September 2007

All commercials aside, here’s the second installment from Knitty Blog Stalker 2: show us the contents of your purse, without editing. This was, really, a bit shocking, as I have a lot of stuff crammed into one bag that’s about 7x8x2.5 inches. Observe, said purse!

(Please pardon the graininess of the images. It wasn’t a good light for flash, and I haven’t quite mastered the manual settings on my camera so that shooting without flash isn’t horrible.)
So this is my purse. It is Liz Claiborne and I got it on sale. I don’t think it’s real leather, either, but it’s worn well, as I’ve had it for nearly a year. I like that it is black and simple and not too big or too small. That is, really, my ideal purse/bag–unobtrusive, yet large enough to carry things. If you hadn’t quite caught on, I am not a handbag collector…

And here is what is in it, behind the cut! Also, a special image. (more…)


So as part of the Knitty Blogstalker 2 community, yours truly has taken upon herself to follow weekly prompts, in hopes of being more motivated to post, receiving more comments, and general other vanity… Right, enough of the fancy talk, here’s the opening salvo: Tell about yourself. Interpretation is open. And therefore yours truly came up with five talking points.

  1. I am from Wisconsin.
    Everything you’ve heard about Wisconsin is true. This would be fine, were it not for the fact that you haven’t heard everything about Wisconsin. For example, if you lived here in Milwaukee, had $20, and were socially motivated, you could find something fun to while away your summer weekend. This something would not even have to include beer, though that is always a consideration. Much I might not like to admit it, this place is pervasive in my speech, actions, and thoughts, and always will be.
    Truth be told, I like Wisconsin a lot more when I’m not in it, but even so, here are some things that I like, which you really just can’t get anywhere else:

    • bratwurst: for those who don’t know, bratwurst is a German style sausage made usually of pork flavored with…well, it really depends, and I can’t find a good combo here on the web. Often it’ll have fennel seeds in it, but not always…um…anyhow. The only way to do brats is to grill them. Anything else is just ludicrous.
    • the Green Bay Packers: you don’t have to like football to remain a Packer fan. It’s a state of mind that no other team has. Yes, everyone else says that about their team, but it’s best explained by Jim Gorant in his new book Fanatic. Packer Nation is silly, but dignified whenever possible, and we do not put up with any crap from our players. Also, the team’s owned by the fans. Literally.
    • Senator Russ Feingold: I’m not going to go to excess here, to spare too much political commentary from those who didn’t expect to find it in this post. That said, Russ’ ability to get elected and reelected as an unapologetic lefty says something about his forthrightness as a politician. And why he’ll never be a presidential candidate.
    • the fact that you can talk to someone while in line and they won’t think you’re nuts: enough said.
  2. I am a geek.
    People take this statement in a lot of ways, but it’s really become so much less of a perjorative over my lifetime alone that I don’t see it as one, really. I’m also multifaceted in my identification as a geek: I have my scifi fan self, but I’m also somewhat of a software and HTML jockey, and I basically majored in pop culture in college. Not to mention I can identify a low angle shot at fifty paces.
    But really? It started with Patrick Stewart and the fact that I grew up with Star Trek: The Next Generation since I’ve really had memories. I feel that we can learn a lot from science fiction (or as people like to put it now, speculative fiction); good scifi provides us with the parables of our times, and asks the hard questions that we face now and may face later. And pop culture analysis means that we can learn from ourselves!
  3. I quite possibly could be a filmmaking oddity.
    Never mind that my ultimate career goal is to direct an approachable and non-esoteric feminist sci-fi epic. I just don’t do things that filmmakers are supposed to do with themselves. I don’t tend to go to the cinema, for starters, mostly because of the expense and the fact that everything’s taking less and less time to go to DVD now, but also because I don’t really feel as comfortable in that setting. Too many people.
    I’m also very disturbed by male directors and their attitudes, and how despite our changing societal viewpoints, this remains the same. I want to play in the same sandbox, but I don’t want to be putting together the leftovers; I don’t want to make drivel, but I don’t want to do some indie film that’s not accessible to anyone.
    By the way, there’s a film reference in the subject of this post, and my favourite film ever is Silence of the Lambs. Take that as you will.
  4. Lately, I’ve swung towards the KISS method in more and more aspects of my life.
    That is: Keep It Simple, Stupid (with a thank you to Mr. Fiet for that being the only thing I got out of freshman geometry). In terms of aesthetics, I don’t want curlicues and swirls and ten shades of pink. I prefer Mission and modern style furniture, clean lines, and colour combinations that make sense. In terms of other things, I want information presented in a straight-forward manner, and while I don’t think a narrative has to be linear, it should come together at some point like a puzzle. If you can’t do this, at least some of the time, take a look back and consider why not. It might be enlightening.
  5. I am a Smithie.

    I never thought when I went off to college that I would be One Of Those People with a firm and nauseatingly set identity rooted in one’s institution of higher learning. I don’t really have it for my high school, that’s for certain. But when it comes to Smith…well, all bets are off, baby. I recognise its faults and its weaknesses and its insularities. But I’m a product of Smith and proud to have gone there, and I would recommend it for anyone who’s 18, female-bodied, and in search of a home place as well as a very, very good education. Being a Smith grad, I think, is something I will never be able to shake, and I’m quite glad of that, really.

Weekends, around here, aren’t all that different from weekdays, only with more sleeping in and more noise from the childrens next door.  (For the sake of all involved, we shall not name the childrens anything but Loud Chilluns.  Their numbers vary–there are three in residence, but they are often joined by neighbor children who are almost as loud.)  I would have less of a problem, incidentally, if I didn’t suffer from mild but chronic migraines…and didn’t like to sleep past 9 AM on weekends.  It seems really like no one over the age of 14 remembers the time when they weren’t tired, when getting up at 6:30 AM was a joy.  I sure don’t, and I am beginning to doubt that those times will ever return.

This weekend I was moderately productive.  I helped with the laundry and dinner, and I also did some things that readers of this blog will care about, namely cooking and knitting.  I know I’ve mentioned the Joy of Cooking caramel tart in here before, but I don’t know exactly where.  This tart’s fairly labor intensive, but not all that difficult regardless.  The worst part is making a caramelized syrup, which, like most things people whine about with cooking, is less hard and more time-consuming.  It is much harder to mess it up than anyone lets on as long as you’re paying some sort of attention.  It takes that long, long enough that I turned off the Packers post-game and put on music, as there’s only so many times I can hear about problems with a young offense, and the good work on defense and special teams, and how Favre* was good in the pocket…

There are no pictures, and I apologize, but we had to eat it fairly quickly and therefore it hadn’t set properly.  Now it is set properly, but it’s cut into and messily at that.  Sorry.  Does anyone read blog posts without pictures?  I mean, really read them?  I’m guilty of this myself.

Also, I’ve been progressing with bells on, when it comes to my latest Big Project, the Annie Modesitt Corset Top; though I even managed to cast on my second Broadripple sock, go me…at this rate Mom’ll have socks for Teachers Convention.  It works up fairly fast, but I’m too lazy to take a WiP picture right now.   You can take a look at it as created two years ago by Marnie MacLean, instead.  I’d use the image on Annie’s site, but I think it shows better on a person.

I’m having very good luck with the Malabrigo worsted weight (she says, before being done or even blocking), at the very least with the amount of yarn.  I’m not quite done with the first skein and I have three rows remaining on the bust reducing chart.  The thickness of the yarn does vary, which can be a bit troublesome, and I’m not sure how that’ll work out.   Also, the pattern’s not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, praise the lord.  Maybe I have finally reached ‘intermediate knitter’ status.

Right now a heavy top doesn’t seem so bad.  We’ve hit that weather point where it can potentially be cool and unpleasant, as evidenced by today.  Wisconsin drivers have not yet got to the point of remembering how to drive in rain (we here are too far north to have been flooded–we’ve got drought instead), and therefore are either driving far too cautiously or insanely fast.  There isn’t a happy medium, and I’m starting to think there never will be one.

* Note: Brett Favre has played for the Packers for maybe 14 years, and I still have difficulty spelling his name right.  I typed ‘Farve’ maybe three times while writing that sentence, even when concentrating.  That said, I have been showing random signs of dyslexia for the last few years.  Who can say why?

Couple things to report on:

I think I am seriously having issues with paprika.  No, really.  If I eat it in more than small quantities, I get…distressed.  And I don’t mean in the swooning on the chaise sort of way.  I thought the first time was a fluke involving myself and some Middle Eastern food, but then this past week I made some baby back ribs on the grill.  They were fantastic, and I made up a Southern-style (any resemblance to actual Southern food is coincidental) dry rub that I put on, which had paprika as a base.  And then the unpleasantness.  If this happens a third time, it’s more than coincidence, methinks.  The thing is, I’m not all that eager to check in the name of science…

That said, ribs are really a lot easier than everyone lets on–buy a rack, cut it into pieces to be more managable and put on the rub, let it sit for an hour or two while your grill coals burn down.  Cook for about 30 minutes per pound in indirect heat and turn at least once, brush on BBQ sauce near the end.  That simple.  And honestly, not too bad pricewise, for a special occasion.  Like Labor Day.

Also, I finished another knitting project, which means that I can move on to the next big deal project of doom.  (Okay, fine, I might have done that already.)  This was my first foray into the wide world of lace.  Like anything I make, it’s definitely not perfect, but you know, I can live with that.  Mostly.

This is the Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark.  Usually I don’t go out and buy patterns, but this was so bloody lovely that I couldn’t not resist when I found out that the magazine it was in was half-price at one of the yarn stores here in town, due to being a back issue.  That, and considering that the yarn itself cost under $7, meant that making an attempt was almost predestined.*

And in some vaguely artsy blurry detail (which makes the filmmaker perfectionist in me cringe):

Done in about a month on US 4 needles in Jaggerspun Zephyr (color: Steel). This proves that YOU TOO CAN MAKE PRETTY THINGS. It just takes will. And cursing when you have to rip back several rows, which is nigh on crazy in lace with thin yarn. And walking to the local variety store in 90 degree weather to get rust-proof pins for blocking.

But after that, no power in the verse can stop you. Except maybe something good on telly.

* In the sense that it was cheap, and being me, I never can couldn’t resist cheap.