Apr 27, 2006

Love is in the Air

I'm heading out for my brother's wedding tomorrow morning - 'See' you next week!

Apr 26, 2006

Unabashed sucking up makes me laugh and laugh and laugh

So I taught my final lab yesterday. The topic was 'planning.' The students had to design a town based on the geologic principles we've learned this semester.

I was pretty pleased with how everyone did (except the group who wanted to put the town's garbage in sinkholes - whoops!), but here's a photo of my favorite one:

FYI, the name of the town and the hearts were absolutely unsolicited.

I really am trying ...

... but this is where my mind is:


Rock Star sent me a whole sequence of Teak sucking up to Barley, just to end in a big crunch on the ear.


Update: This is nice to see when I log onto my author submission page, though:

I really like that word live!

Apr 24, 2006

Nose to the Grindstone*

Here's the Prairie Tunic in a pose that's very common for me these days**.


The Nationals cap serves to keep the sun out of my eyes while I'm working, thereby (hopefully) warding off the ever-increasing migraines.

A lot of you have wondered what I'm wearing under the tunic. The beauty of this pattern and fiber combination is that you can wear it with something silky and elegant underneath, or with a wife-beater and these***:


* or, 'A Portrait of Desperation'
** Actually, I've had this pose much of my life, as evidenced by this seventies-rific photo of me an' my dad (Hi, Dad! Nice glasses! tee hee):

***warning - obsessive writing and tunic knitting may result in Stubbly Leg Syndrome

Art, Science, or Psychological Pathology?

Remember my musings on body disposal a while back? One option on the table was Body Worlds. Sunday was the last day it was open at the Franklin Institute, so my pal NattieV and I headed down to Philadelphia to check it out.

What to say? As a whole, it was pretty overwhelming. The science geek in me certainly appreciated the preservation and display techniques and the leaps forward in teaching anatomy that have certainly occurred due to plastination. The aesthetic in me found the whole body displays a little gratuitous but thought the exhibits in which only the capillaries were preserved exquisite. The twelve-year-old in me giggled at all of the preserved penises. The wanna-be health nut in me was struck by how many donors were smokers, as evidenced by their black lungs. The macabre in me was just fascinated by the, well, macabre nature of the whole damn thing, and the vomiter in me almost passed out a little.

There was a little portion of the exhibit that consisted of a blown-up donor card, but this weekend didn't change anything in my mind.

I still maintain my original position – take the best and burn the rest. And play the Pixies' 'Monkey Gone to Heaven,' please.

Apr 21, 2006

Dawn of the Sunrise Circle Jacket

Red Knit Picks

Remember when I told you that I ordered some chocolate yarn from Knit Picks to make a pair of Rib and Cable Mitts for myself?

Ummm, I didn't exactly tell the full story.

I have a lot of strange obsessions. The one relevant to this story is that I love to shop on the 'net but I HATEHATEHATE to pay shipping. So, I take almost every opportunity offered to get things delivered right to my doorstep - for free!

Even if I'm ordering one $1.79 ball of yarn and the order has to be a minimum of $40 to get it.

Yada-yada-yada, I was planning to make this, anyway, and the yarn is so cheap. So I don't actually feel that guilty.

Even more stockinette may seem boring, but it's just what the doctor ordered for mindless nighttime knitting.

Dawn of the Sunrise Circle Jacket

Prairie Tunic, check

Prairie Tunic

Yarn: Jaeger Siena in ‘Driftwood’ (100% mercerized cotton), ordered from Angel Yarns in UK
Pattern: 'Prairie Tunic' from Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits (size Small)
Needles: US3 AddiTurbos
Recipient: Me, Myself, and I!
I plan to wear it to my brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner next weekend.
Thoughts: This is a little boring but perfect for television knitting. It should be a great project for learning basic lace making and the repetition inherent in the pattern would ensure that you really get it by the end of the project!

I made mistakes, some of which are dumb and I’ve just noted here for myself and/or historical accuracy. You should pay attention to #4 if you’re planning to make this, though.

1) When working the pattern, be sure to yarn over before you place the marker. I didn’t do this the first time I worked up the lace, resulting in an odd number of stitches and ‘bars’ stacked on top of each other instead of staggered.
2) ‘YO purlwise’ does not mean ‘purl-between’ or ytf
3) I changed ssps to ssks when decreasing the lace just because I thought it looked better.
4) There is a mistake in the pattern for decreasing in the front. I didn’t see any internet chatter on the subject until after I finished. Honestly, I thought I had screwed up or that the pattern was off because I was making a small size. You can see the effects of my sleepy fudging around the neckline in the detail below. Lesson of the day? When in doubt, do a blog search. These things happen all the time! …so don’t just assume you’re wrong.

Prairie Tunic detail

It fits well and has a nice drape, especially after steam blocking. I think I shall make some straps so I can hang it within view of an open closet door when it’s in season.

I had this much left:
Prairie Tunic leftovers

Yep, one untouched ball and a small bit of string.

I’m not sure about the color. Why I thought I would look as nice as the model does in that color is beyond me. That said, the situation may not be as dire as I think it is right now. I’ll post some photos after next weekend and y’all can chime in about the color.

I probably just need a tan.

Chicken scratch

Here's your assignment: Write a pangram or two in your own hand, sign your name, and post a photo of it on your blog and/or the Flickr pool. Fun!

Razorback-jumping Frogs and Big Devils

Thanks for passing this along, Chris and Chaos!

Apr 19, 2006

Damsel in Distress!

Here is a damsel fly that we caught in stream lab last week:

I'm shocked that my students touched non-municipal water without the usual moaning and woe.

I'm still in semi-hiding, but this blogging thing is enough of a stress outlet that I just can't let it go completely (I think we all knew that). I found myself outlining future posts in random Word docs and that's just as distracting as just posting already. Now I will try to contain reading and posting to the evening, when I'm tired, anyway.

A couple of you know that I recently discovered something called 'departmental rules.' I always knew they existed, but I honestly wasn't aware that I can only defend while classes are in session in the Spring or Fall semester. That really shot my plan to defend sometime in May to shit. The revised plan is to finish the diss, head to Chicago when it's finished (minus some minor revisions), and return in September to defend. It's annoying that I won't be completely free this summer, but there it is.

No cries from the peanut gallery, please. ;-) My advisor is super-supportive and, at this point, the delay is mostly my own fault.

My birthday is mid-May and I can't think of a better gift to myself than moving home. Plus, I found out yesterday that I am off the wait list for a community garden plot! Woot! We will get more information later this week so Rock Star can go and sign the contract. Obviously, I still have lots to do here, but I am getting close to hanging out with him and him and him.

The Insane Clown Posse is apparently resting up for my arrival (photo courtesy of Rock Star):

In other news, check out Sweet Basil to see the gifted Rib and Cable Mitts. I decided to gift two 'mismatched' pair on your advice - both of which were well-received.

And. The Prairie Tunic is complete! I'll post it this weekend at the latest. I have lots to say about the project so it'll take a little while to gather my thoughts...

Apr 16, 2006

"Please Baby, Please Baby, SET ME FREE"

Or, A Dissertation Soundtrack

I love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak, and love. And Mother. And God. “Rusty Cage” must fit in some of these categories.
- Johnny Cash

Come On! Feel The Illinoise! - Sufjan Stevens
Cocaine vs. pot and beer - Rats with wings?
All Stripped Down - Tom Waits
Lose Yourself (Soundtrack Version) - Eminem
Take The Power Back - Rage Against The Machine
Ready To Run - Dixie Chicks
Digging A Hole - Eleni Mandell
Make It Rain - Tom Waits
Closer To Fine - Indigo Girls
Giving Up the Fight - Eleni Mandell
When It Don't Come Easy - Patty Griffin
I've Been Tired - Pixies
I Wanna Live - The Grabs
Distance Equals Rate Times Time - Pixies
Good Fortune - PJ Harvey
Windfall - Son Volt
Rusty Cage - Johnny Cash
Long Snake Moan - PJ Harvey
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Jaws of Life - Wintersleep
Burning Down The House - Talking Heads
Hurt - Johnny Cash
No One Knows I'm Gone - Tom Waits
The Weeping Song - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Misery Is The River Of The World - Tom Waits
The Payback - James Brown
Llorando (Crying) - Rebekah Del Rio
I'll Fly Away - Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
Hold On - Tom Waits
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Danke Schoen - The Wading Girl
Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and To Be Loved) - Bright Eyes
No Sleep Tonight - The Faders
Evolve - Ani DiFranco
Hey Fuck You - The Beastie Boys
Hell Yes - Beck
HMRA Sinners - Black Octopus Lipstick Project
Haiti - The Arcade Fire
a bit of arson never hurt anyone - Matson Jones
I'm No Heroine - Ani DiFranco
The Devil Had A Hold Of Me - Gillian Welch
If You Fall - Azure Ray
From A Balance Beam - Bright Eyes
Truth No. 2 - Dixie Chicks
Stolen Car - Patty Griffin
Nightmare Song - Eleni Mandell
Wonderful - Everclear
32 Flavors - Ani DiFranco
Better Version of Me - Fiona Apple
Bye Bye Blues - Esquivel

::retreats back into her hidey-hole::

Apr 4, 2006

Nine-tenths of the battle lies in not having a breakdown

Okay Friends,

It's time for me to step it up and kill this dissertation once and for all.

I will not be reading your blogs for the next month - at least it will be VERY sporadic if I do. I will not be blogging, either, even though I know you're dying to see how the Prairie Tunic is coming along.

I will miss you but it will be SO MUCH MORE FUN when I return.

Your Pal,

Apr 3, 2006

Still Writing


Love, Amanda