Monday, December 28, 2009


Had a great vacation with Husband in southern California/Los Angeles area. It was so relaxing. First a few days in Palm Springs/Joshua Tree National Park, then a few days in Santa Monica right on the Pacific coast.

Took lots of pictures, will organize and post later. Probably over the New Year's weekend when I have no plans.
In the mean time, I'm back at the office to meet some deadlines.
ETA: Photo taken on Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy just north of Joshua Tree National Park.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

East Coast Snowcopalypse

There's a huge snow storm hitting the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. My friends in DC are posting about how they're stuck in their apts. If I was stuck inside this is what I would be doing:

1. Watching back episodes of Dollhouse season 2. It's getting really good. I missed eps: Meet Jane Doe, a Love Supreme, and The Attic. This morning I watched "Stop Loss" about Victor.
2. Continue watching Angel the Series. Jasmine, as played by Gina Torres, is about to show up.
3. Knit on either the Noro Furisode Log Cabin afghan or the Easy Top Down Raglan Cardigan I just started this morning.

That should keep me occupied for, oh, the next month or so.

However, I am not stuck at home but rather at the office in Atlanta, just south of the snowcopalypse. I'll be out of the office for a week, but deadlines still loom. I've also taken home the plants in my office. They deserve a vacation in my sunny apt too, instead of sitting alone in my darkened office while I'm gone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knitting down the stash

Now that it's the year end, I looked at my Ravelry page and saw that I knit 23 projects this year, ranging from one-skein berets and scarves to sweaters and blankets.

Sixteen of the projects used stash yarn. That is, I used yarn I already had, not yarn that I bought for the project. I'm pretty happy about that.

I have to say, though, that some of those yarns were given to me by my friend who was giving away her late mother's stash. So I count that as stash yarn in that I didn't lay out any money it. I did use quite a bit of it to make her this out of that yarn. She said her kids, a boy and a girl, fought over who got it. So my friend broke the tie by keeping it in her bedroom.

However, I am now itching to buy another skein of Malabrigo to make a beret. It's cold and rainy today in Atlanta, the kind of day that makes you want to play with soft, colorful yarn. There's a yarn shop 10 minutes away that now carries Malabrigo...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sunrise Circle Jacket


Yarn: Cascade 220, Color Ruby, 4 skeins and a smidge
Needle: US 7, 4.5 mm
Started: Sept 21, 2009
Finished: Dec 17, 2009

Alterations: did not sew the hems, sewed on only one button instead of 4
I took the sweater to work so I could sew the seams during lunch. I showed it to a co worker who also knits and she thought the rolled edges of the unsewn hems looked nice, like a Design Element. Hey, less finishing work is fine with me. This way, I can turn the edges back like a shawl collar.

The important thing is it's done, it's wearable, and in time for the trip to SoCal on Sunday.

And I can start on the new sweater. :)

eta: removed the button and loop. don't like the way it pulls and puckers. will use a shawl pin instead. eventually will also rip out -- again-- and reseam the right side. the seaming there is tricky because the back is knit back and forth, but the sides are curved and so the rows don't match exactly. the fronts are a little longer than the back so you're supposed to "ease in any extra fullness" as the instructions say. and that's all it says.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vacation knitting

In a few days, Husband and I will be off to Southern California for a vacation to mark our 10th wedding anniversary. There's a way for me to blog via iPhone, but I don't think I will. I prefer typing on a full size keyboard.

I had knit the Sunrise Circle Jacket to wear on this trip, but haven't finished seaming and hemming it. I'll take it on the plane with me and do the seaming and hemming on the plane. Then I'll be able to wear it while there. It won't have buttons, but I do have a shawl pin to use.

I've got several projects on the needles, including 2 scarves. I'll take one probably the triangular scarf because that's more mindless than the Noro multidirectional scarf. More than once I forgot to stop the short rows at the right place and had to unknit. The other WIP is a big blanket. Not portable.

I also have a hankering to start another top-down raglan cardigan, maybe another Hermia. Or a Fair Isle cardigan. Or Cosmicpluto's Easy Topdown Raglan Sweater. I have 3 skeins of a pink/grey/cream yarn I could use for the yoke and then use grey for the rest. And this time I'll put in pockets. Last week I went to a work event and realized that nothing I was wearing had pockets for my business cards. Hard to network that way.

I still want to make a shawl with the yarn I mentioned here. But not portable. Plus, I really should finish something before starting another.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Angel, Woobies and Hoyay

I'm having a very fun time reading the Hoyay thread on the Angel forums at Television Without Pity. Hoyay is short for Homoeroticism Yay! The examples of gay subtext the forum posters come up with are hilarious. The Hoyay thread on the Buffy forums are just as funny.

Made me think about Connor and how he's never part of these gay couplings. I think it's because he's the Woobie. As defined by "A woobie (named for a child's security blanket) is that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to when he or she suffers so very beautifully."

And poor Connor has suffered so very beautifully. By the way, if you go over to, be prepared to lose hours while surfing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cordelia and Connor

Spent the morning at home since I'm working until 10pm tonight, I'm going into the office late.

So, I watched up to the point where Cordelia's come back from being on a higher plane (what did she do there? I hope at some point we find out.) but doesn't remember who she is. Connor's the only one talking straight to her, including the part where he tried to kill her. Then she goes to live with Connor who falls in love with her. Well why wouldn't he? She's the only one who wants to spend time with him, other than his father Angel; he's alone in this world; they have to share the bed because there's only one; he's 18; she's a great person and she's gorgeous.

After much hijinks, including forgetfulness spells*, she remembers she loves Angel. They declare their love for each other, but know they can't have it (um, why not?) and she leaves to go live with Connor again.

In the most recent episode, Cordelia (while possessed) finally gets it on with Connor.

I like this couple. They're both blunt and straight to the point. The show's made it clear that he's 18, so he's legal and Cordelia's not that much older than him. And even if he is, we are now living in the age of the cougar. And poor Connor, it's about time he gets a little happiness. Plus he's so cute. Vincent Kartheiser looks totally different (and cleaner) as Pete Campbell on Mad Men, which I don't watch, even tho it's got YoSaffBridge too.

* As soon as I watched the episode Spin the Bottle where a memory spell goes wrong and the Angel Investigations team, including Wesley, forgets everything since they were teenagers. As they introduce themselves to each other, they all act as if they are teens. Cordelia's Queen C again, Fred's got a heavy accent as she says she's in school in San Antone. Gunn's all toughness and bravado. Angel calls himself Liam and makes references to being Irish. It was quite funny to see isolated, bitter, bad-ass Wesley revert to the uptight buffoon he was when he first arrived to Sunnydale fresh from the Watcher's Council.

I thought of the other times Whedon used this theme:

Band Candy from Buffy Season Three, where the adults eat the candy to fundraise for band, and revert to their teenage selves. This is where Giles as Ripper and Joyce hook up.
Tabula Rasa from Buffy Season Six where the Scooby Gang gets their memories wiped, but the emotional connections are still there.
Echoes from Dollhouse where a psychotropic drug makes all the non-Dolls act a little loopy. This is the episode where Topher wears no pants and Adelle jumps on a trampoline and says she finds lentils incomprehensible. This is where we see the emotional connection between Adelle and Topher begin. It's not a romantic relationship, but more a mother-son dynamic that really shows in Epithaph One.

Heck, you could say all of Dollhouse is a play on this theme. When memories are taken away, what do you have left? Emotions and personalities still come through.

While watching all these hours of Angel (um at least 4 episodes this morning, with much fastforwarding through the fight scenes), I sewed the back of the Sunrise Circle Jacket to the sleeves.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Had a tough staff meeting today. Told everyone that starting Jan 1, 2010, we were all being furloughed one day a week. I gave them a simplified version of the budget that showed in black and white the gap between income and expenses. Even with pending grants that I feel confident that we'll get, there's still a gap. We do have fundraising efforts going, so I'll reassess at the end of March.

No one's happy about it, some more so than others, but I hope everyone will realize, that the glass is 4/5th full, not 1/5 empty. The unemployment rate in Atlanta is 10.5% so....

Still, not a happy meeting.

Can't believe I just furloughed myself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Enver Gjokaj is amazing

Just watched "the Public Eye" and "the Left Hand" episodes 2.5 and 2.6 of Dollhouse. Great episodes. Recaps elsewhere so I won't repeat it. Quick comments:

1. Enver Gjokaj who plays Victor is amazing. In The Left Hand, Victor gets imprinted as Topher so there are 2 Tophers working on the case. Gjokaj does a spot on imitation of Topher. In previous episodes he does a great job playing Kiki the airhead student, Terry the serial kidnapper, and Dominic the former head of security. Gjokaj should have quite the career after Dollhouse.

2. The 2 episodes are just packed with action, revelations about the reach of Rossum Corp and the mythology of the Dollhouses.

3. We get Summer Glau! Her character Bennett and Topher together were so cute.

4. We get 2 Tophers, which was fun.

5. Maurissa Tanchareon shows up.

6. Alexis Denisof does a great job as Daniel Perrin. I just finished Angel season 3 where he plays Wesley. Gotta say, I'm liking Wesley more and more as he gets more bad ass. While we're on the subject of Angel Season 3, I gotta say, what is up with that ending? Cordelia ascends to a higher plane? What? And Holtz played a deep, deep game. Looking forward to seeing how Season 4 starts.

All in all, I agree with other reviewers that these 2 episodes were very good and I look forward to the next episode and the series ending on a high note.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Slingers: Ocean's 11 in Space

That's how io9 describes a potential new show, called Slingers. Article and clip here.

And here's a summary from Mike Sizemore's blog:
Slingers is set in the year 2960 A.D., following mankind’s first interplanetary war. Humanity is now clustered into a finite, but still vast section of the universe known as Enclosed Space.

Humanity won the war with an aggressive alien enemy, but at a cost. The way back to Earth is now cut off by an impassable barrier – a side effect of the blast that finally pushed the enemy back.

The show takes its name from a group of people thrown together on board an experimental spacecraft that is capable of Slinging itself to any point in space. In theory it’s the only craft capable of getting home. In reality the crew are using it to carry out a series of high tech heists and get even with those who are now exploiting their positions in the post war hierarchy.

Dominic ‘DM’ Monroe, a special ops war veteran becomes the de facto leader of this small team of thieves who rail against the decision by military command to just ‘stay where they are and make the best of it’. They’re determined to get home and if that means breaking a few rules and picking up a lot of enemies along the way then so be it.

Based on just this written summary and the pics on Mike Sizemore's blog, I thought: Firefly + Leverage = show I would watch.

Then I watched the clip in the io9 post and got a distinct 1960s vibe to it and the voices are British. Now, if they add Torchwood's omnisexuality, I am so totally there.

Apparently it will begin filming in 2010 to be aired in the US on the Syfy channel.

I can't tell if it's supposed to be a serious drama or something more lightweight. Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Knitters are not afraid of the words "Assembly Required"

Here's an excerpt from an article in today's New York Times:

With New Toys, More Assembly Required

As another holiday shopping season gets under way, new toys will soon begin entering households in critical mass. To the consternation of countless parents like Ms. Starr, a startling number will need to be built.

For a variety of reasons — from international trading patterns to the amount of shelf space at big domestic retailers — toys are coming in more compressed packaging these days and with more dreaded assembly required. And many adults feel less and less up to the task.

“I think it’s true that toys do have more parts today,” said Simmie Kerman, a co-owner of four toy stores called Barstons Child’s Play, in the Washington-Baltimore area. Manufacturers, she explained, save on shipping and labor costs by packaging toys flat and unassembled. “It keeps the costs down,” she said. “It’s the Ikea model.”

Consumers pay less as a result, but they bear a bigger burden when theyopen the box.

Then there’s the ever-growing popularity and educational allure of so-called construction toys, like Legos; for them, building is supposed to be part of the point and part of the fun. Many such kits are no longer designed for open-ended, creative building, but rather to construct a precise model based on a licensed movie theme, for example “Star Wars” or “Transformers.”

If a child can’t recreate the spaceship or warrior by following pages of directions, it is up to the parents to do it.“They’ll help in the beginning, but in the end, it’s me and my husband — and they’re watching TV,” said Lori Harasem of Lethbridge, Alberta, referring to her attempts to assemble Transformers robots for her children, ages 11, 9 and 2. “Often the directions aren’t very clear, and suddenly you’re disassembling.”

As she spoke, she was looking out the window at a playhouse she had tried to assemble for her daughter. One of its walls had fallen down.

Recognizing her customers’ frustration — and perhaps their mechanical shortcomings — Ms. Kerman has her staff build some toys, like tricycles, anticipating that customers either won’t be able to do it themselves or will do it wrong. In the case of other toys, like train tables, the store will assemble them for a modest fee of $10 or so.

“My stores cater to a more urban clientele,” she said. “They are not out on the weekends tinkering with their car. Their handy skills have become less specialized.” She added, “Maybe we’ve all lost that skill” of building things by hand.

This article brought several things to mind:

1. As a knitter, I totally can take 2 sticks, some string, and (sometimes) follow directions to make things. Putting together IKEA furniture is easy for me, but I know people -- non-knitters -- who are defeated by IKEA instructions.

2. I grew up playing with toys like Lego but mostly I remember playing with stuffed animals. Once my motor skills improved, I did arts and crafts, like embroidery and drawing and making clothes for the stuffed animals. So for me, playing and making things and assembling things were all connected.

3. I do think most people have lost the skill of building things because now we can just buy things. That loss of connection with the time, effort, and skills of what it takes to make things leads to devaluing handcraft and labor in general.

4. This disconnect also leads to more stress. I knit because I want the product, the end result of all the knitting. But the rhythm of knitting stitch after stitch after stitch, calms me down, like fingering rosary beads for some people. And the soft and pretty yarn! Physically handling such soft materials like silk, merino wool, and tencel, when usually I'm touching hard keyboards, pens, and paper, is so soothing.

Knitting can be as easy or difficult as you want. I'm totally doing only garter stitch and stockingnette stitch projects at this point because those are easy. Enough in my life is challenging. So I rely on beautiful yarn, as shown in this previous post, make the project beautiful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You know you're a Buffy fan when

someone posts a clip from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special where the kids are dancing and your first thought is "Xander doing the Snoopy dance."