Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's the pictures that got small

Pajiba ("Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People") is holding a Classic Movie Week. So far, they've covered two of my favorites: Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd. (Do you know how I know Pajiba reviewer Dan Carlson is straight? All his headline quotes from Sunset Blvd. are from Joe, not Norma).

We caught Sunset Blvd. last week* at the CAPA Summer Movie Series at the Ohio Theater. That is the right environment for that movie: a late-20's classic movie palace, beautifully restored and preserved. You want to be with an audience that applauds when Norma says, "I am big. It's the pictures that got small." And there's nothing quite like that feeling in the grand, old theater when she looks right out at you and invokes "those wonderful people out there in the dark."

"Pajiba." What a great word. Reminds me of a word my grandma used to use: pajayvus. I'm pretty sure they mean the same thing.

* We also went to the "Vamp & Camp" Double Feature of
She Done Him Wrong and Cobra Woman; Mike, you should post a review.

Friday, August 24, 2007

First Impressions of "New Pathways"

I hear that the first printing of Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways for Sock Knitters" is sold out. I got mine because KnittingBrow yanked a copy out of a customer's hand and put it on reserve for me.

My first impression was that this was the best sock book ever written. I thought that this book was going to replace Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy as the Sock Bible, or expand the scriptures (Simple Socks = Old Testament; New Pathways = New Testament).

"New Pathways" has great photographs and illustrations, an engaging style, clear instructions, and beautiful page layout. The eureka moment of the book is Bordhi's discovery that increases for a sock can go anywhere in the arch -- just distribute 2 increases every 3 rounds. Bordhi runs with this idea, finding an incredible variety of design inspirations. Names are important, and she has attached wonderful labels to her different styles of sock architecture: Ridgeline, Riverbed, Upstream, etc.

I was most impressed with her formula for figuring out the length of the toe section of a sock: stitch circumference ÷ rounds-per-inch, subtracted from the total length of the foot. Awesome, right? And it worked!

Sort of.

For this sock, I tried her"Riverbed" architecture, made in the "Rainbow Trout" colorway. (Get it? "Trout?" "Riverbed?" I slay me). Bordhi says, "Riverbed architecture seems to fit many people exceptionally well, perhaps because it hugs the contours of the foot so naturally...." I like the theory, but as you can see, when I tried the Riverbed Master Pattern, I ended up with a pretty fat sock. The length is perfect, exactly what I was shooting for, but the sock is easily an inch too big around across the instep.

I'm not giving up. It could be that I've loused it up with inconsistent gauge -- I noticed that my gauge did change once I began increasing, and I ripped back a dozen rows to correct that with smaller needles. Bordhi has a great track record for successful innovation in knitting techniques, and there's so much great stuff in here. I hope I'm able to resolve my issues and bring the innovations of this book into my sock knitting toolkit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mephitis mephitis

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside...

Long time readers may remember how last summer we learned the hard way that skunks live nearby. On occasion I've had to close the bedroom windows in the night because skunk musk has wafted into the room, but we've had no close encounters since Mike's mishap. I fear that could change.

Ten minutes ago, I was leaning against the front door, stretching after my morning run (yes, I'm running again). There was a noise off to my right, and I figured it was one of the chipmunks that live out front. But when I looked, I saw a skunk shuffling toward me, not three feet away.

I dashed off, hoping to get out of the fallout zone if he cut loose. I know I startled him as much as he startled me, because I heard him scrambling as I ran away. I paced on the sidewalk for several minutes, scared to go back, but smelling nothing, I eventually made my way back into the apartment.

Better stock up on hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cobblestone Sweater

I wish it were otherwise, but when I decide to knit a sweater, it's generally because I think the model is cute.

So this is why, more than one skein into a plain, green EPS sweater, I broke the yarn and cast on for BrooklynTweed's Cobblestone Pullover from the Fall issue of Interweave Knits.

There's a garter stitch strip about 3 inches wide running up each side, which keeps the knitting fairly interesting. I'm eager to see whether the circular yoke construction fits me. And of course, as always, I expect the sweater to transform me physically so that I look like the model.

In a fun little change of pace, I've been winding the skeins by hand -- not into balls but into yarn cocoons. This is cool technique from Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop.

The yarn lies in this bundle, somewhat more loosely than in a ball. It's held in a figure-8 shape, and it unravels back and forth from the top of the cocoon. Mary Lou Egan posted instructions and a video on the Yarnerinas blog (instructions below the spelling stuff).

Friday, August 10, 2007

High Maintenance Ass-Clown

I entered "Venti Iced Tea, Black, Unsweetened, No Water" into The All-Knowing Oracle of Starbucks.

Behold the Oracle's wisdom:

Personality type: High Maintenance

You pride yourself on being assertive and direct; everyone else thinks you're bossy and arrogant. You're constantly running your mouth about topics that only you would find interesting. Your capacity for wasting other people's time is limitless. Your friends find you intolerable, that's why they're plotting to kill you.

Also drinks: Water. Bottled, chilled, with four ice cubes, a twist of lemon, in a crystal glass.
Can also be found at: Trendy martini bars

Wow. For my usual morning order, "Venti Mild," I got:

Personality type: Ass-clown

You tell people that you're an executive at your company. You think that your repeated references to being "addicted" to caffeine make you seem intriguing and dangerous. People think you're a sucker because you spend 60% of your annual income at Starbucks. Everyone who drinks Venti Mild ends up addicted to crack.

Also drinks: Zima
Can also be found at: Karaoke bars

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Aging sucks

The day I bought new running shoes, Mike and I went for a short hike after lunch. Midway through, I noticed a blurry spot in my vision. A bit later, I noticed that it was crescent-shaped, acting like the afterimage you see when you look at a bright light. It was a very bright day, so I assumed I caught a reflection off a windshield or something. It faded, but it was back the next day. I kept seeing it off and on over the week, and went to my optometrist to get it checked out.

He noticed that my left eye (where I could sometimes see the crescent) was still 20/20 but was now weaker than my right eye, and told me I had vitreous separation, something that happens to everyone when they age. If there's a problem, it will show up within 6 weeks, and I should call if there are changes. He also mentioned that I might need reading glasses.

So I went merrily on, still worrying off and on about the new blurriness. I decided to check in with my g.p. He looked alarmed, suspected I had retinal detachment, and sent me immediately to the ophthalmologist. Several tense hours later, the ophthalmologist confirmed the original diagnosis -- I'm getting old; it's nothing to worry about.

Oh well. I look good in glasses. Time to go buy some.

While I was waiting, I noticed this in the exam room:

If you click through to a higher resolution, you can see it says "Place sharp in container opening then lift door until sharp drops." When did "sharp" become a noun? Why wasn't I informed of this?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Pick my plate

It's about time for me to renew my registration, so I'd like your advice. Which of these options do you think is best?

Cast your vote in the comments, or send email to yarmando at gmail dot com.

Other suggestions are welcome, particularly if you can find a way to fit "Evil Sock Genius" into 7 letters.


Jacki's suggestion needs to be added to the ballot.