Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Agony of Defeat

A heartbreaking loss in the 2010 Winter Knitting Games.

First, I didn't swatch, because swatches lie anyway. So I got about 60% done and decided the body of the scarf, done in stockinette, was too tight, and I needed a garter stitch border as well as a bigger needle. So I frogged it mercilessly during a conference call at work.

My next attempt had a bit too much garter along the lace side edge after the increases. I ripped it out a second time, but was only about 10% along that time.

I was not sure I'd have enough yarn, so I thought I'd alternate rows with a 3rd skein I had of the yarn from a different dyelot. Alternating rows is supposed to work! The internet says so! The internet lies. Froggy Frog Froggerson.

I was about 40% into it again, and realized I had an entire garter stitch row about 4 inches below where I was. RIPPIT, RIPPIT.

Today, I started the lace border and I ended up ripping it out and restarting it because I had buggered the increases.

Finally, FINALLY I got the lace edge as I like it but it is apparent I do not have enough yarn for a picot bind off and I don't think it will look right with a straight bind off. So the Scawl (Scarf-Shawl) is going to hang about on the 60 inch circular needle until I can get some black yarn so I can knit a border all around and then do the picot bind off.

Did I mention I gave up buying yarn and books for Lent. Oh yes, I did. I thought I'd give the savings to charity. Looks like I will actually be giving it to Charlie's Dentist. Darth Vader costume. Cape-related accident. You get the idea.

Book 8: The Ten Word Game

I learned a new word! The style of this narrative is picaresque. Other books in this style are Don Juan, Tom Jones, and presumably, Diary of a Man Whore.

The single named protagonist of this is Lovejoy. Apparently there are a gajillion novels in the series and this just happens to be the one I picked up. Lovejoy is a 'divvy', a diviner who can feel it in his body if he is in the presence of a genuine antique vs a fraud. It doesn't sound like a pleasant experience. I don't know either, how this is supposed to work in London where so many of the buildings are older than most everything in Nebraska, for instance.

There are a lot of characters in this book-- more characters than intrigue I am sorry to say. And of course, Lovejoy boinks all of the women. He's one of those annoying men who says they love all women when really it's that they love having sex with all women and don't actually love any specific woman. I find this sort of man supremely irritating. Shocking, right? I sort of suspect a little of the Unreliable Narrator in that all the women he meets really want to have it off with him. He's not eloquent and he seems to eat like a pig. Since the earliest book came out in 1977, it's not like he's in his prime or anything. Do you suppose when he drops trou' that the Old Man Smell emanates from his junk?

Lovejoy (seriously, is he a granola-gigolo?) has all sorts of quaint slang-- Making Smiles in the Lantern Hours. DONNEZ MOI UNE BREAK. The only worse euphemism for sex can be found on infertility bulletin boards: Baby-dancing. "The kids are staying overnight at my mother in law's so we are making smiles. Yeah, I am gonna babydance his brains out" No. Just. . . No.

The persona is bigger than the mystery, which doesn't make it much of a mystery.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book 7: Darkest Hour

The 4th Mediator book. This time. . . it's personal! Suze's hot, ghostly roommate is the focus of this one. They are installing a hot tub and the digging unearths a box of letters that Jesse got from his fiancee, Maria de Silva, before he died. This brings Maria's ghost around and she is both stupid and angry. A delightful combination to be sure. Suze also meets a young kid who happens to be a mediator. You would think this would make her reevaluate her rather violent ghost busting methods, but not so much. It should be interesting to see if she ever grows up and learns to get along with the undead.

Curling is Not A Sport

In the Knitting Olympics. All that Stockinette was making a giant tube so I frogged the hell out of it. I was on a conference call where I'd have preferred to be ripping people verbally. Stupid Team Player. I tried a bit of seed stitch but I had trouble with the counting after increases. So, I am going to reknit on larger needles, with a garter stitch border.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book 6: Reunion

Another Mediator installment from Meg Cabot. Suze is sort of in a rut. She is clinging to her ass-kicking ways instead of MEDIATING. I think Fr. Dominic should have her look up the word in the dictionary. The 4 angry ghosts in this one are pretty much vapid jocks who have it in for the guy who caused their fatal crash. Unfortunately, that guy is a nerd and there is some antinerdism in this book. Do Not Want.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Book 5: The Vampire's Assistant

The second Darren Shan book. This one is Even More Gross and Scary! I am pretty sure my younger kid is going to love these some day. Darren is travelling around with Mister Crepsley, getting the hang of being half Vampire- half Human. He misses having friends so they meet back up with the Cirque du Freak so Darren can be friends with Snakeboy. Mister Crepsley is a pretty sympathetic character in this book. Again, there are a series of events spiralling out of control and leading ultimately to a pretty downer ending. From reading the prologue of the 3rd, looks like that will be more of the same. It's nice that the Vampire Lifestyle is not glamorized. Snicker. That must be so comforting for the type of Christian who thinks the Harry Potter books are Satanic Propaganda.

Book 4: The Ninth Key

This is the second of the Mediator books by Meg Cabot. Suze is looking into a local real estate big shot who may be a murderer. Or maybe he's a vampire. In any event, his son is a hottie mctottie. This one seemed like there was a lot going on in terms of the plot. Not in a complex way so much as in convoluted. It was still pretty funny though. I would like to see Cabot do a little more research though about the Catholic church if she is going to keep Suze in Catholic school.

Book 3: Cirque Du Freak: Living Nightmare

Darren Shan has written a series of Vampire novels for younger readers-- tweens? They are not quite for the young adult shelf. In this first one, the main character (also named Darren Shan) attends a Freak Show where he sees some amazing performances but also gets sucked into a chain of events that are beyond his control.

Darren and his buddy, Steve(?) attend, and after the show his buddy stays behind. He has seen and recognized that one of the freaks is an old Vampire (Mister Crepsley)he read about in a book. Darren stays behind because he is drawn to a magnificent performing spider, but seeing his friend confront Crepsley gives him ideas. Darren decides to come back later and steal the spider, leaving a note that says he will expose Crepsley if he comes after the spider. It's really true to the logic of a kid that age, to think they have the upper hand but have really not thought all the way through things. It is not as fun as you might think-- delivering that sort of smackdown to the short-thinking kid. Darren doesn't plan for the spider being poisonous. Nor does he plan for Mr. Crepsley being the only way to get anti-venom. Or for the payment he will have to make. Even after Darren makes good on his deal to Mister Crepsley, he tries to avoid the ultimate consequences of it.

The creepy factor of the book was greater than I had imagined a kids book would have. It's been a while since I read kids' books and the scary ones were not half as scary as the original forms of most fairy tales. The whole kids section at Books A Million (who has the biggest by far in the Omaha area) seems to be busting at the seams with fantasy, horror, and sci-fi books lately. I am eager to read more of it by other authors. I think the Sisters Grimm series is promising.

Book 2: My Life In France

I finished this one in the second week of January and I liked it so well I didn't want to review it. I don't wat to sell it too highly to others who might not overlook its shortcomings.

The food-- oh the food. Lovingly described in detail over and over. It's not a book for dieters. Too much suggestion. Too much tempation.

The storytelling is mostly linear with many, many tangents. It was a lot like talking to my Grandmother used to be. sniff Julia speaks warmly of those she loves and pretty plainly about those she did not. (Also like Grandma B.) Julia is lefty in her politics and describes her repeated clashes with her father over their differences. I feel for her-- it is often difficult with my dad who, like hers, can't just agree to disagree. She is somewhat circumspect about her husband, Paul's, government job and how they handled the McCarthyism and other Cold War challenges.

If you are thinking of writing a book, Julia's account may scar you for life. My GOD! She makes it seem like a total pain in the ass. Of course, she also had to hand type everything and send it by overseas mail.

Citius, Altius, Fortius

I'm knitting a worsted weight baktus-style scarf, with an added on ruffle (in a nonprincess sort of manner) for the 2010 Knitting Olympics. I am eager to cast on tonight during the opening ceremonies. For my training, I have knitted 3 more hats so far this year for the charity bin. I think I am getting a bit of the repetitive stress injury from the combination of computer work and knitting fun.

In other yarnly news, I have fallen behind in the picture taking of finished objects as well as the stash-logging at Ravelry. I did finally break down and get the interchangeable harmony wood needles from Knit Picks. They Are Fantastic. So much slicker and pointier than clover. I am tempted to take a pencil sharpener to my other bamboo needles.