[knitting] New present and projects...

I got another gift from my secret pal...

As soon as I opened it, I said, "Oh, no fucking way!" It's sewing goods to make a pretty apron. I went to my craft store a while ago in search of apron patterns but all they had were the unisex, boring chef's aprons. I bought the pattern (it was on sale for $1.99) but didn't feel motivated to make it. So it's just sitting somewhere in the mess I call a home.

But these patterns are exactly what I was looking for! Feminine full-body and half aprons! So pretty! Along with the ribbon, thread and fabric, I'm ready to start something this weekend. Thanks a million, secret pal! I love it! (And I've been using the bookmark you knit while I read/walk to/from work/home.)

As per ipso facto visa vi what I'm currently knitting, that would be Kiri:

Sorry the picture is so blurry, I took it this morning in a sleepy stupor. The actual color is more teal than blue. Here's a non-blurry (but not really any clearer) one:

I'm using the wool I got from the NH Sheep & Wool Festival- Alpaca Lite from A Touch of Twist (the store is in NY, around Albany I think). It's really soft and fuzzy. I'm using US 4 needles have gotten through one ball (about 200 yards) and a bit of another one. I hope to finish the shawl by the end of summer but my progress is slowing considerably as the thing grows.

I started a more portable (and easier) project to take on the bus with me- A pillow insert from Weekend Knitting.

I'm using leftover Rowan Cotton from a man's thong I made and I'm reminded why I hate knitting with cotton- No elasticity! I can actually feel my blood pressure rise when trying to knit two together- "Argh... come on... you... stupid... get.. through... ARGH!"


[uppervalley] Advance Transit

I took the bus to work this morning. I figure I might as well for the following reasons:

1. Gas is so friggin' expensive.
2. I should help the environment or whatever.
3. The bus stops right outside my house.
4. The bus is FREE.

So at 6:35 am, I'm standing in front of my house, waiting. The bus pulls up and I'm the first one on. It's nice and clean and new on the inside, with soft seats. The drivers bids me good morning and asks where I'd like to go. "Hanover Inn," I reply. I don't want to have to change from the Green line to the Brown line, so I'm just going to walk to work from the Hanover Inn. It shouldn't be more than half an hour's walk.

As we pull away, the driver talks to a man sitting behind him, who is busy scribbling notes on a clipboard. Is this the manager? A reporter? No, he's a new driver being trained on the route.

The driver points to a bridge. "This is where you need to watch for late-comers."

"So, if someone is by the side of the road and it's safe to stop, I pick them up?"


What? This is crazy to my ears. First of all, the bus is nice. Second of all, it's free. Third of all, it's preferable for riders to wait at designated stops but not necessary? Just, wave the bus down and it'll pick you up? Wow.

I sip coffee and read a book as we pick up a few more people. A scientist-looking guy boards while reading a science-y looking report. A young gang-banger-looking dude gets on, sprawls his body across two seats and promptly falls asleep. A couple construction dudes get on and strike up a conversation with the driver, asking how John is doing. This is interesting. It's like... a family or something.

At the Hanover Inn, I disembark and start walking. I read and walk at the same time, trying to avoid running into early morning bikers/joggers. When I approach the main gate at work, the security guard asks me, "Walking today?" I tell him that I'm boycotting gas because it's too expensive. "Oh! El Cheap-o, huh?" I flip him the bird and tell him I prefer to think of it as being environmental.

All in all, my first bus-riding experience was a pleasurable one. I wonder how crowded it's going to be after work, though...


[funny] This Shit Is Bananas

OC Weekly delves into the meaning behind Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl:

A few times I’ve been around that track
So it’s not just gonna happen like that
Cause I ain’t no hollaback girl
I ain’t no hollaback girl

Gwen is apparently the captain of the cheerleader squad; she is the girl who “hollas” the chants, not one of the girls who simply “hollas” them back. Given that the squad is preparing to beat somebody up on Gwen’s behalf, she’s picked a strange time to remind them that she is their leader and they are her sheep-like followers. Gwen obviously rules her squad with an iron fist.


[web] Funny

Best 404 Error ever.

[maps] Google Moon

"In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, we’ve added some NASA imagery to the Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor. Happy lunar surfing."

And what happens when you zoom into a location all the way? So lame...


[hike] Two more down, two more to go...

The hiking continues! I stumbled up Camel's Hump this past Saturday and ran up Smarts Mountain on Sunday. I say "ran" because the guy I was hiking with is probably 6'5" and his stride is nearly twice mine. But it was a good pace for me.

So, I've been keeping a tally... Since June 26, I've hiked (from first to most recent):

Holt's Ledge
Gile Mountain
Mount Cardigan
Moose Mountain
Franconia Ridge
Mount Cube
Gile Mountain
Velvet Rocks
Camel's Hump
Smarts Mountain

This leaves only Mount Ascutney and Mount Moosilauke from the Dartmouth Outing Club Guide. I think I'll do Ascutney on Saturday and Moosilauke on Sunday. Then what? Start over? I guess so... I need to by mega-physically fit for the last two weeks of September, when I hike the Adirondacks.

[UpperValley] Slip-N-Hurt

Hoo boy, I'm am in some serious muther-f'in pain. Check out all the happy photos from the Curt's Slip-n-Slide on Saturday (followed by photos from the Gangsta/Hip-Hop party).

Ooo, doesn't it look like FUN? Actually, at the time is was fun (I went down 4 or 5 times) but the next day? My neck was stiff, I bruised a couple ribs and I've got massive, dark purple bruises on the front of my hips where I ran, took a flying leap (a la Superman) and belly-flopped onto the slide. No joke, I woke up Sunday morning wondering how long it might take for someone to die from internal bleeding. I'm trying to convince myself that I don't need to go to the hospital (I mean, how lame would it be to die from a huge slip-n-slide?), but I'm telling you, all my intestines hurt. Maybe something ruptured on the inside? But, I ate supper Saturday night and went hiking Sunday morning so... I'll probably be okay. ... Probably. Hopefully. I'm sure I'm fine...

Ken also posted a few videos (note: you're def going to want to turn down your speakers for "scream"): awesome, scream, dance.

How was the actual sliding? Fun. You get sprayed with a hose at the top, cover yourself with liquid soap and take off. The ride down is fast and fun. You can tell that the kid on some of the guys came out- a couple dudes must have gone down at least 50 times. The only downside was that as you slide down with your arms extended in front of you, your fingers would end up slicing through the soapy water which would then shoot directly into your eyes. So by the time you splashed to a stop at the bottom, you'd be screaming, "My eyes! My eyes are burning! Oh the soap! AGGHH!!"

And during my final slide, I accidentally left the wet track and skidded to a halt on the bare, dry, 3000 degree black plastic. My skin immediately started to melt and stick to it while I screamed in agony. I was finished after that.

[videogames] New Halo 2 Maps

I finally played the new maps this past Friday at my sister's house. For more information on the new maps, read Part 1 and Part 2 of GameSpy's map break-down.

All the maps were really fun and I could see that the maps are based on the maps from the first level (layout-wise) but the weapons and portals and structures were all new and different.

I was talking to someone last night and we're going to set up a massive Halo 2 tournament- start thinking about gathering a team of four to participate.


[videogames] Machinima

What is machinima? According to Wikipedia:

"Machinima (a portmanteau word for machine cinema and/or "machine" "animation") is both a collection of associated production techniques and a film genre (film created by such production techniques).

As a production technique, the term concerns the rendering of computer-generated imagery (CGI) using low-end 3D engines (as opposed to high-end and complex 3D engines used by professionals) in video games (typically, engines in first person shooters games were used). Consequently, the rendering can be done in real-time using PCs (either using the computer of the creator or the viewer), rather than with complex 3D engines using huge render farms.

Machinima is an example of emergent gameplay, a process of putting game tools to unexpected ends, and of artistic computer game modification.

The real-time nature of machinima means that established techniques from traditional film-making can be reapplied in a virtual environment. As a result, production tends to be cheaper and more rapid than in keyframed CGI animation."

The Red vs. Blue series is probably the most well-known example of machinima, but there are lots of others. There's a whole website devoted to it.

Check out A Few Good G-Men.


[vermont] So which mushrooms are the psychadelic ones?

I'm going to be attending a Sustainable Living course this August, entitled Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants:

"Let’s explore the forest! Learn to identify and use 20 plants commonly found in the northeast. We will prepare plants for eating, teas and tinctures. We'll also cover respectful harvesting, the nutritional value of wild plants and bioregional eating."

Which should be cool because in case I'm ever lost in the woods, I know how to build a shelter but I'd probably end up starving to death. And the only natural remedy I know of is grinding up the flowers of the impatiens plant to stop itching and/or the spread of poison ivy. You know the orange touch-me-not plants I'm talking about- they're by the side of roads and have the seed pods that explode when you touch them.

So I'm filling out the registration form for the course and I read:

"We will ask you to sign up for a homesteading task each day here, from cutting firewood, to watering the garden, to helping with meals. We truly look forward to our time together on the land."

This sounds pretty sweet- It'll be just like staying on my grandparent's farm again. I'm really looking forward to Aug 6-7.


[knitting] We all know it happens...

... we just never talk about it- Knitting the fug. Now there's a whole blog devoted to it. Sample:

"Hi! I'm Becky! This was my favorite dress when I was six! My boyfriend really likes it when I wear my hair in pig-tails and call him Daddy!"


[amy] Hike 'til it Hurts

I did end up hiking Mt. Lafayette this past Saturday. I did a 9 mile loop, going up the Falling Waters trail to Little Haystack Mountain, along the Ridge Trail to Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette, then down the (never-ending) Old Bridle Path.

The weather Saturday morning wasn't all that great and I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but it stopped raining a little and I said, "Screw it, I'm going. It's only a little north of Bradford, and east into New Hampshire." Yeah, well it turned out to be a 1 hour and 45 minute drive on I-91 to Route 302 to Route 114 to Route 3 to I-93. It took forever.

Falling Waters was steep to climb, but I took a few nice pictures. The top was foggy and eerie and there were no views to speak of. Basically, if I stepped off the path, I'd fall into a white oblivion. Coming down the Old Bridal Path, the only thought running through my head was: "Get me out of here." I came across the Greenleaf Hut on the way down and stopped in for some water. It was disconcerting to come across this building in the middle of the trail, where people are sitting around, eating and drinking. I saw a room of bunk beds and you could even buy a nice meal there.

After a total of 5 hours, I made it down to my car (soaking wet), wondering if my legs were going to seize up on the drive home. I decided I didn't care and took off. The only negative thing I have to say about the hike is that French Canadians are the rudest hikers I've ever come across. Whether it's you who wants to pass around them (because you're going faster) or you're approaching one another, THEY WON'T GIVE YOU ANY ROOM ON THE PATH. At one point, I had my arms and legs wrapped around a tree and was hanging on like a monkey just to give these pushy/shovey people the space they needed to go by without being injured. But guess what? I was injured. As I was letting go of the tree, trying to find footing, I slipped on a wet rock and jabbed my left shoulder on the tree where a branch had broken off. I had to check my shoulder repeatedly to make sure it wasn't bleeding. AND- get this- coming back down, some people were going slow and I wanted to pass. So I did and then it seemed that I wasn't going fast enough and the lady behind me, she starts riding my ass and jabbing her walking stick a mere three inches from my heels as I'm trying to think of the best way to climb down a steep area of rocks. I almost turned around and said, "Hey lady! Back it up! Don't walk so fucking close to me- You're making me nervous." I hate that.

Sunday I had planned on hiking Mt. Cube with Ram, Annarita and Valentino. The longer trail was 6.8 miles roundtrip and I thought that this would be easier because the summit doesn't even reach 3,000 ft and I assumed the walk would be gradual and leisurely. It was at first, but the trail was so muddy, it took nearly all the fun out of walking up. The view at the top was totally worth it, though- It was a clear, beautiful day. We chilled at the top, trying to scrap together enough food and water to give us the required amount of energy for the walk back down (we totally should have brought lunch). During the walk down, I was only thinking, "I want an alcoholic beverage. And spaghetti bolognaise. And a baguette. And a salad. And wine..." We did the whole thing in 4 hours, which isn't bad. It was a little slow-going because of the mud.

So I hiked roughly 16 miles over 9 hours this weekend. It totally sucked up all of Saturday and Sunday though- Get up, get to the hike, hike, get home, shower, eat, chill, go to bed. Which means nothing got done around my place.

Oh, and yesterday after work I went up Gile Mt. to work some of the lactic acid out of my legs. So that's, like, another mile or something. I'm thinking I might try Mount Moosilauke this Saturday before the Slip-n-Slide and Gangsta Party.


[cats] Buckaroo

There's a new game you can play with you cat called Buckaroo. You basically wait until your feline friend has fallen asleep, then you put things on him/her. That's all there is too it!


[videogames] New Halo 2 Maps

The new maps have been released for retail purchase and downloading. My sister's boyfriend got them this week and I'm hoping to spend the weekend "getting to know" the new levels. By "getting to know", I mean "splattering blood all over".

I was hoping on a 8.9 mile hike along Mt. Lafayette, Mount Lincoln and Franconia Ridge, but it looks like the weather's going to be rainy... [sad face]


[sewing] Home on the Range

The gallery for June's Tie One On is up. I really like this one and this one and this one.

I've got to go to the craft store after work to check out patterns and fabric...

[crochet] Sexy Lingerie

Crocheted lace from Koniakow, Poland is very famous. It's very pretty, too. I wonder why I'm knitting thongs for random dudes (I got a request for another), when I should be making under-things for myself. I wonder where I can find some patterns...

[via Mizuna]

[amy] Let the hiking begin

I hope everyone had a nice 4th of July weekend. It was a hike-tastic weekend for me. Friday afternoon I walked up Gile Mt. in Norwich. It was really easy and beautiful- the perfect warm up. Here are some nice pictures. I'll bring my camera the next time it's a clear day.

Saturday I hiked Cardigan Mt. The trail was fun and there were lots of people around. The top was extremely windy on the bare rock but that was refreshing. I walked to a small outcrop that wasn't too windy and took a nap before walking back down. Here's a nice shot of the kind of panoramic view you get at the top.

Sunday was spent recovering from a party Saturday night. I mostly slept, shuffled around my place, tried cleaning up a little and managed to cook myself some supper.

Monday was a holiday and I spent the morning climbing Moose Mountain. I can't find any pictures of it but it doesn't matter because the hike sssssucked! It was the opposite of Cardigan in every way. I was basically the ONLY person hiking along a lonely, wooded trail. Which, I know, sounds nice and all but when you're wondering if that sound behind you is your backpack or a demon monster wanting to tear your body to shreds, it can make for a stressful hike. And it was way buggy, too. The trail near the top was overgrown and I wondered how long it would take anyone to find my body if I happened to fall.

I came across a couple people on my way back down. Actually, I came across their huge, brown dog first. I saw it on the trail ahead of me and my initial reaction was "Oh my god a bear what the fuck is that it's a dog it wants to kill me-" I finally had to called out "Hello?!" to try to get the owners to hold onto the rabid beast while I passed by. And the story gets even better! As I was running back down (I occasionally like to run back down the trails I hike up because it's more fun), I tripped over an exposed root and went soaring through the air like Superman, arms outstretched. I let out a weak "ugh!" as I braced for impact and wondered how much damage I was going to get. I hit the ground, skidded to a halt, checked my dirt-covered body for blood, didn't find any and kept walking. My legs aren't bad but my right arm is scraped from elbow to the middle of my forearm and I've got a nasty bruise on my tricep.


[exotica] A Community Burlesque

Well, I went and saw an interesting show last night. "Amateur striptease, peep show and other rare human curiosities." It was actually pretty fun and entertaining for a last-minute, nobody- really-knows-what-the-hell-is-going-on kind of thing. Kim strut around in a dominatrix outfit and proceeded to whip Ken on stage (but didn't "Beat the shit outta him" as everyone was screaming), Gordon got the audience up and participating in some special yoga, Angela performed some of her spoken word and did a reverse striptease, Matte got what looked and sounded like a really painful waxing... Then people started getting naked at the end, did some body-painting and ran down to the river to swim. All in all, it wasn't your average Thurday night.