Friday, November 30, 2007

On repeat

First things first: crisis averted in the blog secrecy matter. My mom claims not to remember being told the name and link of this site and doesn't plan to visit. That's a relief. Now to write about what I was going to yesterday...

In my year as a knitter I have tended to repeat projects. Currently I'm working on my fourth hat from the same pattern (PDF). I have at least one more in mind as a Christmas gift. That probably seems nuts to some of you. Isn't it boring to knit the same thing multiple times? Actually, no.

Knitting the same thing has helped me learn. On the first hat I tried out magic loop and discovered that I hadn't made the hat long enough to my liking. For the second hat I found the proper length. On hat number three I realized that I hadn't quite been doing magic loop correctly. I've gone up a needle size on the fourth hat to resolve the tightness problem.

I look at this repetitive knitting as a way of improving. That's what last year's Christmas scarf knitting accomplished. I can dedicate myself to a particular project and figure it out better than if I spread them out over a long period of time. It becomes easier to see connections and through lines in directors' works when going to film retrospectives. Depth of study brings clarity, so that's why I don't mind knitting the hat pattern over and over.

Since speed is also a factor in knitting for the holidays, repeating projects means that I'm faster too.

Keeping all this in mind, I'm ready to do something different.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

On that whole secrecy thing again

I was going to write about something else tonight, but having just finished a long e-mail on this subject, I might as well address it here too.

While looking at my site traffic log a few nights ago, I saw something that triggered a couple moments of panic. I was 99% certain that the identifying information for one visitor indicated my brother had paid a visit to my blog. He found it with little trouble earlier this year. When I spotted his workplace in the log, I wrote him immediately and asked that he not read or pass along the link to family members. I have no reason to believe he looked at the blog again until recently.

Now, obviously my family is aware that I keep a knitblog. The existence of this site isn't something I've kept secret from them. (It's kind of hard to do in situations like this.) It's the name and location of the blog that I've hidden.

My brother visited here because he assumed I was blogging about my time elsewhere in Texas and wanted to see what I was writing. Nothing wrong with that. I should be flattered, I suppose. Upon reasserting my desire to have family not read this blog, he told me that he did let slip the name of the site to my parents. (They were immensely curious about me meeting a reader I had never met.) Because I was being open about the blog's existence, he assumed it wasn't such a big secret any longer. Um, no. So, I have an e-mail to send to my mom to request she not come here and to explain why.

There are plenty of reasons why, but it boils down to wanting to have a place where I can do personal writing without worrying about family members reading it. I'm not necessarily uncomfortable with what I'm writing about myself--although that's not completely true--but I would be significantly less at ease if I knew my parents or siblings were reading. I know, it's weird that I am fine with strangers and friends reading but not family. (That being said, most of my non-knitting friends are oblivious to this blog.)

I've tried not to write about anyone who doesn't or wouldn't read this site, although I can't follow that rule 100% of the time. When I mention those people, I don't include their names in fairness to them. Family members are trickier. It's hard not to write about them in some respect, although in those instances I've not published their names or specifics about them.

I don't expect this development to have an impact here, although if I seem a little less forthcoming in the near future, you'll know why. I don't think I've written anything that I regret, but sometimes I vent and might say something that could be misinterpreted.

Ugh. I'm bored with this, and I imagine you are too. Hopefully this will be the last time I write about it for a long while. Back to knitting topics tomorrow.

OK mom, if you've been reading, I politely ask you to grant me this virtual space and erase all memory of this blog.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grab bag

I didn't expect to be so tired today, but the aftereffects of traveling caught up with me at work. So, with that in mind, I present a blog entry purposefully disjointed so I don't have to think as much while writing it.

-The low temperature back in the good ol' Midwest necessitated wearing a scarf for the first time this season. I forgot how nice it is to put on something I made. I'm going to have to get to work on a scarf for myself that's a little fancier than the garter stitch pieces I knitted as a newbie, but they will do for now.

-My messenger bag is back in action. My mom sewed the ripped strap together. I'm glad to be using it again. It's much more convenient for carrying my knitting than throwing everything in a backpack.

-I went to the knit night for the first time in nearly a month. I didn't exactly feel up to going, but it's likely the last one I'll be able to attend in awhile. (Screenings or basketball stats work will probably conflict for the next three months.) I figured I could use some "forced" knitting time. If I spent those hours at home, I might have been more inclined to sleep or lay down and watch TV. The knit night was well-attended, but no one was in a chatty mood. Fine by me. I enjoyed dedicating a couple hours to knit. I have about half of my mom's hat finished now.

-Cables was one subject that came up during knit night. I was shown the general idea in how they're knitted. It doesn't seem so theory.

-My International Scarf Exchange 5 pal has received my package. It sounds like I did well.

-When I returned home from my trip, one of the items awaiting me in my mailbox were stitch markers I won from a contest within my ISE5 group. Cool! I'll post a picture eventually.

-I'm Not There. Finally, an awards season movie to knock my socks off...and I'm far from a Dylan expert. Cate Blanchett is as great in it as you've heard. (To drop one other movie note, No Country for Old Men is pretty good too, but I think I need a second viewing to bump it up to the same level as this.)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Everything in Texas is supposed to be bigger. I enter this slice of coconut cream pie from The Koffee Kup Family Restaurant in Hico as evidence that indeed this state does things in large ways. Have mercy. I couldn't eat it all.

My southern schedule has been supersized too. I've been so busy I've hardly known whether I'm coming or going. Certainly it has been good to get away for awhile. I just didn't expect to be run ragged. I like seeing different places and enjoyed most everywhere I went, but I wouldn't have minded a day or two of non-activity amid this nonstop family time.

There was much less knitting than anticipated. I knitted during some of today's time on the road, but I was simply too tired to feel like accomplishing more than keeping my head up and eyes mostly open.

Except for the open eyes thing, the same will probably hold true for my flight home tonight. If I feel like sleeping, so help me, I will. Once I get past the revving engines for take-off, which sound like the crescendo at the end of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life", I'm fine with being out like a light for the flight's duration.

The holidays are supposed to be restful, but do they ever work out that way? Still, I suppose this is a good tired than the fatigue brought on from the daily grind.

How's everyone doing? I'm far behind in keeping up with blogs and haven't read a newspaper in more than a week. I feel seriously out of touch, but so goes the pace of modern life.

OK, off to the airport in a few...

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Fables of the reconstruction

Remember The Alamo? Well, there it is.

I visited it six years ago, but the parents hadn't been there. I didn't mind seeing it again. I didn't have anything in mind for the day anyway. It's odd to come across this historic structure smack dab in the middle of a bustling downtown. The Alamo appears to be the hub for the spokes that are San Antonio's other tourist attractions and traps.

Until this trip I didn't realize how much has been rebuilt or is non-original at this site and the other missions. Granted, much of the rebuilding was done long enough ago to seem like it is true to history. The interesting thing is that it isn't always accurate. For example, the community ovens at Mission San José are not constructed how the Native Americans used them. The guard tower in the wall's corner should be square rather than round. The Alamo's famous facade was added when the U.S. Army began making repairs in 1850. The church had already been standing for approximately a hundred years.

There is no charge to visit the missions on the trail, including The Alamo. Although The Alamo is the best known, I recommend visiting at least one of the others. You'll get a better sense of what the spaces were like when the missions were in operation and, in my experience, not have to deal with larger crowds to see what you want. The guided tour at Mission San José was informative and added a lot to the time spent on the grounds.

It warmed up a little today, although it was still on the cool side. Think jacket weather versus coat weather. My parents wanted to see what the River Walk looked like during the day, so we wandered over there for some lunch before leaving the city. I thought we were going to be in San Antonio tonight, but my dad was ready to move on. This has been an unusually active week while I've been here. I'm not saying that it's been bad, but I was expecting more time to sit around and knit, read, or watch TV. About the only TV viewing I've had was watching last week's episode of Kid Nation on the CBS site.

I did use some of today's travel time to knit. I cast on for my mom's hat and knitted it for about an hour. Needles and yarn, how I've missed you. I'm in sore need of time to myself too. I've rarely had an alone moment since I landed in Dallas a week ago. On top of that, I've been in places not quite big enough for everyone there. It will be good to get home tomorrow night.

We left the city for Texas Hill Country for our mid-afternoon destination, the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site between Fredricksburg and Johnson City. We watched an NBC program from the 1960s in which the President took a reporter around his home away from the White House. Then we hopped on a bus for the guided tour of the LBJ Ranch. It mostly consisted of listening to the driver talk about the former President and First Lady. It sounded like his family has lived in the area for generations, so it was interesting to hear his personal recollections about the people in this part of Texas in addition to his knowledge about LBJ.

We were able to get out and take a peek at Johnson's reconstructed childhood home, which is pictured above. Although it isn't the exact building in which he entered the world, it smelled authentic. (I'm not being snarky. I mean that its scent reminded me of the farmhouse my great aunt and some of her siblings called home their entire lives.) We were able to walk across the road to the private family graveyard where LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson are buried. Considering I would expect a former President to have an ostentatious headstone, I was surprised to see the modest marker for him. About a mile up the road from the home where he was born is the LBJ Ranch House, the place he called home until he died.

We pulled into Marble Falls, Texas after sunset and have settled in for the night. Who knows what tomorrow in the Lone Star State may hold?

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mission possible

The Great Hotel Dilemma has been satisfactorily resolved for today and tomorrow. Although my dad didn't seem to consider last night's accommodations to be lacking, my protestations coupled with my mom's must have sunk in enough for our two remaining nights in San Antonio.

I understand traveling on a budget, but the Motel 6 my dad decided to have us stay in last night was the picture of depression. The room had no artwork on the walls, clock radio, mini shampoo bottle, or guest guide. I think the Gideons may not even have left a Bible in it. My mom was concerned that there were too many paved surfaces on the property grounds for their dog to do his business. She asked my dad if he had asked the night clerk where to find some grass. I told her that there was a good likelihood she'd get a reply, just not one that answered how the question was intended.

This trip has certainly given me plenty to chew on regarding understanding why I am the way I am, but I'll save those reflections for another entry.

The top photo is of the San Antonio River Walk. I was here six years ago, and I knew this would be a good place to take them. Unfortunately it was too cold to eat outside.

Earlier today we visited two of San Antonio's missions. This is Mission Concepción. I didn't realize that the missions were intended not only for converting Native Americans to Catholicism but also for making them Spanish citizens so that they could function as colonists for the European country.

It's my understanding that the churches in these missions still hold services and function independently of the national parks where they are located.

One mission down, one more to go for the day.

At Mission San José we took the guided tour.

The biggest surprise to me was learning that much of what we were seeing had been restored through the Works Progress Administration. The churches' exteriors were decorated in colorful geometric design, an influence of the Moors on Spanish culture.

The five missions on the trail are each separated by approximately three miles. The Alamo, or Mission San Antonio, is the northernmost. I expect it will be on the itinerary for Monday.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

On the move

Since it's looking like my parents are going to San Antonio tonight (and I'm tagging along to give my brother and sister-in-law some space), I have to make a quick post to do my blogging for the day. Dad is more concerned about finding a place that accepts pets than one with free wireless internet access. You see who rates higher.

It's been a dreary day here. The cold and the rain make it feel like it must back home. The small quarters are getting tight, so it's been more of a tense day. I would have been happy to sit and knit, but a last minute decision to have a family photo taken ate up a lot of free time today. Yeah, I could have done without that.

So, if I sound a little grumpy today, it's because all this family time is becoming a bit much. It will probably be good to move along for a couple days before returning home. Hopefully I'll persuade my dad to stay somewhere I can get online. Whatever would I do if I don't have this electronic umbilical cord?

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Hats and home furnishings

Ribbed Beanie (PDF)

Yarn: Malabrigo Kettle Dyed Solids (100% merino wool; worsted weight)
Color: Azul bolita
Needles: US 8 circulars
Stitches: 72

Why, it's a Thanksgiving FO. I finished this last night while taking a break from playing Wii with my brothers. My mother is modeling the hat, although this one isn't for her. My next project is her Christmas gift, a hat in a Malabrigo colorway dubbed purple mystery.

She thought this hat was too tight around the edge. I made the smaller version of the pattern, which I assumed was supposed to be for most women. The men's size can have a similar issue, so for my mom's hat I'll either go up a needle size or cast on eight more stitches for the larger size. Is one of those solutions better than the other?

While I had her modeling and determining which hat fit more comfortably, she also donned my brother's hat. I provide this, the best (and likely last) photo of it.

My brother seems pretty happy with the hat and has already had an occasion or two to wear it. You see, despite being in Texas and enjoying warm weather on Tuesday, we received sleet and snow on Thanksgiving afternoon. Mind you, it didn't accumulate or come down for a lengthy period, but there were big, wet flakes falling here. One of us in the family must have brought the cold with us.

It's hard to believe I've already been here for four days and five nights. Except for yesterday, we've been on the go, in part because I think my brother and sister-in-law feel they need to keep everyone constantly entertained. I'm reminded, though, that my brothers and parents are not the greatest planners in the world, so someone needs to make a decision on what to do. It is not my desire to commandeer the daily activities, but I'll do so if it means not having to listen to discussions that go in circles. And where, pray tell, was I interested in going today?

IKEA. I first learned of the Swedish home furnishings manufacturer by reading Douglas Coupland's Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture more than a decade ago. There are no stores near me--Pittsburgh doesn't qualify as close--so I'd never been. I've been curious to see what IKEA has to offer. Here was my opportunity.

Now, I'm not a big shopping person. I usually have a plan of what I want to get and don't browse aimlessly. (Yarn, book, and music stores are exceptions to this rule.) Visiting IKEA on what is supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year might seem like folly, but the place is enormous, meaning that plenty of people can be there without it feeling crowded.

Upon setting foot in the second floor showroom, it felt like stepping into the pages of a catalog. (A scene from Fight Club comes to mind.) Per my sister-in-law's advice, I had flipped through the catalog on the way to the store. I understood why now. The showroom was overwhelming, although in a good way. I had a couple items in mind--you've read of my need for another lamp--but nothing in particular that I was targeting. Anyway, this is hardly a place where you pop in, grab one or two things, and leave. They have a restaurant and for good reason. We were in IKEA for at least three hours.

Ordinarily this would have sounded like hell. Three-plus hours in one store on Black Friday? Maybe on a second visit I wouldn't have been so captivated, but I wasn't bored at all during my first time at the place. I found a couple things I needed, including a lamp, and didn't make a dent in my wallet.

More Texas tales tomorrow...

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

On this day when we give thanks, I take time to consider the things I am grateful for. Significant or not, it doesn't matter.

-The standards: family, friends, good health, a job I enjoy (despite the numerous aggravations with it this past year). It's easy to take these things for granted--and easy to put them on a list such as this--but the fact that I can do so means I'm more fortunate than many.

-My new apartment. Longtime readers know how stressed out I was at my old place. Moving to a new home is one of the best things I've done all year. Having somewhere to relax can not be overvalued enough. Living in a different part of the area has also led to some exploring, which has been fun to do.

-Greenberg Turkey. Rather than mess with preparing a bird, this was on our table today. There won't be any trouble getting rid of what's left over of this terrific smoked turkey.

-$10 Huntington green seats at the Blue Jackets games. I made a minor splurge on a six game package, mainly to lock up tickets for the higher demand match-ups. My heart, though, is with these cheap seats, one of the best deals in professional sports. Sure, purchasing them may require standing in line for thirty to forty-five minutes, but these are good seats at a fraction of the cost that most are spending to get in the doors.

-The North Market. So many wonderful local food options under one roof and a great place to knit.

-Four new books by three of my favorite authors in one year. I still haven't read the new books by Douglas Coupland and Nick Hornby and two new novels by Michael Chabon, but it's nice to know what I have to look forward to when I find the time to crack those spines.

-My laptop computer and wireless internet access. It's changed how I work and write, probably for good and ill. (I have it on practically all the time when I'm home.)

-Awards season. December will be stupid busy with screenings, but the films are supposed to be better than at any other time of the year. Plus, with my love of mail, what more could I ask for than the excitement that comes from arriving home to discover packages in my mailbox and delivery notices on my door? Each day can be like Christmas with the "for your consideration" DVDs and CDs that show up.

-A good cup of coffee. I don't need it to get me revved up for the day; however, for someone like me, who has to ease into the morning, it is a small pleasure that can smooth the rough edges.

-Knitting. I've learned and gained so much more from this craft than just a skill with needles and yarn. It's helped me realize a lot about myself and build friendships I treasure. Sometimes life throws you surprises. I'm glad I caught this one.

-My readers. I write for myself, and I also write for you. Often I don't know how you got here and why you return. Is there really anything that compelling in what I scrawl every day? Regardless, it means a lot to me that my readers find some value in all of this and share in the dialogue via comments and e-mail. Thank you for taking an interest in me and inspiring and encouraging me. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Big D

One of the ironies of vacation, a time intended for rest, is that it may be busier than the time spent working and following a regular routine. There was plenty of time in a car today. The afternoon was spent in downtown Dallas at The Sixth Floor Museum while the evening was passed in the American Airlines Center.

I thought I was going to be the smart one who had something to do in the car. I brought my knitting with me, but after a couple rounds I ran into a puffed out spot in the yarn. I would have cut it, knotted the ends together, and continued, except my scissors were left behind in a separate bag. (There's something for which I can fault airport security. If I didn't need to put scissors in checked baggage, they would have been with me!)

The Sixth Floor Museum is in the building formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository. Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK from the far right sixth floor window on this side. Yes, nothing says family time at the holidays like visiting the site where President Kennedy was assassinated.

All flippancy aside, this is an important location in American history. It was slightly strange to be at Dealey Plaza and on the grassy knoll, places I've seen many times in archival news footage.

The museum occupies the sixth and seventh floors of the building. An audio tour guides you through the signs, reprinted photographs, and occasional videos on the sixth floor. Photography is not allowed in the museum, not that there's really anything of note to shoot. The corners where Oswald fired his rifle and discarded it are glassed off, although you can see the spaces perfectly fine. The Warren Commission's model of the Dealey Plaza area helps explain what you're looking at from the building's south windows.

The current exhibition on the seventh floor showcases amateur film footage of Kennedy's fateful visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963 and home movies of other events surrounding his death. These films are shown in their entirety, something I found fascinating to see. For instance, the Zapruder film has banal footage of his grandchildren playing and a woman in his office on the reel. Then come the most famous (and graphic) images of JFK being killed.

I also geeked out over the home movie cameras of the time. Three were available for hands-on examination. Zapruder must have had a high-end camera for the time. It was a nice piece of equipment.

We walked around Dealey Plaza after going through the museum. There were a handful of opportunistic street businessmen selling commemorative tabloid papers about the assassination and talking up all the conspiracy theories. Honestly, I find that stuff pretty tiresome, both the conspiracies and the pushy sellers, but it seems like an inevitable part of the location.

Since I took a picture that gives a good sense of the area's layout, here you see the Texas School Book Depository and, if you look at the photo enlarged, the x on the road marking the spot where the bullet struck President Kennedy. (It's by the first lane marker on the left.) And yes, people were going into the middle of this busy street to have their picture taken on the x.

The night's entertainment was taken care of with complimentary tickets to the Dallas Stars game. (My brother knows someone.) The organization honored center Mike Modano before the game for his recent achievement of becoming the American-born player with the highest NHL career points total. Since I'm not a Stars fan and had nothing invested in who won, the pre-game ceremony was a cool bonus.

How perfect that Modano scored the tying goal on his night and that his team won. The game was mostly a defensive struggle, but the final thirteen minutes were quite exciting. Dallas scored both of their goals within 41 seconds. Anaheim put a good push on toward the end but came up short. It hadn't been the most exciting game, but the finish was outstanding.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yarn shop crawl, Texas-style

I've said it before. Knitters are the nicest people.

Donia graciously offered to take me to some local yarn shops while I'm visiting the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We had never met before today, but I felt reasonably sure that she wasn't going to whisk me away to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre family's house for unspeakable horrors. Apparently I don't give off a serial killer vibe, so there's no need to pull out the scary eleven o'clock news music and graphics for recounting today's activities.

Of course, my mom had a predictable line of questioning: "How do you know her? Have you ever met? Is she single?" There would be more explaining to do at our first stop.

We started at Simpatico Yarns in Bedford, TX. It's a small but nice shop that automatically earned points for stocking Dark Horse Yarns, one of my favorites. (It was cheaper than where I've bought it too. Maybe I'll have to go back...) While we were looking, one of the women in the store asked if we were married. Nope. Brother and sister? Nuh uh. Dating? Strike three. Obviously an explanation, convoluted or not, was in order.

When I mentioned my blog, the owner(?) made a beeline to the computer to look it up. She thought that she had read it before. This was unexpected. I also pointed her to my movie site, and again she seemed convinced that she had come across something I'd written. Whether she had or not, my mind was blown. One of the last places I would ever expect to be recognized in any capacity is a yarn store in Texas. And you wonder why I'm still secret.

After a nice chat with the women in the store and fajitas for lunch at Posados, it was off to downtown Fort Worth and JenningStreet Yarn. This was the only store in which I pulled out the camera to take the pictures adorning this post.

Unlike every other LYS I've been to, this one organizes the yarn by color. The advantage is that you can make easy comparisons with similarly-hued yarn. If it were up to me, I don't think I'd group the yarn this way, but it's a valid method.

One of the owners wound yarn that Donia had purchased on a previous visit. That's good customer service. The other was working on an entrelac scarf. I don't understand how that pattern can be done, but by now it should be well-established that I tend to make things more complicated than they are.

Following a quick tour of Texas Christian University, we went to the third and final yarn shop of the afternoon. The Knitting Nook tempted me with a few yarns, but in the end I finished the LYS crawl without making any purchases. I almost always buy yarn for specific projects. The Knitting Nook stocked plenty of familiar brands, so I suppose I can find these back in Ohio if necessary. This store isn't that far from my brother's place, so I could always hound someone into taking me back if I decide I must have something from there.

I must give a big thanks to Donia for showing me the sites and taking a few hours out of her schedule to be a kind hostess. It was really cool of her to do this and nice to meet a new friend. Hopefully I didn't talk too much.

Despite this being a yarn-centric day, I didn't do much knitting. This evening I went to a promo screening of Hitman--in a word, awful--and spent more time playing my brother's Wii than I should have. The current hat is more than half completed, so I'm thinking I might be able to turn it into an FO on Thanksgiving.

More tales from Texas next time...

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Knitting the friendly skies

Today was a good time to be a knitter. I arrived at the airport about two hours before my flight was scheduled to depart. It ended up being delayed about an hour and a half, so I had plenty of time on my hands.

My concern about getting knitting needles through security, particularly those pointy circs, proved to be unwarranted. I breezed through the metal detector and my belongings passed through the x-ray machine with nary a word from the guards. I settled in at the gate for some knitting, took a break to get online, and returned to more knitting when the flight was bumped back another thirty minutes. I got a lot done.

A couple of old women were intrigued with my activity and struck up a conversation with me. Neither of them knit--crochet and sewing are their bailiwicks--but they were genuinely interested in the hat I'm making. The flight attendants also were curious to know what I was doing. I feel a little guilty for getting the attention. The truth is that what I'm doing isn't hard, even if sometimes I make it that way for myself.

The flight itself was fairly unremarkable. I am in full support of my time on airplanes being unremarkable. I knit for a good portion of the trip, which kept me more relaxed. I'm not afraid of flying, but I get stressed about the popping ears that take forever to equalize and headaches. The descent was kind of rough on the ears, and I still feel like the right side of my head is in a bucket.

Per a tip from those savvier than me regarding aviation travel, I requested a change to an exit row seat and got one. The bonus was that I had no one sitting beside me and extra leg room in front of me. It was like flying first class without the $90 upgrade fee.

So, now I'm in Texas, although I did get momentarily disoriented while at the grocery store with my brother. Where am I again? I arrived in the dark, so the only difference I have noticed is the warmer temperature, which I've been told will not be sticking around for the duration of my stay.

I gave my brother the hat I made for him and his wife the blanket for both of them. Both were well received, although neither item would seem to be needed for the time being in this southern climate.

On Tuesday I'm meeting up with Donia, who has been gracious enough to offer to take me to lunch and show me a couple of yarn stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Another southern adventure begins...

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fists and Feist

Quite a full last day in Ohio for me before departing for Texas and getting a jump on Thanksgiving travel.

First on the docket: a big rivalry game for the local professional hockey team. The Red Wings tend to dominate the Blue Jackets--and the rest of the NHL, for that matter--but this was a close, competitive game. OK, so Detroit ended up winning, but it took them to the fifth round of the shootout to finish off Columbus.

I've never played hockey. I've never even laced up a pair of ice skates and slipped my way around a rink. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate the skill of these players. If anything, they are more of a mystery to me than athletes who do things I can do, albeit on a significantly higher level than me. (There was that one pitch I threw as a twelve-year-old that dropped off the table to notch a strikeout but I digress...) I enjoy going to these hockey games and being astounded by the players' performances. TV gives a glimpse of their artistry, but it's not the same.

Tonight's game was a corker--no big brawls, though, despite this entry's title--and I found myself getting wrapped up in it. Eventually I realized one of the reasons why. Although there are breaks in the action, the game's flow can be unbroken for long stretches of time, something that doesn't happen in almost any other televised sport. Pro football seems like it's at a standstill if you're in the stands. Division I college basketball never finds a rhythm because they're always stopping for TV timeout, or so it feels. With hockey there's time to be immersed in the game. That makes a huge difference as a spectator.

Since I had to hightail it up High Street after the game, of course it had to go into overtime and then the tiebreaker. Luckily I've found a parking lot where I can slide out a back way and avoid post-game traffic. With the game over, I made the dash to get to the Feist concert at the Wexner Center on time.

I made great time, but upon reaching my next destination I had to circle all the way to the parking garage's roof behind four other cars searching for spots. That got me a hair late to the show and a couple songs into opening artist Jason Collett's set. I'm not familiar with his music, but his set was good enough to pass the time for forty-five minutes. (I know, talk about damning with faint praise. I didn't know the songs. He was fine. That sums it up.)

After a half hour break, out hobbled headliner Feist. And I do mean hobbled. She played drums for some of Collett's set, and I thought I saw her leave the stage with a cane. Sure enough, she had a cane as she went to center stage. Turns out that she tripped and injured her foot a few days ago. Tonight marked her return to singing and playing standing up.

Attending this concert six months ago would have given me plenty of indie cred--not that I care--but with "1 2 3 4" all over an iPod commercial, "My Moon, My Man" in a car ad, and a song apparently in a promo for a Lifetime movie, the arbiters of cultural cool are less impressed. Whatever.

Her 95-minute set alternated between up-tempo rockers and contemplative ballads that could have been at home in a Parisian coffeehouse. It was an interesting juxtaposition. I think Feist struck the balance better in concert than on her recordings, not that I'd raise any major complaints with them. She rearranged many of her songs to excellent effect. I would have preferred the disco vibe to "Inside and Out", a Bee Gees cover, but she and her four-piece band transformed it into an arena-worthy power ballad. (I did miss "One Evening", though.)

Feist took the spotlight off herself late in the show to ask if someone was in attendance and then let the audience member's boyfriend propose to her. (Apparently he'd contacted Feist's management to see if he could pull this off.) Usually I get irritated by such self-aggrandizement, but it was a nice moment that led to a cover of fellow Canadian Sarah Harmer's "Open Window (The Wedding Song)". "1 2 3 4" and "Mushaboom" provided a strong finish to the main set. A rousing "Sea Lion Woman" and mellow "Let It Die" capped the evening.

On the knitting front, I'm not having trouble with tight stitches any longer. One more round of reduced tension did the trick. I promise not to be so uptight.

That said, I'm glad I made a bonus (or throwaway) post earlier in the day. To address Donna's comment, I've been doing magic loop incorrectly. I've only been using one loop, and that wasn't really a loop. I didn't have one on the left that divided the stitches. I would bring all the stitches together so there was a long length of free cable leading to the right needle. The funny thing is that prior to the hockey game I came across a loop on the left by accident. Gee, this is a lot easier than what I was doing! Thanks for the advice, though. It probably wouldn't hurt for me to experiment a little more.

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What's wrong with this picture?

I plan on posting again later today, so it's bonus post Sunday.

Here's the hat that is causing me so much aggravation. Donna asked for pictures in trying to diagnose the tight stitches problems. I don't know that photos are going to be helpful. The best way I can describe what's happening is that the stitches on the left needle don't want to move up to be knitted and slipped off. The part of the WIP at the base of the needle has a tendency to curl when I push vigorously on the stitches to get them in a workable position. Wrapping with less tension does not seem to have remedied the problem.

More tonight...

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

And the beat goes on

Yesterday's knitting struggles gave way to more knitting difficulty today.

Thinking that I might have twisted stitches when I joined in the round, I pulled the yarn off the needles and started over. I decided to give one of the problematic 32" cables another chance. I had the bright idea to pull the loop through the last cast on stitch that needed to be slipped to the left needle for joining in the round. I figured that would cut down on the chance of twisting stitches. It seemed to work.

Knitting the first round was relatively smooth, so I thought I was in the clear. I wish. The second round was OK for awhile, but as I got near the end of it, the stitches needed a significant amount of coaxing to budge forward. Placing my right index finger on the left needle tip to get some stitches off led to a painful moment when the point jabbed me good and hard. Aggravated again, I set the knitting aside for most of the day.

I picked it up this evening and had a lightbulb moment. Could it be that I'm wrapping the yarn too tightly? I reduced the yarn tension, but the last third of the round continues to give me trouble. Few stitches glide on the needles. Most need a lot of pushing, the latter ones especially. Sometimes that gets the job done, sometimes it doesn't. I'm very annoyed about this. Does anyone have a solution? I'm thinking about knitting this onto a 24" cable, but I don't know how that would fix the tightness problem.

I have encountered one issue relative to the 32" cable. If I'm not careful when pulling the excess through, it makes a knot around another part of the cable. That's taken some thought to determine how to get it undone.

Knitting is supposed to be relaxing. Right now it's anything but.

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Friday, November 16, 2007


Considering today's lack of success, I've now gone five days without knitting. It wasn't for lack of trying.

Technically speaking, I suppose I did knit today, but it doesn't count as far as I'm concerned. (It's sort of like how governments will choose not to recognize certain nations. OK, it's nothing like that at all, but you know what I mean.) I cast on for a hat and struggled through the first round and hoped for the best on the second. Try as I might, the stitches don't want to slide up the left needle.

That leaves me with no alternative but to push with all my effort and run the risk of impaling my hand with the pointy Option. (Judging by the sore callused spot on my right index finger, these are sharp needles.) The yarn doesn't appear to be snagging on anything; it just doesn't want to go anywhere. I'm not sure why since the needles are slippery enough that I can't push the stitches with much authority. Believe me, I tried for a longer period of time than made sense--a half hour?--before deciding that finishing the second round wasn't worth the trouble this evening.

The hat has eight fewer stitches per round, so the diameter is a bit smaller. Still, I've worked decrease rounds that didn't have as many stitches, and they weren't problematic. Is it a matter of knitting too tightly, or are the first few rounds in magic loop always going to be difficult?

Maybe I need a longer cable. I received an e-mail that replacement 32" cables are on the way at no charge, but that doesn't resolve the problem in the immediate and near future.

On the other hand, it might be just as well that I'm not knitting. This week--for that matter, this academic quarter--has ground me down, and I don't have the energy for much of anything at the moment. Hopefully I can refuel this weekend and the upcoming week in Texas for the holiday.

(Note: I'm not in the habit of explaining titles, but I don't want anyone thinking I've made a typo in this one. The answer for this one can be found here.)

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside

Winter won't officially start for almost a month, but as far as I'm concerned, it arrived today. The temperature took a nice dip to put a chill in the air, and I drove home in insubstantial flurries but snow nonetheless.

While I'm sure this precipitous event will elicit a hue and cry around the city's water coolers, proverbial and otherwise, you'll hear no complaining from me. Fall is my favorite season, but there is something to be said for the bracing slap on the face cold weather provides. The air seems cleaner, the world sounds quieter, and life adopts a slower rhythm (at least in theory).

A hot meal is never better than when the cold is trying to creep through the doors and windows. Watching falling snow through the streetlights lends a magical quality to the environment. I could do without icy roads, the need to scrape windshields, and the preponderance of runny noses and coughing in the general public, but I won't hold winter's tag-alongs against the season.

I've lived in Ohio my entire life, so I'm accustomed to four distinct seasons. They help make daily routines a little more interesting. Sure, I suppose it would be wonderful to live where it's always sunny and seventy, but that climatic sameness has to get boring after awhile, doesn't it? Or is that what those of us entering the frostier portion of the calendar say to convince ourselves?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Modern life is rubbish

My desire to use that title supercedes my actual opinion, although there are some areas where it applies. For instance, I purchased a ticket to see Spoon in concert in a couple weeks. I was ecstatic to discover that the ticket's face value is five dollars. The service and convenience fees came to $5.85, though. That's right. The secondary charges are more than the ticket itself. Ticketmaster, you've finally outdone yourselves. In the end, $10.85 is a deal, but this goes to show how out of whack the system is.

Speaking of other things that don't make the most sense, human resources informed me that I needed to pick a new health insurance plan. I was upfront--probably to the point of snippiness--with the HR employee. I have no idea what any of the stuff on the insurance plan charts means or what my current but soon-to-be previous plan prior is. Worse, I don't care. (I didn't say this out loud, but I certainly thought it.)

Obviously I do care. I want health insurance, but as someone who hasn't really used it, the entire process seems completely absurd and needlessly complicated. I can't simply say, "I would like this plan" and leave it at that. Oh no. I have to fill out forms and go to a local bank--not mine, by the way--and establish the health savings account there.

If I don't want the bank to charge me a monthly fee, something which would eat up eight and a third percent of my employer's contribution to the account, then I need to open a direct deposit checking account with them. So now I have to go to this bank to find out what obligations I would have to accept to get the fee waived. Thus the title of today's entry.

This makes three knitting-free days in a row for me. I can't say I'm pleased about that, but there's no rest for the wicked. Instead, there will be photographs.

This overhead view of the hat was produced by slipping it over a bundle of DVDs in my office. I'd like to get a proper shot of it, but that may have to wait until I give it to my brother.

As I'm coming to realize, the colors in the photos I take indoors should be assumed to be darker and richer than they appear. Here's some Malabrigo yarn I bought in preparation for travel knitting.

The picture doesn't do the colors justice. That's what fluorescent lights give you, I guess.

I suppose it's good to get some of the bile out of my system since next week is the time for being thankful.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Banned in the USA

Three movie reviews and a blog entry in 24 hours mean I'm permitting myself some writer's laziness. In other words, it's meme time.

Amanda created one about the American Library Association's most challenged books of all-time. I don't like big, long lists on this blog, so I'll cherry-pick the titles I've read for commenting and such. Visit her site for the complete list if you would like to play along.

-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

You know, I can't say for sure that I've read this Twain book, but I'm fairly certain I have. Tom Sawyer was assigned reading in junior high (eighth grade?). If I like one book by an author, I tend to search out several others. It's the old completist/auteurist impulse. If I haven't read it, it's because the book is so ingrained in the public consciousness that it feels like I have.

-Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Another assigned book in English class, this one in freshman year of high school. Steinbeck is one of my favorites, probably due in no small part to being required to read his novels. (The Grapes of Wrath was sophomore year.) Except for rabbit-petting and the jokes about Lenny it inspired in the cafeteria, I don't remember a lot about this book's effect on me. I do recall how our teacher put The Grapes of Wrath into context and revealed subtext and the meaning of references in it. Maybe it wasn't the first time I was taught about looking beyond the mere words on the page, but it was a pivotal lesson that took root, even if I didn't know it at the time.

-The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Still in English class, junior year this time. I know it's clichéd to claim it as a favorite. What teenager doesn't take it to heart? This came ready-made for adolescent ardor because of its controversial reputation. It must be subversive because I wrote my paper in defense of the obscenities in it. I was not, nor am I, a rebel, but I got a kick out of putting dirty words in an assignment. How daring! Maybe it's a sign of how sheltered I was or how degraded mass culture has become that I can't imagine this book seeming as "dangerous" to kids today. Some four-letter words and a scene with a prostitute? That's family hour TV nowadays, isn't it?

Aside: I have no clue what is and isn't acceptable in high school classrooms these days, but I wonder if schools would get away with showing Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet or Roman Polanski's Macbeth in conjunction with studying the Shakespeare plays. The former sent ripples through freshman English because of the brief nudity in it. The latter was even more scandalous to teenage sensibilities because of the nudity and violence and Playboy's involvement. (According to the film's Wikipedia page, Hugh Hefner's company financed the picture.) Would these be off limits today?

-The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I read the first book in my late twenties as preparation for the forthcoming film. I've enjoyed the books, and that's all I have to say about them.

-A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

It's weird how one can peg years for things not considered for a long time. Then again, maybe I'm completely wrong. I feel confident in saying I read this in fifth grade, but as far as the book itself, all I can recall is a vague notion of what the cover looked like.

-Blubber by Judy Blume

Scandal-mongering author of my youth! Well, at least in terms of Blume being the author that was attracting some fire at the time. Again, I don't remember anything about the book other than I probably read it in fourth grade.

-The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This seems like something I read in fifth grade, but it might have been fourth. I know I read it around the time the movie was released.

-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I never had to read this for a class, but I picked it up on my own a year or two after I finished college. (I was going through a classics phase.) If anything, it's been good to have under my belt when encountering films about dystopian futures.

-Cujo by Stephen King

I read this in high school. Is he still popular with that age group? It seems like high schoolers, even those who did very little reading for pleasure, gravitated toward him. At the time I don't think my mom was thrilled that I had checked out some of King's books from the library.

-James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Mark this one down as something I probably read. I know I owned some of Dahl's other books. (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was a Christmas present, I think. Yes, I read a lot as a kid.)

-Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Somehow I think I never had to read this in any class, although I wonder if it might have been required in a college course. (My advanced English class in senior year of high school tackled another Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.) I have read it. Vonnegut's experimentation with time and the author's voice made an impact on me. It was quite odd to find characters from one of his books popping up in others. When it comes to Vonnegut I've been a voracious reader for brief spells and then have to put him aside because I get too depressed.

If anything, this exercise proves that my memory about childhood things can be lousy when it comes to specifics or important details.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Handheld inspiration

I never know when and where inspiration will strike--or, when up against the gun, if--but I found it in a coffee cup's protective sleeve. I love the interplay of colors and think it would be fun to knit a scarf or a blanket (or both) in these shades. Something about it suggests retro--the 1960s, maybe?

One might say that spotting this kind of beauty among the disposable is no different than what I do as a film critic. Sure, movies are no longer looked at as things to be discarded once their theatrical runs conclude, but aside from the best of the bunch that earn spots in the critical and popular canons, there are plenty destined to be moldering on virtual scrap heaps. Forty years from now a quick perusal of a film list from when I began reviewing would likely unearth titles that have been out of print and not been missed for ages.

Finding beauty and inspiration in unexpected places can be one of life's pleasures. It's simply a matter of keeping one's eyes and mind open. This is one of the central messages of Jacques Tati's Playtime, one of my all-time favorite films. The following quotation from my own review addresses other issues too, but I can't bear to separate the applicable lines from the rest:
Yet in spite of the implicit criticism Tati points toward bureaucracy, confusion, and the needless complexity in modern life, he is hopeful that people will adapt. Order and beauty can be found in the chaos. What is the film's joyful second half but an absurdist wink at technology's limitations and a joyful celebration of humanity's ability to make the best of a bad situation. Hulot accidentally tears part of the wall and ceiling, yet an American executive turns the damaged decorations into a gateway for a cozy party. A waiter with torn pants gives the good pieces of his uniform to the co-workers who come to him with a torn jacket and a sauce-drenched bowtie. The doorman perpetuates the illusion that one of the entrance doors remains.

If any doubt remains as to where Tati stands on contemporary society and construction, one of the final images compares the soft curves of flower stems and streetlights. Beauty is still being created, even if it is in concrete and glass.
Or, I must now add, if it's on something to keep you from burning your hand.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hats off

Ribbed Beanie (PDF)

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (100% superwash wool; worsted weight)
Color: Pewter
Needles: US 7 circulars
Stitches: 80

It's an angst-free blog entry and an FO to boot! Another Christmas gift finished!

This cold, rainy day provided the perfect excuse to stay indoors as much as possible. I didn't expect to get the hat done today, but I found a rhythm and just kept knitting. The Bengals weren't on local TV, which was just as well. They stink. As a lifetime fan accustomed to their losing ways, I wrote off their season a few weeks ago. I wasn't concerned if I couldn't watch them. I did tune in the game on the radio near the end of the first half and knitted through the remainder. Imagine that. They won.

I wasn't having any trouble with snagged stitches or magic loop. Buoyed by the lack of knitting difficulty, I kept going. I knit the three extra inches that the pattern recommends for a folded brim. The added inches are for ear coverage, although the hat isn't for me. Nine and a half inches is about the perfect length for me. I can pull the hat down over my ears and not have a bunch of empty space at the top.

I had some trouble with the decreases last time I knitted this pattern, but all was good for this hat. I even learned something. I was decreasing on the *k2, k2tog* row and finding it increasingly hard to knit the small diameter. Ah, but if I pull the loop through at another spot, I can knit with ease again!

I also get hesitant when it comes time to draw the yarn through the remaining stitches and tighten. Somehow I seem to miss one or two. Not this time. I'm really proud of how the crown turned out.

Why limit my satisfaction to the crown? I'm ecstatic over how terrific this hat looks and feels. Tempted as I am to keep it, I'll be giving it as a combination birthday/Christmas gift to one of my brothers.

Knitting this hat relieves some of my nervousness about having enough time to complete all of the Christmas gifts I'm intending to make. I did this hat in a week, and that includes a few days of little to no knitting. (I probably knitted half of it today.) It is safe to say that the outrageously amibitious blanket plan has been officially withdrawn. Hats for all! Or most!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Library rate

I presented my right hand to have it stamped. Imprinted on my skin in blue ink was "library rate".

The stamp permitted me to come and go at the city's international film and video festival awards ceremony. (I've been a juror for several years, although I was one in name only this year. The new division chair forgot about me, so I saw nothing.) I don't think there was any special or ironic meaning behind the words marking me--I'm guessing the person at the table grabbed whatever stamp was handiest--but library rate, a slower and cheaper shipping method, described knitting for the day.

Remember how I said that magic loop knitting with the 32" cable felt like it was slower? Understatement. I attempted to knit this morning but couldn't get the stitches to move up on the needle. After pushing them again and again and not getting anywhere, I saw that there was a nick on the metal part of the cable that was snagging the yarn. Another 32" cable came with the Knit Picks Options set, so I used one of the ends to take the stitches off the needles where they currently were.

There might have been a faster way of doing this. Most assuredly, there has to be. Whatever it is, I didn't do it. After transferring the stitches to the other cable, I quickly discovered that it wasn't going to work either. The cable has become slightly separated from the metal join, something I noticed when I made a blanket, and was also snagging the yarn. I could tell that this wasn't going to fix my problem, so I removed one of the interchangeables and put it onto a 24" cable. Transferring from one 32" cable to another and then knitting onto a 24" cable--meaning a grand total of one round--took an hour and a half.

I'm happy with the Knit Picks Options, but the company will be getting contacted by me. One cable was brand new, and the other had only been used for one project. They can do better than that.

So, I'm back where I began. At least the stitches are moving with less resistance now.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Taking care of business

Let's take care of some old business first.

Today wasn't as relentlessly gray as the rest of the week has been, so I was finally able to take some pictures of the scarf I knitted for International Scarf Exchange 5. I've manipulated the color in the photo editor until it's close to how I think it looks.

I need to get a card to go with the package, and then this scarf will be Finland bound. How exciting.

Following up on the cliffhanger to yesterday's blog entry, I have managed to transfer the hat onto a 32" cable. I had the revelation that if I unscrewed one of the interchangeable needles from the 24" cable and put a cap in its place, then I could attach the working needle to a 32" cable and knit all the stitches onto it.

I'm not sure that it's making knitting the hat any easier. If anything, the excess cable gets in my way a lot. I feel like I'm being slowed down, but I'll see how it goes. I really like the tactile sensation of knitting with the Lorna's Laces yarn. This hat should be really comfortable for my brother to wear. The gray yarn--pewter, to be specific--is a solid color yet has some subtle variations that give the hat the appearance of being striped. I'm going to be tempted to keep this hat for myself. I could give my brother the hat I recently finished. Decisions, decisions...

For what it's worth, my standing offer to answer your questions (and give me something to blog about on those slow or otherwise inferior days) remains. Thanks for the couple of good ones that have already been submitted.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Steal this blog post

NaBloPoMo, I curse your name! Why has pledging to dailyblog made what I was already doing more difficult? I did write a movie review for my other site tonight, so that took up a decent chunk of time. Still...

There's been practically no knitting today. That's a dead end for a usually reliable blog entry.

So, when in a pinch, steal. (I do not endorse that philosophy except in matters of needing ideas for blogging.) I'm borrowing it from Donna, who appropriated it (with credit) from here.

Here it is: tell me what you'd like me to write about. What would you like to know about the secret knitter? Whether it's silly, serious, or somewhere in between, post your questions in the comments. They do not have to be knitting related. I reserve the right to avoid answering any questions I'm uncomfortable with. The more questions left, the less likely you'll get stuck with an entry of my moaning about messing up something.

Speaking of which (and following up on a question regarding yesterday's post), I've continued to knit with the shorter cable even though the longer one would probably make life easier. (And why would I want that?) I was going to say that I don't know how to transfer the project to another set of needles anyway, but I've just had an idea that would probably work. I'll leave you with that cliffhanger.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Strange magic

Having read that the longer the cable, the better magic loop works, I pulled out a 32" cable and cast on for my brother's hat. I struggled to join in the round but pushed forward while aware of two other problems. This first row was really difficult to knit, and for the life of me, I couldn't keep the stitches from twisting.

After one round I declared it a failure and went through the arduous process of getting the mess off the needles. And that was the extent of last night's knitting. (It wasn't due entirely to my frustration. I also wrote at my film blog as part of my effort to rededicate myself there.)

I thought that perhaps I was full of it and hadn't really learned how to do magic loop. So be it. I'll go back to the 24" cable. At least that worked for me. I cast on again in my office during the lunch hour and fumed just a little that I must not have figured out the technique. The first row was again tough to knit, which wasn't helping with my overreaction of thinking I'm a hopeless case. Too hard on myself? Absolutely.

It's getting near the end of the term, a time at which even those of us not facing homework, exams, or final projects are showing wear from the strain. I've been pulling out my apartment keys rather than my office key when I get to work, if that tells you anything. My patience is used up on the students, meaning I've kept none in reserve for myself.

I did more office knitting after I had called it a day and then switched venues to a shopping center for some knitting in public prior to a screening I'd finessed my way into. (I looked into seeing it at a promo when I'm in Texas but got it out of the way with tonight's super secret screening that wasn't for press. I'm not supposed to tell anyone.) The knitting was going much smoother now. It looks like my impatience got the best of me because I didn't have as much trouble after getting through the first round. That 32" cable sure would come in handy right about now. Oh well. Next time.

Using a stitch marker is one improvement I've made. Rather, I mean using one that I purchased rather than a piece of yarn tied into a slip knot that doesn't hold and sheds on my work in progress. When I stop knitting I'm slipping the right needle through the stitch marker, which keeps it in place and reminds me of the direction I need to knit. So I've got that going for me.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


This quarter I have a high school mentorship student whose precious future is in my hands. OK, maybe the stakes aren't that high. I'm there to provide access to the world of television production, her potential career path, and share my knowledge and experience. I've been a mentor several times and consider the students' time successful if they are able to determine whether TV is something they want to pursue or avoid. Best to figure it out before college if the opportunity is there.

My mentee seems to be having a good experience, which is gratifying to me, especially since I feel I haven't been able to do everything for her that I would like. Too often she comes in and catches me in the midst of scrambling to extinguish fires and juggle other student demands on my time. I've thought that I must seem terribly scatterbrained. Today she got to get a better sense of what's rattling around up there.

Yes, her adviser gave her an abbreviated version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory for me to complete. I've filled out this test before, but it's been awhile. I know that the results are fluid, more like an Etch A Sketch drawing than a stone carving, but I can't quibble with the results even though some of the questions might as well have been answered with the toss of a coin.

The verdict: INFJ. Here's how the Myers & Briggs Foundation website describes those with this personality type:
Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.
I think that's pretty spot on. Today's results found me firmly on the introversion end of the spectrum. No surprise. I feel like I've been turning inward quite a bit lately. Although I ended up scoring higher on intuition and feeling, those qualities were more in balance. I was also strongly on the judging side. Talk about feeling transparent. This test has me dead to rights.

For those of you who know me, either in person or from here, does that seem consistent to you?

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