grabbag


Well, it looks like this winter’s going to be another nightmarish one here in Wisconsin. We’re suffering under the indignity of a third snow, and the winter solstice hasn’t even hit yet. Even so, my knitting quota’s gone way down, as has my energy to do much besides grad school apps, a not-very-successful stab at Nanowrimo, and vague wedding plans. Go me?

Oh, and the election. Which turned out fairly well.

Personally, I think my pioneer ancestors showed up here in Wisconsin sometime in mid-May, during the two weeks that the weather here isn’t miserably hot or miserably cold, and thought things were great. By the time they figured out the tornadoes and ice storms were rampant, it was too late. In all honesty, I know people who aren’t from the Midwest write about how much they hate the cold and think we all deal with it so well. Truth is, we who deal with cold regularly complain about it just as much and don’t deal with it properly at all. No one likes weather extremes, except for the crazies like my brother who revel in snowfall…because they don’t really have to shovel it.

I have been doing a little reading though, working my way through my third read of Ursula K. LeGuin’s epic Always Coming Home, after Liz Henry read it recently and blogged on the topic. I have to confess I’m a big sucker for worldbuilding. Either detail your world or detail a character, and I may just fall for your novel. Always Coming Home is so beautifully done that I can’t help but love it, and this time I feel that I might have picked up something more from it than I have before–reading it less as a story and more from a cultural perspective, which is perhaps the point.  I don’t really believe it’s an inappropriate appropriation of Native culture, but I’m not really the one to judge.

Am I allowed to say ‘inappropriate appropriation’, or is it bad English?

Anyhow, I should get back to the small amount of gifty knitting I’m up to. How do you deal with snow? Do you like snow? If you do, can I ship you ours?

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I swear I have knit things and baked things and done things, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to blog about them. Mostly because I’m not really sure how much any of you all want to hear about cupcakes, which I didn’t even make entirely from scratch–though I did use a Newman’s Own chox bar in honor of that great man. Delicious.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t thrown myself into much of anything lately except grad school prep and following politics and the stock market (more on that shortly). I’m irritated with my old workhorse of a camera, which is nearly four years old; while it was a good little mule back at Christmas ’04, it’s definitely less than awesome today, considering blog photography is so focused on close shots and details. Uploading and processing in Photoshop to get anything remotely ready for the web takes ages even on my MacBook, and I’m entirely too familiar with the Smart Sharpen tool.

Unfortunately, even with my birthday and Christmas coming up, the economy’s far too messy for me to be putting a Canon SLR on my list, especially when I just bought myself a laptop five months ago. Oddly, despite the craziness on Wall Street, I feel an odd urge to Go Buy Things today, though. Just not a $600 camera.

Brief shoutout review: I’m reading the ’06 Year’s Best SF, and I have to say that Robert Charles Wilson needs to write more about the Dominion universe he’s created in Julian: A Christmas Story. Like, he needs to do it yesterday. The combination of 19th century mores and style with a post-apocalyptic setting that is not steampunk? I can totally get down with that.

ETA: If I had adequately Googled, I would have found that Wilson is in the process of expanding Julian into a full novel.  Ace!

I’m eagerly following the election, despite how painful it is to get slammed right and left with campaign ads–the blessing of living in a swing state, I suppose. I’ve watched all three debates, but I haven’t found the time to get over to the Obama campaign office and get a button and yard sign because I’m sure they’d make me call people or something. Trust me, Barack Obama does not want me calling people for him. And while I don’t care to go into politics too deeply at the moment, I was pretty much appalled at what I heard about some people at the McCain/Palin rally here yesterday. Apparently the MSM is lying about polling numbers, apparently Democrats are all socialists, and we are all doomed. I’m down with people being conservative. But I’m not down with people talking that level of crap about the media. Is the media biased? Definitely. But flat out lying? That’s just crazy talk.

Oh, and the WBC is here protesting gay rights, which is ridiculous. They don’t have anything better to do, clearly…not to mention that we started a GSA at my high school without any flap back in ’01. Clearly suburbia is not their target.

Anyway, though I’m doing Nanowrimo in November (god help us) I’ll still be twittering like crazy. And probably knitting up a storm, now that the chill’s upon us and the frost is on the…well, no pumpkins at my place yet.

A couple of links to keep you entertained while I try to come up with some content, because the only knitting I really did in the last several days was A Sekrit.  For the person who came here via Google looking for info on why the Delhi Cafe on Bluemound closed–I have no idea, sadly.  A darn shame, is all I can say.

Gild the Voodoolily is my fav foodblog of late, alongside thursday night smackdown.  Attitude is everything.

I broke my lurking on Cakespy to suggest a few places for them to stop here in the MKE.  Not sure if they took my word for it on Simma’s or if the Cupcake Queen and the folks at Reiman Publications were the impetus, but boy howdy, they found some good places here that I didn’t even know about, and I’ve lived here (save college) for about twenty years.  Glad to see they got pączki at National Bakery!

Knitty’s fall issue is as good as you’ve heard.  Go forth, admire.  Just don’t ask me to make anything for you, I’m on a spending diet this month after replacing my rear brakes last week.

My secret love of parentblogs is now revealed in me telling you how much I enjoy the Bloggess.  Her surreality is just that darn funny.  Her posts and Bossy’s posts seriously improve my Google Reader blues when the political and feminist news threaten to overwhelm me.

Over on Rav, we’re blaming everything that’s gone wrong lately on the Large Hadron Collider, by the way.  Personally, I’m thinking it’s the cause of the Decline and Fall of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Righto, a whole bunch of smaller things to talk about.

The mother and I, jonesing for TexMex in the heat of last Friday, ventured over to Guadalupe Mexican Restaurant; we’d seen it about twenty times and never ventured inside.  It’s rather gaudy on the outside, brightly painted with a big sign advertising Happy Hour from 2-6 PM on weekdays and an All You Can Eat Crab Night.  Needless to say, while I’m a gringa from WI and my expectations are fairly moderate, I was not expecting to be impressed, but in actuality, it was quite good, at least as good as Hector’s on State Street.  I was pleased with their selections and the fact that they put enchilada sauce in their chimichangas, which kept the inside from getting dry as well as was terribly rich and tasty.

So yes, worth a go if you don’t care about authenticity, even if their margaritas are overpriced (but at least not from a blender).  It’s on 114th and Bluemound, next to the Delhi Cafe, which is being turned, sadly, into a piano bar.  wtf.

Unfortunately, Friday was the last nice time of it as then Saturday we got flash floods and tornadoes.  If you live in the US, you’ve probably seen the footage of the house and highway being swept into Lake Delton.  A lot of people here with flooded basements and ruined stuff, and we’re getting hit again tomorrow, apparently; everything smells damp and feels damp, and the humidity does a number on my migraines.  Oh sure, massive man-made climate change is a myth.  We aren’t affecting the environment that much.  Right.

In terms of changing times, my mother made a particularly interesting comment to me the other day, about how she doesn’t think she could handle being without email access for a week at a time.  My mother, who isn’t exactly a wired person, who is completely amazed that iChat’s video function is free and real time, said this to me.

I’m not sure what this says about culture here in the developed world, and our desire for instantaneous connectivity and information access, because it’s in so many aspects of life.  I got my first still-functioning permanent email address ten years ago last month, and I’ve online journaled and/or blogged for eight years.  In that time I’ve seen both things move from geeky fringe to de rigeur.   And as problematic as the Internet and digital media is, I think we could very well be better off with it than without it, for one very big reason: now the whole world really is watching, and there will always be someone, even when you’re hiding under anonymity, who might hold you accountable.  It’s not always fair, and it’s not always justified, but when things fall apart, it is, in a sort of odd way, a comfort to have that kind of global street justice.

I’ve made my peace with that, or I’ve tried to.  It’s unfortunate that a lot of people haven’t.

In bopping around the Intarwebs, it has come to my attention that people think I am cool.  This is my official notification that I am Not Cool.  I’m about as cool as an ice cube…if that ice cube were set on the hood of a car that just drove two hundred miles.  The weather right now is cool.  Paige is not cool, just ask my brother.  (In fact, it seems the weather’s due to warm up any day now.  I’m not holding my breath.  For anyone not in the US, be advised that the Midwest is distinctive in being both hot as hell and frigid as a freezer.)

Right, every time I watch an Eddie Izzard set, I always think that I would be hilarious at stand-up.  (Fortunately, reality sets in and I realize that I am very bad at improvisation.)  I have a theory about stand-up, and that’s that to be funny, in my mind, a stand-up comedian must not be a straight white raised-Christian American man.  Canadian men are okay, and British men.  But not Americans.  They’re just not funny; they’re like comedic Wonder Bread.  This is, of course, why I’m not a judge on Last Comic Standing, because half the contestants would be gone in no time flat.

Not like Last Comic Standing is actually funny, like, ever.

Anyway, I should talk about knitting or cooking or something!  Yes!  Sidewinders are really nice, and end up being very pretty in Schaefer Anne.  They knit up really fast, and the only problem I’ve had is that if I make the medium size, it ends up being too big on my calf and just perfect on my foot.  Clearly I have skinny ankles, which I guess is good, even though I’m from farmer stock and should have thick ones.  But then socks slip down.  Hrm.  I think if I was remaking them, I’d skip the short rows for the calf sizing, but since this second one needs to be consistent with the first, I’m doing it anyway.

My mother was looking through her recipes last weekend, and in her doing so, I remembered when I’d been looking for a cake recipe last year and came across a different cake recipe that led to incredulity on my part.

Watergate Cake.

Seriously.  Who came up with this in the first place?  How was it considered appropriate to have a cake named, even ironically, after a ridiculously awful political scandal?  It’s not like we’ve had cakes named that before or after.  It’s not like there’s Bay of Pigs Cake, or Iran-Contra Cream Pie, or god forbid, Little Blue Dress Tarts.  (But if there was, they’d be rumcake, banana flavor, and lemon, respectively.)

My mother’s answer was ‘it was the 70s’ and I guess that’s pretty much the only answer.  If forced under duress to leave this decade for another one–I like the rights and tech we have here far too much to go voluntarily–the 70s would probably be my choice.  If I were still an academic, it’d be my oeuvre.  Or I’d go visit with the Doctor, in the TARDIS.  Speaking of, why hasn’t anyone come up with Time Lord Socks?  Do I have to do everything myself?

As a more serious side note, I’d like to add that even though I don’t usually email a response (it’s a bad habit from years of LJ), I really do read every comment that comes through here.  It gives my soul joy, for honest.

Ugh.  In the few weeks since I last wrote here, I had computer woes, had the woes fixed, got more woes, had them fixed, had woes again, then gave up on the whole thing and bought a MacBook instead of waiting until January as I wanted to do.  Said computer is partially courtesy of the US government (in terms of $600 in economic ‘stimulus’).  Unfortunately, it means my plans to go to WisCon have been scrapped in the interests of liquid assets coming into what seems to be a long summer for all of us here in the States.  While I try not to usually be a fatalist, I’ve read too much SF in my time to not think about trouble, and the feeling isn’t just on my part, as I’ve found out on Ravelry.

The MacBook is pretty darn awesome, but I wish that they would make the OS less idiot-proof.  It drives me up the wall.  Everything is pretty and cute, and sometimes I just want to get down and dirty.

Anyway, I had a good long bunch of rambles about feminism, Smith, this year’s Tiptree Award winner, and knitting Sidewinders in mind, but I’m completely made of lazy.  Yesterday was a long day and today provides to be similar.  Mostly I’m upset about things I can’t change, and so I’ve been trying not to think on them: the politics of international aid is one, rising gas prices is another, and FOX moving House to Mondays is a third.  If you ever wondered what kind of deep thoughts actually go on behind the scenes here at Not Be Televised, there you have it.

That and beer.  It’s finally beer season again, and my pick is, of course, Leinie’s Honey Weiss (or Berry Weiss).  I’m not sure if this is in national distribution, though.  Summer Shandy has grown on me slightly, but not to the point where I’d pick it over something else.  Recommendations are welcome, but remember that we have a lot of microbrews locally and any small brand from out of state could be hard to get.

Oh, and I’ve adopted Google Reader as my blogfeed thingy of choice.  I see that there are seven of you reading this from there, which is rather intriguing.  I hope this looks decent–I haven’t bothered to subscribe, because it’s my blog, for crying out loud, and I know what I’ve written.  I think.

Greetings from a slightly sodden southeastern Wisconsin.  This year’s weather continues to be bipolar–it’s either dry as bone or wet as a marsh, warm or chilly, and rarely the twain meets.  It’s frustrated my thoughts about possibly doing some kind of herb garden this year, considering the yard was finally cleared only three weeks ago.  That, and we have a giant plastic Tupperware-type shed in the backyard, taking up a good deal of space; the problem with our end of town is that the front yards are considerably larger than the back ones (which leads me to fear that the kiddos playing might run into the street in front of my car).  Maybe I can do a couple pots on the front porch or something.  For someone who comes from a long line of farmers, this is not very impressive.

It has been good knitting weather, and I have finally, finally, finished untangling the Schaefer Anne, then started a sock pattern only to find that it was going to make a fabric far too dense for the time of year for which I’d intended these socks.  Fourth of July and slip stitch and yours truly do not combine well.  Moving forward on Sidewinders requires me to wait for the needles I ordered, so right now I only have one active knit project.  What’s wrong with me?  At least my computer’s fixed.

It’s been good reading weather too, and I’ve got a whole pile of books that I’ve finished or started or haven’t got to yet.  I’ve had this problem ever since I was young; I go to the library and my eyes are bigger than my stomach…or maybe my brain, or my optic nerves.  I wish I could read and knit at the same time, but I doubt that to be really feasible for me.  Everything leisure seems to cut into everything else leisure.

By the way, for those of you who are cocktail fans–AJ Rathbun’s Good Spirits is seriously the best book of drinks I have ever had the chance to read.  I can only imagine what this guy’s liquor cabinet looks like.  Please, of course, drink responsibly.

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