Thursday, May 28, 2009

guilty pleasure

Last night was a night of guilty pleasure for me. Yeah, you heard me. The guilty pleasure of...reality TV. Normally I can't stand it, but I have two shows that I can't help but love. So You Think You Can Dance (horrible name, horrible opening music, but awesome dancing - and no I don't vote) and America's Next Top Model.

For SYTYCD, it can be pretty funny to watch the really bad people, but what I really like is for the most part, the judges curb any rude remarks they may want to make. Sometimes they even suggest a specific dance that the person should try. And the real dancers (and some of the bad ones) you can just tell love every second they spend dancing. Some of them are really amazing. I loved the guy who danced to Ride of the Valkyries at the end of the summer season premiere.
ANTM is more of a guilty pleasure because it is so bad. I mean, everyone who works on it looks like they love what they are doing, but some of those people are just SO into themselves. I mean, that is partly because for their job they have to be. And Tyra truly seems to love what she does and really wants to spread the joy. That is what I like about it. What I love about it is the pictures. I love seeing the awesome pictures these people come up with. This last season (12?) my favorite was Celia and then Allison. I think Allison should have won, not Teyahna, whose name I couldn't remember until I saw it spelled. And I probably misspelled it here too.
That is about it though. Most other reality shows are too depressing. John and Kate plus 8. Was funny, but now it is just sad because of all the rift rumors. I watched a bit of the premiere of Hitched or Ditched last night, and it was awful. A friend signed the couple up and it turned out that the whole family and friends on both sides thought they should split up. Well, at least when I watched it they did. It could have been a test and at the end everyone said, "Just kidding!" Which would be just as lame. They had only been dating for 4 years (Abe and I have been together 5.5 years) and they had already been engaged and broken it. I think...well, I have a lot of thoughts about marriage right now, especially with everything going on with the law makers. I really don't understand what the problem is without everyone being really hypocritical. Which I guess could be the case.

Anyways... This Sunday the Queen Anne Hilltop Yarn is having an event for Tawashi which are "adorable little knit or crochet scrubbers for your household, shaped for cleaning anything from pots, to bikes, to Venetian blinds." They are Japanese and the shop has a ton of books on these little scrubbers. They also have Hamanaka's Bonny yarn which is an antibacterial acrylic fiber that absorbs oil so you need little to no soap for cleaning. At the shop on Sunday they are going to teach, for free, how to read the charts for crochet in the Japanese books. That is why Japanese knitting books are so cool because you don't have to know Japanese to use the pattern, you just have to be able to follow the chart. So Abe is going to take me on Sunday so I can get yarn and books. I already have the crochet hook. I see Xmas gifts...

Also, I might take this figure drawing class from Nils Osmar. That is who Abe and I took the cartooning class from and that was fun. I need to practice drawing people and this class is only $100 for 4 nearly 2 hour meetings. The structure I think will force me to practice. I always come home from moms with every intention of continuing to paint and then I never do.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

FOs and pictures - what you gonna do

Well, I have stuff to show off. But first, this last weekend, we went up to my mom's. I brought Star Trek scrabble and Abe, Isaac, mom, and I played. Jim was on dictionary duty. Mom won, I placed second. It was a fun game. We all play pretty nice, less cut throat. Especially since I don't know when the last time Isaac played was, if ever. Before that we played Boggle. Jim has gotten better. He had at least 8 by the time we quit.
For dinner we went to Cafe Akatori, a Greek restaurant in Bellingham. Delicious. Mom and I split the lamb shanks at rare to medium-rare. It came with potatoes and rice. Both also very good. For an appetizer, we had some cheese thing and fried zucchini. The cheese thing had brandy and the waitress put it on fire when she brought it. I didn't like the first bite, but every bite got much better until I wanted more by the last bite.
I finally took a bunch of picture and uploaded them and now I can load them to Blogger in Firefox, so pictures coming from now on.

Here are the Rogue Roses socks from the second Socks that Rock kit. I love it. I usually not a pink fan, but this color with the weird green is awesome. I wish the picture were better.

I also made this kerchief from the remaining sock yarn following the stitch pattern from the socks. It turned out okay. I definitely plan to try to make more of these from the other socks kits.

Here is the Spring purse pattern from the 2008 LYS tour. I finished it just in time to take it on our LYS Tour 2009. I needle felted mushrooms instead of the flowers that the pattern used in the store. I got a bone button the looks really great with it at Weaving Works. The needle felting was fun. I plan to needle felt a fern around one of the edges from the back onto the front.

Here is some yarn I spun. I bought the roving at Weaving Works. It was a blast to spin up. It was soft and luscious. The color actually looks better than the picture shows. It is a three ply using the Navajo ply, which is really the only one I use because I am lazy and the only one I know how to do, really. It is, I think, an aran weight. I have no idea what I am going to make out of it. Perhaps I will use it as an accent on an empire waste sweater. Or a cowl.

Here is the skull skirt I made. I love it. It is a skitch longer the I wanted. I used a zig zag stitch to sew the stripes of black and patterned pieces together. There is so much sewing in this skirt that I used at least one complete spool of thread and blunted a sewing machine needle. Impressive. There is a second layer of white muslin on the inside. I used one of my existing skirts to cut out a pattern using the cardboard type roll of paper I have. It was pretty easy, actually. I got the courage after I bought the Sew What: Skirts book. Before actually making a skirt in the book.

Here is the mushroom skirt I made. I bought the fabric a long time ago (a month or so) to make this skirt but kept chickening out. But I recently bought more fabric to make a couple dresses so I figured I better just make this skirt already. This one is from the Sew What: Skirts book. I really like it. It is a simple skirt with two pleats in the back and two in the front. I need to find a ribbon to put around the top where the pleats start. That is part of the pattern, but it would look really cute. I just haven't been able to find any that match yet. It is weird 60s/70s colors.

I also finally finished the Plug n' Play shawl that I started at the Fall Fiber Arts Retreat in Calgary. It is not shawl sized, but it makes a great head shawl. I actually like it a lot like that. I haven't blocked it yet because I really don't have a place to do it. It is too big to do on the ironing board, which is what I usually use. And I can't use the bed because it has a memory foam cover. But it even looks pretty good as a head shawl without the blocking. Very retro. Abe said I looked like Audrey Hepburn. The someone else who I hadn't heard of.

Yesterday I finished the butterfly bag that I got from Let it Rain Yarn during the LYS Tour 2008. That shop is closed now. I used some beads I think I got from the Queen of Beads socks, the first kit from Rockin' Sock Club 2009. It is super cute and I got a great fabric to line it with. Plenty left over, so I get to use it in the quilt I am starting.

It has birds and flowers. I can't believe how good they look together. Like they were made for eachother. I need to put a zipper in, but I am not sure how and I would have to find one. It is about 6.5 inches and I don't think zippers come in that length.

Here is some yarn I got on the LYS Tour 2009 at Bad Woman Yarns. Not sure what I am going to do withit, but I love the colors. Their pattern was a crochet shawl, but I wasn't a big fan. I was thinking of making another shrug like last years from the pattern I got on the tour at a shop in Edmonds just north of here. Cute shop and really close to the Edmond's Farmers Market.

I got this lace weight yarn on sale at the Queen Anne Hilltop yarn store. Beautiful shop, but so hard to get to. We drove around the block like 5 times looking for a spot. This skein was only 6.50. pretty sweet. Plus I got 5% off because I had been there before and I am on their mailing list or something. They had two great patterns, a button scarf (knit) and some crocheted mittens.

I got this Manos yarn at Beach Basket Yarn and Gifts in Birch Bay, which is much farther north than I thought. I thought it was the north side of Bellingham, but it is farther north than Ferndale. It is just so cute. Green and brown and the like. Their pattern was a nice cowl out of mohair boucle, but it was $40 a skein so screw that. I might try to get the skein later.

And finally, here is the skein I got from Fiber Gallery. First skein I bought on the tour this year. Now I have two or three skeins of this. I should probably use one... It is just so soft and luscious.
I had also started working on the Stochastic Blanket again. I may need to get some longer needles. I am knitting it from the center and increasing out. Trying to use up all my left over skeins of Lionbrand Homespun.
As for the quilt, I am pretty close to the right number of squares. I need to save some cool cloth for strips on the back. I think I am going to use a ti-dyed square in the middle of the back and mitered stripes around it. I hope I am not being too ambitious.
Uh, I think I am out...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek is the Best!!

This weekend, we got to go to the new Star Trek movie. It was really good. I knew I would like it because it was a Star Trek movie, but I didn't think it would be a good movie. But it was really impressive. The writing was good. They got in each of the main characters typical line without being hokey. The actors did their parts well; they got the character from the original series but made it their own. I loved the guy who did McCoy. He was in Lord of the Rings or something. He was neurotic and snarky and made the same weird facial expressions. It was great. The CGI was actually amazing. Nearly seamless. I think part of the reason this movie was so good was because the writing, directing, and cgi was so much better than Wolverine: Origins. When Abe and I got out of the movie all we could say was "That was so awesome. Wow. That was so awesome."
Before we went to that I too Friday off to watch all the original Ttar trek movies, up through The Undiscovered Country, which is one of my favorites, partly because of the Kirk on Kirk fight scene. What could be better than that? It took all day on Friday.
Then I also watch Raising Arizona: weird. Funny but aging, I think. And then I watched Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Frasier. I mean, he was in it, not watching it with me. That would have been a story to tell. Brendan Frasier is a strange actor. I think he just does comedy because he has so much fun doing dumb comedy. Sometimes,though, I think he could do more serious acting if he wanted to. Abe actually watched that one with me, which is rare for him.
Man, this weekend I also watched the last disc of season 2 of Boston Legal. I love that show. William Shatner and James Spader work amazingly well together and the show is wonderfully twisted.
At some point this weekend, I think after Star Trek, we went to Torrid to spend my $10 birthday gift card. I got a tank top. Then there was a price debacle and I had to go change it. I got my card back and didn't have to pay any extra, so I got a new tank top for 9.99 plus tax. I have to go back this coming weekend to spend the $10 on something else that is over $10.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

General news

Been a while since I last posted. There's been a lot of stuff going on.

I finished a short story and submitted it to glimmertrain for their standard short story competition. It was about 8000 words. I have three other stories that I'm working on at the moment. I expect to have one of them in completed first draft form maybe this afternoon but by Monday for sure. The other two will take a bit longer but I estimate that I should have first drafts done in a few weeks.

Angela is pretty much the perfect girl friend. For a lot of different reasons but especially for someone who wants to be a professional writer. Her knowledge of grammar, punctuation and generally writing to communicate is just amazing. She read my short story a few days before I submitted it and her notes made the story 100% better. If they chose it to publish, I get paid 700 bucks and I get ten copies of the issue my story appears in.

I have also finished scripts for two comics and sent them to the graphics artist that I work with. She had a story board of one of them pretty much done a few weeks ago so I'm hoping to receive a first draft of the finished comic any day now.

I've made some big strides in my understanding of bread baking. I found an *awesome* white bread recipe in the bread book that Anita and Jim gave me for Christmas. It makes beautiful tall fluffy white bread that tastes awesome, stays fresh for days and toasts perfectly. I've made some awesome specialty breads like: white with a swirl of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, stilton cheese and apricots; white bread with chunks of milk chocolate melted and swirled through the dough; and some buckwheat bread. I'm baking another loaf of beef stew bread right this moment. It should be out of hte oven in about 35 minutes. The house smells so good :-)

I've pretty much given up on mmo's. I've been frustrated with the genre for months, maybe years actually. But, in the last few weeks, I found myself feeling like I was just wasting my time running on a tread mill. I would sit down to play and immediately be thinking about other things that were more interesting. I'm at a point with my characters in EQ2 where I basically can't do anything to progress their development without either 5, 11 or 23 other people. I only know about three other people that play so I end up spending hours LFG, just screwing around or grinding out gray quests so I can reach the AA level cap. Then our EQ2 guild went tits up seemingly over-night and that was the last straw.

So we were going to keep our EQ2 accounts and only play together but we decided to cancel the subscriptions so we can spend that 30 a month on bills and savings.

I've been reading and playing some games on my psp in the evenings. Every once in a while I fire up Team Fortress 2 and play for a bit. It's a lot of fun but I really need to play it every night to keep my skill up enough to be a contributing member of my team. I just don't want to spend hours playing it every evening. So I deal with feeling like I suck and just play for fun. I spend 99% of my time playing a pyro. There's no "Meet the Pyro" movie yet but you can watch the "Meet the ..." videos for the other classes in the game here. TF2 has a great sense of humor and some really solid game play too. I play almost exclusively on the (fu-q2) server. My name is Homo_erectus.

A while ago Angela bought boggle on a whim. Turns out we both love playing it. We play at least one game almost every day. Its turned in to a sort of thing we do. She gets home fom work, we walk the dogs, we play rounds of boggle while I cook dinner and then we play a few rounds after dinner.

It's been really good for our relationship. Even though she DESTROYS me almost every game. The only time I win is when she isn't feeling well.

I've been working on peoples computers to pick up some money too. I've only made like 150 bucks so far but every bit helps. If you live in seattle and you need some help with your computer feel free to contact me. I work for 20 bucks an hour. Minimum fee of one hour and you pay by the half hour after that.

Well that's all I have to say.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Putt Putt

Today we had putt putt at work. It was actually pretty fun. I hit 54 on a 9 hole course. Pretty bad. But I did hit 2 on one that most people couldn't finish. Good luck. The hole was on an open laptop. Pretty funny. Each department got to design a hole. My department won best hole. It was pretty good: looked cool and actually doable. We made fake book names like "The Comma & You" by Don Forgemy. Hahaha. Cracks me up.

I also made some Potato Chicken Salad from an issue of Cooking Light. I am very pleased. Low calorie and quite tasty. The sauce for it is very nice - vinegar and oil and dijon and garlic and some other stuff but I don't remember what. Abe also made some chocolate bread for me to bring and it was amazing. Almost all of it was gone. I saved Abe half a slice so he could try it. Thanks Abe. Divine.

So this weekend we went to see Wolverine: Origins. In all, I give it a thumbs up, but it was because of the actors. The movie itself kind of sucked. Hugh Jackman of course was great as Wolverine, but all the other main characters were good, too. I bet mutants are so much fun to play. But the writing was rushed (it was only and hour and a half and could have easily been over two). The CGI was amazingly bad. Wolverine's blades in the first three movies were seemless and looked real. In this one, they were a pixelated a bit different from the movie and would move on his hands and they looked like plastic. You could really tell when they told Jackman to hold his hands in fists and they were planning on adding the blades later. Poopy. The first 30 minutes of the movie was completely rushed. They told us rather than showed us what they wanted us to know. I really wanted to see that part, too, so that sucked.

I also watched The Avengers. That was funny. And weird. Campy. And weird. It was basically a long TV episode that doesn't have a TV show (anymore). I bet they had quite a bit of fun making that movie. It was also really short. Meh. Good, not great. But not bad either.

So today, I biked at 20-24 mph for 30 minutes. Yeah. My right knee (bum knee) feels weird, but okay. Just kind of hot. The other feels like nothing. Normal. Yeah.

Also, I got TNG in the mail and Star Trek Scrabble!! The Scrabble is fun. I haven't had a chance to watch TNG yet, though. Abe won the first game and I won the second game. But the bag that it came with for the tiles blows. It is just a plastic piece of crap. So I am going to knit something. I haven't quite decided what, though. The whole thing is a bit chintzier than most scrabble games that I have seen, but other than that it holds up okay so far and looks awesome. And it has little hints on how to make shorter games. When I get a chance, I might make some new tile holders, too: red, yellow, blue, and white (ship). The Scrabble is TOS (original series) so I will match those.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lobstermans Wife

This is the drawing that Angela mentioned in her last post. I particularly like her face and the kids.