Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Haircut 100

When I read this brief reminiscence about haircuts, I felt like I had to write a response. Here it is.

If my dad ever took me to a barbershop for a haircut, I can only remember one instance, and even that I'm questioning whether it really happened. I can see the dark wood floor and walls and a table of magazines, but my memory of this place seems more like a saloon from an old Hollywood western. The main reason why I distrust this memory is that dad didn't go to the barber. My mom cut his hair and the hair of us boys.

Mom continued cutting my hair until junior high, or so I'm guessing. Until this time I had a regular, plain haircut. Not a bowl cut but nothing styled or anything. She took me to the place where she had her hair done--which also cut men's hair, I protest--and gave me my first "real" hairstyle, which had *gasp* a part.

Effectively this is also the only "real" hairstyle I've had. Sideburns have been added to the mix since, but the rest has been pretty much the same and is to this very day. Short of shaving my head, which is the single viable alternative with my unfortunate prematurely receding hairline, it will be the only hairstyle I've ever had.

The fact that I've kept the same hairstyle all these years obviously means that I'm not (and never was) concerned about it being the only one. Having something else done just seemed too rash.

Going bald is another matter. I don't like it, but I'm resigned to it. Nature has chosen to thin out what's up top before its time, so although I wince when catching a glimpse of what it looks like, what can I do? Pretty much what I've done about my hairstyle all along. Nothing.


Monday, June 29, 2009


File this under "if there's a possibility it can be knitted, someone will do it": a dissected frog.

Brings a whole new meaning to "frogging", doesn't it?

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Off the beaten path

What's the strangest thing you've ever knitted? Can't say that I have anything all that unusual among my FOs, but the women interviewed at UK Ravelry Day 2009 came up with some offbeat answers.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now that's an FO

Who needs to see all the familiar tourist attractions in Italy when you can check out a giant pink bunny in the Alps? The artist collective's website mentions that it took five years to knit, which makes sense what with it being 200 feet long and all. Yes, it's big enough to show up on Google Earth.

The installation has been in place since 2005 and is intended to remain for twenty years. I'm not sure which is harder to believe, the fact that those involved kept at it to get the project finished or that they were able to find somewhere to put and keep it.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Just another knitter

These last few months I've worked to keep the content flowing while not knitting, which means pawing through a decent number of knitting-related news stories. There's a lot of repetition in the types of articles. There's the trend piece, the charity knitting report/solicitation, the local yarn shop closure, and the knitter profile, to name a few.

In my Google-fu experience there's nothing particularly exceptional about the 96-year-old woman who has knit over 400 hats for Native American children. It seems like every city, town, and burg across the globe has at least one of these dedicated knitters. But you know, it's actually very heartening to know that there are so many people quietly working away at efforts like this and whose reward is the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile.

The relative ubiquity of these stories in news search engines doesn't diminish the achievements. If anything, it makes such charitable participation seem more attainable for anyone with the needles, yarn, patience, and generosity.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Look elsewhere

I spent an inordinate amount of time writing up some thoughts about Michael Jackson for that other site of mine that's published under my name, so I'm tapped out for the day. You (may) know where to find it, but that's as much as I'll say here for a variety of reasons. It's more of a recalling of my pop culture consciousness than anything else.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So where's the knitting?

How silly of me to think that once the academic year ended that things would slow down and the knitting would pick up. I've been ridiculously busy for the last week and a half. That's not been such a bad thing, but a break would be nice.

A scarf sits there about half done like it has been for months. Do I feel motivated to resume it at the moment? Not really. So what's the solution to this non-knitting streak that's more like a four-month slump? I suggest that it may be the humble dishcloth.

I have no clue what I want to knit, but a dishcloth seems like something to get me back in the habit. I pledge to begin knitting one this weekend and get this ship pointed in the right direction again.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hive mind for the win

So I'm sitting in my office writing a review for the show I'm to be taping in a couple hours, and for the life of me I can't remember the word that I want to use. (This isn't just a temporary phenomenon. I've not been able to recall the word for a day-plus.) It's not as though there's anyone around who might be of help. Summertime and the building is empty. What do I do? WHAT DO I DO?

Throw it out there for the tweeps. Sure enough, it took just a couple minutes via Twitter to get the information I was seeking. Three people replied in total, with the two extra responses arriving shortly after the first responder and my subsequent tweet that my question had been answered. How awesome was that?

The password was: anachronism.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Out of sight

Long day of work in these parts, so I'll just point you toward a semi-local story about a knitter who teaches the handicraft in spite of losing her vision.

This statement from her sums up more than knitting to me: "If I find I've made a few holes, sometimes I'll put bows in them to fill in. You learn to be adaptable and find a different way, you plow on." Isn't that all that any of us can do?

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father knows best

In the "Brunch" episode of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, main character Ted explains to his friend Barney that he hasn't told his father any legendary stories about him: "Barney, here's a list of all the things I talk with my dad about: baseball..."

I laughed out of recognition. OK, you're right, we talk about more than that. Football, college basketball... Seriously, though, sports happens to be the main topic of conversation, and I expect this isn't out of the ordinary between many fathers and sons. I don't know want to characterize our talks as being so limited, but that's probably fairly close to the truth.

With today being Father's Day, it seems like the appropriate time to write about his influence on me and bookend my Mother's Day entry.

1. He showed me how to be hardworking and dedicated.

For a long time he ran the family business with his mother and rarely had much additional hired help. He did it all, more or less. During harvest time he had to put in long hours. Long family vacations were rare, in part because I don't know that we could afford them but also because his taking off mean that the business would have to be closed. It takes a lot of fortitude to practice that kind of work ethic. Nevertheless, it's not like he was away from home much, especially with work being just a short walk up the street.

2. He showed me how to be generous with one's time.

Certainly he spent plenty of time with us boys at home, but he also served in various ways, whether being on the town council or performing roles within the church. His life truly has been family, work, and church. Although he probably wouldn't want anyone drawing attention to him for it, the sense of selflessness is strongly developed in him.

3. He taught me how to joke.

As stoic as he is, my dad does like to joke around. Granted, sometimes it can be filtered through passive-aggressiveness, but this is supposed to be a positive quality, so I'll drop the criticism. He's not a life of the party type or even a joke teller but rather quick with a couple well-placed words or observations. I can't help but see that reflected in myself.

4. He nurtured my interest in sports.

Whether it was watching games together, throwing the ball around in the backyard, or having him as a coach for a couple years, we bonded through sports. He managed one of my Little League teams but was contrary to the typical image of the coaching parent. His priority was that everyone got to play and have fun rather than pushing a winning attitude among the ten to twelve-year-olds.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

City folks just don't get it

I grew up in a village surrounded by farm land, but I've been living in the suburbs of a big city since about halfway through my college years. In my hometown I roamed neighborhood streets without lane markings and ventured into a few locally-owned Main Street shops. My landscape now is four-lane roads and shopping centers with stores piled upon stores.

A student who received her degree at Sunday's commencement invited me to her graduation party tonight in her hometown. The celebration required driving about forty miles into the countryside, which isn't really that far although I hedged a little when contemplating whether to go. (I felt I should be there and am glad I attended, but that's irrelevant for the post's purpose.)

Seeing the flat fields and small towns along the way reminded me of where I'm from and how different life must be in the agricultural regions than it is in the city, even with not that much space separating the two. There was something thrilling about cutting through the country parallel to train tracks and disappointing in observing the crumbling burgs' downtowns.

I got to thinking about what these places have in common and composed a brief list:

-A Dairy Queen-like local business that sells ice cream, hamburgers, fries, and the like. The most important feature is a sign in the form of a soft serve ice cream cone with a curlicue.

-Local restaurants and/or bars whose signs feature the carbonated or alcoholic beverage served in type that is larger and more stylized (ie., a logo) than the establishment's name, which is usually in a small, basic font.

-A front yard packed with folk art for sale.

During the trip I spotted a Mail Pouch Barn, needed to readjust to driving on uncomfortably narrow and unlined county and township roads, and reflected on how different the college where I work and nearby city must seem to students who come from these areas. I may have grown up in a village, but the suburbs and Dayton were closer than comparable places are to where I was tonight.

Having been in the Columbus area for so long, where I'm from is now kind of foreign to me. For freshmen who live in small towns and come here for college, I can only imagine how much the reverse must be true.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Hot hot heat

I was caught unaware by the blazing temperatures that greeted me in southern Ohio the last couple days. I knew what to expect today, but I still wasn't quite prepared for the heat surge. Until Wednesday I'd say we've had a pretty mild June.

I developed a sterling farmer's tan from my time at the ballpark, but in preparation for some afternoon exercise I did the proper thing and loaded up on the sunscreen. If there's a solution for keeping it out of my eyes when I sweat, I'm all for hearing it because I've not found one yet.

I was ready to put up with the stinging eyes, but I wasn't ready for the heat and humidity. Early in the walk I felt like I was having to exert harder than usual. The air I was breathing seemed thick. I slowed down and made it through the first of the two or three times around the park that I usually do.

I didn't feel up to snuff and wandered off the trail to the only drinking fountain in the park. It's one of those powerful types that splatters you in the face when you turn the knob. That didn't refresh me, but I figured it got some needed water back in my system.

I finished a second trip and decided that I ought to call it a day. My shirt and hat were drenched. Perhaps venturing outside in the 90+ temperature at the peak of the afternoon wasn't a brilliant idea.

I'll allow that I probably hadn't eaten enough yet in the day, which obviously compounded how I felt, but this was a reminder not to fool around in this kind of heat. It was sneakily hot and humid, as the spotty cloud cover provided occasional relief. Still, I could tell that the weather was affecting me. It's wiser to pay attention to that than push through it.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

More postcards

Today's game wasn't pretty, but it sure looks nice in this photo, or at least after the rain delay ended and the sun came out. Otherwise this is what greeted me downtown as I walked on the bridge over the Ohio River from Newport, Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio.

I decided to park in Newport--$2!--and hoof it, partially because I was curious to see how far it was and partially because I didn't want to pay to park for the game and then pay again when parking in Newport, let alone getting caught in post-game traffic. (A few hours after the game I attended a promotional movie screening on the Kentucky side of the river.)

The walk was quick and easy, although I did have a few moments when I felt a little unsure about being on the bridge. (You can bet I was walking in the middle of the footpath and avoiding going against the sides.) I'd wager that the walk from the Newport parking garage was about the same distance as the walk from my preferred parking spot in Cincinnati. It's probably quicker after the game too.

A rain delay pushed back the start by 35 minutes, so I called my dad and wandered around for awhile trying to pass the time. I snapped a few photos of downtown from my vantage on the ballpark concourse.

This mess is where I-71 and I-75 converge in downtown Cincinnati.

Looking westward from the stadium. The brown building in the background is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

The walk back led into the second half of my day, although I essentially put the camera away by that time. My time traveling to, being in, and returning from southern Ohio/northern Kentucky lasted only 34 hours or so, but it was a nice short trip. I'll have to think of it as a primer for a longer vacation.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


My overnight trip to Cincinnati will be over before I know it, so rather than devoting a lot of time to crafting a well-thought out blog entry, you're getting photos today. Hey, it was a lot hotter here in southwest Ohio than it was back home in Columbus. The time and temperature sign read 94 when I walked to the ballpark around 4:30 and was 86 around 10:00 on the walk back to the car.

I certainly got my share of sun in my outfield second row seat. Watching batting practice was an adventure as I was in a pretty good spot to snag or be conked by a home run ball.

Needless to say, I was awfully close to the field if I could get a halfway decent shots of players on it. Here Atlanta's Brian McCann and David Ross ignore the yells of fans for baseballs. (Ross, a former Red, did chat up the crowd a little and tossed a few balls into the stands.)

Here's a view of the Ohio River and Newport riverfront. I'm planning to park in Newport tomorrow and walk over that bridge to the ballpark. I'll walk back to Kentucky for dinner and a movie promo screening before returning home.

While the third out wasn't yet recorded, the Reds did hang on for a win tonight. Go team!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

That's all?

Yesterday some Australians set a world record for the most people knitting simultaneously in one place. Before you follow the link, how many knitters do you think engaged in their craft for the minimum fifteen minutes required by the Guinness World Records representative to qualify the feat for the book?

Got your answer?

There were only 256 knitters, just barely more than the threshold of 250 that they needed to meet to merit publication. The participants were setting (and creating) the record to raise money for charity, so certainly I'm not disparaging them. It just strikes me as an underwhelming record, although now that it has been born, I expect we'll see other groups attempt to break it. Surely there are shows or conferences that bring more than 256 knitters together at one time that could smash this Aussie tally.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer hours

With the work of yesterday's commencement ceremony out of the way, I can officially declare this my start of the summer. How do I feel? Relieved more than anything.

Fewer hours in the office (if I can help it) and a break from the wear and tear of the academic year's demands is certainly welcome even though I'm keenly aware of the different challenge that may be awaiting in the form of a personality clash between one of my student summer employees and all of the others. But hey, today seemed to go all right.

Although I have no shortage of accumulated time to take off, I don't have any vacation plans yet. I'll figure something out eventually. In the meantime, I've discovered that I'm really looking forward to getting out of town for one night this week.

I suggested to my dad that he meet me in Cincinnati and we'd go to an evening Reds game and return to the ballpark for the following day's afternoon contest. Plus, we wouldn't have to pay for a hotel room since I earned a free night certificate. I don't think he's been to a game since August 2006 when he and I went to a three-game series and made the approximately two-hour drive back to his home each day. Where he and my mom now live is less conducive to going to Great American Ball Park.

It seemed like a good idea, but he and my mom are hitting the road for a lengthy trip the day after this proposed baseball doubleheader. The timing didn't work. Nevertheless, I still had some interest in going anyway, and as work was grinding me down, keeping this brief getaway in mind was something I could look forward to.

All right, so the Reds are showing signs of an imminent collapse, if one hasn't already started, but in some ways it doesn't matter. Summer is here. I hope to be able to find more time to relax. It's time again to put some serious effort into getting into shape, digging into TV and old movies on DVD, reading books, and, yes, knitting.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

This and that

Random items that didn't make it into an entry until now...

-Limited perspective alert from Tuesday's brief visit in Kentucky: I was a bit surprised to see a sign at the concert venue stating that the show was non-smoking at the performer's request. Ohio's smoking ban--and one I've encountered in other states--is just something I take for granted.

-Since when did used cars become "pre-owned" instead? Talk about corporate doublespeak.

-Within the past month I've discovered that two good local pizza places within a mile or so of my place have changed to different pizza franchises. Curses.

-I am entertaining the idea of getting a GPS, but I wonder if it's worthwhile if most of the driving I do is around the city where I live. Plus, wouldn't it be a hassle to have to take the thing out of the car at every stop?


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Red letter day

The scenario went something like this...

I saw on the artist's website that he would be performing here in concert. I followed a link to the venue's page, which made no mention of the event. I e-mailed someone there for more information but did not receive a reply. Earlier this week I called the place and was given an individual's phone number. I called it, left a message, and shortly thereafter received a return call.

The person who called me is a lawyer who independently puts on and promotes singer/songwriter concerts on the side. He maintains an e-mail list, which is how people generally become aware of the shows. Apparently he's been doing this for fifteen years. I just needed to bring twenty dollars, cash or check, to get in tonight.

I didn't have any concerns about this being on the up and up. In fact, it merely adds another level of curiosity to what I did this evening: attend a country music concert in a German arts organization/social club's ballroom.

I was happy to be able to see Bruce Robison in Columbus as seeing him or his wife in concert has previously required a drive of at least two hours every other time I've seen them individually or together. While Robison isn't a household name, especially outside of Austin, Texas or the country scene, he's enjoyed a pretty good amount of success by virtue of his songs being covered by the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and George Strait.

So, for a guy who seems to be well-thought of in the industry and has six full-length solo albums, an EP, a greatest hits collection, and a Christmas record with Kelly Willis to his name, it's a strange sight to see him and his four-piece band putting on a concert for approximately ten dozen people in such a location. Sure, the music was better suited for a honky-tonk, but with his German ancestry, this spot was oddly fitting.

Plus, unlike bars, I can't imagine there was anyone present tonight who didn't want to be there. The audience may have been smaller than what he deserves to be playing in front of, but it was appreciate and attentive. There was no talking or texting--I was among the youngest among the many grayhaired attendees--but rather people out to enjoy a night of live music.

Robison and his band played an hour-long first set, took a break, and then returned to the stage for another forty-five minutes. It struck me as a very professional performance. The word "professional" may have negative connotations in music, but I mean it with respect in this instance.

He and his support appeared to be having a good time while also striving to entertain the crowd. He tells stories, both sad and humorous, through the straightforward songs that you don't need to "get" to enjoy, unlike some of the music I write about here. That can be refreshing.

I imagine it's pretty difficult to make a career out of being a songwriter, but Robison strikes me as someone who has worked at his craft and, against the odds, can make a living at it even if on some nights it means playing in a central Ohio beer hall for 100-something people on an e-mail list or who, like me, found the concert date on his website.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame

The Columbus Clippers opened a new ballpark this spring and in doing so moved from its west side home since 1932 to downtown. (Here's my entry about going to Cooper Stadium for the last time.) With free tickets in hand, I made my way to the new stadium last night and hoped the threatening clouds would hold onto their rain.

The weather cooperated, mostly, and I lucked into seeing the AAA affiliate of my favorite team visiting the hometown Clippers, who are now tied to the Major League team in northeast Ohio. For me minor league games aren't about having a rooting interest but simply enjoying what's happening on the field. That said, I did take some pleasure in the Reds' farmhands beating Cleveland's, even if it meant going against the local nine.

The brownstone Huntington Park is an attractive building with some interesting features. I like that there are bars in the right field fence that allow spectators outside the stadium to get a free peek at the action. There's a section in left field that functions like the bleacher seats constructed atop apartment buildings across from Wrigley Field. (These are in the park, though.) The concourse is more open and easy to get around. And of course, there's not a bad seat in the place.

There are, of course, better seats. My vantage point along the right field line was not an ideal spot for viewing the scoreboard, but you get what you pay for, right?

I'm usually loathe to buy much, if anything, in the way of concessions, but I was tempted to try the funnel fries. After all, who can turn down fried dough topped with powdered sugar? Essentially this was a less messy way of consuming a funnel cake, although I think the preparers overdid it, as my funnel fries were more brown than golden brown, and, uh, underdid it, as they needed more powdered sugar.

The stadium is next door to an indoor/outdoor concert venue, so I could hear O.A.R. playing relatively clearly while attending the game. It will be interesting to see if any conflicts arise when bands with objectionable lyrics are performing at the same time as a game is going on.

The game I saw was kind of a snoozer. The pitchers worked deliberately, and most of the scoring occurred in the first inning. Still, for an inexpensive night at a ballgame, it's a nice option to have in town, and the new stadium may entice me down there more than old place.

(On a photographic note, since I didn't want to risk getting my digital camera soaked, all pictures were taken with my cell phone. Shooting with it is inexact at best. Next time I go I'll try to do a better job of documentation.)

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baseball preview

I was planning to relax at home tonight, something my schedule hasn't afforded me lately, but I won a pair of tickets to tonight's Columbus Clippers game from my employer. So, I headed downtown for my first visit to the brand new Huntington Park and hoped the rain would hold off.

I'm posting this picture and jotting down just a few sentences for now because I need more time and brainpower to write up the entry properly. More tomorrow...

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009


World Wide Knit in Public Day is coming up this weekend. Do you have any plans for this knitting celebration?

It would be an accomplishment for me to pick up the needles regardless of if I'm in a public or private space. Hopefully things should settle down when the school year concludes with Sunday's graduation. Then I'll be back to, I don't know, griping about a WIP that's not coming along like it should rather than needing to make it a stretch to fill the blog every day.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Interstate travel

Some observations on tonight's drive a couple hours south and just across the Ohio-Kentucky border to Newport to see St. Vincent at Southgate House...

I know there's been talk of establishing a train line linking Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. While this evening's trip was a fairly easy drive, if a train had been an option, I would very much have considered hopping on public transportation to get there. That's assuming it would be cheaper than me driving my car, would still have been running after I got out of the concert, would be faster or at least the same time-wise, and, in this instance, would have got me across the Ohio River.

The Newport, Kentucky riverfront area has it all over the Cincinnati side. It's much more developed for those looking for a night's entertainment, save for the small fact of the stadiums on the Ohio side. There are more places to eat and things to do. It also seems like traffic gets in and out better and, dare I say, that the area feels safer.

Crossing the bridge to get to Newport, it's a bit like Kentucky has a big cane to jerk cars from I-471 to their attractions. The only way to be faster in snagging people entering the state would be to help them off of boats at the shoreline.

Even if you're going the speed limit, it feels like you're going a lot faster when there's no one else on the highway.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

On the plate update

It's six weeks after renewing my self-promise to eat better and exercise. What have I learned and relearned so far?

-I feel better. Imagine that.

I feel somewhat physically lighter (and can see the difference), but I also feel mentally lighter. This has been a busy and stressful time work-wise, but the combination of regular exercise and a healthier diet are helping me weather it a lot better.

-I'm sleeping better.

I suspect the exercise component is largely responsible for this.

-I don't crave the "bad" stuff if I don't eat it regularly and am not hungry as often.

Part of this is physical, but mental discipline is also required, if not the key. Exercising willpower is so much easier when the desire to eat junk is lessened. Plus, eating properly is usually satisfying in its own right. (That sounds so high and mighty, but trust me, it isn't meant that way.)

-I'm spending less on food.

I'm trying to eat organic food when possible. I know it costs a little more, but I'm eating out less frequently and not eating as much, both of which more than make up for the difference in price.

-If I take the mystery out of what I'll be eating for the day's meals, I'm less likely to opt for something less healthful.

In other words, planning ahead may be a pain but it works.

-Breaking bad habits and forming good ones takes time.

Repetition is such an important factor in all of this. Once the new routine is down, it feels as natural as the previous one that needed to be stopped.

-If I dedicate myself to something, I can do it.

Now keep it up.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009


How does one recover from a fourteen-hour work day devoted to recording commencements? Apparently the answer is:

-11 hours of sleep. Considering I never sleep this long, that's saying something.

-Staring at the television or computer for the better part of the day.

-Going for an extra long walk for exercise.

I didn't really feel like my usual self until mid-afternoon.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Commencing in...

My least favorite day of the year...the lost day...the three high school commencements in one day... It was today.

It is easy to complain, so I will say that for as arduous as this work day is, it is not as punishing as it once was. The amount of setting up has been reduced, which also means less tearing down. I don't have to do much, and what I have to do is pretty simple.

But mercy, is this one intensely boring and long day. At one point while I stared vacantly at the stage I realized that I felt like I was sleeping with my eyes open. The lethargy seeps into your body and takes up residence for hours.

I endured it for another year. Phew.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Knitting news

Although I've never attended, I get the impression that Knitters Connection is sort of a big deal. News came today that the Rowan 30th anniversary exhibition will make it's North American debut at the Columbus event.

The significance of all this is lost on me, but I figured I'd try to perform a newsworthy service today rather than posting some useless junk.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Fold it

This week is wearing me out, so for today I present to you one of my favorite current songs, "1901" by Phoenix.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009


The academic quarter is winding down. Yesterday was the last meeting of the term with the students who are earning credit or volunteering to do what we do. The seniors were given time to share some final thoughts as they sit on the verge of leaving the collegiate atmosphere and entering "the real world".

The vibe in the room was surprisingly bittersweet. Many of the seniors spoke of how the college years had been (and will probably have been) the best time of their lives, how they'd made lifelong friends, and how they were sad this time was coming to an end.

Maybe the gloomy sentiments being expressed had more to do with the particular students, some of whom are probably realizing they didn't take full advantage of the career-building opportunities afforded them over the last four years. Maybe it's because none of them have fulltime jobs lined up and some even seem unsure of what work to pursue.

To those students I want to say that life does not get less interesting or end once you've left the halls of academia and join the workforce. The fun may change form, but life will continue to provide it. After all, you're about to embark on an exciting--and, admittedly, potentially terrifying--time in which you have full control of writing your own story. Spending too much time looking back, particularly at your age, means you're overlooking what's happening today.

Sure, there will be struggles, whether they are landing that first job, living in or relocating to a place where friends don't surround you every minute of the day, or scraping by financially. It may well be the first time you've truly been on your own or been held responsible. That will take some adjustment, especially if everything has come easily or been handed to you until now. Glean lessons from the mistakes and hardships and dispose of them rather than carrying them around.

Don't think you must have everything figured out once the college president hands over the diploma. Here's a clue: the rest of us may appear to have firmer grasps on what lives to lead, but we haven't solved it all. At least I haven't.

Your learning isn't done and good times aren't over unless you decide that's how it will be. Be curious. Be passionate. Keep a hopeful mindset even in the midst of rough patches because it will make a world of difference.

Perhaps a new graduation tradition needs to be started to remind you to view it less as an ending and more as a transition. Your name is announced, you walk across the stage, you receive your paperwork, and then you are pointed out of the commencement ceremony's area to where friends and family await. Feel free to look back with fondness, but remember to keep moving forward.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A thousand strands

I don't expect there are many patterns that instruct you to cast on with one thousand strands of yarn and then knit in stockinette, but it can be done. That's what a woman demonstrates in this video.

You read that right. She used a thousand strands of yarn per stitch.

It's a pretty impressive feat, even if it isn't practical, but just imagine having to weave in and hide all those ends.


Monday, June 01, 2009

A Short Fazed Hovel

The Decemberists brought their tour, dubbed A Short Fazed Hovel, to town tonight. Since this isn't a music blog (although it may double as one from time to time) and I need to wrap this entry quickly so I can get to bed, I'll jot down some thoughts and leave it at that.

-The band played two sets, each 50-55 minutes long, plus an encore. That's a lot of bang for the buck.

-The first set was their new album The Hazards of Love in its entirety without any breaks. It's a concept album that can feel a little samey on record, but in concert it came alive like the piece of theater it is meant to be. The five-piece band, plus two additional singers also helping out on instruments, tore through the seventeen songs like a troupe of traveling entertainers from the olden days. (There was something wonderful seeing four of the seven people on stage banging on drums during "The Rake's Song".) I've come short of loving the album, but tonight's performance may change my opinion. If the concert had only been a live rendition of the album, I would have been satisfied.

-This is the first time I've ever seen a band play a whole album straight through. The elimination of downtime and stage patter between songs kept the performance tight and focus on the stage. The set was pretty much a note-for-note duplication of what is on record, but I didn't mind since I was enjoying it so much in the live setting.

-The second set was essentially a greatest hits collection culminating with an unexpected and absolutely smoking cover of Heart's "Crazy on You" featuring their guest singers. (The video is shaky, but here they are playing it in Kansas City last week.) The instrumentation is impeccable and the singing seemed to match the original, which is why they pulled this off. (Added June 3: the Columbus performance has been uploaded.)

-Two more songs for the encore, although by this point anything more really was unnecessary. This performance ranks among the best concerts I've seen (or at least when I wrote that nearly two years ago). I like The Decemberists fairly well, but the greatness of the concert was wholly unexpected, which made it all the more pleasurable.

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