Thursday

[amy] Home Life

Seriously, I'm f-f-freezing. It was 47 degrees during the drive to work this morning and it's still August. I've kind of gotten used to it being 30 degrees warmer, what with it still being summer and all but it looks like we're going right into Fall. I don't mind. Hibernating/lounging in a warm house when it's it dreary and cold outside is one of my favorite things to do. Dollar and I have re-arranged the bedroom to add a futon, tv, laptop, books, movies and Xbox. So we pretty much never have to leave except for food (which we do occasionally bring back upstairs) and to use the bathroom. I burrow into the bed to knit and he sits on the futon, playing video games.

And I've decided that Dollar's my little dish faerie. Of course, he gets wildly offended when I call him that, but he only seems to do the dishes when (a) I'm not home, or (b) I'm sleeping. So I either come home and see the dishes magically done, or I get up in the morning and see the dishes magically done. Last night he got into bed and we both went to sleep. Or so I thought. I passed out and, since he couldn't sleep, he went downstairs and did the dishes. Weird, I know, right? But this was only after we had the following conversation:

AMY: [making supper] Thank you for doing the dishes today. I appreciate it.

DOLLAR: Yeah... My only request is that you don't tell me the same DAY you want me to do them. [Referring to the fact that before AMY left for work in the morning, she asked him to do them since he had the day off]

AMY: What?

DOLLAR: You know, give me more notice.

AMY: All right, how about this: Whenever you SEE dishes in the sink, DO THEM. Now I never have to ask you again.

DOLLAR: ... O-kay.

Score: AMY 1 / DOLLAR 0

[parties] Beerstock 2006

Info about Beerstock 2006 has just been posted to the uvPartyList. Look at the poster. Who's that girl in the cowboy hat? Hm? That's me. I'm thinking of sueing for copyright infringement whatcha-ma-whatever. I'll take my payment in beer, thank you.

Last year's Beerstock was lots o' fun. Can you think of a better way of spending a Saturday than a day at the Tunbridge Fair and a night at Beerstock? No, I didn't think so.

Wednesday

[knitting] Misc. projects

Here's the knitted, slightly hand-felted cloche:


KnitPicks Quarry in Ubatuba


I went and picked out a velvet band and antique-looking button at the local craft store:



I have sewn the band and button on but I'm not really happy with the way it looked. I didn't want to invest too much time or thread (in case I want to change the band at a later date) and it ended up looking kind of puckered.

# # #

The pumpkin hat is also done:


Unknown orange from my stash, plus a smidge of Lamb's Pride worsted in Kiwi


I knit a leaf and corkscrew curl to add to the top. Everything is still damp from blocking, so I haven't been able to put it all together. I'm also a little miffed at how much looser it is after blocking. Like, if I bend over to tie my shoes, it'll fall off. And it may be that it's too long. You know what? If I cut two holes in it, I'd look like Houston from Fat Albert.

# # #

I've been picking up Starsky on and off. I'm nearly done with the back but I can only seem to knit one row before I'm pulled away to do something else or I change my mind and feel like doing something else. Is the sweater cursed?

# # #

I've joined Stocking Along. My goal is to knit 2 stockings: one for me and one for Dollar. I was going to say I want to knit two stockings, a tree skirt, garland and ornaments, but let me be realistic: Two stockings and anything else is just icing on the cake.

# # #

I'm about half-way done with Dollar's second green sock. Here's the first (which I finished back in MAY):


Hello. My heel flap is too short. How embarrassing.


I've had to replicate a major mistake in order to make them match. The heel flap is only half as long as it should be but Dollar has tried on the sock many times and it's a perfect fit. So I'm not changing anything for the second sock. But the next pair (ETA: 2017) will have the full amount of heel-flappy-ness.

Tuesday

[vermont] Quechee Scottish Festival

The Scottish Festival was off the chain. I didn't stay for the whole day (when they said bring your own folding chair, they weren't kidding) but I did see a little of everything. I plan on writing the day up for Yankee Pot Roast, so I won't go into any sort of detail here. But lookit the pretty pictures!


Early morning sheepdog trials




Watching intently (probably hoping the other dog is going to screw up)



 
Spin and Throw. This is not the type of dude you want to make fun of for wearing a kilt




The first Dance Dance Revolution




Bag pipers march in during the opening ceremonies




Oh my god! Their flags match their skirts! I love it!


It was a good day. Lots of good food, everyone was super nice and the weather held.

Monday

[work] Conversations at work

CUSTODIAN: Excuse me, would you like your office vacuumed?

AMY: No thank you, I'm all set.

CUSTODIAN: [Notices AMY's desktop wallpaper] Look at that! What a nice picture!

AMY: Isn't it cute? It's so cuuuuuuuute. It's a widdle cutie cute cute CUTE.

CUSTODIAN: Yeah. It would make a nice stew.

AMY: ...

CUSTODIAN: ...

AMY: Yes, I suppose it would.

CUSTODIAN: [leaves]

[knitting] lunar landing

Check this crazy shit out. This woman knit a shawl in less than two days. Now, I currently have two theories on how she was able to accomplish this:

1. Magic (she's a witch, has a army of knitting faeries in her employ, has magic needles to do her knitting for her (a la Mrs. Weasley in Harry Potter), etc)

2. Speed (or other drugs that don't let you sleep and keep you wired, coffee)

Either way, this lady is an incredibly prolific knitter. Her knitting is soooo beautiful. But damn! Would that I could knit that fast!

Friday

[amy] Misc. Stuff

Lots o' changes be afoot. I'm enacting a plan to start my own online business. I'm going to wait until it becomes a giant money-maker before quitting my day job. Which probably won't be until 2027.

I'm working on some ideas to start writing again.

I shall be attending the Quechee Scottish Festival tomorrow. Dollar's not coming because he has band practice to get ready for an upcoming gig. Ppssh. Just sounds like he wants to get out of it to me.

My birthday is coming up (October 6) and I got two tickets to a Haunted Corn Maze. Eeeeee! I'm looking forward to being frightened and screaming. Also, I want to see Dollar wet his pants.

Wednesday

[knitting] Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival

Dude, this website for the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival sucks. No schedule of events, no admission costs, no time of when the thing starts. Only a list of vendors, a shawl contest, and links to OTHER fiber fests? At least there are directions on how to get the Champlain Valley Expo, but come ON. What if some of us have other plans for the weekend and we need to schedule every waking moment because we’re totally anal and want to fit in maximum happy fun time?

Anyone know how much it’s going to cost to get in? When it starts? What the schedule of events are?

Tuesday

[knitting] Scien-twists at work

I had my sister over Saturday and we spent some time drunkenly dying wool. Well, I was the only one drunk but who doesn't find themselves slurring “Lessgo mix some Kool-Aid an' dye some wool, like a [hic] like a science experiment" after a few glasses of white wine.

I had my sister measure out equal amount of various blue, orange and yellow dye. She asked why there was no red and I told her about the French Market Bag needing to be over-dyed.

Measure the dye, label the paper:



Carefully separated pigments- I mean, flavors:





Add the water:

 


Add the yarn:

 


And you come out with:

 








Who would have thought that the yuckiest, pukiest colors would yield the prettiest yarn? The green and blues were boring, I like the tawny browns and the olive green. My favorite (and the color combination I'll probably use to dye my bare sock yarn) was the ice blue raspberry lemonade, orange and lemonade. It looks really orange in the pictures but it's a tad more subtle in real life. My sister liked the berry blue and lemonade combo- it's almost a heathery olive color.

UPDATE: If you're thinking about dyeing spun fiber as well, by no means follow these "directions". I left out stuff like the water being HOT and adding a bit if vinegar. Here's the basic how-to on dyeing natural fibers with Kool-Aid that I usually use.

Monday

[knitting] French Market Bag (with, uh, slight mods)

When last we left the French Market Bag, I was only just barely starting the handles. I knew I wasn't going to have enough of the dyed yarn for handles so I grabbed some off-white from my stash, thinking it would just be a solid color once I dyed the bag again.

I started the handles:



And finished them (here with the red Kool-Aid I'm going to use):



Into the pot:



Soaking up all the dye:



And resting in the sink, apres the traumatic experience:



So, it turned out looking like some kind of "Fruit Punch Tiger" pattern. The crazy electric blue was gone but the remaining color patterning wasn't all that... pretty. Le sigh, whatevers. I threw it into the washing machine to felt.

Imagine my surprise to see that the handles didn't felt. I ended up a using a superwash wool from my stash because I'm an unlucky moron. When I first grabbed it to knit with, I wondered, "Should I knit a test swatch and felt it? ... Naaah, it'll be fine." Mid-felting cycle, I noticed it wasn't felting as fast as the rest of the bag. By the time the bag was done, I noticed the handles didn't felt at all. Of course. Of COURSE I used the wrong kind of yarn.

So it looked a little crazy: felted body, knitted handles. I grabbed some twine and started wrapping:



The bag isn't so bad. It's rather shallow, but wide, and the handles help keep the bag open. I've yet to find out what I can use it for (not big enough for all the produce I actually buy at the market, not the right shape for mail (especially when I get magazines)) but it's nice to look at and think, "I made that bag."

Thursday

[knitting] More. More More MORE!

I was good for half of a year.

I didn't buy any yarn. Then I was said, "Oh... What about the colorful cotton Sugar 'n Cream? It's so cheap!" So I bought a couple balls. Then I bought a few more. Next thing you know I'm ordering 2 pound cones of tweed, 10 balls of Noro Kureyon, a Sac o' Yarn sampler of Knit Picks fall yarns, cones of cotton for a bathmat and more. I have all kinds of grand schemes for these things but right now they're just piling up. I love looking at them and I am going to do something with it all, but it's piling up. I've-

I've got a problem.

Meh, whatever. Here's my Sac o' Fall Yarn from Knit Picks:



And all spread out (I got two of most of these):


(Left to Right) Quarry in Ubatuba, Shamrock in Reilly, Shamrock in Doyle, Gloss in Cocoa, Essential Tweed in Plum, and Bare - Superwash/Nylon/Donegal Fingering Weight.


I also started knitting a hat with Wool of the Andes Bulky Hand Dye in Storm:



I wasn't really feeling the way it was knitting up. Then I started decreasing for the crown and the color started to pool in the most unsightly way. I ripped the whole thing (no big deal- it was only a couple hours of work) and still have as yet to decide what to make with the yarn.

I was able to knit and (slightly) hand-felt a cloche with the Quarry yarn. I was afraid I wasn't going to have enough yarn but there was plenty to spare. While wet, I shaped it over some stacked bowls. I've got to get a band or ribbon to put along the brim and then I'll take pictures.

I'm on a hat kick. I've got this pumpkin hat on the needles right now (check out all the fruit and veggie hats here- so many ideas!) and I want to make a simple hemmed-brim hat with two balls of Mille Colori (mine is either in 'rubens' or 'braque'). Then a rabbit ear hat with white and pink Rowan Baby Soft. And... I'm afraid I've got to do Dollar's Star Wars Amy Sucks And Is A Lazy Procrastinator And He Thinks I Don't Really Love Him Because I Haven't Made It Yet Hat. Maybe for his birthday in November. Poor thing. Every time I make a hat for myself and show him, I can tell he's crying a little on the inside.

Starsky is still stagnating in the craft room. Come ON. I know I can frigging finish it. It's on size 10 needles! I even wound two skeins of EcoWool into balls for the sleeves/fronts. Guh! I want to quit my job and stay home all day to knit! Seriously though- How can I make that happen? The trade off would be for Dollar to make enough dough for me to not have to work. But if he was working that hard, I'd never see him. Hmm... Well, I suppose I'd just console myself with yarn.

The French Market Bag is over-dyed, felted and the 'handle situation" has been taken care of. Kind of. More on that in a bit...

And also on the to-do list is this scarf with this yarn and these beads:


Yarn and beads are almost exact colors in real life. Weird bit of yellow color in there is from a rubberband around the yarn.

My secret pal gave me this yarn ages ago but I haven't done anything with it. While in Portland, I popped into a bead shop and got three strands of pale pinks beads for no particular reason. When I got home, I saw the beads and yarn next to each other and thought- Yes! THIS is what the yarn was waiting for! I need to do some math to figure out how long the scarf is going to be and where/how often to place the beads randomly. I want to make sure I don't run out of beads before I finish the scarf. The scarf is beautifully knit up in blue here.

Monday

[amy] Entertainment

Another weekend goes by too fast.

* * *

[reading] I finished re-reading The Sandman series. A lot of people say that Volume 2: The Dolls House is their favorite but I have to say Volume 9: The Kindly Ones is mine. It's the climax of the whole series. By the very end of Volume 8, you know what's coming. That thing happens in Volume 9. Volume 10, the last trade paperback, is sort of like a come-down off everything that has happened- it's an epilogue that ties up a few loose ends and answers a few remaining questions. But really, Volume 9 is where the shit hits the fan.

I started Lucifer again and am on Volume 3. So far I've really enjoyed re-reading it.

* * *

[watching] I finally got around to watching Brokeback Mountain. I can understand how calling it "a gay cowboy movie" is grossly oversimplifying what the movie is about. It's a love story. Ang Lee is one of my favorite directors and I've really enjoyed all his movies. His films are beautiful to look at and the stories always pull me in (and make me cry). I'm glad he won the Oscar for Best Director but I'm a little put off that Heath Ledger didn't win for Best Actor. I'm going to have rent Capote and see what's so great about Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance (besides that fact that, okay, he IS an amazingly talented dramatic actor). I give it 4/5 stars.

Syriana made me feel stupid. I'd have to watch it over and over to understand who's double-crossing who, who's working for who, and who's who. I know I'm not stupid but I had to ask Dollar to pause the movie so I could ask, "Wait- So who's that guy? What's he doing? Is Matt Damon working for him now? Who's that guy? Who is Chris Cooper? What's going on?!?!?!?!" I told him that this is why movies like this don't get made all the time. Most people can only handle a "cookie-cutter boy-meet-girl, misunderstandings keep them apart, all is resolved in the end" type of movie. Which isn't to say that that's what I want, but Syriana was so complicated. Dollar said that that's because it's real life. The movie was based on a true story. OOOOooohhh. That explains everything. Anyway, 3/5 stars. It was a good movie and my rating might go up if I watch it again and understand more.

In TV land, we want a new show to watch so I got Showtime's Weeds. I had high hopes (pun intended) for this show after hearing what it was about: Single mother (Nancy) of two living in suburbia starts selling pot to stay financially afloat. Interesting, no? Dollar and I watched the pilot episode last night. I have to tell you, there is so much wrong with this show it's frightening.

1. The writers try to have the rapid-paced dialogue that all the HBO shows (and Gilmore Girls) are known for. Here, though, it falls flat because none of it is really believable. It's kind of forced and hokey. The main character gets her drugs from a family of black people who say things like, "Ooo, white girl, you be trippin'" or whatever. Is the show trying to perpetuate the stereotype that black people sell drugs and can't speak a clean sentence?

2. Nancy appears to be high all the time. Understandable, that, but the first rule of drug dealing is that you can't be a user yourself. She appears to be high at her son's soccer game (where she sells bags out of her purse- nice) and at home and sitting on her roof. She thinks one teenager she sold to might be selling to 10-year-olds and shoves the teenager against her minivan. I thought pot wasn't supposed to make you aggressive?

3. Nancy pretty much has no idea what's going on with her kids and is a bad influence on them. Her son falls through a skylight when she's not around and when he tells her about it, she kind of blinks like, "Whoa, that must have been... wow." Her older son and his girlfriend fairly walk all over her. When she can't take it anymore, where does she go running? TO THE BLACK FAMILY OF DRUG DEALERS. Honey, I think you need to lay off the smoke for a while- until you set some rules for your kids at least.

4. Nancy isn't a sympathetic character. She trips a boy (granted, the boy was being a jerk to her son, but come on) and later called that boy something like a fucktard. Later still, her youngest son refers to the bully as a fucktard. Gee, I wonder where he heard that. She's baked all the time.

5. None of the characters are sympathetic. The teenagers have no respect (or a healthy fear) of their parents. Everyone's cheating on their spouses. One woman see's her teenage girl giving her the finger and calls her daughter the "c" word and says, "I should have gotten an abortion." I mean, come on! Why would I want to watch anymore of this show?!

Jeeze, those are just my thoughts from the pilot episode. I've got both disks of season 1, so I might as well watch them, but I have LOW expectations for the rest of it.

* * *

[playing] Had another gaming day at my place on Saturday. We played a round of Bang! and then Shadows Over Camelot. During SoC, everyone thought I was the traitor because of some "selfish" things I was doing. I'd get a card that said "You gain 3 life or all other knights gain 1 life." Since we're all working together to defeat the game, the selfless thing to do would have been to give everyone else one more life point (in fact, the card is called "Piety").

Instead, I chose to use it on myself and max out my life. "Traitor!" they all screamed at me. I told them I wasn't. When I played a "You may draw 4 cards or all other knights draw 1 card" and I took 4 cards, they were SURE I was the traitor. I swore up and down that I wasn't- I just needed to do these things to be effective in the game. AND, get this, I'm a stickler for the rules (duh). Someone re-shuffed the white (good) deck and I said, "Hey! You have to re-shuffle the black (bad) deck at the same time you re-shuffle the white, regardless of whether or not it's been exhausted."

That's when everyone threw the table over, pinned me against the wall with my hands behind my back and looked at my hidden loyalty card.

"Huh. Loyal," they said. "I guess you just aren't a team player."

Friday

[cooking] A whole world of food

AMY: Ram's coming over in a bit.

DOLLAR: Cool.

AMY: You want to go out to eat? All of us?

DOLLAR: Sure.

AMY: Or I could cook something.

DOLLAR: You don't have to.

AMY: Oh! I could make a curry! I bet Ram would like that. He's Indian. He likes curries.

DOLLAR: ...

AMY: Is that racist?

DOLLAR: Yes.


***Later***


RAM: So where do you want to go to eat?

AMY: Well, I was going to make a curry but then Dollar called me a racist.

DOLLAR: I didn't-

RAM: That doesn't make you racist, Amy. You know I like curry.

AMY: Yeah, but I'm treating you differently because of your race. Like, giving you a kind of preferential treatment.

RAM: I see. Then that makes you a bigot. Not a racist.

AMY: Oh.

RAM: You just assumed I would want lentil curry-

AMY: That's what I was going to make! A lentil curry! I knew it!

DOLLAR: So where should we eat?

AMY: Yama? You feel like Japanese/Korean?

DOLLAR: How about Gusanoz? I kind of want Mexican.

AMY: And there's the African place in the Go-Go Mart.

RAM: There's an African place in the Go-Go Mart?

AMY: Yeah. It's actually really good. Thursday nights they do Southern Barbeque.

RAM: Like what?

AMY: I dunno. Ribs. Cornbread.

RAM: I'm not sure I'm in the mood for African-inspired Southern Barbeque. Let's do Gusanoz.

DOLLAR: Yes.

AMY: [sigh] Oh-kay.

Tuesday

[knitting] Green Knitting

Just read in the news about organic wool by the Vermont Organic Fiber Co.

My first reaction: Isn't all wool, like, organic?

No. Too many sheep destroy land. It's not sustainable. Chemical baths and all that.

My next reaction: Who gives a shit if it's organic or not? I'm not eating it.

Again, non-organic wool is bad for the environment.

So then I start thinking about how "sustainable" my life is. I sometimes throw away tin foil (and I feel guilty). I drive my car instead of taking the bus (and I feel guilty). Do I want my pleasure pass-time (knitting) to be riddled with guilt? Am I bad to want a bargain? Is my yarn stash destroying the world?

I haven't decided yet, but maybe I should start looking into knitting with orgainic cotton, wool nad hemp. Every little bit helps, I suppose.

Monday

[knitting] To use, abuse and love

The washrags got a stern washing and drying with the rest of my regular laundry.



They look fine and I've been using them around the kitchen for everything from:

1) drying my hands after washing them

2) mopping up water splatter around the sink/drainer (would have used paper towels here before)

3) holding a hot bowl when eating in the living room in front of the tv

4) wiping my mouth

My urge to get these rags dirty has made me want to use them more than any of my other tea towels. I like having things I knit that I can machine wash/dry and USE.

I've made 1.5 more what watching Entourage:





I'm not sure I dig the variagated ones. The pink one has color pooling and the blue one matches the solid color too much. I envision more ugly color combinations in the future.

A bundle of three of these would make a nice Christmas gift for someone. Maybe with a bar of soap for the bathroom or a pump-tube of anti-bacterial hand soap for the kitchen.

Tuesday

[movies] Suckage in the Water

I want my money back.

I'm easily amused and entertained by movies. Especially M. Night Shyamalan movies. I've liked everything he has written/directed/edited/producted/etc- even The Village.

I thought Lady in the Water was terrible. I realize there's the whole "What a twist!" element to all of Shyamalan's previous films and I knew going into this one that there wasn't a twist. It's a fairy tale. The lady is a "narf" (a water creature), there are these dog-like "scrunt" things that want to kill the "narf" and a triad of ape-like creatures that are totally evil.

Okay, so let's just believe all this as readily as Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) does.

# # #

MOVIE SUMMARY

Cleveland: What's your name?

Story: Story. I'm a narf.

Cleveland: What do you know about narfs?

Young Soon: They're creatures, blah blah, scrunts want to kill them, blah, need to be taken home by an eagle.

Cleveland: Okay, we'll get you home, Story. I'll go outside and challenge one of the scrunts to a duel while we wait for a giant eagle to swoop down out of the sky and grab you. Let's get the Guild or the Seven Sisters together and a Healer and-

# # #

Whoa whoa WHOA! What are all the people at The Cove smoking? Why is Cleveland and everyone else in the apartment complex so ready to believe and participate? The answer would be: Because they're meant to. They were drawn to be at The Cove because Story was there and they're "destined" to help or whatever.

That's a total cop-out.

If you want this to be real, you gotta have some skeptics sprinkled throughout the crowd, repeating, "You guys are crazy. This is crazy." Then in the end when they see it's all real, they don't say anything but are profoundly changed for the rest of their lives. In the case of this movie, EVERYONE is like, "Come on, yeah, let's do this, I'm the Guardian of the Madame Narf and you're the one that sees prophetic messages in mundane things!" At only one or two points did someone actually say, "Are you sure this is all for real? Like, doesn't this sounds a little crazy?" Of course, you can make the claim that once you're physically AROUND Story, you believe because she makes you feel something inside.

But that's a total cop-out too.

Young Soon's mom knows too much about Narfs and their mythology. It was a bedtime story she had heard from her own mother but it turns out that it's all true. Verbatim. Everything she was told was completely accurate and could be applied to the current Story Rescue Mission. Say these words, do these things, this needs to happen.

Isn't that convenient?

What about all the bastardized Grimms Stories? All fables and mythologies have been augmented over time like a word whispered along a group of people playing "Telephone". But Cleveland can go to Apartment 214, ask "What are scrunts and how do I stop them?", get an answer- AND IT'S TRUE?

Sing along with me- Isn't it convenient, don't you think?

M. Night Shyamalan has a bigger role in this movie (in which he's a writer and his words will affect the course of the world (hello, ego-masturbate much?)).

There's a film critic in the movie who would make self-&-scene-aware comments that pull you (the audience) out of the fairy tale and make you aware of the fact that you're watching a movie. Does Shyamalan want us to be committed to the story (and to Story) or not?

Here's my final take on the movie:

- The mythology is confusing. Basically the entire movie is summed up in the first three minutes of the film.

- Everything that happens is too convenient.

- Story came from the Blue World. Well how'd she get here? Why was she living in the pool for so long? Where'd that door in her Little Mermaid Fortress of Solitude go?

- The triad of evil apes just happened to be in the trees by The Cove? Why? Because the scrunts where there? Because Story was there? Are there other narfs on awakening missions around the world?

- "Madame Narf"? Shut the fuck up.

- The only characters I cared about were Cleveland (and that was only after an incredibly telling reveal about 2/3 through the movie) and Young Soon and her mom (only because they're Korean and Young Soon is my mom's name). Everyone else was too believing, too fake, too predictable.