Friday, November 23, 2007

Minced Oaths

Go read rcclive's tale of cascading medical administrative errors. That she can call this a "comedy" speaks to the strength of her spirit. Personally, I'd begin to think that a bureaucratic universe was conspiring to kill me.

As I was composing my comment on her post, I was trying to think of an appropriate (for lack of a better word) ejaculation. "Good God" and "Good Lord" don't mean anything to me. Curse words seemed inappropriate. So I just settled on "Good Grief."

Googling "creative ejaculations" wasn't really helpful -- it was a bit icky in fact. Eventually, I found this handy list of minced oaths from the Phrase Finder.

And if you're in the mood for a good adolescent laugh, check out the Great Internet Swear Word Project.


Oh, and while I'm on the topic of language, I should mention that my final, written appeal for the license plate "TOE UP" was rejected. I should have selected something else, but I was annoyed. So I just renewed my existing tags and asked for the balance in a refund.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Me want

I'm sure you're seeing the news everywhere: Amazon has released their eBook reader, the Kindle. How funny that the book displaying on the device at the start of the demo video is Diamond Age, a novel about how an eBook changes one girl's life and reshapes the world.

My profession, of course, will be unable to respond.

Biggest draw? Free wireless access to Wikipedia.

Dear Santa, I have been a very good boy this year....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Very brief break from socks

Last weekend, I had one of those happy moments when I was vaguely interested in knitting something different, saw a pattern that appealed to me, and found the perfect yarn sitting in my stash.

A couple years ago, the Stash Fairy had provided me with some lovely, blue, baby alpaca cashmere -- I think trying to tempt me into lace shawls. I decided it would be perfect to make the Henry scarf from the Fall issue of Knitty.

And I initially enjoyed the project. I crept forward, carefully following the instructions, not really understanding the purpose of the odd stitch repeats (right side: k2, sl2 wyif; wrong side: p2, sl2 wyib) until I suddenly realized that I was creating a woven effect.

But criminently, these rows are long -- 452 stitches. And if you screw up the positioning of your repeats, you lose the herringbone effect which is the whole point. Still, I figured I would get to the point that I could "read" the fabric, and could stop counting obsessively.

I would be wrong. I was sitting on an airplane, reaching the end of row 34, when I discovered that the whole row is off. Worse, when I sat down yesterday to start picking back, I realized that row 33 is off too. I'm not sure I like this well enough to tink 900 stitches.

Like a fool, this was the only project I brought with me on my trip. So yesterday, Mom and I popped up to Halcyon so I could return to sock land. One skein of Sockotta and a set of 40" Addi Turbos, and I'm back where I belong.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm sorry

This is what comes of my pedantic, writer-based prose style.

I'm truly sorry. I should work harder to be more readable.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pick me pick me pick me

Since I am (like many of my people) deeply scarred by the repeated experiences of being picked last for ball games, I feel ridiculously honored that crankygrrrrrl tagged me for this meme thing: open the book you’re currently reading to page 161 and read the fifth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag.

Having just finished Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road last night, I'm between books. But the fifth sentence on page 161 is a doozy:
But the remainder of the journey to the apartments of the kagan partook of the labyrinthine tedium of a dream, and she was never afterward able to recall it, or to say how, in the darkness, with her last visit to the palace having occurred in her girlhood, with her mind disordered by the draft and the iron flavor of blood in her mouth, she managed to conduct the thieves, with accuracy and haste, to the heart of the heart of her world.
Isn't that first part great? "Partook of the labyrinthine tedium of a dream."

So let's see: who do I pick now?
  1. My honeybunch, of course
  2. S. is blogless, but she could probably respond creatively in her Flickr stream. Besides, this passage sounds like something she'd like: all Jamesian and shit.
  3. Cat, because I'm wondering if she's like me and most of the books she reads are less than 161 pages
  4. Stash Fairy, because I'm curious
You know what? I can't limit it to 5, because this is too much fun. If you're reading this, consider yourself the 5th person tagged -- especially if you're Jerry, Mary, Micah, Jacki, or Travis. And Matt, if you're not reading anything, put Bridget on.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Whirlwind Toe

Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters includes instructions for a "Whirlpool Toe," a toe-up version of the Star Toe. I call my variation the "Whirlwind Toe." It was inspired by Dawn Brocco, who when knitting top down advises you to decrease at 6 points every 3rd round until there are about 18 stitches, then decrease every round to 6 stitches.

My instructions assume you know how to knit with a Magic Loop, using one circular needle, 40 inches or longer.

Whirlwind Toe (Cliffs Notes Version)
Verbose Instructions below
  • Turkish cast-on 3 stitches.
  • Knit 1/2 round.
  • Knit 1 round with both working yarn and tail.
  • Increase at 6 points every round until there are 30 stitches (24 for thicker yarns).
  • Increase at 6 points every third round until you reach desired circumference.

Whirlwind Toe (Verbose)

Turkish cast-on 3 stitches
  • Hold your circular needle so that both ends are together, pointed to the right.
  • Pull the bottom needle to the right, and hold your top needle together with the bottom cord.
  • Start your yarn in back of the needles, leaving a 9" tail hanging.
  • Wrap the yarn over toward you, down across the front and up the back of the needles.
  • Repeat until you've made 3 loops around your needles.
  • You'll use the bottom needle as your working needle to knit the stitches which are wrapped around the top (or "left") needle.
First increase round
  • Knit across the 3 stitches on the "top" needle. Be sure to keep your stitches snug on the "bottom" needle.
  • Hold working yarn and tail together, and work 1 complete round.
    (There are now 6 stitches on each side, 12 in all.)
Second increase round
  • Drop the tail, and knit with only one strand of yarn.
  • Repeat *YO, K2* for one round. This sets up 6 increase points, using yarnovers for increasing. There are 18 stitches on your needles.
Third and Fourth increase rounds
  • Repeat *YO, K1tbl, K2* for one round (24 stitches on your needles).
    IMPORTANT: You must knit into the back of the yarnover stitches. This twists them, so they won't leave holes in your knitting.
  • Repeat *YO, K1tbl, K3* for one round (30 stitches on your needles).
Switch to increasing every third round
  • Knit two rounds plain, making sure to knit into the back of any yarnover stitches.
  • On the next round, repeat *YO, K5* (36 stitches)
  • Knit two rounds plain, making sure to knit into the back of your yarnovers.
  • Repeat *YO, K6* around (42 stitches)
  • Knit two rounds plain. (You know how to handle yarnovers by now, right?)
Continue increasing in this manner, with 6 yarnovers every third round, followed by two plain rounds, until you reach your desired stitch circumference. If that circumference is not a multiple of six, just do as many increases as you need.