[amy] Outtie like a fox!

I'm outtie like some people's belly buttons. But not mine; mine's an innie. Wait. I'm outtie like a gay person who has come out of the clos- No, that doesn't flow well either. I'm outtie like... a... I'm just outtie until January 3. Woo!!

Having said that, I'm not too prepared for Christmas. (BTW, some Pagan here at work just wished me a "Happy Winter Solstice" Pssht, no presents for THAT guy.) I've got all these gifts piling up in my place, unwrapped. I haven't sent out any cards. Amazon is being a little bee-yotch about sending me things. And my sister still doesn't know what she wants, so she's just getting a wad of cash. I gave Boyfriend his presents already (three sheet music books- two of which he already had... DAMMIT!) Blah, I just want Christmas to be over so I can play, relax and start training for the New Year's drink-a-thon.

Meanwhile, I'm not knitting too much. I cast on last night for a Fair Isle hat- Is it going to be ready to give to my mother on Sunday? Hhahahahaha-no. It's on #2 needles. I started a scarf for myself, on #15 needles, using scrap yarn but it's turning out so dense that it's either going to be a rug or a blanket. I haven't been doing too much knitting because when I'm not with Boyfriend, I'm just wandering around my place, going, "Jeeze, it's like 8 pm... [sigh] I guess I'll go to bed."

I finished watched LOST the other night. It's the best t.v. show I've ever seen in my life. Hands down. The best.


[amy] I feel the need- The need for speed.

I love coffee, okay? I love it. It's the only thing that I can consume and actually feel a change in my body. I could be dead tired and after a couple cups of strong home-brewed coffee, I'm all better. When I have leisure time, I'll even sing a little song to my first coffee of the day: "I love you [sip] You taste so good [sip] Just the right amount [sip] of cream and sugar [sluuuurp]."

Having said that, let's ignore the obvious: I shouldn't be driving around before I've had any coffee. I'm not officially "awake" yet and that could be deemed "dangerous" to other drivers or whatever. This morning I pulled into a gas station, pumped $20 worth of gas, went inside, got a bagel and a coffee, paid $2.36 for the bagel and coffee, went back out to the gas pumps, got into my car and drove away. It wasn't until about an hour later when I was sitting at my desk, after I had drunk all the coffee, that I wondered: "How much was breakfast? Didn't I- OH CRAP!" I called up the gas station and told them I'd be in around lunchtime to pay for the gas. Jeeze, I'm such a bone-head. No wonder all the gas places are starting to make people pay before they pump.


[music] uvMix

New mixes are up at uvMix. DJ Troll-D, Miss Mash and DJ Droid each have an hour this week. Sweeeeeet.

If you're going to be around for New Year's Eve and don't have any plans, email me and I'll give you the skinny on where to go to hear all three DJ's mixing their favorite tunes- live!


[movies] The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

I saw The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe last night with my sister. The movie was only okay, I'd give it a B-. The movie was close to the book but I'm not so sure that's a good thing. The book can move along at a slower pace and that's okay. If a movie starts to slow down, you fidget in your seat and think about all the things you should be doing at home.

Also, Griffith has been missing for almost a week now. We're all losing our minds over it, but I have faith that he'll come back. That was the best thing about the movie for me. I'm going to reveal a large spoiler about the movie, so if you haven't read the book or are planning on seeing the movie, don't read any more. Okay? Are you- Seriously, stop reading if you don't want to know. ... Aslan the lion sacrifices his life to save another. The Ice Queen kills him on a stone altar. So seeing a movie where a huge cat DIES probably wasn't the best thing for my sister and I. But then, miracle of miracles, Aslan comes back to life. Let me tell you, THAT was reassuring. It made me feel better. I think that if I keep up my hope and faith, Griffith will come back. Whatever, I can't talk about this anymore.

Tilda Swinton played the Ice Queen in the movie. I like this actress and thought she was very good in The Beach, Adaptation and Vanilla Sky. As the Ice Queen she was only "meh". Throughout all her lines she had a preoccupied look on her face, in her eyes, like she was thinking about something else. Like she left the stove on or was trying to think what she had for breakfast yesterday. I would have liked it if she was a crazy, cackling, hysterical witch who reveled in how evil she is. Rather, looked like she was trying to do long division in her head while trying to stare people down.

For a more scathing review, read this. I'm most offended by the "Lucy is ugly" comment. That's just mean, but oMaT hates kids so I'm not really surprised. I think giving it 1/10 stars is a little harsh, too.


[amy] Good News

I have a boyfriend. HA HA! AHH HAHAHAH! My monastic life is over! The relationship has kicked my domestic skillz (as well as my nunchaku skillz) into overdrive- I'm cooking all the time. This past weekend I made clam chowder (too thick, will only use half the amount of butter/flour to thicken it next time), blondies, shepherd's pie (with lamb; it's called "cottage pie" when you make it with ground beef) and a ham / onion / swiss cheese quiche. As Boyfriend and I are eating quiche, I tell him that the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I pause, then explain: "You cut open the stomach, reach in and up, and then rip the heart out." He said that an even faster way is through the ribcage. [siiiigh] See, he doesn't even get scared when I subtly threaten to kill him.

Also, I end up saying the stupidest, most air-headed things to him. Take for example:

BOYFRIEND: ...and that's why the band broke up- John Bonham died. Overdosed.

AMY: Huh. So is Led Zeppelin, like, the Nirvana of back then?

BOYFRIEND: It's, ah, it's not really the same thing.

The Nirvana of "back then"? Guh, I'm such an IDIOT!

The only downside is that he works really late during the week. I've been getting no sleep and subsequently look like a junky at work. People will come into my office and say, "Hey Amy, about those TPS reports- Whoa! Are you... You look kind of... Jesus, are you using again?"


[knitting] Winter Knitty + More Projects

Le sigh. The new winter Knitty is up. Remember how there were some things I was going to make from the fall issue? Yah, that never happened. What do I plan on not making this season? Namaste (by far the best yoga mat bag pattern I've seen), Tubey (great neckline), Bobblicious (looks cosy) and Thuja (nice man socks).

I haven't been slacking off, knitting-wise. I finished my scarf barf thingahmuhjig. I've decided to give it as a Christmas present. I'm almost done knitting a hat to go with another gift for someone. I've also got a special project to make: a double-layer sockyarn hat. It's reversible! For this hat, the wearer has requested that one-half be black with a green "leaf" on the front. I rolled my eyes when he asked but it's what he really wants and I'm just here to please (and learn new knitting techniques). Hell, it's not like I could say "no", I've knit two male thongs for chrissakes. But this is what gave me the idea to go looking for a reversible hat- one side for daytime, one side for nighttime. For the public side of the hat, I suggested Fair Isle (which I've never done), but he had no idea what that meant or what kind of pattern he would like. I found these Star Wars fair isle charts today and emailed them off- hopefully he'll dig them.


[knitting] Short Skirt

Check out the Koigu skirt to the left there, from Vogue Knitting. I saw it in the Fall 2005 magazine and thought, "Ppfft, like I'm going to pay a buhjillion dollars to make a long, unflattering skirt." But then I see that someone is making into a short, A-line skirt. ... GENIUS! I want to do it in a rich, purple color.


[news] Russian squirrel pack 'kills dog'

HOLY SHIT! Not only are these bad-ass Russian squirrels black, they "literally gutted" a dog! Sounds like they've been injected with rage to me...

[via DigitalSpark]

[knitting] Mine doesn't look like scarf barf... Or does it?

Uh-oh. This looks suspiciously like the scarf I'm knitting now... Nobody has anything nice to stay about it. I'm tempted not to post any progress photos, for fear of people ridiculing it.


[amy] Living the good life... wasted.

What day is it? Thursday? How is everyone doing? I'm exhausted. No rest for the wicked. I mean, no rest for the weary. What have I been doing that's making me so exhausted? Well I can tell you it ain't knitting- hahahahah- *cough* *cough* Yeah, I got nothing.

So knitting. I made a plain black hat with a hemmed edge for Adam. His birthday was this past Sunday so I gave it to him at a party on Saturday. He seems to like it and I see him wearing it around everywhere. Then I knit a Christmas present hat for someone (that only took about 5 hours). I also started a green scarf from a bunch of various balls of yarn from my stash. I'm really pleased with how it's coming out- kind of hobo/gypsy/vagabond looking. I also like that it's knitting up EXTREMELY fast on size 13 needles. I may give the scarf as a Christmas present- if I can bare to let it go.

So reading. I read Alex Robinson's Tricked. Very good- kind of a spin-off of Box Office Poison. I don't know what to read next. I've sent out the emails to get the votes in for the January 2006 uvBookClub selection, so that's cool, but in the meantime I'm wandering around my place picking up an unread book, trying it out, tossing it aside, picking up another book, giving up, picking up another book, etc.

So tv. I finished Season 1 of Desperate Housewives. That show was so stupid. I'm currently finishing up Season 4 of Gilmore Girls. I'm moderately tired of this show, but can't seem to stop watching it. I want to see Lost, but it's been at the top of my queue since it was released (September? October?), but it always says "Long Wait". Whatevs. Maybe I should quit with these tv shows and start watching obscure art house films and talk about them in a pretentious manner. That would make me feel smart.

Cooking-wise, I made some gratin potatoes last night to bring to a uvScene potluck meeting. This recipe was insanely easy. I'm not joking. The grocery store was out of crème Fraiche, so I just used heavy cream instead. Also, the gruyere was too expensive ($10 for a little block), so I went and got a stack of swiss cheese from the deli counter. Here's all I did: peeled potatoes, used my mandolin to slice them all up the same thickness in under 3 minutes, *layered half into a dish, salt pepper, pour cream, slice stack of cheese, break apart (no shredding!) and sprinkle, repeat from * for another layer. Bake. Fast, easy, cheap- just like me!

What else can I talk about to make it seem like I'm living life to the fullest? I put together a couple Stave puzzles, I've re-discovered how much I love sipping Disaronno on the rocks, I've been sampling seasonal/special beers from Unibroue: Quelque Chose (cherries and spice- YUM!), a special 2005 beer and a cherry flavored Ephemere (which I have in the fridge but am saving for a special occation. Or a Thursday night. Either way.). Also, I've been... uh... There was... I went to... No, that's it. I basically just putter around my place and get wasted. Shit.


[videogames] Guitar Hero

I played Guitar Hero at my sister's yesterday. It's so much fun! Seriously! I didn't really like/get the hang of Donkey Konga, but this- this game is AWESOME. You get to strap on the guitar and rock out. I couldn't help dancing and tapping my foot to the beat as I played. I totally need to quit my job and become a Rock Star.

WIRED has an article about it here.

[music] Miss Mash

Check out DJ Trolld- There's an all new uvMix with a special hour of music selected by Miss Mash. I wonder who she is (wink wink, nudge nudge)?


[fun] Puzzles

Check out the original puzzle my sister created the artwork for and painted!

[holidays] A Thanksgiving message...

I'm nearly done with Season 1 of Desperate Housewives. It's meh. I don't understand what all the fuss is about Eva Longoria. Turns out, she's got the perfect Thanksgiving greeting for you and yours.

In honor of turkey day tomorrow, I say: "Jesus! It's Thanksgiving. Be nice. FUCK!"

[news] 'X' glitch over Dick Cheney's face

CNN is running some damage control over an 'X' that appeared on Dick Cheney's fat, evil, lying face. I'll only be impressed when the news media starts flashing an image like this over his face.


[knitting] Christmas Hat

Someone beat me to it. Love the star on top; makes it look more like a Christmas tree. I wonder if you could get some metalic novelty yarn to add as garland...


[knitting] Highland Chunky

Highland Chunky is back! Highland Chunky is back! I knit my first sweater last winter in two weeks with this stuff!

[uvBookClub] The Time Traveler's Wife

Last night the uvBookClub got together to talking about The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Surprise surprise, we all read it! What a joy it is to talk about book and everyone follows what you're saying- and imparts their own perspective.

What I'd like to do, as a post-reading project, is draw out a timeline showing when everything in the book takes place. Last night, there was a lot of, "Wait- When was that? I thought- Did she know at that point that Henry can time travel? That was before he- But then he came back- Wait, what?"

Here's an interview with the author by Harcourt. (By the way, I don't think you can go wrong with a Harcourt book- I've loved everything I've read that they've published and more often than not, there's a reading circle guide in the back).

The next uvBookClub meeting will be after the holidays. I'll going to send out invitations for new members and add them to the mailing list. I think the next book is going to be non-fiction.


[gaming] Camp Carnage

I missed out on Camp Carnage last weekend because I was too busy and completely forgot about it. Bummer. I didn't register or anything, so I didn't lose any money but it would have been fun to go up and play games all day.

The Valley News has an article about it. Sponng (aka Dr. Nik) has some photos of a LARP he ran called Celestial Decision.

I'd like to start a once-a-month uvGamingClub, to meet at my place. I haven't played Settlers in ages. I miss Carcassonne and there's a new river expansion. I want to try out Elfenland and Caylus and Descent. *sigh* I wish I had over-active kids so I could take their ADD medication and stay up all night and do a million things. Bad idea? I got it from Desperate Housewives.

[knitting] Must resist...

Too many... projects... already... As if I don't have enough knitting to do for Christmas, I found this pattern for a Christmas Tree Hat. It's sized for a child, but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to adjust for a grown-up sized head. Like mine. I wants it...

[knitting] Waiting to Hurry Up

Or, hurry up and wait? Or just plain hurry? I'm trying to knit as fast as I can. I seamed the Valentino Bag, stuffed some fabric in for a pretend lining, put the strap near the top of the bag and wrote out a very rough pattern on graph paper.


I'm going to try to write the directions out more clearly (right now, the complete instructions for the bag total a mere 8 sentences) and put the pattern into an Excel spreadsheet tomrrow (Thursday) night. I have to head over to a friend's place to let him use my Apple laptop. Since the thing is slower than molasses and I'll probably be there for a while, I'm got to lock myself in one of his rooms and use my Dell laptop to type the pattern out for real.

In the meantime, today is Ram's birthday (Happy Birthday!) and I'm trying to finish a pair of mittens for him to bring down to Northampton Friday. The day after tomorrow. The only way I'll finish them in time is if I knit during Bookclub tonight...


[knitting] Follow-up

The knitting forecast is good to excellent

"When the National Trust for Scotland advertised two properties to let on Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island in Britain, they were expecting the usual dozen or so applicants. So why the sudden flood of interest from the United States, with 9,000-odd inquiries and more than 90 applications? It was the knitting, apparently."

I was one of the 9,000 who inquired. From the sounds of it, they want people to move and stay there, whereas I only wanted to go for a few months. I didn't submit an application.

[amy] Northampton is awesome!

This past weekend was freaking busy. Thursday night I went to Curry-oke at the India Queen. After a couple drinks, I got up and sang Alanis Morrisette's You Oughta Know. It's nice angsty anthem for wronged women everywhere. It was such a hit that I couldn't hear myself singing over the 10 girls behind me screaming along with the lyrics. Therefore, I have no idea how good or bad I sounded but no one was covering their ears so it can?t have been too bad. After a couple more drinks, I got up to sing The Bloodhound Gang's The Bad Touch. As soon as the words "-so put your HANDS down my PANTS and I bet you feel nuts-" came out of my mouth, a light went on in my head and I think, I've made a huge mistake. I wanted to throw down the mic but I made it through until the end. Then I left.

Friday I went down to Northampton, MA to visit WEBS. I mean, Ram. I went to visit Ram. But WEBS... I thought it was just going to be a messy warehouse full of bags of yarn. For sure it was like that out back but the main store was... Amazing. Yarn organized by size (bulky and super bulk in the back), content (angora and camel over here, alpaca over here), children?s, novelty, color, spinning, weaving, knitting, books, bargains. People were pushing around shopping carts for goodness sake's! I spent two hours wandering around, looking at (and wanting) everything. Then I realized I was going to be late for lunch with Ram and Naomi. I met up with them, ate at a Korean restaurant, went next-door and did some Korean food shopping, walked around NoHo, stopped by a small Yarn store in town (where picked up the most recent Rebecca), got coffee and went back to WEBS to finish my shopping. Really, my whole day was spent doing things around WEBS. I ended up getting some yarn for birthday/Christmas presents but didn?t go as crazy as I thought I would. Ram and I caravanned back up to the Upper Valley that evening.

All in all, Northamption was an awesome town. A bit busy, but friendly and there are lots and lots of shops. Plus, it's a straight-shot down I-91 for me- The total trip is 105 miles from my house, 101 of which are along I-91. How easy is that?

Saturday morning I got up, did some knitting and went to meet Ram, Ken and Ken's friend Chris for breakfast. At the diner, I managed to dump a whole glass of ice water all over myself and the floor. While I was trying to concentrate on filling in the Sudoku from the paper, Ram and Chris talked about creating a computer script that could determine the Sudoku solution. I failed to mention this at the time, but I think doing these things (crosswords and such) are more fun if you accomplish them with your own brain, not the mention it helps stave off future dementia. At any rate, I'm waiting from Ram to come up with the Java application and we're going to have a Sudoku face off: Amy vs. Machine.

Saturday I knit and went to a rave, Sunday I went out to breakfast and read. Bookclub is meeting Wednesday night and I'm racing to finish The Time Traveler's Wife.

[books] 50 Cent to Launch Hip-Hop Book Line

Ha ha ha ha. Ahh hahhahaha. AHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!

"These tales will tell the truth about The Life; the sex, guns and cash; the brutal highs and short lives of the players on the streets," the publisher said in a release over the weekend.

Please, I'm sure you can do better than Juh-juh-juh-G-U-Nit Classics if you want to know what the 'hood is all about. There's Crack Head by Lisa Lennox, Sheisty by T. N. Baker, Grimey by Kashamba Williams or Flip Side of the Game by Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker (where the first sentence of the book is: "Life is a ma'fuckah, and that's the God honest truth.").

I wonder if the books will be marketed more towards women or men? Most of the hood-rich books I found at Amazon appear to be hood-love stories for women. I can only assume all the men folk are too busy slinging crack to have time to read. Think that's a stereotype and I'm being mean? Hey, I understand, a guy's gotta pay the rent. I just think, if someone's from the street, they already know about the street and reading a book about the street isn't going to give them any insight- they'd do better with real stories such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Their Eyes Were Watching God or Native Son.


[cat] Ticks and Fleas

Tomorrow is a government holiday and since that means I don't have to work, I'm heading down to NoHo. I have, oh I don't know, about a dozen things I want to knit between now and Christmas and that means I need yarn. "I feel the need, the need for sp- Yarn."

This week has been kind of busy. I was suffering from Rage on Tuesday (a disease which appears to be running rampant across Paris and her suburbs) and left work a little early. I tried napping it off but my sister called and asked if I wanted to go with her to take Gatsu and Griffith to the vet. Sure, I say. When she picks me up, Gatsu is freaking out in his carrier- clawing at the grate. Griffith, who has been to to vet five times more than his brother, is slumped in his own carrier, resigned to his fate.

The plan was to get the cats checked out because ticks have been out in full force (and from what I'm told, it's quite late in the year for them). Griffith ends up getting two somewhere on his body almost every day and it's tough making sure that you pull out the WHOLE tick with tweezers without leaving the head under the skin. So we arrive at River Road and are shown into an exam room. Immediately, the door opens and a technician says, "Do you guys know that you have a flat tire?"

I stare at her. "Who does? You do?"

"Uh... No. You guys do."

Barbara looks at me. "Oh great," she says.

She goes off to take care of it while I stay with the cats. Gatsu is in scaredy cat mode (I cradle him with one arm as he burrows under my scarf) while Griffith sits on the table, looking me like, "Let's get this over with, hmn?" The vet comes in, checks Griffith's tick wounds (and actually scraped out a head from one with a pair of scissors), notices that both cats have fleas (FLEAS!!!) and applies some Frontline. Easy as pie.

Back outside, Barbara is watching a technician (who happens to have a broken finger) change the tire. Within minutes, we're off on the spare. Turns out, there was a nail in the tire.


[misc] Passing through

I just had the oddest conversation with someone in my backyard. It's dark out and I see a silhouette come from the convenience store. It's a man and he's carrying a plastic grocery sack in each hand. He's walking across a grass lot towards me. He'll have to navigate through a few trees before he's too close. As he approaches, I say, "Hello?" He keeps on walking. "Hello?" I call again when he emerges from the trees. He stops. "Hello?" he says.

"Who's there?"


"Hi, Shawn. I'm Amy."

"Hello," he says.

"I just wanted to know who was coming through," I explain.

"Oh I'm sorry, did I scare you?"

I chuckle. "No, I saw you coming."

"I just wanted to take a shortcut."

"That's fine. I just wanted to know who was coming through."

"Okay." He makes a step to keep going.

"All right."

And out of view, into my driveway he went. I spent the next few minutes imagining all the different ways I could have taken him in a fight. He wouldn't have been able to attack me, since his hands are full and even if he tried, I saw him coming from a mile away- I was totally ready to crack my beer bottle over his skull. I totally could have taken him.

[knitting] Progress!

I made yesterday my own personal Knit Day. I finished the front of the Valentino knock-off bag and blocked both the front and the back.


I'll be editing and sending off the pattern for a very nice knitter who has been waiting very patiently for me...

Then I closed off the end of my Harry Potter scarf, so now it's all done and ready to be worn to the movie (EEEE!!!). I took a hasty picture inside my place (note the eyes- an effect of me either opening or closing my eyes just as the camera took the shot):

How frightening is that?

I'm making a trip down to Northampton this Friday to WEBS to buy all kinds of yarn. Oh yeah, and to visit with Ram as well.

[amy] Happy Monday

Sorry my posting has been infrequent. To quote Kirk from Gilmore Girls, "I'm exceedingly dull" so there isn't much need to post "I worked, I went home, I slept" over and over again.

Friday night I went to see the movie Jarhead. I had heard it described as "A war movie without a war", which pretty much sums up the film. I liked the movie a lot- I thought it was beautiful and interesting and sad.

Saturday morning I borrowed my mom's truck and brought all my recycling to the nice, clean Recycling Center in Hartland, VT. Then I went over to Ken's and brought all the Demo Derby car junk to the stinking, filthy West Lebanon, NH Landfill. Ken and Ram had made the landfill sound like fun when they went: "It's amazing. There's garbage everywhere and you just throw your garbage everywhere." I like to make messes and thought it would be great. So no. As soon as I got out of the truck and the smell hit my nose, I started dry heaving. I couldn't even help Ken unload it all because I was bent over next to the truck, throwing up the nothing in the stomach, spitting, shaking, covered in a cold sweat.

Then we went BACK to his place to get all his rotten, stinking garbage and recycling. Then we went next door and got his neighbor's recycling and garbage. Then Ken mentions the old stove in the garage. I say, "Stick it by the side of the road with a sign that says 'FREE!' and see if anyone takes it away." While I'm preoccupied with the horrific thought of ANOTHER trip to the NH Landfill, all the guys decide to put the stove onto all the garbage/recycling in the back of the truck. They tell me that they’re literally going to lift the full-sized range and set it on top of everything. I laugh, thinking they're joking. When I realize that they're not, I start pacing and muttering, "I don't approve... I don't approve... This isn't a good idea..." I leave to get a drink and when I come back, not only is the stove loaded onto the truck, but a very large gas tank from one of the Demo Derby cars had been thrown in as well. I pretend I don't see anything and get into the truck.

The only good thing I have to say about the Lebanon Recycling Center is that you get to throw your glass bottles and watch them break. In Hartland, you drop them down a chute and listen to the glass shatter below. At Lebanon, you throw your bottles over a concrete ledge and it's all open, so you can see where you're throwing them. I loved it. I took all the bottles I could and pitched them down onto the concrete floor and felt a surge of mad glee spread through my body with every satisfying explosion of glass.

After the trash-tastic day, I went home and took a five-hour shower.

[amy] Strenuous weekend

What a busy and tiring weekend. Friday I went up to the Second Vermont Republic conference at the State House in Montpelier. That was pretty cool. There were maybe two hundred people there in the morning and we all got to sit in the House of Representatives chamber. I've lots more to say on the subject of secession, which I plan on putting into a lengthy write-up, but the bottom line I'd like to stress is: WE SHOULD DO IT. LEAVE THE US AND BECOME OUR OWN NATION. YES.

Saturday morning I went to the last Farmer's Market in Norwich of the year. Then shopping- I finally got an ironing board and iron, so maybe I can try my hand at embroidery now. Then I called up Dollar, who I had lent a wheelbarrow to, offering to help stack wood. I like stacking wood (I think it has something to do with my OCD). Well, I asked for it. Dollar loaded the wood from the pile in the driveway into the wheelbarrow, wheeled it to me, dumped it and I got to stacking. Oh, did I ever stack. I stacked all two cords of wood (minus the negligible amount Dollar did, ppssht). He hauled, I stacked and we got it all done in about two hours. ... In case you don't know how much a "cord" is, it's 128 cubic feet. That evening, I went to a house Halloween party and then the FireBall in WRJ.

Here's an interesting bit: I ended up walking home from the WRJ party. I had gotten a lift there (because I'd been drinking) and was confident that I could get a ride home. It's not too far- only a few miles. I was having an okay time at the party and but decided to leave early. I wanted to walk. Let me tell you, passing through a deserted rail yard late at night isn't one of the smartest things I've ever done.

Sunday I went and had brunch at Ken's, where a group of people had gathered to talk about starting a Potluck Action Network. Basically, it's a group of people committed to doing one political thing every month. Fine, yeah yeah, let's do it. Wouldn't you know it but Ken ALSO has a couple cords of wood needing to be stacked. So. At least there were 8 of us. And I didn't do any stacking this time, but carried the wood. Which was even more tiring. Today, I am sore.

And now I've got to think about all the grubby little beggars coming to my door tonight. I learned from last year's mistake and will be showering all the trick-or-treaters with candy.

[halloween] Weekend

Well, Saturday night was Halloween Party night in the Upper Valley. Everyone had super costumes. Garry, his grilfriend and friend came down from Montreal. Here's a picture of him with his girlfriend. I couln't figure out who he reminded me of and then it clicked: Haverchuck as the Bionic Woman. Awesome (although I don't think that's what he meant to be).

More pictures here.

And up around the B-town area, Bill and Emily sported quite original costumes. Emily's got mad craft skillz- I can't believe how great her Prince outfit is.


[south korea] Chinese kimchi is bad news

Who doesn't like a little poop in their kimchi? Now I want a test done to prove that Mexicans are peeing into the Corona...


[vermont] If it ain't Vermont made, it's shit.

Here's an interesting article discussing "VERMONT" as a brand. This is timely, as I recently sent out a package of Vermont goods to someone. Me, when I see the Vermont Seal of Quality on whatever I happen to be buying, I feel better about it. Seriously, no joke. Last night I picked up a 6-pack of Otter Creek and saw the seal- I immedately felt better about getting wasted on a Tuesday night.


[vermont] What do we want? Freedom!

When do we want it? NOW! What do we- wait a minute, what's going on? Someone left the following in my comments:

* * * * *
An Impossible Dream or a Vision of the Future?

State House
Montpelier, Vermont

October 28, 2005
James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, will be the keynote speaker at The Vermont Convention on Independence to be held in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier on Friday October 28th. Sponsored by the Second Vermont Republic, the convention, which will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 5:00 p.m., is open to the public and free of charge.

This historic event will be the first statewide convention on secession in the United States since North Carolina voted to secede from the Union on May 20, 1861.

Other speakers will include Professor Frank Bryan, UVM; Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale, J. Kevin Graffagnino, Executive Director, Vermont Historical Society; Professor Eric Davis, Middlebury College; Shay Totten, editor, Vermont Guardian; Antoine Robitaille, journalist Le Devoir (Quebec City); G. Roderick Lawrence, CEO, Stevenson Kellogg (Canada); (Rev.) Ben T. Matchstick; and General Ethan Allen (aka Jim Hogue). General Allen is expected to travel by horse to the State House.

The objectives of the convention are twofold. First, to raise the level of awareness of Vermonters of the feasibility of independence as a viable alternative to a nation which has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable. Second, to provide an example and a process for other states and nations which may be seriously considering separatism, secession, independence, and similar devolutionary strategies.

The Second Vermont Republic is a peaceful, democratic, grassroots, libertarian populist movement committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic as it once was between 1777 and 1791.
* * * * *

Apparently there's some loophole that gives Vermont the ability to become it's own country. SWEET. Well, sounds good, right? But I don't know if it'll be a good thing in the end. I just spoke with someone that thought we should grab the Adirondacks and make a new country with Quebec. I'd be down with that; I wouldn't mind saying "Montpelier" with a French accent. I can learn the metric system.

I'm taking work off on Friday to go up and see what the deal is.


[tech] DSL

I’m setting up DSL at home. Soon I’ll be on the internet superhighway. I’ve been living without network or cable tv (forget about TiVo- what’s that?), caller ID and internet for too long. Deciding that I finally need to be connected to digital garbage 24/7, I ordered up a DSL kit.

How easy the set-up is! A mailman throws the box on your lawn and, after opening the crushed box, you learn that you don’t even need to read anything! A piece of cardboard informs you that all you need to do is put in the CD-ROM disk to aquire instructions on what to do.

In goes the CD. I’m told to check the volume. It’s on. I click Next. A young man’s voice appears, welcoming me and telling me that I’m about to enter the world wide obsessiverse. He congenially explains that I’ll be taken through a three step process. That’s it, three steps. The voice is smiling warmly at me and begins to explain what DSL is.

Apparently, I need to apply DSL filters to my phone jacks because there are these red, squiggly snakes that travel along the telephone lines. The filters keep the snakes from crawling into my ear while I’m talking to someone on the phone, but it lets them go up the other cable into my computer, where they presumably run all the machines on the inside.

Gideon, as I like to think of the voice now, explains all this to me in a reassuring manner. I curl up on the couch and click Next. Gideon gives me several simple instructions on what to do with the snake filters. He breaks each step down to the point of painstaking obviousness. His voice is rolling its eyes at me, aware that I’m smarter than this but he needs to say it for all the morons out there. “I love you,” I say at the monitor and click Next..

“Step One complete,” Gideon enthuses. “Good job! I knew you could do it... I love you, too. Click Next to continue.”

Time to check the modem. I plug in all the cables into their respective slots exactly the way Gideon tells me to. Next, I’m told to wait while he tests my connection. It may take several minutes.

Several? More like a billion! I’ve been waiting forever while the Trivial Pursuit pie piece on my screen twirls and twirls around. I go upstairs to take a shower and come back. Nothing. What the fucking fuck is taking so long? Gideon told me in the beginning that the whole DSL installation process wasn’t going to take any more than an hour to complete. It’s been almost two! What a liar. And where did he even go? I haven’t heard anything from him in ages. He’s just one of those love ‘em and leave ‘em types, I guess. Asshole. Seriously, what’s the-

Hang on, the CD just went. Is something going to happen? Wait for it… Wait for it… Wait… for… it… Nothing. Figures. Should I leave it running while I go to bed? Should I turn everything off and on? Should I smoke some crack and say up all night staring at the rotating triangle? All right, time for drastic action…

Um… I turned off the modem and then turned it back on. And now more lights are on than before. This has to be a good thing, right? So why is that stupid pie still swirling? Argh! That’s IT! I’m closing down the installation software and trying again.

Well, that did it. Gideon sounded pissed when I resumed the installation but I was able to get through the account setup and all the rest. I don’t care, really. He meant nothing to me. We were like two ships passing in the- Ugh, I hate the sound of his voice now- All smarmy like he just found out he can crap gold nuggets. I just want to get this over with.

Wonder of wonders, I’m connected and everything worked out in the end. What’s the first thing I did? Went upstairs to read a book.


[knitting] Knitty Surprises are up

I like these pumpkins! I wonder if I could fill the small one with autumn/winter spices and have a nice room freshener. As for the, eh, coughtit-bitscoughcough, they're nice. But reading through the story at the top was a little disconcerting... The word "titty" has lost all meaning to me. Yorick is interesting, but it doesn't look "cozy". I like my scarves to be cozy.


[knitting] Knock-off

I spent a good portion of last night trying to write out a pattern for the Valentino bag. I got the graph paper out, several reference books, the little swatch I knit up and tried mapping it all out. Dude, it's hard. I don't know what the symbol is for "put one stitch in the cable needle, move to back, knit two, knit one stitch from cable needle, put two stitches on cable needle, move to front, knit one, knit two from cable needle." I don't even know if what I just wrote makes any sense. It's supposed to be some kind of 'antler' cable, but I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to see what I can accomplish this week, then send the pattern off to someone who was kind enough to inquire how far along the pattern I had progressed, thereby galvanizing me into action.

Look at this picture of the bag. Seems there's going to be a stole to match the Hobo bag. The stole would be simple: just make a long rectangle out of the bag's pattern. Do I smell a knit-a-long? I like this picture with the model. It gives me an idea what size needles/yarn I should be using for the bag- and I can see now that the cable I charted for the middle is wrong... CRAP! [Alert! I like how the word "crap" looks like it's coming out of the model's ass.]

Checking around for more knitted-knock-off inspiration, I found a $930 Fendi "Knit Chef Bag" (whatever that means), which is merely a garter stitch ruffley creation, which looks like it could be knit up quickly with bulky yarn.

Over in the land of more moderately priced goods, check out this ruffled scarf by Free People. I saw it the other day at a local boutique and thought, "I can crochet this. Man, it would be so easy. And this thing is made out of acrylic! Fifty-four bucks?! Come on!" I got the Interweave Knits crochet magazine that has a ruffle scarf pattern. I think I'll use it as the basis for the Free People Kit Ruffle scarf.


[tech] Comments for anyone- Back!

I've been getting lots of spam in the comments ("I like your blog! Want a larger penis?") and changed my settings so that only Blogger Users could leave a comment. I didn't like this solution but I thought it would solve the problem. No such luck, these spambots now have Blogger profiles ("Bloggs are such a wonderful way to plublish ones thoughts. Do you want a larger penis?"). I made another change so that anyone can leave a comment but now you need to type a verification word. Let's see how this goes...

[uvBookClub] November Selection

November's book to (pretend) to read is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger:

"This clever and inventive tale works on three levels: as an intriguing science fiction concept, a realistic character study and a touching love story. Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with 'Chrono Displacement' disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a six-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the narration."

I'm currently re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I'd like to finish it and read The Time Traveler's Wife in time for the discussion on November 16th. I've got too many books to read and they're piling up on every flat surface in my home. My sister got me Pyongyang by Guy Delisle for by birthday, I recently picked up Tricked by Alex Robinson (FYI: Box Office Poison has a new cover that looks nearly identical to the Tricked cover- What's up with that?), I was just lent Brilliance of the Moon by a co-worker (but I wonder if I should go back and re-read books 1 and 2 in the series to get the most out of the 3rd)... There are more, I just can't think of them right now.


[cats] Teddy Bear

Here's a cutie muffin for you to stare at over the weekend. What a widdle teddy bear...

I've got big plans this weekend to attend Dartmouth's Theater Department's Costume Sale on Saturday morning and a bloodcurdling atrocities tour of WRJ in the afternoon. The Demo Queen is Sunday afternoon. Anything to take my mind off all the rain we've been getting. What has it been- 8 straight days now?

[knitting] Best Secret Pal. Ever.

I dare you to try to tell me your secret pal was better than mine. I got a package in the mail from her last Saturday and here's what was inside (image is sans post card and knitting pattern):

Can you dig it? It's a flipping LIGER. As Napoleon Dynamite would say: "It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic." And the bag is hand-made. And the Tsuki yarn there- enough to make a scarf with. Le sigh, I am happy.

Here are a couple more pictures from Big Sister's phtotostream:


I basically haven't leg go of the bag since I got it. The strap is the perfect length to put over my head and have the bag hanging on the left side of my body. The zipper is in the perfect place for a right-handed person like me (because I like my bags on the left). I wish I could find a pattern online for a bag like this (hint hint)...

[knitting] Harry Potter Gryffindor Scarf

I've finished knitting it! The only thing left to do is weave in ends, graft and block.

Graft. Yeah, I'm grafting the ends closed because I don't have enough yarn to make the fringe. I didn't even have enough yarn to make the required amount of repeats. Check out the pattern. See where it says 800 yards of main color? Well, I ordered 8 balls of Andean Silk thinking, "There are roughly 96 yards per ball so, worse comes to worse, I'll only be able to do 12 or 13 repeats total instead of 14." Yeah- NO. I was only able to do 10 repeats total! What the flipping frack is up with that? I used size 7 needles, cast on 90 stitches, I don't knit wicked loose or anything... Seriously, what's up with that?

The only advice I can give is: If you're ordering/using Andean silk, order 10-11 balls of the main color. [As for the mustard color, carrying the yarn up the inside presumably saved me much yarn- I hardly used any of the second yellow ball.]

So what to do? Well, I grafted the end closed:

No fringe for me. Which is fine. I used a provisional cast-on for no apparent reason (I re-read the pattern instructions and nowhere does it say to use a provisional cast-on) but it'll work out in the end because I can close it up with a kitchener stitch. All's well in the end. And when I block it, I'll try to pull it into a longer length. Gah. This scarf... I don't know...

[misc] Bond, Babies and Camel Toads

Craig is the new Bond. So no. Brosnan was the bestest.

* * *

We've all heard that Katie's got a couch-jumping, Brooks-Shields-hating bun in the oven. To focus the universe's mystical, magical, dianetical energy on it, she has dropped out of a movie. Whatever. The most interesting bit is at the end of the article, where speculation has been made as to how she's going to birth Cruise's spawn:

" has been suggested that Holmes will attempt a silent labor in keeping with Scientology tradition. The practice encourages mothers to be to forgo painkillers and to refrain from screaming or even talking as they bring their children into the world. Scientologists believe that the silence reduces trauma during birth and prevents irrational fears later in life."

prevents irrational fears? Too late for that, Kate, you whored your womb out to the highest (and by high, I mean high on Scientology) bidder. Go cry into your bag of money.

* * *

Beware of the new drug: Camel Toads.


[amy] Rested and Relaxed

I'm back. Poop. I had a nice 5-day weekend. Let me amend that- I had a freaking awesome weekend. No, that's still not good enough. I had a- Imagine yourself floating in a cloud, wrapped in a blanket made out of sunlight and you get to eat rainbows all day long with your pet unicorn. Yeah, it was that good.

Thursday was my actual birthday and I had a nice lunch with friends. Ken asked if I wanted to go to lunch with him and Adam- I said sure. When I get to the restaurant, I see Ken and am greeted with, "Hey! Aren't you... punctual!" I was next door buying some earrings. Is it a problem I'm on time? Ken asks for a booth when we're being seated but the waiter says, "I don't think 10 can fit in that booth." TEN? More and more people showed up, which was a nice surprise. Then I spent the rest of the day hanging out and opening presents.

Friday I took Griffith to the vet to get some of his hair matts shaved off. The technician was a little hesitant and wanted to get another person to help but when I pulled Griffith's curled, quivering body out of his carrier and set him on the table, she saw that he was too scared to try to kill. [Aside: Griffith has become quite a proficient hunter; my sister's front yard is rapidly turning into a mouse graveyard.] Friday afternoon I took a trip but it's kind of secret where I went.

Saturday evening was the Fashion Show. I really didn't stay long. The show was meant to start at 9:30 pm but, of course, it didn't get going until a lot later. While the crowd was waiting, video clips were being projected onto the back wall- mountains, forests, under water scenes. I was seated next to a couple very small children who watched the wall avidly and kept repeating, "Oh my gosh! Look at that! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" When a scene of a panda eating shoots came up, the little girl squealed, "EEE!! Look at the teddy bear!!" It was very cute.

After the show was over, I made a move to go and dug into my bag for my car keys. Dig dig. Dig. Slide my hand along the bottom of the bag. Dig. Look. Shit! Where are my- Shit! I frantically started searching and asking everyone if they've seen any keys. I saw Ken and he said I probably left them in my car. No. Remember locking it. That's what I do- I lock my car. I walk out to my car anyway and as I get closer, I see what look like keys on the ground in the grass. I pick them up, unlock my car and drive away without a backwards glance as though Of course I keep my keys on the ground next to my car- doesn't everyone?

Sunday and Monday I knit (I'm making great Gryffindor progress- more on that tomorrow) and relaxed.


[amy] I'm outtie

I may post a couple times during my 5-day weekend but for all intents and purposes, I'm out.

[knitting] HP Scarf progress

You can see I've made a bit more progress on the scarf. The color of the scarf in the pictures is DARKER than how it looks in real-life. I'd suggest that if you're going to use Knit Pick's Andean Silk for your Gryffindor scarf, choose "Barn Red" instead of "Hollyberry". I'm using the latter and it's a little too cheerful for me.

As for the "Mustard" stripes, I'm getting a little better at the joins:

You can see the jog where the yellow yarn starts and ends. I'm not too bothered because I'll block the scarf so that the jogs are along the edge. I'm not cutting the yellow yarn for every new double-stripe, but am instead carrying the yarn up the inside of the scarf. I'm doing this for two reasons: (1) Less yarn used (2) Fewer ends to weave in. The only problem with this is getting the joins to be nice and smooth. Whatever, this scarf project is a learning experience.


[knitting] Yarn Affair

I signed up for a newletter from Yarn Affair a while ago. I heard about the site from Google News (which I've customized to search for any news article containing the word "knitting") and read, "Do you like to knit? Do you like to knit a lot? Want to hear about cool knitting stuff? Sign up for our newsletter, which we'll be sending out Oct. 1." I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah... Okay.

Have I gotten a newsletter yet? No. I went to the site this morning and now the whole thing's starting to sound like Mary Kay- For knitters. Which I don't really like. If you invite one of the consultants to your Stitch 'n Bitch, you'll end up feeling obligated to buy something.

[amy] Weekend Update

Not much happened this weekend. I didn't come into work on Friday because I was feeling crappy but I was able to make it out for the Block Party that night. Okay, by "feeling crappy", I don't mean physically but mentally. I'm having all kinds of internal work issues and it's driving me insane. At any rate, I didn't hang out with the crowds in the streets (because 80% of the crowd were high-schoolers) but rather parked my ass at the India Queen and hung out with people there. It was a fun night- you know the party's not hot until the cops come and shut the place down.

Saturday and Sunday was just a lot of cleaning and knitting around my place. This week is shaping up to be busy. I've got Book Club coming to my place tomorrow night to talk about- Wait a minute. The first rule of book club is you don't talk about book club. I'm still trying to decide on the menu. A member offered to bring "a fruit tart, whiskey", which sounded like such an interesting thing for her to offer that I had to take her up on it. I'm going to force her to drink all the whiskey and see what happens (I predict nudity).

I'm taking Thursday and Friday off from work because it's my birthday on Thursday (hint hint) and I want a 5-day weekend (Monday is a holiday). So that'll be nice to lay around and... Uh... I'm sure I can find something to do.


[music] Haven't you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?

I don't listen to hip-hop! Actually, I do. And I picked some up a couple nights ago.

First let me talk about Blackalicious. This band is comprised of the Gift of Gab (rhyming) and Chief Xcel (spinning). Nia, their first full-length album, is a modern day classic. Broken Arrow, their sophmore release, is on my all-time Top 10 list. The Gift of Gab's 2004 solo effort, 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up, was rendered completely unlistenable due to it’s experimentalism. The duo's newest release, The Craft is only slightly better. The first song, 'World of Vibrations', is great... until the chorus, where a bunch of women start singing, "we VI-brate AT high-ER fre-QUEN-cies" in a jarring, dance-stopping, confusing up-and-down tone. What the-? What is this New Age crap? The last time I heard about vibrating at higher frequencies, I was watching the O.C. Do I really want to be reminded of a crap show while trying to enjoy listening to a new album by one of my favorite bands? 'Rhythm Sticks'? What the fuck are rhythm sticks? 'Powers' could be a fun, happy song- until the chorus: "She's got... POOOOOOOW-ERS!!" No. Stop. Please. The last song (the title track of the entire album) is a self-congratulatory, masturbatory display of how awesome Gab thinks he is. He does vows to be a "vessel", spreading this gift and whatever but even that comes off as being egocentric. Speaking of egos, the only gem (and slightly redeeming factor) on the album is 'Ego Sonic War Drums'- a drum-y, piano-y rapid-fire rap between the Gift of Gab and Peace.

Amy's rating: **--- 2 out of 5 Rhythm Sticks.

Next up is Miri Ben Ari- The Hip Hop Violinist. Yup, you read that right. The Hip Hop Violinist. This album was pointed out to me at my local music store and I scoffed for a second, but then I thought, "Wait a minute. I like Hip Hop. I like violins. ... This'll be the best album EVER!" Yeah, No. Ben Ari's violin playing swings between being too frantic and too distracting. The rappers featured (Kanye West, Scarface, Doug E. Fresh to name only a few) lose some of their street cred when talking gangsta shit over a poignant violin solo. 'We Gonna Win' is a nice intro to the album. 'Hold Your Head Up High' is a great song- With Lil' Mo singing about the struggles women face- and is a perfect blend a slower hip hop ballad with violin accents. The best song on the album is '4 Flat Tires', featuring Baby, Lil' Wayne and 6 Shot. It's a guilty pleasure- the chorus is: "It's goin' down like fo' flat tahrs but you know we gonna ride like fo' new tahrs." I know, right? You just can't think about it when you're bopping along with the beat. Plus, you know you want to say it now: "Oh no she ditn't! It's goin' down like fo' flat tahrs now, BITCH!"

Amy's rating: *---- 1 out of 5 New Tires

The last of the full-length albums I bought is Same !@#$ Different Day, or as I like to call it, "Same Shit Different Day". I just realized though, that the keyboard numbers associated with the special characters in the title are 1234. So the album could also be called "Same 1234 Different Day." ... You know what? It doesn't have to be "shit" either. It could be "Same Shoe Different Day". Any four letter word would work. But... ah... I digress. This album is a remix of Lyrics Born's first full-length solo album Later That Day..., which is an AWESOME album. If you liked the original, you'll love the remixes. It's really interesting for me to hear a song remixed into a completely new, different, equally awesome sound. The remix of 'Hello' is head bopping funktastic. 'I'm Just Raw', produced by Dan the Automator, is a new song and has a chorus of, "I'm smarter than you, I'm harder than you, I'm better than you, I'm just raw. I'm hotter than you, more popular than you, more clever than you and gosh-darnit people like me." Yes, that sounds just as egotistical as a song I just mentioned, but the mellow-yet-earnest way Lyrics Born sings makes you think that it's tongue-in-cheek (but not really). It's like... It's like smiling at someone while you tell them to go fuck themselves. They're not sure if you're being ironical or if you really hate them. I've perfected this ability, by the way. At any rate, this is the most awesomest of awesome purchases because not only are all the new and remixed songs highly listenable, it ALSO comes with a DVD. Fer real. With music videos and a documentary. Multi-media entertainment rolled up in one easy purchase!

Amy's rating: ***** 5 out of 5 Lyrics Born

I was given a couple promos from Music Matters (because I'm a loyal customer and they love me- mwah!). I have to say that Percy Miracles is a find. He's "The Ladies Champ" and has, according to the back of the CD sleeve, "sold over 10,000,000 records in Bulgaria." Is he an underground European sleeper sensation? No, he's the singing alter-ego of Phonte, one of the three members of the group Little Brother. Maybe. I think. It has gotten to the point where this member is also a member of that group, also known as someone else, featured on so-and-so's new album. I can't really follow it all, suffice it to say that sweet, sweet Percy truly is funny. Which is what I think the intention of this EP is. From the first song (in which a canned beat plays and Percy says, "Turn me up in the headphones... That's what all the rappers say, 'Turn me up in the headphones.'") And he intentionally mispronounces the word 'epitome'. (At least I hope it's intentional.) Percy excels at story-telling and these tracks are begging to be played at a time when people will be listening from start to finish. 'Miss Eda' and 'Back to the Motherland' are particularment bons.

Amy's rating: ***-- 3 out of 5 Dance F-L-O-O-O's


[knitting] Gryffindor Scarf

Here's the start of my Gryffindor scarf. I started it this past Saturday morning and was able to knit all that in, like, 7 hours. Maybe 8. I'm a sloooooow kn... it... ter. And with all the typing at work and knitting at home, I'm sure the sharp pain along the outside of my right wrist is nothing.

In the end, the finished scarf is meant to look like this or this. Hm... maybe my colors are too bright?

I didn't work on my scarf last night, but opted to try to map out a pattern for the Valentino bag. I cast on 64 stitches and on size 10 needles, let me tell you, that's a HUGE bag. So I switched to size 5 needles and it's a little better. Although, I don't know if I'm doing the cables right. It seems so tight when I knit the reserves sitches from the cable needles. Maybe I need to use size 6 needles and switch to five on a cable row? I don't know. You know what? I just don't know.


[movies] Gay horror

It may seem odd to spin a story by the famously bigoted H. P. Lovecraft into a horror flick with gay themes, but screenwriter Grant Cogswell and director Dan Gildark hope their new movie Cthulhu - which starts shooting in Seattle and Astoria, Oregon, next week - will do precisely that.

I haven't ever read any Lovecraft (I'm a scaredy cat), but my sister has read everything. I wonder what she'd think of this movie.

(I don't like how, at the end of the article, it's suggested that the movie might do better than it should because it may fill a "gay horror" niche. Whatever.)

[knitting] A couple new accessories to work on

I've started another knitting project- a Harry Potter scarf to wear to the premier on November 18. I'm using this pattern and Andean Silk in Hollyberry and Mustard. There are 14 stripe repeats and I managed to do two this weekend. The two colors feel different to me and I'm not sure if the way Knit Pick's creates Andean Silk has changed- The mustard color is in a long skein (this is the older packaging design) and the hollyberry is in a ball (which I assume is the new way they're going offer this type of yarn). The mustard feels silkier and softer than the hollyberry but it seems more fuzzy/halo-y as well. I'll try to post a picture tomorrow of the progress...

In more knitting news, I'm going to try to knock off this Valentino cabled bag. I'll knit up sample swatches from all the random Fall Knit Picks yarn I got a while back and try to copy the bag. If it comes out well, I'd like to submit the pattern to Knitty (for the Winter issue?). I'll check out the craft store for (a) fabric for the lining, (b) leather straps, (c) snap closure (d) some kind of bling to replace the "V".

Over the weekend, I finished the first three disks from Season 4 of Six Feet Under. I'd say it's not as good as last season, but I'll wait to see how the whole thing plays out before casing my final opinion. I've got Season 1 of Battlestar Galactica and Lost coming up in my Netflix queue but it says there's a "Long Wait" for both. I never know what the means, either. Long wait? Very long wait? What's the difference? It all seems so arbitrary to me.


[cats] Pictures

Here are some pictures I took of Griffith (white) and Gatsu (brown) yesterday.





[knitting] Amy

Whoa. When I'm not at work, I'm usually just wearing a blue sweater, slippers and diaper- so it's really surreal for me to see this doll pattern.

[knitting] 'Katamari Damacy' Has Fans Knitting Hats And Baking Cakes

This is old news, but MTV must be covering it because the sequel comes out this week.

"In January fan Xiola Azuthra started knitting and selling hats styled after the Katamari (another fan bought one and presented it to Takahashi as a gift). The first hat fetched about $130 on eBay. But with each one taking about six hours to make, Azuthra still has 65 people on her waiting list."


[books] Artistic statement or Ego?

'No title needed' on cover of Tom Wolfe's paperback edition of I Am Charlotte Simmons:

"We are using Tom Wolfe's name as a brand, rather than the title of the book. He is an icon himself."

WTF? I think that's so stupid. I wonder if the title is even going to be on the spine or if it's TOM WOLFE in big letters.

[pictures] Montreal

Here are a few I took in Montreal...

Montreal at night: Bright and Squiggley

Pick a peck of peppers at the open market...

Garry and Ken (throwing out the uvGangSign and a smile- how Canadian!)

[tech] Subscribe now

Finally got the xml/rss feed to work. Subscribe to this:


[amy] Another busy weekend

This past Saturday night I went to Beerstock. The HDL was shut down (and we don't know if they'll be able to continue at all), so the music/dancing was moved to Beerstock. Which was fun. I didn't get there until it was already dark out, but I saw loads of people. Like, people I went to high school with and hadn't seen since high school. I'm sure I didn't make the best impression since I was apparently "wasted" (although, I thought I was doing okay drinking two cups of water for every cup of beer).

There were a couple thefts, too, which soured the evening. Someone had their bag stolen out of their car and one keg was stolen. The whole keg. No one saw anyone take it, but it must not have been too hard because there were so many people and most of them were wasted.

What else happened at Beerstock? Well, some dude named Resin danced by the fire all night in his Speedos. There was a couple making out by the fire and that was mildly entertaining, until it got to the point where half the crowd was muttering "get a room" and the other half was just standing there, watching, waiting to see if the mauling was going to turn into something more x-rated. Unbelievable. And then there was the peeing. One tree in particular became the unspoken outdoor urinal, which is fine, but it was only about five feet away from party.

Yee haw! Cowgirl Amy at Beetstock

Like I said, I thought I was doing okay but, yes, I was wasted but smart enough to get a ride home from someone. The next day I went back to pick up my car and make my way up to the Tunbridge Fair for the Demolition Derby. Ken and Crew have been working hard on the cars all summer and the derby was totally awesome. I videotaped the whole thing and Ken took pictures.


[funny] Tennis Player

I saw this picture on a news website a while ago and saved it. I was going through my "My Pictures" folder today and laughed all over again.

[work] Awesome

Some guy made a "Work Blind" Curtain.

"I straightened the photo, undistorted it, and cropped it to the area in the doorway. I took it to Kinko's where they printed it onto vinyl, and grommeted the top with a kit"

I have to do something like this.

[knitting] Crazy Aunt Purl

I found a new knitting blog to subscribe to, called Crazy Aunt Purl. What was the clincher? Her tag line: "The true-life diary of a thirty-something, soon-to-be-divorced, obsessive-compulsive knitter who has four cats. (Because nothing is sexier than a divorced woman with four cats.)" It's like looking into the future.

Also, these horoscopes are the best:

"LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
Ever been so lost you had to call the operator just to get a 911 on your location? Ah, then you'll be well prepared for this fall. You're about to embark on a three month cycle of emotional binge and purge, alternately craving attention and hating everyone in sight. While I'm sure there is an astrological term for this cycle, I think I'll call it PMS-on-acid. I'd give you some tips on how to handle this malady, but by now you're already tired of me and I'm getting on your nerves. Now you feel kinda bad about it. But that annoys you too. See what I mean?"

...three month cycle of emotional binge and purge... Sounds fine to me; Now I can validate all my upcoming freak-outs: "But it's in the stars!"


[crafts] Steak Soap

Ugh, this is so nasty I want to make it. Check this is out: it's soap- steak soap.

[fun] Shoe Lacing Methods

At Ian's Shoelace Site, there are almost two trillion ways to tie your shoelaces. There are color-coded diagrams showing you exactly how to lace, a real life example and ratings.

[via Not Martha]


[amy] Fun Weekend

Saturday I came into work for the morning. After that I went to the Grand Opening of the Center for Cartoon Studies. Once inside, you get a piece of paper and check off any or all of the following choices: Alien, Dog, Stick Figure, Robot. Then you take your paper to the "Dog" table or "Alien" table and have one of the students draw any old thing that comes into their heads, as long as it's within the category. Then you bring it to the "Finishing" table, where one of the artists does shading and generally pulls everything together. Then you bring the drawing to "Quality Control" when it gets either a stamp of approval or a big fat "REJECTED!!" across the front. I saw one cute drawing of a dog that was rejected for no reason I could see.

It was interesting to see the students drawing. Each one held their pen differently and, really, the only thing I could see was the top of their head. They would finish what they were working on, look up briefly to smile at you, and then take the next paper that was being shoved in their face. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire. Wait, what is the idiom I want here? Trial by fire? I mean to say that it's pretty intense to be starting a cartooning school only to be forced to draw your arm off during the Grand Opening. Whatever, idioms suck anyway. No one really knows what they mean. Pot calling the kettle black. The straw that broke the camel's back. Why beat around the bush- just say what you mean.

After that I went to an outdoor games BBQ (where I came in 2nd in croquet but didn't fare so well at horseshoes) and then onto the Hookah Dance Lounge. The video Adam was spinning was great and the music was great, but no one was dancing. Me, included (sorry). The hookah room was filled to capacity, but there were only a handful of people socializing in the main corridor and bar area. There was a photographer/reporter from the Connecticut Valley Spectator taking pictures for the next issue and as the night progressed, he just started hanging out more and reporting less. Which is cool. And as I was outside, a truck pulled up and a guy asked me, "Excuse me, miss, but is there dancing up there?" I said yes and he inquired further, "Is it swing or ballroom?" "Uh... What? It's neither man, it's, like, club dancing. Swing or ball- hahahaha... hahahaha.... BAHHH HAHAHAHAH!!!" I don't know where he got his bad information but I was amazing that an error like that could even happen. The dude ended up leaving but came back almost immediately to check the party out. He even hung out for a bit, so that's cool. See? The HDL can transform anybody.

I spent Sunday sleeping, knitting (I'm almost done with the 2nd ball for the Kiri shawl), eating, finishing Season 2 of The O.C. (so... bad...) and hot tubbing (no nudity this time).


[amy] All work and a little play

I've been completely consumed by Katrina stuff at work. When I do get a moment to check non-news websites, I inevitably go through all the knitting blogs I've subscribed to with Bloglines. Then I end up asking myself, "How can these people still be knitting? Or talking about knitting? Or buying yarn? Hel-lo?! There's a disaster- who gives a shit about knitting?" … Having said that, the new Fall Knitty is up and I quite like a lot of the patterns.

I'm just grumpy. All work and no sleep makes Amy a something-something. I stopped up to my sister's yesterday evening and she took one look at me and said, "Jesus, maybe you should go home to bed." I don't really want to because I (a) secretly want to be an insomniac, (b) want to be so tired I hallucinate and (c) uh... Wait, what was I just talking about?

My sentiments exactly.

This might be a little dated now, but Foamy tells it like it is.

RE: The Montreal trip last weekend, it was good. We ate the best food. I really liked Chuchai, which is a vegetarian place but can make you meat dishes using vegetables. How can I explain this... They have beef, shrimp and duck on the menu- and it's all vegetarian. "Non-vegetarians will also be astonished to discover the perfect taste, texture and even appearance of fish, duck, beef or shrimps in purely vegetarian dishes." We have to get a place like that around here...

Here's a movie of the drumming and anachronistic battle in the middle of a Montreal park.

Tomorrow is set to be a busy day with work in the morning, the Grand Opening of the Center for Cartoon Studies ("Get a piece of ORIGINAL ART made by The CCS SKETCH FACTORY" Yesssss!!), a lawn-game bbq (if anyone can make horseshoes terrifyingly competitive, it's me!) and the first Hookah Dance Lounge.

The newest Bookslut is up and has got me asking: WTF is a "gutterslut"?

Netflix-wise, I'm still plodding through Season 2 of The OC. I remember this show being a delicious guilty pleasure, now I'm just ashamed to let people know I watch it. The dialogue and situations are so completely contrived, I feel nothing but contempt for all the characters. I rented Alexander from a video store and haven't quite finished it. It's really... gay. Which is pure speculation, right? But is that not what Oliver Stone prevails at? Reign the Conqueror was so much better.


[amy] Montreal

I did go to Montreal this past weekend and you can see the photos here.

[news] Goodbye, New Orleans

"The City of New Orleans Is Devastated. Those were the words of Mayor C. Ray Nagin and based upon a major breach of a levee system, water is flowing into New Orleans flooding it beyond recognition and could very well destroy New Orleans, Jefferson and the surrounding areas." More...

Google satellite map, with the location of the breached levee highlighted.

Levee system in NOLA.

Photo of levee breach.

Holy Cow.

"Residents will probably be allowed back in town in a week, with identification only, but only to get essentials and clothing. You will then be asked to leave and not come back for one month."


[knitting] Secret Sleuth

Oh ho ho, Secret Pal. I'm afraid you've given yourself away. Yes. Too many clues. And I've managed to figure out your identity with mere hours to spare.

What was it that gave you away? Oh, the little comments. Hiking. A recent trip to that place where the French-Canadians habitons, as they say. Your address helped, too.

Like any good detective, I sorted through all the clues. The fact that you like to knit and have a blog is given. Your presents were sent to me from California. You left a comment saying that you had recently hiked up Mt. Tamalpais. You also said you'd been to Quebec. Well, ha ha, that's all I needed.

I googled a guess and saw a post from someone named "orangina" on the Knitter's Review Forum. I could find no personal information about "orangina" after I applied for forum membership, so that was a dead end.

... Or was it? Another google search returned a promising blog. This blogger is part of Secret Pal 5, was knitting Orangina and quite recently went on a hike (and the Matt Davis Trail just happens to be in Mt. Tamalpais State Park). I couldn't find anything in the archives about a recent trip to Canada, but like it matters- I know it's you, Big Sister!!!!

Am I right, or am I right? I'm right, right?

[amy] Voyage de Route

I'm going to take a roadtrip up to Montreal this weekend with Ken and Ram...

I had planned on clubbing my brains out up there (not, like, with an actual club, I mean "going to clubs"), but this past Saturday night I raged a little too hard. From what people tell me, anyway. Imagine me, slurring into a kareoke microphone, "WHY do you build me up (build me up) BUTTERcup, baby, just to let me down (let me down) And MESS me around and then WORST of all (worst of all) You never call, baby, when you say you will (say you-) Because you're a piece of shit (piece of shit?) I hate you (I hate you) More than ANYone, cuz you string me along-"

I haven't been to Montreal since the 8th grade and I'm looking forward to driving too fast on their highways and being rude to everyone. That's what the Quebecoise... Quebecers... Que- That's what the people from Quebec are like in America so, when in Rome, do as the French-Canadians do. C'est vrai?


[uvBookClub] NOT!

uvBookClub is about books. NOT! We read and talk about books. NOT! uvBookClub is a SHAM. Poor, poor Valerie. This was her first time in the faux club des livres and I don't think she knew what to expect- Probably not a bunch of people who are more focused on drinking and fixing a nice meal than talking about the literary relevance of the graphic novel and what Ghost World really means.

Amy: Read the book.
Valerie: Read the book.
Ken: Read a little at my place.
Angela: Read a little at my place.
Charlotte: Didn't read it, didn't really stay for the movie either.
Ram: Isn't even in the book club; just wanted a free meal and movie.

Tyler: Told me he read the book, yet didn't show up last night. WTF?
E!: Said she might come... didn't.
Clare: Didn't come; was house/cat-sitting last night.

I was about to have an aneurysm thinking about all the food preparation that needed to be done before people arrived (gotta make the pesto, chop all veggies, make the pizza dough, make the salad dressing), but everyone helped and the evening sailed along smoothly. I think the nicest part of having lots of people around are the eclectic conversations…

* * *

AMY: Do you want a beer, Ken?

KEN: I don't know. I guess I'm waiting for a mojito.

AMY: What?

KEN: Today you posted that drink recipe.

AMY: Yeah. That doesn't mean I actually have the makings for a mojito at my place.

KEN: Really?

AMY: Yeah, I'm starting it as a new weekly thing, like the Friday Five. Thirsty Thursday- It'll be a different drink recipe every week.

KEN: ... Oh.

AMY: So I'm sorry you somehow got the impression that I would have mojito stuff here, based on a post I put up, but I don't. Do You Want A Beer?

KEN: Yes.

* * *

AMY: Ram is peeing for a really long time upstairs.

KEN: Well he had a long drive back from Northampton.

AMY: You don't understand, he was peeing when I went up there to get a chair from my bedroom, while I was moving stuff off the chair and while I was bring it back down. I bet he's still peeing right now.


RAM: So Amy, I hear you think I take too long to pee.

AMY: What? No, I never said that.

RAM: I wish I could pee faster for you. Would that make you feel better?

AMY: Dude, you take as long as you need to pee, it's no big deal. You can't help it if it takes you an abnormal amount of time to drain your bladder.

* * *

ANGELA: You remind me of the babe.

AMY: The babe?

ANGELA: The babe with the power.

AMY: The power?

ANGELA: The power of voodoo.

AMY: ... Voodoo?

ANGELA: You do.

AMY: I do?

ANGELA: Remind me of the babe.

AMY: ... The babe?

ANGELA: The babe with the power.

AMY: The power?

[And on into infinity...]

* * *

[Dinner is on the table, everyone sits]

AMY: Oh no.


AMY: I forgot the red onion. I wanted to put some red onion on the salad and on the pizza. ... Shit! Fuck! That red onion would have totally- Fuck! Supper’s RUINED now!

KEN: That's okay, now everyone can make out after we're done eating.

AMY: ...

VALERIE: Red onions give you gas anyway.

AMY: ...

RAM: See, Amy? It's better that you left them out.

AMY: ...


AMY: Don't you like green peppers, Ram?

RAM: No, Amy, that's why I didn't eat them.

AMY: Jesus, why are you such a picky eater? What have you got against green peppers?

RAM: I don't like the skin.

AMY: Oh really. And if I were to peel the green pepper for you, would you eat it then?

RAM: Yes.

AMY: ... Hmn. Well, I'm not going to peel my green peppers just because you're so freaking finicky.

* * *

I lent Valerie a couple more graphics novels after the movie ended, when everyone was preparing to leave. Angela said she was going to make next month's book selection and let the rest of us know what our next reading assignment is. I'm already thinking about what to serve for supper...


[amy] Birthplace closing down

The Water Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., the place where I was born, is going to be closed down.


[videogame] Nintendogs

I had heard that Nintendogs for Nintendo DS was a surprisingly addictive and fun "game". Jason got it and is now the proud digi-owner of a vitru-pet. He's got some kind of small collie named "Jackie". I don't know where the name came from, but I think it's given by the game so that it can recognize when you say the dog's name. That's right, the dog can hear you and can learn voice commands. So Jason showed me and Jake last night...

JASON: Watch this: Jackie! Jackie come!
AMY: That's so cool!
JASON: Jackie sit! Sit Jackie! Sit Jackie! Sit-
JAKE: Let me try- Jackie! Jackie sit!
AMY: Jackie! Jackie come!
JASON: Jackie!
JAKE: Sit Jackie!
AMY: Let me pet her.
JASON: Lay down Jackie! Lay down!
JAKE: Sit!
JASON: Jackie!
JAKE: Sit!
JASON: Jackie!
JAKE: Sit!
JASON: Jackie!
AMY: Let me see the DS.
JASON: Jackie! Wait. Jackie!
JAKE: Jackie!
BARBARA: [shoots herself in head]


[books] As heavy as a six-pack of beer

Hunger's Brides: A Novel of the Baroque, by first-time author Paul Anderson, is 1,376 pages long and weighs 4.5 lbs. Does that make me want to read it? Yes and no. Yes, because I occationally like a long, satisfying story. No, because it's so heavy. I don't want to hoist it off the night stand, drop it on my chest ("Oof!") and pretend to read as my ribcage slowly cracks under the pressure. I loved Michal Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, but I had to read the whole thing (a) sitting at a table or (b) on my stomach on my bed. PLUS, the Amazon discounted price is the same as a regular, non-discounted hardcover. What to do, what to do?!?!

"The plot of Hunger's Brides revolves around Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, the 17th-century Mexican poet and nun whose vow of silence at the age of 40 was signed in her own blood. Her life and work have inspired writings by Octavio Paz, Robert Graves and Diane Ackerman.

But the book is more - much, much more - than an extended piece of historical fiction. It is also the story of Beulah Limosneros, a graduate student who immerses herself in the study of Sor Juana, and Donald Gregory, her professor and a serial adulterer. And in addition to narrative fiction, it is told in the form of poetry, dramatic plays, letters and notes in the margins." -- NY Times