11.29.2013


9.18.2013

It would be fair of you to think that this blog has been abandoned. Really, it's just been terribly neglected while I've worked in summer stock. For any civilians reading this, I should explain that summer stock is an intense form of theatre in which everyone works impossible hours, drinks too much, and sleeps too little. I highly recommend it.
I hadn't worked a stock season in six or seven years. One of my dearest friends, herself a summer stock vet, asked me if I wasn't too old for this shit. I was insulted at the time, but while working with a department full of twenty-two year olds, I saw her point. "Kids today," I find myself saying to one of the other adults here. Mostly, I mix my shows and try not to be too homesick. I like to think of myself as a bit of a gypsy, but I miss the familiar things: strong coffee, good ethnic foods, and decent fucking pizza.
I've been knitting less than I do at home. Just as well, since there's no local yarn store within two hours' drive. I packed what can best be described as an optimistic amount of yarn, knowing that I'd be left to my own devices, knitting-wise, here. So far, I've knit: two shawls (and abandoned a third), a funky lace weight scarf, a big lace cowl, opera-length armwarmers, an unfortunate tee, and a single sock. Looks like a long list when written down, but it hasn't felt very productive. Most days, I spend hours with my hand hovering, ready to spring over my mixing console, or doing painstaking repairs with a soldering iron. Both involve a similar wrist movement to knitting, which really cuts down on the amount of lacemaking I do at the end of the day.

4.15.2013

Things I Have Said Recently

I'm having an accordion emergency.
Yes, I'd like to try some free wine.
I need to work on my fundamentals before getting a concertina.
Fuck this shit.
I'll have a Cabernet.
He says that he's straight but he puts off a gay vibe. He's welcome to prove it anytime.
I'm getting a new accordion and you can't touch it.
God, this shawl is taking forever. Maybe it's the 300+ stitch long rows.
Mad Men last week was a disappointment.
Thank you for asking to see my ID.
The DMV was full of other people having a birthday. You know, procrastinators.
I'll take a Febreeze shower on the way to work.
Why does it smell like Salisbury steak?
Apparently, they respond well to me being a total dick.
My dentist told me to stay away from leftover Easter candy. Leftover, ha!
Thanks for making that awkward.

4.10.2013

Here I am, nursing my first giant cup of coffee of the day. My grandmother gave me a burr grinder for my birthday, so I'm finally able to use my French press. I love the ceremony of making the coffee and just want to drink it all the time.
The mixing console came back from the shop a few weeks ago, with an amusing diagnosis. I was right about shorts on the board; there was tinsel inside the mixer that was creating arcs. No one at work can remember the last time we used tinsel, though there was an aluminum tree in our Christmas show. Even though everything is dandy with the analog mixer, I'm doing most of my heavy lifting with the digital board.
The other reason for using the digital board is that it will make things easier when I hand my current show off to another engineer. My secret motivation in wanting the system shipshape is that I am leaving my gig at the end of next week. It's so much easier not to have to explain dozens of quirks. This is a positive move for me. I will miss some of my coworkers, but I need more work than my current gig offers.
I'm taking off for a sit-down out West and it is slowly dawning on me how long six months is. There aren't any yarn shops where I'll be, so I have to take whatever I'll need (or want) to knit for the next half-year. Predicting what I will want to make is tricky. Fortunately, I have a fairly deep stash, but I don't want to take all of it. My friends and family keep reminding me that anything I need or forget can be obtained through the magic of the Internet, but you can't fondle yarn through a computer screen. Sometimes instant gratification is required!

2.14.2013

Today, I impulsively decided to go see a movie. This time of year is usually dead for films, but I managed to find a real gem: Quartet. I was the youngest person in the theater by at least thirty years, but I don't think that I am the target audience. If you haven't heard of it (and it hasn't received a lot of press in the States), Quartet is a film directed by Dustin Hoffman about a group of retired musicians and opera singers. The acting and music were superb.
The film ends with the quartet from Rigoletto, which really has to be heard to be believed. Transcendent, really. When I was walking down the hallway, I passed by another theater playing Les Miserables, with one of Fantine's songs bleeding through the wall. It was like smelling Burger King after eating at Mortons. Why would anyone want to listen to that when there is real music, I thought. All my friends who have been raving about the new Les Mis film are just not going to convince me to see it.
The other thing that struck me about Quartet is that it is an unusual film. How many films are made today about adults, without sex scenes, violence, action, or some other element that appeals to 18-25 year old men? How many films focus solely on characters in the autumn of life, without some sort of subplot involving an adorable or troubled grandchild? I suppose I am a sucker for a film like Quartet, since I adore music and understand too well the way in which the characters reminisce about productions they did fifty years earlier. The work was their lives, in a way that it isn't, I suspect, for actuaries and garbage men and postal workers. Performers and artists really shoot for the moon in expecting their work to provide everything. Civilians don't expect that, do they?

On the personal front, I haven't been shooting the moon lately. I've had a lot of technical problems that make me feel like I might have a heart attack every night at work. One night, I was just sitting there in front of the mixer, not touching anything, when all of the channels' signal lights blinked off and on for about a minute. What The Fuck? There's got to be a short in the mixer somewhere, damned if I know where though. I hate having to fervently hope that all of my gear will work as the (metaphorical) curtain goes up every night. I just want everything to work consistently. The mixer is in for repairs, where trained technicians who probably make more an hour that I do can track down all those intermittent problems. I'm trying to get everything shipshape and Bristol fashion, to counteract all of the short term thinking that has allowed the sound system to be in such a state.

9.25.2012

There is no perfect project

The trees are wearing their yellow flags. The weather is crisp and suited for sweaters. Ah, Fall! I find myself turning the lamp on earlier and earlier these days. The cats sleep in tighter balls and their coats seem a bit thicker. It's the perfect time to start (and ideally finish) a cozy sweater.
I have plenty of Christmas knitting to ignore, so I did a stash dive to find yarn for a new project. My criteria: enough to make a sweater, wool, and suitable for a relatively boring project that can be knit at work. About four years ago when I worked at a yarn shop, I bought a kilo of Manos del Uruguay yarn to make a large shrug. Yes, there were plenty of jokes at work about getting a kilo from South America. Well, the shrug never got made and the yarn stayed in my stash waiting for the perfect project. I thought again about making that shrug, but it doesn't seem like something I'd wear very often.
Anyone who keeps a stash will recognize this situation. Precious, precious yarn never finds the perfect project. Nothing ever seems worthy of the stashed treasure. You can't have your stash and knit it too. There is no perfect project. Find something that you like that works with the yarn and make it. How much enjoyment is really derived from yarn sitting in a drawer?
That Manos was ripe for knitting, I decided, recalling that I had a pattern calling for that yarn in one of my books. I'd made the Not Your Standard-Issue Sweatshirt a few times before, using Malabrigo Worsted. Malabrigo is amazing, but its merino softness leads to an unacceptable amount of pilling and a shorter garment life. And readers, I wore the shit out of those sweaters. Here's hoping the corriedale wool in the Manos will give it more staying power. I've already knit the back and have started on the front. I'd say that this is a quick project, but I recall from previous versions that the hood takes forever. Oh well, I've got plenty of time to work on it during the show.


 
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