Thursday, September 30, 2010


I admit that I'm tired, but I've read three articles about a competition in New Zealand, and I still can't figure out if the knitted thing pictured in the first two is something someone is wearing.

So maybe this is a knitting related filler entry, maybe it isn't. I can't tell.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Manic depression

I know, I know, another work-related entry. Maybe this will let me get some things off my chest and let me move on, at least until next week.

Here's the situation, with details kept to a minimum because that seems wisest. Two Fridays ago I got some news at work that wasn't job-threatening but at least planted the seed of potential problems if numbers don't recover. That was fleshed out a little more the following Monday. I went from feeling 100% secure in my job to, let's say, 90%. Maybe 85%. Regardless, the possibility of job loss was not one that seemed like something I needed to be too concerned about in upcoming months. This isn't to say that my mind took this nugget and ran with it, but after a Tuesday meeting in which we brainstormed some ideas, calming down seemed like a reasonable reaction.

Last Friday brought information tangentially related (but not really) to the news from the previous one. This was much more serious, though. Drop my job security comfort level to at least 75%. That may still seem high, but losing a quarter of my confidence is a substantial amount. It's like shifting from a tornado watch to a tornado warning. One indicates that the circumstances could produce a twister; the other suggests that one has been spotted or that conditions are favorable for them.

So I went from being on alert, which is stressful enough, to emergency mode. On the one hand, I think we have a perfectly reasonable and smart argument to make for our survival. On the other, I realize that rationality doesn't always factor into these equations, especially if it comes down to dollars and cents. Feeling good, not feeling so good.

The thing is, if the change that may very likely be on the horizon comes to pass, it could be exactly what my co-workers and I welcome. The manner in which this has been kickstarted is not at all agreeable, but the end result could put us in a much better position than the one we're in now and have occupied for a long time. That is really exciting, and it's what helps me get through the days as I think about ways to implement a radical reinvention. Or I could end up without a job. That probably wouldn't happen overnight, but it could be the case in less than a year.

I'm in my 14th year at this job. I like what I do. I feel incredibly lucky to have landed in it, especially having floated through temp work for nearly two years after graduating. I see how others I know have jobs that aren't particularly satisfying. I'm grateful to be doing something I enjoy. I don't want to lose that, especially due to some of the crap that may be endangering it.

So I'm up and down, usually several times in the same day. It's exhausting, not the least of which is because this has meant additional work to cobble together a plan for changing things if that's the direction this is headed.

One answer about the future may be coming next Tuesday. I don't know. I'm guessing that this will all be touch and go for at least a couple months. Oh joy.

So hang with me. I'll try not to let this color too much of my posting. (Too late for that, right?) Now you should have a better idea of why I'm moodier than usual on here.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking toward October

Stressed. Busy. Worn out.

But the Reds clinched a spot in the playoffs tonight, the first time in fifteen years, so there's that.

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Monday, September 27, 2010


More rock, less talk. (Actually, the song doesn't start until a little past the two-minute mark.)

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Sunday, September 26, 2010


This entry is for me. Yeah, in one sense or another they all are, but I'm putting this here specifically in the hope that I'll remind myself of how I need to approach this week and probably those in the immediate future.

-Do your best on what you can, and try not to worry about the things that affect you that aren't in your control.

-Don't overdo it. You're stressed out enough. There's no use making yourself more miserable.

-Put a note on your neighbors' door about the irritating subwoofer/bass that comes blasting through the one common wall. Maybe it won't resolve the problem--and you know how you feel like you're the bad guy by even raising a complaint--but you're going to be furious if you let this go on.

Yeah, I need a pep talk this week.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Off to market

When I'm out of state I like to visit local grocery stores. I'm not sure how this quirk developed, but I enjoy popping in to unfamiliar chains to see how they differ from what I'm used to and to find things that aren't available where I live. I don't necessarily go out of my way to do this, but if the opportunity is there, I'll take it.

During my summer travels I perused the aisles at Lueken's Village Foods and Marketplace Foods in Bemidji, Minnesota; an independent grocery in Blackduck, Minnesota; Hannaford stores in Oneonta, New York and Bangor, Maine; Market Basket in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Price Chopper in Dunmore, Pennsylvania (near Scranton).

I suppose that part of the appeal is just getting a sense of what an average place is like somewhere else. One of the Minnesota groceries had all of the dental rinses behind the customer service counter and took the requested products to the checkout line. (In other words, at no time did I as a customer handle this particular item until I paid for it.) My best guess is that some of these rinses contain alcohol, so they're trying to keep them from being stolen by teens. (I did see various signs or billboards warning about meth use in this area, so who knows.) This place also didn't do cash back on debit cards. I'm not making a judgment. I simply find these differences interesting.

Of course, the local and regional products are what entice me the most. Although Rippin' Good Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies are made in Wisconsin, I bought them in Minnesota. The purchase was motivated due to the brand name. I also bought coconut M&M's at a Minnesota convenience store under the assumption that they might be a test market item. (Nope, probably just limited edition.)

In Oneonta I was tempted by what looked to be a budget line of sodas. I picked up an adk grape soda for that evening and adk blue pop for some other time (which proved to be tonight). I mean, come on, blue pop! What could that be? This particular brand and flavor appears to be something of a mystery. I'd peg the taste as something akin to blue raspberry or blueberry. Actually, it's pretty good and better than the grape, which seemed kind of flat. But what in the world is glycerol ester of wood rosin, which is a listed ingredient, and is this common?! (Apparently so.)

The prize find of my wanderings, though, was something I was specifically looking for: Moxie. It's an unusual soft drink that tastes like a differently spiced root beer, for lack of a better way of describing it. Upon returning from Maine I regretted not bringing more back with me--distribution is limited to part of the northeast--so I must be selective in consuming the stock I have.

I also got a whoopie pie in Maine. The one I ate was like two oatmeal cookies pasted together with cake frosting. That took a couple of sittings to polish off.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

More, more, more

And the hits keep on coming.

Look, I don't mean to complain as much I've been doing of late, but it's getting kind of ridiculous. Today I got some news at work that can be classified as a bombshell. As surprises go, this was not a good one. It has those of us in my immediate area feeling beaten down and more than a little angry about the lies being spread. Out of the blue, our survival may be at stake.

We're united on how to deal with the problem and are ready to add to our already full plates to remedy the matter. Going into emergency mode, especially for the reasons involved, certainly makes none of us happy, though.

At the moment I'm not as freaked out by the prospects of this news as I was when it reached my ears, but it is extremely frustrating to be in this situation. Fingers crossed that this is putting in motion a solution we've wanted (and needed) and not leading to elimination. It will likely be one or the other.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010


So it's been an insane couple of weeks at work. The air conditioning in my apartment, which was repaired at the end of spring, is not blowing cold air, so it's about 87 degrees in my apartment despite having a fan in front of an opened sliding glass door. (Oh yeah, it's 10:30 p.m.) And the thumping bass from the apartment next door is making me crazy.

This is all the blogging I'm capable of today. I'm calling it a night.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Here at Knitting Confidential headquarters, I'm looking forward to the weekend. Why? I could use a chance to catch my breath and decompress. Last weekend was partially a working one. Add in some stressful work-related news and, well, it was not a time for restoring some balance and relaxation.

So while I burn the candle at both ends this week, why don't you head over to Craft Wisely and check out what some new crafters, including knitters, are doing as part of their college course? My friend Donna is teaching the class, which sounds like an interesting one, and I'm sure she'd love it if you'd check out what her students have to say and give them some feedback.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Itty bitty

How does knitting factor into a film with the world's smallest stop-motion animated character? Read about it and see for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Living on the edge

When it comes to my job, the problematic issues are generally the same and have been for a number of years. (Pardon me for being extremely general here.) Things can be quiet for a bit, but eventually something triggers someone, and the heat is on, oftentimes over things that aren't really our fault. It can be aggravating and stressful--some times more than others--and there's always the sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. A few years ago these issues were persistent, and while the future may not have been uncertain, there was at least reason to think it could be.

So when a new issue from a different direction popped up, I did not take it so well. My reaction mainly took the form of worrying, which I am ever so good at. Hey, I was already fretting about other unrelated stuff, so why not add something new and unexpected to the mix? That'll give the fear a boost. Put it over the weekend and not talk about it with anyone, and I'm set for letting my mind run wild.

I'll concede that my impulse is to expect the worst and to extrapolate something bigger and badder from something that may not be as dire as I imagine it to be. This quality isn't necessarily a good thing to have, but it can be beneficial in my job, which might be described as metaphorical fireman.

Things have been extremely busy lately, and I was already feeling somewhat beaten down in a few ways. This new weight on my mind was not welcome. I had the old brain spinning in search of a solution and think I might have one or two to present at a meeting tomorrow. That has me feeling better, but waiting to see how it's received has me anxious.

I've spent a lot of time living on the edge--or at least feel like I have--so in a way I ought to be used to it by now. I don't know that that's much comfort. Anyway, if I seem highly distracted, there's your explanation.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Survey says

So there's a knitting personality test. My deduced result says that I am:
The Contented Knitter

You are to be envied as the happiest of knitters. You knit for the enjoyment of it. Whether it's the satisfaction of making a jumper for yourself or the pleasure of making a gift for a friend. Knitting is a relaxation. You don't get overly worried about learning new techniques.

You tend to lack confidence in your abilities and will often stick to a tried and tested pattern rather than try something new. Remember that your favourite patterns were new once. Beware of getting stuck in a rut, especially when you knit for other people. A good knitting primer would be ideal for boosting your confidence, especially something which combines the theory with suitable projects. Something like the Sally Melville's Knitting Experience series would be ideal.

If you want to branch out a little why not try felted knits? This will add a new dimension to your knitting. There are many felted knits that require nothing more than basic knitting skills and a washing machine.
I think this is on target, more or less. But I have felted a couple times, internet test. So I've got you there!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kindle consideration

Although eleven days isn't sufficient time as a Kindle owner for evaluating the device, I've used it enough to have developed some solid opinions.

Since I no longer subscribe to the newspaper, I've been in need of something to read during lunch. I brought the Kindle with me to work each day with the idea that spending thirty to sixty minutes reading it would relieve some of the stress while on the clock. (I have a bad habit of not leaving the office some days, which is compounded because that means I don't get and rarely see outside.)

I did find the Kindle to be a good way of taking a break rather than surfing the internet at my desk or on my iPhone. During a meal it's much easier to read because you don't need to hold it open, which is important if you have utensils or food in your hands. That may seem like an insignificant benefit, but the potential hands-free option is something I like about it for precisely such circumstances.

Obviously the fact that the Kindle can store a lot of books but weigh less than one--or about as much as a small one if put in a case--is a selling point. Yes, it is another electronic device to tote, but it doesn't take up much space and fits in the hand pretty well.

Having it has boosted the amount I'm reading on a daily basis. I was swamped this week, yet I made an effort to read every day, whether at lunch or before going to sleep. I suppose that's not a creditable quality of the Kindle, although I do find it to be more convenient.

I haven't used the other features so far. No highlighting or anything like that. I briefly tested the text-to-speech function but decided that I wanted to read rather than listen to it. That's something to play with some other time, perhaps while making a long drive.

I do see it increasing the amount I read, especially when it comes to catching up on freely available classics. I've nearly finished The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and have a couple other books loaded up and ready to go. I'll still buy books from my favorite authors, but I'm more inclined to get electronic versions now than I once would have been.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Ivy League

As I aim to recover from a very tiring week and be rested for a full enough weekend, check out what knitters at Yale are up to. (Hint: it's pretty typical.)

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Thursday, September 16, 2010


Having observed the march of reunion concerts and annual Broadway show-like tours for another generation's bands--hey, it's REO Speedwagon and Fleetwood Mac in some iteration again--I've viewed them from a mostly negative perspective. Look at the cheap cash-in efforts and uninspired playing of the same old hits every summer.

I actually saw some of these shows the summer I worked part-time at an amphitheater and simply didn't get the appeal even if you liked the artists. Granted, all of them hadn't done anything of note in ages, which made it seem all the more pointless. This was driven home by seeing Poison in consecutive years. (You better believe I didn't pay either time. For what it's worth, Cinderella impressed me with their chops.)

So there I was tonight at the Pavement reunion concert. I purchased a ticket as soon as they went on sale, and I was looking forward to this show quite a bit. I never saw them during the '90s when they were one of the most influential band in the lo-fi and indie realms, and this was a reunion that I don't think many anticipated. Of course, that tends to be the way it goes with these things. It'll never happen...until the financial rewards are calculated.

Granted, we're talking different levels here. Pavement is a seminal act, and like such groups, their popularity was basically confined to the musical underground. And no wonder. With ambiguous but verbally witty lyrics, guitars and vocals that sometimes sounded like they were out of tune, and a generally offhanded vibe verging on sloppy, they were too rough around the edges to breakthrough. I suspect they are playing the biggest rooms in their career on this reunion tour, which is testament to their influence and the regard with which their albums still have, but we're still talking about venues that can pack in 1500-2000 people.

Anyway, to get back to my point, I gave in to nostalgia and made sure that I'd be at this concert. I'll be doing the same thing in a month when the reunited "classic lineup" of Guided by Voices comes to town. I justify it because, well, I really wanted to see them and because these are bands that never were that big beyond a small but dedicated audience. It may seem pathetic if they keep coming through year after year with nothing new to offer or nothing new that's any good, but for groups whose shadows have only become longer in the intervening years, it seems respectable and right that they take victory laps now.

Pavement has a mixed reputation as a live act, but they were pretty terrific tonight. They played many of their most beloved songs--it's hard to call them hits--and plenty of other unconventional choices. It didn't feel like a performance meant to resuscitate their former days as indie rock heroes but a genuinely worthy and engaged playing of their catalog. Pavement didn't appear to be going through the motions of yesteryear, and I didn't feel like I was reliving my time in college. Nevertheless, hearing "Range Life" gave me the chills. Other favorites--"Stereo", "Cut Your Hair", and "Summer Babe (Winter Version)", among others--sounded as fresh as they did during my twenties. Undoubtedly nostalgia colored my enjoyment, but I'd prefer to think that is was merely an enhancement than the primary object.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Taking it easy after an insanely intense start to the academic year. Enjoy this track from The Walkmen's new album. I do. (The album version is even better.)

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Begins with f

Fall quarter.

First two days.



Monday, September 13, 2010

Lottery winner

My straw was drawn in the lottery for the right to purchase National League Division Series tickets for the Cincinnati Reds. At least three other family members put their names in the running, but they all came up empty-handed. It's not anything--I won the opportunity to spend money--but regardless, I take some pleasure from being randomly selected.

Buying the tickets won't imperil the Reds' chances of making the postseason before mathematically securing their berth, but doing this gives me brief pause because in 1999 I succeeded at buying tickets for the NLDS. Everything looked good for qualifying for the play-offs. Then the team melted down, was forced to play a tiebreaker game, and failed to get there. *sad trombone*

It has been a little bit of a curse as I coordinated how many tickets I will need to pony up for in the morning. (Look, three prepositions in a row!) One of my brothers really wanted me to buy a the maximum, which is a fairly hefty outlay of money that I wasn't comfortable doing, even if I'd eventually be reimbursed. I also don't want to deal with the hassle of scalping the extras, especially in a short window. Plus, it feels like that's the greedy way to go, particularly since I didn't do anything but drop my name in the virtual hopper.

So, if all goes well, I'll get to witness some postseason baseball in person for the first time. Finally.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

That smell

When I returned home from my travels I noticed a smell emanating from the refrigerator. I was gone quite a bit, so it is no surprise that something (or some things) went bad while I was away. Truth be told, there were probably already spoiled stuffs in there before I departed. They just had more time than usual to mature.

I noticed that the stench was beginning to attach itself to everything in the refrigerator and freezer, which meant that I finally needed to do something about it. Cleaning the refrigerator was a task I needed to accomplish before this smell was produced. Now the job could be ignored no longer. I mixed some baking soda and water in a squirt bottle and went to work. I left some baking soda in both compartments in hopes that it might soak up any residual smell. It may take a day or two, and perhaps another once over, to return the refrigerator's interior to its proper state.

It has also become clear that I'm overdue for a scrubbing. I suppose it's natural that birthdays can bring about self-evaluation. The summer provided time for some soul searching as well. The family vacation in particular let me understand or remember why I am the way I am. It's all well and good to realize such things about myself, but it's worthless if I don't do anything about it.

I won't bother to go into it all here. Suffice it to say that I can be extremely self-critical and am susceptible to getting down on myself. Couple that with not feeling one hundred percent due to the nagging injury from the car accident--something that I assumed would simply get better on its own--and I am aware *again* that I need to take better care of myself. Just like the refrigerator, I've let things go that I knew I needed to address but left alone.

Of course, knowing it and doing something about it are two completely separate things, so I may just be talking a good game. Still, I think I'm at one of those points where I'm ready to do something about the clutter and the dissatisfaction. (Let me be clear that I'm essentially OK; this is a me vs. me matter.) Patience is a virtue, but sometimes it's a crutch for not looking hard at what needs to be examined. I certainly don't feel like I'm equipped with the answers to the questions I'm facing, but it's time I started trying to find them.


Saturday, September 11, 2010


Baseball has always been my favorite sport. As a kid it was the one I played the most in organized leagues. I spent countless hours throwing a tennis ball against the side of the house and concocting fantasy lineups and games. I collected baseball cards and pored over stats. I rooted for my favorites, the Cincinnati Reds, and got to make the trip south to attend a game or two each year.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of a big day for the Reds. On this day in 1985 Pete Rose broke the all-time record for career hits by collecting number 4192. The hard-nosed ballplayer was a key member of the Big Red Machine of the '70s, an era still first and foremost among many of the franchise's fans. That he was a hometown boy made it all the more special for Cincinnatians. His hustling brand of play--he would run to first when getting a base on balls rather than walk--continues to define what many Reds fans ask from the local nine. An average player who exhibits such qualities can become a fan favorite disproportionate to his actual skill or value to the team.

By the time I was following baseball with the kind of fervor that kids can have, Pete was playing in Philadelphia. Who knows whether he would have been my favorite if he'd still been with the Reds, although I expect I still would have gravitated to Johnny Bench, unquestionably my all-time favorite. Pete eventually returned to play and manage in Cincinnati, so while I took to him as a member of my team, I didn't have the same fan relationship with him that those who lived and died with the ball club in the '70s have.

That night of Pete's record-breaking hit I sat in front of the wooden console television with a tape recorder and microphone. I was going to record my own call of his record-breaking hit. I don't remember the assignment, but I recall that I was doing this to turn in for a junior high English class. I still have the tape, although I'm far too scared of listening to it to dare do so. I know that I would put the recorder on pause or stop it altogether in that down time when announcers demonstrate their skill, but hey, I was twelve. It was pretty exciting to see Ty Cobb's long-held record fall--of all the sports, baseball is the best connected to its history--and just two days later I went to a doubleheader at Riverfront Stadium and could see the circled and marked spot on the Astroturf where the historic hit landed.

Four years later the hit king who played like he would run through a brick wall collided with allegations that he had bet on baseball (and on his team) while managing the Reds. He was banned from baseball and consideration for the Hall of Fame, a place where he deserves to be based on his performance on the field. For years Pete denied gambling on baseball, but the stubborn aggressiveness that defined him as a player didn't suit him well in confronting the evidence.

Many Reds fans continue to hold a grudge against baseball's higher-ups for keeping Pete out of the game, particularly the Hall of Fame. The Reds themselves seem to go along begrudgingly with the ban, although there's a passive-aggressive tension at the ball park. The back of the scoreboard has a big picture of the bat and ball used for hit 4192. Apparently there's a rose garden in the spot where the historic hit fell. Pete's name may not be on display, but you can bet that most people know what these things represent.

Long ago I stopped caring whether Pete was reinstated or permitted to be voted on for enshrinement in Cooperstown. If anything, I sort of resent the stain he is on the organization on a national level. One of the best known players in the lengthy history of the franchise wagered on games in which he played a significant role. (Yes, I know he claims to have always bet on the Reds, but casting any doubts on the integrity of games' outcomes is the worst thing sports professional can do at their jobs.)

For me, over the years it's become more about how he refused to come clean about what he did--and then confessed when he had something to sell--than the offense itself. Granted, betting on baseball while managing a team is extremely slimy, and I fully support keeping him from having any role in the game. Should his accomplishments as a player put him in the Hall? Of course. Does it bother me that he's not in it? No. Plus, for those who still get bent out of shape about it, he's represented a decent amount in the museum.

An exception to the ban was made tonight, thus allowing Pete to be on the field and have the anniversary of his record-breaking hit officially acknowledged. As great of a player as he was, it pains me as a Reds fan to see the team go out of its way to recognize someone who has brought a lot of disrespect to them and the city. Yes, I realize that many still love him and view him as a victim, but such blind idolatry will pass in a generation.

While I don't think there's any need to lift the ban of him being involved in an official capacity or on his Hall eligibility, maybe that's what baseball needs to do. Just as long as he can't hold a job in the game, it could be best for everyone. The silly notion of Pete being wronged in all this will start to vanish, the Reds can trot him out for events honoring his and their past, the Baseball Writers of America can do their job and weigh the character issue when voting on his Hall worthiness, and fans like me can feel like we've finally moved on from this mess.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday night videos

My traveling of the last month is catching up with me, but let me add a little content to go with the videos. If you're of a certain generation, you likely remember when new music videos were exciting and relevant. Obviously MTV used to thrive on them, but NBC had a show that was sort of a must-watch if you wanted to be on top of things musically in one's formative years.

Music videos are still made, but aside from the occasional Lady Gaga video that raises a ruckus, now it's hard to believe that Friday Night Videos and the work they featured had any kind of cultural cachet. (For that matter, there was also Night Tracks on WTBS and the more offbeat Night Flight on USA Network.) Although Friday Night Videos lasted a lot longer than I would have guessed. It seems native to the '80s even if I knew it lasted into the '90s and improbably stuck around until 2002 (at least according to Wikipedia).

It's unlikely that either of the videos I'm showing here were featured on any of those shows, although The Tribe Called Quest video would have stood better chance of getting a slot than Velocity Girl. I picked them because they seemed like fun to put here. (They're also very of the '90s.)

Anyway, it's Friday night. Hope you enjoyed the videos.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Annual charity knit

I'm starting to get backlogged on things I intend to knit, and I'm probably fated to fall a little bit more behind. After all, it's the time of year when I contribute to a particular project, so I need to get cracking on that.

The Red Scarf Project is now accepting donations for this year's collection. I've knit for it for the past three years. I could probably stand to mix it up and not make the same pattern that I have the last two years, but the brainless quality of that pattern is what has been so appealing. Plus, I figure it's a safe design for an unknown recipient.

So, join me this fall in knitting for the Orphan Foundation of America.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pulp to pixels

When my mom started asking me questions about the Amazon Kindle, I assumed that she was interested in getting one for herself. That proved to be true--she has one awaiting shipment--but first and foremost she was inquiring because she was thinking of getting me one for my birthday.

This took me quite by surprise. The item is more expensive than gifts I'm accustomed to getting from my parents, and it wasn't something I'd hinted (or stated outright) that I wanted. My preference is for the physical book, but a device that aids reading like the iPod does for listening to music became more appealing the more I considered it. My literary tastes lean toward the classics, and with a treasure trove of those available for free for the Kindle, this e-reader starting looking very attractive. (It didn't hurt that a couple trusted friends have spoken highly of it too.)

Since the third generation was recently released, there's been a bit of a wait required since a Kindle was ordered for me, but in a fortuitous bit of timing, it arrived yesterday on my birthday. I haven't had a lot of time to fiddle with it yet, but I can already tell that this will prove to be a very useful tool to have. I downloaded a couple free classics and started reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, only putting it aside when I knew I needed to get some sleep. I will get a lot of use from this, and not just out of a sense of guilt that I let my parents buy it.

I haven't done a lot of searching for titles, but the Kindle strikes me as a pretty good place for knitting books and patterns. True, it isn't in color and wouldn't necessarily be as good of a resource for some patterns, but for portable use it's a smarter device for checking instructions than a laptop or smart phone. For that matter, it may be handier than a printed copy. You can still make notations on the Kindle.

Although I own a physical copy of The Knitting Answer Book, I think I'd happily purchase a Kindle version if one became available. It could be easily searchable and not take up as much space in a bag.

Have any readers applied their Kindle as a knitting tool, and if so, how so?

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010


-Michael Emerson, a.k.a. Benjamin Linus on Lost

-Mira Furlan, a.k.a. Danielle Rousseau on Lost

-the secret knitter

All of us share a birthday today.

While it would be nice to do something for my birthday, I'm content to spend the evening at home after having been on the road and on the go so much for the last month.

And with that, I call this a blog entry and settle in to watch the rest of the Reds game.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Love of fiber arts

Probably due to Stephen King, the first Maine city I recall being aware of is Bangor. I can't say that I had much of a conception of what it might be like, but I did expect it to be bigger than it is. After a brief and busy visit, my impression is that Bangor is more like a big suburb of a large city, except in this case it's just a big suburb surrounded by wilderness.

Although I didn't have a lot of free time, I maximized what was available and tracked down a local yarn shop in nearby Orono, which is north of Bangor. This LYS is found on what looks like the definition of a quaint northeastern Main Street (even if it's actually Mill Street).

Like the Bemidji, Minnesota yarn shop I visited about three weeks earlier, Fiberphilia is pretty much the only local place to buy yarn in its area. Their selection is fairly typical of what I'm accustomed to seeing in LYSes--plenty of Cascade and Noro, for instance--but Fiberphilia does have some regional yarns that I don't expect one finds as easily elsewhere.

The person working on the day of my visit--the co-owner?--was very helpful and not only regarding the store's merchandise. He suggested the place where I ate lunch that day and the next. Both recommendations were splendid. I never would have thought to go to a bakery run by Franciscan monks or drive a little off the highway to get to a very popular diner in a small town.

After my nice visit I left with some Cascade sock yarn and those superb tips on where to eat. Not bad for an abbreviated amount of time in Bangor and vicinity.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010


From when I filled up my car on Tuesday to when I arrived at the office to drop off equipment tonight, I drove 2136.1 miles. Considering that Wednesday and Friday featured relatively little driving, you can see that I covered a lot in a little period of time. Grant me this evening to recover.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Here, there, and everywhere

If I've calculated correctly, from August 5 to September 4 I have spent 23 nights away from home and out of state. I'm kind of stunned by the number. Surely this is the most I've ever traveled in a month.

The last month has been something of a blur. It's gone by quickly, yet the start of it seems like it was practically another lifetime ago. I've had a lot of fun seeing cities and parts of the country I'd never visited. I'm backlogging blog entries since I've either not had the time or the energy at the end of the day to compose all those thoughts. Hopefully you'll find them interesting...or more interesting than posts like this.

I am endlessly fascinated by the idea of waking up in one place and going to bed somewhere far away from there. Hey, this morning I was in Bangor, Maine, and tonight I'm in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Tomorrow night I'll be in my own bed at home. So in 40 hours I'll have been about as far northeast as one can be in this country to a thousand or so miles away in the midwest. I'll go from experiencing remnants of a hurricane to a place where one wouldn't even think of a tropical storm affecting the weather.

While this ability to cover great distances in short times isn't new--and I'm going by the comparatively slow method of driving solo--it seems to me that it is one of the great modern marvels.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Making the rounds

I don't recommend traveling like I have during my northeastern journey. Drive a bunch, arrive at the hotel, get up, cram a bunch of activity in, return to the hotel, and repeat. When all is said and done, I'll have driven over two thousand miles in six days. Simply put, it's too rushed.

Which isn't to say that it's been a bad trip. Today I made the short drive to Orono, Maine and found one of the few local yarn shops in the region. That led me to lunch at a place run by Francsican monks. I had my first lobster roll and whoopie pie. I saw a movie and got a haircut. Oh yeah, I also did the work that was the basis of justifying this trip in the first place.

There's much more to say, but duty calls again in the morning, so I must be getting to bed. Tomorrow I drive to the land of Dunder Mifflin. Maybe I'll take in a minor league baseball game. Or maybe I'll collapse.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Maine point

Today's leg of this northeastern trek: drive from Oneonta, New York to Bangor, Maine. Although this journey has piled up the miles, it has been relatively easy driving. Still, I wish I had an extra day or two to spend up here.

I better be careful what I wish for, though. Hurricane Earl is supposed to visit this area at some point late Friday night and into Saturday, although I'm not exactly sure what that means. On the way up here I popped into a grocery store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and was surprised by how hopping the place was. I'm guessing people there were stocking up in anticipation of what might be on the way.

Today hasn't provided much time for just soaking up where I am, but I did get a little of it while having dinner at Muddy Rudder. I went out with a couple others from the university and looked out at the bay while having a crab and lobster cake sandwich. A visit to a local yarn shop should happen on Friday. Otherwise time's a-wasting for my blip of a visit to Maine. I'll be leaving Saturday morning. That's too soon.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Off the beaten path

Sorry to be coy and just post a teaser photo of where I went today, but I'm tired after a long day and have around eight or nine hours on the road facing me tomorrow.

I will say, though, that as a lifelong baseball fan it was well worth the trip to an area that is far off the beaten path. On one hand it seems wrong that the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum isn't in a place that's more convenient. On the other hand there's something very appealing about getting here requiring something akin to a pilgrimage.

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