Friday, December 2, 2011

ReverbBroads Day2 Prompt

There is a facebook group for bloggers called Reverb Broads.  I liked 'em for this writing prompt:  What is the stupidest thing you've done this year.

It's kind of them to narrow it down to 2011 for me. . .

You know what I did that was stupid?  I got caught up in a bad scene at work.  I don't know how it started but I know how it ended.  I can't talk about specifics or I could get fired.

I pretty much learned all the same lessons I've been learning for the last few years about  forgiveness and work politics.  I feel pretty stupid for staying in Stockholm, but I get a lot of paid time off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let's Kill Monday

Seriously.  I will bring the shovel. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Whatever: Sarah's Key

I have a Nook, so I can buy books with no forethought.  Normally, this is only bad for my bank account, not my mental health.  I saw Sarah's Key recommended to me because I liked a couple other books set around WWII.  The title rang a bell and I thought that maybe the mom of one of Charlie's friends recommended it.  I bought it. In the first chapter, I started to wonder if reading this was a good idea.  I couldn't bloody stop myself.  I have not fully conquered the need to finish every damn book I start.  This book is only slightly less depressing than Jude The Obscure.  They both have divorce and suicide, but this one has fewer dead children.  There are Nazi Collaborators  though, which sort of edges out Thomas Hardy.  I can't say I recommend this if you are in one of those stretches where you are doggedly trying to keep up your own spirits in a stiff upper lip sort of way. Turns out it was my mom who recommended it.  She has a lot higher tolerance for that sort of thing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things I Find Baffling

There is a new interface  now, if you are blogging, instead of getting a smallish text box with a lot of business around it, you get a smallish text box with a lot of white space around it.  I can see that those with writer's block or performance anxiety might be losing their crap right now. The tags are easier to select if you use a set of them.  Other than that, I am not sure if this is progress or just change.  I am in favor of progress, opposed to change for its own sake.

I am baffled that no matter how much of an asshole someone is, that Jesus loves them anyhow.  There seem to be an excess of assholes around me lately.  It's a constant struggle not to be an asshole back.  Good thing  I read "The No Asshole Rule".  If you work as part of a team that is in crisis, I highly endorse it.

I don't understand why the last 10 rows are so daunting on my current 2 projects.  I am just slogging along.  

I find it baffling that there are so few washable striping yarns.  If I want to make a mitered crosses blanket that is machine washable, I am relegated to making it on sock yarn and teeny tiny needles.  I think I shall pass on that.  I have not ruled out hobby lobby's "I Love This Yarn!" despite the irrational exuberance of its name.

I am also confused that anyone thinks jingoistic flag-waving makes them seem like they have contributed anything.  I don't care if we are talking about 9-11, the environment, or the jobs market.  Facebook Slactivism is on my last nerve.

I don't understand why I have totally lost the love for my little book reports.  I still clipping along at the rate of about a book every week, but I'm keen on the paperwork of keeping track.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (With! Hyper! Hyper! Links!)

Technically, I was not vacationing.  I was working, but I went to Jersey City, NJ to train some of my work peeps about the application for which I'm a subject matter expert.  Incidentally, I feel like a complete douche when I call myself a subject matter expert, but I'm not as much a douche as people who call an SME a smeeeeeee.  It's not a word! It's an acronym! Don't do that!  Ess. Emm. Eeee.

I worked on a powerpoint ahead of time, deleting and restarting it with the kind of vigor that only an overthinking neurotic nutjob possesses.  Maybe this is unique to me, but formatting the slides and taking just the right snippet of a screenshot takes me far longer than composing the text, but in the time I fiddle with the fonts and sizes and colors I continually redesign my topic flow and it's just a hot mess of crazylady.  Midway through presenting it, I was asked to redo my syllabus.  So I am taking the half-assed final version of ppt and trying to make it into a comprehensive document with a table of contents and everything.  I am completely serious when I say that I will be needing a med check.  Soonish.

The limo came for me at 5:30 am last Monday.  This was my first ride in one that didn't go to a funeral.  So that was a nice change, though I am pretty confident the retail purchase price of the car was very close to being the cost of my entire house.  I got to the airport at 5:48, the recommended 2 hours ahead of flight time. The airline sucked so badly I got to wait over an hour and 20 minutes just to check my bag.  Fortunately, the TSA decided I had an honest face and sent me right through the line.  Just so you know, you have to remove laptops from laptop bags and put them in their own plastic bin to go through the machine.  Everyone seems to have a dell.  I had a purple sticker on mine, courtesy of Chuckles.  I am not sure how the other 3 dell owners figured out who belonged to which computer.  So get yourself a distinctive little sticker for your laptop!

Right around the time boarding was to start, the pilot came through the door where the plane docs to the building and set off the alarm.  Ten minutes of shrill, ear splitting, skin crawling Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. .

It does not inspire confidence when your pilot can't help but set off the alarm.  Nor does it inspire confidence that the airline has not entrusted them with permission to turn the damned thing off.

Eventually, the nice folks of the TSA made it stop and then we boarded the 'plane'.  Please note my use of snicker quotes.  One seat, aisle, two more seats. That's the width.  Nineteen rows of seats.  I guess when it comes to planes, I'm a size queen.  Let me back up, I have not flown in the Brave New World.  My previous flight was March of 2001.  I was a bit of a basket case.  I talked to strangers in the airport.  I checked and rechecked for my ID, my boarding pass, my knitting, my book, my other book.  I don't know how I thought I'd get to that much in a nonstop flight from Omaha to NJ.  Clearly I underestimated the amount of time I'd devote to reading the safety pamphlet, clutching the armrests, and clenching my jaw to avoid vomiting up a cup of tea, a 16 oz breve (with 4 shots of espresso), and a can of coke.  In retrospect, I would not advise that nervous fliers mainline caffeine until they hit a level of tweakiness comparable to a monkey on crack.   (I can quit any time I want.  I just don't want to quit.)  The plane did a little more bobbing and weaving than I like when I'm up above the cloud layer.  I compulsively looked at other passengers to see if anyone else was panicking.  Turns out I was the token nutbar.

When I got to NJ, I was able to get my bag straight away and my next driver appeared to need directions to my office.  I could not  give them.  Even if I lived in JC, it would be a pretty slim chance  I could give directions.  My sense of direction is somewhat less accurate than that of Christopher Columbus.  If I had set off to discover a spice route, we'd have found penguins. We eventually got there and when I got up to my temporary desk and said hello to all the people I normally talk to only on the phone, I realized I was completely fucking knackered. I put in a pathetic attempt at work that afternoon.  Everyone was amazed that I was even shorter than they expected.  Still it was good to see my fellow testers, my environment engineers, and the developers. 

When the day was done, I took my first ever ride on light rail!  Matt walked me to the hotel, since I was sort of weaving with fatigue and couldn't get my sense of direction. I checked in at the hotel and found they'd put me in a suite.  AND IT WAS SWEET.  It was! The outer room was a sofa/chair/tv/dorm fridge sort of set up.  I had total dominion over the remote! Just past a set of French doors, I had 2 full sized beds to pick from, both overlooking a lot of tall, sparkly buildings and looking into an immaculate bathroom with a dry toilet seat.  It's the simple things in life that bring me happiness.  Oh, and there was a second tv and remote!  I got there just before 6, had a mediocre chicken piccata in the restaurant and went upstairs.  You know what I did?  I did what I had looked forward to since I booked my flight and room.  I DEPANTSED!  Free! Free from the tyranny of pants!  I tried to sign onto the internet, which was $12.95 for 24 hours, and yet so slow I couldn't stream an episode of Suits from USA network's site.  Don't judge!  Gabriel Macht has La Voce. He could grow a hunchback and I'd still listen to him read the phone book. I gave up on internet after about 15 minutes of tomfoolery. Then there was some non streaming tv watching.  By 9:20 eastern, I was nearly unconscious.  I snuggled into the bed on stage right and made sense of the 5 pillows. That bed was like being snuggled by angels and the baby Jesus.  I slept through until 6:30 when my alarm went off.  Probably the last time I slept like that was farther back than my last airplane flight.

I walked to the office on Tuesday and proceeded to annoy pretty much everyone by being perky and happy and shit.  I felt like I was standing outside myself! Who is this manic woman?  I don't know but she's wearing my underpants!  After proving to be too stupid to connect a laptop to a projector, I taught the basics of order management and then went for a Mexican lunch with my boss and one of my students.  I only wish I hadn't gone to JC during Ramadan so that my teammates could come along.  I never feel like I'm really connected to people until we eat together.  And eating alone feels wrong, like when I've accidentally left Bakers with a case of soda under my cart that I didn't pay for. Tuesday afternoon I worked on a project of mine, worked on documentation, and had a lovely chat on IM with Jon B, who is in yet another office.  He had restaurant recommendations for me, Light Horse Tavern and a Cuban place, but he  couldn't recall the name.  The next thing I knew, everyone was gone and it was just shy of 6pm.  So I went outside and I walked.

I walked to to the water, where I could see NYC across the Hudson.  I walked past the Memorial for the Katyn Massacre of 1940.  I walked past the memorial for the citizens of Jersey City who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  I walked all over the waterfront, toting my laptop bag for good measure.  I wanted, more than anything that evening, to get a really stellar picture of the Statue of Liberty for my dad.  She sort of hides in and out of the scenery as you walk along the shore.  It's like being in an Escher sketch!  Eventually, I was at the ferry landing and the brochure said they arrive every half hour for trips around the harbor.  It was 7:49 and my cell battery was on red.  I seriously considered rolling the dice and taking the 8pm ferry, knowing I'd be walking back to my hotel at 8:30, in the dark essentially.  Remember my sense of direction? Yeah, I called my friend, Matt, thinking he'd yell some sense into me but he didn't pick up and I left a message. The father of the nice family on the landing said to me "Honey! Where you from?"

"Nebraska," says I.  "I want to get a better picture of the Statue of Liberty!"

"Oh honey!  Don't be telling your business on the cell phone in public! And don't even think about walking home from here alone at night!"

My dad's paternal grandfather came through Ellis Island twice.  The first time, he didn't realize that when he went home to visit, he'd get conscripted into the Italian army and almost die of a saber wound. The second time he elected to get as land locked as possible I guess.  On my dad's mom's side, they go back to the revolutionary war, so not a lot of Ellis Island research to be done there.  I wish I knew more about the immigration history of my mother's family. Still, in what other country could I be born?  I'm Italian, Irish, German and WASP-Converted to Catholic.  I'm married to a German/English/French/Lakota man and we have the two best sons ever. So the Statue of Liberty is one of my favorite ladies.  That's right, that supposedly rare bird-- the Liberal Patriot.  We're not all that rare, just so you know. 

So I for once did the sensible thing.  I walked back to my hotel, hoping I'd find Light Horse Tavern.  Failing that, I stopped to get a soda along the way.  Good, but not tart enough! I got back around 8:20 and figured that I had 2 choices, eat in the hotel restaurant again or walk to the mall and find a snack.  I decided to change into a non-sweaty shirt and walk to the mall.  On the way to the mall,  I saw this place, Azucar! Just like Jon B said. I'd never had Cuban food before, so I went in and ordered this!  (Why the exclamation points?  Just doing my part to put the 'hyper' in 'hyperlink'.  You're welcome.)  Beef empanadas, plantain chips, shelled mussels in saffron and white wine broth and the best mojito I've ever had. It was an excellent balance of lime and mint, with a stick of real sugar cane.  It hit me just right.    I ate nearly everything.  The mussels were excellent.  The empanadas were very good.  The plantains were good, but considering how people rave about them, I was somewhat let down.  I walked home full, buzzed, and quite content with my lot in life.  I read a chapter in my ridiculous but entertaining book, called the boys for good night murmurings and despite knowing the dog was in a deep depression without me, I once again fell into a deep, satisfying sleep. 

Wednesday morning, something happened that almost never happens, I woke up before the alarm but not of a nightmare.  I am more shocked than you, I promise.  I walked to work and intentionally smiled at everyone I passed.  I think it made people nervous. Har!  Take that New Jersey!  My morning sort of got away from me and I ended up sprinting out at 1:30 to get some lunch before I had to teach.  I got truck food! First time ever!  I had curried lamb and saag paneer with rice.  When I got to my desk, intending to hoover it down, I choked on the second bite.  Before I could stop myself I said "There's a bone in my meat!" Hilarity ensued.  Then my friend, Phil, to whose house I was going for dinner said "You're having Indian for dinner!"

"One billion Indians eat Indian food three times a day every day! This American can eat it twice today!"  I thought it was a good response.

"Who'd you get that from?" asked one of the managers.

"I dunno.  Some guy."

"Some Guy! Some GUY? You don't know who?"

"No.  Because. I. Don't. Know. Anyone. Here." I only barely managed to avoid adding the words "WELL DUH" to my response.  Filtering! It works if you work it!

Class went better on Wednesday.  I talked about balances for much longer than the attention span of my students errr spanned.  What can I say, I love the meeting of math and money and on the fly calculating!  After class, it was off to dinner.

Phil is a bald faced liar when he says his house is a wreck! It is far less wrecky than my house was at move in.  And it's much less wrecky than a lot of houses we looked at last year.  Mrs. Phil was a sweetheart. And the food was awesome.  So delicious-- Indian dinner followed by Tiramisu. Nomtastic! I hope sometime I can cook for my JC friends.  Preferably I'll be in a kitchen bigger than a breadbox.

Thursday dawned with no plans for the evening. It was Charlie's birthday back in Omaha and I was a little weepy when I woke up and wasn't home with him on his special day.   I went in to the office, did some work, taught some validation rules and process stuff. Then it was quitting time and Matt totally punked out due to a pinched nerve.  I guess some people have reservations about mixing prescription painkillers and booze. Who knew?  So my awesome boss, Jim D offered to take me into THE CITY.  New York City! I had never been.

We walked toward the water intending to take the Path train to the financial district.  I suggested we take a ferry, since I'd missed it the other night.  As we got on the ferry it sort of. . . lurched.  I wondered if this was such a good idea, since I get sick playing Mario Kart and all. I figured though that the ferry ride wouldn't take long, the harbor wasn't that big.  GUESS WHAT?  About 2/3 of the way across the Hudson Bay, the Coast Guard came out in their inflatable boats (with machine guns!) and the NYPD harbor cops came out and they Stopped The Ferry.  We started going around in circles.   And around. And around.  With a brief interlude were we stopped going in circles and instead backed into a  pier across from our landing slip.  No ferries could  go forward. No ferries could go back. President Obama was landing at the helipad for a fundraiser dinner. . . at some point.  So I hauled my knitting out of its ziplock bag and tucked it into the side of my laptop bag.  Then  I prepped the ziplock to receive a hearty shower of barf.  Jim D suggested I go stand out by the rail.  I went out and the boat continued to lurch in such a way that I thought that side was likely to result in splashback.  So I went back in and crossed to the other side and hung my head out like a pathetic loser.  The ferry captain's assistant asked me "You gonna barf?"

"I dunno. Maybe."

"I been doin' this 20 years.  I never barfed."

"Well, we don't have ferries where I'm from."

"Where you from?"


"Don't you have water there?"

"Well, yes, but we have bridges. The Missouri is not wide enough for ferries."

"Well, just let if fly.  There's been worse stuff in the Hudson.  It's just fish food."

" . . please. . .stop talking."  Font shrunken to reflect my patheticness. Patheticity?

I went back in and clenched my jaw.  In all, we went around in circles for over 40 minutes. Then Jim D called and texted everyone about what a lamentable dumbass I am.  While he did that I happily paid $1.50 for a can of coke to settle my stomach.  And then! WE WALKED!  To the subway!

I took the subway for the first time where I flaunted all convention and talked to strangers in my usual cheerful, oblivious manner.  I think I freaked out a group of teenaged African American dudes.  That is like a reversal of nature or something.  Here is me on the subway, trying to look like a disgruntled resident of New York.  How awesome is that laptop bag? In my opinion it is totally awesome.  It is loud and plasticky, like the davenport of many Italian Nanas!

So we walked to Wall Street!  I saw the NYSE! Jim D took this pic of me by the Bull on Wall Street.  And this one by the lion in front of the New York Public Library.  And this one in Times Square. Times Square is like Disneyland for grownups.  I saw the memorial to the most decorated Army cleric ever, Father Duffy.  And we went to Roxy Deli, which has no website, but does have cheesecake so good it's a religious experience.  We walked for close to 3 straight hours after the subway. I saw Radio City Music Hall and 42nd Street, but didn't get great pics of them.  At last, we got on the bus, where one last New Yorker got to be surly to me, an old lady who proclaimed when I didn't move back "I HAVE A CART." I was having too good a time to snarl at her.  Now though? Dear New York:  I can't reach that overhead bar so step off, I'm not moving back.  We took the Path train UNDER THE RIVER to get back to NJ.  I got back to my hotel at about 9:30, feeling a little guilty that poor Jim D still had to commute home for almost another 2 hours.  He worked from home on Friday, so he slept in.

Friday, I woke up sad my trip to Jersey was  over.  Next time I'm bringing my good camera, and coming in on Sunday so I can see more stuff.  I consoled myself by having an iced coffee and an old fashioned from Dunkin Donuts.  The coffee at the grocery store is not as good as in the DD.  Must be that Hudson water.  I didn't get as much work done as I wanted, but the car came for me at noon and I was glad to be on my way back to the monkeys and Jason and the dog. The dog and Charlie gave me the best welcome home ever.  Augie and Jason were glad to see me too, but nothing compares to a dog and his boy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Crescent Shawl

IMAG0341.jpg, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

Clearly, I need to work on lighting for Droid photography. This is draped over the back of the recliner.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Summer of Meh

I do not think I can cobble together a list of the books I've read since my last book related post, even if you held a gun to my head.  I suppose I could figure out what I've read on the nook, and recall a couple of library books I've read.  I will get to that later. . . .

Work on the house continues at our usual pace-- a day or two of sturm und drang and paint and arguing followed by a week of slack.  Well, if working and doing laundry and cooking and all the other administrone can be called slack.  The new windows are done, the garage door is repainted, the trim is nearly painted.  Wall painting continues and feels as if it will continue forever.

I've gotten in some knitting.  It was my intention to finish a blanket for lovely baby Jacinth and a shawl for lovely Aunt Bonnie prior to the end of the first week of August.  That will not be happening.  Well, perhaps one of them.

The shawl is being knitted in a vaguely crescent shape.  I have a 14 row repeat that consists of one row of YO K2 TOG, 3 rows of stockinette, 3 rows of stockinette where there are 11 evenly spaced KFB increases on the 2 knit rows, and then 7 more rows of stockinette.  The Paton Lace has delightful long color changes, but as the crescent has increased, the stripes were getting narrow.  Thus,  I shall manipulate in part of a second skein in order to balance it out a bit.  Once I finish this repeat I'm on, I shall do a row of K1 YO to double all the stitches and have a nice ruffly bottom until I run out of purple yarn.  I hope it softens a bit with washing as well.  I'm getting a bit of a dry spot on my tensioning finger. The yarn being 80% acrylic is going to require a steam block.    I haven't done that before and my ironing board died a quiet death.  I opened the closet one day and it was in the closet in 2 pieces.  The welded spot have given up the ghost.  I can't remember the last time I used the ironing board for anything other than blocking knitting.  I'm a slattern. 

My blanket body is finished.  I've picked up and knitted along the border and I THOUGHT I had increased to the correct number of stitches for feather and fan.  The joke is on me.  My plan was feather and fan along the straight-aways and increasing feather and fan at the corners.  Maddeningly enough, someone decided to move my stitch dictionary from the sofa to the floor.  The floor right by the litter box.  I shall be requiring a new copy of Vogue Stitchionary Volume 5.  Diablo even had the nerve to walk around yelling at me in that abrasive cat fashion.  I may chuck it in and do a simple lattice border.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hamlet Knits

You remember Hamlet, right? Over-thinker, underachiever. In the world of deciding what to knit or how to design my knits I am TOTALLY Hamlet. I have a thing for knitting baby blankets. Sadly, I cannot keep up with the rate at which my friends appear to be breeding. I am considering a pi shawl sort of blanket, but I want to start it from the outside and go in. How screwed would I be if I ran out of yarn? Completely and totally. I am also considering a different shape, where the decreases are made in 4 pairs, so that I make a giant square. Perhaps something stripey, where I'd have options for more colors is the way to go on this one. Or perhaps just start with an obscene amount of yarn and a receipt to take it back. I'm not clear on what is an obscene amount though. . . 69 ounces? snicker. My previous pinwheels have consisted of 750 grams of bulky and 22(ish) ounces. Perhaps some nice yarn overs and slipped stitches would stretch it out a bit. I suppose I should start swatching.

I am also pondering the creation of a knitting app for the droid to track the stitches in my stitch dictionaries and others. I would love to be able to query for different stitches based on the number of stitches or rows in them. . . .ah, database design. So many potential pitfalls. I swear I am not using this idea as an excuse to buy more of Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries. I am fully admitting I just like them.

In This F-cking Old House News: we are still chipping away at the house. Whoever buys this place will be crazypants lucky. I've gone to see inside 3 comps for open houses in this neighborhood. So far, we have the best smelling basement. Our house has also been weather-proofed better than the others I've seen. Also: I have masonry paint stuck to my hair and under my nails and I think I may be 5% drywall dust by weight.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today on PBS

On a new episode of This Fucking Old House, our homeowners frame walls and hang drywall as they finish their basement. For extra excitement, they've called in the father in law-- Mister Fucking Perfect. Not only is he the president of the Fucking Perfect Club, he is the founder. And he has a pickup.

I really think people would watch a reality show of Jason and I fixing this house. First of all, we are 100 times more anal than any contractor, secondly nothing is plumb, straight or level in a 60 yr old house, so a project like our basement provides enough footage for a whole season.

We've been churning on the house like crazy, in the hope we will get it listed by July. We know what we want to get and we know what other houses are like in our neighborhood (crappy). Our hope is that by making a room in the basement and getting everything painted, polished and decluttered prospective buyers will find ours the easy choice.

Today while the dudes are in the basement, I intend to work on laundry (like every day) and paint the porch and foundation. CURB APPEAL, BITCHES!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book 16: Allison Hewitt is Trapped

When I'm not reading IT books or romance novels or mystery novels, I like zombie fiction. Yes, that English degree is not going to waste at all! My professors must be so proud to have taught me. This book is framed as being submitted for the historic record of the Zombie Plague. It's the blog of one woman (Allison) who was a hero that contributed to the ultimate survival of the human race. A very good read. The pacing was good. The characters were well done. The ending was not what I expected, but I am not a spoiler kind of reader/writer.

Allison and some of her coworkers are trapped in the bookstore where they work, surviving on beef jerky and juice until they bust out. They do some moving around and there are some casualties, as you might expect. There is also some great ass kicking and axe wielding. I sort of like how the overall zombie genre doesn't agree about what zombies are capable of and if the plague is transferrable to animals. Some surprises in how that all plays out.

Book 15: Prelude to a Scandal

Ok, so the writer is a very good writer, but the relationship was mind bendingly stupid. The hero is basically a sex addict who's screwed up his life but good. I dislike it when my historical heroes have their problems framed through the modern lens. The heroine is a big ole nerd who agrees to marry him because he's getting her dad out of jail. Offputting. Her dad's in jail for writing a book saying homosexuality is no big deal. AGAIN with the modern framing. Then! THEN! When our hero finally tells his wife with whom he has not actually had sex that he's a male slut, she makes him promise to get rid of the portrait he beats off to AND stop beating off! And he agrees. I don't believe any dude on earth is giving up polishing the pole. CRAZYPANTS.

Book 14: Socially Responsible IT

I read this for my CSTE certification upkeep. It was quite a dry read. It is also very idealistic. I read perhaps 5 or 6 IT books per year and I don't really have any outlet allowed by my employer for my thoughts on them. I do recommend the book to other IT professionals, especially those who are empowered to implement policy. I would also recommend it to job seekers. When you are in an interview and they ask if you have any questions you can really dig in with the topics in here.

Book 13: Love in the Afternoon

At last, I've finished up with the Hathaways series. I must say, I thought the hero a dreadful snob who needed to get the hell over himself. And the heroine was the type of girl who never speaks up but wonders why people take advantage. I do like Kleypas, but this was not my favorite of hers at all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wear Protection

IMAG0206, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

I am dying wool for the mitered cross blanket and neglected to wear gloves. I thought I had bleach. Not so much.

I am really, really overthinking this project and I haven't even cast on. Sad!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book 12: Made By Hand

Obviously, I am a fan of making things by hand and fixing what I have, but I still put down this book thinking that Mark Frauenfelder is kind of douchey. He's pretty oblivious to what a privileged life he leads. I am so sick of fixing things (and cleaning the things and fixing the things that clean and cleaning the things that fix) that frankly at the end of the day, I don't want to make a cigarbox guitar. I want to knit or read a book. I harbor no illusion that a baby blanket is qualitatively superior because I made it. The value is based on emotions, the sentimental ties between myself and the recipient.

So Frauenfelder has kept chickens, and thus built a chicken coop from wood he saved when tearing down a shed. He has several instances in the book where he talks about all the bits and bobs he saves because he might use them some day and all I can think is "his poor wife." (I read recently, by the by, that Chickens are the New Knitting. At one time Knitting was the New Yoga. I guess time marches on.) His life is very full of stuff, it's just old junky stuff instead of new shiny stuff. I must just be too middle class to appreciate the nuances because I don't see how this makes him morally superior, which is definitely the undercurrent of the book. I do feel superior to people who can't fix a flat or drive stick or make bread or replace a button or catch a fish or grow tomatoes or patch drywall or glaze a window, but that is intellectual superiority. And intellect is an accident of genetics, not something meritoriously earned.

To my way of thinking, keeping stuff because you might need it in the nebulous someday is the underlying issue of our consumerist mentality. I don't lead a low stuff life by any stretch, but maybe from being in a smallish house with 3 other people, a dog and 2 cats I have begun to think of what it costs me to keep things. How much room does this take up? What do I pay per month for that space? How long do I work to earn money to have the stuff? Are those hours at work worth the cost of this stuff? How much upkeep will this thing take in terms the time I'm not at work? If something is not consumable, I don't want to make a commitment to it where the stuff owns me instead of me owning it. This is probably why I have more yarn and books than clothes.

I was hoping for more tutorials in the book but this is not that type of book. Mark may have learned from his mistakes along the way, but we don't really have the information to do so. I get it that he finds the learning and the improvement a vital part of his process. I am all in favor of those things, but I am also no fan of reinventing the wheel. My scrolling screen saver for a while was "If you don't have time to do it right, how will you ever find time to do it over?" So if you are looking for hard info on how to keep chickens, bees or a garden or how to build a cigar box guitar, this is not the book for you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maytag Still Sucks

here is the unsurprising email response I got from Maytag:

Thank you for visiting the Maytag web site.  We appreciate hearing from you.

I am very sorry to learn of the problem that you are experiencing regarding your
dishwasher. Based on the information given, it appears your appliance requires

We, as consumers, can certainly understand and appreciate your feelings and
frustrations. When a product fails to meet a consumer’s expectations, it
concerns us. While we make every effort to ensure only the highest quality
materials are used during manufacturing, we cannot guarantee an appliance will
never need repair.

Due to our remote location, it is difficult to determine the exact cause of the
problem that you are experiencing, and we do not have provisions for detailed
technical assistance. We suggest for an accurate diagnosis and satisfactory
addressing of any malfunctioning component that may be contributing to your
concern that you contact one of the factory qualified service companies listed

In an effort to administer our warranty fairly to all customers, Maytag
Corporation complies with our legal, written, product warranty. Once a product
warranty has expired, any costs for maintenance, service, or component
replacements are then within the owner’s time frame of responsibility. We
regret that due to the age of the product, we will be unable to assist with the
cost of the repair.

You are a valued Maytag customer and we apologize for any inconvenience this
concern may have caused.

You may schedule service directly from our website using the link provided below
or by calling our Customer Experience Center.

We invite you to contact Maytag again either by calling (800) 344-1274 between
8:00am to 8:00pm EST weekdays or by emailing whenever the need arises. When
calling please press the available option or stay on the line to reach a


Amanda L.
e-Solutions Specialist
Maytag Customer eXperience Center

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Maytag Sucks

So, The Mister is a video engineer and thus, handy with the electronics. Today, for grins, we took apart the face of the dishwasher and got out the diagnostic sheet taped to the bottom of the unit. :geek: Turns out that Diode P-13 burnt up. Guess which cycle buttons use P-13?

Go on! GUESS!

If you guessed ALL OF THEM you are correct.

My friends, Maytag is officially crappier than your average string of Christmas lights, but instead of costing 5 bucks, it cost about five hundred bucks.

I am officially The Woman Who Hates Maytag. And I have pictures up on
my flickr page. Oh, and again, this dishwasher was purchased on Halloween 2009, so it is less than 18 months old.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Books 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Unveiled and Trial by Desire by Courtney Milan-- I liked Unveiled quite a bit. A most excellent resolution on that one. Trial by Desire I was lukewarm on because the hero was Too Stupid To Live-- he was all angsty emo-boy and frankly, I wanted to slap the hell out of him.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast-- by Eloisa James. This is a retelling of the fairy tale, put in a blender with House. Eloisa James owes us more than this. She is a good writer and I'd rather she put out one book a year than churn out something so. . .rehashed. Not up to potential. I suppose if this were the first book of hers you'd read it would be ok, but I expected more.

Notes From a Small Island-- by Bill Bryson. This book is funny but the time line is all jumbled. I was not always able to reckon about which stint in the UK Bill was writing. I would say this is better vacation reading that bedtime. It needs to be read in long stretches, rather than 30 minutes or so a night.

The Third Revelation -- by Ralph McInerny. Most exciting read of the year. This is a mystery about a former FBI agent, working with the Vatican to recover the stolen 3rd Secret of Fatima and solve some murders. Ralph was Catholic, so this is not like reading anything by Dan Brown. Also, Ralph was a scholar, so this is not like reading anything by Dan Brown. Yes, I went there. If you are not pretty familiar with Catholic Apologetics and Church history, you will want to read this with the innernets handy. I did have to look up a few things and I think I'm slightly above average among Catholics in my knowledge. Sadly, there are just 2 books in this series. I have been informed that the Father Dowling mysteries do not suck like the tv show. Very encouraging!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shawl from Paton Lace

IMAG0162.jpg, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

80% acrylic, 10% wool, 10% mohair. This yarn has a nice halo but after knitting with it for several hours over the last 2 days, it's sort of irritating to my index finger, which I use to tension the yarn. It is super pretty though, and machine washable.

I started with the old garter nubbin-- cast on 3, knit 6 rows, turn 90degrees and pick up 3, turn 90degrees and pick up 3 more. Then some exploding increase rows with the old KFB. Pattern started once I got a good half moon:

It's stockinette stitch with 3 stitches in garter on each side. When this is blocked (with steam on account of the acrylic) that garter stuff will be the top edge.

Increases are on every other knit row, 10 KFBs, evenly spaced

I'm throwing in eyelet rows on the knit side about every 8 rows. Like a fool, I decided to do the decreases differently on each half of the rows. K2tog on first side, KRS on the other. My K2tog leans to the right. KRS, which leans to the left is made by Knitting a Stitch, Returning to Right Needle, Slipping the Second Stitch over. So it goes for the left handed mirror knitter.

To make a neater edge along the sides I knit the last stitch twisted-- for me that is through the front loop, but for standard knitters that is through the back loop. Then after I turn the work, I slip with the yarn in front, move the yarn to the back and continue in pattern. I can't believe how much I was bungling that for YEARS.

I am considering a picot bind off. . . .but that is a few days off yet.

I have another skein of this yarn and I don't think this shawl will require it, so I'm planning a lengthwise feather and fan scarf for myself.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Organic Cotton Scarf

IMAG0157, originally uploaded by fudh4x0r.

I hope this means I've linked my blog to flickr correctly. Considering that I don't know how to turn pandora off when I use it on my droid, I don't hold out a lot of hope. I am remarkably lazy about learning to use technology if I'm not getting paid for it. I could be learning knitting instead! Or a new recipe. Or reading some genre fiction.


Cotton Scarf

This is my latest finished object: a scarf knitted lengthwise from knit picks sport weight organic cotton. It's a nice cotton, not too hard on the hands. I like the natural shades of the yarn.

Books 5 and 6: My Lord and Spymaster and Forbidden Rose

I also read these two books while sick last week. I really should have had a fainting couch. I was that pathetic.

I would not say the particulars of these books are any more realistic than book 4, which I panned. However, these were very compelling. The suspense and danger were paced with near perfection. The tension in the relationships was great without the hero having to be an insulting dickhead. I so despise the 80s style alpha hero. These guys were wicked smart, as were the heroines. They were quick thinkers, rugged, good at manly stuff without being dumbass macho pigs. That's a fine balance in books and real life.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book 4: Scandal of the Year

This book was a sidebar ad on Smart Bitches. It was one of 3 books I read last week when I was sick. Bronchitis bites it. Hero had a stick up his butt. Heroine was Victorian Emo. Eh. There were some good scenes, but the overall conflict keeping the two apart was . . . lacking something. It wasn't that I don't believe that women got divorced from rotten husbands in that day. But the husband was so ridiculously villainous, he may as well have twirled his mustache.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Week In Review

I have to send weekly updates at work on a project basis. I'm almost in the habit. Well, I would be if not for the fact that they are due to be emailed on Thursdays and I have 8.5 hours total meetings scheduled on Thursdays.

Jason's Aunt Doyle passed away, so he's out of town. Aunt Doyle was great. We will really miss her humor.

We haven't made much traction on the house. We did get the tree down. And I hired someone to make a run to the landfill with the old drain stack pipe, the old dishwasher, the old water heater, and some other old house debris. Now we can make more debris. I think the replacement windows for the basement would be great to work on, but I'm not the project manager. I'm just the minion!

I am keeping up with the laundry still, and it's such a relief to know that there are school shirts and socks and underwear every morning. I do have a little pile of mending to do and will probably tackle that today.

Speaking of mending, I FINALLY seamed the Baby Surprise Jacket and put on some buttons. It's . . . enormous. It would fit a 3 yr old. Trouble is, I don't know any 3 yr old boys. It's a very boy sort of color scheme. I will get a pic up on flickr today. This is my favorite part of the droid-- I can upload photos without finding some stupid usb cord.

I found a list of the books I read last year and didn't review! Then I lost it again! I did read Jane Eyre, which I'd never read before. I really liked it a lot, but I honestly wonder if Mrs. Rochester wasn't gaslighted by Mister Rochester.

The prototype shawl continues along. I am not sure which way to go with the Real Yarn. I may take the Citron and put different stitch patterns in lieu of the ruched bands. I read about Crazy Lace on ravelry, but cannot find a copy of it anywhere for less than $70. No. Just. . . .No. Apparently it is a way to knit lace without charts or instructions. I am dubious. There is a rav group, but they don't have much to say that is useful-- it's all adoration for the designer. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just need actual information.

As it is the time of year when I often have a little windfall at work, I ordered Vogue Stitchionary 2: Cables,
2-at-a-time Socks, and Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders. I really want to also get Stephen West's delightful pattern Clockwork. Of course, since I want to make it in Knit Picks City Tweed DK which I do not have in stash, I will have to get medieval on some other stash busting projects in order to buy the yarn. Note-- I have added the knit meter gadget to the sidebar.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Finished Objects of 2011

An acid green cowl for my coworker Stacy. Ravelry pattern is Ruched Cowl and it's free! I only used the smaller sized needles and it was plenty ruchey. It was a fun knit. She loves it!

Too bad that STUPID BLOGGER won't actually upload my damn picture. You'll just have to click the link.

There is another dumb bathroom shot of me in the hat I made for my other coworker, who had to fly up from Argentina in order to test unmasked data for me. It's summer there and of course, totally vile here. I finished this last night and errr, he flew home this morning. Sadly my droid is not uploading pics to flickr anymore. It's probably user error. I'm not reading a manual for a damn phone.

As it happens, I have 2 knitting related resolutions this year. I resolve to replace yarn at only half the rate I knit it. I further resolve that my yarn depletion method is not going to be FIFO or LIFO but instead will be cost based. I have several skeins of Supah Fancy Stuff that I really want to show off. And let me tell you, I've learned that anyone can appreciate a fantastic scarf but if you try to get people to pet a skein of yarn they just think you're off your rocker.

Book 3: Feeling Sorry For Celia

This is a young adult book in the epistolary form, where some of the letters are real and some are from pretty funny imaginary societies. Elizabeth, the heroine has a completely out of control BFF named Celia, and a great penpal in a nearby school-- Christina. I believe that this was one of the recommendations I got when I looked for similar titles to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

I really liked that in this teen book, teens actually HAVE SEX. Because let's face it, in real life, they do HAVE SEX. I also like that this book talks about consequences- emotional and otherwise.

There were a couple of unlikely twists that I didn't care for, regarding Elizabeth's dad and his new family.

Book 2: Seven Nights To Forever

I must say, I am always dubious about happy endings for couples where one of them starts as a whore. The book was ok, but I agree with the commenter on the Smart Bitches site who wondered why the hero didn't exercise his rights as a husband on the bitch he married. If anyone deserved The Mrs. Rochester Treatment, it was whatshername.

Book 1: The Spymaster's Lady

I did read additional books last year, but I just couldn't be arsed to write reviews of them. 2010 got a lot less pleasant there for a while, mostly due to work. (My new year's resolution for work is No Crying At Work. So far, I've kept it, but I did have to take a brisk walk a couple of times and there have been more cocktails in my evenings.)

Book 1 of this year was Joanna Bourne's The Spymaster's Lady. Pretty fun read, I must say. I loved how completely brilliant and wily Annique was. She kicked all sorts of ass, physically and mentally. I do like that in a heroine. I didn't much care for the Startling Conclusion About Her Mysterious Parents.