29 May, 2009

Grrr! Argh!

I keep meaning to go finish season 2 of Gossip Girl, the season finale of Castle, and start with So You Think You Can Dance, but instead I keep playing Plants v. Zombies

I think that despite my wicked cool (and rigorously organized) defenses, the zombies may be eating my brain after all.

28 May, 2009

C+ Is A Programming Language

And also the shitty grade I got from my professor, who dinged me because I didn't always go to the class she told me I didn't need to be in in the first place. 

This puts me solidly below the 3.0 GPA I need in my major classes - an A (12 points) would have given me a 3.03, so the C+ (6.9 points) is detrimental. 


I have downloaded the catalog for my graduation year, scoured the Art & Design website, and dug through the muck of the SJSU site as well, and am unable to find any record of the Art History major requiring a 3.0 in the major classes. WTF? Don't they have to tell you things like that up front? Am I imagining things just to make myself crazy? Because it's working. 

One of my profs says I should be fine no matter what. I'm not so sure, but I'm going to drown my nerves in wine and read until I can barely keep my eyes open just in case. Insomnia benefits no body, and I have no way of knowing until I get the letter from the university saying that they're giving me a BA. 

And even then, given SJSU's penchant for refusing to allow students to re-enter the harsh, recession-soaked Real World, I think I'll make the registrar sign it in blood. 

26 May, 2009

Progressing Apace

Hmmm, let's see.

I am done with school except for the waiting-for-grades part, which is the real bitch of the matter. I will know my fate on the 28th, but until then I am going to assume I'm done for reals this time.

ManCandy and I spent the Memorial Day weekend at my mom's house, where we ate ourselves sick twice in a row. Delicious marinated steaks, corn-on-the-cob, ice cream cake, lemon tarts and (with the exception of the corn) nary a vegetable to be found. While we were up there, my Aunt C showed up with her ex-daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and a cat. The last was a "gift" for my mom; back when my mother was trying to qualify for a cat from the Ragdoll Rescue Shelter, she couldn't because one of our kitties snuck outside - it's a FARM for chrissake! - and got bit by something or other, abscessed and died. So the shelter, instead of giving a cat a loving and honest home, rejected my mom because she occasionally leaves the house door open. Aunt C responded by applying and lying through her teeth about how she never lets cats outside and would never feed them anything except fresh meat or some such nonsense, and of course was rewarded for her falsehoods with Sugar nee Nicole.

Since then, my mother has acquired a purebred Ragdoll named Pierre, of whom I like taking silly pictures. Anyway, all of this happened about 3 years ago. Since then, Sugar has been an inside/outside cat and perfectly happy, until about 6 months ago when Aunt C got a second miniature pinscher who thought of Sugar as her own personal chew toy. Sugar promptly moved out of Aunt C's house and has been MIA up until last week, when she arrived bedraggled and half-starved. Aunt C brought her to mom's this weekend because she knew that Sugar would have a home where she was safe and cared for and unmolested by dogs the size of a small Doc Marten boot.

Mom put her in the room I usually stay in for the introduction period, and within a day she was grooming her fur - or what is left of it after removing all the mats - and cuddling with me and ManCandy. On Sunday night I stayed in Rocklin with THB while Sugar worked her wiles on both ManCandy and my stepdad, earning her the new moniker of Jezabel.

I would have brought her home myself, but the dynamic of the house is shaky enough between Darcy and Panza, and I'm afraid that another kitteh - even a sweet, timid loving one like Jezabel - might permanently disrupt the balance. Mom is worried about the same problem, but she got stuck with the 9/10ths rule. Ahh, well - ManCandy can visit the little hussy when we go to see my mom.

In terms of knitting, I have nothing to show. The Super-Secret Project is about 3 hours from being done - I blocked it this weekend and need to add the embellishment, then send it off an wait for it to be received, then I can show you all pictures. I'm really quite proud of it, and it'll add a hefty chunk to my 12-Mile Quest.

In addition, the Girasole is also nearly done. I have 10 more rounds until I start the knitted-on border, and just a hair over 2 balls of yarn left. I stopped by Fibers up in Grass Valley this weekend to see if I could match the colorway, but decided against any yarn at all in favor of just hoping I have enough. If worse comes to worst, I can always have them ship me a ball of the current dyelot, which isn't different enough that it will matter much. I am simply trying to avoid ending up with extra yarn, and who knows? Those 2 balls might be plenty. Snerk. Also, it currently looks like a gigantic cherry red sea urchin. I'm hoping it blocks out.

Did you notice what I said up there? I got out of Fibers without buying anything. There is no bank record whatsoever that I was ever even there. How impressed are you? Mom was so impressed that she told everyone at the bbq that afternoon. Aren't moms great?!?

I did, however, get my KnitPicks order just before I left for The Farm. In it were 3 packets of stitch markers (lace, here I come!), 2 pairs of size 7 needles, and a few skeins of lace yarn. Four were the Gloss Lace in natural so that I can kettle-dye them (the colors only come in solids), and 3 skeins of Shadow yarn in Cattail Heather:

It's a weirder green than in this picture - I've been having color trouble with the snooty camera lately, but in this case it's just because this particular green is so awesome it defies photography. I'm going to knit it into a something-or-other in time for a Very Awkward Conversation that's coming up - something from the deep dark past that needs to be exorcised (and nothing to do with ManCandy, so don't worry). Come to think of it, you guys might have some good ideas. I need a stunning, gorgeous-yet-simple "oh, yes, I DID make this, and yes, I'm very talented" sort of stole. It should also say "oh, this old thing?" if at all possible. Perhaps something by Anne Hanson? Something in which I can wrap myself against any emotional onslaught - self-generated or otherwise - and be safe. Suggestions are welcome, although I begin to suspect that a well-cultivated air of je ne sais quoi might help immensely. I'll get right on that.

In the mean time, I'm going to go finish the Super-Secret Project so that it can be revealed!

17 May, 2009

King of the Hill!

I finished washing, thwacking and drying the Crown Mountain Farms "Lord of the Mountains" BFL today:

It came out to 546 yards of 2-ply. I'm not entirely sure what happened to my ability to make 900 yards of 3-ply out of the same amount to yarn, but I suspect it has something to do with patience in spinning thin singles. I seem to have been spinning for speed lately, and it shows.

But then again, I'm happy with the yarn and happy that it's finished. Maybe it's just a phase I'm going through. On the plus side, it's squooshy and sproingy and stretchy - even ManCandy commented on how elastic it feels.

There's nothing quite like squishing a skein of your own handspun and having it respond by bouncing back into shape. There's a very "I DID THIS!" feeling about it, much like blocking lace.

"Lord of the Mountains," Crown Mountain Farms BFL
2-ply, 546 yds.

Ok, now back to the final hours of the proverbial grindstone...

13 May, 2009

Second Verse

Some pictures of random things happening around my house:
"Soul Windows," April '09 Spunky Club SW Corriedale

Well, Amy did it. This is the third shipment I've gotten from the Spunky Club, and by far my favorite. It's encouraged me to stick around for another shipment, but I'm still not 100% sure how long I'll keep it up. It's nothing against Amy or her dyeing or products; I'm simply not sure how well her taste meshes with mine. But this month? Gorgeous. I love it.

"Ivory Coast" BFL, Crown Mountain Farms, 2-ply, 279 yds (575 total)

I finished plying! And then I soaked and thwacked and measured, and it's only about 20 yards shorter than the first skein - but you'll have to take my word for it because I seem to have misplaced skein #1. ARGH. Well, once school is done the house is due for a major over-haul. I bought clear, 71-quart plastic bins at Target this weekend to help with the stash wrangling, but I haven't had time to organize. Hopefully once I do, the missing skein of handspun will turn up. In the mean time, this pushes me over into Mile 4!

Bobbin #1, CMF BFL, "Lord of the Mountains"

I spent last night working on bobbin #2 while watching nearly the entire season of Castle (SO fun, I loved it!), and there are probably another 2 hours-worth of spinning before I'm done with these singles. I'm excited to ply this project! I'm in that part of the learning curve with spinning where I just have to do it a lot and let my body memorize the rhythm while my eyes and fingers learn to spot potential problems. I think once I feel more comfortable with the actual spinning itself, I'll be able to work on getting slightly thinner singles for better sock and/or lace yarn.

I'm also going to try to finish this one up ASAP because I fell down a little at Bee Mice Elf and ordered 2 braids of beautifully dyed stuff that is on its way to me right now. I'm gonna wait to open the package until the LotM is done so that there's an even ratio of in-to-out, for once. No promises on whether it'll ever happen again!

The Super-Secret Project continues apace. I'm roughly 30 rows from the i-cord bind off, and I've been working on it a lot. It now has about the same number of stitches as Big Red - 640 - and it'll probably end up around 700+. Whew! I've got some ideas as to how to make the knitting a bit more mindless than it is right now - the 3-into-1 decrease isn't very conducive to using stitch markers, but a [k2tog,k1,ssk] would achieve the same result and make the visual line a little cleaner. It's not super-fun to knit, but it is entertaining to show it to people and have them exclaim over how cool it will be when it's done, so I'll probably end up making another one with the new decreases.

And lastly, here's a little experiment that's been happening in my kitchen without my knowledge. I picked up a mesh bag with onions in it the other, turned it over, and discovered this:
Cthulu Onion!

Curious to see what it would do, I just left it there in the shade. It's now about twice as high and reaching for the light from the nearby window. Maybe I'll plant it, since it seems so interested in growing. But then again, we all know how miserable I am at growing things, so perhaps it's better if I just let it do its own thing for as long as possible!

Off to finish up the spinning before I head to work!

09 May, 2009

Things With Which I Am Nearly Done

- The Super-Secret Project has 45 rows until the i-cord border.

- A photoshopping project for an art gallery in Oakland has a mere 15 images left.

- Still Big Red has 16 rows until the knitted-on border.

- There is only $500 left on a loan I took out ages ago, and it will be paid off by the end of next week.

- The Ivory Coast singles are spun and waiting to be plied.

- The French press is nearly empty.

- In exactly 9 days and after 12 years, 6 majors, 1 false alarm, $120,000 and about 500 visits to the counselor's office to double-check my credits, I will be done with my Bachelor's degree.

02 May, 2009

Title-free and Proud

Today's blog post is brought to you by the few remaining brain cells I have left.

Last night, my good friend Nadia and I headed up to San Francisco to have dinner and drinks with an old friend of mine from New York City. General Leigh and I dated for about 3 seconds, five years ago, and have been good chums ever since, so when his work brings him out to the Bay Area, we make a special effort to get together. We have great fun re-hashing the Good Ol' Days (tm) and swapping ridiculous compliments - the more ridiculous the better, and to the most ludicrous goes the prize. It's always great fun, but I always wake up the next day exhausted. Thus do we begin to show our age.

But the blog roll goes on, and I have a few things to tidy up before I move on to bigger and better things. Or knits. Or whatever. Remember, we're operating on fewer cylinders and less coffee than normal.

First, here is an only slightly accurate photo of the Papa Socks, which I sent up to Alaska on Tuesday:

The blue part is about right, but the brown declined to show up. I have no idea why. Here is a more accurate photo via The Loopy Ewe.

I also finished my Scarf #21 and blocked it in time to wear it out last night!
Scarf with Insert #21 (etc.) from Victorian Lace Today
Schaefer Anne, "Autumn," 560 yds.

And it's only slightly off it's blocking from last night's festivities!

I'm excited to have finished a lace project for ME. There is something about being swathed in lace I've made myself that makes me stand up straighter. It's a lovely feeling.

Speaking of lace, I'm still plugging away on Big Red. I made it to the last page, but I've also finished the final increases to 640 stitches, and it's suddenly taking a LOT longer to finish a round! I'm also slightly concerned about the shedding factor of the Frog Tree Alpaca I'm using. I can't think of anything I'll be able to wear it with that won't also show off the shed fibers once I take it off. This one might have to become a chair shawl, but I love it too much to quit, rip it out, or put it in time out. And there's plenty of time to decide what to do with it after I've finished knitting.

In other news, a big virtual cookie for Brie! You're totally right, I did finish my Infernal Ribbi Cardi! Well, actually Mom finished it for me. When she was here in February for Stitches, she pulled it off the shelf and demanded to know why I hadn't worn it yet. When I answered that it needed a zipper, she stuffed it in her bag and took it home with her to complete. And while I was up at her place a couple of weeks ago, she did indeed finish it for me. It's slightly big all around - it turns out I'm closer to a 36 than I thought, or perhaps closer to a 36 than when I first made the sweater - but I still like it and it's garnered many excellent compliments. I'll take a picture in it one of these days.

I'm thinking seriously about swatching for the Faux Russian Stole from A Gathering of Lace. Or maybe something from Knitted Lace of Estonia. I have a mess of Malabrigo Lace singles that are burning a hole in my stash, and we can't have that, can we?

That's about it for knitting news. We're headed out tonight to drool into our popcorn over Wolverine. Mrowr!