Saturday, July 31, 2010

Go Go Go!

This week has been a busy one, hence the lack of anything resembling a blog post. Work has been 8-9 hours of non-stop focus and the evenings are dedicated to getting things ready for GenCon or zoning out in front of "Buffy  the Vampire Slayer" and knitting J's Anglers Loops Socks. While TV is  major time suck, it's been all my mind can handle at the end of the day.

Today was one of the crazier Saturday's I've had, since I generally like to chill on the weekends. I definitely feel accomplished though. I took Francesca (my car) in to get a new battery and now she runs much better. I did a book sell back at Hastings. I put in two hours at work to catch up on things before vacation next week.  I picked up a prescription, grabbed money for the trip, went to lunch with J, and am now sitting here with another Slayer episode and my computer, relaxing for a little bit before getting stuff together for tonight's game.

I still have alot I want to get done before Tuesday. Cleaning is priority because I don't want to come back to a messy house. Laundry needs to get done. I want to go ahead and pack my bag with all my carry around stuff. Basically, I just want to be prepared for this as best I can so we can get up Tuesday morning and hit the road. As much as I'm looking forward to this, I'm probably going to need a vacation from my vacation.

I'm calling tomorrow a rest day though, so I'm going to try to get some pics uploaded and maybe get a blog post or two done for the week.

Or I'm just going to sleep all day.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Countdown to Gen Con

In just a little over a week, J and I will be road tripping to Indianapolis for the four day gaming extravaganza known as Gen Con. I've only heard stories about how huge this thing is, but I don't doubt it. It's a big deal. Friends of ours go every year and this year, J and I decided to go as a bit of a late honeymoon.

We both have several things planned already. Both of us are doing one of the True Dungeon events, and I am doing both of them with my friend and honorary GC tour guide. We're registered for a DnD for Cash event, another tournament, a few seminars, and Hickman's Killer Breakfast. I've also signed up for some shows and J will be doing a few Magic: The Gathering drafts. I've got Hentai Dubbing on the agenda (think MST3K, but racy) and he's attending a Nerdcore concert.

Yes, people...this is going to be awesome!

However, I am a little worried about my nasty little social anxiety problem which has gotten worse in the last few years. It's not a constant thing, but large groups of people tend to make me panicky and claustrophobic and if ever I was going to be immersed in a crowd, Gen Con is that time. Thankfully, I'll be armed with happy pills and knitting to keep me as mellow as possible, plus the comfort of hanging with people I already know.

I'm hoping to get to meet a few fellow Twitterers and bloggers, so if anyone out there is going, let me know and we'll make plans to palaver over some d20s.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Wrap-Up

It's that magical day they call Friday.

The week was fast, which is good. New position is going okay on average. Some days were better than others. I cried one day, which isn't really a big deal because I'm a crier. New jobs are hard. It's frustrating to not know what's going on, and I hate having to wait for all my synapses to make new connections. But I like the work and I think when I get going on it I'm going to totally kick butt.

I'm working on two pairs of socks right now. The redone jaywalkers for the BIL and the Angler Loop socks for J. I'll post pictures later when I have some more to upload. So far so good.

This was a fail week for being a responsible adult. Next week will be better, I hope.

Today's J's birthday! He had to work all day and I went to knitting night with a few of my knitting pals. I think I'm going to start random KIP get-togethers since the rest of the year seems to be crazy busy for everyone. As for the B-Day boy, we're not doing anything exciting except watching South Park. However, there's something to be said for a quiet evening at home. Though considering how much I enjoy those quiet nights at home, I think I'm only a few steps away from being a hermit.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Wanna Do Bad Things With You

No, this isn't a pornographic post. For those of you who don't watch "True Blood," this is the main line from the opening credits song, Bad Things by Jace Everett which you can watch below if you so choose. Be warned...some find this clip a little disturbing.

I feel like talking about True Blood for two reasons, one of them being that J and I watched the latest episode tonight. The other is that I'm so happy with this season. I enjoyed Season 1 and then parts of Season 2 were good but for the most part I was ready for it to be over. I was a little wary coming into S3, wondering if it was going to be a repeat of last season's tendency to drag stupid things on for way too long. But the show is not disappointing this year. In the tradition of a season per book (the show is based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels), this round brings in the role of the weres and the shifters as well as several other vampires, including the King of Mississippi and Franklin. Some of these characters were only touched on in the books, but the show develops them to an entertaining extent. My guilty pleasure this season? Franklin, the psychotic vamp who develops a bit of an obsession for Tara.

Fun TV and a nice way to zone out for a relaxing evening.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Depression Rebounding

Last week was insane as far as work goes. Training for a new position is stressful anyway, but the work I'm doing now is constant all day long, at least if I want to get it done, which I sort of have to since it's all on a deadline. It reminds me alot of my OKC job. I'm not complaining. If anything, I prefer this sort of work and would rather have 8 hours feel like not enough time than too much time.

Usually I look forward to my weekends and enjoy them since it means being home and not at work. However, this weekend I'm having what I think of as rebounding depression. It feels like I was busy and productive and super for five days and all of a sudden I'm given some down time and I don't know what to do with it. The sad thing, there's all kinds of things I need to get done. I could sort my knitting stash. I could work on my writing. I could knit. I could organize and clean the house since it could definitely use it. But I don't want to do any of that. This puts me in a low, apathetic mood, which just makes me feel lower. It's a bad cycle.

It also means I've slept alot and haven't accomplished much of anything. I do have these weekends occasionally and it doesn't set a precedence for the next weekends, but this is one of the few times I'll be relieved for Monday to get here. In the meantime, this afternoon I am going to knit and watch "Conviction," a show off our Netflix queue that didn't last long considering the complete series is all in one. I'm going to put away some laundry and then try not to stress about everything else. Unfortunately, I have no idea what time I'll be able to sleep tonight since I slept until 1:30 this afternoon. I wasn't even up late...I was in bed before midnight.

But knitting and maybe some reading should definitely help.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Sock That Never Was

I'm going to focus on the positive of the situation, and that is that I haven't thrown anything across the room (namely yarn and needle) and I'm not crying, so temper and dramatic nature are both in check.

The sock I was working one was done finally, for all of five minutes. I completely misjudged what the pattern would do to the size, and that's even after I read the comments of other knitters who'd had the same problem. J and the BIL have the same size foot, so J was the tester for the FO, but he couldn't even get it on half his foot. Then I tried it on and it wouldn't fit me either. Sure, we're both wide footed people, but I'm pretty sure there was no way it was going to fit the person it was being made for.

So, it's being frogged and reknit at the same time, this time using the directions for the largest size. Who knows? Maybe that one will turn out to be too big, but better too big than too small, and considering the size difference the increases and decreases made, I think the big size just might work.

I've always hated the feeling of having wasted so many hours/days/etc. on something only to have to redo it, but I'm keeping calm about this. It's the process and a finished object that fits will be infinitely better than one that doesn't. Common sense, yeah...but I was really tempted just to keep it and try to find someone with a small foot.

So here we go again...back to the cast on.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Knitting in Public: Hastings

I decided to hang out at Hastings today while I waited for J to get off work, and I decided to use the time to work on the sock I'm knitting, the first in the pair of my BIL. I apologize for the quality of the pics. I didn't have my regular camera on me and I haven't figured out how to take phone pics like a pro.
I'm almost done with the foot and expect to have this sock done by the end of tonight.

I love Hastings. It's just one of those comfortable places I could probably sit at for hours. I also love that by selling stuff back, you can get store credit, which means that decluttering and a little bit of time spent chilling in the cafe with and iced drink (or warm one in the winter), a bagel or muffin, and a book or my knitting.

Today I was armed with my iPod as well and listened to a couple podcasts while I knitted. I got through the newest Lion Brand podcast and one of the back episodes of the KnitPicks podcast which I've been working on for awhile trying to get caught up from the past couple years.

Courtesy of the aforementioned credit, I was able to get a bagel and a frozen hot chocolate with a splash of orange flavor. It's an amazing flavor combo. I was there for about an hour and a half and it was another great indulgence after another long work day.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Joy of Pudding

It's been a few years since I've had jello or pudding for a snack at home, but on a recent shopping trip, J and I picked up a few different flavors. Tonight is pistachio. I love pistachio pudding. It looks like green slime (re: You Can't Do That On Television) and tastes awesome.

We're also enjoying some grape kool-aid, another blast from the past and a wonderfully "Joker" color combination when matched with the pudding.

And yes...I'm drinking it from a Bud Light glass which is not classy but still funny. I think that there are some days (especially when those days are Mondays) that you need to eat fun and tasty food for snacks just to keep your sanity. Today was one of those.


From the Queue: Audition, Franklyn, and Rachel Getting Married

It was another weekend for movie watching and knitting, and we're very slowly taking down the Netflix queue.

I'd seen Audition before but couldn't remember what had actually happened. I couldn't get the BIL or J to watch it with me, J because he doesn't like Asian horror and the BIL because he'd seen one part of Audition and didn't want to see anymore. The movie is disturbing, though you wouldn't know it from the first half of the movie. The main character, a lonely older man who lives with his son, is convinced to hold auditions to find a suitable mate. The one who stands out to him is a quiet girl who seems to understand pain, having had to give up her dream of being a ballet dancer at an early age. He's drawn to her, despite the warnings from his friend. In the audition scene, the movie plays like a comedy, but the last hour of the movie becomes disturbing. Not a good one to watch it torture and gore bother you.

Franklyn was a surprisingly good science fiction/psychological mystery about a strange figure who wanders a steampunk world called Meanwhile City looking for a cult leader and trying to stay away from the clerics of the world who's job it is to ensure that everyone has faith. Alongside his story are three others: a woman who attempts suicide frequently for both a project and an attempt to gain her mother's attention, a man who, after being jilted, reunites with a childhood friend, and a man looking for his son. The movie is confusing and dark, but was riveting enough to keep J and I watching to see how things were going to end up. The surprise performance for me in this movie was Ryan Phillipe. I haven't seen him in anything for quite awhile. and he was never one of my favorite actors anyway. It was hard to recognize him in this one. He's gotten older and I'll give him a thumbs up for acting improvement.

The disappointment was Rachel Getting Married, an indie film that received good reviews when it was released and stars Anne Hathaway as Kym, a recovering alcoholic who gets out of rehab to go to her sister's wedding. The movie moves like a documentary, and parts tend to drag. Not many of the characters were likable, and even though Hathaway played the part well, Kym is an awkward person that was generally just hard to watch. The family drama was realistic though, which will either annoy you or make you feel better about your own family drama.

Audition: A
Franklyn: B+
Rachel Getting Married: C+


Saturday, July 10, 2010

May the Force Be With You

This past week we watched the complete series of Star Wars movies. Contrary to popular suggestion, we started with Episode 1 and went in chronological order rather than order of release. I'd seen the originals before, but it had been years and I didn't remember much about them. To tell the truth, I never really understood what was going in the storyline. I knew that Vader was Luke's father, Leia was his sister, Yoda talked funny, and Han Solo had a large wookie. I also watched The Phantom Menace a couple times in college, but didn't remember much about that either.

The first three of the order (Episodes 1-3) are nowhere near as good as Episodes 4-6. In fact, "Attack of the Clones" was horrible and besides the Dooku/Yoda fight scene, a complete waste of time. Overall though, I'm glad I watched them. J and Drew kept me up on what was going on and I managed to follow the storyline. After the first three, I was able to watch the originals with no problem and actually knew what was going on.

What I loved: The fight scenes were great. My favorite, besides the one mentioned above, was Obi-Wan and Grievous. I liked the relationship  between Han and Leia. Yoda's awesome pop culture reputation didn't disappoint.

What I hated: The Anakin/Padme relationship was like a bad soap opera. Padme went from being awesome to just being whiny. Anakin had a few good moments when he was 10 and then it all went downhill from there. The acting between those two was horrible and Anakin was just an annoying, whiny character in general. Jar Jar Binks seemed fairly pointless.

The first three get an average grade of B-. The second three get an A.

Extra credit: I know have more pop culture reerences.


Friday, July 9, 2010

The Yarn Shop and More

Back in March when J and I went to a book signing in Kansas City, we stopped at a little yarn store in Overland Park and I followed our visit up with this review.

Knitters don't always have good experiences with yarn stores, and it was really nice to walk into a place and be treated like a valued customer. The worker was super friendly and impressive (her name is Julie if my memory hasn't failed me).

I bought some pretty clearance yarn, an addi circular for magic loop knitting, and a full set of circular needles which I love and have almost completely taken the place of my straight needles.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Off the Needles: Progress Socks

You may notice in the picture below that these socks don’t actually match. The colors are the same, but one looks like a nice stockinette sock while the other one looks like its mutant counterpart. I’ve named these the Progress Socks because I actually feel like I learned something from one sock to the other.

I really like magic loop sock knitting, but when I first started, I was concentrating more on getting the pattern right than I was in using my common sense. I believe the reverse stockinette in the Mutant started because I did the heel flap in the middle of a round instead of waiting to finish the round like I should have. Whether that really was the case or not, the second sock came out really well and I have no officially knitted my first pair of socks.

Despite the fact that they’re merino wool (mostly) and the weather has been warm, I wore them to work today. They’re soft and comfortable and didn’t match my outfit at all, so probably looked kind of goofy, but it’s not as if I’m the fashion guru of the office anyway.

The verdict on socks: I’ll definitely be making more and already have a new pattern to cast-on for, possibly later tonight.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From the Queue: Thr3E, Seven Pounds, and Asian Horror

J and I have an insane amount of movies on our Netflix queue, so I decided to try to pare down some of it by watching some things that have been on there awhile or deleting things I’ve decided I really don’t want to see. Movie and TV watching is one of my go-to activities for when I’m knitting, so generally the more TV I watch, the more knitting I accomplish.

This past weekend, we watched several movies. The first was the movie “Thr3e,” a fairly non-mainstream filmed based on the book by Ted Dekker. The main character, a seminary student, begins receiving threats from a voice telling him to confess his sins. When he doesn’t do what the mad man asks, something or someone gets blown up. With the help of a detective who lost her brother to the psycho and his best friend from childhood, the student tries to figure out what the bomber wants before more people are killed. It sounds like a pretty straightforward movie, but it’s got some turns I didn’t see coming. The acting wasn’t great, but it’s the kind of story that sticks with you after it’s over. Dekker is known as a Christian writer, but the nuances are subtle in the movies (I have yet to read one of his books, though I’d like to at some point).

“Seven Pounds” stars Will Smith and is supported by Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson. My first impression of this movie was that it was really slow. Will Smith plays a tax man who, at first glance, seems to be on a mission to help random people. The mystery of the story unfolds, though, and the story gains some depth. While it still felt sluggish, the ending was worth it and it was another movie that kind of haunted me afterwards. Good acting in this one. I like Will Smith and I love Harrelson, so even though he wasn’t a main character, he still added a lot to the movie for me.

My BIL and I watched a couple Asian horror movies. J is not a fan, so even though I found I could watch subtitled movies while knitting, I’m still on my own with these ones. The first was “A Tale of Two Sisters,” a weird story about two sisters and a mystery concerning their father, their stepmother, a strange presence that haunts the house. It was fairly creepy and a little confusing. I think I understood about half the weirdness and the rest just went over my head. The second was “Shutter.” This was made into an Americanized version a few years back, and there didn’t seem to be many changes to the plotline. I still felt the Asian version was better. If you haven’t seen this one (either version), a young couple is haunted by the image of a ghost that keeps showing up in the pictures the man takes. When his friends all begin committing suicide, the couple goes to find out the mystery behind a woman they hit on the road one night.
Also, we slogged through the first two movies of the Star Wars series (Episodes 1 & 2). The first one is okay. “Attack of the Clones” was a couple hours I can’t get back. I’ll be happy to get to the original three, though I’ve seen parts of “Revenge of the Sith” and found it fairly entertaining, even if the acting didn’t get any better.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knitting Talk: Acrylic’s Bad Name

In one of the podcasts I’m listening to, the podcaster made mention of acrylic yarn in a negative way. She may have just been rambling, and maybe the acrylic she used was yucky (some are), but it kind of irked me a little bit that acrylic has such a bad reputation.

Acrylic yarn (to bring my non-knitting friends up to speed) is synthetic yarn. It may come blended with animal fibers, but some knitters refuse to use it, wanting only to use yarn that comes from a natural source (sheep, bunnies, alpacas, etc.). Some find acrylic to be less texture friendly. Red Heart yarn of the old school variety helped with this bad reputation. It’s stiff and somewhat scratchy. However, many of the newer acrylics are much softer. Even Red Heart knits up some good things, like afghans and animal beds, really well.

I don’t take exception with people for not wanting to use acrylics. It’s a personal choice. I enjoy using acrylic yarns. Their texture doesn’t bother me, they come in all kinds of colors and they’re cheap, which means more affordable knitting. New knitters shouldn’t feel like there’s anything wrong with acrylic yarn, especially if they’re not entirely sure they’re going to enjoy knitting (or crocheting).

When I first started knitting, I was reading blogs and books about it and came across several harsh comments about acrylic. Considering that was what I was using at the time, I wondered if I was less of a “knitter” for not working with wool. I’m glad I got over that in a hurry and now know that there are people who don’t like working with wool either.

There are a lot of different yarns out there with different feels and different costs. I finally moved to something besides acrylic: first cotton (great for washcloths) a merino wool and nylon blend for a pair of socks. I love the feel of both of this yarns. Does this mean I’m going to shun acrylic and lock it in the closet like an evil poser? Nope. I have a ton of acrylic that can still be used for something awesome, including some old Red Heart which…rough as it is…softens really well in the wash.


Sunday, July 4, 2010


There was a time when I rarely had headaches. When I lived in Michigan, I remember having a few headaches and only two migraines. After I moved to OKC, they started becoming more frequent but they were still sporadic enough that it didn't seem to be an issue.

After I moved, to Kansas, however, I started getting one or two on a weekly basis. It doesn't seem to matter what I do: drink more water, stay away from caffeine, have caffeine, sleep well, exercise...none of these things have ever worked. I almost always have a headache toward the beginning of the week and then another one towards the end of the week.

The severity varies, but I have not been immune to the occasional migraine. I remember one migraine I had in our previous apartment that had me banging my head against the wall. Seriously. I know this sounds counterproductive, but the pain was that bad. The only thing that seemed to relieve it was to have J press down hard on my temples. The pressure relieved the pain, but of course when he stopped it was that much worse.

Today was a potential migraine day, and I still don't know if I'm in the clear. I took some ibuprofen and napped, and while that seemed to take the edge off, I'm still having some head issues. I've also been nauseous off and on during my waking hours. Strangely, noise doesn't make it worse. In fact, I've been listening to podcasts through my iPod and that actually seems to dull the pain. Maybe it's because I'm not focusing on the pain, or maybe it's some weird scientific thing. The pain gets worse when I stand up.

Hopefully I'll get some more sleep tonight and feel better for tomorrow. It's a day off from work but I have some things I need to get done before the work week starts, plus I'd like to get together with friends tomorrow night, and I don't need a stupid headache barging into my plans.

Hope it was a good 4th for everyone who didn't have a headache!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything Type of Day

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

The people outside are celebrating and have been for about three days. By celebrating, I mean they're popping off firecrackers constantly. It doesn't seem as loud as it did last year, which is nice. Or maybe I'm better at ignoring it. Yes, I'm not very celebratory this weekend, preferring to just lay low and relax. I keep thinking I'm going to do some housework, but I haven't yet and who knows if I'll get to it. The day is almost over and I haven't had the shot of motivation I need.

I have kept busy doing non-productive things though. Last night I finished the June washcloth KAL project from Rachel's Knitting Room. It was a really fun and quick knit and I didn't have to go rip back anything like I did with the May KAL.  I'm not sure if I want to keep the June KAL or give it to a friend who likes to garden.

I also finished the cuff on the current pair of socks I'm knitting. The first one looks like it needs a severe blocking, but I doubt if I'll do it formally other than wearing the socks around when they're done.

In the course of knitting, we finished watching the final season of  Wire in the Blood and the first season of   Lie To Me. Watching it reminded me of how much I like Tim Roth, and I'm not on a mission to get J to see Four Rooms.

I played some XBox too. I've generally been pretty darn lazy today but that's okay. Isn't that what a three day weekend is for? To recharge and do nothing? Tonight is our STAR WARS marathon, and even though I know it'll keep me up all night, I'm debating making some coffee to sip on tonight.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Aha! Moments

I’m in the process of changing positions at my job and while I was the one who made the decision to do it, I always find that training for a new job/position/duty is extremely uncomfortable. In general, I like learning new things. It’s like school…the initial idea that I’m going to inherit a new wealth of info seems awesome. I have mental images of fresh notebooks, new pens, early class coffee mugs and…in the workplace…new cubicle decorations.

By the second week of college, the new class honeymoon was over. By the second day of training, I was wondering what the heck I was thinking.

Today, though, I had an “aha” moment and was reminded of just how cool it is to suddenly have new information make sense. What was once a crazy disarray of information fell into place. Synapses connected. The process suddenly “clicked” and I had that feeling of accomplishment even though I didn’t actually do anything except learn it.

I like knowing my job. I like not having the stress of confusion or the worry of making horrible mistakes. If I do make a mistake, I like knowing how to fix it and I like doing great things with my massive knowledge. But I also like having something to strive for and I love the process of letting the new puzzle pieces of a new job come together in my mind.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just Keep On Keepin' On

Today, I reunite with Blogger.

I decided to stop using this platform, partially because I didn't have much to talk about and partially because Tumblr seemed to offer alot more. After my hiatus, I've realized that Tumblr offers different things, but not necessarily "more." I like Tumblr, I really do. It's like having a little online scrapbook. But I can also blog here and post links to Tumblr if I want and vice versa, so it might not hurt to get back into Blogging on a better known platform.

On a good note, I haven't changed up my hobbies much, though I have learned more in my time away. 1. In knitting, I've learned cabling, double knitting, and socks.
2. I'm still reading and have kicked out a bunch of good books and some not so good books.
3. Writing is slow but it happens here and there.
4. I'm gaming every other week and actually running a game, which is fun.
5. I've also revisited some video games for the first time since my days on the first Nintendo system. J has an XBox 360 and I've become a fan of the Lego games as well as a few other platform type adventures.
6. I'm cooking here and there, though baking has been put on a backburner.
7. I'm using my knitting time to catch up on TV shows and movies from Netflix. I've been cable TV-free for over a year and don't miss it. In fact, a few months back we stayed in a hotel room with cable and complained about not having our Netflix Instant Viewer.
8. I have a love for podcasts and have found quite a few good ones, mostly about knitting but a few humor ones, a reading one, and a gaming one.

Can I promise I'm going to be an avid blogger? Not really. I'm kind of flaky when it comes to blogging, but I am going to use this one more in the scheme of things. You'd think with such a list of things I do I would have more to talk about. I'll still keep my Tumblr account too and there may possibly be a podcast of my own in the future.