Sunday, August 26, 2007

Reason 619, and then some

Oh, Austin.

This weekend, my newish hometown was the site of the Flugtag (sponsored by an energy drink company I won't name because the stuff is just so bad for you).

The Flugtag began with Perry Farrell singing the national anthem (!) and a bunch of sky divers who almost all managed to nail a landing on the platform.

The platform from which around 30 teams launched homemade "aircraft" in hopes of, well, landing in Town Lake without getting hurt too badly. Supposedly there was a competition to see how far they could make it, but mostly it was to see a bunch of people jump into the river.

Everybody in Austin came. Punks, hipsters, families of four with strollers, rednecks, everybody. That was nice, but as a result, this is all I could see, from where we stood on the South 1st Street Bridge:

Mind you, I'm 5'10". My fellah is 6'6", so he took some pictures for me.

(Side note: when we arrived, we were looking for a place to stand, and when we found a suitable spot, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was a shorter woman with two small kids. "Excuse me," she said, "but this is where we're standing, and we can't see." "I'm sorry," I said, but I really didn't move. There wasn't room to move. "It's just, you're both quite tall," she said. "We noticed," I said.

Some might call this rude, and perhaps they're right. But it's like those occasions when someone has tapped me on the shoulder at a rock concert and asked me not to stand so close. Dude: it's a rock concert. What were you expecting, three feet of personal space? And besides, the fellah and I are simply tall people. We can't get shorter to accomodate others.)

Some people with canoes and kayaks had the right idea:

We went because it was a goofy thing to do, and also because my fellah has a friend who was on Team Roshambo.

Each team performed a brief skit before launching. Team Roshambo dressed as rock, paper, and scissors. After a brief match of Roshambo, they all ran off the end of the pier.

My fellah's buddy was the one dressed as paper. He actually flew, or floated, pretty decently, until his costume couldn't hold and he fell out of it into the water, which was still about 20 feet away.

So much better than cable.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I found my tribe!

And they're all neurotic, to a man.

This afternoon, after work, I went to a happy hour sponsored by the Writer's League of Texas. It was half a bar full of people forcing themselves to go and shake each other's hands and initiate conversation, during which they struggled to remain positive about their work and their prospects.

Now, my friends will say, "Cobbalicious? You were nervous? Aren't you always the peppiest among us?"

Well, that's among us. Not among a half-bar full of strangers. In that setting, I feel like a huge idiot, to say the least. I feel like I'd rather eat my pinky finger than look for another notch in a conversational clump where I can walk up and say, "Hi, I'm Cobbalicious, and I've produced plays but that's about it!"

Hence the neuroses.

Tonight, I went to a production of One Flea Spare, and wow. That script. Wow. Wow.

I took some blah knitting, some orange fuzzy novelty yarn I'm using up in a skinny scarf of 2x2 ribbing. And the three ladies behind me who were, if I had to guess, a bit past retirement age, began chatting away with me about knitting, then the play, then traveling. They were very nice and interesting.

And it struck me, as relaxing as knitting is for those of us who do it, it also seems to calm those around us. For instance, the other week on the bus, a strange man with lots of facial hair and a big cooler full of ice and something else (could have been organs for all I know) gets on board and sits behind me. After a bit, he peeks over my shoulder as I was knitting Thermal. He asks if it's a scarf, and I tell him it's a sweater.

Then he tells me all about how his mother used to make him quilts, and how fun it was to watch her.

As a writer, these moments are so lovely-- when someone willingly shares such personal information, without pretense.

I am still desperate to know what was inside that cooler.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Silky Tweed Makes Me Happy

I am smart enough to not blog about my job.




Otherwise: it's just so silly, but my friends are all doing it and it's such a great way to answer the neurotic question of "They really do like me, don't they???" safely. Go here, and pick five or six words that describe me.

(And all the knitters are like, "Uh... She likes blue?")

And to give some nice, yarnish balance to my Mmmphmm of a day, I received my order of this in the mail:

Never mind the no daylight + flash = zero color. It's Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed (40% silk, 30% cotton, 20% merino, 10% viscose), and I've got nine whole skeins of it. They are yummy skeins, too. This is the yarn that I will swatch responsibly so that it someday may become the Montmarte (sic) Cardigan at Urban Outfitters:

I can't wait!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Play Ball

Okay, this is really only funny and special to those who know these guys, but if you do... Gotta love it.

If you don't, then ladies and gents, I give you the sweetest, most good-natured rock band I've ever met. (But don't tell Twink I said so.) Here they're playing during batting practice for the Houston Astros.

It's all kind of weird, really.

These are also the guys who worked on the Backyard Plarty back in June.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thermaling Away

I've discovered a new measurement standard for knitting: how much knitting you can done during a single viewing of Pride and Prejudice (1996), or a PP96.

1 PP96 = 2.5 inches of Thermal.

(I've actually knit a couple more inches since this was taken.)

Anywho. While glancing through the latest Urban Outfitters catalogue, I found the Lux Montmarte Cardigan. (Did they mean "Montmartre"?)

Dude. I can totally make this. Gimme a little DK-weight cotton blend and six weeks, and I'm there.

Is this how madness begins?

It may also be observed that I am avoiding more serious issues, like work, writing, and the question of whether I will renew my lease for another year or move somewhere else, which I have to decide manana.

Living alone in Austin is lousy. If you want to pay less than $700/month, you have to live in either a run-down place in an okay neighborhood or a nice place in a sketchy hood where your car windows won't last the year. I know, I used to live in San Francisco, I shouldn't complain. However, I still recall my lovely, lovely apartment in Cincinnati, with the hardwood floors and the beautiful fixtures and everything else. The tavern across the street, the Walnut Hills library branch, Eden Park down the street... Meh.

Such is life without spouse or roommates.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Reason #618

Reason #618 why I like Austin:

On the way home from work today, the bus driver was singing the blues very loudly, off and on, the whole way north.

Fortunately, she was not also playing guitar.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

One reason not to like Austin

So here I am, being a good little writer, putting down the needles and opening up the computer files so I can work on the novel and the play rewrites and that other thing. You would think the universe might reward me for my diligence.

Instead, I'm cowering in terror, because there is SOMETHING skittering around inside the ceiling light in my kitchen, right now. It is small and dark and I CAN HEAR ITS FEET.

I keep telling myself, "It could just be a gecko... It could just be a gecko..." But this is Texas, and when in doubt, it's a... a... No, I won't say it. I won't do anything to make that muther-f***** more of a reality than it already is.

Save me!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Look but to learn.

I was a bustin' of the stash, when I came across these two half-balls of yarn.

That's Jo-Ann's Bellezza Collection Dolcetto (wool/nylon/cotton, color #2 (yellow)) on the left, and #6 (green) on the right.

Or wait. Perhaps that's #6 (green) on the left, and #2 (yellow) on the right.

You see the problem. Now, let me ask you this: do these two closely related colors strike you as great tools for learning your very colorwork pattern?

No? Well, for some reason, I thought it was a great idea. Here's what happened:

What's that? You can't make out those clearly defined concentric squares? Okay. Let's try it in the (fading) natural light of day:

Still no good? All right. Perhaps in context:

Poor kid! How about a different (but still infantile) model?

You're right. That helps nothing.

You know what they say: Some worthless things are destined for charity. Others find their way to the White House.

I'll mail the hat to Washington first thing Monday.

Just kidding. I wouldn't want the FBI on my case. Okay, here are the valuable lessons learned:

(1) This yarn isn't that great. It doesn't feel very durable. It didn't take the slip-stitch pattern well.

(2) I ought to have used size 9 dpns instead of size 10. I was thwarted by not owning size 9.

(3) Mosaic knitting pulls both vertically and horizontally. (No kidding, Einstein.) So that picot
edging I attempted? It just looks like some oddly placed holes around the bottom edge. Don't hold it against the excellent mosaic knitting instructions found in Amy Singer's wonderful book No Sheep for You. I just bungled the job.

(4) Use contrasting colors, dummy.

The worst of it is, I still have these two half-balls left! I'm beginning to think I could have made an adult sweater from the three I originally started with. Turtleneck sweater. With sleeves! Won't it ever be used up?

Lessons learned. Now, unless anyone out there wants an ugly baby hat to give away (leave a comment! I'll pay shipping), then this one's to Goodwill.