Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gift certificates and e-readers

First, update on Mother-in-law: she's home from the hospital so that's good.

Second, got $150 gift certificate to Amazon from work. Already ordered Torchwood Season 2, which I'm missing. Tempted to get Caprica 1 and 1.5 but still balking at $70 plus in cost. Even if it's not my money.

Third, cashed in my rewards from my credit card and will be getting $25o in gift certificates to Barnes and Noble. Why, that's enough for a Nook Color e-reader!

So, I've been thinking of getting an e-reader. Kindle is more affordable but doesn't interface with the public library. Nook is more expensive but it does interface with the library. And I still like paper books...

Not making any decisions yet, but I love knowing I have enough free money to get either one!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Unexpected Christmas 2010

This weekend we went to Wisconsin to visit Husband's family. We got there Dec 23, had a lovely time at the neighborhood dinner. It's a very nice tradition 4 families on the street have. The different courses of the meal are spread across the different homes.

What's interesting is that there are 3 generations now. Mother-in-law talked about "the young people" and I kept asking her if she meant the middle generation or the youngest generation. She meant the middle generation.

And speaking of M-i-l, on Xmas eve, we were to drive 90 minutes away to visit her sisters and relatives. But 20 minutes into the drive, she asked us to turn around and take her to the emergency room. She was dizzy, sweating, hyperventilating.

We got to the ER and she was so dizzy she fell back into the car when she tried to stand. They took her in a wheelchair and it turns out that she had irregular heartbeat. She was quickly stabilized, but since she went in on a Friday, the doctors wanted to keep her in the hospital until Monday and run some more tests.

On Xmas, we visited her in the morning and then again at 8pm. We brought her a plate of xmas dinner and a bottle of whiskey. She couldn't drink any of the whiskey of course, so we did so for her.

A family friend is a doctor and he came with, so that was nice.

We left Dec 26 and didn't have time to visit her before leaving. But our xmas gift to her was to buy her a ticket to visit us in the spring.

The silver lining, for me, was the fact that I got to spend more time with my sister in law (Husband's brother's wife). On Dec 24 evening, while M-i-l was first taken into the hospital and stabilized, Brother-in-law took his wife and me back to m-i-l's house to wait it out. We played gin rummy, ate leftovers, and generally just hung out.

I don't think that in the 18 years we've known each other, that we've really talked and spent time together. We don't really have that much in common and I don't think we'll ever be best buds, but it was very nice to get to know her better.

And tomorrow's her birthday and now I know what to get her: a real purse. Tomboy or not, I think a 39 year old woman needs a real purse. And there are lots of sporty ones available.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Much for Caprica?!?

Caprica 1.5 comes out on DVD today. is selling both 1 and 1.5 together for $73.48 (what kind of pricing is that?).

And what kind of pricing is that? Nearly $74 for less than 15 episodes? I liked the show; it was appointment television for me. But I'm balking at the price. I'm gonna have to Netflix it instead of buying it.

Which makes me wonder: what's the economics at play here? By not buying the DVDs, am I confirming that there was no audience for the show? That there's not chance that another network (oh, like AMC) would pick it up?

Or should I just enjoy it and accept that it was a good show.... and there's only one season. Like it's just one novel, not part of a trilogy, as much as I would like it to be.

I'm getting to that point with Firefly. I keep following Whedonesque and am rewatching Dollhouse Season 2, so will stay interested in the 'Verse, but not hoping that it will continue on the web or in comix.

I feel that Buffy the Vampire Slayer the comics have (has?) wander far, far afield from what I enjoyed about it as a show. Granted, I need to rewatch it, but more slowly, and really pay attention. I'm happy to have Shepherd Book's back story, finally, but I think as a periodical medium, comics don't work as well for me.

I contrast this to graphic novels, like Fun Home, or Persepolis, or Maus, which are written as one piece, and meant to be read as one piece.

Okay, I'm not sure where I'm going this train of thought. It's wandered a bit from the price of Caprica DVDs.

Oh, back to the economics/logic of the Caprica 1.5 release: why do it now, when Syfy won't air the last 5 episodes (presumably on the DVDs) until January? I understand the buy-it-for-Xmas push for pretty much any sale, but it still doesn't make much sense to me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

One step forward, one step back

Bad news: the US House of Representatives voted to pass the DREAM Act that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented children if they go to college or serve in the US military. However, it did not pass the Senate. Damn!

Good news: both the House and Senate voted to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. So soon, gay, lesbian, and bisexual women and men will be able to serve openly in the military. Hooray! This makes me weep with joy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Burst Pipe

On Wednesday, a standing pipe on the roof of the condo burst, flooding the elevators, shorting them out. I had to walk up the stairs from the 3rd floor where I park to the 23rd. Had to stop a few times to rest. So Husband and I got a hotel room for the night.

However, that meant I had to pack an overnight bag for 2 nights (just in case) and carry it down 23 floors. Downhill still much easier than uphill. But still tiring. And it was below freezing so I slipped and fell once crossing the park to the hotel.

Yesterday the elevators were working intermittently and I got to use the elevator up home, thank goodness. However, to go out to the Thrashers hockey game, I had to walk down 23 floors.

My legs are killing me and I am so tired. I'm taking the morning to sleep in and watch a Sanctuary marathon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Buffy reboot movie? Okay.

Certain corners of the interwebs are up in arms about the proposed new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, to be done without Joss Whedon. The director of the first movie, Fran Kazui and her husband Kaz Kazui were executive directors of the TV series.

They own the movie rights, not Joss Whedon, even though Buffy is really Whedon's baby.

I have all the Buffy DVDs and the comics. Even so, I have no problem with the reboot.

1. Whedon was not the only creative and celebrated mind on the show and comics. Jane Espenson and Tim Minear are two of the well-regarded writers who have come out of the Whedon writing stable. So it's not like Whedon's got a lock on Buffy.
2. Therefore: It might actually be good. Who knows? The writer for the reboot is a fan of the show so it could be good. I'll go see it and then judge.
3. If it does well, then there's a new group of people who will go looking for more Buffy, then they'll find the DVDs, and there will be more fans. Think of it as more publicity for Buffy.
4. And if they like the TV show, and want more Whedon, they'll find Angel, Firefly (my personal fave of them all), Dollhouse, etc.

Ultimately, I think if it's done well, then it's all good. If it's done badly, then it'll be just another example of reboots gone badly, not Buffy gone badly. I mean, I never saw the original Buffy movie but clearly that didn't stop the show from happening and from doing well.

And it's a sign that Buffy is bigger than any one person and I think that's good.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Browncoats and a lovely day

Today was a really good day. in the 50s F. Husband and I walked 4 miles round trip from our place next to Centennial Olympic Park, through part of Old Fourth Ward, to Inman Park for lunch. We pretty much took Baker Street the whole way. We started in the heart of downtown, walking past skyscrapers, passed over the interstate that goes through the middle of Atlanta, past revitalized neighborhoods and into Atlanta's first suburb.

We had lunch at Pure Taqueria which was very good. We shared an appetizer and an entree and that was quite enough for both of us. We did the same thing at dinner last night too. I think this will be our habit from now on. We both turned 40 this year. We know we have to try harder to take care of ourselves. We haven't been to the gym much since summer ended so today's walk and the sharing one entree is a pretty nice way of doing it.

Plus, this workweek, I did not eat one dinner at home. I had evening meetings or I went out with friends or with Husband.

Wed night I watched Four Days of DragonCon, produced by PBA, Public Broadcasting Atlanta. They're selling it to other public broadcasting stations. So if you want to see it in your city, call your local public broadcasting station and ask them to buy it and show it.

I have a friend who works at PBA so she had a copy and invited friends over to see it. It was fun and she reminded me that I was supposed to lend her my Firefly DVDs.

Thursday, she and I went out for dinner at the Stone Bowl House/Woo Nam Jeong Korean restaurant. I gave her the DVDs then. May convert yet another fan.

And I added a link in my side bar to Mark Watches. He apparently is wrapping up his first viewing of Firefly and will start Dr. Who next. He's also a Harry Potter fan, so what's not to like?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ellen Ripley Saved My Life

No, the article is not about me. but I love it anyway.

The author, Sady Doyle, looks at strong women like River Tam, Buffy Summers, and Ellen Ripley and how they help her understand her own life and how culture has a difficult time with strong women.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What everyone's getting this winter gift season

I love to eat. I think food is one of the great pleasures in life. Over the last year or so I have also started cooking more.

Based on a Wall Street Journal review I bought One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking, 600 Recipes from the Nation's Best Home Cooks, Farmers, Fishers, Pitmasters, and Chefs.

Just randomly flipping through it, I looked at about a dozen recipes. Of those, about 5 were by SouthEast Asian refugees, one was Persian, and the rest were Latino and European. I love that mix!

There are also stories about the places, the people, the histories behind the foods.

I think I'm going to give it to everyone I know who cooks. Or eats.

And in that spirit, since I couldn't make it to Sister's house for Thanksgiving, I finally made her a sushi toilet roll cover. It's something she's wanted for a while.

It's the embroidering for this that made me want to take up crewel work. I did buy some muslin and a hoop, and got some books from the library. But have yet to do any embroidering beyond this sushi thing.

I started knitting a scarf instead with the gorgeous red/orange/gold silk yarn I got in Savannah a few weeks ago. It's the perfect antidote to all the grey winter weather.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Villain's side of the story

Great webcomic that turns the good son vs evil father on its ear.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Must. Resist. New. Craft.

I ended up not going to work over the Thanksgiving weekend. As I reasoned, I wasn't planning on being here anyway so why go in? And here I sit at the office at 5pm EST Nov 30 done with most of my work, that's due at 8pm EST/5pm PST Dec 1.

Instead of going to work on Saturday, I went to the library. Browsed the craft books, mostly looking at knitting. But the embroidery books caught my eye. I'm knitting a toilet paper cover for Sister and her husband that looks like a roll of sushi (their request). It requires embroidering on the "filling."

Now I want to take up crewel embroidery. I've done it before, a long time ago as a kid -- a unicorn and rainbow if I remember correctly. And I have all kinds of cross stitch floss and needles, lots of inspiration books, and a blue marking pen for quilting that will wash out....

No. Must. Resist. New. Craft.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life Work Balance

Debating whether or not to go to work today. If I hadn't gotten sick, then I would still be out of town today, so I had estimated that my to-do list could be accomplished without working Wed to Sun. Plus, it's beautiful outside: sunny and in the 60s F. Perfect day for lounging around the house, doing a little this and that, like hand washing the hand knit sweaters.

On the other hand, if I go to work today, then I won't have to work as long Mon, Tue, and Wed to meet my Dec 1 deadline. And Husband won't feel bad that he's gone to work but not me.

Our little day of the dead vignette doesn't have any advice for me. Maybe other than "No one ever went to their grave wishing they spent more time at the office." On the other hand, it is a grant proposal worth $75,000.....

I'll see how I feel once the hand washing is done.

ETA: note to self: knit with either machine washable yarn or knit smaller sweaters. This stuff is heavy when wet.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

I hope it was a good holiday for everyone. I spent it in Atlanta because I was sick and didn't feel up to flying to DC to be with Sister, new Brother-in-law, and Brother Two.

So I did get to enjoy Thanksgiving with Husband at a friend's home. It was warm enough to eat the meal outside in sleeveless shirt and skirt. I was not at 100% and being out in the sun was lovely.

Over estimated how well I was, over ate and over drank, and felt pretty bad for the rest of the night.

However, it is Thanksgiving, so I give thanks for
  • my family near (Husband, cat) and far (everyone else)
  • being able to see my parents and have them come visit in October
  • friends old and new
  • a job that is meaningful and plays a part in making the world better, heck for being employed instead of unemployed like Brother Two (his company shut down and he was laid off)
  • a job that offers paid sick leave, which I have used extensively this year for my mental and physical health
I've been reading a lot. Most recently Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. They're both really good books, written mainly for young adults. I just finished The Hunger Games this afternoon and when I put it down, I was just kind of stunned; it's just so good. Looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation. And compared to the dystopian world and emotional turmoil in the book, and in many places in the world, I'm thankful for the well-fed, safe and loving life I have.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Loved. It.
Loved. It.
Loved. It.

There was some gratuitous skin but I think over all it worked well to illuminate the relationships and emotions.

And it renewed my affection for Ron. He's like Xander. Harry = Buffy, Hermione = Willow, Ron = Xander. I just love the guys who are witty, funny, not necessarily the alpha or hero, and still throws himself into the fray and does what he can.

Now there's an idea: watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 1, read Harry Potter book 1, etc.

The friend who I went to see the movie with suggested having a marathon for watching all the Harry Potter movies, maybe over the summer. The next, and last, movie comes out next July....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Geeky or not?

I crocheted this water bottle holder with pocket for my phone. Husband thinks it's the geekiest thing he's ever seen. I think it's a success.

Yarn: Cascade 220.
Hook: G
Needle for the pocket: US 6
Time: about a week.
In other hand crafting news, Husband and I went Savannah for 48 hours earlier this week. He had a deposition to take there, I went along for the ride.

While there, I went to Wild Fibre, the only yarn shop in Savannah and bought:
That's Silk Purse in Koi Pond on the left, 100% silk in reds, oranges, and gold. Will probably make a ruffled scarf from Scarf Style to show off the graduated color changes.
In the middle is a single ply merino by Trabajos del Peru, which I think is like a competitor to Malabrigo and Manos del Uruguay. I'm making a 40 stitch 2 x 2 rib scarf on size 9 US. So soft and lovely.
On the right is Kudo by Plymouth Yarn, which I think is a competitor to Noro. It's silk and cotton and much softer than Noro. Not sure what I'll make with that.

While Husband was doing his meeting, I went to Wild Fiber, then Twiggs Needlepoint where I bought a canvas to give to a friend, and Shaver books, a very nice independent bookstore where I bought more gifts and notecards. While there they gave me a postcard for, which showed a map t0 3 handcrafting stores: Wild Fibers, French Knot (embroidery), and Fabrika (quilting). Interesting that Twiggs is not part of it.

I went to French Knot, which is only a year old and very well appointed, big and airy. I asked who shops there and they said tourists and students from Savannah College of Art and Design. I didn't buy anything there and frankly think Twiggs has a better selection of canvasses.

I didn't make it to Fabrika but will try next time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finished BSG, Still miss Caprica

So I finished Battlestar Galactica on Sunday.

I knew there was controversy about angels, so when the revelation came, I wasn't outraged.

My favorite parts were:
1. Roslin and Adama. I got all teary-eyed at the end. Made me think of the ending of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. So close and yet one of them died. At least they had a measure of happiness at the end.
2. Athena, Helo, and Hera. Grace Park did an amazing job over the season playing at least 3 different variations on Eight: Boomer, who was actually 2 characters: the one who thought she was Sharon Valerii; and the one who knew she was a Cylon; and Athena. Tricial Helfer was good too, playing all those versions of Six.
3. Sam the Hybrid, going off into the night.
4. The Centurions being given their freedom
5. The settlement of Earth by the humans and Cylons with the human ancestors.
6. Gaius Baltar and Caprica Six settling down on a farm. Kind of hard to see it actually happening, since they're both so urbane. But sweet to see.

Question it left me: If the Hera, the mitochodrial Eve, was found 150,000 years later, what about all the technology and settlements the BSG humans left behind?

It made me really miss Caprica, though. I wanted to see how Tamara and Zoe in V-world became the Cylons. How did the V-world become Cylon projection? How did Tamara and Zoe or whoever create Ellen, Tory, Tigh, Sam, and Tyrol? How did the other Cylon models come about? Who made them? What happened to the Adamas? Amanda? Lacey? Clarice and her multi-family? The different threads in Caprica were just beginning to come together and then Syfy pulled the plug. Won't even show the last 5 episodes until sometime next year. Gah.

There's some talk in the blogosphere that Caprica should move to AMC, home of slow-building drama. That's something I've thought too. I wonder what it would take to make that happen.

So, now that my one show, Caprica, is gone I've turned the Walking Dead as my appointment TV. It helps that it's filmed around where I live. Last night, as part of our evening walk, Husband and I walked down to Fairlie Poplar (where the horse went down and the tank was located in ep 1), and the Southern Business District, where ep 2 takes place. Saw no zombies. Added bonus, it's appointment TV for both Husband and I. I think it's the first show we share since we stopped watching the Simpsons.

And for my sci-fi fix, I'm watching Season 3 of Fringe on Hulu. Not as into it as I was with Caprica and Leverage, but the 2 Earths idea is enough to keep me watching.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Walking Dead, Sherlock Holmes on PBS, and other thoughts on Caprica

I watched the Walking Dead on AMC this weekend, even though I'm not into zombies. However, it's set in Atlanta so I was very interested in seeing what I would recognize. Husband watched with me too. As has been noted everywhere, it's a very good show.

We didn't realize that it was a 90 minute episode so at the 60 minute mark turned off the TV. But it had a sense of closure at that point. I went to bed thinking, "well next ep is where Rick goes to Atlanta." I'm satisfied with what I saw, esp with Morgan and Duane's story arc. Can't wait to see next week's ep."

We'll have to catch up online later. I kind of like that better, because then I can pause to scrutinize the background.

I've been listening to the podcast Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan They mention that the success of The Walking Dead may lead to a slew of zombie shows next year but not as good.

Apparently Mo Ryan and Ryan McGee both like Rubicon, another show on AMC. I've watched one or two episodes but AMC is not one of my go-to channels. They loved Rubicon and do mention that each episode is slow but it delves into the work and lives of national security analysts who have to wade through massive amounts of information and make sense of it. They like that the eps have depth and some may seem unrelated to anything but by the end of the season, it all comes together really well. However, they don't like Caprica.

As I listened to the podcast, I was thinking, all the things they like about Rubicon, are the things I like about Caprica! My previous post was about this, so I won't go over it again. However, I'm thinking "You praise Rubicon for it, but complain about Caprica for it. And you're BSG fans. I don't get this."

Anyway, I don't know that I'll join the send an apple, save Caprica movement. I haven't decided.

And in other BSG news, I have only the last 2 eps of the series at home. Will watch it on Sunday afternoon. I know it's controversial because of some characters being revealed as angels, but I don't know anything else about it. Looking forward to it.

The other night as well, Husband and I watched the PBS series Sherlock Holmes instead of the baseball world series. That's pretty meaningful considering Husband's a baseball fan and had a bet riding on the outcome.

Anyone who thinks serial scripted TV shows are worthless needs to see The Walking Dead and Sherlock Holmes. They are really good shows, so good that this long post is the result. And especially the Walking Dead. The Holmes episodes, being 90 minutes long, are like self-contained mini-movies. The Walking Dead is definitely telling one big long story.

Kind of like Caprica! Yes, I'm still a bit bitter about it. This is the first show that I really liked that got the Firefly treatment. Now I know how the first Browncoats feel, speaking as a later convert.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Caprica Cancelled.


It did a lot of world building w/ great ideas about family, technology, artificial intelligence, culture, religion, the afterlife, politics, business and all kinds of possibilities. With compelling and complex characters, many of whom were women and girls. Things that i want from good drama and sci fi.

But, Caprica had no space fights so it got cancelled. Frak SyFy. I no longer have any reason to watch that channel. At least not until next year when they air the last episodes.

And what was the point of airing 9 eps, wait 6 months, air 3 eps, then cancel and air the last 4 or so eps yet another 3 mos later? No wonder the audience was shrinking.

eta: lots of great articles out there lamenting its end. I really like this one

Friday, October 22, 2010


Sister's wedding was lovely. I did say a few words at the ceremony, taken mostly from "On Marriage" by Khalil Gibran.

Husband hadn't been to the Washington, DC area since a kid while I go every year for work or to see Sister, so I'm glad he was finally able to visit. We went to the Udvar-Hazy air and space exhibit which he'd wanted to for a while. It's a huge hanger full of planes, helicopters, even the space shuttle. It. was. huge.

It was great to see all the family, and my parents and Brother One came back to Atlanta with us. I took the week off from work to hang out with them and that was very nice.

Coming down with a cold, on the other hand, was not so nice. I've been at a conference in Atlanta all week this week. So I've been out of the office 2 and half weeks but been in Atlanta for most of that time. It's going to be hard to go back to the office next week.

But first, tonight, Husband and I will go out to dinner and celebrate our 11th anniversary.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Check your passports!

My parents were supposed to come to the US last week, so they could hang out with us and recuperate a bit from jetlag before Sister's wedding on Oct 10, 2010.

However, my dad forgot to check the passports and it turned out they were expired. Doh!

The happy news is that they got the renewal expedited and got on a plane today. They should arrive tomorrow and everything will be fine.

The irony of it all is that my dad's the anxious one, always double checking things like this, and he was in charge of my parents' travel plans. For him to fall down on the job like this is just hilarious.

I'm sure my mom thinks otherwise.

Husband and I will be going to DC on Thursday for the wedding and I am so looking forward to seeing my family. I haven't seen my parents in a couple of years and happily they will be coming back to Atlanta with us for a week after the wedding.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vegas, baby!

back from Sister's birthday/bachelorette party in Las Vegas. Details I will reveal:

best meals:
Todai restaurant, sushi buffet. Several locations in the US, but not Atlanta, yet.
Beijing Noodle No. 9 in Caesar's Palace. Hand pulled noodles (not a euphemism).

And for the rest, like they say "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.)

All in all, a great time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Caprica returns in 2 weeks. Very much looking forward to it. Here's a snarky, 2 minute recap, done by Syfy channel themselves.

Even with all the steampunk reading, I am still making it through the last season of Battlestar Galactica. Got to the point when they've just found Earth.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Steampunking on and Bachelorette Parties

I am currently reading Throne of Jade, book 2 in the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. Think the movie "Master and Commander" with dragons that talk and fight with aerial crews. I read book 1, In His Majesty's Service in about 3 days.

After a weekend of feeling under the weather, I've returned to staying up until 2am reading. Novik is a really good writer. Book 1 is set in the UK. In Book 2, they leave for China by sailing around Africa. She does a good job of showing different cultures and she touches on the issue of slavery in a way that's informative and pushes the story forward.

I really recommend the series. Actually, I've recommended the series to Husband's boss. The week before Dragon*Con, Husband's boss and I were talking about the Song of Ice and Fire. The rest of the dinner party had no idea what we were talking about. Previously he had lent me the Diana Gabaldon and True Blood books, which I returned without reading. I also lent him my Firefly set.

So I e-mailed him to recommend the Temeraire series. He e-mailed back to say he and his wife were really enjoying Firefly, being up to episode 8 (Out of Gas, one of my favorites) and was there a season two? Alas, I had to break the news that there was only the one season, but I could loan him the follow up movie Serenity.

I may have converted another 2 Browncoats and broken their hearts too, just like I was.

Knitting continues apace, a pic will come eventually. However the big thing coming up for me is Sister's bachelorette party coming in Las Vegas. Probably no blogging until I get back. I'm taking Boneshaker in paperback with me (again steampunk) for inflight reading.

But in the meantime, here's an really interesting link.

Virtuoso is a comic set in steampunk Africa. And it's got a page at Kickstarter to raise funds for it. $10 gets you a copy of the 24 page prologue and supports future issues. When I have time I'll explore Kickstarter more fully. Talk about grassroots fundraising for creative works.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Steampunk + Girl Power + Genetic Engineering + WWI = Leviathan

Just finished the book Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson. It's a young adult novel that I really want to see as a movie. The illustrations really bring the steampunk alive.

It makes me think of the Golden Compass, which I didn't realize until now was steampunk. I'm tempted to borrow the movie again.

So in the world of Leviathan is set at the beginning of WWI, a period of time I'm not too familiar with. Germany and its allies are Clankers, building machines that have multiple legs instead of treads like tanks. Lots of spider imagery and I love the scouts that look like big dogs that seat one person. The main boy character is the heir to the Austrian empire and a Clanker.

The main girl character is British and the UK and its allies are Darwinists, that is they use genetic engineering to develop new animals, including an airship that's based on a whale but really is an ecosystem of many different animals. Pretty cool.

I devoured the book in one day and really want to see this as a movie. And can't wait for the sequel, to be set in the Ottoman Empire.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

City Quilts

So I went to Dragon*Con and was very intrigued by steam punk and alternate history. Specifically the session on race and gender in steampunk. The Victorian or Edwardian age was when women in the US got the vote so it was more progressive than we generally think of it. On of the speakers was Ay-Leen the Peacemaker, an Asian American steampunker who also lives here in Georgia. She talked about how there's a really long history of Asians in the US. Afterall, the Chinese worked on the railroads.

That made me think of the miniseries "Into the West" that explored the US expansion westward, focusing on a white family and a Native American family. I've seen bits and pieces of it and I know that one character, played by Christian Kane, works on the railroad and becomes friends with a Chinese worker. So I bought on Amazon and to tie it back to steampunk, I bought "Boneshaker" a book that was widely recommended as a good steampunk book.

While on Amazon, I cruised the quilting books and came across City Quilts by Cherri House. After looking inside (love that Amazon feature), I bought it too.

Husband loved the cover quilt, City Lights, and asked me to make it. He very rarely asks me to make anything for him so I bought the yarn on line right away, worsted wool from Webs. But I wanted to start right away. So I also bought some Galway yarn from a local store and got a bit done. I'm holding the yarn doubled and using a size 10 US 6mm needle.

So I have the crochet Babette blanket going, a knit shawl project going, and now Husband's knit City Lights blanket. I'm happy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I survived Dragon*Con 2010

This year was the first time I went to Dragon*Con. Last year we went to the parade, and Husband said "We should go to the con next year." So I bought us passes for the whole weekend and Husband actually took both Saturday and Sunday off to go with me.

Both days too, we hung out with friends, watching the costumes. The Marriott Marquis hotel was the best place to do it.

Went to good sessions and bad. The line for the Firefly panel with River, Simon, Kaylee, and Inara (okay, the actors) stretched around the block, outside the hotel an hour before the session was going to start. As much as I love the show, I passed on that panel.

Not a coherent post today, but will say all in all I'm glad I went and plan to go again next year.

After it was over, Husband finally read the program and said "hey, what's this? why didn't we go to that session?" etc. My answer: because you refused to read the program beforehand and kept saying you were following my lead. I didn't know you were interested in X, so I didn't take us to that session.

On the otherhand, I think it's a good sign that he's still interested. One of these days I'll get him to watch Firefly yet.

It may be while, though, for the memory of Browncoats: Redemption to fade. It was kind of disappointing in terms of production quality, and very confusing for Husband who has never seen Firefly or Serenity.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tai chi and Leverage, and Dragon*Con 2009

Three random things:

I got my Tai Chi Video by Tiffany Chen and have done it a couple of times. I find it a lot easier than yoga. The movements aren't as extreme. Plus I've grown up seeing it around me so it was pretty easy to pick up.

Even so, there are some moves that confuse me, especially the spins. And some of the camera angles make it hard to see what she's doing.

Between yoga and tai chi, I've found that my calves and hamstrings are really, really tight. And my arms are pretty flabby too.

I've been dreaming about the TV show Leverage. It's my only appointment-TV show but this season's not as fun to me as previous seasons. The Rashomon Job was pretty fun, though.

And lastly, Dragon*Con 2010 is coming and I've got tickets! The local public television station did a show about last year's con. The link is here. I love that the Browncoats and the Hands of Blue were shown.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I don't understand Dickens

Based on this suggestion: and my sister's ringing endorsement, I bought the DVD for Bleak House starring Gillian Anderson.

I like Jane Austen as much as anyone else though I've always had a hard time reading Dickens. But I thought, maybe watching it will be different, by which I mean better. After all, it's a series by Masterpiece Theater. It's got to be good, right? And I can crochet on my Babette blanket.

I watched the first half and I have to say I don't understand half of what's going on or why. Mostly the why. For example:

Why did John Jarndyce agree to take 3 complete strangers into his household at Bleak House?
Why did he make one of them his housekeeper out of the blue?
As much as I like Esther, said housekeeper, 3 different men have fallen in love with her within the first three hours.
Why are complete strangers confiding their innermost hopes and thoughts to one another soon after meeting?

What I do understand:
The case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is dragging on forever because there are multiple wills and a large fortune (and Bleak House) at stake. Which John Jarndyce 's brother committed suicide over.
Secret love affairs, babies born out of wedlock, marriages for status, drugs. That's drama no matter what century.

I'm hoping watching the second half will make more sense. But if Masterpiece Theater can't make me like Dickens, then nothing will.

Speaking of TV drama, I've been watching the Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. So far there have been 2 episodes and both times Nom Nom truck has won. Has me totally craving banh mi sandwiches.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Woman King and Four of the Final Five

Progress shot of my Babette blanket. I'm using black as the final round of each square. I really like how the oranges really pop. Makes me think of the juicies vs blahs rule discussed in the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book, about the miter square blanket. You need blah colors like tan, taupe, moss, etc for the juicy colors like lime, fushia, orange, etc to pop against.

I've been watching Leverage for the commentary and listening to the Battlestar Galactica podcasts. I love the discussion about how they decided to tell the story they told.

I finished BSG season 3 and have seen four of the final five cylons revealed. I knew who they were already, since I read up on them on Wikipedia. Still, it was very interesting to see how it happened.

I also watched the Woman King, widely cited as one of the worst episodes. That's all I knew about it, but based on the title, I assumed it had something to do with President Laura Roslin. It was about the ethnic discrimination against the Sagitarrons and was actually Hel0-centric.

In the podcast commentary, Ron Moore mentioned that he wanted BSG to break new ground and that this episode didn't do that. On the other hand, the Leverage commentaries say "you may call it a trope, I call it a time honored storytelling device."

I liked it anyway because it showed more about the different cultures on the different colonies. I'm a sociologist working with refugees and immigrants from every continent (other Antartica), so culture is very interesting to me. That's what makes Caprica appealing to me.

Also liked the episode "Dirty Hands" which discussed class issues in the colonies and one the ships. And it was written by Jane Espenson who wrote for Buffy, Firefly and now produces Caprica and Warehouse 13.

The BSG podcast mentioned that The Woman King was supposed to be Dualla-focused but became Helo-focused. Dirty Hands was supposed to be Dualla-focused but became Tyrol-focused. I am really disappointed by the way Dualla is treated. Moore talks about her in the commentary as being a very important character but that's not what we see in the way she's actually treated and shown in the episodes.

Even so, all in all, I think BSG ended season three strongly. Just got Razor today from Netflix but will watch it tomorrow, as I work some more on Babette. If only I could do this every day...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


What to do with all these ends? How to turn it to this neat border?
By encasing them in a knitted hem.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It is hot and humid in Atlanta. I have airconditioning and ceiling fan going. Therefore I have decided it's the perfect time to start a wool blanket.

What you see here is all the machine washable, worsted weight wool I have:
5 skeins cream
13 small balls of varying sizes in orange
8 balls red
5 balls purplish red
7 skeins green
4 skeins light blue
5 balls cornflower blue
4 balls medium blue
11 skeins dark blues
2 skeins brown
8 skeins black

Brands include Knitpicks, Phildar, Knitting Fever, Patons, Lang, Muskoka, and Lion Brand. Some I bought, others were given to me from my friends late mother's stash.

At bottom are strips of blues and greens from previous attempts to make a superwash blanket.

This time I will be making a crochet Babette blanket. I haven't finished the cotton stripy blanket yet, but the experience of dealing with all those ends to weave in drove me nuts. I'm knitting a hem to encase all those ends.

The beauty of crochet is that ends get encased in the crochet as I go along. Crochet also uses up a lot of yarn and I have a lot of yarn to use.

I've been wanting to make a Babette blanket for a long time and now that I have so much superwash wool, it's time to do it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finished the colorful stripy part of the blanket yesterday. It took 4 tries but this is what I had in mind. Next steps: knit on an i-cord edging, then pick up and knit on the side panels. Not sure how I'm going to finish this off. It's about the right size for a baby blanket, but the backside is so full of knots and stuff that I wouldn't want to give it away. I may have to back it with some fabric.

I got in all this knitting because I spent the weekend watching Battlestar Galactica and Leverage.
Regarding BSG, I got to the point where they found the Eye of Jupiter and Kara and Lee discuss the possibility of divorcing their spouses to marry each other.

In thinking about the romantic relationships on the show, they are all famously messed up. The healthiest relationships are Laura Roslin and Bill Adama (not married), and Athena and Helo Agathon (married). The Cylon-human marriage is healthier than any of the human-human marriages.

Regarding Leverage, I watched episodes here and there from seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. There were episodes like the Fairy-Godparents Job that I hadn't seen, and others, from Season 1 I had kind of forgotten about. And some I watched the episode and others I watched for the commentary.

And now, on Monday, I am sore all over. My elbows are sore from knitting with cotton yarn for hours. My back and other parts are sore from doing yoga and belly dancing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yoga and Belly-Dancing, Buffy and Serenity.

As part of my staycation weekend, I discovered FitTV on cable. I followed along on a yoga show imported from Canada. I realized that my legs are strong, the rest of me is not, and I am very not flexible. Ouch.

Then I followed along on a belly-dancing show called "Shimmy" imported from the UK I think, based on the narrator's accent. Unbeknownst to me, I've been belly dancing all this time. The moves very easy for me.

I liked how the belly-dancers had little pooches of a belly and the clothes they wore, even the low-rise bell-bottom pants, celebrated a curvy body. :) The yoga women on the other hand were not curvy at all.
I have a friend who's trying to sell a TV series to either Syfy or Lifetime channels. She went out to LA for a few weeks and shopped around her show and got some feedback from someone who works on Eureka (not a show I've watched, tho I've tried). His advice was for my friend to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

She came back to the East Coast and mainlined Buffy Season 1. She's seen Angel but not Buffy. At my urging, she watched Firefly but decided she doesn't like it since it's a Western in space and she doesn't like Westerns. Even though Firefly has Zoe and Wash! I also caught Serenity on Syfy. Almost had to look away when the moment came...

Anyway, she called to say that Buffy was amazing. The other feedback she got was to give her characters more shades of grey, to have some mythology to the series, and to make one of the male characters more heroic, like Angel. And to make the best friend more of an audience-surrogate. I just hope there's someone in her Scooby Gang who does with the wisecrackings.

But then, my type is the "large, semi-muscular" guy who relies more on his wits and (cute and goofy) charm, rather than guns and intimidation. Ah, Wash, and Xander, and Topher, but not as much. And I hope she puts in someone like Willow and Zoe.

But most of all, I hope she gets her show made! I told her I know how to make a good cup of coffee if she ever needed an assistant. Though I think I'd like to help with the casting. Wouldn't that be fun! Seriously, though, I'd love to help with the writing but I don't think I have the skills.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Staycation weekend

been a week since i posted. what a week.

got a mongo proposal done and sent in. is a pain, but buys me time for when I don't have things ready the day before for Fed Ex. also squeezed out a grant report that someone else was supposed to do. not gonna even start with the work drama.

worked a zillion hours last 2 weeks to get it done. taking Monday off to recuperate, even tho I didn't work over this weekend.

Husband and i were supposed to go to Buffalo for his annual family reunion but I just couldn't do it, so I bailed. Husband didn't want to go without me so he didn't go either. awww how sweet.

We had a little staycation weekend instead. It's restaurant week in downtown Atlanta, where participating restaurants offer a prix fix menu. I made reservations for us at Thrive, a place we hadn't been to before. It was okay. the shrimp salad was the best thing there.

In the mail we got our Dragon*Con progress report. So we headed up to the pool with adult beverages to plan our Labor Day weekend plans. Well I did. Husband played Angry Birds on his iPhone. that is an addictive, and deceptively difficult, little game.

Saturday we went to the Ga Aquarium to see the shark exhibit. Husband's been wanting to see it so I got us tickets. For dinner we had trout :)

Yesterday Husband went to work and I finally finished the BSG Season 3 disc I had. The last ep on the disc was the boxing one which showed life of New Caprica and the Sam-Kara-Lee-Dee situation. As much as I like Dee, my favorite part was seeing Laura and Bill hangout under the stars.

I also watched some fitness shows on FitTV station on cable. Caught the end of a yoga show and followed along with the belly-dancing show. My verdict: yoga is harder.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Black Eyed Peas and Comic Con

I live in a condo next to the World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium, over looking Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta.

Thursday there was a notice in the elevator that on Friday the street in front of World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium would be blocked off for a private event, and that there would be a big-name band playing that private event from 8pm to 9:30pm.

Husband did some sleuthing, like calling the Atlanta Police Dept to see who had the permit to block off the street, and found out that the private event was Microsoft's global sales conference. He called the World of Coke to ask about the band and whoever he talked to thought Husband worked for Coke headquarters and was testing him. So Husband got no info out of them.

Friday night, Husband and I went out into the Park and saw a huge stage set up in the park between World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium. There were privacy fences set up around the street so we couldn't get too close, but we saw lights and heard the music.

Turns out the band was the Black Eyed Peas. Right at 8pm they started and they ended at 9:30pm. We found a place in the park to hang out and listen. We could see the big screens with our binoculars. In the picture above, you can seea cluster on tiny people in red shirts. Those are World of Coke employees standing on the roof of the WoC. I think they had the best seats for the concert.
So we enjoyed a free concert of a band we have actually paid money for to see earlier this year.

And, while the concert was going on in Atlanta, I was following Whedonesque and others on my iPhone Tweeting about San Diego Comic Con.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Runaways

The comic book series, not the band or the movie about the band.

Got it from the library, read Volumes 1, 2 and 3 in one sitting.

Essentially, the Runaways are children who find out their parents are evil supervillians.

No time to say more, other than I've put the other volumes on request at the library, including the one written by Joss Whedon.

In other news, work is overwhelming with deadlines, budget crunches and personnel dramas. The less said, the saner I'll be.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Advice for those about to go to college

A friend sent out a request for tips to give to a young relative about to enter college. That was 22 years ago for me. Answering her e-mail sent me down memory lane. Somehow my advice kept circling back to student activism -- helped my eventual career and social life, if not my GPA :)

And here's a section from Crazy Aunt Purl see sidebar for link, that I love:
My parents drove their house-on-wheels from Idyllwild to Orange County to be closer to Grandma. I went down last week to visit and on Saturday we were at the nursing home chatting with Grandma, she seemed really good. We got on the topic of traveling -- she and Grandpa traveled all over the world before he passed away -- and I asked her what her favorite travel destination was in all that time.

"Well, I found something to enjoy about every place we visited," she said. And she went on to tell me about some of her favorite places, like seeing the Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota.

"You know, Grandma, I've never been there. Or to Mount Rushmore. Or most of the middle," I said. "Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I've seen so many far-off places and I've only seen part of the United States."

"Oh, I think you're doing it just right," said Grandma. "Travel now and see the world while you're young and can stand those long plane rides. Later when you're older you can stay here and see the whole country."

All this time I felt a little guilty for always wanting to go off somewhere else and see the world and in just a five-minute conversation she changed my whole outlook. That's one of the things I've always liked about Grandma. She never really makes excuses or has regrets.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

30 Days of Buffy

Apparently there's a meme going around asking questions about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, such as favorite season, 2 characters you'd like to see together who never did, etc.

I'm following along at Let's Fold Scarves at and on Tumblr at

On the Tumblr site, different people are posting different days. Day 23 is Two Characters You Wanted To Get Together That Never Did. Let the slash shipping begin!

I've only watched the series once so don't know it well enough to play along. However, I'm looking forward to seeing what other people post.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July 2010

July 4 is many things. In the United States of America, it's Independence Day. There are fireworks and parades and we have a party at our flat because it overlooks Centennial Olympic Park. We get to be in the thick of the fireworks.

We actually got to see fireworks twice: on Friday at the Braves game, which the Braves won, and on Sunday, the Fourth of July.

In my family, it's my parents' wedding anniversary. #41 this year.

It's also the annual Peachtree Road Race, a very popular 10K race. Brother-in-law came to run it and he placed 332 out of 55,000+ racers, so he ranked in the top 1% of racers. He's really into running, having done a few marathons now too. That's our attempt at taking his picture up above.

And I gave up on the crochet stripy blanket. For some reason, the sides bow out and are uneven. I could block it out, but I've ripped out and redone rows and still not working. Plus, I have to look at my work when doing single crochet rows. Which means I can't read or watch TV or people watch at the same time.

So I'm going back to the Chocolate Box pattern, which I first did here for a friend.
Last time, I made one large block. This time I'm going to try making these colorful blocks, alternating with black blocks. We'll see how it goes.

Also, I don't have to look at my hands while I do the Chocolate Box pattern, so have been able to read Storm of Swords, the third book in the Song of Fire and Ice fantasy series, and watch my Leverage DVDs. Really enjoying the commentary track.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roslin and Baltar, The Farm and the

Watching Battlestar Galactica season 2.5. Some random thoughts:

1. Did not know that Dana Delany was in this series.
2. The Billy-Dualla-Lee-Starbuck situation isn't working. And Shavon? What was that about? As good looking and high ranking as Lee is, he can't find either a quick hook up or a relationship easily?

Frankly, the only romantic relationships I think makes sense are Baltar and Six and Sharon and Helo. We actually saw Sharon and Helo's relationship progress. Sharon and Tyrol's was a given then got all frakked up. Starbuck and Lee sometimes has sexual tension, sometimes not, so it's all over the place. Billy and Dualla's the first budding relationship we saw in the miniseries but it seemed forced and frankly, I never believed them as a couple.

I want Dualla and Lee to work, but not enough has been shown of their courtship for me to believe them as couple. I know in the podcasts Ron Moore talked about how that relationship could have been done better so I've been looking for signs of growing affection between Lee and Dee, even in the deleted scenes, but just not enough has been shown.

And Starbuck's still hung up on Anders but we only hear her talk about it in "Scar. " In Scar she wants Lee as a quick lay and he's willing and 2 episodes later Lee's with Dualla and Starbuck's okay with it? Ah, Starbuck and Apollo are a messed up pair.

Okay, now for the big issue.

It galled me that Roslin banned abortion. To her credit, BSG showed that it galled her too but a hard decision to make she felt she had to make. I know that there's less than 50K humans left but banning abortion without making provisions for how to care for unwanted children is a disaster. Look at Romania in the 1990s that banned abortion to build the native population. It resulted in a lot of unwanted children abandoned in institutional orphanages who grew up to have emotional problems.

Plus in the episode "The Farm" which was about the Cylons using women as baby making machines against their will. And now in "The Captain's Hand" Roslin's done the same!

Roslin and Baltar are an interesting match. They're both ambitious but not overtly so. Madame Airlock has shown that she's willing to kill and trample over rights to do what she thinks she has to and to stay president. As Adama said, she's made of sterner stuff than people give her credit for.

And Gaius didn't want to be president until Roslin wanted him to step down and now he's come out to the press and to Roslin's face that he's going to run against her. For everyone else, it seems like a bolt from the blue but we know that Six has been goading him along.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Two Sides of the Atlantic: Florida and Europe

The past few days have been busy. Last week Husband and I went down to Ft. Lauderdale in Florida. He had a deposition to do, I went along for the ride. We spent a lot of time looking at the beach and Atlantic Ocean but not getting into it. The sand was too soft. We also spent a lot of time at the hotel pool, but didn't get into it either. There were too many kids.

However, we did avail ourselves to the bars and watched the USA-Ghana soccer game. Gotta say, still not a fan of the game.

We got back Saturday night, then on Sunday we hosted dinner for the European Marshall Memorial Fellows who came through Atlanta.

Each year, the US and Europe select 60 emerging leaders in the fields of business, philanthropy, politics, etc. under the age of 40 and send them on trips across the Atlantic to continue the bond the grew out of the Marshall Plan after World War II. I did my trip in 2007. In fact, I started in blog as a place to record my experience.

When I knew that the European fellows were coming through Atlanta this year, I immediately offered to host Sunday dinner. From my experience, I knew that there'd be little planned for them on Sunday, since most people aren't doing meetings on Sunday.

I also planned a home cooked meal, since the fellows are traveling for 3 weeks, eating out all the time. A home cooked meal's a nice change. The menu was:

chips and salsa
carrots, Wheat Thins, and onion soup dip w/sour cream
tossed salad with mandarin orange and boiled eggs
brown rice
baked chicken with potatoes, onions, and rutabagas, seasoned with Zatarain's cajun seasoning
for dessert: mini-pineapple cakes imported from Taiwan. They're like little fig newtons, but with pineapple centers.

Here they are, all busily eating. Interestingly, front and center in this pic are 2 lawyers: Husband in Atlanta, and Emrush from Kosovo. The other fellows are a Spanish economics professor, a Portugese media guy, and a German working for the Church on refugee issues. Two other European fellows didn't make it, including a Greek woman named Afroditi (isn't that cool?) who's early in her pregnancy, and another guy who was working.

The American fellows who came were my local city councilman who apparently has a day job, but I never hear him talking about it; and an IT venture capitalist (I think) but all I know is he volunteers to be the local host for the European fellows every year.

It was a busy but fulfilling long weekend. Tonight is the farewell dinner for the EMMFs as they move on to Cleveland.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Big Sister

Just signed up to be a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program. I have my interview on July 1.

My biological younger siblings are laughing their asses off. Not really.

Wish me luck.

I guess if this works out, I'll be writing about Sister, my biological sister, and Little Sister, the girl I get matched with.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday / Father's Day / World Refugee Day!

Today is June 20.

In my family, it's Brother Two's birthday. He turns 33 today. Just found out it's also my friend D's birthday. She and Brother Two were born on the exact same day.

In the US, it's Father's Day. In Taiwan, Father's Day not until August 8. But I'll probably try calling my dad anyway.

And it's also World Refugee Day to bring attention to an incredibly vulnerable population of people. The United Nations defines refugees as people who are fleeing their home country due to being persecuted due to their race, religion, political beliefs, and membership in a social group.

From the United Nations High Commission on Refugees website:
UNHCR was set up in 1951 to help the estimated 1 million people still uprooted after World War II to return home. Since then, we have helped find durable solutions for tens of millions of refugees and they remain our core constituency.

The latest figures available show that the number of refugees of concern to UNHCR stood at 10.5 million refugees at the beginning of 2009, down 8 percent from a year earlier.

A further 4.7 million registered refugees are looked after in some 60 camps in the Middle East by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was set up in 1949 to care for displaced Palestinians.

The refugees of concern to UNHCR are spread around the world, with more than half in Asia and 22 percent in Africa. They live in widely varying conditions, from well-established camps and collective centres to makeshift shelters or living in the open.

More than half of all refugees of concern to UNHCR live in urban areas. They all face three possible solutions: repatriation; local integration or resettlement

There's a website with streaming video at to commemorate World Refugee Day at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Kiss -- Adama and Roslin

Watched BSG season 2.5 disc 1. Don't remember what the episode's called, but it ends with the tiniest of kisses between Roslin and Adama. I'm really looking forward to seeing how that relationship develops.

Also, I plan on watching the disc again with the commentary. I love the look on Lee Adama's face when he realizes how ruthless President Roslin can be.

Work is full of emotional highs and lows. We have a national training we're conducting where I'm supposed to be modeling women's leadership. Simultaneously I find out the day the training begins that my own leadership is being called into question.

The training has been wonderful and it's been 12 hour days since Saturday. So I'm taking tomorrow off to rewatch this BSG disc for the commentary. I also bought Leverage seasons 1 and 2, so will be watching those commentary too. Plus there are eps I haven't seen yet. I will be drooling over Eliot's hair.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dreaming of a Russian River Cruise

Recently I went to DC for a conference, again, and stayed with Sister, again. On Wed, we both took a vacation day and hung out.

The plan was to go to the botanical garden where she's getting married this fall, but it started raining, so we went to Fiber Space yarn shop, where I got the above:

Circular knitting needle case by Della Q
Sock Yarn by Miss Babs in the colorway Raven

I also got a itty bitty circular needle, just 9 inches long, size 2.5 mm. I could use them for socks, but probably will use them to knit stuffed snakes in the round.

Still working on the green shawl, on 2.5mm needles, so that's slow going, but portable and mindless. Perfect for watching the view go by as we go cruising down the Volga River for a month.

That's what Husband and I have been dreaming of for vacation. A river boat cruise, from Moscow to St. Petersburg for a month. Or from Singapore, through the islands of Malaysia and Indonesia, with stops in Australia and New Zealand.

That's not going to happen this year, nor next, but it's fun to dream about. More realistically we are looking at a 3 or 4 day cruise down the Hudson River from NYC to Montreal. Just sit, knit, and watch the world go by.
ETA: Work is incredibly stressful this week. There was a board meeting on Saturday where I was to be evaluated by the board of directors. That's always fun. Then they dropped the news that an anonymous complaint was lodged against me so they want 5 years worth of financials, reports, etc. Plus I feel like all they did was tell me what I did wrong, nothing about what I did right. Then after the meeting, we started a national training and I'm supposed to be all happy, encouraging and upbeat, after all that? I started e-mail all the requested stuff to the board chair and of course a lot is getting bounced back because her mailbox is full.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Good bye Cold Mountain

The Cold Mountain Stole is kicking my butt. I've started it twice and keep miscounting.

It's really a very simple and logical pattern of zig zags. If you know how to read your knitting, it's easy to memorize and pick where ever you stop.

However, I have cast on, messed up, cast on again, messed up again.

I give up. I will use green Creatively Dyed yarn (very forgiving for all the knitting, ripping out, reknitting) to make a shawl inspired by The Fine Line by Grace Anna Farrow.

Specifically, I will use the construction of Dawn as the template:

Basically, I will cast on at the center top and knit a top down triangle until the tip and the hypoteneuse are as long as I like. Then knit out the wings on the bias until the wingspan is what I like.

The green yarn is varigated so I think it would work with this simple construction.

And there's no lace.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Video "Holding Out for a Browncoat Hero"

Just found this video of our Big Damn Heroes, set to "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler. I didn't realize Inara had so many action sequences.

Video found via this article at Wired which referenced a Romance Writers of America conference workshop that offered Whedon's work as template for romances.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Value of a Hand Knit Baby Blanket

Last year, at Husband's request, I knit a baby blanket for a client of his. She was expecting her first grandson or something like that. Anyway, he was trying to curry favor so she'd keep sending business his way.

Apparently her daughter loved is so much, she's asked if I would make another one. She said she would pay for supplies and my time and of course if I couldn't she'd understand too.

This is my reply to my husband:
These are the specs on the blanket I made for Client's grandson last year. I record all the details of my knitting projects at, which is how I am able to calculate the following.

(8 skeins Bernat Cotton Tots yarn x $4) + (1 ball Knitpicks Cotton Solid x $3.50) + (3 skeins Omega Sinfonia cotton yarn x $5.50) + (1 skein Tahki Stacy Charles Cotton Classic x $6) = $54.
Shipping and handling for mail ordered yarn and mileage for store-bought yarn not included.
All machine washable and machine dryable yarn for easy care by busy parents.

Other supplies:
Knitting needle: Clover Bamboo Circular needles, US size 11, 36" = $12
Crochet hook: Boye Aluminum crochet hook size N = $2.25

Design time: Time spent looking over patterns, selecting yarn, deciding on what to make: 2 hrs
Preparation time: actually going to the stores to buy the yarns or order on-line. The yarns came from Michael's Arts and Crafts, Hobby Lobby and Needlenook in Atlanta and Knitpicks: 4 hrs.
Began actual knitting: January 27 2009
Completed February 26 2009
Estimate that I knit on it 1.5 hours a day (I knit at least an hour each night and I'd say 4 hours each weekend day, so we'll average it to 1.5 hours a day.)
Time: 6 hrs + (31 days x 1.5hrs) = 52.5 hours

Labor and value-added: 52.5 hours x $10 = $525
mileage not included

Total value of the blanket: $593.25

Look this over. If you think Client would be willing to pay me $593.25 for a baby blanket, I would be more than happy to take her commission. It would most like take more time to make this blanket because I imagine there would be a lot more back and forth as I look over possible patterns and yarns, send her the pictures for her approval or not, and so on until she and I agree on a pattern and colors.

If not, she can browse through for handmade items. This is the link for handknit baby blankets specifically: Not all of the sellers will note what the material is made of, so it may be easy care cotton, cheapo acrylic (read: plastic), or hand wash wool.

Another option for handmade goods: Beehive Cooperative

I am going to guess you will tell her that I am busy working on other projects right now and won't be able to do it. But please do tell her I'm glad her daughter enjoys the blanket I did make for her first child.

We'll see what he does.

ETA: Husband will tell Client I'm too busy now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cold Mountain Update

Somewhere along the way I put in an extra yarn over in my second repeat. Of course I didn't put in any lifelines. I'm also concerned that it's not going to stretch enough to be wide enough.

I'm contemplating starting over with a needle one size up. Or starting over on the Cheshire Cat stole from Purlescense UK.

And despite all that I wrote a month ago about Doctor Who, I haven't watched it since. It's got just a bit more cheese factor than I can take. The Doctor's just a bit too manic for me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cold Mountain shawl

Progress picture of my Cold Mountain Shawl from Knitty Summer 2009. I've done just one repeat of the first part of the chart on Chart A.

Close up of the yarn,Waterfalls laceweight in the colorway River, by Creatively Dyed Yarns.
I got it at Stitches South. It was between this green colorway or another one with yellows, white, and blues, a color combo I love. However, I thought the green would be more versatile.

I love how this ball, half the skein, looks like a planet in space. So round, so green, against the black of the sofa, like space. I've been watching Battlestar Galactica DVDs and watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation right before bed, so I may have space on the mind.

The lace pattern is very easy and geometric. I'm planning on giving it to either my mother-in-law. She's not a frilly lace person so I thought a simpler, more geometric pattern would fit. Plus her favorite colors are taupe and cornflower blue, so this green should complement that well.

I know lace stretches a lot after blocking, but so far it seems really small and my m-i-l is rather large, so she may end up using it more as a scarf than a shawl.

I made my mother a shawl last year and coincidentally, it was also green. It was the Wool Peddler Shawl, posted here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Craft, Inc.

I am reading Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco. Title is pretty self explanatory.

It's always been that I earned a living doing social activism, social change work and did art and craft on the side as a hobby. However, I always struggled with trying to find a way to make both work. 10 years ago when I was in graduate school, I remember talking about that in an anthropology class.

Now with the rise of and a resurgence in handcraft marketplace, there are lots of people making money from what used to be a hobby. It's something that I want to look into. However I have my reservations. If this is really going to be a business, how much time will I be able to spend on each piece, how much can I price that for in order for it to sell, and how long before I could make a profit and not just cover costs?

At work, one of our programs is helping refugee women start their own businesses. We have workshops on cash flow, marketing, pricing, writing business plans, etc. Many want to sell their handcrafts but it's a struggle. If you're making handwoven totebags, how do you compete with $5 totebags sold in Walmart, made from sweatshop labor in China?

Granted, part of the marketing in knowing who to market to: people who understand or value hand-made items, and not just having the item. Hence the rise of Etsy and resurgence of handcraft fairs.

So what would my business be? I'm thinking handmade prints. They're easy to produce, unlike knitted goods which take forever. They're easy to mail, unlike pottery, which is heavy and take a long time to produce. And they're easy to reproduce. Once I have the linoleum cut, it's a matter of inking up and printing on paper.

Currently, I thinking about a name and website domain name. The one I'm thinking of is not taken and I'm considering registering for them now, just to make sure I have them before someone else takes them. However, I don't know that I really want to use my name (initials, really) for my business.

Plus there's the fact that I have not really done the research to see if this is a viable business idea or just idle dabbling because I want to leave my day job. Not that I would leave my day job until this printmaking business started turning a profit.

So I will finish reading this book, continue with my printmaking class, develop a print-style and a portfolio of linocuts. Afterall, I should probably see if I can do the production part of the business. Then develop a budget and business plan. Preliminarily I think I would sell through Etsy and do the production work on the weekends and maybe a Wed night.

All this while working a day job in a down market, trying to sell a house in a down market and then trying to adopt a kid after the house is sold. And still have time for a husband, who's the most wonderful guy in the world.

Also, just found this page on how to calculate profits on Etsy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Museums of DC

This week I've been away at a conference about small businesses and as conferences go, it was fine. It was held in DC and so I stayed with Sister which was great, and I saw a good friend from college. I'll be back in a few weeks for another conference and will stay with her again.

Smithsonian Museums visited:
American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery -- I've been there before but saw only half. Loved the Luce Foundation Center for American Art there. It's like sampling almost every kind of American art throughout time, from folk art to Art, from all regions and times and many kinds of mediums.
National Museum of the American Indian -- the cafeteria's really unique in that you can sample Native American food from the different regions of the country. The only exhibit I saw was "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas" about the interrelations between people of African descent and Native Americans in North and South America. I loved the pictures of the multiracial families, all captioned "These people belong to each other." And the exhibit included discussion about Loving v. Virginia, which allowed people of different races to marry each other. That ruling is so very important to me, because with out it, Husband and I wouldn't be able to marry.

Other museums:
National Gallery of Art, East Wing: I go there everytime. Mainly because it's the wing with the contemporary art, and it's the wing closest to Sister's work place when we go into the city together.
US Botanic Garden: No, I did not misspell that. Check the link. Went there for the first time this trip.

I was going to walk from Sister's office to Stitch DC but as I passed the US Botanic Garden, I thought a)I've never been here and I like gardening, so I should stop in; b)it's free and it's right here; and c)I really, really don't need to buy any more yarn.

Inspired by the color combos I saw in at the Botanic, I'm going to try making something with silver-grey and tangerine orange.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday's Rose

I love how the edges of the rose are turning purple, echoing the purple petunias.

The rose is called Chrysler Imperial. Yes, corporate sponsorship extends to plants.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Dr. Who getting more interesting

I have not been a Dr Who fan. It's just been a bit too campy for me. Torchwood, I liked better. However, being a sci fi fan, I am aware of the show, the various Doctors and companions, and have seen some episodes with Rose, Martha, and Donna.

In my search for more sci fi to watch -- I have blankets to crochet! TV is best companion for that -- I've been watching the new Dr. Who season. And have to say I may actually make this appointment TV.

I liked Amy right away but need more time for Matt Smith as the Doctor to warm up to. Liked ep 2 "The Beast Below" and Liz 10 and the whole idea of having the countries fly in space and the social control aspect of protesting and controlling. The ending was a bit twee but overall, it may be the episode that turns me into a DW fan.

Then on today I read this:

Amy's Choice, ep 7: It's been five years since Amy Pond last travelled with the Doctor, and when he lands in her garden again, on the eve of the birth of her first child, she finds herself facing a heartbreaking choice – one that will change her life for ever.

I love this concept. I imagine this is what happens: Amy goes traveling with the Doctor and has great adventures. Then she comes back to Leadworth, marries Rory as planned, lives her life with Rory and then periodically goes of with the Doctor, but comes back to resume her life with Rory.

It's like she gets to hit the pause button on her real life, goes off to have this exciting parallel life with the Doctor, comes back to Leadworth, un-pauses and resumes her real life. Don't we all wish we could do that? But we can't so escape into hobbies and entertainment. I love the meta-ness of it, if that's what's going on.

However apparently in ep 7 Amy's 2 lives collide. It'll be really interesting to see what happens.

Again, not a Whovian, but this is a new tack for the Companions, right? Rose Tyler separates from the Doctor because something happened that they have to live in separate alternate universes. Kind of like Lyra and Will at the end of the Golden Compass trilogy. Broke my heart. Hope I didn't spoil that for anyone. However I saw an ep where she came back and warned Donna Noble... Still, Rose: one linear life. As linear as things go in Whoverse.

Martha Jones goes to work for UNIT and continues this world-saving work. Goes to Torchwood occasionally. Martha: one linear life

Captain Jack goes to Torchwood and continues this world-saving work. Okay, man who can never die, old as dirt, and Timelord who can never die. Why are they not a couple? Capt Jack and Capt John were for years. I want to see the eps that have Jack and the Doctor and see that arc play out. Netflix here I come. Jack: one linear life

Donna Noble levels up to awesome and part Timelord, then has her memory of it all wiped. Talk about a reset button. Donna: one linear life

So as far as I know, this is the first time with the modern era of Dr Who that the companion gets parallel lives. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

And given that Amy's Choice apparently involves children, I'll probably watch Amy's choice thinking of Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crochet lace

I have it in my head to make a crochet lace something from the green laceweight yarn, colorway River, I got from It's 1300 yards of fine yarn.

I tried knitting shawls like Clapotis but the yarns kind of splitty. And I'm just in a crocheting mood. Still working on the crochet stripey blanket, but have new yarn, must play with it now!

I've started a Swiss cheese scarf from the red/orange/yellow, colorway Earthbirth, Lisa Souza sock yarn.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stitches South 2010

Went to Stitches South for the first time today. Stitches is a knitting expo, with classes and a marketplace. I went for the shopping and above is a picture of my haul.

I went prepared. I took a limited amount of cash and when it was gone, I went home.

The highlight, other than the yarn I bought, was meeting Rachel Herron. That's her book up there. I first learned about her through her blog She's a 911 operator, knitter, and now author.

The Lisa Souza yarn will become a scarf someday. The green Creatively Dyed yarn will become a shawl for my mother in law. It's 1300 yards of fingering weight, almost laceweight yarn.

All this just in time too because I'm almost finished with a Noro multidirectional scarf and will need another portable project. Not that a huge honking ball of yarn is portable. Winding that skein will be quite the project for tomorrow.