June 29, 2010

Meme, Chapter Three of Three. Ta-Dah!

The last part of the meme was list five things you hate. Since “hate” seems an overly strong word for this frothy meme, I think I’ll go with “five things I’m agin’ “.

1. I’m agin’ Lopi. It’s scratchy, people! It’s the kind of yarn that gives yarn a bad name. The Lopi group on Ravelry has over 900 members, and all I imagine is 900+ thoroughly miserable, sweaty, twitchy, itchy people who can’t wait to rip their sweaters off. And not in a good way, hubba, hubba.

2. I’m agin’ the way the media preys on people’s fears. I recently saw a headline—not even a tacky, sensationalistic sidebar advert, but a real headline—on online MSNBC or CNN that said, “Is your purse making you sick?” I rolled my eyes and scrolled on.

3. I’m agin’ sauerkraut. And liver. And glazed carrots. And spinach. And beets. And strongly flavored cheeses. And chili. And walnuts. That leaves ice cream, so I’m good with that.

4. I’m agin’ hacked-up furballs that’ve been left between the bedrom and the bathroom, at night, when you really need to pee, and you’re half-asleep and your eyes are half-closed, and you don’t have any shoes on.

5. I’m agin’ blackberry vines and ivy. No, wait; for this I’ll make an exception. I hate blackberry vines and ivy.

Posted by Ryan at 02:41 PM | Comments (5)

June 26, 2010

Meme, Part Two of Possibly Three

The meme, continued. The last five of ten things you most likely don't know about me.

1. I love snakes. Give me a chance to hold one and I am there, hands outstretched, all grabby and gimmegimmegimme, maybe even cutting in line a little. I had a good, long cuddle with a large yellow corn snake at the zoo a few years ago and was a little petulant about having to give it back to its handler. Fortunately for the snake, I gave in before a game of tug of war ensued. It would not have turned out well for the snake.

This love of snakes does not, however, include the slightly maimed and highly annoyed kraits our cat used to leave roiling around under the dining room table in Singapore. Per various sources, a krait is 16 times more venomous than a cobra. Bad kitty.

2. Despite the fact that I’m the semi-born-again Episcopalian daughter of an excommunicated Catholic father and an atheist mother, sister to a Unitarian and cousin to a Buddhist monk, I have a strong penchant for reading literature about Jews or written by Jewish authors or, as is often the case, both. Right now I’m reading an outstanding book called “Kalooki Nights” by Howard Jacobson. With one sentence or even one word, the author has a way of both making you laugh and piercing you through the heart, like, “Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ow.” I am literally reading this book as slowly as I can because I don’t want it to end. Go on forever, book! Go on forever!

3. For some reason, although I’ve heard horror stories, I’ve never had trouble clipping my cats’ claws, not my previous cats’, not Benny and Joon’s. I can scoop up either one of my two current ankle biters, sit on the couch, flip the cat on its back with its head lolling against my boobies, its front paws flopped over like dead-spider legs, squeeze, clipclipclipclipclip, repeat—and done! They don’t love it—they keep their hind toes ever so slightly spread to remind me that they could explode into a snarling whirlwind of fanged fury if they wanted to, they just don’t want to—but at their worst, they’re lackadaisical about it. Benny almost started purring once but caught his macho self in time, like, “Puh, puh, puh, prrrr—oh, oops. Dang.”

4. My “think green” obsession is plastic utensils. During parties at work, or anywhere, for that matter, I’m aghast to see how many plastic utensils are unpacked fresh from a box, used for ten, maybe fifteen, minutes and thrown in the trash. All that manufacturing, processing, packaging and shipping for something that will almost immediately be thrown away. To paraphrase, a minute on the lips, a million years in the landfill. For a while, I tried to collect them at work, wash them (thoroughly, using our super-heated water tap) and put them in the lunch room where, happy coincidence, we were always running out of utensils—but I was teased unmercifully (kindly, jokingly, but unmercifully) and no one would use them because they thought they were icky. But then, human nature being what it is, at a potluck we had on Friday, people wanted to know why I wasn’t collecting the utensils, and how were they going to have anything in the lunch room to eat with? [Slow, bemused shake of the head.]

5. As friends Elaine and Leslie recently learned, to their horror, I don’t like popcorn. I eat it on occasion—maybe once every five years—but my mind just never goes there when I’m thinking of a snack. I popped popcorn once but I was well into my thirties and I only wanted to see how a Jiffy Pop worked, never having used one before. It was more like a cultural experiment than an attempt to make something to eat. (I also rarely eat French fries. Same thing. Not agin’ ‘em; they’re just not on my radar. This most likely has to do with the fact that I’ve been to a McDonald’s maybe four times. I understand a love of McDonald’s and a love of French fries are somehow supposed to go hand in hand.)

P.S. In looking back at this list, I realize that if I had kept to the spirit of the meme, I would've written something that looked like this…

1. Blah blah blah blah blah blah.
2. Blah blah blah.
3. Blah blah blah. Blah. Blah Blah.
4. Blah blah blah blah.
5. Blah blah blah blah blah.

…20, 30, maybe 50 words max. Me, I wrote 680, 750+ if you count this PS. Can you imagine what I’m like in real life?

Posted by Ryan at 06:22 PM | Comments (8)

June 23, 2010

Old Dog, New Tricks

I have been an intransigent creature of habit every since I knit my first pair of socks: cuff down, dpns, and 4 dpns, to be exact. For some reason, however, for my current pair of socks—a brown and gray effort using squooshy merino yarn from Fancy Image—I threw caution to the wind and used five dpns (I know; such wild impulsivity!). And now I’m a firm believer in using five dpns because:

1. Having the project on 4 dpns (plus the extra empty needle to make five, for muggles whom this might confuse) makes the project much easier to fold up and put away. Folding up a triangle is almost physically impossible, at least not without stabbing yourself, dropping a few stitches, or having the dpns make holes in your favorite tote bag. Folding up a square by just squashing it flat—much easier.

2. When you put the project on the floor, forget, and step on it, snapping one of the needles in half, you still have enough needles to finish the project.

Posted by Ryan at 10:51 AM | Comments (12)

June 18, 2010

Meme, Chapter One of Probably Three

I forgot that I had been memed! Requirements: Share 10 things people don’t know about you and five things you hate.

For today, just five things people don’t know about you:

1. My singing voice is passable, good enough for me to hold my own as a soprano in a choir at Oberlin College (which has a fancy-schmancy conservatory, although I was in the College of Arts & Sciences). But now the pipes are rusted and aging, and I have enough moments when I sound like the Aflac goose that I make sure I’m the only one who hears me sing—except for the poor chumps around me at the gym when I forget that, although I can’t hear me because I have my ear buds in, they can. And you know how people using iPods sing: Hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, BLAST OUT THE ONLY SIX WORDS YOU KNOW ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THAT’S THE PART WITH THE REALLY GOOD HARMONIES, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, hum.

2. I wrote a science-fiction short story once. It was about a fundamentalist-although-not-necessarily-Christian-based society where, by law, people are assigned to each other for life as babies and are held responsible for each other’s moral and spiritual successes and failures for as long as they live. In the story, Man A, your average workaday Joe, is partnered up with Man B (this has nothing to do with sexuality; Man A is perfectly happily married to Woman A). Man B goes to jail. Man B kills a guard while in jail. Man A is executed for the crime. Ta-dah!

3. My two favorite TV shows are “So You Think You Can Dance” (go, Kent!) and "The Big Bang Theory" (bazinga!). That is, when I can see them through all the pixelations on my not-cable TV, which seem to be getting worse and more frequent. I seem to be losing channels at an astonishing rate. On a particularly bad night recently, my two choices were something melodramatico on the Spanish channel and "Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse."

4. This isn’t new, but I’m still holding out on never having read any of the Harry Potter books. If I play my cards right, my headstone will say: Ryan: 1. Harry Potter: 0.

5. I cannot tell you how much I am not a fan of little knitted nativity scenes, knitted animals, knitted food, or anything even slightly amigurumi-adjacent. This dislike may well be because I’m in that cranky-old-fart stage of life that young ‘uns can’t even begin to fathom where less is more, acquiring things has lost its luster, simplicity is best, and knitted tchotchkes just seem like impractical dust collectors and a waste of time. But apparently even I can be swayed. These kill me.

Posted by Ryan at 02:24 PM | Comments (9)

June 11, 2010

Driven to Insanity

The one thing that will absolutely make my commute—which is hard to do, commutes being what they are—is a courtesy wave. Love to give ‘em, love to get ‘em, particularly because we have some insane on-ramps on our highways like, oh, I don’t know, the one I take every afternoon. Picture this:

Lane 1: An unmetered, wide-open HOV on-ramp down which eager, homeward-bound commuters come barreling at 60 miles an hour.

cflagsmall.bmpLane 3: The highway HOV lane, in which the cars are also going 60 miles an hour, and which the drivers in Lane 1 are trying to get to.

Lane 2: You, driving a single-occupant vehicle, firmly sandwiched between the hurtling insanity that is Lanes 1 and 3, and at a full stop because the lane is metered.

Lane 4: The lane you have to get to.

Which’all means that, in the space of about two hundred yards, you have to go from zero miles an hour to 60, squeezing yourself frantically between the merging HOV drivers with only inches to spare, to get to your designated lane. And just for grins, there’s a wall between you and Lane 3 so you have no idea what’s going on over there until you shoot out into the thick of it. You know those horseback drill-teams that barrel toward each other full speed from all four directions and you’re sure the horses are going to crash into each other leaving a gruesome mess all over the arena only they don’t? It’s like that. Only we don't carry large, fluttering pennants or wear fancy sequined Stetsons and chaps.

And sometimes you have to do all this in driving rain, hence—to bring this all around in a big loop—how much I appreciate courtesy waves. If you let someone in in that mess, you deserve one and vice versa. It’s the only way we all survive.

So, a couple of days ago, I let someone in to Lane 4, and she gave me a courtesy wave. Yahoo! A wave! I waved back; you know, the suave two-finger waggle. But then she gave me another one. A two-fer! I waggled again. But then she waved again…and again…and again…and again. And I began to notice that something about her waves seemed sort of robotic. Automated. Carefully timed.

Which is about when I realized I hadn't received a courtesy wave at all but had been giving the suave two-finger waggle to her windshield wipers. Meh. I blame it on the rain and her tinted windows.

Posted by Ryan at 10:25 AM | Comments (5)

June 06, 2010

Warm Toes

Despite blog entries that hint that my life revolves around cats and Costco, I have been wielding the dpns. Here, the Trekking XXL socks, done, ends woven in, warming my little piggies (since, well into June, it's still raining determinedly, and the forecast doesn't show the sun swinging around again until Friday. Even we old-school Seattleites, the pros at fall and winter nesting, are grumbling, "Enough already!")


I love these socks for their white-bread ordinariness. They're a tweedy, speckled blue, green and cream and will go with anything.

In the photo, my feet are also resting on the "Recession of Ought-Nine" Sweater, also done, except for the v-neck band (and weaving in the dangly bits).

Posted by Ryan at 09:23 PM | Comments (7)