Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday's Conundrum

So, as I was about to drift off during my daily nap, I had a thought. Right now, it is ridiculously hot and humid where I live. I feel like I have to hack through the air with a very large knife or a machete just to get to the car. It's crazy. Well, with weather like this and good hygiene habits, one (like me) has a tendency to shower more than once a day, just to keep up with the sweating and all that. And, by the way, anyone who doesn't sweat in this kind of weather is utterly amazing and your genes need to be studied at length so that the non-sweaty gene can be isolated and spliced into my DNA, but I digress. So, I was also thinking about how people are prone to hyperbole and outright lies and say things like, "I've taken like 20 showers today, it's so hot outside," and the like when they did not, in actuality, take anywhere near 20 showers that day. So, if you are still on the train of thought with me, here was my thought before I almost drifted into napland before I decided that sharing this particular idea was more important than a second nap for me today: Could I possibly take 20 five minute long showers in one day? I'm thinking through the logistics now, like what exactly constitutes a it just standing under a running faucet or do you actually have to clean something in the process? If you do have to clean something in the process, how would I break down my body parts to allow for something different to be cleaned in each of the 20 showers of that day? I feel that constantly getting dressed and disrobing in order to shower 20 times in one day would take up a considerable amount of time so it would be best to just hang out in my pjs or a robe for the day, which is generally antithetical to the reason why people usually spend the day in their jammies or a robe. Another question that just occurred to me...since I'll essentially just be hopping into and out of the shower all day, will my fingers prune up slowly over time or will they prune up early on and just stay that way throughout the day? Also, is one to two minutes between showers sufficient time for it to constitute two distinct showers or is that just a continuation of one shower? If it is just a continuation, then how long do I have to wait between each shower for it to constitute its own distinct shower? Before I launch into this experiment into cleanliness (borderline Howard Hughesian cleanliness but I'm not wealthy enough to be eccentric...just weird), I need to tease out the answers to the above questions and get everything worked up logistically. I'll be earth friendly and take every shower with a big bucket and use the water to flush the toilets and water the plants for the next week and I only use all natural soaps so no polluting that way. But anyway...jump on the train of thought with me and help me to become that person who isn't full of crap when they say "I took twenty showers was so hot out."
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The words to the song

*This post will be a departure from the norm although it will involve me pontificating, which is normal. Consider yourself forewarned.*

A cable outage due to a tropical storm leaves a person with time to sit and listen to music (or watch DVDs or read a book or whatever...this post is about music.). While my love for music fluctuates (doesn't it seem like "fluctuate" should have an -x in it?) between being merely enamored and being totally and completely blinded by the beauty, the love is always there. I was going through a stack of CDs, yes CDs...those wonderfully tangible little discs of light that carry both the notes and the space in between...those fantastically sensitive circles of multicolored sunshine that are going the way of the dodo, the betamax, and the outhouse...Anyway. I was going through a stack of CDs the other day and I've been listening to a lot of music that I haven't listened to in a long time. Now, it's all I'm listening my car, at my house, wherever I am I find that I end up asking if I can put on a CD, listen to a song, hear a note or two. While I could go off on a completely separate tangent about rhythm, beats, melody, and all of those other things that make a song move forward, I'm not feeling technical today (although you wouldn't know it).

I'm all about the lyrics today. I had one of those mornings this morning when I woke up with a song stuck in my head and it wasn't the beat that was rattling was the words. I'm that person who will listen to a song six hundred times in a row to tear it all apart and know it in every possible the point where others who spend a lot of time around me have threatened mild physical violence if I hit the back button on the CD or MP3 player (yes, I do have an iPod...I'm not a Luddite for Krishna's sake) and make everyone listen to that song one more time. It's the words to the song that end up meaning the most. It's the only poetry most people hear today and there are millions upon millions of reasons to get involved, really involved, with a song. The physiological and psychological connections that music makes for us are astounding and sometimes, when I'm all caught up in something else, I forget about that and put my music into the cabinet or hide out with it while I'm working, my brain being fed a song or two via the headphones cupped around the input portholes on my head. Being disconnected from music that means something to you is a tragic thing. I think I've decided that I'd rather drown in a sea of music that I love than just feel the mist of a good musical moment on my face before I return to a silence filled with noise. I've decided that I will get up and dance about whenever I need to because the music has sunk itself into me so deeply I don't have a chance. I've decided to recognize the fact that when I dance to music I love I really feel like I'm communicating with my God. I've decided that even though I can attach a song to a person, I'm not going to do that to either the song or the person and I'm going to allow each to live their lives independently of one another so that each may be cherished and enjoyed for much longer. I've decided that there are songs I will listen to every day, come hell or high water (I've seen and/or been through both so it shouldn't be an especially daunting task), because they feed my soul, speak to my heart, and expand my intellect...three things that you should do for yourself every day anyway. I've decided that you can tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to and it's important to pay attention to that. I've decided that music is not the only way to judge character but it is a good indication of taste ;-)

So, with that in mind, any recommendations? If any of you are wondering, at the moment, I'm listening to DJ Krush, Ella Fitzgerald, RJD2, John Mayer, The Yardbirds, The Coasters, and lotsa roots reggae.

Regularly scheduled content to follow...thanks for checking in. I hope you are having a beautiful day.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Book Reviews...

So, summer is prime reading time for many people. There are vacations to the beach (where knitting can get a bit sticky and sandy. The idea of working with wool whilst sweat beads roll down my sides gives me the bad shivers...ugh.) or lake house (much better for knitting but reading is nice too). There are great holidays, like the Fourth of July, when you get to kick around the house for a while or sit outside in the sunshine and read. Suffice to say that summer presents many wonderful reading opportunities and, if you are not a school age child or a student of some kind who is forced to read during summer break, you may be hankering for a suggestion or two. Despite the fact that I work for a publishing company that has published many fine books for summer reading, I don't feel like shilling for my company (although most of my authors are fantastic and wonderful people who deserve some more PR) so I'm presenting you with two books that were not published by my company that would make delightful summer reading.

Just so you know, you can click on the little box under the sub-headings and it will direct you to the book via Amazon. For some reason, the images themselves aren't showing up in my browser (Firefox) but I wanted to let y'all know they existed.

Number one:

The Book of Air and Shadows by Micheal Gruber has all sorts of elements of a good suspense novel....a forlorn and luckless main character, a couple of suckers, a dame with a past, and a tough talking lady cop. The book itself is organized like an Anglophile book (think Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, V.S. Naipaul...hell, even Gabriel Garcia Marquez) in that there are actually three stories being told simultaneously and, of course, in the end, they all intertwine to become one story. The basic breakdown of the book is this: The main character is an IP lawyer who gets handed a sixteenth (I believe) century letter, from a very nervous client, that potentially points to the whereabouts of an unknown Shakespeare play and has information about Shakespeare himself, one of the most elusive figures in literary history. Shortly after the main character has taken the property into his custody, his client, a Shakespeare scholar and English professor, disappears and turns up dead. The main character, ever one to appreciate a mystery and a challenge, goes on a mission to find out what the sixteenth century document says, its provenance and the hidden Shakespeare play the document alludes to. After the main character gets a hold of the sixteenth century document, the other stories are introduced. The reader slowly finds out where the document was found, the hands the document passed through, and the truth behind the whole thing. The Book of Air and Shadows is sprinkled with interesting historical tidbits about Shakespeare, cryptography, and book binding. It involves rare book dealers, literary scholars, and the Russian mafia. There is a great chase scene at the end involving boats and children. Overall, I'd give the book three to three-and-a-half stars out of five. The writing style, tone, and pace were very good and the author's voice adapts and changes for each story being told without the whole book falling apart and getting convoluted. Personally, because I read for a freakin' living and have to notice things like this, I think the author left himself too many choices for ways to end the book. When it came time to end the book, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities and was, thus, not fully satisfied with it. That being said, it's one of the more entertaining books I've read lately and I do recommend checking it out. It's not your typical, formulaic beach-type reading so be prepared to get into it a bit deeper than you would, say, a Janet Evanovich or James Patterson novel (both of whom, by the way, are fine novelists from what I understand).

Number Two:

The Lost Van Gogh
was written by husband and wife team, A.J. Zerries. While there was some interesting history here about Nazi art theft and black market art dealing, I could only, in good conscience, give this book a maximum of two-and-a-half out of five stars. The main character, an NYPD cop named Clay, get assigned to all the art cases in his department because of his knowledge of art and its history. A Van Gogh painting that was assumed to be lost forever shows up in a relatively unmarked envelope at the Met via UPS and it is Clay's job to track down the owner and untangle the mystery of where it came from. After the initial chapters when the reader is introduced to the story and the main character, the book starts to dissolve into two different books. Unfortunately, The Lost Van Gogh is a great example of why co-authorship is a difficult thing to do. You must work TOGETHER to write co-author a book...not just assume that your co-author's work is going to brilliantly assimilate into what you've written. There were many, many times in this book that it felt like I was reading two completely different books. The personality and temperament of the main character vacillates frequently and the plot becomes a convoluted mess in parts of it. In the end, the co-authors manage to start working together again for a long, drawn out, and needlessly dramatic ending. I can't even say that I was fully entertained while reading this book but, clearly, this is all just my humble opinion. If you've been thinking about picking up this book, I'd say move along and grab something else.

At the moment, I'm reading...

The Thief of Time by John Boyne. I have only read the first three chapters at this point and so far, it's not bad. More appropriate for beach reading than anything else I've read this summer, it may prove to be an interesting book. I like the concept (the memoir of a man who is 256 years old and has lived through A LOT) and Boyne's writing style is lucid and relatively concise. I'm trying to shut off the proofreader in my head and ignore the dialogue formatting, etc., and just enjoy the damn book. I'll let you know how that and the book work out. So, do y'all have any good suggestions for summer reading? Recommendations you wish to share? I hope everyone is having a great summer thus far. Brace yourselves for most blog posts because they seem to be coming from everywhere.
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

For some unknown reason...

My comments were not relayed to my email inbox and I had no idea any of y'all commented. Thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to do so. I would've mentioned it earlier, had I known...stupid Blogger. Of course, now that I say that, Blogger will prevent me from posting ever again, which wouldn't be all that different from now actually....but I digress. So, in lieu of yet another actual post, I'm going to do this meme thing that Valerie tagged me with. I think everyone else out in the known blog universe has already done this meme so I'm not going to tag anyone at the end, as per my usual meme behavior. If you haven't been tagged and want to play along, consider yourself "it" and let me know. Here goes:

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was 18 and finishing my second year in university (I got an early start. Hurrah!) and trying to stop being a complete idiot. I have only partially achieved my goals for both the former and the latter. I still want to go back and get my Ph.D. and I'm still an idiot most of the time.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?

Write at least three pieces of content for books, read a little of my "for pleasure" book, go check on my mama's cats and change their litterboxes (putting that one off until much later), finish the last 1/2" of stockinette on the Linen Kilt (ravelry link) so I can start the decreasing and ribbing, and try not to play Guitar Hero all day (it is a game inspired by me).

3. Snacks I enjoy.

Popcorn with lotsa butter, kettle chips in regular or barbecue flavor, cheese, and apple based desserts

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire.

Pay off the bills for everyone in my family, set up a trust fund for my nieces and nephew, buy some property, start a charitable foundation for education, and take a world cruise

5. Places I have lived.

Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, all over Florida, Manhattan, Germany, and New Orleans

6. Jobs I've had.

hostess at an Italian restaurant, pizza by the slice slinger, "sales associate" at Banana Republic and Williams-Sonoma, personal assistant, and, currently, I'm a freelance editor/writer and yoga instructor

7. Peeps I want to know more about:

See aforementioned opinion about this. I wanna know more about everyone so c'mon people, now, smile on your brother and get to know one another right now (I know those aren't the exact lyrics but that's what I've got for the moment).

So, yet another blog post sans photos but I'm working on it. Travis was away with the camera but now he has returned so I can start taking photos and stuff again and posting them. Hurrah! I hope all of you are doing fantastic. Thanks for staying tuned in. :)
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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Just so you know I didn't drop off the Earth

I thought I'd post to my blog! Novel idea, right? Anyway. I finally finished my yoga certification training and am now, officially, a yoga instructor. Rockin'! I teach one class a week here and I'm loving it. The studio space is beautiful (there will be photos of the studio on their website soon along with some fun photos of the staff (including me!! Wow!) doing some partner yoga stuff.). After I finished the yoga training, I had to do a ton of work to catch up on and make deadlines for so I was burning the candle at both ends in order to get all my crap done. By the end of most days, I was too tired and cranky to make proper blog posts. Hence the ginormous amount of time between posts. Lame, I know, but it is what it is. So, now that I'm done making excuses for leaving my reader (readers? Maybe. I'm optimistic.), I'll show you some knitting.

I am finally jumping on the Monkey bandwagon (ever so late...I'm a rebel like that) and I am making these beautiful Monkeys:
Monkey with a view
They are being made with Stitchjones sock yarn in the Arashiyama (sp? Sharon, help!) and I love how they are working up. I'm actually a little bit further along on my second sock than the photo shows (that's my backyard, basically, in the photo as well. I figured those of you who don't have palm trees and rivers to look at might appreciate the view.). Here is another photo of my beautiful Monkeys (or Monkey, as the case may be in this photo):
happy monkey
All I can say about the yarn is that it is heavenly....soft, smooth, squishy, warm but not hot...delish.
I'm also working on these socks:
Close-up of root chakra
They are my own design and they are called The Chakra Socks. I'm knitting them up in some rainbow variegated Plymouth Sockotta (it looks less Easter eggish in real life) on size 0 needles (they are going really really slowly because of that). These are my "working" socks that I only work on while I am sitting at my desk, reading blogs and such. I'm catching up on my blog reading (only 2600 or so to go!). I've been reading some of y'all's blog posts from before Christmas. It's kinda weird but I like to be comprehensive, evidently. I've also been trying to comment more on your blogs to let you know that I love the dedication you have for posting regularly and inspiring me to knit new and different things.
Back to the knitting front, I'm about a quarter of the way through the Linen Kilt (ravelry link) from Knit Two Together. Here's a photo:
Linen Kilt post bottom ruffle
Notice that my foot, which hasn't made an appearance on the blog for awhile, snuck into this photo. I'm using Louet Euroflax Sportweight Linen in black. I'm loving it so far...lots of stockinette for when I'm watching television or hanging out with Travis. Good stuff. More details when it is finished.
Speaking of finished...
I finished and presented the Print O' the Waves Stole to my mama. I have photos but I haven't uploaded them to flickr yet so I'll have to try and be a good little blogger and get you photos of that. It turned out beautifully, considering it was my first lace project. Because of it, I'm all about some lace now. Go figure. Don't be surprised if I start doing a lot more lace. Which reminds me...I finished the Whisper Lace Socks (ravelry link) too. I'm waiting for the single sock I sent off to the Knitter Project to come back and complete the pair so I can send them off to their intended recipient. By the way, these are definitely NOT a size medium. I even got gauge and they came out quite small...more like a ladies size small...hence the reason why they are leaving the house and heading to a dear friend of mine who has tiny feet.
Well, dear bloglings and blogettes, I've run out of blogging steam at the moment so this is it for the moment. I hope y'all are having a wonderful day and enjoying the world.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dash in...dash out

So here's a quickie for you since I am in the middle of a hundred things right now. I have another 50 hour yoga intensive session this weekend (from Friday through Monday) and that means almost zero knitting or anything other than yoga, eating, and sleeping. I can't wait to be a certified yoga instructor!! Yippee!!

  • The MAN socks are progressing again. I frogged back to the leg so I could add an extra inch to it so it would be the same length as its mate. Then I cruised through the heel flap and started picking up my gusset stitches only to realize I had not turned the heel. Ribbit! Ribbit! I frogged back, turned the heel and am back to the gusset decreases.
  • I started another Knit Picks project that, while not being something I would ever knit or use for myself, is turning out rather lovely. It's a bit of fair isle, which is always fun (IMO, anyway) and, compared to my other projects, it's a quick knit. I'll try and get a sneaky photo so y'all can glimpse it before its finished. They sent me their Swish 100% Superwash Wool to use for the project and I must say that it is really great yarn. Very springy and soft. Travis deemed it hat-worthy so that is saying something. More details on the yarn after it's been blocked. More details on the project after it's been published in the catalog.
  • The Print O' the Waves Stole is coming along. I have three corners (three repeats), one short side (10 repeats) and one long side (30 repeats) left before I'm finished with the knitting and ready to block. Huzzah!
  • The Whisper Lace socks (see left-hand sidebar) are nearly finished. I have a half a pattern repeat to do on the foot and then I can start the rounded toe. I'm almost sad to be finished with it but I have plans for the pair as I'm sending them to someone as a surprise gift with accompanying fun stuff. More details on that when I start that part of the project. I will say that it involves papercrafting though. For some awesome papercrafting action, check out Mary Ann's blog. It's rad and she's talented.
Check out this blog too. Travis sent me the link a while ago and I only recently looked at it and it's pretty darned cool. I hope y'all enjoy it. Well, bloglings and blogettes, I have to get back to work. I hope y'all are having a beautiful day. It's in the 70's here and really breezy so we have the doors and windows open to let the breeze air out the house. Travis just escorted Poogar back into the house after he let him romp about in the yard for a while. Poog now has a black smudge on his face. It's cute. I'll be back soon with some photos, hopefully (for the photos, not the be back soon part). Om Shanti!
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Monday, April 07, 2008

I am not just bad at math...

I am stunningly bad at math...Consider my last blog post, I calculated the number of edge repeats on my mama's shawl to be 120 total. However, the pattern according to and copyrighted by Eunny Jang says this, " Chart B 30 times over long sides and 10 times over short sides. Work one whole repeat of the edging at each corner." The stole is rectangular, which means it has two long sides (30+30=60), two short sides (10+10=20) and four corners (1+1+1+1=4). So, let's finish the math together, shall we? Okay, 60+20+4=84, no? So, in my original "I can do math in my head" estimate of 120, I was off by...let's see...(I'm going to calculator. com to figure this out)...36 rounds off!! 36 16 row repeats off! This is just the universe's way of helping me to retain my humility. I need to strengthen my math skills...or, when I've had some wine, I should defer to mechanized or computerized assistance when doing math because my brain can clearly not be relied upon.

Wherein I question my knitting abilities for a moment. Based on two and a half examples:
So, for a few minutes there, I totally doubted whether or not I should be allowed to handle two pointy sticks (in any of their incarnations) and yarn. These are the reasons why...two of them involve the same project. I haven't even gotten as far as analyzing what that means but I suspect it means I actually effed up more than the two and a half examples that are to follow.
1) Whilst knitting the second MAN sock (in fingering weight wool handpainted by the effervescent Stitchjones and named "Tom Sawyer"), I got to knitting the foot when I realized that the pattern I wrote myself (y'know, written in the kind of notation only you can understand, with all the weird little abbreviations that only you understand) confused me (ME! I wrote the darned thing!) and I had made a second sock that would be one full inch shorter on the leg than the other sock. Heu misera sum! hahahaha. So I frogged it back to where I started the heel flap and eased all the stitches back onto the needle to knit for another inch on the leg. Then....
2)After working another inch on the leg, I again started knitting the heel flap (40 rows...It's a gargantuan sock. If I knit it up in worsted weight yarn and changed it to a short row heel and a rounded toe, it could be a Christmas stocking pattern...hmmm.). We were watching Sweeney Todd at my mama's house and I made it halfway through the heel flap before picking it up again last night. At this point in the evening, I had already been knitting on the aforementioned project (the lace shawl/stole) and wanted some "easy" knitting. I picked up the MAN sock and finished the heel flap. Then I started picking up gusset stitches. Now, any savvy knitter may by now have noticed my error. I, however, knit away at those gusset stitches for several rows before noticing that I had forgotten to turn the heel, thus making the sock into a really horrible tube sock with a strange patch on the back where the heel flap was supposed to be. Needless to say, I tinked one DPN's worth of stitches out and shoved the whole lot back into my handbag (aka my handbag that is big enough to hold a WIP. Small handbags are used with major discretion these days).
0.5) So this was only partially my fault. I blame it on the slippery needles. The other day, I put down the shawl/stole for my mama with the intent to leave it alone for the rest of the night. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I yanked heartily on one of the circular needles I have been using (one US3 needle and one US4 needle...I couldn't find my other US4 circ so I improvised). I yanked a bunch of stitches, a whole ROW'S worth of stitches, off the needle and couldn't confront the problem for two whole days. Then I dusted myself off, picked the mess up, and made myself a note after deciphering where I had dropped down to on the chart. The note says this: "Don't forget that sts were dropped & p/u'd again, 3 to 5 rows prior to where they were (on the needles, pre-dropping) & therefore (but I used the symbol (three dots making a triangle) for therefore instead of the word) the side (long) will have more (but I crossed it out after I thought about it for a minute...see the math exegesis above for further coverage of that evidently insurmountable task) uh, less, than 30 repeats." Minus the italicized text, that is exactly the note I wrote to myself. hahahahaha

Well, dear bloglings and blogettes, I will return armed with photos and hopefully improved math skills in my next post. Think happy thoughts and find your true path. I hope you have a beautiful day.
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