Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thoughts From a Tiny Computer

Seriously. I'm on Ben's mini, and it's so tiny. If there are a lot of typos, forgive me. It's because my fingers are stomping around the keyboard like giants.

And you know me; I have munchkin hands.

We came home to Upstate New York for the holiday weekend, and it's amazing the difference in temperature. It's pleasantly warm here, still a little humid because like us they've been getting too much rain, but you don't feel like a wax figure in a kiln.

Also, it's so GREEN. Last time I came up it was basically still winter and it wasn't nearly as pretty and blooming as Phila, where we're a whole month ahead of the New York seasons, if you can call them that. For those of you who aren't aware, we have three seasons. Summer, Winter, and Mud.

Spring was a new experience for me in Phila.

But now that NY is almost out of the threat of a snowstorm (ask people who have lived here awhile, they'll tell you about snow in june and july) the grass is green, and most of the trees are leafed out. Birds are singing...or screeching.

I can hear one out the window right now that's saying "doo doo doo waaaaaaaah!"
It's like someone trying to hit a high note that can't do it.

And last night the peepers were out! Such a soothing sound. "peep peep peep." Not like chicks peep, a different kind of peep that I can't really explain. You just have to hear it.

It's nice to be home, but I'll be glad to go back too.

In other news, my baby llama yarn came!!!! It's sooooooo lovely, and I've started the wrap that I'm using it for, and I'm just far enough to start seeing the pattern. I think it's going to be very nice.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jane Eyre

Amazingly, up until now I had not read Jane Eyre.

I had the...pleasure...of reading Wuthering Heights at least four times in high school and college, but not Jane Eyre. (yeah you're right, Wuthering Heights isn't a pleasure. In fact, I don't really like it.)

This post is about Jane though, not how much I dislike Catherine.

My book club picked Jane Eyre for this month, and I went into thinking that it would be similar to Wuthering Heights, and that I wouldn't really enjoy it. Not so.

I ended up really liking it! It is slow at times, and skimming the long and overly drawn out bits of repetitive dialogue is necessary, but for the most part it was not as difficult a read as I expected it to be, and the story was very engaging.

The book is a bit long, and if I were Charlotte Bronte's editor I'd have demanded that she cut 200 pages...300 if possible, but it was still very enjoyable.

I like Jane, she's a good strong, educated female character. She doesn't need to RELY on Mr. Rochester, in fact she loves him best when he needs her more than she needs him. I like strong women, which is why the part of the book that I liked the least was Jane's whole encounter with St. John Rivers.

Who names their kid St. John, anyway? That seems a bit odd and pretentious even for Victorian England.
My point though, is that Jane falls into this submissive trance around him for quite awhile, and that was the only part of the book that really annoyed me.
She doesn't take shit from Mrs. Reed or Mr. Rochester, but she does from this obnoxious, self righteous and rather whiny parson?

Seriously? Seems very out of character, in my opinion.

That aside, I won't tell you how it turns out, because if you don't already know you should read it and find out for yourself, but I think my favorite part was the last couple of chapters. The dialogue between Jane and Mr. Rochester is great!

Go forth and read.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Finished Object Monday!

I did it! I finished, and blocked, my alpalca/silk blend lace weight stole.

It's so incredibly soft and warm. Here's the picture that Ben said "looks like it should be in one of those wedding magazines."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hal Squared

56 years ago a little boy named Harold took his purple crayon and went on a series of adventures.

Today, Ben and I set off for the Prince Music Theater in center city to see a theater production of Harold and Purple Crayon. Upon arrival, while Ben was in line for popcorn I noticed a picture on the wall across the room.

It looked like Hal Prince, famous director of such Broadway hits as Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera.
It was!
The Prince Music Theater is named for Harold Prince, and the picture was the original Hirschfeld caricature! I proceeded to turn my phone back on and try to get a picture because I had neglected to bring my camera. No luck, sorry. He was lit in such a way that it was impossible to get a picture of him.

After completely theater-dorking out, we went in to see the show. Whatever I was expecting, this wasn't it. All of the Harold stories had been strung together in a series of adventures with no dialogue at all. The entire production was done in mime with a narrator, masks, dance, puppets and projected animations. Very postmodern.

I was really impressed with how well choreographed it was, especially with the projections (imagine him tracing the air with his crayon, and what he's supposed to be drawing appearing on large screens behind him) , and also how the person who did the animation of Harold's drawings stayed incredibly faithful to the original illustrations.

Also! The theater company (Enchantment Theater) began as a magic show, and the man in charge is a master magician. There were magic tricks in the circus part that made Ben and I feel like little kids. The ribbon into wand trick made me think "oh, that's cool" and the flowers completely disappearing off the table that did not have a tablecloth with which to hide them made me think "holy shit, how'd they DO that!?"

I said it on twitter earlier, but I'll repeat it here:
If you ever have the opportunity to see Enchantment Theater's touring production of Harold and Purple Crayon, take it.

Your childhood will thank you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's Wednesday, which means in the crafting blogosphere most people are sharing their WIPs. Because, obviously, WIP Wednesday has a nice ring to it.

I, however, have been working on the same projects for weeks now, and they are no where close to done so I won't bore you with those again. Instead, I'm going to show you a little thing that I whipped up just to feel like I can finish something.

It's a cell phone cozy.

As you may or may not be able to tell from the second picture, my phone already has a scratch on the screen. I need to get an actual screen protector at some point, but until then, my phone has its own little cozy place.

It's a little wider than it needs to be, but that's okay. The phone can go in either direction now. Initially it was a little short, because I didn't account for seams, and then I guess I added too many stitches.

Ah, well. Live and learn.
In other exciting news I ordered some baby llama yarn this morning, and I can't wait to get my hands on that! I'll let you know when it shows up.

And who knows? Maybe I'll buckle down and make progress on something so I can have a Fairly Complete Object Friday, instead of a finished object friday.

Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phila Zoo in Pictures

Okay, you only get two pictures, sorry. Blogger is being a pain today. I just felt the need to post something, since I haven't in a week, but I don't really have anything of interest to post. So there you go. Now I'm off to spend a day working in the rain.

Oh, how I love soggy clothes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spinning Bug!

I've caught it. My knitting friend, Rebecca, said that it would be addictive, and spinning definitely is. Even when you're not very good at it.

Here's my progress so far:

So that fluffy stuff on top, that's fleece. That's how it starts (well, after a long process that I'm too tired to explain right now, you get fleece)

Then you draft it (pull thin strips of fleece from the larger chunk) while spinning the spindle to get twist in it, and twisting fleece is what makes yarn. What's on the spindle right now is a single ply of yarn. To make anything, I will need to spin together at least two plies of yarn to actually make a yarn that weighs enough to make something with.

Pretty cool, eh?

I have a new obsession :D

Monday, May 9, 2011

KV as in Jailbird

I know, that title makes no sense unless you know the Murder, She Wrote episode entitled "JB as in Jailbird."

But today I'm talking about Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Jailbird, so there you have it.

Or, in a more Vonnegut appropriate phrase,

So it goes.

I'd never read any Vonnegut until I met Ben. He loves him, and convinced me to try The Sirens of Titan. I loved it.
I had to read Slaughterhouse Five for my Lit of War class last year. I loved it.

I just finished Jailbird, which is one of Ben's favorites, and not surprisingly, loved it.

Ohh, and I almost forgot. My favorite Vonnegut so far is God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian. It's genius.

The thing about Vonnegut is that, by most standards, he's not a good writer. His structure is a little odd, and at times seems unplanned, and his grammar can be awful.
However, he has a great VOICE. His writing is very much like he's sitting there telling you a story. It's very conversational. Full of humor, irony and satire. Not always easy to read, but always worth the effort.

Jailbird is told by Walter F. Starbuck, a man created by a rich mentor to be someone that he really isn't and thus, he gets himself into a lot of trouble, because he basically spends his whole life out of his depth. I don't want to spoil it for you, but Watergate is involved, as is a fictional conglomerate in corporate America (lots of commentary about the absurdity of that world, too)

So go, read Vonnegut, for all of the above reasons. He's quite wonderful; I'm a fan.

Tomorrow look for a blog post about the drop spindles that I got for my birthday (which is also tomorrow, if you care) and my adventures in learning to spin. I'm sure there will be many posts about that- it's not as easy as people like Abby Franquemont make it look.

So it goes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Look, I'm doing it!

I unknowingly started my first entrelac pattern this week. That is, I didn't realize that this scarf pattern was entrelac (or interweave, is what it's called in crochet, but that's just a translation of entrelac, and I hang with knitters, so there you go).

Anywho. (Still working on my daily caffeine intake, sorry). I've thus far avoided entrelac because I was a little daunted by it. I mean, following a pattern to make a shape is one thing, but making shapes WITHIN a pattern to create a more elaborate pattern seemed scary. It sounded suspiciously like geometry, and we all know that I have an English degree for a reason.

But I started this pattern, and it seemed a little weird and crooked to begin with, but I kept at it for a few rows and then I realized...entrelac! After that it was easy.

Look, I'm doing it!

In other news, I gave in a got a twitter. I was reading the latest issue of Poets and Writers and apparently lots of publishing industry discussion happens on twitter, so...I caved. Plug: follow me! @completewtypos

And's MAY. Like, whoa. Where did the time go? My birthday is a week from tomorrow. Crazy.