Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Autumn!

Happy Autumn!

That's right, it's the first day of Fall, again!

I hope you've been knitting scarves, mitts and hats for the cooler weather that's coming!


Fall also means new shows on TV!

Tonight, there is a new show called A Gifted Man. It's about a guy who is visited by his dead wife, who is now a ghost. I don't know a lot about it because it's just come on, and I haven't seen it yet. Sounds good, though!

I'm attracted to it in the first place because of the supernatural aspect, but, from what I read on the site I provided a link to, it's also about what's happening to the poor people in this country. And there are more poor people than ever before in this country.

I supported myself all my life, until the economy tanked, I lost my job (office politics) and can't find another one. I used to be middle class, now my income is below the poverty line.

That wouldn't be too bad if it was just me, but there are a lot of other people in the same boat. I, and many other people are now facing hard choices. I'm having to stay in an apartment building where the management doesn't care that the conditions here are making me sick and making it more difficult to even exist. But I'm stuck, because there's no place else I can afford, and no money to move even if I had a place to move to.

With any luck, it'll be a great series, and will raise some conciousness.

I'm going to stop writing now, because I really do want to watch it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ghost Story!

I finished reading the newest book in the Dresden Files series, Ghost Story , last night and and loved it! When I got to the end, I wanted to jump up and shout "Yes!"

This is the book I wanted the last time around and was disappointed.

I really want to tell you what it's all about, but don't want to spoil it for you.

What you'll find out at the beginning of the book is: Harry's back, and he's a ghost! Three of his friends will die if he doesn't find out who killed him. So, he's working on the case of his life: finding his own murderer!

Jim Butcher is one of the few authors who can write a thriller that has all the excitement and suspense it should, but also makes me laugh at the same time, and this one is no exception, in fact, it shines in this respect. Late in the book, Harry gets into Molly's mind while he's trying to save her, and it's a wonderful place!

Oh, I want to go on and on, but as River Song says, "Spoilers!"


I may be doing some knitting for profit soon. When I say "profit" in relationship to knitting, you know it's a joke, don't you? It's more like I may be knitting some things on commission.

I have been contacted about knitting more Christmas stockings, and it would entail a lot of knitting, but a good piece of change at the end. My hands are going to hurt!

The other thing is someone has asked me to design and knit some baby hats in various sizes. I'll get a little for the hats themselves and will retain the rights to the design, so I can write up the directions and sell the patterns. That should be more lucrative in the long run, but it'll take a while for the money to trickle in in dribs and drabs. This will be more of an ongoing thing, and will require less of my time at any one point, but might require more over the long haul.

The stockings, on the other hand, will be a lot of intense knitting at a point in time when I wanted to spend my knitting time on Christmas presents that I intend to give. They require following a chart, and a lot of colorwork, which means lots of ends to weave in, and a big, tangled mess to sort out over and over again while I'm knitting. But there will be money, and I've been pretty short on that for a while.


Some of the new shows for the Fall season have been starting this week, and more will start next week. the new season of The Big Bang Theory will start in five minutes (as I'm writing this). At the same time, the new Charlies Angels will come back to TV.

Holly is always down on me because she disapproves of Charlie's Angels and I don't. She feels it's anti-feminist, and I think it's one of the best things that ever happened to feminism. Sure, a lot of guys tuned in for the jiggle factor, but they got to see women doing things that only men had done before that, and they did it not only competently, but with flair and style. Week after week, they tuned in to watch women who were intelligent, strong, and independent doing things that women had never been shown doing before. They rode motorcycles, blew up things, used firearms, and caught the bad guys. And the guys who watched were completely unaware that they were being brainwashed each week.

I can't stand this. I have to go catch The Big Bang Theory!

Have a great evening!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Knit Jargon

Not too long ago, I joined an online knitting group called Knitting Paradise. They have an online forum, and it's the first knitting one I've really gotten involved in, largely because they send me an email every day with a link.

There was recently a link to a thread about knitting jargon, and I thought it was so funny that I'm going to try to organize it a bit here so you can all enjoy it.

If I find more jargon, I'll just add it here, so you may want to come back sometime in the future to check it.

  • CAL: Crochet A Long. I know it should be crochet along, but the acroynym doesn't work that way.
  • CIP: Crochet In Progress.
  • Frog: The rip-it, rip-it stitch.
  • KAL: Knit A Long. I know it should be Knit along, but the acronym doesn't work that way.
  • KIP: Knit In Progress.
  • Lifeline: A contrasting smooth yarn that's threaded through a row on complicated patterns so that later you can frog back to it if you make a mistake.
  • LYS: Local Yarn Store.
  • OTK : On The (Knitting)Needles, aka WIP.
  • PIGS: Projects In Grocery Sacks.
  • SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. We have Stephanie Pearl McPhee to thank for that one.
  • SEX: Stash enrichment expedition.
  • SKANK: funny way of saying skein of yarn (skein+hank=skank) 
  • TINK: To unknit. TINK is KNIT spelled backward.
  • TOAD: Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust 
  • WIP: Work in Progress.
  • Yarn barf: When you try to pull yarn from the center of the ball and can't find the end, it creates yarn barf.

Just a little update for you knitters who may not have heard all the latest expressions. PIGS, TOAD and SEX were new to me, but I love them!

Have a great weekend, in spite of it being the anniversary of 911, and all the grief that's going to stir up!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Return of the Knitting Blog!

I've been writing about other things for a while, but I'm back on the subject of knitting!

I read The Yarn Harlot's Blog earlier this week (last week?), and she was going nuts over a pattern called Catkin. I checked it out on Ravelry, and it was already in my favorites. The link to the blog goes to the particular post where she began to speak about  it, and it has a link to the pattern. The Ravelry link to the pattern is here, and I can't seem to find it anywhere but Ravelry. You need to join Ravelry to get the pattern (apparently), but joining is free, and very fun! There's no place else that I can find a discussing of the latest Doctor Who episode by all knitters!

Do click a link and see the photos of the shawl/scarf! It can be worn so many ways, and it's so pretty!

Anyway, as with Stephanie, after seeing this pattern, it drove me nuts. So, I bought the pattern and knitted the swatch. Knitting the swatch was important because I don't have a needle that's long enough for the whole thing, and if I'm going to have to order one, it might as well be an Addi lace needle. And they're expensive enough that I don't want to have to order one that's the wrong size!

Anyway, here's the swatch:

I just happened to have some Knit Picks Palette yarn on hand, so I used it to do the swatch. I have lots of the pale grey color (mist) and I ordered more a few minutes ago for the contrasting colors to make three different versions, one for Holly (it's a Christmas present, but she already knows about it; she even picked the colors), myself, and another Christmas present for a recipient who is not to be named at this time.

Actually, I didn't get the color Holly picked. They've added some new colors since she picked it last week, and I got one that looks almost identical on the screen, but is a heathered color, which I think will look much better than a solid color in the scarf/shawl.

In fact, all three of the colors I ordered are heathered. Here's the one for Holly:

It's called Blue Note Heather, and I think it's going to look so much better than a solid color!

Here's the one for me. It's called Mineral Heather.

And for the mystery person, we have Huckleberry Heather.

I think these are going to be three really beautiful scarves! I might have to knit another one or two. It's not quick and easy knitting, though. Except for the section around the neck, the whole thing is charted, and it's complicated enough that it's got to be a problem to memorize, although some rows do repeat. I should finish the first one before I decide to make too many more.

Now, I have to wait for the yarn to arrive!

In the meantime, I might knit a practice shawl from the Bluebell color, which is the blue in the swatch, that I also have a lot of and some of the Mist that I've got stockpiled.


I need to go out and do errands, but they just put down carpet in the lobby and the whole first floor of my apartment building, and nobody is allowed to walk on it, so everybody is either stuck in their apartments or can't get into their apartments. It's going to be my turn soon (although I don't know when yet). They originally said that we wouldn't be able to walk on the floor for a day, but now it's the second day, and it might be another one.

I went to the library yesterday (and got a copy of Ghost Story!), but it took me about 20 minutes to get out of the building. There was a sign diverting me from using the front elevator to get off on the first floor and directing me to the freight elevator. But the freight elevator wasn't working, which took me almost
15 minutes to realize.

I kept thinking that since it was making little noises like it had just arrived at a different floor that it was working. In reality, the little dinging noises were a distress call from an elevator that was stuck, but knew it should go to the floor where someone pressed the button.

I finally took the stairs down, passing a woman who was about 85, carrying up a heavy load of laundry from the basement. I'm surprised she didn't die on the spot. She had already carried it up 5 floors, and might have as much as two more to go.

I hope you're having a better week than the residents of this apartment building are!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

True Confessions of a Rock 'n Roll Groupie!

Yes, It's true. Back in the early '80s, I was a groupie for a rock 'n roll band called Truc of America. I can't spell it properly on the 'net, because, depending on your computer, it'll come out looking like it does in the comics when someone uses bad language.

Truc (when spelled right) has a horizontal line over the U. It's French, and means a neat trick or a gadget. Or look it up here.

At the end of the '70s, I moved from the Washington, DC area back to New Jersey. Shortly afterward, a friend of mine, Tony, moved back down to where he used to live in Florida. Not too long after that, I got a letter from him inviting me so stay with the band he was doing lighting for in Cape May, NJ, where they were going to be playing for two weeks.

It was actually a bit more than two weeks, because it included three weekends, the last of which was Memorial Day Weekend. I had a blast, and so did all of us, and I got invited back many times. For several years, for the two weeks plus before Memorial Day, and the two weeks plus after Labor day I spent my "summer vacation" staying at the band house of the bar, Gloria's, where they played.

That's them doing Outta Control. And that's fairly representative of what they used to play. Except for the stuff they wrote themselves, which was past outta control, and into outrageous.

The band consisted of Norm McDonald, who did most of the vocals; Mark Fett, who did keyboard, some vocals and most of the announcing; Andy Begin, the drummer; Russ Reiser, who played guitar and did some of the vocals; and Mark Lilly, who did some vocals and guitar. They also had Tony, who was doing the lighting and Eric, who did the sound. Mark Lilly was usually called Pad by the band members because it got too confusing with two Marks in the band. Frequently, Mark Fett's girlfriend, Dinah came along, and sang a few numbers with them. And I came along with Tony.

They were really an extraordinary band because once you got into Gloria's or any other place they were playing, you just didn't leave. It was impossible to walk out on that band. It was just too much fun!

Here's Norm, playing Polly Hardon doing a song that I think he wrote. He's being introduced by Mark Fett, and you can see a few views of Russ, Pad and Andy.

That was a short version of the song.

There's more of their work up on You Tube, and I'll let you discover that for yourself.

The song they did that was my favorite was Easy Mark by Mark Fett.

Truc was even more fun to party with. Each night that they played at Gloria's, we'd come back after 2 am, and party for a couple of hours. As rockers go, they did like their parties, but really didn't do much in the way of anything illegal, which was part of why it was fun to party with them. Usually, the very worst thing they did was make too much noise.

Things they did that were illegal included setting off fireworks. Each year, they'd drive up from Florida to play at Gloria's, stay at the band house, and then continue North and West to the middle of the summer, then reverse it all and go back the same way, playing the same places on the return trip, ending up back at Gloria's, and then going back to Florida.

On their way North, they went through a bunch of states that had tons of fireworks on sale (where it was legal), and Truc would stock up.

I remember one night when they set off a fabulous show of fireworks, and then all trooped indoors for the party. The police eventually showed up, and found us all in the kitchen, quietly playing computer games!

Every single time I was there for two weeks, there was some point when one of the local police stood in the middle of the living room and had a loud nervous breakdown! Or screaming fit, depending on your viewpoint. The band never managed to do something that was actually illegal when there were police around, but they came very close to it. They definitely were a big nuisance!

In fairness, some of our parties were very quiet. They'd bring along videotapes of movies, and we'd all sit around and watch them on numerous occasions. That's where I saw Life Of Brian the first time.

I've been looking for all these people on the internet, and can't find much about them except for Norm, and I don't understand it. I've looked for other people before, and couldn't find anything on them. I'm mystified! If you look my name up, you'll find pages of stuff about me. Where did they go wrong?

Well, before I finish this post, I want to thank Leah Cruz, who posted something about Weird Al Yankovick on Facebook today and reminded me of Truc. The reason it reminded me was because Truc opened for Weird Al on several occasions.

Anyway, I hope you're having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! You won't be hearing from me tomorrow because I'm planning to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival tomorrow!