Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why do I always blog when I'm hungry?

I was practically faint with hunger a little bit ago-which is actually quite reasonable, I suppose. I went straight from work to shopping with Mater Gloriosa for my brother's birthday tomorrow. Uncharitable of me, I suppose, but by the time I got home I'm so hungry I was almost wishing Mom would decide he got no gifts this year for being a complete git. Now that I've been fed (and done my own shopping, online) I can be more kind. He deserves birthday gifts. I suppose. At least we're going to Outback to celebrate, and I'm reasonably certain I'll be able to dine there with something akin to ease. *examines nails in fastidious evil* I guess I'll let him live another year.

Today was pretty, if cold. I took Dog out to use the facilities, and found some prettiness in my own back yard.

Our giant cottonwood. I love this tree. Perhaps more than is sensible and reasonable, or even normal. It was the first part of the property I saw when we moved up, and even now, it's visible from just about anywhere in the neighborhood. I loves it, I do. I want it to grow forever, even though it makes my eyes itch.

This is a shot I caught while dog was (to give you a reference) sort of...below the white tree off to the left, attending to business. It lined up nicely, the colors are pretty, and even though it's probably hella-shakey handy-cam, I stand by it. I like how the box hedge sort of...lines up to between the trees.

I can't wait until we have a really nice day. I'm going to the local art museum to photograph the gardens. I need to start a list: cultural things I want to do. So far, I've got:

--attend the knitting exhibit at the state museum
--photograph the gardens at the art museum in good spring weather
--take some photographs of my home town (it's pretty, in spring, and there's some nice stuff hereabouts, and sometimes I feel we don't get the lurve)

All of which (except for the first) requires nice weather. Botheration. We'll probably have a nice day in here somewhere, it's just timing it right....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy Thoughts on Burnout, Soup and More

Soooooup of the eeeeeeevening, beaooooooootiful, beauoooooootiful soooooooup!

Sorry. I'm a bit hungry right now, and my soup's about...twenty minutes away from being anywhere near done. In twenty minutes, I get to mush up the potatoes in the soup, add ham, cheese and some milk. Then heat it through again. Mmmmmm. Want soup.

Any-way. I had to go get some yogurt. There's no way I was going to be able to go another half hour without something in my stomach.

So. Burnout. Long story short: I am completely burnt out on my current job. I can't even conceive of trying to find another job anywhere else because, frankly, I can't imagine any other job not being as unpleasant as this one. I'm told there's such a thing as "job satisfaction", but so far, that's just a theory to me.

Actually, I'm finding the burn out handy, as I'm about two months (maximum) from being fired. Burnt out, you see. I just can't seem to generate anything even vaguely akin to concern for how my work is done. It all seems so pointless anymore. I mean, I make a small bit of progress, then find out that I'm not doing anything like what I thought I was, and it all goes straight to hell.

I was feeling rather bummed out about the burn out thing until I had a happy thought tonight. Well, it's been oncoming for a week or so now. Twice in the past week, I've had people quote Julian of Norwich to me: "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Now, at least one of these people uses the quote as a greeting and general how d'ye do, but the other (as far as I knew) hadn't heard the quote before. Then tonight, while singing at church, I flip my pages quite haphazardly and turn to the page that holds the hymn version of that particular section of Julian of Norwich's book. Quite amusingly, at the same time, my organist is telling me that perhaps this period of burn out is a sign that it is a time of turning in my life. And I realized....

My online name (in most places, not just here) is Silver Phoenix. I am Silver Phoenix. And phoenixes, by their very nature, need to burn in order to be reborn. Perhaps it is merely my burning time. And soon, after the flames die down, I'll be remade, a little naked chick, sitting in the ashes. I quite hope so. A new beginning would be very nice.

Further realization: Since I've been putting money into my savings account the past two months, if I can manage to keep saving at the same rate, and get the full $600 from the government in the stimulus "forget what crap the economy is at the moment" package pay offs, I only really have to work two more months and I'll be able to take at least three months off. Actually, I can quit my job at the end of June, spend July recovering and sitting on my rear (actually probably playing at writing and knitting and other general artistry in an attempt to recover from my burn out) before getting my second wind and starting to look for a new job. And have all of August and September to find one, plus maybe a bit of October.


Um. Oops. I didn't really realize how much yarn there was in my life until I got this pretty new yarn keeper. It's almost full to the tippy top. Worse yet:

Um. Yeah. This set of yarn? Not even in my yarn keeper thingie. Plus, I've got three of the balls for the Who scarves outside all the keepers. Not that it's a lot of bulk, but....

Well. If nothing else, I have more than enough yarn to keep me occupied while I'm sitting on my arse, recovering from burnout this summer.

I've finished my second bowl of soup, and I'm so tired from sleeping on my friend's couch last night (also a long story made short) that I can't type worth a damn, so I'm going to get off here and go watch "Robin Hood" and then "Graham Norton". Then bed. Maybe bed before then--I can always record Graham for tomorrow. I'm about done up, I am. Ooh. And Guy of Gisborne is looking all moody and sullen. Lucky is he that he's pretty enough that his emo-ness is only annoying and not fatally unattractive.

And remember: All will be well and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Blogging PDQ

Look what I found today when I got home:

Easter egg yarns! Well Easter eggs or possibly:

fireworks. Vibrant, shiny.... I don't care what's in this stuff, fiber wise. I've got to knit something with it. Not sure what just yet, but I'll find something.

Pretty in the greens, isn't it?

The seller was on eBay, nwa1970. She's always selling lots of this stuff, so if you're in the market....

Nice person, fast shipping. That's probably the best eBay shopping experience I've ever had, and I wasn't even shopping on purpose!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Mine. Not yrs.

I have new storage for my yarn. Neeener-neener-neener. They thought they could hide my existence and make me ashamed of the yarn addiction, but no! All they did was give me a pretty box to keep it in. Bwahahahaha! Not since the $300 piano (like new condition, in tune, worth somewhere north of $2,000) have I struck it so rich in the furniture department. At this rate, I'm going to have a nice collection going of stuff to actually, you know, display in terms of furnishings.

And a correction from the last post brought to you by me (as in, I found the error): In the modern versions of the legend, the name is Guy of Gisbourne, they dropped the French affectation of the de. Doesn't matter. Hot guy + black leather with silver studs + indifferent morality = a fabulous Saturday night to tell the grandkids about when they're old enough to appreciate the tale.

And why does eBay hate me? I go on there, looking for a particular item, find it, bid on it, loose. I troll along, find something pretty and interesting that I could live without, low-ball the bid and win. Eh. Anyway, I got this:

Recycled sari silk. Five skeins for an obnoxiously low price. And the seller lady has been so very, very patient and kind with me, answering questions about the likelyhood of soy fiber finding its way into the silk (conclusions: not too bloody, and even if so, look at the yarn! I think I can resist chewing on it, so I'm probably going to be okay.) It ships on the morrow, and I'm excited. It may be another yarn I end up putting in a clear lucite box and displaying as an art work just as is. Those colors, that shine! Que linda! Actually, since I don't know if the word for yarn in Spanish is masculine or feminine, it might just as well be que lindo, but whatever. Ain't it gorgeous?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I really suck at titles.

I'm very uncomfortable when I begin a blog entry. It feels...chunky and off the beat somehow. My writing, that is. It feels like it takes me a few paragraphs or so before the whole thing begins to flow, and it's unpleasant. I'm so used to jumping in with the right words, or at least having some idea how the whole thing will go, and blogging is even more clunky than the beginning of a piece of writing usually feels. I suppose the discomfort will help me grow as a writer, but I always worry that the discomfort and searching-for-the-words feeling signals that my ability as a writer has degraded, and now I have to find another outlet. Quite disconcerting. Probably bad for my health. Has it stopped me? Eh. Not yet, no.

I am contemplating taking up piano again. It's a long story, and unless you were there for most of the conversation, it won't make sense, but this past winter I really gave up on it. I had so many other things to do (mostly mentally and emotionally, not actually physical things to do, like cleaning house or building a tree house or anything), that practicing even five minutes a day felt like an imposition. And if there's one thing I don't want my music to become, it's an imposition. Music should be a pleasure, an escape, even when one is just learning and making music badly, and I couldn't look at it that way this past winter. But now it's mostly spring, and in spring a young girl's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of goal setting. Yeah, I know that's not how that goes, but I'm really not ready to think about that particular subject yet. Anyway, so I'm supposed to be deciding how I want my lessons to be structured (alternate between piano, voice and coaching, two of them, only one, etc.) That's not my problem, really--the lessons are the easy part. What I have trouble with is the practice. Even in college when I studied for an hour a week (rain or shine), I was crap at carving out half an hour a day to practice my music. I'm really a very quick study when it comes to music, although I'm not very good when I work it that way (which is why I never wanted to solo--I didn't work hard enough at it to be good enough). I need to decide that, if the ability to play piano is what I really want, I have to sit down every day and play. I noted above that I suck at titles, and I also really suck at committing to anything. I always worry that I'll commit to something and find it's what I don't want, and I always catch merry hell from my family for being "flighty" (they say that like it's a bad thing), and I'm tired of being dismissed because I like to try things out and then get bored of them. So I've stopped trying anything (at least publicly), and my life has gotten so dull. So perhaps I need to come to peace with my flighty nature and then I'll be able to commit again? I don't know. If I ever figure that out, I'll let you know.

Anyway, I was thinking this past week (while trying to work, which doesn't work, because my laptop is faster than our system at work has been, and my laptop is 10 years old, at least) about my penchant for the bad guy. The bad guy in movies and tv, that is. I realized that even in that, I'm a bit odd. I mean, a lot of women get the hots for the bad guys in movies. But the reason they get the hots for them is because they daydream about being with the bad guy and then reforming them. I don't. I want the bad guy, and I want him to still be the bad guy, because if he wasn't the bad guy, then he'd be the good guy, and Christ, but the good guys are dull. The bad guy does what he pleases and rarely feels guilt over it, tends to wear black and leather with silver trims, gets all the good, witty lines and just oozes wild, untamed sex appeal. They also tend to be smarter than the good guys, who are more lucky than clever. The good guy is.... Well. He's tame. And if I wanted a tame man, I'd be married by now. They're distressingly easy to find, hard to respect, and sort of sad to watch. These are the men whose wives get their way just by pouting. Sheesh. I have a dog to dominate, men are for partnering with. I feel embarassed for them when I see their wives thrashing them down in the store like naughty children. If your guy wants beer and pizza for dinner, would it kill you to let him do it on occasion? Do you have to give him that retarded lecture in public about vegetables and lean meats like he's some sort of idiot? Please. Only the weak need to dominate. Learn it, live it, love it.

What's really odd, at least to me, is that bad guys tend to treat their women better (by my definition of better, that is.) Beating the woman is verbotten, but you don't tend to see bad guys beating on their women--mostly because bad guys tend to have female henchpersons who are intelligent, sexy and kickass, and when beaten they tend to retaliate. These female henchpersons are trusted to take part in the Evil Plans for World Domination, and if they fail, they get their butts handed to them on a silver platter. Good guy female henchpersons feel more like tokens, or perhaps team mascots or pets, tend to twist ankles/get captured at inopportune times and are rarely called on their screw ups to the same level as the evil henchperson. Even if they do get called out, Good Guy comes to see her later in private like a parent practicing sensitive parenting, talks to her about what she did wrong, how disappointed he is, kisses the boo boo to make it all better, and jollies her up again. As if she were a child. At least the bad guy treats his women as his equal in the evil, and almost never just pats her on the head. How interesting. Good Guys treat women as children, Bad Guys as employees. And people think I'm weird for having the hots for the bad guy!

Besides. Let's look at the typical bad/good guys:

This is Richard Armitage as Guy de Gisborne from the BBC series "Robin Hood." Black leather, check. All smoldery hot and juicy, check. He's a bit of a ponce around Marian, but I think that's the way the legend goes, so I can't really blame him (and he's cute when he's got puppy eyes, plus I know what happens at the end of Season Two, and my respect for him went up about sixteen million notches). There are female henchpersons in the series (which I haven't watched in a while, so I can't recall if he ran them through when they failed at teh ebil, but I can see it being done.) Compared to:

Jonas Armstrong as Robin. He's cute, but I let my Tiger Beat subscription expire about twenty years ago. What is he, ten? Don't get me wrong, he's a lot better than the generic good guy about letting the females take their knocks, but he's got a double token female--female and foreign. It's almost painful to watch.

Richard Roxborough as Dracula from Van Helsing. The pony tail did put some women off, I admit, but I found it quite fetching. He was enjoying it, you could tell, and I certainly have nothing against men with long hair, so I was down with it. He chewed that scenery up, but hell and damn, in a frock coat and Hessians, nonetheless, which you have to admit is an accomplishment. And he really got crabby with his little demon 'hos, which I found reassuring.


The man himself, Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing. The pose I found just makes the point much more obvious--he's a bit girly. I blame the wig, because in just about every other Hugh Jackman film, they get his shirt off him (much to the joy of every female with the orientation for it in the theater). But he keeps pushing Anna the Obnoxious into the way on the backburner role, which is fine, but a) she's been killing the undead (oxymoron?) for her entire life, so she's got a track record, and b) yeah, she's got to survive the whole episode for her family to get into heaven, but she's been surviving just fine all this time and if you want to get picky, she's not killed by Dracula, but by the nosey guy who jumped in to help! I think she went a bit soft because Van Helsing wouldn't let her practice her werewolf skillz, which is how she ended up dead of smush. The movie is remarkable, however, in being one of the few major motion pictures in which the comic relief got a girl but the leading man went home alone.

Then you have the movie bad guy that started it all for me. Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber. Pretty, no? And he made Bonnie Bedelia pack the money into bags just the same as he did with his henchmen. I blame the '80s for the lack of female henchpersons; apparently they didn't put affirmative action into place for them for another few years at least. But still. Come on. Compare the suave, suited Hans to the sweaty, grimy John McClain, and you have to come up short in some fashion.

And then you have my favorite of all--he's a bad guy and a good guy all in one!

Granted, the Doctor is mostly a good guy. But he's done very bad things. Very, very bad things. There are whole species that fear him! Honestly, how can a girl resist that--the combination of moral certainty with the willingness to be randomly harsh and cruel when it's necessary to follow said code? And he's never (past the first doctor, in the main) treated his companions, male or female, as idiots or children, unless they were. He trusts them, respects them. Leaves them behind if need be. Any wonder I get all moon-faced when the show comes on? His very cavelier treatment of Captain Jack--and the explanation he gives him when confronted--highlight the whole issue of his ambiguity. He abandoned Captain Jack because he was "wrong", but he also knew Jack would be able to find his way to safety. It wasn't as if he was abandoning him to die, or suffer eternally. He just...left. Jack was hurt by it, but it's not as if he was physically endangered by the Doctor's choice.

It's just a bonus that David Tennent (and Christopher Eccleston, since he was my entry level Doctor) is cute. Well. I wouldn't call Eccleston "cute", as he's rather short of the cuddly puppy dog level, but he is certainly hot. Particularly when he'd go all evil-eyes on the bad guys and you just knew there'd be a smoking crater in their future. See? Good guy going all bad. And he wore the black leather jacket. Woof.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I feel so cheap.

I have caved in. I feel so cheap, so used, so.... Sigh. Oh, well. It had to happen eventually, I suppose. At least I can get rid of the cds I was keeping for one or two or three songs now. I'll just upload them, download the songs I want, delete the others, and sell the actual hardware off. Nice.

I also got this:

Which is totally way hella cool, as far as cd storage goes. It even locks. I had some fun with that, let me tell you!

Off to charge my twee iPod now. I still feel cheap. And poor.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Good God.

To be starting off, here's the beginnings of the Who scarf:

It's pretty, yeah? That's all the colors except the green, but that comes next after 26 more rows of the dark grey. It'll be pretty, all told, as the colors really are very nice. I particularly like the purple and the red, myself.

Remember this lot? The Kidsilk Crack from Rowan? You'll note (if, like me, you're addicted enough to the yarn) there are two new balls there. The chocolate brown (ooh, chocolate!) at top left, the khaki greenish at bottom center (which has the unfortunate name of "Dun". Doesn't quite do the shine justice, does it?) I wanted the extra yarn for length and width, as I'm knitting with the yarns doubled up. I've been frightened of this particular project for the past three weeks or longer (since I chose the project for the yarn.) Two or three days ago, I had a series of nightmares; two to be precise. In the first, I was trapped in New Orleans (I don't like the city, it's a side effect of being a New York-type girl--the rules of walking the streets of New York in safety are very precise, very simple, and very counter to human behavior in New Orleans, which makes me feel horribly, horribly unsafe. Drives me nuts.) I kept trying to leave, and every road I started down turned around and led me right back to the French Quarter. As if New Orleans was at the center of some wicked kink in the space/time matrix, and I kept getting shunted along streams that took me back to center. After that harrowing dream, I had a second one wherein I cast on for the shawl and the yarn kept tangling. And I do mean fatally tangling, to the point where I couldn't even frog back and start again, but had to cut the knitted end off and start over. I had something like six or seven tangle balls that I couldn't undo. Not a restful night, let me tell you. Dreaming over and over again about knots. So, anyway, today I decided (after putting it off for days on end) that today I would cast on, come hell or high water, because it's only slightly more embarassing to be afraid of my knitting than the natural state of embarassment to which I am accustomed in my day to day life. So while the water is, indeed, pretty high--it's been raining for about a month now--, hell was polite enough to keep itself to itself, and I cast on anyway. Don't believe me?

There you go. Sorry for the vaguely...suggestive composition of this picture. I didn't realize what I was doing until I actually downloaded the picture; I was still in shock that I'd cast on and knit two rows (the set-up rows before the pattern begins.) So, anyway. I cast on and knit the two prep rows, took a nap, went out for a bit and finally caved in to the realization that I'd used needles two to three sizes too large. Shit. And I didn't have bamboo in the right sizes (I vastly prefer bamboo for lace knitting for both the grip and the resilience of the bamboo; when doing fiddly knitting I tend to keep a death grip on the needles, so a little bounce keeps my wrists happy). A side trip to a very local craft store later, and:

On what I'm really hoping is the proper size of needle, because I'm not doing this again. 101 stitches in tense, tangle-prone and very unhappy yarn. Don't get me wrong, it will make for a lovely fabric, and I'll enjoy it immensely, but while knitting.... I'm sure I'll use more naughty words as I go. Anyway, the first cast on was done while watching "Ancient Discoveries" in the sunny afternoon (I say watching, but I've seen them all before, so it was more like "listening to while doing other, more interesting things because total silence drives me ape-excrement because I'm listening for the sound of anything and it makes me tense") and the second while watching "Doctor Who"--the new one for this week, not the replay of the last one. And I still managed to get the stitches right, which I find fascinating. Although, to be fair, I only did the cast on and first row, so I'm not quite as far along on the second attempt as I was on the first before it went to the great frog pond in the knitting basket. Oh, yeah, and off to the left in that picture? Far in the back? You want to know what that is?

Nightmare yarn wad!

I was right, in my dream. This stuff doesn't frog. It just knots up like a son of a buck and sticks there. I better never mess up, 'cause once this stuff gets knitted, it just don't un-knit. If there's any consolation, it's that I probably won't need a rescue line. It'll be the scissors and nightmare wads for me.

I'm going to go have some yogurt with chocolate chips on it. It's my reward, I think, for being so very, very brave and casting on like a big girl. *eye roll*

Jesus, I need to get a grip. And yes, that is a prayer.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Pages: 6. Possibly more, I've got stuff in a Word document and in the software that allows me to write in script. And I suck worse at it than anticipated. But I think that's the point, and as I haven't stopped, despite having constant awareness of how badly it sucks, I think I've made progress in terms of my writing.

In knitting news--nothing new. I haven't started up on the shawl yet, still nervous about it. I did get some more rows done on the Who scarf (I'll post pictures later). I work on it mostly at knitting group and in church, I suppose I could work on it while watching television. Although, having already managed to find two rows I had to frog back for dropped stitches or extra stitches (which amazes me and is quite an accomplishment, considering the damn scarf is in garter stitch), I hesitate to do so as I might not give proper attention to either action and end up frogging more than two or three rows as consequence.

I feel the need to go watch the last two discs of the "Heroes" Season 1 on DVD that I've rented. I've returned the others to the store, and this one will be late as of...midnight tonight, so I'd best get watching on it. Well, that, and I have to go turn the channel as the episode of "The Graham Norton Show" on BBCA at present is an absolutely ancient one. With Dustin Hoffman. Horrid! I'll watch just about anything on Graham Norton (he's such a catty b!tch and I love him) but I dislike Dustin Hoffman in an amount inversely proportional to how much I adore Graham Norton. They cancel out, and I've got "Heroes" to be watching on. And I'm exhausted and don't think I have any more words tonight.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I've decided which project to take on next. I'm going to make lace with the Kidsilk. the Woodland Shawl, by The Thrifty Knitter. I'm a bit nervous; frogging with this stuff won't be simple, I'm modifying the pattern to my own ends and not entirely sure that what I'm thinking will work the way I think it will work, and I don't actually own all the yarn I think I'll need for it. But....it's April Fools' Day. And I am nothing if not a huge fool. I'm feeling an urge to do something small, something that seems insignificant, but totally and completely foolish. I need to trust in myself, and if I can't trust myself over such a minor thing (in the scope of humanity) as knitting a lace shawl, how can I trust myself over bigger things? Like...what to have for dinner on any given night? Although it's pretty damn likely that on any given night, dinner won't be costing me what the Kidsilk did. I typically do fishsticks, not Kobe beef.

I've already contacted my dealer (we do business in less shady places than alleys, but it's about the same level of dependence and probably financially much more damaging than a crack habit) and there's two balls (I hope I hope I hope) waiting for me to get another paycheck so I don't, you know, go into hock or anything.

Well. I say "hock" but what I mean is "dipping into money earmarked for someone/thing else." I've got more than enough ready on hand, but I don't want to. Because it's mine. See? I'm progressing.

Anyway, I had fifteen minutes to blog before bedtime, and thought I should take it. Tonight, I blew my time watching season 1 of "Heroes" on DVD (because it's amazing the depths I'll go to to watch Christopher Eccleston in anything, and boy, compared to the soppy misanthrope that was the half hour of Jude I could get through, he's positively cuddly in this role; how I do miss David from Shallow Grave), tomorrow I'm going out with my in-town friend because I need to get out of the house before I completely lose my mind and Thursday I've got lessons. Friday starts the Scriptfrenzy work for me--I'm not worried too much about getting off on the immediate footing, since a) 100 pages, b) dialogue, c) I can do ten pages in three hours with one inch margins and one and a half line spacing, much less script format. Besides, I want to get an outline together, which I think I will do tomorrow on lunch. On paper. How low-tech of me. But I have little choice. I'm not going home tomorrow night before dinner and the movie, and Thursday I get home late (and will be watching more "Heroes" because I am now hooked. Yet another addiction with which I must cope.)

Friday is the day I begin, because it's considered an unlucky day for new beginnings. But I began on a Friday, and I consider it to have been quite an auspicious beginning. Besides, the reasons it's considered unlucky make it much more appealing. There are links to Paganism and Mother worship, and while I'm not a card-carrying Pagan/Heathen/non-Christian, I'm about as close as you can get without setting little Baptist children on fire when you walk by. By and large, I respect others' paths to the Divine, and find Pagan/Heathen and the associated peoples paths to be, even more by and large, to be gentle, very non-'let's set this one on fire and see how loud they scream' sorts of paths. I can respect that. And if the gentle peoples think Friday is a most excellent day (which is why Christian Europe regards Friday as unlucky; it's a witch's day) to do anything, well. All to the good for me.

And it harm none, do as ye will. And Blessed Be.