3.30.2009

Ok let's catch up...

Saoirse Shawl actually happening...


If you remember correctly my aunt knit a sweater which I helped along a little bit. She has embellished it beautifully since...



I went to the Santa Anita Racetrack...


And I went to Las Vegas...




Are we caught up now? Before the sun comes up on Wednesday I should be headed to Dutch Harbor. That is if Mt. Redoubt will take a Xanax and let a flight through Anchorage. Fingers crossed.
See you in Alaska!

Where the Hell have I been?

Time just keeps ticking by and I can't seem to keep up with it.

I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas and it was great! There were some gin & tonics, lions, Bodies (I am going to a special hell because all I could think was I needed a grill), sharks(chomp chomp), roller coasters(even though I went on it twice, it was a little jarring and there may have been a shaken baby comment) and I even found a way to learn a little something by heading out to the hoover dam and taking a tour.
YAY Turbines! It took four pictures before we got one with my eyes open. d'oh! There is a beautiful faulted dike in the canyon walls here, but pictures will have to come later. Maybe I'll get a few up tomorrow.

Now tonight is knitting and hopefully picking a super awesome someone up at the airport. I'm gonna try to bail on work tomorrow because I need to complete all of the following before 4 am on Wednesday morning...

clean my car
clean my room so the carpets can be shampooed while I'm a way
finish packing for Alaska
pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy
upload vegas pictures
mail Drew and Andrea's postcard
decorate a few styrofoam cups with Roomie and friends
buy some styrofoam cups
cancel the recording of my DVR'd shows
bill pay and write some checks ahead of time
transfer all data and music and digital media I need over the next six weeks to an external hard drive

Oh god... I'm tired already, still, um sleep comes soon right?

3.19.2009

Music, games and other personal oddities

Bad News. I only completed 2/3 of a row on the Saoirse Shawl last night. I was a very good girl and sat next to my computer to listen to The Decemberists on SXSW while I was knitting, but just couldn't accomplish much.

The show was really good and they played the entirety of their new album Hazards of Love which will be released on Mar 24th. I plan to buy it from Amazon's mp3 downloader, which I am completely in love with. If you are a Decemberists fan the album has been pre-released on iTunes I hear, but I really hate iTunes (in fact, I won't even link to them I hate them so), as a result, I will wait patiently until Tuesday.

In other news I got to cooking. Actually, I'll be cooking again tonight. Which is odd. Anyway, sometimes I will do some grocery shopping and do a bunch of cooking so I don't have to cook again for a few days. When I got home last night I started broiling some salmon and while doing so ate a bowl of cereal because I hadn't had dinner yet. My sister who loves to remind me that I am an idiot (but in the nicest possible way) asked "You're eating cereal and salmon for dinner?"

"uh... yeah?" She on the on the other hand ate cottage cheese while she was cooking dinner and was too full by the time it was done. This raises a nature vs nurture question, did the two of us learn this practice together as children or did we inherit it genetically. And who taught us this habit? Or is this a common occurrence? My roommate thinks it's a woman thing. Do you do this too? What do you think?

In reality more than half of the Salmon was set aside for lunch today, but I did follow up my cereal with teriyaki salmon. I'm an odd duck, ok? I also made some ham and cheddar stuffed croissants for breakfast, and yes I followed up the salmon with one of these as well.

Every morning I go to this super muffin place near my office called Marvelous Muffins and get one of theirs and a cup of coffee and it runs me $6 every morning. That runs me $130 a month.

um, bad girl! With my first month of car payments and insurance and trying to squeeze in as much fun as I can before heading to the Arctic I already spent all my money, whoops!

So anyway, last night I made my own. And there were improvements I wanted to make anyway. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese being one of them. I used Pillsbury crescent dough, which, while not as awesome as real croissants, worked ok. I bought a few other types of dough and we'll see if there are better options. They were delicious. And I was happy to discover they were even good re-heated the next morning. That is the most important part. Next time, More cheddar.

I want to support my muffin lady, but I is broke-y.

And to end the morning I thought I would tell you about Penny Arcade's Dungeons and Dragons Podcasts. I have been listening to them in the car and it is so funny. Mike Krahulik is hilarious, Jerry Holkins has an excellent way of breaking down what is happening and getting it repeated for the listener (I don't know if that is intentional or not, but perfect). For instance after the Dungeon Master finishes describing the sound of rain and thunder, Jerry repeats "It's been noisy out." I love him. I'm pretty sure he repeats in his own words for his own clarity, but it makes it super easy on me.

Apparently this is not the first round of podcasts like these, but this time there is a special guest and you all know that is what got me there in the first place. Mr. Wil Wheaton. It did however get me to download the previous round of podcasts which I will get to after this one (I need something to listen to at sea anyway).

It kinda makes me want to play D&D...
Wait, no you don't.
But I could get some awesome dice, maybe store them in a crown royale bag, or knit (!) one...
Remember how badly you sucked that one time in high school?
But, I've matured, I have skills now...
Yeah, Matured and D&D don't traditionally go together.
They could, maybe I'm a better gamer than I was back then...
Whatever.

This is my internal struggle.

By the way, this is the dumbest thing I ever heard "Sci Fi Channel Aims to Shed Geeky Image With New Name". Someone got paid for it. That is the worst use of money in these crappy economic times I have ever seen.

3.18.2009

St. Patrick's Day!

I had a fabulous St. Patrick's Day. It was mellow compared to recent years, anyone remember Seattle? Or Cape Town? Classic Corned beef dinner at the home of a good friend, knitting 1 and 1/3rd complete row on the Saoirse Shawl and watched some Ghost in the Shell. I had a surprise visit from a friend and am just in a stellar mood today.

I am on row 33 of the Saoirse Shawl. I haven't done the math to figure out how many stitches that means should be on my needles, but it took me 75 minutes to complete one row. ONE ROW! It is only going to get bigger meaning I have at the least 46 hours left of working on this thing. At least. Or, if I knit one row a day everyday, It can't be done before April 24th. Oh man. I suddenly feel overwhelmed.

Edited to add... According to my math I should have 1230 stitches on the needles. Hot Damn!

3.13.2009

Belemnite, Complete



Just a little refresher, Cotton-ease knit on size 6 needles. It is a personal pattern and a improvement I made on another.

One more shot for the ANTM fans...

Tennis & Tub Thursdays

Healthy Living:
Susan and I played tennis last night and rewarded ourselves with a dip in the hot tub (our first!).
We are both working on better health for ourselves and decided we need to take more advantage of the free facilities available to us where we live.

This was followed by ANTM on the DVR with a little knitting and sewing party. I had so much fun last night. Lately we have got to spend some serious quality time together and it makes me happy. She is one classy lady. Hopefully, Tennis & Tub Thursdays will become a regular activity to be resumed upon return from my next cruise.

My cholesterol has gotten a lot of my focus lately. I've been taking Omega-3 supplements, eating oat cereals and fish, less red meats and sugars and drinking less alcohol. Hitting the gym at least twice a week over the last month and started to play some form of tennis (I don't think we can really call it tennis, mad wild swings and a lot of running. And I'm pretty sure I bought a racket with some kind of worm hole in the center that let's balls pass straight through unharmed), with a friend of mine and, hopefully, more often with Susan.

My doctor has my most recent test results sitting on her desk and when I called to get them I was told I would have to wait for her to call me. The stress of worry is getting to me. It really needs to come down or just have shown some improvement or I'm afraid I will be too discouraged that my work has all been for nil.

Knitting Math:
I had a real problem working on the Saoirse Shawl from Spring's Interweave Knits. The placement of the inc rows was very confusing. At first I understood the increasing to occur on rows 5,11,16,22 and so on through ~120 rows. However, the final length is only supposed to be 10" and, according to the gauge, 10" is about 70 rows. I had to be misunderstanding it. After pondering for a little while I figured out that that if the increasing instead occurs on rows 5,6,11,12,17,18... I would end up completing my increasing about row 60. Much better. [Note: That leaves 10 rows of plain stockinette stitch with over 2000 stitches per row. 20,000 stitches. yeah. Just saying.]

I had gotten through row 12. There wasy no way (!) I was going to rip out. I had already quadrupled the amount of stiches I had cast on a mere 11 rows previously. Instead I just made sure that I worked in two more increase rows before I got to row 17. I don't think the exact row the increases take place on really matters, just that there are so many increases to so many rows. It should average out. I'm just not worried about it.

In fact. I realized I do not care to keep track of 2,173 stitches. I'm just gonna keep on keeping on and if in the end I am a stitch or 10 shy I really don't give a hoot. Before I bind off I will count how many are on the needle just in out of curiousity, but you can put money on me NOT fixing it if I'm short.

So last night I stopped knitting after row 19. Row 19 took me almost half an hour. I think my progress will slow considerably after this week. I ordered a 47" size 8 Addi Turbo from Amazon.com (yes I know there are much better knitting resources, but I have such great rewards with Amazon, I go through them every chance I get) last night. Hopefully it will get here soon. My little 26" needle looks like it is about to bust out of it's top.

3.12.2009

Spring Knitty is Out!


So the Spring issue of Knitty.com has come out and the very first pattern has drawn my eye. Shipwreck is a version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl, that is beautiful. Really I think it is the picture, with the sea breeze billowing it. What need do I have for a Pi shawl? None. But man that picture is pretty. Also Ripple sure is a pretty take on entrelac.

I finished Susan's Belemnite Shrug last night and she seems happy with the fit. We are going to take some pictures this evening. I am holding it hostage until I can get some FO pictures.

This left me free to cast on for Interweave Knits Saoirse Shawl. I remembered that I bought 16 skeins of Knit One Crochet Too Meringue in Terra Rosa for $2 a pop at Knitting in La Jolla ages ago, I think it was on the Infinite Knitters Yarn crawl way back when (how did I not post about it?), or it was just shopping with Vagabond Bettie. Either way... AGES ago...

Sorry. Focus. The Saoirse Shawl. I would like to point out something very interesting about this pattern. At one point and for several rows after you have 2,173 sts on your needles.

Um.

Huh.

That is a helluva lot of stitches. The pattern recommends a 47" circular. Yeah. I have never had more than say 150 sts at any one time. Does anyone have any suggestions for stitch management. I'm a little concerned about the increasing which happens nearly evenly every 3rd stitch, so placing a marker every ten is kinda, a pain, but I guess I could move them to every ten on every inc row. Hm... scratch that. I will have to up that interval quite a bit, hundreds maybe? Good news is, it doesn't have to have exactly the right number of stitches, it just has to increase enough to create the ruffles. Maybe I won't even count.

Anyway, I am really excited about the final project. It will give me something to wear over my custom-made leggings by Susan and then you can get an FO shot of the pants too.

3.10.2009

Infinite Knitters and The TomTom

Knitting Business:

Last night was such a great turnout. It is crazy how the same crowd of people can have a very different energy one week than the week before. Last night was great, fun and friendly. We had FOs (Finished Objects for those who don't speak hand knit) to show off, and a little relaxing in the glory of an FO which is earned every now and again. We had someone new which is always fun and plenty of space, which is sometimes hard to come by at Starbucks.

I picked back up the Belemnite I started for Susan ages ago, last June specifically. I found I had finished the knitting of the main piece and had even seamed one of the sleeves. So I took it last night and seamed the other sleeve and picked up the ribbing around the collar. I remembered why I stopped as well. It is snug. At least is it snug on me. Susan is convinced it is not a problem, but months ago I got disappointed and threw it to the side thinking I needed to start over. Now I'm just gonna finish it and if she loves it, she loves it. If not, maybe we can find someone small to give it to.

New Toy Business:


I have been a little distracted from the knitting scene. I recently bought a car, which I love Love LOVE (I have named her The Major, a little homage to Ghost in the Shell), and yesterday my GPS arrived from Amazon. I ended up going with the TomTom mostly because I am anti-Microsoft. Yes Microsoft has done a lot to get us where we are technologically, but they have become a monster. They are currently engaged in a lawsuit with the TomTom over patent infringement. This case could result in setting a precedent allowing Microsoft to go after Linux.

I think one of the reasons I have bonded with Linux is it's DIY attitude. I am a DIY kinda girl. Sanding and re-staining bookshelves, making (and collaborating with Susan on) clothes that are exactly me, knitting, painting, fixing the dining room chairs are very much a part of my personality. I would always rather make something myself then buy it (except when it comes to cooking, weird...).

The good news is because Linux boils down to DIY computer systems, it would be hard to completely kill the movement. People will always find routes to do it their own way, however, I wouldn't look forward to the down time while the community recovers.

So back to the GPS. I downloaded Eddie Izzard's voice to give me directions on my TomTom. It won't be my voice for a while I think. Until I become accustomed to how the TomTom directs a human recorded voice just isn't the way to go. Human voices can't say street names for instance they can only give directs, turn right, stay to the left, etc. And while I love Eddie, he kinda yells a lot which is distracting.

I was a little disappointed to find that the TomTom doesn't come with software for Linux. It has a lot of open source software components (hence the Microsoft Lawsuit) but only has software for Microsoft and Mac. Oh well. I don't need to use the computer with it often and when I do I have my Windows XP partition.

3.07.2009

Busy Weekend

Check it out. New driving gloves, seeing as it is much too warm to need gloves in San Diego, they'll be for driving.
Also a seriously rare activity for me has occurred today...

I made cookies. Don't faint. I bought dough from the refrigerated section at the store. But they did actually go through my oven.

3.05.2009

I'm doing some cleaning...

If any links are broken I apologize. I'm in the middle of some cleaning house on blogger and trying to organize my links/tags/labels better. Sorry, but I should be done before the weekend is over.

As Promised

From the animal shelter on Sunday. Shhh, don't let him know you can see him peeking...
Look! A pic for Susan!
My main focus lately...

3.04.2009

The scarf arrived

So the scarf has been united with it's new owner. And boy does it have a nice view...

Netflix

I love Netflix but here is some news from a few days ago. I am three days behind on Slashdot which equals 50+ messages, but here is one that needs to be shared.

Netflix has a new Instant Viewer I highly recommend anyone using Netflix NOT to download it. The quality is worse, it is in beta and it doesn't work well yet. In addition to that, once you opt for it, you can't opt out. You are stuck. DON'T DO IT!

What I did in the Prom Dressing Room

A camera phone image of my latest work in progress. I have been trying to get a better picture but my lack of organization has made this picture all you can get right now.I began this in a Prom Dressing room with a close family friend and I am really enjoying it. You will find out about it soon enough. I think I am going to try to turn it into a little tutorial and pattern for those interested. However, too late, I find myself realizing I need to take pictures of my steps. I guess that means I'll have to make another and I know "someone" whose feelings won't be hurt by that in the slightest.

I do have one note to self. I really hate knitting in the round with only 4 dpns. That is some crap I tell you.

3.02.2009

Feedback. It feels good.

Thanks everyone for your responses and input on The Curse. It is amazing how many reasons the gift of a sweater can go so badly and it is no wonder it has been considered a curse. I really appreciate the dialog.

This weekend was an adventure in fun. I finally saw Taken (LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT). I was introduced to Vamipre Hunter D: Bloodlust and Rurouni Kenshin through the four OVA. I loved it. Particularly Kenshin. I know the OVA are different from the regular series and I don't even know how much is out there for Kenshin, but the OVA were beautifully animated and had fantastic character development. Vampire Hunter D? Just awesome. I love me some vampires. Especially half vampire/human characters that have decided to use their power for mankind. It takes me back to high school and forcing my sweetheart to play Castlevania for my entertainment. I did so love Alucard.

Anyway, movies and anime aside, I was taken by a friend to Two Sister's and Ewe in La Mesa. It is a great yarn store. I had never been before but I will definitely be back. I was taken by a non-knitting friend of mine and he was so eager to learn about all our awesome knitting tools and code (flipping through a magazine). I offered to teach him and of course he took a step back.

"Baby steps now."

Anyway we stopped and had frozen yogurt and on our way back to town went to the San Diego Humane Society and looked at animals. I'm not sure exactly why, neither of us could take any home, but I'm glad we went. They were all so sweet and the rabbits were beautiful. I think I am going to go back as a volunteer. They require a time commitment of two shifts per month and I am coming up on an 8 week trip so I will have to see what I can work out.

I came home with a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn. I took a nap and went grocery shopping and one of our little kitties had shredded the plastic bag it was in, breaking the yarn in several places on the outside of the skein. I wound it into a ball and tied a few knots and I'm sure it's salvageable. But GRRRR. Lookout kitties, I was checking out your replacements not two hours before.

Susan and I had a great night Monday. It was so nice to just be together all night long. We didn't do anything crazy, just knitting with the Infinite Knitters (it is so great to have Susan back there, she is making excellent progress on her shrug for those of you following along), picked up a little food, did a little necessity shopping then some nosh while we watched Family Guy, all together. It is amazing how you can live in the same apartment/home with someone but still never really see each other.

Pictures someday, I promise. I got a super cool project on the needles almost completed.