[vermont] Mentally Unstable for You

Vermont is in the news over a cute widdle (albeit, violently schizophrenic) teddy bear. I haven't bought anything from The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. but it seems to be like it was only a matter of time before they came up with something like this. They have bears in every possible outfit you can imagine. I consider this "crazy" bear to be first step toward "In Bondage for You Bear" and "Let's Get a Divorce Bear". The options are limitless...


[books] Running with Scissors

The discussion is underway over at BookBlog. I posted a little late (I've got to stop cracking open the selections on the night before the discussion) and didn't think too highly of the book. Sure I felt bad for him in the beginning, but then the story moved from sympathetic to unbelievable to unrelatable to "You know what? I don't feel bad for you anymore."

You know when you read a book and you're taken on an incredible voyage? When you get to the end, you sigh and think about what a wonderful ride it was, think about all the things you saw. With this memoir, it was like riding a rickshaw that stopped every ten minutes so someone could punch you in the gut. It's not pleasant. It's uncomfortable and you wished you'd passed on free ride. And you're not a better, more interesting person because of it.

[knitting] Blue Stripes

I finished my first pair of socks last night:


Half-way through completing the second one, I thought, "Screw this. After this sock, no more. This crap is way too tedious." But I have to say, I was quite pleased when I put them both on and ended up doing a little dance in my living room. So... I may make another pair. But not for a while.


[knitting] The Beret (plus others)

Finally, some pictures of the beret. Here it is before felting and after:


Sorry the after is so blurry. You can see, using the pen for scale, that the hat didn't lose too much width. Where it did shrink a lot was it's length. See the hat's before and after profile:


I wanted to make a hat to go with the following envelope clutch I felted a while ago:


The clutch is the same teal Manos del Uruguay yarn but with Berroco Jewel FX in Alexandrites (which makes the bag sparkle) mixed in. Yeah, I don't use this bag either. I just realized the only knitted things I used regularly are my scarves. And my poncho (when it was fall). Speaking of my poncho, here's a picture:

It's a nice shade of blue and quite cozy. Knit with Rowan Big Wool in Rascal, it cost me way too much money to make. Since then, someone turned me onto Elann and I've been getting all my yarn from there. Mostly.


[amy] Worst Bathroom Experience- Ever

I went down to Putney this past Saturday with my sister to do some yarn shopping at the Green Mountain Spinnery and some basket shopping at Basketville. The spinnery's "shop" was small 9'x9' room and our browsing consisted of rotating our bodies in a slow circle. We picked out some yarn, asked directions to Basketville and left.

As soon as we entered, we saw that the place was huge and offered many other kitcheny things besides a billion baskets. I got directions from a clerk to the restroom and told Barbara I'd catch up with her.

Down the center isle, to the left, behind a portico, through an open door, I found the unisex bathroom. I closed the door behind me as I noted the single stall and two urinals on the wall next to it. I went into the stall and saw a shit streaked clump of toilet paper floating in the bowl. Gagging, I flushed the toilet with my foot while I turned to hang my purse and coat on the door.

I turned back around to see that the toilet had not flushed and that the water had risen to within an inch of the rim. Fearing overflow, I grab the nearby plunger, gingerly slide it into the water and set to work. While plunging, I began to think about all the shit covered hands that have no doubt used this plunger before me. Finally, I succeed in making all the water go down and was just putting the plunger back next to the tank as I hear the door open.

Footsteps entered and stopped next to my stall, facing the wall. Facing the urinal! A man! A man was going to pee right next to me. My brain started to overload and completely shut down. I didn't know what do so I did nothing. So there's a man next to me, sounding like ... ... ... ... And I'm in the stall next to him, sounding like ... ... ... ... We're both completely silent, waiting for the other one to do something. Had he had sneaked a peek under the stall wall, he could have seen my feet sort-of facing him, since I finished putting the plunger away as soon as he entered.

Then my phone goes off. It's a little muffled since it's inside my purse, under my coat but it rings. It rings again. We're both completely silent. Why isn't he peeing? It rings again. And again. One last time and then it returns to being completely silent in the bathroom again. Then the man turns around and walks out of the bathroom. Just like that. No washing of hands. I didn't even hear a zipper zip.

I pee, change my "feminine things" and flush the toilet only to see that the applicator didn't go down. Not wanting to freak out any men, I grab the shitty plunger and start plunging again, tears beginning to trickle down my face as I think about how this has been the most nightmarish bathroom experience of my life. I leave the stall to see that the man was in such a hurry to leave, he left the door wide open. As I scrub my hands raw with soap, I see a sign that says "Men" on the door. How did I miss it?

I leave the bathroom and see my sister approaching me. Her eyes are wide and she says, "Amy, the prices here are amazing!" She smiles, wait for me to react. I say, "We need to get out of here, now. Immediately." I'm looking around the shopping area to see any man with shoes I recognize. We ended up staying (the prices were, in fact, amazing) and I told her about my horrible bathroom experience.


[science] Titan Paradise

"A group of enthusiastic amateurs managed to process raw images of Titan from the Huygens probe faster that any of the giant space agencies in charge of the mission." Read the article here. See more images here. I'm moving to Titan, the only question I have is- Who's coming with me? I bet real estate is really cheap (after you pay the million buhjillion dollars to get there, of course). I plan on having my own country and calling it "Amy". Sinple yet... straightforward. Let's people know who's boss.


[books] Valerian

I watched the super-duper extra special edition of The Fifth Element last night at my sister's. I must say, the special features are pretty special. One of the more interesting interviews focused on a couple comic writer/artists who created a sci-fi comic entitled Valerian decades ago. Luc Besson was a fan as a teenager and years later, when he had the opportunity to do so as a filmmaker, got the guys to come up with the conceptual art for the film. How cool is that? And if you look at the cover of Valerian at Amazon, you can see the resemblance in the cab and cityscape.

So last night, my movie experience was punctuated with all kinds of "I never noticed that before" moments. Tricky's in the film. How did I miss that the first time around? And that chick, the one who played the "I'm in a coffin! It's a coffin!" chick in Interview with the Vampire, is one of the main stewardesses when everyone's heading out to Fhloston Paradise. And that military women meant to accompany Korben Dallas to Fhloston (as his wife) was referred to as "Major Iceborg." Now that's funny.

[books] The Lovely Hobbits

Or, how about "Lord of the Bones"? The writing/directing team behind TLotR plans on bringing The Lovely Bones to the big screen. I can't say that this will be the most cheerful movie in the world, but it'll be interesting to see how Jackson shows Susie looking down on Earth from 'heaven'.


[amy] Errata


The OC. Oh my God, like, totally. It's all about people who are, like, rich and spoiled and, like, what-ev. Luke is a total sleaze and Seth is too good for Summer. And Ryan [sigh] he's, like, so misunderstood. I- I- I can't get enough of this show. There are some shows I listen to while knitting, making the occasional glance up to the TV (e.g. Gilmore Girls, Greg the Bunny, The Wire), but not this one. With The OC, I still try to knit and watch at the same time but I end up spending more time watching Mischa's stupid face than what I'm holding.


Appletini. 1 part Apple Pucker, 1 part vodka; garnish with slice of Granny Smith apple. Result: I had two and woke up naked in a snowbank with the words "we need to talk" written backwards on my forehead. Also, the apple garnish works like a vodka sponge- eating them is no fun but gets you 500% drunker. UPDATE After last Thursday, I'm never having these again.


Mario Party 6. I can't get enough Mario Party and the latest installment is more fun, interesting and innovative than it's predecessors. I say innovative because this game comes with a microphone. So when you're playing a 3 vs. 1 mini-game and you're the odd man out, you might get to use the mic. You'll not only look but sound like a retard as well! For example: You can't say, "Fire... Fire... Drop bombs... Laser! Laser! MISSLES!!" and look cool. The levels/boards are lots of fun, though. More going on. And the Orbs are great, too. All in all, this is a great party game.


Galvanize by the Chemical Brothers. Listen to it here. The single comes out today and the new album comes out next Tuesday. It's called Push the Button and I'm sure it's going to rock.


A beret. And not just a beret, it's a jaunty beret. But I need to felt it to give it real shape, so right now it looks like a floppy, oversized, green Rastafarian cap. I should be able to finish and felt it tonight. UPDATE It's done and it's too small. I think I felted it too much. The band is too tight and not all that stretchy and when I have it on, it looks like I'm wearing a flying saucer on my head.

Now I'm knitting socks. I've decided to make ankle socks because I prefer that style and, hey!, they're faster. The yarn I'm using now is more wool-y that the one I used for the red/pink stripe sock, so it's like I'm making little sweaters for my feet. I've done one and an currently working on it's mate. Not second sock syndrome for me. Will post a pic.


Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righ etti. I got my (obscenely) large Amazon order consisting of ONLY kitting books recently. I'm gearing up towards making a sweater... someday. It's all quite complicated, concerning drop shoulders vs. saddle shoulders vs. raglan vs. crew neck vs. v-neck. So far, Knitting in Plain English has been a helpful read with all sorts of tricks that make me smack myself in the forehead and go, "Duh, why didn't I think of that?"

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. I'm slowly picking away at this book and just last night I got to the interesting part. The part that makes you go, "Oh no way, no shit, oh my god, that's so f'ed up." Can't wait to see what happens next.

Recently Read

Phoenix (vol. 3)- Yamato/Space by Osamu Tezuka. These books are just getting weirder and weirder. Tezuka's epic and (due to his untimely death) unfinished life's work revolves around the Phoenix. With each volume, the story jumps from far past to far future, ultimately closing in on the present (which never got written/drawn). This volume in particular concerns a selfish king and his tomb (past), and space travelers telling a particularly enjoyable sci-fi mystery love-affair story (future). Very Bradbury and very enjoyable.

Have to Read

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. Must read this by next Monday to adequately participate in the BookBlog discussion. I must say, I'm going to be bringing a little baggage with me to this book. I'm a bit cynical because I know this book came out when it was very trendy/hip/Sedaris to come out with a my-life-was-so-messed-up memoir. So, we'll see if I actually sympathize with Burroughs or not.

[amy] I go out (for a change)

See the pictures here. I'm in a few- getting progressively more wasted as the night wore on. And I would also like to point out that "stitch" is a close-up of the scarf I was wearing, which was one of the first lace projects I knit. I swear I'm going to get a local knitting circle going...


[comics] Lucifer

I updated my "Recently Read" list, on the left there, to include all the Lucifer trade paperbacks I've been consuming like a bad cocaine habit. But it's not like bad cocaine at all; it's like good cocaine. Mind-blowing, highly addictive cocaine. The Lucifer in this series is the same one from the Sandman series- Morpheus chopped off his wings and he left hell to open and spend his retirement in an L.A. piano bar. Mike Carey picked up where Neil Gaiman left off and the series was really, really, really good. Or is really good, I should say, since it's still ongoing.

Anyway, half of the first trade is a three-part one off storyline (introduced as "Sandman Presents") and I guess it was so good that DC decided to make a series out of it. And five trades later, it's STILL the same storyline unfolding, twisting back on itself- which makes for a really satisfying read. All the characters are great. The only problem I have is with the artwork. It occasionally changes not only from issue to issue but actually within any given issue. And 40% of the time it's Dean Ormston and I can't stand that guy's artwork. It all looks the same (read: bad) to me. Too stylized. Too distracting. Too... Let's just put it this way: His artwork is one of the reasons I'm thinking about dropping Books of Magick: Life During Wartime.

And 1602 is listed there as well. It was one of my Christmas presents and it was super. The Marvel Universe (with 30 main characters!) set in Elizabethan England. Peter Parker! DareDevil! Nick Fury! Dr. Strange! The X-Men! And more! Totally worthy addition to any comic library.


[amy] Conversations with my Sister

AMY: Have you tried that solid perfume yet?

BARBARA: What solid perfume?

AMY: The one I put in your stocking.

BARBARA: The lip balm?

AMY: The- yeah, well have your tried that yet?


AMY: ...


AMY: I don't think we're talking about the same thing.

BARBARA: Yeah, I don't either.

AMY: I put a small tin of solid lavender perfume in your stocking, as well as a Chapstick-looking tube of lavender lip balm. Have you used either one?

BARBARA: Wait. The tin is what?

AMY: Solid perfume.

BARBARA: It's not lip balm?

AMY: ... No.

BARBARA: [Hangs head in shame]

AMY: Holy shit. You've been putting that on your lips?

BARBARA: Only once I think.

AMY: It even came with a little piece of paper that said it was perfume.


AMY: ... Have you used the Chapstick?

BARBARA: Oh yeah, I've used that.


[knitting] One down, one to go...



I made a sock last week with some Christmas yarns I got and a book called Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. I wouldn't exactly call the process "soaring"... More like, "plodding along" or "taking for-friggin'-ever." Anyway, I used two 24" size #2 circulars. Metal ones at that because bamboo wouldn't make sense- the needles are so skinny that the bamboo would bend, warp, snap under a stern gaze. I used Plymouth Yarn Sockotta to do the most basic pattern in the book. Let me just say that the directions kind of sucked and the jokes in the book are lame. Having said that, the sock did come out nice. And it's nice to be able to try on the sock as you're knitting along, so that you can get a perfect fit for your foot only. I'm working on a blue one next because I don't think I'll be able to sit through doing another one of the same pattern/color. Gotta switch things up. Although, I can just see myself never getting around to doing the other one. Yeah, I've got one mitten that I made last summer. Where's it's mate? Yeah, that'll never happen...

And for grotesque comparison, I've added my left, sickly foot into the last image. Note that the ankle is still a little swollen (remember, there used to be a baseball in there) and that the bruising goes all the way down to my toes. And there's also darker bruises on the inside and outside of my foot. Ew... It's giving me nightmares thinking about all the dead, coagulated blood trapped under my skin. Ugh [puke].

Left foot: gross. Right foot: pretty sock. Left foot: gross. Right foot: pretty sock.


[knitting] Barbara's Poncho

I can finally show the poncho now. It only took about a week to make and measures about 18 inches long (not including the edging). That seems short but I only wanted the sides to come down to Barbara's elbows and the front to reach her belt-buckle. It's the basic Poncho pattern from Stitch and Bitch, but without those fluffy novelty yarn sections. I used about 9 balls of Peruvian Collection Highland Wool from Elann. The color's no longer available but it was called "Antique Purple" or something.


The photo on the left is the poncho unblocked. It was roughly the right size for a ten-year-old girl. I had gotten several suggestions on how to block but the pinning method would have made the crocheted edge stretch all out of shape and have an ugly Spiderman web design. Nevermind the fact that this didn't take care the of shoulder area, which was really too tight. In the end, I pulled a McGuyver- wet the poncho, rip out one side of a big cardboard box, wrap that inside a towel, shove both inside the wet poncho to give it shape. This worked out fine- I only had to flip it a couple times and move it around the bed so that it dried evenly.

I actually knit with two strands at one time so that I could get away with using 10 1/2 needles instead of 7 (to make the knitting go by faster) and you can't even tell. And I did a single crochet around and around the hem and added a picot edge.