I just posted a diatribe on my Myspace blog. I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today. I was roused at 9 AM to drive my car various places, which was quite a bad idea, as I still was quiet sleepy and had planned a late reveille on my important last day off before tech. I'm going to be running myself ragged, so why start today?
My cat discovered the mail slot today. We've had him almost a year, but he never noticed it before. He can be quite the charmer, which is good, because he gets in his moods sometimes. This afternoon, for example, he was very cranky. The other day, however, he amused me by ringing the bell hanging over my computer. Yes, I realize that it is strange to have a bell hanging like the Sword of Damocles there, but it's part of a hard to describe handmade decoration brought back from the Caribbean by my grandmother. I was sitting in the living room when I heard a bright little ring from the kitchen. I didn't realize that Winston could reach the bell, but there he was, practically standing erect behind my massive 19" monitor to reach the bell. He misunderstood my laughter and took off. Tonight, I must make sure that he doesn't bolt out the door while ajar for the distribution of candy. So, far, only two groups of trick or treaters have come to the door. It's dark, cold, and raining, so I can't say that I am surprised.
My mom bought a new knitting magazine today, published by Interweave Press, called knitscene. Somehow, they've managed to assemble a knitting magazine with a minimum of patterns and maximum of advertising. Sure, they've got loads of lovely photographs of projects in the magazine, most of them composed in a fashion that hides a multitude of sins in a garment/pattern, but only provide a link to their website where the pattern ought to be. All that for the princely sum of $7.99! I wonder if there will be a second issue of knitscene.

Fossil Fuel

I've driven my car a lot over the past few days. Not a ridiculous amount. I haven't driven out to the curb to collect the trash cans after collection or anything. And I've had really great parking karma. Friday, I drove out to the theatre in Indiana for a recording session and impromptu dinner with a colleague. I then took the Skyway (lead foot, IPass, and badass attitude in evidence) into the city to go to a cabaret. Yes, cabaret, but there were no scary Liza Minelli eyelashes in evidence. But first, I had to swing by a friend's place on the other side of town. Who wants to go to a cabaret alone? We had to circle for about ten minutes before getting a really good space. A lot of people were out--in crazy costumes--in Wicker Park for Halloween parties, presumably. We saw a trio of girls in bizarre pink plastic wigs. I don't mean fake hair wigs, I mean frightening pieces of plastic in the approximate shape of hair worn on these girls' heads. I suspect that they were dressed as manga characters. The cabaret was interesting. Even though we had comps, the two drink minimum was not waived. This was explained to us in a rude manner by our sassy gay waiter; he didn't bring us the drinks or the tab, just the attitude. I enjoyed the show, even though the sound lacked finesse.
I got embarrassingly buzzed on a single martini (served in an ugly glass), so Lewis drove my car, to the sounds of Peaches' Teaches of Peaches. He wanted to hit an ATM before we went to the diner for some late night carbs, which lead to a sad stoner version of all those Chase commercials on tv. I wonder how long he would have driven around looking for a Bank One, as they've just gone on a sign-changing spree this past week. They even have commercials showing off the new signs, scored with The Beatles' "Hello Hello". At first, I was disgusted to hear a Beatles tune in an ad, but then I realized that Michael Jackson needs the money.
The next day, I had a business meeting back in Wicker Park. On the way there (ha!), I stopped by Women and Children First, in search of a Canadian indie zine. They didn't have it. Neither did Quimby's Comics, but I had very nice conversations with clerks at both bookstores. Afterwards, I swung by Nina (even finding a free parking place less than a block away) to pick up a skein of Manos. This was the second store that I checked in 24 hours for the yarn needed to complete my scrap hat. They didn't have the color needed either. Instead I bought a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn to knit a pair of socks for some lucky relative. The owner (I think) and I had a nice chat as she wound the skeins for me with her lovely wood swift. She was amused that I'd pinned my usual messy chignon up with a pair of bamboo knitting needles. Usually, I use pencils, but it's easier to find a pair of needles in my house. Imagine that. Then I drove home. Thank god I filled the tank with cheap Indiana gas.
Today, I went back to the theatre to do some pre-production work for my show that goes into tech on Tuesday. I thought that I would be there for a few hours, but ended up staying for ten. Still, I managed to program mute scenes for the entire show into the board, sort out the wireless microphones and transmitters, and watch amusedly as the designer played with his new P-Touch labeller. That labeller was worth its weight in gold, as everything needed to be tagged in our new configuration. The theatre bought a new mixing console (huzzah!), microphones, loads of rechargeable batteries, and some cable. All of this had to be sorted out before tech starts on Tuesday morning. As they don't have a sound person on staff, this responsibility fell largely to the sound designer. So far, I like the new mixer. It's more ergodynamic than the last one, and it works.
I have tomorrow off (though I guess it's today now) to have my last lie-in for a while, get a bit of knitting done, and maybe go to the library. No big Halloween plans. I'll probably just hand out candy to the kids, perhaps while wearing my red wig and sequined horns (from Scotland!). We haven't had that many trick or treaters the past few years, but, as my grandmother observed, the price of gas has really gone up. Maybe people won't drive their kids to more generous neighborhoods this year.


I found a couple of balls of Manos Stria yarn left over from a sweater I made last Spring when I was cleaning, so I decided to make a hat. A nice, simple hat takes about 110 yards, depending on the weight of the yarn and the size of the head. I'm making it for my sized head, which is not freakishly large, but not small either. So, I carefully knit a "random" stripe pattern to maximize the rose color, of which I had less, and planned on using the cream as the primary color. Even though the cream ball was larger, it wasn't large enough. I got all the way to the conic section of the hat (aka the top), then realized that I am going to run out of yarn. I don't have any more odds and ends of this yarn, which means that I'll have to buy another skein to finish my "thrifty" little project.
I got three Netflix DVDs today. They're all Felicity episodes, which is apparently cliche central for me. I really don't spend all my time watching Felicity, or Lifetime Television for women and gay men. Yes, I like the Gilmore Girls, but that isn't shameful. So, three dvds of Felicity, which I haven't watched yet. I, like many other people, watched the first season of Felicity, It was interesting, since I was in college at the time and had a penchant for mixed tapes. But after she cut her hair, I really didn't watch it anymore. It wasn't the shear job, really. They kept moving it around on the schedule where I lived, and I started running shows, which essentially kills any primetime tv viewing. So, no Felicity for me. Then I happened to catch an episode from the last season on We over the summer. I got sucked in, so now I'm trying to fill in the gaps. Apparently, Felicity's hair grows back. The first season was hard to revisit, because she was so goddamn earnest. We all like to pretend that we were never like that!
Did anyone else see the letter to the editor that John Cameron Mitchell wrote to Time Magazine? I love, love, love, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, so I was disappointed to see their one sentence, conservative, reactionary description of the film in their recent article about gay teens. So was Mr Mitchell. I wonder if the author of the article has actually seen Hedwig, or just had it described to him by someone else. It features some universal themes, if the viewer can move past the fact that the protagonist is an East German tranny. Maybe I'm expecting too much from Time. It isn't the New Yorker, after all.


Today, men were supposed to come and cut a giant hole in the side of my house, then leave me with wonderful modern window replacements. Yay, I thought, no more drafts while watching MASH late at night, or cold breezes in the shower in the middle of winter. Much furniture was moved to facilitate this. Except for one small problem. The installer is stuck in a shelter in Cancun, riding out the hurricane. Why, why, why, would you go someplace on vacation AFTER a hurricane was predicted to make landfall there? They can't reschedule the windows right away, so most of one of the walls of the house will be removed during the second week of November. November in Chicago! Poor Winston was even taken to the vet for the day so that he wouldn't be tempted to stage the great escape while the window was out. He was fetched a few hours later, so that he can play in whole new areas of the living room where he's never sniffed mysterious invisible objects before.

I spent a good chunck of the day asleep, since I'd stayed up all night transferring all the music from my ipod to my hard drive. There are programs that allow you to do that (since Apple had to make a deal with the record companies promising that ipods wouldn't be the little engines of music piracy that they are), but none of them work cross-platform. That is, none are written for people with FAT32 drives on their ipod moving files to a Mac OS. Macs can even "see" Windows ipods, but not vice-versa. They're just going to drag that out forever, aren't they? So, I had to hack the ipod (super easy, despite what Apple says) and transfer the files to my PC, then transfer the files via sneakernet to the Mac. This took, perhaps ten hours. That's an hour a gig. I lost all my playlists, except the one that I scribbled out on a legal pad before taking a deep breath and reformatting my ipod's hard drive. Well, it means that I'm rid of all the vestigial lists that never get played anymore, and some restructuring of my "Hard Living" playlist. It's a work in progress.

So, no knitting today. I did spend a few minutes rounding up all my needles into my big pink knitting bag (from France!), and putting patterns into my binder. It's so much better not to squint at crumpled pattern sheets, when I can squint at patterns in page protectors. I'm currently working on a bag made out of Cherry Tree Hill Melange, knit on the bias. I think it may need a lining when it's done, due to the snagginess of the yarn. It reminds me of production notes that I read in a book about Edith Head, where she states that she chose fabrics that would snag for Tippi Hedren's suits in The Birds, so that it would really show where the birds pecked at her. Design is all the little details that tell the big story! Anyhoo, there's a picture of the bag in progress, not looking like a bag at all.

I'm multitasking this post. It's time for the Late Show with Craig Furgason. I think he's the cat's pyjamas. He doesn't do a regular monologue like the other talk show hosts. He just tells amusing anecdotes in a droll Scottish accent, like a recent story about his obsession with a pinball game he bought over the weekend. His humor is so dry and smart, it's completely lured me away from years of Conan watching. He is awfully tan for a Scotsman... He often tells patently false stories about life in Scotland, such as people in Scotland being so repressed that they have sex through the mail. "I love my inhibitions," he said, "They save me from my ... hibitions". He went on to explain that kilts are practically guaranteed sex, and that men would be arrested if they acted the way that women act around a man in a kilt. Maybe you should give Mr. Furgason a chance, on CBS after Letterman.


Mac Mini Attack!

Yay! This is my first post on my new computer. Yes, I decided to spend the money that I socked away during Over The Tavern and spend it on a Mac Mini. Now can be a Mac Addict x2! I did a bit of research (that is, hours of websurfing late at night) and found a great deal from a place in Vermont which I suspect to be run by old hippies. They have loads of pictures of dogs on their website and have links to donate money to organizations like Planned Parenthood and the local animal shelter. Very cool, no scary macrame or blown glass objects. So, I bought a Mac Mini, in order to actually do sound editing that doesn't involve a splicing deck and Bactine. My dad told me how underpowered they are with only 256 RAM, so I upgraded to a gig. Money well spent. After much anticipation, it arrived late Friday afternoon, right in the middle of a very good episode of The Gilmore Girls. Lorelei and company were quickly abandoned in favor of the humorously large box carried by the UPS man. But the Mini is so small, I thought. Well, it was a box inside of a box, with loads of large scale bubble wrap and expensive plucked foam. And two wee dog dolls, the calling card of the Apple Reseller in Vermont.

All was set up in less than an hour, including the dogs atop the CPU. I suspect that Winston visits them at night. Also established in that hour: the network adapter I already had doesn't play well with Macs, requiring the purchase and installation of an Airport card. Today, I braved the crazy weekend crowds on North Michigan Ave. to take my brand new computer to the Apple Store. I'd never been to one before, so it was an interesting experience. I saw veiled Muslim women buying ipods (when I told my mom this, she stated dryly, "They're not Amish"), an Indian woman trailing a beautiful sari around behind her as she lugged a printer in a box, and Japanese tourists buying black nanos. Oh, and a bunch of white people. It only took an hour, and over a hundred dollars, to get my computer ready to talk to my home network. Now I'm cooking with gas! In the meantime, I did some window shopping at Marshall Field's and shamelessly read a magazine at Borders, while sitting in the corner of the apparently unpopular art theory and criticism section.
Now, it is back in its rightful place, dogs at the ready, and I am, in the words of my dad, on a new computer high. It's similar to a sugar high, but much more expensive.

In knitting news, the berry colored cabled scarf is finally finished! Here's a photo of it in its natural habitat.

Now, I am making little progress on a bias-knit handbag out of Cherry Tree Hills Melange yarn. The pattern is a breeze (and available in a back issue of Knitty), but it's not getting as much attention as it should, due to the new computer. Also, the yarn is a weird ply of several different fibers, so it can get twisted around the needle as I'm doing a decrease or increase. Still, not a massive project. I've decided not to cripple myself cranking out gifts for xmas, so no one's getting a sweater, shawl, or lace anything this year. I still don't know what I will give several important relatives, but I've got a bit of time still.


Today is a red letter day. Two packages and a DVD! I'll have to stop thinking unkind thoughts about the mailman. Actually, I have the mailman to thank for the return of my mail service. Even though I complained three times, it was never communicated to my local mail carrier that the forwarding order was to stop. He took the initiative and rang the bell to inquire and now I get the New Yorker and packages from the UK and Netflix DVDs. Yay, mail!
I was really surprised that they both arrived on the same day. Says a lot about the Royal Mail, since they came from very different places in the UK. I bought four balls of R2 Rag Print, a discontinued yarn from rowan that feels like torn up tshirts, to make a poncho for one of my cousins. The R2 yarns are really different from Rowan's normal line. R2 is marketed at young, hip, design-conscious knitters (ie me and Lewis), but I think they go about it the wrong way. The patterns are all really tiny and a wee bit vague. I don't like to squint at a diagram. Also, I think that most people who are into customizing designs are already doing that and don't need a special design-wonk line marketed to them. But I digress....

R2 Print and my Liberty bag. Both British and fabulous!

When I opened the envelope, I was amazed by the smell of the yarn. Well, not really a yarn smell, but probably the scent of the shop in Wales where I bought it. It smelled of mint and something heathery, not quite lavender. My sense of smell has improved since I quit smoking, so I wonder if I missed out on this scent before.

Destined to be someone's xmas present!

This also arrived today. It's going to be knit up into a cabled scarf for an unsuspecting relative. The yarn, Rowan All Seasons Cotton, is really soft and cushy. I've already made a blue one out of leftover yarn from my ill-fated vneck shell. I liked it so much that I snapped this up from an English store on ebay. Oh, ebay... such a dangerous place for knitters.

ASC cable scarf, version 1


My show closed yesterday. I finally have my life back (free time, sleeping in, the ability to go places like the post office and the library while they're open)until the next show goes into tech at the end of the month. Ahhh. Now I have the chance to catch up on things that I've lately neglected, like emails, blogging, processing photos from the digital camera.


I am a bad blogger. I've thought about writing loads of times over the past few weeks, but never actually sat down to do the typing until now. I have been busy with work, but that's a standard excuse.
A week ago, on the 24th, I realized how soon Christmas will be here. To most of you, I am sure that three months seems like plenty of time, but other knitters will know exactly what I mean. This year, I am trying not to be too ambitious. No matching fisherman's sweaters for the family or any of that nonsense. Nothing with more than one seam. So far, I've made one scarf out of Gedifra New Age, a fantastic chenille tape. It feels like a muppet. Ho-hum designs are not my thing, so I added an intarsia monogram on one end. Fortunately, the person in question has no curves in their initials, so I didn't need to chart any of it. Oh, this is getting a bit technical.... This project also appeals to my thrifty side, since it was made of reclaimed yarn. It was purchased for a sleeveless sweater back in 2002, which sat unfinished for three years. If it isn't done by now, it never will be, I reasoned and ripped it out. My energetic cat offered his assistance, but settled to just watch with saucer sized eyes. I think that I have enough for another scarf or two hats. The trick is making them for people who don't know one another. And like medium dusty rose.

Hmmm... who could this be for?

My current project is another stash raider: a cabled scarf of my own design made from leftover skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton. It's fast work, and has prompted many comments from the older ladies at work. I sometimes sit next to the sound board during preshow/intermission and knit, since I don't like to leave the equipment unguarded but haven't much to do. My days of knitting during the show are a distant memory, now that I'm doing actual reinforcement instead of pressing GO three dozen times over three hours. Sigh. Ask me which I like better and you'll get a different answer everyday.
Planned: another ASC scarf, of similar design; a Manos multicolor hat for Sarah, my HLP; a striped hat out of odd balls of celadon and cranberry Manos (think thin stripes, which are so much easier to do in the round); a pair of socks (sounds small until you consider there are about 50,000 stitches in a pair of socks); and a lacy wide scarf/shawl out of Cherry Tree Hill yarn that I've had forever. I'd like to figure out some sort of young and fabulous use for my three balls of R2 paper yarn. Preferably something that doesn't require the purchase of additional yarn. Hmmm...
I got up at 6 am on Saturday. No, that's not a typo. Six in the goddamn morning, all because I love my Grandfather and told him that I'd help him at Pancake Day. This was greeted with general amazement when it actually happened. The last time I saw that time of day, it involved a fire alarm and a lot of swearing. There was no swearing this time, but plenty of smoke. The smell of pancakes and cooking oil was so strong that I had to take a shower before my matinee. Though I'm not sure that would have cut through the dense fog of old lady perfume typical of our matinees. My aunt and uncle came into town for the occasion, with their adorable dog, Ginger. Dog and aunt slept in while uncle and I flipped pancakes, making three generations of the family accounted for in the Pancake Day volunteer force. A lot of hard work and a lot of fun, but I was really tired during the matinee. So I unwisely ate lasagna for dinner and was ready to slip into a food coma before the evening show.
My show closes on Sunday. We've been counting down the days at work, which is funny considering that the show isn't unpleasant, nor are any of the actors. They're a great bunch. Still, everyone starts counting down to closing on opening night. After that, I have a few one-offs but nothing steady until Halloween. It'll be nice to have some free time, but I've found that paychecks are habit-forming.
I've found a way to do free photo hosting, so look for photos of my fabulous projects soon! As soon as I get around to taking them.

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