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Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's a Mad, Mad Mission - Sign Me Up
The anticipation is over. I have spun.

I had a lovely ride up to southern PA, listening to Dar Williams and Patty Griffin. I started early. The weather was clear and gorgeous.

Road Trip

Arrived at The Mannings in plenty of time, and had an opportunity to wander around and look at some of the pretty landscape features.


I was immediately greeted by the Mannings kitty.

She came out for attention as soon as I arrived

She was a very friendly little gal.


...Until I stopped skritching her under her chin and started to withdraw my hand (kittyslashed hand not photographed here - she's clearly serious about her skritchies). It was a lovely day and a lovely site:

The Mannings'

Tree and woodpile


Since I had some time, after photographing, I sat here and knit for a bit:

Nice place to sit and knit

The shop opened, I was given a bit of a tour of the highlights of the premises (including the fact that they provide coffee. No joke when it's 8:30 in the morning and Yours Truly has been up since 5:00), checked into my class, and shown the classroom. Tom, our teacher, demonstrated fleece washing, dyeing, and other preparation techniques. Then he took us into the sample wheel room, where I was lost to Schacht Lust:

Schacht Lust

(Yes, I did try other wheels while I was there - I brought an open mind and the fervent hope I would be satisfied with a less-expensive wheel. Not so much). He set us to treadling while we fluffed fiber, to get the Zen of "feet do one thing, fingers do another." He suggested a waltz tempo, but also noted that whatever worked was fair game. My suggestion of a 5/4 Brubeck-type tempo was met with laughter and the idea that perhaps this would make for some really interesting yarn. Then, after lunch, we actually got to spin stuff:

Marilyn, Tom, and Cindy

Marilyn, Tom and Cindy



I spun some too (no photos of photographer spinning). It is pretty much the whole "first yarn, ergo it sucks," variety. But that doesn't matter. I am in love. Next stop: Schacht wheel ordering.

First yarn

...It's a mad mission
Under difficult conditions
not everybody makes it
To the loving cup
It's a mad mission
But I got the ambition
Mad, mad mission
sign me up...

Friday, July 28, 2006

If Gatorade Tastes Good, You're Dehydrated.
I've had heat exhaustion. It's not fun. What it progresses to is even less fun.

Keep yourselves safe, all.

Monday, July 24, 2006

[Famous Person] Slept Here
I really don't get the veneration of objects. I understand that there are enough people in the world who find a chair far more valuable because some notable's backside once polished the seat, but I am not one of them. I really don't care if a Ming Emperor once held that calligraphy brush or if the Third Earl of Sandwich took snuff from that very box. I think the ideas contained inside the Declaration of Independence are more interesting than the fact that we have the original document hermetically sealed at the Smithsonian.

Don't get me wrong: the snuffbox may be quite beautiful in its own right and something I might enjoy gazing at, but the fact that a notable once may have held it lightly and partaken of its contents does not increase its inherent value to me. The snuffbox may just as well have been held by the Fourth Earl of Nowhere. The ephemeral nature of most sorts of provenance leaves me cold.

Contrast that with objects where you can glean some piece of information about the owner. Henry VIII's suit of armor from his early 20's for instance (much more, er, impressive when viewed in profile). Mom and I just about giggled ourselves into the floor of the Tower of London when we first viewed this piece of history. You can learn a lot about the man just by glancing at its... pretensions.

And then there's this quote from Franklin about an object created by the late Elizabeth Zimmermann:

It's quite moving to pick up something you've seen Elizabeth hold in a video and realize every stitch in it came from her needles.

Again, I am pretty sure you would be able to learn something about Elizabeth Zimmermann from looking at something she created. That's a piece of history I really would be interested in for its provenance.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Not this Weekend, but the Next
Did you do that when you were a kid - mentally line up the weeks until something you looked forward to was scheduled to occur, and then line up the days in your mind, knocking each one down in succession and savoring the anticipation as the thing grew ever closer?

I still do that.

Next weekend, I am going on a long-awaited, much-planned-for trip to The Mannings, where hopefully my failures with a drop-spindle will be banished to memory and I may emerge victorious with some actual (wheel) spinning skills. Yes, it's true. For now, at least, I'm giving up on the drop-spindle which I have had no luck with learning on my own and have been equally unable to find anyone who could teach me how to use it. I do understand that this may make me like one of those people who learn how to drive in an automatic and then talk themselves into an inability to learn to drive stick. I think I can live with that, though, as someone who had stick-shift cars for 20 years (until last year, when I finally threw in the towel due to a horrific commute) this was a rather difficult place to get to.

The really difficult bit will probably be not dropping a scary load of cash on a new wheel right then and there. However, I have sat myself down and given myself a stern talking-to about keeping an open mind (no matter the people who inadvertently seduce me into a Schacht Matchless just from the look of them), and trying everything, and seeing if perhaps I uncover someone who might lend me a spare for a while (as Marie assures me is likely to happen - fiber folk really seem to be generous in lending spare tools to draw others into the fold) to see if I really and truly want to persist in this after I have tried it once. My particular equation of Stubborn + Enthusiastic often = Expensive, and if I'm going to spend big cash, I really don't want it to be a big cash mistake.

I am trying to be sensible. I really am.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

...Beats So Lonely...
Okay. The geekery has reached epic proportions. Marie and I both read the Yarn Harlot's entry today and freaked out over the Charlie Sexton connection. We are such children of the 80's. She did, in fact, make a tape for me in or around 1986 that really encapsulated our high school years together. We really need to see if we can reconstruct that as an iTunes playlist.

And in case anyone was wondering? Yes. Joss Whedon? Still my hero.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"Will You STOP Sawing the Table?!"
Well, blow my lips off! My all time favorite animation, The Big Snit is now available online. I guess I can die happy now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Rana-Type Post
Rana often impresses me with lyrical descriptions of the fauna around her house. In that spirit (while hardly making a claim to lyricism), I found myself wondering what she would make of a little scene I witnessed this weekend at a local cafe where I was breakfasting with a friend.

My friend and I were sitting at the window. A couple had been sitting on the patio just on the other side of the window. When they left about half of their food behind, a little bird-war started. About a dozen sparrows and larger birds started scavenging, grabbing big gobbets of scrambled egg and other leftovers off of the plates. Suddenly, I noticed one sparrow was behaving oddly. He was a stout, fluff-feathered birdie, shaking his wings up and down. Not flapping, mind you - shaking. The wingtips stayed pointed towards the ground, and there was this tantrummy-looking fluttering thing going on. Then another sparrow landed near him, and his beak gaped open. I suddenly realized (suburban naturalist that I am not) that despite his solid build and full-grown sparrow size, he was a juvenile.

Juvie kept jiving his feathers and gaping his beak at anyone who passed by, occasionally getting a handout, until he got greedy and proved what I suspected: the lad was a bit of a poser and a whiner. He flew quite capably up to the mother lode on the table and started to fend for himself until a larger bird knocked him on his lazy bird tailfeathers for getting in big bird's way. He then returned to his gape-and-fluff ways. I could almost hear him cheep, "But I TRIED to get some for myself!!"

I then figured I was watching the bird equivalent of a 24-year-old living in mom's basement, playing video games all day, with the occasional feint at getting a job because DoomQuake 17 is coming out and nobody will give him the cash to buy it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Google Searches - v. 13
Hah. You thought I had forgotten? Ah no, Grasshopper. I keep a running list of the madness. Here's the latest:

sippy cub - Heh. I get a sadistic thrill knowing that someone looking for Tommee Tippee or some such thing ended up finding my deranged, alcoholic, dental ramblings.

typing olympic - No. The Knitting Olympics were enough, thanks.

clapotis in handspun - Nice thought if you can manage all that spinning...

meaning of the phrase "up, up, and away" - this from the New Jersey Higher Education Network. WTF? I had no idea that this phrase was that opaque.

clapotis head - This sounds like some new playground taunt, perhaps replacing the timeless "doo-doo head."

the phrase "on it" "meaningless or superfluous" - WTF???

can i get information on an otters niche - Sicko. You leave those otters alone.

"taking two bar exams" - Doable. It'll make you crazy, but it's doable.

boone's farm flavors - From bar exams to Boone's Farm. That's my website.

adjective for kids - Good god, how did I get to be on this search? So much wholesomeness...

Also, one visit (via Cast-On) from The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics - ayyy!

And one real-life visit: Lauren's coming over today - whooee!

That is all.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Is it Too Much to Hope...
...that next year's Tour de France television coverage might not be the "Lance Armstrong in Absentia" show?

It's also pretty pathetic how focused the OLN coverage is on the various Americans cycling in this year's Tour. Are American fans really so insular that we can't be bothered to watch an international sporting event if there isn't an American featured every 7.37 seconds?

On second thought, don't answer that.

Also, with all of the spectacular falls that have been caused by various idiotic jerks interfering with the racers over the years, what on earth possesses people to lean over the barriers, waving their hands (and other objects)? I'm really glad Thor Hushovd's injuries weren't any worse.