Monday, April 30, 2007

Cheap date

I actually had a snowflake last week. I just couldn't bear to show you, the pain was too new. But now that I have a successful flake,

#39 from Leisure Arts' 99 Snowflakes

I can stand to show you my failure. See, this is why I haven't been crocheting -- my concentration has been crap. Observe:

Yeah, I really feel a lot better about it now that I've gotten my groove back. But at the time I threw the dadgum thing across the room. Sigh. Oh well, onwards and upwards!

On Saturday, I went out in the afternoon with New Friend Veronica. We had yummy frozen custard at Oscars and shopped a bit. Okay, we shopped a lot. We've decided that there's no such thing as shopping a bit where we're concerned. I didn't buy much, but it sure was fun. But we happened upon a Menards so I begged to go in because I wanted to get...

...ceiling tiles!! Yay! 49 cents apiece! I'm so happy!

"But you rent, Sus, why would you provide your own ceiling tiles?" you might ask. Silly Rabbit! I use cheap ceiling tiles as blocking boards and they work really well. I have gone many years with only one ceiling tile to block with and lately it has become more and more of a pain in the caboose. I can stiffen a snowflake -or- block an afghan square (and only two of each of those at a time, if I really manage my space just right). But sometimes I have one thing ready to block before something else is dry and ready to remove from the board. I really don't want blocking to become my rate-limiting step because of a lack of 49-cent ceiling tiles. But now that I'm transportaionally challenged, it's difficult to get little things like this when the fancy strikes me. But sweet friend V is very tolerant. :)

Egads, it takes so very little to make me happy. I'm showing you a picture of three plain, white, cheap-ass ceiling tiles with absurd pride. I gots problems, kids.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Again with the doing what I said I would. Yikes!

As promised, crochet content! Yes, it's true! After a couple of weeks of just not being that into it, I sat around this weekend and made stuff. It was nice.

Okay, so it's not all crochet. I've been dinking around on these for a while here and there. Two down from this super sized skein, and another on the needles (just barely).

Okay, so that's not very exciting, I realize. But it's better than a meme, right?

Well, okay, maybe not. But how about this?

Now, I know this looks frighteningly like the last picture (it was laid out in the other direction) I posted of the Crazy Quilt Coverlet, but I added another strip, really I did! It now only lacks three strips of seven squares and the border. Considering how long ago I started it, it seems practically done! And it will be, I swear. It's already three years late for its recipient, so I figure a couple more months won't make much difference. I don't like that fact, but there it is. If only I didn't hate making those flower squares so much...

Yesterday I announced that I was going to make a handbag. I looked around for patterns, but I just couldn't find anything I liked. After a while of thinking, "that would be okay if it just did this a little more," and, "that's not the shape I want, I want it to go like that," I decided I was just being dumb. Since I seem to know just what I want so freakin' much, I should just make my own darned pattern and get the purse of my dreams! Well, I'm not sure that will actually be the case, but it's kind of fun to mess around with. I'm greatly inspired by the lovely little bags that Futuregirl makes and her adorable embroidered embellishments. So I took some inspiration from her, added some of the qualities I really wanted, and came up with a plan of action. Excellent! So everything is completely peachy, right?

Wrong. Remember my other requirement for this bag? Yep, it has to be made from yarn in my stash. Which is almost completely acrylic, so I'm resigned to the fact that it will be an acrylic bag. Okay, no worries. It's a test-run pattern design anyway. But here's the other problem with that requirement:

Oh, yes! Behold all the lovely spring colors to be found overflowing from my stash! Not! Okay, I could go for orange and yellow and think of the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniforms every time I carried it, but I'd rather not. I probably spent an hour trying to come up with some pretty colorway that made me happy. Finally, I found four remnants that would do. In fact, I think once it's all embellished, it will be pretty cute. I know that bottom stripe looks grey in the picture (I couldn't get it to come out any better), but it's not. It's brown. A taupe-y brown to be sure, but definitely brown.

In my mind, of course, this design will work perfectly. But as I've started crocheting the bottom of the bag, I'm suddenly not quite so sure. I've decided to toil on and see what happens. I've already revised my original plan somewhat, but I still think it will work out fine. I'm starting to get a little antsy that I will run out of the brown, but I've also decided that if the stripes are different on each side, that will be just okie dokie too. Don't worry, I'll post pics as I go along, and you'll have it all figured out long before I'm done. It's not very complicated.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gettin' my groove back

I'm baaaack!

Though I've posted a couple of times, they've been lame, I admit. I've been tired and sore from my shoulder woes and haven't wanted to do much of anything but read and sleep when I'm not in the lab. Not that I'm all better -- far from it -- but I've redoubled my efforts to get back into the swing of all things crafty and bloggy.

To that end, here's my Saturday Sky -- a beautiful, blue, cloudless sky that speaks to the gorgeous weather that we're in for today and tomorrow. Clear, sunny, 70F. I don't have any clear plans, but I may go out and about at some point. We'll see. Spontaneity! Thy name is Sus! (That's totally untrue, but I'm going with it this weekend)

So I'm crocheting this morning. Nothing to show at the moment, but tomorrow I'll show the progress on a WIP (it won't be particularly exciting, but it's something!). I'm also looking around for a good purse pattern.

In 2000, I won a jackpot of several hundred dollars in Las Vegas. I decided to spend the windfall on one large thing that I could always look at and say, "I won that in Vegas!" So I bought something that I could never otherwise justify -- a Coach bag. I love my Coach bag (even though it has always made me a little ashamed of the crap I gave my friend Trish when she did the same thing with her graduation money in 1992. What can I say? I've changed. Sorry, Trish.), but since then I've not been able to justify spending money on another purse. So. Styles change, trends come and go, and I want something small, springy, and cute. It totally doesn't count if I make the purse, I've decided. So, I'll make the purse. But it has to be a free pattern and made with yarn in my stash. So many rules! Also, it has to be something quick and easy because I want to use it soon. Now would be great, but even I'm not that great. Tee hee.

So, if you can bear to hold on for one more day (I know it's hard, but you're a trooper! You can do anything! You're a rockstar!), I'll have actual crochet content and the preliminary results of my purse pattern hunt. Oh, how we're all atwitter!


Friday, April 27, 2007

I may be curious, but I'm uninteresting

Because I'm copping out and posting a meme. It's harder than it looks.


It’s only words.


1. Yourself: curious
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, significant other: enthralling
3. Your hair: crooked
4. Your mother: huggable
5. Your father: folksy
6. Your favorite item: books
7. Your dream last night: mold
8. Your favorite drink: water
9. Your dream car: boxy
10. The room you are in: living
11. Your ex: past
12. Your fear: loneliness
13. What you want to be in 10 years? scientist
14. Who you hung out with last night? bartenders
15. What you’re not? prophetic
16. Muffins: blueberry
17. One of Your Wish List Items: sterling
18. Time: morning
19. The last thing you did: pee
20. What you are wearing: hoodie
21. Your favorite weather: jacket
22. Your favorite book: dystopian
23. The last thing you ate: breakfast
24. Your life: underway
25. Your mood: restless
26. Your best friend: Gator
27. What are you thinking about right now? flights
28. Your car: nonexistant
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: festivals
31. Your relationship status: married
32. What is on your TV? landfill
33. What is the weather like? overcast
34. When is the last time you laughed? evening

Maybe I'll have something real to say tomorrow. You just never know.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So random it's not even funny

  • So, I think maybe Dan Reeves is driving a bus in Milwaukee.

  • Range of motion is slowly improving in my shoulder, but the still hurts like the dickens. Okay, so, lately this phrase has been driving me crazy. Well, there are two of them: "...hurts like the dickens" and "...scare the dickens out of...". I want to know where these phrases came from and if they have anything to do with Charles Dickens. Because if someone could literally find a way to actually scare the Dickens out of me, I'd be eternally grateful. 'Cause, frankly, I could use those brain cells for other things. (Except for the BBC adaptation of Bleak House, that totally rocked. Probably because if was bereft of all Dickens prose save dialogue. Watch it if you can. Come for the Gillian Anderson, stay for the Wedge!!!!)

    Okay, I just looked it up on this here innernets. Apparently it has nothing to do with Charles Dickens, but "dickens" was a word for the devil and the phrase has been in use since before Shakespeare. Darn. Scaring the devil out of me would not be nearly as useful. Can you tell I'm not a fan? Oh well.

  • Recycling and art are cool.

  • Man, I hate it when I speak too soon.

  • And, finally, if your town was left out of the Artoo mailbox extravaganza, you can make your very own. Well, even if there is one in your city, say, right on your campus near the building you live work, you can still make your own... army of R2 mailboxes!!! Bwahahahahaha!!!


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ack! They're coming to get me!

It's a beautiful day in Beer Town! I went to the roof for this lovely pic and, on cue, the seagulls started dive bombing me. Yes! Dive bombing! Screaming their horrible little screams and swooping inches over my head with death in their beady little eyes. A Tippi Hedren moment, to be sure. Did you know that seagulls are psycho in the spring? I had to ask around about this phenomenon and found out that it's nesting season and they claim all heights as their own. Apparently around the end of May they'll chill out and humans will be safe upon the roofs of the shore once more. But for now, dive bombing. Totally.

So enjoy that which I risked all for:

I haven't been crocheting or knitting or anything. I've been nursing a horribly messed up shoulder and I haven't felt like doing anything I didn't absolutely have to. I finally found a chiropractor up here and I like him and I've started a therapy regimen. It still hurts quite a lot and the exercises are still excruciating at this point, but I hope it will get better soon. So I don't know when I'll feel like picking up the needles and hooks again. Though I do hope to do some tomorrow. We'll just have to see. But I know I won't get any done today because...

I'm finally going on the Miller Brewery Tour! How could I have lived here this long and not partaken of this local tradition? Well, all will be righted soon. Afterwards, we're going to dinner at Saz's, another local mainstay, famous for their BBQ ribs (inasmuch as a Missouri girl can think of anyplace in Wisconsin being "famous" for ribs) and their sour cream and chive seasoned french fries. I've had the fries before; they're pretty tasty.

Last night, New Friend Veronica and I did not crochet. We did not go for a fish fry. Instead, we met at about 5 p.m. and set of towards the Lake on foot. We walked downtown, we walked along a road that winds along near the lakeshore, we walked through the East Side, we walked to the Old Watertower, we walked through gorgeous old neighborhoods, we walked by Burns Square (complete with big statue of Robbie Burns), we walked along Prospect Avenue and checked out cool apartment buildings new and old, we walked, we walked, we walked some more. We had supper and coffee at Alterra at the Lake, which is located in an old pump house that used to pump water from Lake Michigan into the Milwaukee River to combat the horrible pollution of city's waste, which they pretty much just dumped in the river. I think at some point they finally figure out that they could cut out the middle man and dump it directly into the Lake instead, freeing up the pump house for fair trade coffee. j/k. sorta. (V -- Yes, I know I'm completely talking out of my ass. No one else has read this far, so it probably doesn't matter. Tee hee.) We had a super awesome time. Next time I won't forget my camera like a complete doofus.

And, finally, this will probably come as a surprise to no one:

I am nerdier than 81% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Yes, that's right, kids. Bow down.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Haven't felt like it

I didn't make a flake this week; I have no funny account of any event nor deep pondering of my life. So I haven't blogged.

I am very sorry for the events at Virginia Tech this week, but I don't feel an urgent need to go on about it. What I have found because of it, however, is a very interesting post that I'd like to share. It was written in response to the response to the 9/11 attacks, but it fits beautifully with the response to the Virginia Tech shootings. I hear too much of this kind of thing, too much of the time, in response to all manner of things. I repost it in its entirety:

Why the Bombings Mean That We Must Support My Politics

Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.

Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events.

Countries which I like seem to never suffer such tragedies, while countries which, for one reason or another, I dislike, suffer them all the time. The one common factor which seems to explain this has to do with my political views, and it suggests that my political views should be implemented as a matter of urgency, even though they are, as a matter of fact, not implemented in the countries which I like.

Of course the World Trade Center attacks are a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. But we must also not lose sight of the fact that I am right on every significant moral and political issue, and everybody ought to agree with me. Please, I ask you as fellow human beings, vote for the political party which I support, and ask your legislators to support policies endorsed by me, as a matter of urgency.

It would be a fitting memorial.

Please, be reasonable out there.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Loving where you are

It was bright and sunny and beautiful here... yesterday. Today, I have one more in a long line of dreary overcast days. I don't mind the weather at all (in fact I kind of like it like this), I just get tired of taking the same picture over and over. Oh well. Summer will be upon us soon enough and I'll have bitchin' of a different kind, I'm sure.

I've been having a really happy time at school lately. It's like something, somewhere finally clicked and I feel really at home. All week I was really appreciating my school and my department and all the people I spend so much time with. Our department is small and incredibly friendly and any professor will take time to help you with anything, whether they've ever had any dealings with you in the past or not. Whether you're in the same field or not. It just doesn't matter. Everyone helps. How could I ever wish for anything other than this?? So I thought all my feelings about my life here in Beer Town were warm and fuzzy. And I was so wrong. But I didn't realize it until last night.

Last night, New Friend Veronica and I planned to crochet. Really, we did. But we got a hankerin' for Roly Poly, which is all the way in Brookfield, and while we were there we shopped (God, how can you not in that total commercial immersion experience?), then we just drove around. I love doing this. I get to see parts of the city I ordinarily never go like the East Side and, in the case of last night, suburbs such as Bayshore. It's fun and cool, even though we usually do it at night, when it's hard to see most of the sights. At one point, we turned around and drove along the lakeshore back towards the city. I was newly enthralled with my city. I love our water tower (beautifully illuminated, along with its fountain, at night),

the Milwaukee Art Museum is super cool,

and I just got chills as we drove towards the heart of downtown. I wish I'd had my camera because I can't find a picture on the 'net that does the view justice. But it was like seeing an old friend. "Oh, you!! I really like you!!!

It was one of the moments when you realize, as much as you like the life you've made for yourself, you've allowed it to narrow to the immediate surroundings: Work in lab, sleep in apartment, shop, eat, and drink in establishments between the two, and that's about it. I'd forgotten how much I love the city that's basically just across the street from me in the other direction. I suppose winter and being busy do that.

So I'm newly in love again with my new city and I feel at home in my department and my lab. Life is good. This summer is going to be great. I can't wait.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Literary frustration and stupid groundhogs

I've read two books in the last week. Pleasure reading, even. Granted, they were quite short, but they were books, and I read two of them.

I bought both of them years ago at a local bookstore in my hometown called the BookStop which was run by mothers of girls I went to school with. It was charming and friendly and sometimes Gator and I would just go in and read the backs of books we wouldn't ordinarily read then buy a bunch of them. Many I've not yet read. But I brought a few up here with me and I finally pulled a couple off the shelf. Both enthralled me but both, ultimately, left me completely unsatisfied. I suspect "literary types" would say that this is because I'm unsophisticated and want everything laid out for me. Well, not exactly, thankyouverymuch, but it's true that I don't read Finnegan's Wake for a reason. I want to read a story. Stories, according to Mrs. Espey, require a beginning, a middle, and an end (climax, deneoument, etc. etc. yes, I know, it's still a beginning, a middle, and and end). If you refuse to end your story, don't get pissed at me because I find this annoying. You're not cool and edgy, you're falling asleep on the job.

The first book I read this week was Who Will Run The Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore. Funny, in just looking up the Amazon entry to make that link, I noticed that the reviews were either five or one stars. Strong feelings. I agree. It is both good and awful. A book that I refer to as "all middle". The beginning is awkward, as if you're already supposed to know something you don't. The main story is a flashback. The middle (of the "middle") eventually draws you in and you start to really care what's happening to these girls, teenagers in a small town with lives that are unappealing and so they try to create something more fun, something finer, that they share only with each other. This part was well written and enthralling. But reality eventually intervenes and life marches on leaving their constructed "lives" behind. The present is briefly described and a future hinted at. And then it ends. Infuriatingly.

The thing that is most troubling is that this is the story of a woman, unsatisfied with her life, who reminisces about her teenage life with her best friend and laments the loss of the girl she was then. Or, more precisely, the loss of the girl she wasn't then, as she mostly wanted to be her best friend back then. She finds that she's become jaded, cynical, not-so-nice. But I don't know why. Am I supposed to say, "Oh, well, yeah. We all get jaded and cynical. That's just life and growing up"? Well, it's not. I'm unsatisfied. Harumph.

The second book I read in one evening. It was Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates. I'd never read any of her stuff before, but I knew she was a pretty popular author and fairly well received critically. It seemed interesting when I bought it, so I went ahead and jumped in. AND WAS IMMEDIATELY, IRREVERSIBLY SUCKED IN. Wow. Cool book. Slice of life of a sexual psychopath told from his effed-up point of view. But. So "slice of life" that again with the no ending. Man. I understand what she was trying to do, what she was going for (more so than Ms. Moore, anyway), but I read the last page and actually threw the book across the room. Sucker-punched. Killer.

I know there are different kinds of reading. What I want right now is pure escapist reading -- the pure bliss of reading something that WILL NOT have the words immunofluorescence or mitochondria in it ANYWHERE. But I can't stand formulaic stories or your typical romance novel or fantasy one-off. So I look for something quirky because, let's face it, I'm quirky. But quirkiness often comes with the "meaningful stylistic contructions" that just piss me off. So, once again, I may be too weird for the world. I'm pretty used to it, really I am.

But thanks for letting me vent about it, anyway. :)

Now, in hot "Hows about some nice groundhog stew?" news: It's April 11, and we're going to get six inches of snow today, with three more likely tonight. Oh, and 40 mph winds. This is why we need so much beer up in here. Seriously.

Maybe all this is just how I make the lab look like a pretty warm, fuzzy place.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Blood on the snowflake, with flying cow

Above sung to the tune of the John Mellencamp classic, Rain on the Scarecrow. I'll be doing it all day.

Hi! I'm alive, never fear. Just crazy busy for a bit, then while recovering from that I just couldn't even bear to read blogs, let alone write on one. Ah well. Way back at the beginning I warned that this would happen.

Snowflake Mondays: Again with the no blocking. Just couldn't get around to it. Never in my life have a hated making a snowflake so much. Especially the last round. I thought it would never end and that my fingers would be bloody stumps by the time I was done. Ick. Maybe this is what I get for selecting a pattern with so freaking many picots right after deciding to switch to size 20 thread and a US10 hook. Ever shoved a tiny steel hook way far up under your fingernail with some force? Yeah. More than once. You would think I would learn. I did manage to keep blood off the snowflake, you'll be happy to know. But it was close. Anyhow, if I want to have one for next week, I'm going to have to pick something really easy. And no picots. While I heal. Owie.

And you thought crocheting wasn't an extreme sport. Silly muggles.

#79 from LA's 99 Snowflakes

I got to see Gator last weekend! I went to a protozoology meeting in St. Louis on the 30th, and he drove over and spent the night with me! I was so happy, but so sad to let him go again. I hadn't seen him since Christmas. I don't think we should ever go that long again. Anyone know of any good jobs for archivists in WI? I'm ready for him to move up here. Yessiree.

This is what the Easter Bunny left for me. Of course, the bastard couldn't find my actual house, so I had to go retrieve it from the convenience store up the street. And then pay for it. Harumph. Stupid Easter Bunny. But! Awesome Vermonty Python! It has little chocolate cows in it! I desperately want to fling one off the top of my building, which I've already taken to calling "Catholic Kuhnigits". I'm surprised how many people don't get it. Luckily I'm used to living in my own little world.

No rest for the wick-- er, grad students. Back to the lab with me!!