Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Veni Vidi Venti†

I'm dizzy.‡

Job offer. BIG decision. Frighteningly big. Excitingly big. Dizzyingly big. Upsettingly big. Not-sleeping-tonight big.

I need a Magic 8 Ball, like, now.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): I came, I saw, I drank a really big coffee?

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): And blushing. Guess how often that happens.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear IRS...

Could this make mailing the tax check palatable?

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Pun *totally* intended

San Antonio

If you had two disparate days in San Antonio, what would you do?

This is not a trick question. Nor a rhetorical one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We May Never Pass This Way Again

My brackets, heading into the Final Four.

My rank, out of 1,124 people in this contest.

That's the top two percent for all you statistically-inclined math dorks out there.

I always knew I was special.

Go Duke!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lovelace for the Computerlorn

From Think Geek, county seat of all things wise and weirdiful:

"Attention geeks far and wide!

Did you know that [March 24] is Ada Lovelace Day? The only daughter of poet Lord Byron, Ms. Lovelace wrote the very first computer program, inspired by Charles Babbage's analytical engine. Wherever you are tomorrow, show some love to the self-rescuing code princesses you know. Buy 'em some Fritos and raise a can of Mountain Dew in Ada's honor.

Hooray for girl geeks!"

And if there are any girl geeks out there who know how to reset my wireless card, I'd be forever grateful... I'd build a shrine to Ada Lovelace in my living room.

Saints are allowed shrines, you know.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

At least it's the moment I've been dying to share with you.

[SUMMARY: Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.]

I shan't drag you through the litany of "stuck in the camera" and "busy at work" and all that. You know the song, I'll let you sing it on your own.

Suffice to say I finished Dr. Doom's Christmas sweater around the end of January, then through the vagaries of joint custody, finally got it to him mid-February.

I took the basic top-down raglan sweater,§ I've been using for everything Nephew, added a textured alligator belly through the miracle of intarsia-in-the-round, then winged it on the sleeves.


It was the winging it part that really mucked up the works.

There I'd be in my chair at work, madly correcting, explaining, marketing, e-schmoozing and otherwise getting the job done, when suddenly, sleeve panic would hit me and I'd start doing the alligator thing with my elbows,# using paper clips to mark the place where alligator lips should be and re-figuring where alligator mouth should go...

[SUMMARY: Every person does multi-tasking in his own way.]

Is it any wonder I was so absent for so long? I had a lot going on.

In the end, I think it worked out pretty well.

But the true test is how it works for Dr. Doom.

[SUMMARY: Proof, meet pudding.]

First, getting naked in Chipotle.††

Then test-driving the beast.

Why, arm, what big teeth you have!

Let's see, important knitting stuff:

First, this is the proudest knitting moment of my knitterly life. It's the closest I've come to designing something, and it's something unique and cool and interesting and wowing and I'm just so tickled.

The sweater was originally inspired by this genius shirt from the Discovery Channel Store. I quickly realised that a white and pale grey shirt was no match for a five-year-old supervillain, so I decided to go with the classic gator.

Other than the pupils of the eyes, which are Dark Horse Fantasy, the whole thing is knit in Cascade 220 Superwash.

I made nose-holes‡‡ of I-cord loops.

The eyes took as long as the rest of the sweater put together. I had alligator eyes all over my living room for weeks. When one gets a solid vision of what one wants, it's hard for one to accept anything different.§§

One thing I believe the pattern misses, and that I missed too, is that when you put the sleeve stitches on holders to knit the body, you cast on an inch under the arm.

Which - and this is very important - adds two inches to the body of the sweater.

[SUMMARY: Math even I can do.]

On the one hand, I was delighted to get gauge. On the other, getting gauge meant I was the full two inches bigger than I wanted.

I had planned to sew up the sides, take out a couple of inches, but figured I'd better try it on the good Doctor first.¶¶ Yes, it's just a bit too big.

The neck is also big, being unfinished. I knit a nice 3-2 rib collar about 37 times and it always seemed too small.## So I left it unfinished for maximum headroom. Yes, it's just a bit too big.

I told Brother I wanted to take it home and finish it properly and he assured me Doom will be wearing a t-shirt under it most of the time, so aesthetically it's OK.

[SUMMARY: Aesthetics are what you're looking for in a sweater for a five-year-old.]

I don't know if he doesn't want to put me out or if he's afraid they'll never see it if I get my grubby hands on it again.

Hey! We've had a fair amount of knitting around here lately. You'd almost think this was still a knitblog.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): And, y'know, it's all about me. And my lamp.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): And I would've finished it *much* faster if Dr. Doom hadn't given me a VERY COMPELLING game for my Nintendo DS for Christmas. *ahem*

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): And I'm not sure why I keep using this one, except that it's familiar. The sizing is all wrong, vis-a-vis boys S-M-L. I always ask Brother to measure a shirt that fits, then try to match the inches from there.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Wing... sleeves... heheheheheh... I'm funny.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): With the new office, I no longer have a clean white wall behind a hanger to photograph my sweaters. Whatever shall I do now?

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Sound effect: "RAWR!"

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Note the find cow hat on Brother's head, a Valentine's present from his favourite Seester. He brings me Icelandic sludge and lopi, I bring him cow hats.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): nostrils-nose holes ... to-may-to, to-mah-to.

§§FOOTNOTE (twisted definition time): Read: lesser.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (you can beat it into my head): I may not be a math genius, but I do have my moments of clarity.

##FOOTNOTE (square head, round hole, pound pound): Which I determined by trying to fit it over my own head, under the suspicion that heads grow less than anything else in a person's life, therefore kid heads must be nearly as large adult heads.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You Want My Brother

For all y'all knitters who weren't mackin' on my brother prior to this, direct your attention to the following story:

Brother went to Reykjavik last week.

Brother and Hans and I met§ at the Tilted Kilt to watch the glory that is the first day of March Madness.#

Brother brought me a present:

Which contained this:

The story behind the Lopi: Brother says it seems itchy, that they probably joke in Iceland that it's itchy wool.% He said I may never want to knit it into anything, but he figures it'd be cool to have genuine Icelandic wool carted from Iceland in my stash.††

Take a moment for that to sink in.

[SUMMARY: *boggle*]

A man, a NON-KNITTING man, who has embraced the actuality, the conceptuality and the psychology of a knitter's stash.

I think this is a real lesson for us all: what we're really looking for is a man with an older sister who knits.

[SUMMARY: And my thermos... and this lamp...]

He also brought me this box full of bath products from Blue Lagoon, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland.

[SUMMARY: Yes, that is a punchline.]

Apparently, it's a hot springs, a giant pool with mineral properties that will make you live forever if you bathe in it and drink it.

Only it's not natural.‡‡

It's the output of a geothermic power plant nearby. The mineral tailings form a sludge that sits at the bottom of the pool and in conveniently-placed sludge tubs all around the pool. People get in the water and scoop up the sludge and slather it all over themselves.

"So did you feel all glowy? Ten years younger?" I asked.

"No, you feel stupid. You look around at everybody else and you say, 'Yeah, you all did it too.' "

[SUMMARY: Stupidity in numbers.]

Are you jealous? If you didn't want my new stash enhancement, surely you wish you could get your hands on my sludge.§§

Or my brother.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Those of you who were might want to look away before you're blinded.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): They were going to go to Cuba, but then it got too dangerous.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): We call it "business lunch."

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Sort of like Hooters with more obvious boobs and more TiVis to give it a greater illusion of sports barness.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Trademark.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Has anyone out there in Blogland knit with this stuff? It doesn't seem *terribly* scratchy, but if you have firsthand knowledge, I'd love to hear about it.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Bonus points to brother for using the word "stash" correctly in casual conversation.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Not in the coming-out-of-the-rocks sense that we're used to in the Rocky Mountain West at least.

§§FOOTNOTE (ssludge!): That's what she said!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bustin' Out All Over

I have triumph to report.

[SUMMARY: Ta-daaa!]

My cousin Tani, who gave me my first orchid and is a seasoned orchid-grower herself, told me once that if your orchid re-blooms, that's the sign you're doing the right thing.

Now, my phalaenopsis orchids§ re-bloom like bunnies,@ but my two non-phals sat dormant these last couple of years, until last Tuesday.%


I swear I'm not exaggerating; I watered the sink-adjacent plants in the morning as I grabbed the kitchen trash to go out for garbage day. I removed something dead-looking on this particular plant, so I got a good and memorable look at it.# There was no bloom, no bud, just plant.

When I got home, I put Cat for Scale's bowl on the counter to give him his daily dose of canned food†† and there was a full-blown, vividly dressed, life-size orchid.

The next morning, the second was nearly fully open.

This is unretouched colour‡‡:

I bought this plant almost two years ago and it hasn't bloomed since right after I got it home.

[SUMMARY: Still waters run deep?]

This must be a metaphor for something.


In other amazing orchid news,§§ the two orchids I made you look at last year are in bloom again as well.

[SUMMARY: Call me June...¶¶]

Actually the Fireworks orchid, the one Tani gave me to start my collection,^ hasn't stopped blooming.

If you do it right,## if your orchids are happy and you prune them judiciously post-bloom, they'll often bloom twice.$

Fireworks budded last February, bloomed, re-bloomed and just re-bloomed again,††† with new and tiny buds showing up every other day. It may never stop blooming.


That has to be a metaphor for something too.

Hell of it is, it really needs to be re-potted, but one is only supposed to re-pot during non-blooming cycles.

OK... that. That should definitely be a metaphor.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Which must be a welcome change for you after the bitching about work in the last post. You may also note I am changing the footnotation colour to green to match the new blog scheme and the coming season of floral wonder.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Not just A sign, but THE sign.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): The kind you generally find in the grocery store. The easiest orchid to grow, and I'm living proof.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): It's a multiplication thing, right?

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): The one pictured is a Cattleya. The other, still not blooming since eBeth gave it to me almost three years ago (though I nearly killed it at one point and have been nursing it back to health, so that may have something to do with it), is - I think - a Vanda. You're welcome.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Yes, Columbo, I know it was Tuesday because it was trash day.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): 'Cause as long as I was grooming, I gave it a good once-over to see if there were bugs, mold, dead leaves, buds, new leaves, a leprachaun...

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): As I am wont to do.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Forgive the Georgia O'Keefeness of it all.

§§FOOTNOTE (look at you, you're just beside yourself): Since I know you're on the edge of your seat.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (hit me with your rhythm stick!): 'Cause I'm bustin' out all over. Surely at least ONE of you (if not ALL of you) listened to Dr. Demento back in the day.

^FOOTNOTE (carated): The pink and white one in last year's post, as opposed to the yellow and pink one.

##FOOTNOTE (let me pound the point home): And by "you," I mean "I."

$FOOTNOTE (cashed): Like, in a year. Usually for three or four months, then the plant goes dormant for about six months. All previous re-blooms in my world have had a month-long break in between as the plant takes a little vacation between projects.

†††FOOTNOTE (must be Easter soon. Look at all them crosses.): Seriously... just as the last two or three blooms would hit that sad, wet tissue look and drop off, a new bud would fatten up on another stem and off it'd go.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Carol Jean sent yarn.

Beautiful Black Bunny yarn.

Beautifuller even than I thought it was when I first pulled it out because it's so light, so pastel, I thought I'd have to let it grow on me.§ Only there's something moody and shoreswept about it, like the faded paint on a seaside ice cream shop, and it grew like kudzu in a wet summer.^

[SUMMARY: Poetic yarn.]

It's 50/50 alpaca/wool, and a generous serving size,@ so I squish it on a daily basis and didn't know what to do with it.

Then, in my current round of blog gluttony, I ran across a lovely post with lovely pictures and a scarf that made me catch my breath.%

[SUMMARY: A pattern of melodrama.]

Perfect. It's *perfect*.#

This has never happened to me before. I'm a little dizzy.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Have I used that title before?

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Despite my calling her Carol Jean behind her back, I got the yarn because I'm in her Black Bunny Yarn Club, rather than because I'm her BFF. I'm not as special as I may have misled you to believe.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): It may shock you, but I'm generally not a pastel person. For those of you scoring at home, I think the top picture is more true to colour - at least on my monitor.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): Hans agrees.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): 530 yards of fuzzy, halo'd goodness. Just right for a saint-in-waiting.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Some of you may have noticed swarms of comments from me, some covering posts you made months ago. That's me, catching up after the great Workicane (Workopalypse? Nine on the Workchter Scale? I'm working on it. Whatever it was, it was an unnatural disaster with gale force winds.) of O'9. The boss called last week because he had dinner with the VP who brought me on here and he asked what our (Hans and I) workload would be like so he could schedule in impending projects. "Divestitures are going to slow down this year," Randy the Veep is purported to have said. "What the HELL does that mean?" I wailed at John. "Six-day work weeks instead of seven? Only working twelve hours a day?" *ahem* Excuse me. A little vent is good for the soul. A saint-in-training can't afford to have a constipated soul.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): It's not the cleverest or the most complex or the most graceful, it's just perfect for the yarn at hand. And I *really* like it. The designer calls it "Mabel's Scarf," but I recognise a Greek key when I see it, so it's All Greek to Me.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): I'm a perfection virgin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Injury, Meet Insult

"I want to use a whole assortment of four-letter words right now, doc," I said to the optometrist when he told me I NEED BIFOCALS.

I've worn glasses for years for three things:
  1. Driving at night.
  2. To see the names on the jerseys.
  3. Movies.§

[SUMMARY: Keep your eye on the important things.]

Apparently, I got old overnight. One day, I gauged where to hold my book by how comfortable my arms were, not where I could see. Because, you see, I could see. Everything. Just fine. Far or near.

Then, *bam!* one Tuesday,# I couldn't see the computer screen. And that night, I had to hold the book an inch from my nose.

So. Bifocals.

I reeled around the mirrored displays, blindly†† picking up one frame after the other, waving them in front of my face in a desultory manner, humming "Glory Days" and craving dinner at 4:30 for some reason.

[SUMMARY: No focus‡‡ at all.]

Old, feeble brains can't multi-task.§§ It seems I was... less than thorough in my search.

To those of you youngsters out there with all this wonder ahead of you, let me give you a little tip.

Don't forget to check the whole frame before you order.¶¶

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Like a big, brightly-coloured Costco assortment.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): You know how it is with free agency and salary caps. Sometimes you don't know a soul at the beginning of the season.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): When I remembered them. It was always a proud day when I could say, "Oh, we can sit anywhere. I remembered my glasses."

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): I worry that I have a form of Alzheimer's which has as its primary symptom uncontrollable punning.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Um... if I remember correctly.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): Oh, no...

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): Punzheimer's!

§§FOOTNOTE (*so* confused): And just remembering the words to Glory Days is multi-tasking in and of itself.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (*headbonk* *headbonk*): For those of you scoring at home, the random, ugly triangles are orange, purple and white. All I wanted was copper frames. I thought they'd go with my hair. I showed Hans and he didn't even try to make like it was OK. "Your hair almost completely covers the bad part," he said, helpfully.