Monday, December 24, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - The Stocking is Stuffed

Merry Christmas, blog followers. I have cats around me, Christmas music playing, plenty of knitting, and the final countdown blog post is today.

Here is the entire playlist, song, artist and album. All of this music is available on Spotify, and if you have a Spotify account, you can get the whole playlist by clicking on the link below. (Note: Links will not be duplicated in this list - but they are the same ones used in the previous blog posts. Singles will not have an album link)

It's Christmas!

1) "Carol of the Bells" James Dooley, Christmas: Coming Soon
2) "What Christmas Means to Me" Hanson, Snowed In
3) "The Christmas Can-Can" Straight, No Chaser, Christmas Cheers
4) "Linus and Lucy" Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas
5) "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Classical Version" Mannheim Steamroller, Christmas Celebration
6) "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Rock Version" Mannheim Steamroller, Christmas Celebration
7) "Wizards in Winter - Instrumental" Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Lost Christmas Eve
8) "Jingle Bells" Barenaked Ladies, Barenaked for the Holidays
9) "Carol of the Bells/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" The Piano Guys, Single
10) "Mr. Heatmiser" Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Everything You Want for Christmas
11) "Carol of the Bells" George Winston, December
12) "Joy to the World" The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
13) "The Christmas Party Sing-A-Long" Rowlf the Dog, The Muppets: A Red and Green Christmas
14) "Silent Night (More Than a Story)" Go Fish, More Than a Story
15) "Pat-a-Pan" David Archuleta, Christmas From the Heart
16) "Christmas Jam" Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Lost Christmas Eve
17) "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" The Piano Guys, Single
18) "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" Clay Aiken, Merry Christmas With Love
19) "Holiday" The LeeVees, Hanukka Rocks
20) "Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve" Abney Park, Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve
21) "We Three Kings" The Piano Guys, Single
22) "I Saw Three Ships" Sting, A Very Special Christmas Playlist Plus
23) "Come and Worship" Bebo Norman, Christmas... From the Realms of Glory
24) "Silent Night" John Denver and the Muppets, A Christmas Together

There it is! My Christmas present to you, lovely blog followers. I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 12

Today marks the final two songs on your playlist. These were, oddly enough, the first two songs I chose for this, and they're the last ones here (I start with how I want things to end. Don't mock me).

We'll start with Bebo Norman. This is one of my all time favorite contemporary Christmas songs. It's called "Come and Worship."

Lastly we have John Denver and the Muppets. This is their rendition of "Silent Night." It includes a brief history of the song.

Tomorrow will feature the entire list complete with album names.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 11

I'm ba-ack! Two more songs for you.

Okay, this is the last Piano Guys song on this playlist. I promise. I can't help myself. It's "We Three Kings," and I'm pretty enchanted.

We also have Sting. I've been a fan of Sting since high school, and he's done an absolutely fabulous rendition of "I Saw Three Ships." This rendition is specifically from "A Very Special Christmas 3."

Oh, and if you were worried, either because you noticed that the 12th and final installation of this playlist is ending tomorrow - the 23rd for those of you who don't know what day it is - or because you wonder exactly what CD each song is on, don't worry. I'll be posting a full list with all of the info on Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 10

Welcome back! I'm at my parents' place now as Christmas approaches. So I have two more songs for your playlist, as usual. Tonight we're going indie. I have two indie bands lined up with some very interesting songs from each one.

The first comes from a Jewish band called The Leevees. Usually they sing about Channukka, but their song "Holiday" is a great little piece for anyone who likes the season.

Unfortunately you're just going to have to trust me on this one. There are not any previews on the internet to be had. That's the problem with indie bands - there aren't a lot of previews because nobody knows who they are.

Abney Park is a steampunk group. They're a bunch of steampunk pirates, and their album "Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve" is what would happen if a bunch of pirates sang Christmas songs, with understandably hilarious results. (I was driving and almost went off the road while listening to their rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." If you get a chance, listen for what's really in her drink!)

This is the album's title song, "Through Your Eyes on Christmas Eve."

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 9

It's 11pm. I've been packing and getting ready to go home for the holidays all day and I'm getting into bed. Then I go "Oh crap!" and realize I hadn't blogged today. Whoops!

The Piano Guys are back (I warned you - I had more than one song of theirs on this. They rock) with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

Then we have another American Idol runner up, Clay Aiken. I am absolutely in love with his rendition of "Hark! The Harold Angels Sing." Also, here's a quick thing about him: He's part of something called the National Inclusion Project which is helping to include disabled children in summer camps, after school programs and other activities. You should totally check it out and support them.

I'll be driving to my parents' place tomorrow for Christmas so I'll do my best to get a post up as soon as I get there. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Days 7 & 8

Because I totally know my days of the week and thought yesterday was Monday (go figure), I completely spaced posting yesterday. Okay, we'll just play catchup.

Of all the Muppets, Rowlf the Dog is probably my favorite. He plays fantastic music and does wonderful solos and duets. The song is "The Christmas Party Sing-a-Long," but there isn't a good Youtube video for it so here's a link to a page with a short preview clip. It's from "The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas."

The Christmas Party Sing-a-Long

The next song is by a cappella group Go Fish. They've been a favorite of mine for awhile. We're listening to their cover of "Silent Night." It's not your typical rendition, as a heads up.

A few years ago the American Idol runner up was David Archuleta. He's from Murray - not too far away from me - so being a Utah dweller I can't leave him off the list. His rendition of "Pat-a-Pan" is stunning and included on this playlist.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is back with their song "Christmas Jam" on the playlist! Just a little more rock to brighten your holiday.

I'll be back tomorrow with more music!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 6

Two more tracks tonight! These two have a much more classical edge to them than anything else I've played so far.

The first song is by George Winston. It's his rendition of Carol of the Bells. There are not prettier versions. Trust me on this.

The second song comes from America's choir - The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In my opinion, it isn't Christmas without hearing them sing Joy to the World. Literally, if you haven't listened to that Santa won't come to your house. It's true.

I'll be back tomorrow with more music! See you then!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Day 5

Welcome back, everyone! Two more tracks for you tonight.

The first track is from my all-time favorite group ever, The Piano Guys (be aware, they have more than one track in this playlist. I am a Piano Guys fangirl). The track is their rendition of Carol of the Bells. And yes, I totally posted this in last year's Christmas Countdown. I don't care. It rocks.

The second is from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Yes, that's the band's name. They've got some pretty great stuff if you ask me. The song is Mr. Heatmiser. It's got a nice groove to it, so have some fun dancing at the next Christmas party.

See you all tomorrow for yet another addition to your playlist!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 4

Today we start off with one of my favorite bands in general: Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The song is "Wizards in Winter." (BTW, this video rocks in general, not just because it has an awesome song attached to it)

The next song is by the Barenaked Ladies. Their cover of Jingle Bells is... interesting, to say the least. Have fun with it, I know I do.

Tune in again tomorrow for some more additions to your Christmas Playlist!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 2 and 3

Terribly sorry for not posting last night, but I was struck with a monster headache after work and couldn't even look at a computer screen. So today I'm posting in the morning and you're getting last night's songs and today's songs. And since today's songs are a variation on the same theme, I've probably planned this perfectly and wasn't even trying.

Song number 3 on your playlist will be The Christmas Can-Can by Straight, No Chaser.

Song number 4 is a song that's been repurposed into a Christmas classic: Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi.

Songs number 5 and 6 are both by Mannheim Steamroller. They are two versions of the same song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

The first is the classical style variation.

The second is the rock variation.

Tune in tomorrow for more of your playlist!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Countdown to Christmas Playlist - Day 1

Hey, everyone! I'm back, and I've been spending some time building a particularly cool Christmas countdown for this year.

This year I'm going to build you a Christmas playlist, two songs at a time until Christmas Eve. All of these songs can be found on Spotify and I'll provide a link to the playlist  at the end of the countdown.

We'll start things off with the James Dooley arrangement of Carol of the Bells.

We will then move onto a favorite of mine, Hanson's "What Christmas Means to Me."

Hope you guys have fun with this!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Merry Warped Christmas to You

It's getting to be the time of year where I start posting my warped Christmas stuff again.

Thank you Lumberjill of Ravelry for posting this video on a swap chatter thread. It's really, really funny.

Oh, and for those of you who followed along last year, how does a Christmas Countdown 2012 sound?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear blog: I'm sorry I've been neglecting you. I blame National Novel Writing Month. I'm sorry I'm trying to make up for my lack of posting with a funny video.

Dear blog followers: Please don't do any of these things today.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

When Growing Up Goes Awry

My mom recently asked me why I don't want to change the name of my blog.

"It's too specific," she said. "You're only appealing to knitters and not to everyone else. You write about a lot of really funny things."

She's technically right. I don't just write about knitting (even though it is the most used tag on my blog). I write about soup, or flash games, or any number of other things. But that's the thing: Knitting has become part of me. I don't just knit, knitting is part of my personality. It's helped make me me.

The thing about growing up is that when you're in school there's a certain way you're supposed to be so you try to be it and the vast majority of us fail and think "Wow. Everyone else can do this but I can't. I must really suck!" We fail to realize that most of us feel that way, but we're not allowed to tell anyone. We have to pretend that we're actually getting it and running with the pack and it's all because we're just so cool like that!

Really, there are some of us who simply weren't cool. I mean, I was really into reading, and I really had a thing for trying to understand quantum theory (don't ask). In high school, quantum theory is one of those things you just don't tell people you're into. My sense of style verged on the... um... conservative. To say the least. I really liked button down, collared shirts and cardigans. I still do.

In high school, you really have to try hard to fit in. Yes, there were those "counterculture" people who tried really hard to be different together in exactly the same way, but still.

The thing about growing up is that it can be easy to forget that no one cares as much about that anymore. Guess what - there are whole sections of department stores devoted to women's button down, collared shirts and pretty cardigans. If I want to wear corduroy, I can. If I want to have a deep affinity for tweed and think about trying to understand quantum theory, I can.

Even better, being a grownup means I can keep writing a blog about knitting because I am knitting, and I am someone with a mildly sentient stash and growing up has gone a little in the awry department.

I am my blog's title. I am growing up, and I will still be growing up in 10 or 20 years from now. We're all growing up that way.

And I thank you for taking the journey with me.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stories from Work: Dear Crazy People

Dear Crazy People,

You exist. That's fine. I have no problem with this. I never said that was the problem. You are free to be as crazy as you wish... long as you do it away from me when I'm working.

See, the problem isn't that you're crazy. The problem is that when you start being crazy I have to stop what I'm doing to stop the crazy.

Case Study No. 1: The Lady Who Trapped Me in the Bathroom

Like all members of the Homo sapiens sapiens family, I eventually feel the need to heed the call of nature and use a toilet. I just made the mistake of having this need on the day of the career fair.

The problem is that the only bathroom within reasonable access is on the second floor. When I was doing my business, you came out and started talking to some poor person about how she would have so many more opportunities at your company than anywhere else. Never mind that her degree was in something you'd have no use for. Your company could help her and she'd better respond! She left quite quickly.

I finished and was washing my hands, thinking you'd see my restaurant-issued apron, my name tag, my hugely oversized shirt and the spots of stuff on my clothes and realize that I was busy. You know that joke about what happens when you assume?

"And which company are you with?" you asked. Uh oh.

"Um, I work upstairs in the restaurant," I replied. That's when you went on and on about how I was ruining my life (your words, not mine) and how your company could make it so much better. Thanks. Right. I have to get back to work now.

Except you wouldn't let me leave.

Oh great. The lunch rush is about to be in full swing, I'm not there, I'm trying to slip past you but you literally are not letting me leave the bathroom, and you're not listening when I'm trying to tell you that I need to get back to work.

I was tempted to make you feel like an idiot. That wouldn't have been nice, but it would have possibly made you shut up for a minute so I could escape your nefarious clutches. I was tempted to tell you that I was a student getting a second bachelor's degree and that I simply didn't have the time to add a full career to my class load.

Eventually you were distracted by a flushing toilet (reminding me that I'm standing in a bathroom), so I ran and hid in the space the doors of the elevator made, hoping you wouldn't come looking for me. That had to be a funny sight, I thought as I peeked furtively around the corner. Whoops! You almost saw me!

It explains why there were people laughing at me as they went downstairs.

Case Study No. 2: "No Chili Sauce Please"

One of the things we serve is Yakisoba. It's very popular, so we make a lot of it. It's also the one thing that gets more special requests than anything else on the menue.

One day I had a table with four Yakisoba bowls. Three of them had no sauce. Now, if you know anything about yakisoba, you know that the bulk of the flavor comes from a lightly spiced sauce that's cooked with the noodles and vegetables. Okay. This is a common request. Some people don't like spicy things.

Well, I get to the table and there's only one girl there. You, dear crazy person. The other three have gone off to parts unknown (but will be back soon so I should just leave the food right there, m'kay?) I asked you who got what. You told me that your three friends ordered the food with no sauce, and you had it with sauce. Okay, not a problem. I hand you the sauced bowl. You take a bite like you've taken it with a shovel, instead of a fork.

That's when your friends returned and I discovered why you took such a big bite.

"Um, excuse me, but I ordered mine with sauce," your friend said, ever-so-politely to me.

"Oh, yeah, I wanted to try it with sauce so I did," you said. Wait, what?! Your poor friend. You'd practically eaten half of her food in one bite so she couldn't have any.

I offered to take her bowl back and have sauce put on and she accepted. When I came back, I asked how the food was.

"Wow! It has so much more flavor with the sauce!" You exclaimed. No duh, dear. The bulk of the flavor of a lot of dishes comes from the sauce it's in.

(As a clarification, this customer is both rude and crazy. She's rude for assuming she could take her friend's food, and crazy for not realizing that the sauce gives it flavor. Or maybe she's just crazy, period, because I had to fix this mess.)

So, dear crazy people, please. Stop. Just stop. I get that you're nuts and that you obviously can't completely control nuts, but seriously? Find someone else to do it to.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Thing About Soup

I have a thing for soups. Slightly thin and creamy broccoli soup in the summer. Thick, rich vegetable soups the second it becomes sweater weather (or I at least think it should be sweater weather). Hearty beef stews come winter, split pea as comfort food, or chicken noodle yumminess whenever I darn well please.

I just made a pot of vegetable soup. I'm pretty free form with the vegetable kinds. Whatever looks good just kind of goes in.

Vegetable Soup
1 onion, minced.
3 carrots, peeled and chopped fine.
3 celery ribs chopped fine.
1 large handful of green beans, washed, trimmed and cut into thirds.
4 leaves of chard, sliced super thin.
1 bag of frozen peas.
5 red potatoes, washed and diced. 
3 boxes of chicken broth (yes, this does make a lot of soup - more for later)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion, carrot, celery and a heavy pinch of salt to the pot. Stirring occasionally, cook until the vegetables are translucent and smell amazing. Add the broth and other vegetables. Stir. Add the spices to taste (I have never measured my spices in a soup and I don't intend to start now) and simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Serve with a hunk of crusty bread. Yum.

Monday, August 27, 2012

How to Pill a Cat

...or "It's been awhile and I couldn't think of anything else to post."

Note: not original work. This is someone else's and I can't help myself.

  1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently Apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
  2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.
  3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.
  4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand, force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.
  5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.
  6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.
  7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
  8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
  9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
  10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door on to neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.
  11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
  12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.
  13. Tie the little bastard’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.
  14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches finge rs and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.
How to pill a dog:
1. Wrap pill in bacon
2. Toss bacon in air. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Genius Pets and Sammy

I've grown up with pets. Before Jazzy there was Tigger and Sammy and PJ and before them there were guinea pigs and a rabbit and a hamster, birds, horses and other dogs and cats. What I have noticed is that there is a distinction. Some critters are smarter than others. 

A whole lot smarter.

Take Tigger, for instance.

That's him in the picture there. Yes, he's very skinny. Yes, he does not want for food. Yes, we've taken him to the vet. Yes, the vet says he's fine. Really. He's just skinny. Like that person you're required to hate because they can eat a whole cake plus ice cream and never gain weight while you can't even look at a slider without gaining ten pounds.

Tigger is a freaking cat genius. He sets traps. He knows exactly how to execute them. He (and this is important in some universe) profiles his victims! That's right. He knows exactly what his intended targets are going to do next and attacks them. And he's still a cuddle bug. 

Mom has the giant plastic tumblers and she fills them with water and leaves them all over the house. You'll never go a day without finding one. Neither will Tigger. 

Tigger had a thing for sticking his face in the water and drinking as much as he could reach. The second he couldn't get to any more, he'd crouch down and start batting at the cup. Bat bat bat bat. Then he'd knock it over. You'd think this was because he figured out that he could get more water out of the cup if it just wasn't in the cup anymore, but he'd walk away. Almost as if he was saying "Yup. I'm smart. Deal with it." 

When Sammy was a kitten Tigger sat down behind a wall in our open floor plan home. He started flipping his tail up around the corner. He flipped his tail and waited. And waited.

And w a i t e d...

Until Kitten Sammy came barreling down the dining room and pounced on his tail. The second he did so, 


Tigger bopped him on the head. This was all he'd intended to do in the first place. He'd intended to get that kitten and show him who's boss from the second he'd sat down at the wall. 

PJ is equally bright. PJ is a poodle/bichon mix. The poodle is an incredibly smart breed of dog, the bichon was bred originally as a circus dog, and then as a companion dog for sailors. This means that we have a super smart dog who loves to get attention. 

In that picture he's actually saying "I could calculate special relativity for you, but you need to be watching or I won't do it." 

PJ will only do something twice if you trick him into it. Like sticking his head into one of Mom's ubiquitous tumblers. He'll stick his head into an empty one a couple of times and shake it around trying to get it off, but then you try to get him to do it again and he shoots you a look. It says "I think we've established that there's nothing in the cup. You are aware you're being outsmarted by a dog, right?"

But Sammy... Sammy's a different story entirely.

Yes, that photo is of a different cat. That's Sammy, my mom's orange tabby. No, he and Tigger are not of the same litter. They are not brothers, and the did not come from the same momma cat.

The only similarities between Tigger and Sammy are that they are both orange tabbies, and they are both cats. 

You see, Sammy's really really dumb.

There was this line from a cartoon I watched when I was a kid and one of the characters said "If brains were gasoline, he wouldn't have enough to power a motorcycle around the outside of a penny." That kinda describes Sammy. When it comes down to it, he's not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. When Sammy encounters the tumblers, he stares down into them and tries to figure out how to drink out of them. He hasn't learned how to bat them over like Tigger. So Tigger comes by and... bat bat bat. Water all over the counter and floor for everyone!

He's also really ornery. Okay, he's ornery to the rest of us. To Mom, he's Mr. Lover Cat. He absolutely loves my mother. The rest of us... well, we're obstacles in his path of getting to Mom. 

When we play with the laser pointers, Tigger plays for a minute, then realizes where the little blinky light is coming from. Sammy will chase that sucker for hours. The most fun thing to do with him is make the laser pointer light run under a bookshelf or the entertainment center or something and turn it off. Sammy will watch, intent on catching that darn light once it decides to show its stupid face!

Meanwhile, Tigger and PJ are looking at Sammy and going "Idiot." 

See, Tigger's like that kid you might have gone to school with who was four years younger than everyone else, but was also graduating class valedictorian and flat out didn't care. It's not like he was even trying. He just sat back and knew he'd get an A on that math test you'd studied your tail off for and were hoping for at least a B, and he didn't even crack a book. 

That kid was irritating, but you probably didn't have him in school. If you did, you hoped he'd either tutor you, or be the person you'd get paired with for the science fair project. If he was either one of those, that kid was your best friend. Mostly because now you got to mooch off his brains and if you were nice to him he might stick by you because you're his friend so you're guaranteed a good grade on every group project for the rest of the school year.

On the other hand, Sammy is like that one person we all know we're going to have in our class. We know after graduation they'll be either working at Wal-Mart or finishing every work sentence with "Ya want fries with that?" And it's not for lack of trying. They try hard to be smart and study for their tests, but the reality is that they're about as dumb as a bag of rocks but that's okay because they know it and they know it's probably funny. 

If they're nice, you don't mind because, hey, the world needs more nice people. If they're obnoxious and that person who doesn't know they're dumb and acts like you're the idiot in the equation, all you want to do is slap them or otherwise make them look very, very silly. You might have, I don't know.

It's most evident in their behavior when strange critters come to stay with us. 

A family friend's dogs came to stay for a weekend. They liked to chase cats. Sammy would jump up on to the ottoman and try to claw their faces. Since Sammy has no claws, it's pretty obvious how well that worked out for him. 

Tigger, on the other hand, realized that Mom had left a full tumbler on one of the tower cabinets of the entertainment center when she went to answer the door. So he waited until one of the dogs walked over and looked up at him from the floor. 

Bat bat bat bat...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Things I Notice That Bother Me Slightly

1) When you stick your nose and smell an empty bottle of root beer, it smells an awful lot like bubblegum.

2) Everyone I know seems to think Stopped Clock Illusion isn't a real thing.

3) I always need less yarn than the pattern calls for. Like two or three skeins less.

4) A bad parent is someone who doesn't make their kids buckle their seatbelts in a car, but a good parent is allowed to let them run rampant on a train. FYI, this is just as dangerous as riding in a car without a seatbelt.

5) Pets are animals that live in our houses and get free room, board and massages simply for being cute.  (This is especially true of cats.)

6) Math.

7) Whenever someone on the train asks me who I'm knitting something for and I say "myself" I get funny looks.

8) Whenever someone asks me to knit something for them and I say "no," I get even funnier looks. Double points if they offer to pay for the yarn.

9) Somewhere out there someone will look at my list and say "Why on earth would you make a list of things that bother you?" And I'll answer "Because it's funny." It probably isn't but meh. I didn't have any other ideas for a blog post.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

An Indulgence

I want more yarn. I really really want more yarn. In fact, I am willing to buy a whole sweater's worth of yarn, even though I have two sweaters on the needles, a shawl, an afghan, a pair of socks, and the hexipuffs. Oh yeah. You knew that already. It's that none of those are the sweater I really want right now. What I want is grey cotton. 

Last post I mentioned that a machine made sweater had become my favorite, and it was also falling apart. Well, I've been looking at mill ends again. I freaking love mill ends. It started with my Raindrop Cardigan. If you don't know what mill ends are, allow me to explain.

When a yarn company makes yarn they have a bunch of leftover bits that don't fit into the balls and skeins they sell. However, throwing this yarn away can mean a huge loss of money since it can be yards and yards of little bits of yarn. So what companies do is sell mill ends. They tie these leftover bits together and sell it at a discount since there's more knots and occasionally variations in the color where one bit of the dye ran out and changed the color of the yarn before they could stop the machine and put more dye in. This is, incidentally, where the term "oddball" comes from since sometimes you can get an entire ball in the dye lot that is a different color. 

So, yes, there's drawbacks to mill ends. However, there are also some pretty awesome benefits. Like that fact that you can get yarn for a quarter of the usual price. Usually this is really freaking fancy yarn. Yarn that sells for $10 and $12 a skein for $3-$4 a piece. Same yardage, same yarn, same quality. But it's mill ends. It's like a perpetual sale on yarn. 

And now that I'm saying it to myself, I'm on my way online to get more yarn!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Letters to My Ratty Grey Sweater

Dear Grey Sweater:

Remember the day I got you? You were just hanging there in that consignment shop. I'd been looking for a casual sweater to wear to class and you were perfect. I could wear you over a pastel tank top with my hair in a clip and a pair of jeans and look like a million bucks. Okay, maybe not that good but at least I didn't look like I'd fallen out of bed. You draped perfectly over my shoulders and around my frame just so. You didn't look too baggy, or too tight.

You were, in a word, the best sweater ever.



Dear Grey Sweater:

Remember the day I first wore you to my job at the cafe? That was not our finest moment. You were covering up my shivers since it was late spring in the mountains and it was chilly out. I only owned khaki shorts and the boss lady had problems with blue jeans. So it was shorts and work t-shirts in the cool mornings and you were the right color to cover up my cold arms with.

That day I showed off my impeccable klutziness. I'd accidentally spilled an entire tray of coffee all over the two of us. We both smelled like old coffee by the time we got home. It took you a week to wash out.



Dear Grey Sweater:

That first hole in the seam near the hood was a warning sign. I'd been taking you for granted. I pinned you up with a safety pin and went about my fall day. I wasn't working in the restaurant anymore. I was working at a desk from home. Those were good days, remember?



Dear Grey Sweater:

Maybe the camping trip to Estes Park for the Wool Market was a bad idea. You snagged on a pole on the tent. That was worrying, but you appeared to be okay. I'm sorry I left you at the campground. I was going into a room full of other, more accomplished knitters than I and I simply couldn't bear the embarrassment of wearing a machine made sweater instead of a handknit one.

You were so resentful you managed to drag into a puddle that night when I tried to put you on. I'm still sorry about that.



Dear Grey Sweater:

Going back to college was wonderful, wasn't it? We were almost inseparable in some of the classrooms. Those lecture halls are over-airconditioned, even in the wintertime. You fit nicely into my jackets - especially the lightweight canvas one you looked so nice in. It was just a little warmer in the elements, but not so warm as my winter coat. You made that winter so much more comfortable.



Dear Grey Sweater:

The bagginess is unbecoming of you. Why would you do that? Especially on a day like this? I need you to pull yourself together and be a decent sweater, please. I'll put on something else and we'll talk about this later. I'm late.



Dear Grey Sweater:

You never used to fall off my shoulders in public.



Dear Ratty Grey Sweater:

It's time. The rifts in our relationship are simply to wide to bear. Just like a couple who fights too often, I find myself growing tired of you. I keep looking at grey cotton yarn online and perusing hooded cardigan patterns on Ravelry.

The holes in all of your seams are too large for me to even attempt to sew closed anymore. I tried in the past, but you've started making new holes before the old ones are even finished closing. The fraying in the cuffs is no longer something I can ignore. You're baggy and saggy in the sleeves and along the bottom where you weren't before. You no longer make me look like I didn't just roll out of bed, but now you make a point of emphasizing my unflattering parts. I no longer look lean under you, and while I have gained some weight that doesn't excuse the insult.

You have button loops that are coming apart, and one of the button's strings is fraying. I thought that was such a sturdy string, but I guess it wasn't. In fact, the sturdiness you showed me at the beginning of our relationship is gone now. You're a limp pile of threadbare cotton, and I dread coming across you in the closet.

In fact, I don't even know why I've been talking to you as if you were a person. You are a sweater. An inanimate object. If my wits were about me, I'd simply throw you away since you probably wouldn't hold up for five minutes in the donation bag.

So this is goodbye. I shall be saving up for some lovely Katia Pima Cotton in a fitting grey and knitting something more suitable for my needs.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Great WIP Roundup!

Yeehaw! Git along little doggies! It's time for the Great Work-in-Progress Roundup! In this post, I round up all of the WIPs I'm knitting, take photos of them, and show the whole world just how short my actual attention span is. I'll post Ravelry links to the pattern and any links I can to the yarn used.

To start off the call out, we'll go with Diana's Cardigan! Knit in Debbie Bliss Amalfi

That's a shot of all the pieces up top. The bottom is showing that I have half of the second sleeve to knit. You know what that means, right? It means I have very little knitting left to do in the body and all I'll have to finish if I were to just get the rest of that sleeve knitted. Really, there isn't much left. 

Next up: The Dirigible Ground Crew Socks. My own pattern. Made with a discontinued, handpainted sock yarn.

I started these in December. I still have the foot and toe to knit of the second one. Apparently I got a nasty case of Second Sock Syndrome.

The Beauty in Ashes Lace Wrap. Knit from some alpaca handspun I got for my birthday last year.

This one is especially sad. It's a beautiful pattern, knit on one of my favorite pairs of knitting needles (a Christmas gift from my friend Tasha a few years ago), and did you see that ball of yarn attached to the stole? Yeah. It's the last of three balls. I'm almost done. This thing is going to block beautifully and I just keep setting it aside. 

This deserves a bit of a back story. When I first started knitting I really didn't have much of an understanding of gauge. My second year I started knitting things that really required a working understanding of it, and I never knit a swatch! So when I started Lochinver the first time, I used inexpensive yarn that was far too thick (supposed to be sport weight, not worsted), and needles that were too big. So, if both components were too big, what do you think happened? I got a multi-room, wooly tent that fit my 200 lb, 6 foot 4 inch stepfather, that's what. Plus it pilled like crazy within about a day of finishing. 

The Aforementioned Sunburst Stole. Knit in - oh, just click the pattern link. It's from a previous blog post (that might actually be on the same front page).

Since I've already spoken at length regarding this lovely little slip of lace, you get no further description here.

I took easily a dozen pictures of this. Inexplicably, they all came out weirdly blurry. This is the only one that looks decent. 

In my own defense, this sucker has gotten so big and unwieldily that I have to pick it up about ten times a row, and therefore do ten bicep and tricep curls a row. It's halfway finished. It's huge. I'm still mustering up the courage to do more work on it. 

This is meant for a baby. I don't know any babies. I don't know why I still have it on the needles. But there it is. Ta Da!

The Beekeeper's Quilt. Knit in whatever leftovers (and some lovely mini-skeins from a raveler!) I have laying around. 

I have photographed the hexipuffs this quilt requires with my tennis shoe for size comparison. In order to make a king sized blanket, I'll need to knit literally 1000 of these. 995 to go. I'll be done in roughly... five years. Oh well. They're a good train project, at least.

And lastly... (ZOMH we're actually at the last project!)

"Now wait just a second!" you're likely shouting at the screen, "That looks an awful lot like a finished cardigan!" you say. And you'd be right. I finished the knitting and blocked it last night. I hung it on a broom handle which was set on top of the shower curtain rod and the corner of the shower's ceramic wall. I pulled it off this morning. 

However, it isn't finished. 

It still doesn't have any buttons.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Really Didn't Think This Through

About two years ago I bought a beautiful yarn from Wolles Yarn Creations called "Sunburst." What makes all of Wolles' yarn interesting is that she makes what she calls "Color Changing Cotton" or CCC. CCC is four strands of thread that slowly transition from one color to another. She literally starts with all of the thread in one color, and then changes out one thread at a time to the next color as you knit, giving it stunning color transitions. I absolutely love everything she makes, but of all of them I've decided that the stuff I got is my favorite.

If I love this yarn so much, however, why has it taken me so long to knit it up? Because I haven't been able to figure out exactly what I want this yarn to be yet.

Then, last week, I discovered three lace patterns that worked together perfectly. And I love all of them. They fit with the yarn beautifully and they're fun to knit. This is how much I've knit so far:

See? Isn't that pretty?

Only there's one tiny problem: That section is almost into the completely yellow part. There's only four major colors, and I only have two balls of this yarn. I have no idea if I'm going to have enough. The odds are that I won't, and I'm going to wind up with a seriously truncated stole. Or, worse, have to completely rip this thing back (I have ripped this poor yarn back so many times so far) and redo it as a kerchief or, horrors, as a scarf. I really don't need another scarf. I really don't need a scarf in cotton, either. 

That or I could find a yarn that is similar in color (or even slightly darker) than the center yarn and knit that for the middle bit. I'm opting for that. What do you think?

Because really, this yarn is too beautiful to be anything else.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why NBC's "Awake" Needed to be Cancelled

I am a fan of actor BD Wong. So when I heard he was ending his position as Law and Order: SVU's Dr. Huang I was very sad. I was, however, excited to know he would be in a new show on NBC called "Awake."

Awake is a strange show about Detective Michael Britten who has been in a car accident and now he doesn't sleep. In fact, instead of sleeping he lives in two different worlds. In one world his wife lived, but his son died, and in the other his wife died and his son lived. The thing is, when he falls asleep in one world, he wakes up in another. Soon, parts of his cases begin overlapping. He is now solving both cases at the same time, using evidence from each life.

Unique concept, yeah? Too bad it hasn't worked out. It's being cancelled after just one season, and a lot of people are really upset about this.

Except apparently I'm in the minority; I really and truly understand why Awake was cancelled.

Television shows have three plots to them - a running subplot for the season, a running subplot for the series, and the plot. Think about it like a car. The television show is supposed to be the vehicle. It could be a simple number like a Subaru with minimal frills and add-ons (think of this like NCIS - what you see is what you get), or something really fancy with onboard navigation and other bells and whistles like the Infinity EX35 (I watch way too much Top Gear).

Either way, in every episode a different plot is driving the car. The subplot should be a respectful passenger riding shotgun - quiet, contributes to the conversation, is enjoyable to ride with, and doesn't dictate how the plot should be driving. The series subplot should be like the sleeping kid in the backseat. They're snoring softly so we don't forget they're there, but they're only contributing to the road trip by existing. In Awake, there is no season subplot, so the series subplot is sitting in the passenger seat and going on like an annoying backseat driver: It wants to drive the show instead of letting the plot do so.

Awake's subplot quickly took over the show, and the plot shifted into the passenger seat - bad move if you want the show to last. What we like about a subplot is that it runs the entire length of the series and we wait for it to be resolved. SyFi's Eureka does (soon to be "did") this brilliantly. The series subplot is an undercurrent of sexual tension between various characters and the friendships and relationships they form. Every season of Eureka has a different subplot to it that just happens to be there. Last season it was a preparation for the Astraeus mission. It quietly sat there, existing but allowing other plots (like Eureka's bank literally floating away) to be the primary focus of the episode. 

Awake quickly became all about the subplot of Britten's condition instead of about the cases he was solving. The subplot developed too quickly - the series finale was tonight and there wasn't much of a surprise twist to me, despite promises that it would have one. I guessed the ending about six weeks or so ago.

Awake could have been a hit. It had all of the potential to do so. It had an undercurrent of conspiracy theories (like the X-Files), a bit of something unusual (the quantum mechanics theory known as the Many-Worlds Interpretation), and a potential for a great crime drama. It's a shame the subplot took over. I would have loved to have seen how the writers planned on developing the concept. 

Awake would have been fantastic as a mini-series, not a multi-season show. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dear Cat

... I've noticed that recently you've become remarkably adept at giving me dirty looks. When I decide to take a cute picture of you instead of petting you,

when I tell you to stop trying to eat my lily plant on the patio because it can make you sick, when I wake you up to get you off my bed so I can sleep,

and then when I tell you that no, you may not sleep in my room because you don't sleep, you walk all over my sensitive bits, you look at me like you're a teenager and I'm some out of touch parent that's ruining your life. 

Yes, I know it's your apartment and I just live here. But if we're going to be roommates then I'm going to have to insist upon a few ground rules. 

1) You are not to give me dirty looks when I am doing Things That Are Not Petting The Cat such as sleeping, eating, preparing food, cleaning out your litterbox, working, and standing up.
2) You are not to sit outside my bathroom, crying to be let in and shoving your paws under the door.
3) You are to...


Hehe... what was I saying? Was it something important? Must not have been. Oh, just keep being adorable, kitty. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yet Another Video Game Review

I'm sorry I haven't gotten on and blogged lately. You can blame my new videogame obsession.

See, the newest Humble Bundle came out, and with it came the premiere of Amanita Designs' newest game, Botanicula.

I would say this is my favorite game that Amanita has produced to date.

Botanicula is a puzzle/adventure game about a group of plant friends who are on a mission to save the last star tree in the world (I honestly don't know what to call it. The problem with all of Amanita's games is that none of the characters use actual words) from these evil spider creatures that suck the life out of everything around them. While they do this, they attempt to right as many of the spiders' wrongs as they can along the way.

Typically of Amanita Designs, the game is visually stunning. Amanita almost seems to be attempting to blur the line between video games and art. Here are a couple screen shots from Botanicula:

Look at those. They are art, plain and simple. When you add in the beautiful music, Botanicula is much more than just a piece of entertainment. And the beauty of Botanicula is that the game is almost magical.

But that's just it, though. These sorts of visually beautiful games are not limited to one of Amanita Designs' games. This is actually quite typical of them. Here's a shot from Machinarium:

Here's one from Samarost:

And here's one from Windowsill.

The fact is, everything they do is remarkably beautiful. Even if it isn't detailed, the game play is smooth,  intuitive, and fluid. I recommend just about everything they've put out. The four I've mentioned here are only a few of the games Amanita Designs has produced.

The visuals aren't the only thing that's inherently beautiful about the design. In every game I keep hoping for a soundtrack that I can listen to when I'm walking around. They have fit the music to the scene perfectly.

You can currently get Machinarium, Botanicula, Samarost 2, and Windowsill with the Humble Bundle.

Special thanks to gamrReview for the screenshots I used. 
Creative Commons License
Help, The Stash is Attacking! When Yarn, Knitting and Growing Up Go Terribly Awry by Kimberly Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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