Tuesday

[tv] Battlestar Galactica 2.5

Oh my god, can we please talk about Battlestar Galactica for a moment? I saw the miniseries, season 1 and season 2.0 ages ago. I recently aquired and re-watched them all. Now I'm onto season 2.5, which are all NEW episodes to me.

I will admit that I have perhaps too much of myself invested in this show. When I'm watching, I'm not knitting, Dollar's not talking, NOTHING is interrupting my viewing experience. I've been a tad emotional recently so I've been crying pitifully at all the sad parts.

[Season 2.5 SPOILERS past this point]

I have to say, though, I've been disappointed by a few of the early episodes. I think Rosilin's recovery was a 100% cop-out. I had been preparing since the beginning, since the MINISERIES, to see her go, so I was ready. And now baby cylon blood magically cures her cancer? How dare you emotionally rob me like this, BSG writers!

Apollo's starting to piss me off. All the "issues" he having after his death experience. Who's the crying girl from the flashbacks? What's up with getting involved with a prostitute? Who ARE you, Apollo?

And Gaius, while I do commend you for owning up to your dark side a little bit more, freeing that copy of #6 (when you should have killed her) was a mistake (apart from what happened to Admiral Cain) and your little "present" to her proves just how insane you really are.

UPDATE

I've finished the season. New thoughts:

Dee... How could you? Apollo's a great guy but- cough... Excuse me, something in my throat. Cough... CoughBILLYcough... Ahem. I know Apollo has got big arms and he's been promoted but he'll never love you the way someone else did... CoughBILLYcough.

Speaking of Apollo, as I was getting ready for work this morning, I put on my big, quilted, goose down coat and excessively waddled down the hall toward Dollar, saying, "Look at me, my name is Apollo, I gained weight because I haven't been inside the cockpit of a Viper for a year, ha ha ha, ho ho ho". It's only funny because Jamie Bamber was wearing a fat suit. I think we all know how fit he really is.

Starbuck: Get your shit together. For real, girl.

Gaius: Sigh. What a whimpering, simpering little dictator your turned out to be. You disgust me.

Adama, you're even hotter with that 'stash. Rowr. (P.S. I know you're a cylon.)

# # #

All in all, I think there were a few uneven moments during this half season (baby cylon blood can cure cancer- just want to say it again because it's such b.s.) but the last 20 minutes of the last episode made all my concerns go away. I had to look from the tv to Dollar to the tv to Dollar, with my mouth open, like, "Are you SEEING this? This is incredible! Starbuck has got TERRIBLE hair extensions. Oh yeah, and the cylons are back."

Monday

[games] Game-tastic weekend

Friday night I played Shadows Over Camelot with Dollar and a couple other people. This was our third attempt at the game with just four people and it must have been a fluke the first time we won together because every game since has been a worse and worse loss. I was the traitor but played it so well that NO ONE suspected me- mostly because I didn't need to do anything traitorous since we were failing all the quests anyway. Hint: the quest for Excalibur is generally "Traitor Land". That's where I went to throw away all my really good cards.

Saturday, from 1pm until 11pm, (yes, you read that right- TEN HOURS) I played 2038: Tycoons of the Asteroid Belt with a new group of gamers I joined after Carnage Con. And get this- we didn't even finish the game. Basically it's all about companies and corporations mining resources in space for money and how that money influences the stock of the corporations. The tycoon with the most money in the end wins. I played a fairly consistent game until I saw that I was running one corporation into the ground. Right at the end, I sold all my stock and forced someone else to take over as president. Talk about offloading my troubles onto another player. Anyway, I did a lot of knitting during my down time and the whole thing really only felt like it took a few hours to play. The time did fly. The only downside was that I stopped being nice at about 10pm. I felt grumpy and tired but held it in as best I could. I don't think I'll be partaking in another big game day. [View the session report]

Sunday night I played a desert scenario of Memoir '44 with Dollar. He won. Whatever. Memoir' 44 will never get old to me.

We still have Axis & Allies and Caylus from Christmas to play. We've read the rules to Caylus but still have as yet to play the initial shaky first game. We still need to read all the rules for Axis & Allies. I imagine we'll be playing these games this weekend while I'm on bed rest from getting my wisdom teeth out. I wonder how hard it will be for me to concentrate while on serious pain meds?

Thursday

[knitting] As a reward

My personal trainer is an evil genius. I had a meeting with her after spending way, way, WAY too many days avoiding the gym over the holidays. I told her my goal is:

Monday: cardio, weights
Tuesday: cardio
Wednesday: cardio, weights
Thursday: cardio
Friday: cardio, weights

And sprinkled throughout would be group fitness classes, pilates, yoga, aquafit/aquajog, flexibility training at home, etc...

That's all well and good to say but am I *really* going to make it to the gym EVERY DAY? I told her I need some sort of incentive/reward plan.

"What motivates you?" she asked.

"Yarn," I replied without hesitation.

"Okay, say you don't by any yarn until you complete two full weeks without missing a day."

"Sure... But I've got, like, 500 balls at home so I'll just think, 'Whatever, I don't need to go in, I've got all this yarn at home to play with.'"

"So you set aside your favorite color or something you really want to use and you don't play with THAT until you complete two full weeks."

"Oh," I said, "Uh... Hm."

DAMMIT! She's RIGHT.

SO, I've set aside my most recent yarn purchase- NOT to be handled/knit until I complete TWO FULL WEEKS of stupid poo-poo painful workouts.


Atacama by Araucania - 100% Alpaca, my favorite



Himalayas by Queensland Collection


So let's see, yesterday was Wednesday... If I go today and tomorrow... But I'm getting my wisdom teeth out next Thursday, so that's going to break things up... If I start again on Monday the 5th... Carry the 2, divide by 4... That's means the soonest I could play with these yarns would be the evening of Friday, February 16. Dang, this yarn better be worth it.

Monday

[knitting] Double Knit Scarf

I started double knitting this past weekend. One thing Dollar said he would change about the Pirates hat is the lining- he would prefer the lining to go all the way up. Essentially, he wants a double-knit hat.

So I read a little about double knitting. I went into my craft room and pulled chunky-weight leftover yarn from my stash. I cast on, tried this whole "double knitting" thing, made some mistakes, ripped, saw that tension really DOES matter, and started over. This is what I was left with Sunday night:







Yeah, my gauge is off a little from color to color but I'm not worried. Either it'll all sort itself out after washing/blocking or it'll add character to what I hope will be a casual, boho/hobo chic scarf.

Progress is slow. It's like doing 1x1 ribbing because the yarns are going front-to-back with every stitch. Still, this renders a fabric that is stockinette on both sides and FLAT. I was thinking, "Hmm... Have I ever seen a flat stockinette scarf? No, because stockinette curls along the edges. But THIS. This is flat. And reversible!"

[knitting] We Call Them Pirates

Or, We Call Them Manly Pirates. Or, We Call Them Heavily Modified Pirates.

When I got back from DC, the hat looked like this:


Hemmed brim- so nice and even.



One more skull repeat to go, then decreasing for the crown.


After a couple episodes of Rome and 24, it was done:


All done- Inside



All done- Outside


Pattern: We Call Them Pirates

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, Black & Ash, less than one ball each used (total cost less than $3.98)

Needles: #1 (Black lining), #2 (rest of the hat)

Modifications: Did five pattern repeats. Did an extra row of skulls. Did a provisional cast-on, knit all of lining up to turning row, knit hat as usual up until I wanted to attach the cast on stitches, pulled those stitches free and put them on an extra needle, knit down those stitches along with the pattern stitches. This was way better than "tacking down" the stitches in the end. I did that for the first iteration of this hat (my pink and white one) but it came out uneven because it was hard maintain sight of a row of purl stitches on the wrong side (with all the stranded yarn getting in the way).

Friday

[cooking] Mediterranean Salsa

Knitting Club met at my place last night and there were seven (SEVEN!) knitters in attendance. Having them over made me realize I need more (a) lamps and (b) ottomans. All seven were forced to snuggle up on two couches and one arm chair. I pulled a wooden dinner chair over and sat on the outskirts, maintaining the flow of food and conversation.

I had out olives, pita chips, a baguette, hummus, endive, sautéed asparagus and snow peas, and some "Mediterranean salsa". I put it in quotes because I'm sure there must be a real word for it but I don't know what call it. Here's my recipe:

# # #

Mediterranean Salsa

5 baby eggplant (or one small/med sized eggplant)
3 plum tomatoes
1 fennel bulb
.25 red onion
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel eggplant and slice into half-inch thick slices. Layer slices on a paper towel or in a colander and generously salt. Give the slices 10-15 minutes to sweat out their bitterness (pat with paper towels).

Dice tomatoes, fennel and red onion. Place in bowl, drizzle in 4-5 tablespoons olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Mix.

Dice eggplant. Add to other ingredients, mix. Pour into baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes, until warmed through and the eggplant is a little soft. Don't overcook or else the vegetables will get mushy (this salsa is best when the onions and fennel are still crunchy).

Spoon onto baguette slices! Yum! This is also very nice to top on fish.

Cold salsa was eaten the next day for lunch- inside a pita pocket spread with a little hummus.

# # #

I wanted to also make a Pissaladiere ("pee-salad-YAIR") from a recipe I saw in Cook's Illustrated. Caramelized onions, anchovies, nicoise olives on a pizza-ish dough? MMMMMM. But there was enough food out and besides, I should try the recipe out on my own before giving it to other people.

Wednesday

[amy] Wrapping up knitting projects, Watching Rome

I've been back from DC for nearly a week. I managed to finish knitting Dollar's We Call Them Pirates hat over the weekend- I'll post a picture soon. I only have one (ONE!) unfinished project I want to finish- the Starsky cardigan. Everything else (an unfinished sock, pieces of a bag I began to make when I first started knitting) is going to be ripped back. Then there will be nothing laying around, taunting me, "Ha ha, you haven't finished knitting me yet. I could be so totally awesome and you would love me but you're too lazy to work at this relationship."

Knitting Night is taking place this Thursday at my home. Dollar will be away playing poker. I think he fears being around 10 women armed with wooden stakes- as though we discuss how awful men are and how we should probably start crucifying them one by one.

Speaking of crucifying people, I've been getting Season One of HBO's Rome via Netflix. I've seen only the first two disks but YAWN. It's so boring. There is lots of sex and violence thrown in but it seems gratuitous ("Oh look, more torture. Oh look, more breasts... More torture... More naked women..."). There are, though, aspects of the show I like: References to the Gods people worship and are constantly reverent of. All of the actors are top notch- Kevin McKidd plays a stoic Lucius Vorenus, Ray Stevenson plays a loyal and affable Titus Pullo, Polly Walker plays one of those EVIL woman you love to hate (think Melinda Clark as Julie on The O.C.). I'll finish out the season but for now I feel as though the story is all pomp without substance. [Not that I abide by sexist statements like this but I heard the show described as a "male" show (whatever that means). Perhaps that's why there's so much violence and female nudity?]

Thursday

[travel] The United States Botanic Garden

Made a quick trip down to Botanic Garden. I didn't stop to read all the names of the plants or "take my time" or whatever- I basically ran through and took lots of pictures. Here are lots of pictures and no words...























Wednesday

[travel] Shopping in DC

I took the metro to Stitch DC at Capitol Hill. This was such a great and trendy yarn store. I loved all their samples and several were knit from free patterns online. I fell in love with one shawl hanging on a mannequin and asked how many balls of yarn it took. She said she didn't know but would find out from the free pattern for it online. She found it and even printed it out for me. What customer service!



I ended up getting four balls of Mission Falls Superwash Wool to potentially be made into a pair of socks depending on how a swatch of it machine washes and dries. And two balls of On Line Supersocke 100. I plan on using the Supersocke with a solid color and a Fair Isle motif to get a stained glass effect. I can't explain it but I'll post a picture if I find one showing what I'm talking about.

I also went to a little hole-in-the-wall shop in Chinatown to get some souvenirs. I found the place when I was here last year and got cute dishes and tea/candy. This year I got:


Left to right, from top: Flower's Kiss Candy (Contains no actual flowers. Bummer.), eye glasses case, piggy dish, bad-ass forked toothpicks, ginger candy, 100 bags of bad-ass Korean Ginseng Tea



Slippers for me and my sister


And since the best gifts are usually free, here are some little guys for Dollar:



I got these for free at a booth at the conference. See, this is the benefit of going to a conference that the military is going to be at. All I could think when I saw a helmet full of these guys was, "Oh. My. God. Those would be SOOOO perfect for Memoir. For realz. I have to take one. Oh my god, they're all different! I'll take two. Okay, three. Do they see me taking these? Can I take one more? Am I being greedy? I see a rifleman! I want it! I'm- Oh shit, here they come- Run!"

[travel] On getting to DC

I am in DC and the weather is colder here than it is at home. I'm meeting lots of people, shaking hands, doing the blah blah talk. But enough about that.

I was able to get a lot of knitting done on the flight down:



I want to say that the flight down was shitty but I'm trying to be more Zen and stuff. So, I'm saying that the flight down was fine and I had a good time. Even though the plane was small (I've only been on two smaller planes in my life and one of them was a Cessna). It was a United Express and the seats were like ONE on one side of the plane and TWO on the other side of the aisle. I had an aisle seat on the two-seat side and I got everyone's bag/butt/hip pushed into my face when they walked past.

But I'm Zen. I'm calm. Things like that don't bother me anymore. I mean, the kid sitting behind me with the really wet cough could have covered her mouth but, hey, it's a kid. I understand.

And the baby on my right front with a shriek like a sharp blade drawn across a blackboard wasn't so bad. The guy right next to me who fell asleep and, I think, died and released his bowels didn't upset me. Nope. The kissy couple in front of me didn't make me feel bad that I had to leave my boyfriend for a week and who knows if I'll die during my trip so I may never see him again- so what? I'm cool.

The most interesting event of my flight occurred between me and a young woman across the aisle from me, in the single seat. Before we took off, she looked around the plane and said to me, "This is a SMALL plane" with a look of pure terror painted across her face. I nodded and kept knitting. Before takeoff, the pilot said it would be a choppy ascent but the flight would smooth out once we reached our altitude. During the ascent, the plane goes through a fair bit of turbulence and with each bump, the woman has small full-body spasm and grips her arm-rests with white knuckle strength.

One big bump later and her hand lashes out and grabs my forearm. Instead of saying, "Bitch, do you WANT me to drop a stitch?" I say, "Uh..." She asks if it's all right to hold my hand. [sigh] All right. I hold her hand while she tells me she's afraid of fly. She has to change in DC to get on ANOTHER plane for Albuquerque. Oh no. I joke to her that flight attendants should regularly pass out Valium for people like her. She tells me that she has some muscle relaxants and is thinking of taking one just before she gets on her next flight. I tell her I think that's a good idea.

Tired of my sweaty palm, she says she's all right and I go back to knitting (while we both surreptitiously wipe our mutually damp palms down our pant legs). She freaked out a couple more times over the next thirty minutes and then dug into her bag for something.

Now, I didn't actually SEE her take the pill(s) but I know she must have. When we began our descent, I turned to her to check out how she was doing. She swung her head around to me, tried to focus on my face, and gave me a crooked smile. She said she was fine, slurring her words a little.

I hope she made it to her connection all right but I get the feeling she ended up somewhere else. Maybe the wrong terminal, maybe the wrong city. Maybe she's wandering around Dulles runways at this very moment, terrified of the planes, taking more pills, getting more lost.

Friday

[knitting] Two Tams

Finally some pictures. I got a new camera over the Holidays and it takes some crazy good (but crazy big) pictures. Mom said she wanted a tam so I ran right out to get some yarn to make her one. I got 3 skeins of Classic Elite Inca Marl in color #1174 (I ended up using only 1.5 skeins for the whole thing).

 


I used The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns, giving her tam a 1 x 1 ribbed brim and subtle, concentric circle decreases on the crown. She loves it and says she likes how light-weight it is.

Pleased with the result (and how quickly it knit up), I made one for myself.

 


Same pattern but I chose a different brim and decreases. Oh, and bulkier yarn (I used the uber squishy/soft Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky in color #560. I bought two skeins of this and barely used any of the second skein. So more leftovers.

I'm working hard (and hardly working) on Dollar's Pirate hat. I've finished the inside brim and even introduced the second color of yarn at Knitting Club Wednesday night. The next Knitting Club is going to be at my place in a couple weeks but before that, I'll be gone to D.C. all next week for work, so I hope to get a LOT of knitting done on planes and in my hotel room.