Thursday, February 28, 2008

Springtime, darn it.

I'm going to pass on trying to come up with an originally worded apology for why my blogging has been so scatterbrained and sporadic of late, because too many knit bloggers have been saying that sort of thing and dude, I still read you. Besides, I have a dinner date, and I still need to pack because I'm getting on a train first thing tomorrow to Dallas.

And by the way, yesterday I had a hurried conversation with my former college roommate. It was hurried because my cell phone battery was dying out and I'd forgotten my recharger in the car, not because she was in line for tickets to the Met and about to board a plane the next morning to South Africa to do research into deadly infectious diseases. Do you ever just totally get put in perspective? I hate that. And here I am, hurried because I'm getting on a train to Dallas and I might go grab a burger. Ho-hum.

And since we're telling transit stories, I rode the bus to and from work today, and today's crazy driver stomped on the brakes on the way north today, then leaned on the horn. I thought she was about to hit a student, since we were right by the University of Texas, which gives out BAs in not looking both ways. Actually, no. It was a black chicken trotting across the street. Which leads one to wonder, (a) where did it come from? (b) why was it crossing the road? (sorry for the obvious) and (c) how long did it take before someone in West Campus decided to have some poulet en casserole for supper tonight?


Tired of the non sequiturs? Too bad, it's in fact a great segue into a discussion of my current knitting, which is equally unfocussed and illogical.

It's also falling sadly victim to my poor photography skills. To compensate, I blew out the whites for the sake of color accuracy, which gives the impression that these WIPs are sweet angels appearing to us in holy visions. I say run with it.

I present Exhibit A:

The aptly named DROPS 103-1 Cardigan. That's actually the back, two fronts, and the cuff of a sleeve, but I lacked the space and lens focus to spread all pieces out. Rest assured, the hefty pile of Southwest Trading Company Gianna is in fact a sweater-to-be.

Exhibit B:

Bamboozled, in bamboo (SWTC Twize). This sucker's going to be too big. I can tell already. But do you see me stopping, starting over? Nooooo. I defy all mathematics, and if you want to help, then give me lots of compliments. This is supposed to be worn round the head, and my cranium simply isn't big enough.

Exhibit C:

The most beautiful yarn I've encountered in months, Plymouth Royal Silk Merino, in a pattern called Helleborus, for which I didn't buy enough yarn and started out two needle sizes too small. I noticed the problem, frogged it, then started again. Now, do you think I moved up to the right needle size? One bigger? No. Somewhere in my brain, I thought, "It will be fun to knit this on size 8 needles, rather than size 9 which the pattern clearly requires."

It is this frequent failure of logic which so wears on my poor significant other. Lucky for him I'm cute.

Exhibit D:

Wicked, in Cascade Sierra. I'm not sure why I stopped, but I think it had something to do with the fact that all the stitch markers were across the room and I had lost the ability to hit "pause."

Exhibit E:

Oh, wait. Leyburn Socks, but not sure where they are. I fell asleep while knitting them the other night, and they're probably somewhere in the bedsheets.

I know, mother, I know.

I am astonishinly unrepentant, however. Completely, totally content! Because everybody's starting too many projects. It's springtime! ADD is the new yoga. Besides, did you see these colorways? If you ever see me going nuts for the yellows and the greens, then you know I've got seasonal affective disorder or whatnot. The thing that makes it impossible to open a dictionary to look up the name of the disorder, among other things.

And you know what? It's fun. Tra la freakin' la!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guess who somebody else saw just yesterday?

I went to a party last night given by some fellow theater people. We started on the topic of the primaries. A fellow playwright said that he had voted for Obama earlier that day during Early Voting. Then he attended the Obama rally downtown in the evening. However, his roommate had topped that. On Friday afternoon, he'd seen Barack Obama on the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail.

So says the playwright:

The roommate, who is a dope-smokin', long-haired, insuranceless hippy kid, was riding his bicycle for fun along Austin's hike and bike trail. First he noticed some police officers walking down the path. Then he saw some men in dark suits. Then, a few moments later, around a bend, he saw Barack Obama strolling along, enjoying the beautiful weather and nice scenery.

"Was he alone?"

"Yeah, except for the Secret Service."

"What was he doing?" someone asked the playwright.

"Just looking at plants and stuff."

It's good to matter in the primaries.

Guess who I saw last weekend?

They say Bill Clinton is never on time.

Last Saturday, the fellah and I headed down to Hillary headquarters in Austin for their opening ceremonies (only about a year later than the Obama people). We arrived in time to get a spot inside, where it was hot and stuffy. One after another, semi-relevant local politicians took the mic to talk about their support for Hillary. The crowd was patient but growing restless; one woman passed out and had to be taken away by EMS.

It was not unlike Rock the Bells, a documentary the fellah and I saw last summer about a hip-hop festival in California. The headliners were the reunited Wu-Tang Clan. By the end of the night, the crowds were near rioting, and the promoter kept sending out more and more opening acts to keep the crowd calm as they searched high and low for Ol' Dirty Bastard, the since-deceased and most difficult of the very errant Clan members. People were passing out right and left, and the situation was becoming dangerous.

And to think: in both situations, we were kept waiting for an old, dirty b*****d.

This one also happens to have been a major world leader for eight years.

He spoke briefly and eloquently. He raised some good points and refrained from being negative.

For my part, I learned the limitations of my camera's zoom function, and like my camera, I never did get that close to greatness.

Still, it was an interesting evening in which Austin was permitted to see the Clinton establishment doing the equivalent of running to catch the bus in their bathrobes. The most powerful family in Democratic politics is a mess right now. I hope in these final days before the next primaries they will pull themselves together enough to let Hillary's very sound case be heard.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Gentleman and a Philosopher

There's only one man who works in our small office. Yesterday, he brought all of us a dozen roses.

Upon coming back from lunch today, he saw the roses. "Do you know," he called out to his assistant, "a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet? For instance, if I said, 'Hey, come smell this sack of f***in' horse-s***,' do you think you'd like it?"

Happy Valentine's Day.

p.s. I made Gena's day! It's that award that's going around (and around, and around...) Dandy. Especially because I recall we "met" when I accosted her with questions about her Cardigan for Arwen (Ravelry link). What a nice person.

I'm sure I'm supposed to do something elaborate, like send a knitted tea cozy to 16 people in the first 3 minues after receiving this honor. Whatev. Those who are looking for new crafty blogs, check out
Girl Who Knits, six one seven, Tres Chic Veronique, Knitting Sunshine, Cozy's Place, Moon Tea, Sally Comes Unraveled (and the other blogs by my Meetup knitting group. Sorry I'm behind on the list, ladies.). Don't have time to transcribe the rest of my bloglines list right now, so if you ever get a comment from me, then poof! You've made my day, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tidbits and an FO

I love lists.

1. I finished a shawl, mostly to get it off the list of WIPs.

pattern: Sea Foam Shawl, from Speed Knitting by Kris Percival.
completed: Feb. '08
yarn: Bernat Bamboo Natural Blends (colorway: water; 1 skein); Moda Dea Wild! (colorway: denim; 100% nylon; 1 skein); mystery yarn, frogged from my first scarf ever, held double (1 skein).
made for: me, but I'll part with it to a good home.
needles: size 15
notes: I'm not sure whether to wear this thing or buy it a litter box.
Okay, it's not that bad. I don't know what to wear it with, though.

2. Yesterday, as I was leaving work, the parking lot attendant was sitting in his booth, playing a ukelele. Oh, Austin!

3. My fellah got me this bracelet in Utrecht and gave it to me at Christmas. We only recently had it resized.

It's so lovely. You can't tell from the picture, but those are garnets, a dark red stone.

I happened to be wearing Thermal the day we went to have it resized. At the store, the girl took a ribbon and wrapped it around my wrist. She asked my fellah to hold the ribbon in place with a finger. Then she took a pair of scissors to cut the ribbon at the right length. The scissors were poised and ready to slice through the sleeve of my Thermal.

I jerked my arm away. "Don't cut my sweater!" I squawked.

My fellah looked at me in bewilderment. "Don't cut your sweater? Don't cut my finger!"

I have to admit that as much as I like my fellah's index finger (and it's a super one, as index fingers go), I did think first of my sweater. After all, it didn't take me six months to knit his index finger.

4. There was something else...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Something Else Is Going On

Those who know me know I vote Democrat almost every time. I believe in what the party stands for, even when its leaders take a seat. Like other Democrats, I'm quite pleased to have not one but two extremely strong candidates duking it out for the nomination.

Some readers might vote differently. I happen to think you're sorely misguided and perhaps not paying enough attention to things like, oh say, the weather. But that's not what this post is about.

I've been leaning in the direction of Obama, because I feel that he strikes a similar chord as JFK, because he seems poised to unify people and reach past differences. Only some of that has to do with his qualifications, which are many. Much of it has to do with image, and all that that implies.

Then I read this post.

I don't know the author personally, but he is a friend of a friend, and he is by all accounts a smart, articulate, thoughtful, interesting, and open-minded person. In no way am I trying to castigate the writer of that blog personally. I've also communicated my objections to him personally, so this isn't a sideswipe.

As you can see if you read the comment I left, however, I am very bothered by his sexist metaphor, which implies that standing up for what one believes in is an inherently masculine trait. Oddly enough, hope itself seems to have been appropriated by male language: "Hope Has a Pair," and Hillary's "castration" as a result of not standing firm to her positions.

It echoes the goofy machismo promoted by Bush and his cronies, the "let's done a flight suit and declare a war over!" mentality, the notion that once on a course one should never turn back.

It isn't so much this writer's particular post that gets me. (And I encourage you to read more of his posts, to give the guy a chance.) This is merely one example of something I'm beginning to notice much more often in the Obama camp.

What truly, deeply bothers me is that even here on the left, where I fall into the complacent illusion that people look past the limits of gender, race, physical ability, etc., the assumptions of male dominance are still present. They are a security blanket to so many-- both male and female, but mostly male. These assumptions are so natural that the writer likely didn't even consider what he was doing as the least bit offensive when he wrote it. (Still waiting to hear from him on that.) Promotions, assertions, legislations and more can't seem to shake so many men free from the notion that they are somehow, inherently, indefinably better. It isn't something they'll assert publicly; it's simply a belief they hold so automatically that it comes as a surprise when anyone raises a hand in protest.

(Yes, we all know wonderful men who are exceptions to that rule (Hi, Dad!), but that isn't the point right now.)

I don't want to vote for Hillary because she's a woman anymore than I want to vote for Obama because his father was black. Yet I find myself looking to Hillary much more now, because in the Obama camp I see snags here and there where people vote not out of hope but of fear and distaste.

How often do we fail to hear what she says, because we're unnerved by the fact that a woman is saying it? And how much is that reaction so natural that we fail to recognize it as such?

"I think it's time we had a really tough broad in charge," my father said when we were discussing the candidates over the holidays. At the time, I shrugged and thought, maybe not this tough broad.

Now I am reconsidering. Let Hillary ruffle feathers. Let her infuriate the right, and the left, and the centrists who are made to feel uneasy. I'm abandoning my argument that it's time for a new generation to take the helm of this nation, because now it's time for a brave woman -- yes, both of those words together -- to run the place.

This begs the questions, of course: what part of female anatomy shall stand for chutzpah? Anyone?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just think what I put BACK.

Darn you, Hill Country Weavers! Darn you and your 20% off anything with wool content sale.

Bless me, someone, for I have splurged.

I've also shelled out big bucks to attend the 2008 Editors and Agents Conference here in Austin in June. It's frightening to take risks. Someday I'd like to enter a profession that doesn't involve risks. And when I say risks, I mean the thing I've been working on for nearly 12 months that could lead to absolutely zilch.

Financially, all this means that I will be on yet another yarn diet for the foreseeable future. I will, however, bide my time with the completely novel sensation of living in Texas and having presidential candidates come to visit because - gasp! - our votes actually matter this time around. They ought to be careful; we might just blush.

Yarn key:

1. Green stuff: Berroco Ultra Alpaca 2. Orange ball: Tahki Yarns Torino 3. Yellow balls: Plymouth Yarn Royal Silk Merino 4. Solid blue: Classic Elite Yarns Wool Bam Boo 5. Variegated: Rowan Tapestry