've taken up piano. I love music, listening to it, thinking about it, trying to make it. I take it quite for granted, usually, except for when I think about the one time I lost it. We don't talk about the Dark Time anymore, not if we can help it.

4) Edutelly. Which is where Bear Grylls comes into this. Do you know who this nutjob is? Right now, I'm watching him battle what might have been tropical dysentery in the middle of what looks like the Amazon (although he just said something about the river carrying him out into the Pacific, so maybe East Asia?) Crazy. Crazy, crazy dude. He just ate raw crayfish, too. Last week, I watched him walk out of Iceland and the Everglades (two different episodes). The best part of this show is that he may be straining water out of animal droppings or falling down a glacier, but his droll, British voice-over keeps speaking as if it's nothing more taxing than tardy tea.

I love a lot of edutainment shows, actually. Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Cities of the Underground. I don't like "normal" television shows--the dramas bore me, the sitcoms frighten me, and there's really nothing else, unless I want to go for bored, anorexic housewives/single women in the city in heat who frustrate me with their apparent ability to make money in their basements, because they have no obvious jobs that would possibly keep them in the style to which they are accustomed. I do like BBC dramas--they tend to have a story arc (a beginning, a middle and an end) and the actors actually look like real people instead of overgrown Barbie dolls. They don't even Botox their faces into submission, so they can actually, you know, use their features to show emotion. Even ugly, fat and old people get to have sex on the BBC, so you know I'm all over that. Any country that puts gratuitous butt shots of wrinkly old dudes having sex with their rather schlumpy middle aged mistresses in morgues (and then killing her husband when he walks in on them with a candlestick)* is fabulous by me. God save the Queen.

5) Cooking. Which is a really good thing, considering how much processed food contains soy and how sick soy makes me. I actually need to make my dinner now--it had to be put off, because it's going to be calzones, which contain cheese and I can't have cheese within two hours of my antibiotic. Bear isn't eating anything weird at the moment, so I've still got my appetite. He's sliding down a rock face, trying to break his neck. *eye roll*

Must go make my calzones now. It's Friday, and Most Haunted comes on at 10.

*This happened in an episode of Midsommer Murders, and later episodes featured a gangster with a rather blown moll--seriously, she had great legs, but with her bottle-blonde hair looked about 60--and Orlando Bloom getting stabbed in the gut with a pitchfork**. I freakin' love that show!

**Don't get me wrong, I like Orlando Bloom. He's very pretty, and I have nothing against pretty boys--I rather like them, actually. I just think he needs to get messed up in a movie. Something scarring to the face. He needs some street cred. If he does a remake of The Elephant Man, maybe the guys would stfu about his prettiness and I could just enjoy the movie, yes?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Sunny afternoon.

It's actually a beautiful day outside, sunny, breezy, perhaps a little muggy, but not like your typical midwestern July afternoon, which is sort of like being slapped in the face with a wet towel. And I'm sitting inside, typing in my blog. :-p Actually, I'm on doctor's orders to avoid "strong sunlight" due to the heinous antibiotic ("antibacterial" as my mom calls it) that I am taking to kill the nasal invaders. I'm actually feeling a bit better. Still out of sorts, because the narsty mold that was stirred up (which clogged up the sinuses that gave me the infection, that swallowed the fly) was still stirring about at work. Lovely. Oh, well. I have tomorrow off, so after I take DeNephew to see Transformers (which I am looking forward to more than he, primarily because I loved, loved loved that cartoon when I was but little more than his age now) maybe I can get some knitting done.

As you can guess, this past weekend was a wash. I did a lot of sitting on my glutes and a lot of reading. I did a bit of a 'splurge' at the bookstore on Friday (curses! They sucked me in with discount mantitty novels and they trapped me in the science fiction section) so I had some reading to do anyway. Two trashy novels, a movie novelization (guess which one; I'm a sucker for Alan Dean Foster--he could rewrite the manual for my VCR and I'd probably read it) and a mystery book for my mom, who I was late meeting for dinner because of said bookstore distraction. Sigh. And no furtherance of my evil plots against humanity. I'm really falling down on the job, aren't I. Actually, my plots were never really evil. A little perverted, slightly twisted, yes, but not evil. Not per se. Unless making hale and hearty young men dress up like Dr. Frank N. Furter is evil. *makes innocent eyes* Granted, no one can wear it like Tim Curry did, but oh, I can hope.

Anyway. These are the projects on my needles right now, in order of when I started them:

This was my first "real" project, a rug. As you can see, it's making very little progress. It's a b*tch knitting with that eyelash and novelty yarn. And garter stitch gets...tiresome. VERY tiresome. For thirdly, it was a gift for a certain aunt of mine, begun before she insulted me. I've forgiven her, really, she was under stress and a bit out of her right mind at the time, but you can see how I might have lost my motivation.

This was a scarf for my mother which I'd begun during the wrist warmers phase, flush with my success at M1 and YO. Yes, I'm a beginner, how can you tell? :-) Anyway, it's being created in a homespun type yarn, which I greatly dislike. I can't figure out how to keep it from winding up tighter and tighter and tighter as I go along, and it irritates. So:

I need the needles for my neice's scarf, anyway. I'll come back to it, when I figure out the damned yarn. It's really very lovely, if I can manage to work with it.

I apologize for the tilt. I can't figure out how to rotate once I've downloaded, which I would think is possible, but I'm new to Blogger. Anyway, this is a dishcloth. I do them for practice, for stitch work, for my future kitchen, which will be blue and have a really sweet pastry mixer of my very own and no soy anywhere. I'm allergic. No, really. I have to be very careful what I touch in high-end yarn shops. Anyway, they're easy and a dishcloth just like this was my first completed project. So I bear a distinct fondness for them.

I'm sure you can tell from the colors what this is going to end up being. It's perfect for mindless knitting--it's endless garter stitch, but I do have to watch my counts and tie in. Cool. Of course, it calls for 19 stripes, each stripe is 18 rows long, and knitting in the round is a new skill I'm not loving. Makes my hands cramp.

My latest notion: attempt felting. I like this wool (it comes off a sheep's butt, so it's ok) and I'm going to NYC this fall, and wanted a new bag to carry. This, this wee, humble beginning, will be a purse. And I'm going to wind really fine jeweler's wire into the strap, so the pickpockets/cut purses (literally, in this case) can't slice it. Sweet.

Well, as you can see, I've got quite a lot to be doing at moment, including a project I'm waiting on to arrive in my mailbox (a cross stitch for my boss that says "of course I care,"), and a book I bought online (second hand--I read the author's second book and realized I needed the first which had, alas, gone out of print) and I'm still feeling a bit sluggish so I need to get my neti pot out and cleanse. I should just let you Wiki it, but here you go: Neti Pot.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What on earth am I doing!?!?!?

I've done blogs before--with varying levels of success--and I swore them off. Sigh.

Like my yarn, it appears blogging is an obsession for me.

I craft to keep myself off the streets, to maintain my balance on the side of legality, neutrality and Goodness and Light (for what it's worth.) I can't imagine the horrors I'd unleash on the world if I wasn't occupied with k1, *p1, k1* repeat to the last but one and k1'ing, although I bet I could if I tried. I would make a wonderful evil dictator. Granted, I haven't got the boots for it, but I know where to shop and I find that makes the difference.

So, to keep myself out of prison and/or the clutches of idiotic do-gooders flying around in spandex, I craft. Currently, I'm on a knitting kick. I used to use cross stitch as work therapy (been to Subversive Cross Stitch yet? You should. No, really. Go. NOW. I will wait, tapping my Evil Dictator Riding Crop and Lash TM against my thigh patiently until you return.) I will take up again the silvery needle of truth, but at moment, I'm up to my armpits in yarn. Not only did I have my own little stash (my filthy little secret, this tawdry pile of textile porn), but a friend recently increased my stash by, like, a bunch. I have photographic evidence, and it ain't pretty.

(This is a Sterlite 90 Quart tote. And that's yarn up to the brim. You do the math.)

(I want to point out to those who would nag me about my financial goals*--I did not pay for all this yarn. Some I got for free.)
*You know who you are.

I am creating the blog so that I can prove to my friend (and to me) that I will not slack off and go plot to take over the world, or at least create chaos and mayhem while laughing evilly and looking totally tight in my Evil World Dictator Leather Pants. The yarn she sent will keep me tucked up in my sunroom and off the streets. For a while. No, really, I swear.

This is the extra stash, thanks C. As you can tell, I've already used the sweet little green skein for a pair of wrist warmers:

Yeah, I know the nail polish doesn't co-ordinate. Sue me.
The fine blue looks like it would make a sweet wrap or delicate lacy scarf. The pink is earmarked for another set of wristwarmers for Nieceling. I haven't figure out what I'll use the purple for yet, but I think the black with rainbow highlights will make a sweet hat. With tassles. Oh, yeah, baby! Rock on!
And I haven't even confessed my latest acquisition:

This little set is for a scarf for Nieceling's birthday. The fuzzy yarn makes my hands itch a bit, but I'm hoping it's textural in basis.
And I find it is past my bedtime. I must retire to my couch. It's so difficult to take over the world when one is a morning person!
(Apologies for the incoherence of this post--I have a sinus infection, and it seems to have overwhelmed me. I get drugs tomorow. I should be "normal", for a certain value of that word, by early next week.)