Monday

[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.

Thursday

[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...

Wednesday

[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.

Monday

[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:

* * * * *
THE VERMONT INDEPENDENCE CONVENTION
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.

Sunday

[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.

Thursday

[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.

Wednesday

[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.

Tuesday

[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.

Friday

[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:

"...it 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.

Thursday

[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.

Wednesday

[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.

Monday

[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.