walk of life


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.

So it’s been nearly a month, but this time I have a pretty darn good excuse, being that Matt was here to visit (and he brought Percy Pigs, the best British sweetie you’ve never tried).

Well, more than visit, actually.  That disturbance you felt in the Force two weeks ago today was a feminist getting engaged, as if a million friends of mine cried out in complete and utter shock and suddenly were sil…

Right, I haven’t lost any geek points, that’s for sure.  Though I have lost some patience with the constant ‘no date yet, not for a couple years, grad school, moving there’ litany of explanation.  In the future, the world just needs instant blog or Facebook access for this stuff, or maybe I just need little business type cards to hand out.

Anyway, Matt’s gone back and things around here are the usual.  Foodie-wise, we did pop up to Cedar Creek Winery in Cedarburg for their tour and tasting (fairly interesting), and had dinner at Harvest in Madison (food great, service a bit OTT and patchy, people sitting at the next table a royal pain).  Craft-wise I finished the front left side of Arwen and one Hera sock, finished Sidewinders off finally, and mailed the Pomatomus.  I’ve also settled on a yarn and pattern for Ravelympics 2008.

Incidentally, my SNB friend Jen is walking for arthritis in August, and is raffling off some of her seriously excellent stash to those who pledge $10 or more to the charity.  She’s got lots of gorgeous handpaints and even some Wollmeise, so check it out and help her out.

A few pieces of random mental flotsam:
– finished a pair of socks.  I am such a slow knitter, omg.  I started them in JANUARY.  Grah.  Also managed to ball up some Araucania Ranco in one night by hand.
– total hits to date on Newton’s Third exceed 250.
– the weather is not very conducive to productivity of any nature.
– I’m going to get a pingback on my link of myself above.  That’s kind of annoying.
– whomever gifted Genuine was a very kind person.  Kind of person I wish I was, actually.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about labels and identity lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m pretty centrist on the topic.  I’m centrist on a lot of things, actually, which is scary because I almost always have an opinion.  It’s just that the opinion is, in some way, a compromise.  I’m not sure what this says about me as a person, but I can tell you that despite myself, I’m anything but a diplomat, considering how I react when I do have a non-centrist opinion.

At Smith we were always taught not to label others for several reasons.  These were namely because you could get it wrong, because labels were political in both positive and negative terms, and because it was best to let someone label hirself and work with that only if ze indicated wanting to be labeled.

The trouble with that is that it’s an ideal that I don’t think any human is quite able to follow.  You try your hardest, but the little sorter in your brain will keep working, whether that’s due to race or gender or class or age or size or even clothing style.  It’s evolutionary psychology, really, and while it isn’t prejudice in and of itself, it’s the root of that problem.  In a lot of cases people can blur the categories (which leads to retaliation), but sometimes you get stuck with a label for life.  I will never not be white,  I will never not have been born and socialized female, and I will never not have been raised American.  At this point, those labels are pretty well stuck on.  And they’re strong, labels–they both provide reasons for irrational dislike and provide political strength.

Which is probably why, despite having been rather keen on compartmentalizing into understandable boxes (I’m far more literal a person than I let on, I’m afraid), I find myself to be hypocritical, because in terms of many other areas, I don’t want to be boxed.  The extant boxes don’t work.  I wish I could be, sometimes, because it makes for strength in numbers and less thinking about opinion.  But I can’t let that shuffle me into places where I don’t quite fit.

So it’s an impasse.  Labels cause a lot of problems and often aren’t adequate, but at the same time it’s a human thought process that’s hard to change.  And what I didn’t quite understand when I was younger, despite being told, was the method of solving this: acknowledge labels, but dump the baggage that goes with them, and see the greater picture of each person.

You’re probably all reading this and saying no, really? but I’d just like to point out that sometimes we all need to come to these decisions on our own.  It’s easier said than done, after all, and I’ll be trying to sort it out in myself and be more aware.

I’ll be over here with my agnosticish, socialism-is-good-but-only-in-theory, both-radical-and-sex-positive-feminism-don’t-get-it, help-people-without-destroying-yourself mindset, and my flame-retardant suit.  All of which are topics for another day, perhaps.

I got a hundred and sixty hits yesterday.

It’s not a lot, considering the size of the intarweb, but it’s the most this wee blog’s ever had in a 24 hour period, and it also means there’s over a hundred people out there in the world that read what I had to say in a burst of righteous pedantic fury.  But I never pretended to be anything but just another small-time blogger, standing on some cliff and hollering, hoping the wind would pick up my words.  So thank you, people who read.  I appreciate it.

Someone who got a lot more hits on the topic, and rightfully so, is Angry Black Woman.  This post is the second most hit on wordpress.com today, and it deals with the situation in far more extent than I went into, but it’s not for the shrinking violets.  I do hope that ABW does, as she promises in a post today, come up with a good guide for combatting vicious net attacks.  I talk a good talk, but I’m still chewing on how to actually act on my own proposal.

In that light, I’ve decided I need to post more actual thought on this blog, thought that isn’t rambly slice-of-life, because either my domesticity isn’t very interesting, or I can’t write about it in a compelling manner.  Probably both.  Any ideas or suggestions, both in terms of reclaiming the power of feminist fandom, and in terms of what you’d like to hear me talk about, are welcome.

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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