Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I want to make a 24 set... or Lost... the possibilities are endless.
So, there I was poking through the sale yarn, and I saw 5 balls of Katia Cindy (color 15, "Blue Mix") at half-price--in this case, because the color has been discontinued. Up until now, I've stayed away from ribbon yarns. I like them, I think a lot of them are gorgeous, but they tend to be pricey for the small amount of yardage. But, half-price... today was the day for me to buy some ribbon yarn. :)
Not sure yet what it will be. Maybe a modified Ribbon Xback. The gauge for this yarn isn't anywhere close to the gauge for that pattern, so I'd need to adjust the pattern. Reconfiguring a pattern for a certain gauge would be a useful little project, actually, so I may just have to do that.
In other news... I just got called for my first official library hours, even though I don't think I'm allowed to be scheduled for hours until my training is complete (ONE MORE DAY!!!). The branch that called is the one where my area supervisor is (she's the person who has to sign off on my completed training), so I'm guessing that my training supervisor said some good things to her... if they thought I wasn't capable, they wouldn't be scheduling me before my training is done. And yes, I have a lot of supervisors.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
This is the Bag of Fate, a knitted tribute to Manos: The Hands of Fate. It's made with a total of 3 skeins of (what else?) Manos del Uruguay wool. New to intarsia? This is a great way to learn. Any less-than-perfect color changes will be hidden by the felting process, and you'll be able to learn the basic technique for use on future projects.
For a printer-friendly version, click here.
Finished size: 10" wide x 7" tall
Yarn: 2 skeins Manos del Uruguay wool, color 008 (black); 1 skein Manos del Uruguay wool, color 048 (red)
Needles: US #13 (9 mm)
Gauge: pre-felting: 3 sts/inch (12 st/4"), 3.5 rows/inch (14 rows/4");
post-felting: approx. 3.5 sts/inch (14 st/4"), 5 rows/inch (20 rows/4")
* Because this does not have to be an exact size, the gauge is not crucial.
* You'll be using 2 strands of yarn throughout, including the hand design.
* If you've never done intarsia before, you can find a brief introduction to it here.
Using 2 strands of black, CO 34 st.
Work 37 rows in even St st. Place a temporary marker on each side of the knitted piece (this marks the halfway point).
Work 6 rows in even St st.
Work the charted hand pattern in 2 strands of red (25 rows), adding 6 black sts on each side of the chart to center the design.
Once the hand pattern is completed, work 6 rows in St st in black. Bind off all sts.
Using the markers as a guide, fold the bag in half and sew up the side seams. Weave in ends. (Because you'll be felting this, the seams and woven-in ends don't have to be perfect. You can even simply knot the ends and cut off the tails after felting is done.)
Felt the bag and allow to dry.
You can attach store-bought handles, or add a length of I-cord (if you intend to felt the I-cord, take the shrinkage into account). I added 2 snaps to the inside of mine to hold it closed.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
I snagged a copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell at work today. It seems like tons of people on every single message board I visit LOVE this book, and I saw it there on the shelf saying in a little British accent, "Please take me home with you. I have ever so many pages." Seriously, you could club somebody with this thing. I read quickly, and I love big books that take more than a couple of days to get through. Remember back in school, when you'd get an assignment to read a chapter or two of whatever book, and the teacher would specifically say "Don't read ahead"? I was the kid that warning was meant for; I have a tendency to devour books (no, not literally).
Funny story, vaguely related. In 12th grade, we were getting ready to start our Beowulf unit, and our teacher asked if we had studied poetry in any of our previous courses. This one moron ass-kisser girl who had NO BUSINESS being in an AP English class piped up, "Oh, yes, we had a wonderful poetry unit in 10th grade, I feel really comfortable with reading poetry, etc." Basically, she considered herself a poetry genius. So, our assignment that night was to read the first however-many lines. The next day, the teacher asks for any thoughts that we have, and Poetry Genius Girl says, "I had some trouble understanding it. I think it would be clearer if it wasn't written as a poem." So help me. As you can imagine, a lot of people spent a lot of time wanting to chloroform this girl into blissful silence, except that we would have missed out on so many comments like that one. "I'm really good with poetry, but I'm having trouble with this... because it's a poem." Ten years later, it still makes me chuckle.
I got more enjoyment out of tonight's Project Runway, which worries me a lot (I have guilt issues about liking PR as much as I do). Although, as far as embarrassing television shows go, I think my worst would have to be World's Wildest Police Videos on Spike TV. I don't know what I enjoy more: the actual footage, or the voiceover work by Sheriff John Bunnell. "This drunk driver went for a joy ride, but the only ride he'll be taking now will be in the back of a police cruiser... to county jail." The dramatic pause there is absolutely essential.
Training continues to go well. My supervisor told me today that I seem comfortable with things, and she doesn't think I'll have any problems at all. Apparently, they occasionally have people who get so completely overwhelmed when they finally see what the job entails that they quit after the first day of training. Personally, I'm fine, but I can see why some folks have a strong freak-out reaction. Everything is entirely computer-based, so if a person isn't good with computers, there's a lot to get used to... and there's also constant supervision, so if you screw anything up, someone is standing RIGHT THERE. If you haven't accepted that you're probably going to do something stupid occasionally (like, say, entering a decimal point on the cash register), it could be disconcerting to have someone immediately tell you that you're doing something wrong. However, I accept that I might do stupid things occasionally, so... no problem. :)
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Knitting: I have two sleevecaps for my green ribbed sweater completed, which is the "hard" part of the sleeve... the remainder of the sleeve knitting should go on autopilot. I think I can quite realistically have a finished sweater by the end of the month.
Valuable lesson learned from last night's episode of 24: I do not want to be killed by someone stabbing a pair of scissors through the side of my neck.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Cut to a few minutes ago. Me: "Is that a key in the door? Maintenance would knock first, they wouldn't just come in... why is someone trying to get into my apartment?" And then I realized that it was someone doing the same thing that I had done, trying to get into the right apartment in the wrong building. Knowing that it's not just me... suddenly, I don't feel like quite so much of a dumbass.
The ones I am especially in love with (and this will be a shock to nobody) are:
Khaaaaaan! (which they only have in L and XL, so... not this time.)
Moment of triumph
Seventies sci-fi was all about hexagons
Perhaps you're picking up on the subtle motif that all of those have in common. I embrace my geekishness, people.
* My Arrested Development "Property of Orange County Prison -- No Touching" shirt. It's bright orange, and it's an AD reference. I couldn't NOT get it.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
When Spike TV showed The Birdcage, I thought "Hmm, I know they're the network for men, but this is certainly a different kind of 'manly' for them..."
When Cartoon Network showed The Goonies, I didn't even bother trying to figure out what they were doing. Goonies, you might recall, is not a cartoon; it doesn't have so much as a 5-minute animated dream sequence. Whatever, I'll go with it.
ABC Family, however, leaves them all in the dust. At 8 pm on a Saturday night, they're showing Cruel Intentions. An R-rated movie about private school kids trying to have as much sex as possible in order to manipulate everyone around them, is being shown on the FAMILY channel.
There aren't many movies out there that are LESS family-friendly than Cruel Intentions. The programming people there have gone absolutely insane.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Yay! It just needs sleeves, seaming, and a nicer-looking border around the neckline, and I will have my first pullover sweater completed. I'll probably spend a decent amount of time over the weekend trying to get the sleeves done.
Most of my projects have a similar work schedule. I'll start a project. I'll work on it occasionally, so it goes very slowly for a while. Then (usually after hitting the halfway mark), I realize how close I am to having a finished whatever, and then I'll work like crazy to get the project done. That's where I am with this sweater--I want it done as soon as possible.
I found this quiz today, and thought I'd pass the link on. I got 25 of them. :)
Thursday, January 19, 2006
So, if you're playing along at home, you know that I like baking, and that I usually bake savory things like breads, popovers (which I could make in my sleep, even though I don't think I've ever blogged about making them), the occasional gougere... I don't usually go for cookies and cakes and other sweet things.
Thus, last night was odd. I was sitting there at about 8:00 and realized that I wanted something sugary. At the first commercial break during Lost, I pulled this out of the oven:
That's a raspberry jam crostata. It's a very shortbread-like butter pastry on the bottom, with whatever jam you like as the filling (ideally, it should be a fairly good quality jam). When it bakes, some of the water in the jam evaporates, so the filling concentrates, and ends up being thick and yummy. There's no messing with tart pans or anything; you just roll out the pastry dough in a freeform "circle", spread jam on top of it, fold the edges over an inch or two, and bake.
I got the recipe here (I left out the almonds and powdered sugar); thank you for this one, Giada. I've made this a few times, and it's darn tasty.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
My on-job training starts tomorrow. The libraries were closed on Monday, and I would have gone in today, except that my training supervisor told me, "If we schedule your first day for the day after a holiday, we'll never see you again." I have to say, it's nice that they're concerned about not overwhelming new employees.
This will not matter to anyone other than me: I've reached Video Archivist status over at the TWOP forums. Woohoo!
And a final note: I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but every so often I'll see or hear a word that I have never heard before... and then it starts appearing EVERYWHERE. Such is the case right now with "bloviate". I had no knowledge of this word before last week, and since then it has turned up quite conspicuously in three different places. Apparently, the universe or karma or something wants me to learn this word, so I shall add it to my vocabulary.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Welcome back. I don't care that you have completely implausible situations and plotlines. Don't ever change.
Hugs, kisses, and car bombs,
Honestly, I don't smoke, but I could use a cigarette after that. "You like that character? Oops, he's dead now. You like that one, too? Kaboom! Dead! Let's see, it would be tedious for us to kill off a third major character in 10 minutes... does horrible life-threatening injury work for you?" Those magnificent bastards.
And I got a decent amount of knitting done as well. I really enjoy knitting during 24... there's something vaguely hilarious about working on knitting while I'm sitting there cheering for the graphic violence warning. Anyway, in a couple of rows, I'll be starting the armhole decreases for the front half of my sweater. :)
SciFi is showing the Odyssey miniseries that NBC produced a few years ago. As epic mythology miniseries go, it's not awful... not great, but not awful. Nobody can agree on an accent... some people are British, some are Italian, a couple are Greek, one sounds like a New Yorker, and the rest chose Standard Ambiguous European. I took a costume history course in college, and for my final project, I watched 3 or 4 movies dealing with the ancient Greek civilization and wrote a paper critiquing the accuracy of the costumes. This was one of the things I watched. Silver strappy sandals for Circe? Interesting choice.
Anyway, I had apparently mentally blocked the scene where Penelope lies on the beach and has sex with the ocean. I understand that your husband is lost at sea, but... Oh, I should also mention that her creepy mother-in-law is watching her from the inside the house, just to make the scene even more cringe-worthy. I'm so embarrassed for Greta Scacchi; she deserves better than this.
Wow. "None of my maids have ever seen a man, and I myself have not seen a man in over 100 years." Calypso's island has a bit of a "Castle Anthrax" vibe.
Off to make dinner and then knit until 24. :)
Saturday, January 14, 2006
And about 24 hours later:
That's my completed loaf of sourdough. It's darn tasty, and is nice and tangy like it's supposed to be. I did a dance after tasting it. I will not elaborate any further on the dance, but suffice it to say, I was happy.
I first put together my starter back in November, and I was very good about feeding it for a while. Then I went away for Thanksgiving, and stuck the starter in the fridge... where it had been sitting, quite neglected, until yesterday. Yesterday morning, I decided to see if anything was still alive and kicking in there, so I fed it. The reply came back loud and clear from my little yeast colony: "Yes, we're still here. Put us in some bread, woman!"
They're an exuberant group of single-celled organisms. I say this because it's supposed to take about 12 hours for the starter to expand, and my guys got the job done in about 3 hours. Kind of scary... they could probably take over my apartment if they wanted to.
Anyway, the process was as follows:
- Take 2 tablespoons of starter, feed it, let it rise until doubled (should take 6-8 hours, mine took 1.5 hours)
- Discard half of the starter. Feed the remaining half and let it rise again (should take 6-8 hours, mine took 1.5 hours)
- Discard 1/4 of the starter. Use the remaining 3/4 in the bread dough. Knead for 5 minutes, let rest for 20 minutes, knead for another 5-10 minutes.
- Let the dough rise for 1 hour and punch it down. Let the dough rise for another hour and punch it down again. Let rise until doubled (should take 4-5 hours, but this is where I went to bed, so I put it in the fridge overnight. Once I took it out of the fridge, it took about 4 hours.)
- Shape the dough without allowing it to deflate. Place the dough in a towel-lined colander and allow to rise until doubled (should take 3-4 hours, mine took about 3.5 hours. Incidentally, the colander is what made the nifty pattern that you can see on the finished bread).
- Gently turn the dough out on to a baking stone or baking sheet and bake. (35 minutes)
- Cool completely ("Completely"? I know I'm supposed to, but... c'mon, warm bread right out of the oven is one of life's great joys.)
So, there's what I've been doing for the last day or so. Well, that and watching figure skating. Today was one of those days where I look at figure skating and just think, "That's a lot of sequins for a man." And why is it that almost every male figure skater has really unfortunate hair? They make me want to grab some scissors or clippers, because a lot of them are dangerously close to achieving mullets.
Friday, January 13, 2006
I know I have an active starter, but this will be the test of whether it's tasty or not. Sourdough is my absolute favorite, and if I can successfully make my own, I will be incredibly happy. Wish me luck.
I pulled out my knitting for a couple of minutes yesterday during our break, and one of the trainers asked me what I was making. As it so happens, she's a crocheter. :) I'm kind of expecting to find a decent number of knitters and such among the library community... seems like it's a field that would attract crafters.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Stop. Sending. Me. Car. Tax. Bills.
I do not owe you money. YOU owe ME money, because I paid the second half of 2004 in full rather than trying to get you morons to prorate it.
It shouldn't be this difficult. This is the third car tax bill they've sent me since I've moved--and they're sending them directly to my MD address. If they have the new address in their system, then they've paid some attention to my requests to update their records... but they haven't updated the part that indicates that they don't get any more money from me.
In knitting news, my green ribbed sweater is progressing nicely. I can actually envision finishing it; before, there was still so much left to do that it seemed like it would go on unfinished for quite a while.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Yesterday, I added 20 extra minutes to my travel time, figuring that rush hour into Annapolis might not be pretty. I ended up getting there 20 minutes early, because there wasn't any traffic at all. (It was fine by me, though. 20 minutes of knitting time.) So, today I left a bit later... Of course, I hit traffic, and ended up being about 5 minutes late (they hadn't started yet, so no real harm done, but I generally like being on time for things). There wasn't an accident or anything; it was just one of those bizarre things where the traffic slows up at a couple of spots for no good reason... in Richmond, they would have called it a "sunshine delay". Apparently, I don't have the timing worked out just yet, so I'll see what happens tomorrow... given a choice, I'll opt for 20 minutes early.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Of course, then there's the puzzling part when Wesley leaves the holodeck, and he's standing there in the corridor dripping everywhere while Picard looks at him disapprovingly. How is he still wet if he's not on the holodeck? The holodeck water shouldn't be able to exist off the holodeck... such are the mysteries which plague my thoughts.
No tremendous progress on any knitting projects, mainly because I've spent a lot of time lately working on my "clean the apartment" resolution. Today, I tackled the "dining room" area of my apartment. That's in quotes because I've never used it for a dining room. It was my computer room back when I still had dial-up, and it's been badly-organized storage since they installed new windows (which required moving everything in the apartment away from the outside walls). It's still storage, but now it's more organized. There's room for a table in there now, if I felt like getting a table. Anyway, I got a lot done in there today, so I'm going to work on some knitting tonight. I think I could have this sweater done before sweater weather is done for the year... that would be fabulous.
Job training starts tomorrow. 4 days (ok, half-days) of classroom training this week, followed by on-job training over the next couple of weeks. :)
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Sing it with me, folks: "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." Ok, so the kids may not be jingle-belling right now; I still feel that it's an appropriate song. Just look at what greeted me when I got the mail yesterday:
*Dance of Joy for the approaching 24 season premiere*
A quote from the article: "When the beloved terrorism thriller returns Jan. 15 for its fifth season, legions of diehards will have been waiting a long while (approximately 237 days, but who's counting?) ..."
229 days down, 8 to go. :)
Yes, I'm aware of how much of a dork I am. Have you seen the ads, though? "You're gonna tell me what I need to know; it's just a matter of how much you want it to hurt." Awesome! Plus, guys with guns! Decidedly attractive guys with guns! And the ads are promising at least one big explosion! And Peter Weller will be on--flippin' ROBOCOP, people!
(If, at some point in the future, I ever start to worry about being too girly, please direct me to re-read the above paragraph. I'm excited for explosions and Robocop.)
I will try very hard to have this be my only post about my 24 obsession. I will not allow things like this to take over my blog.
I need to go lie down now. Too much excitement.
Friday, January 06, 2006
That's the finished back and not-quite-half of the front.
My apartment is starting to look presentable. Still not "clean", but I'm getting there. I can see the surface of my coffee table, and most of the junk in my living room is organized into piles of what needs to be filed, what needs to be shredded, etc. I feel like I've made some good progress.
For me, the early frontrunner in the Thursdays @ 9 pm battle of CSI vs The O.C. vs My Name Is Earl/The Office seems to be Earl/Office. The O.C. wasn't in the running this week, as Fox decided to show the fine Rob Schneider film The Hot Chick instead... I get the feeling that Fox has grown weary of The O.C. and is setting it up for failure as only Fox knows how. Those wankers. (Yes, 3 years later, I'm still bitter about Firefly.)
The Office (either one) comes up with some fantastic pranks. Like putting someone's stapler into a Jello mold. Or, from last night's episode, having the vending machine person restock the snack machine with items from someone's desk. I had a lot of reservations about the US version when they first announced it, but I think this is one of the only British shows that the US networks have done justice to. The original will always be first in my heart for "Free Love Freeway" alone... I can't watch the "Who Cares Wins" episode without ending up in tears during the sing-a-long.
I finished American Gods last night. Note to self: reading graphic stuff about death and maggots and worms as you're falling asleep can lead to some really icky dreams. Maybe we could not do that again. Honestly, my subconscious lives to screw with me. Loved the book anyway, and I figure I'll be starting Anansi Boys tonight.
The chances are now very good that I'll need to pop "Who Cares Wins" in the ol' DVD player sometime later today...
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Ok, as long as I make an agreement with myself not to rant about anything job-related in the future, I should be safe in posting this much: I'll be working in my local library system. The only job in my life that I enjoyed was in my college music library, and the new job is basically the same thing I used to do in college. Granted, one night at the music library, we got bored and decided to see if I could fit through the book return in the desk... I don't anticipate anything quite like that happening now.
Tonight, I made myself some curry chicken, and later on, I settled in with some knitting and a glass of pinot noir and watched Project Runway. Do I consider myself "fashionable"? Do I know anything at all about fashion or design? No, not by any stretch. Regardless, I have an unexplainable (and possibly unhealthy) love for this show. The post title comes from tonight's episode... you have to imagine a guy saying it in an accusatory tone.
I have this bright purple lambswool sweater that I love. It was a Christmas present a few years ago. Recently, it seems to have been attacked by a couple of critters who have chewed a couple of holes in it, and they're obvious holes. I have no extra yarn, and thus no way to mend it, and I absolutely don't want to just toss it. So, I think I'm going to bite the bullet and try to salvage the yarn to make something else. I'm more than a little bit nervous about doing this, because I don't want to end up ruining the whole thing... *fingers crossed*.
I won't leave anyone hanging: yes, I did fit through the book return. You can see why they made me a supervisor.
Monday, January 02, 2006
I've had a visit from the Job Fairy. Yay! I hesitate to say where, because you hear all these horror stories about people getting fired for things they put in their blogs, and... no, thank you. However, I will happily say that it's not temping, it's not food service, and it's not in retail. I applied back in November before Thanksgiving, had my interview in early December, got the word right before Christmas, and I start next Monday. :)
Back to stash reorganization.
So, I actually have a couple of resolutions this year (I generally don't have resolutions, so this is kind of new and different):
Fairly basic stuff. And I think I'd like to have people over here more often so I could stop feeling like a mooch, but we'll see about that one. I got a start on #1 and #3 today... I baked a loaf of bread entirely for me (yum), and I've started reorganizing my yarn stash.
Everyone should watch Arrested Development while they still can. There's a full hour on tonight... although I do have to say that the "encore" episode that they're showing is my least favorite episode of the series. The problem is that Martin Short is in it, and I don't generally like Martin Short (the exception being the SVU episode where he played a serial rapist who targeted virgins... I thought he was quite good in that. Very creepy.) Anyway, watch AD.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
So, here's one. My apartment complex has changed its name from "The Hollows" to "Quail Hollow". Why the change? No idea.
I just have one thing to say: I have never seen a quail here.
Raccoons? Yes. Feral stray cats? Just saw one outside earlier today. Squirrels that jump on my screen window just to scare the living hell out of me? Certainly. Construction and landscaping guys who think that the dumpsters are their own personal urinal? Sure thing (and by the way, ew. There are kids who play near the dumpsters--big metal boxes with lots of hiding room behind them, so they're irresistable in the eyes of a 7-year-old).
It's like another complex near here that's "The Islands of Fox Something", but definitely doesn't have even one island, much less plural islands. I want to be the person who comes up with pretentious names for apartment complexes; the ones that don't make any sense are the best ones.
And because I can, I'm concluding with one of my favorite Simpsons quotes:
Lisa: Pablo Neruda said, "Laughter is the language of the soul."
Bart: I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda.
(From "Bart Sells His Soul")