Well, not really. But I decided to give my hands a rest and not knit today. I think I need to; after I finished Inishmore I automatically picked up the ((ahem))doily((ahem)) that I'd been working on and after a few rounds on the 2mm needles, my wrists were getting rather alarming shooting pains. So rather than risk something major, I'm not knitting. And I'm sad. Not to mention biting my hangnails.*

So here's a bunch of links instead!

Rillly kewl steam toys (thanks, Sky!)
Things I Learned From My Patients - lots of posts, but worth it for the schadenfreude.
Wilf Lunn Autobiography - I don't even know how to describe this or why I liked it so much. A cheerful Angela's Ashes? And check out the guy's inventions. Great stuff.
From McSweeney's - OK, maybe this gets funnier as you read more Chomsky.

And that's all I have. I made the stupid mistake of drinking a lot of coffee in the late afternoon yesterday, so I got to sleep around 4:45 AM. I'm kinda slow right now.

* This is the main reason I knit so much, otherwise I look like I've got some kind of disoriented stigmata happening on my fingertips.

Announcer 1: And I think we have a final report from California... Bob?
Announcer 2: Bob? Bob, ish that you?
Announcer 1: Er, Bob, are you OK?
Announcer 2: Jush fine, Bob! Bobby! Bobberino! Hey, we're bosh named Bob!
Announcer 1: Maybe we'd better call back?
Announcer 2: I'm fine, Bob, jush fine. Jusht been having a little drinky for Inif.. Inan... Inishmore. That'sh it. Inishmore. Ish done! All done! Yay!
Announcer 1: Well, that's good. We'd love to hear more about it, but maybe we'll return to this story after Bob has... recovered.
Announcer 2: No, no. Bob! She got the sheams all done an'everything! Shee? It'sh inshide out. Inishmore, inshide out... all the lil' endsh, all woven in... and she got it done lasht night!
Announcer 1: Lasht... I mean, last night, Bob?
Announcer 2: That'sh what I shaid! Lasht night! She wanted to take picturesh thish morning though, in the shun. But then it rained. Shad little raindrops... itsh sho shad...
Announcer 2: OK, we're moving on now to the other magnificent Knitting Olympic final products. Thanks for listening. This was Bob...
Announcer 2: And Bob! Whee!
Announcer 1: ... signing off on Inishmore.


Well, that was actually interesting. I wasn't sure if I could finish in time, and I did, so that's nice. Without some sort of reason though (even if it's a self-imposed reason like the Knitting Olympics) I don't enjoy knitting flat-out on only one thing. It's the only one thing part, I think, that's the real problem. I usually have two or three projects going at once (at a minimum) so when I get bored I can switch. And I get bored very easily.

I also taught myself to cable without a cable needle, which I don't think I would have done without the deadline pressure, so that's a Useful Skill.

On the down side, I think the thing's still too short. I'm constantly pulling it down. Yes, I wanted a shorter version originally but I think I was wrong. It's a major undertaking to lengthen it, with the way it's designed, so I think I'll leave it for a bit and see if I acclimatize. R:tAG says I don't look any more like a bowling pin than usual. What a relief.

Announcer 1: The clock is ticking, the end is near, and all our athletes are pushing for the finish. Does it look like Inishmore will finish, Bob?
Announcer 2: I know that Amy's been considering whether an Aran T-shirt would be complete idiocy, Bob. But given how pigheaded committed she is, I think she'll just keep pushing. There's about 10cm to go on the sleeves, then the shoulder straps, then the collar, then the finishing. Not impossible, but not easy either. I forsee a very knitting-intensive Saturday for her.
Announcer 1: We'll be keeping an eye on her, Bob. Now off to the award ceremonies where those Olympic knitters with a more balanced view of life are receiving their gold medals!

Announcer 1: Are we back on track for regular Inishmore updates, Bob?
Announcer 2: Well, there was an upset last night, Bob. Amy had been hoping to knit a clean sleeve, but as I've marked with my Special Commentator Pen, she committed a technical fault of the most glaring kind.
Announcer 1: I think it's kind of hard to see, Bob.
Announcer 2: Well, Bob, the judges don't think so. She twisted a cable the wrong way. She's made this mistake before but has always managed to recover by laddering down from the next few rows and re-knitting. But she didn't catch this one until about twenty rows later, and laddering that far will have a serious impact on her schedule and temper.
Announcer 1: So what's she going to do, Bob?
Announcer 2: Apparently she's going to just leave it, Bob, and repeat that saying about always leaving a mistake in your work so the gods don't get jealous.
Announcer 1: Probably wise, Bob, with the clock ticking here in Day 13. We take you now to the exciting Nordic Combined Steeking in progress.

Announcer 1: ... and there is still no update from the Inishmore in California. It's been three days now, and we're getting very worried... wait! Wait! Bob, is that you?
Announcer 2: Yes it is, Bob!
Announcer 1: Where on Earth have you been?
Announcer 2: It's a complicated story, Bob. Let's just say that you can't put too many oranges into a dufflebag.
Announcer 1: OOoookay, Bob. But we're all waiting to hear about Inishmore!
Announcer 2: Well, as you can see, Bob, the front and back are done, and a strong start has been made in the Synchronized Sleeve event.
Announcer 1: Are the front and back actually longer than I remember, Bob?
Announcer 2: Well spotted, Bob! Yes, Amy made the daring decision to lengthen the body by a couple of inches after realizing that cropped styles make her look like a bowling pin, and that she'd rather have a wearable sweater than a Knitting Olympic gold.
Announcer 1: A bold decision, Bob! Best of luck to Amy, and we go now to the Short Doily event in progress.


So this is actually less progress on Inishmore than I had hoped to make, but there was Stitches and Dundracon to distract me this weekend. I spent a fair bit of money at Stitches (I'm employed now! Don't you judge me!) but actually less than I'd expected because the market was just overwhelming. I went into ferret shock and just started wandering around with eyes like saucers and a slight thread of drool hanging from my chin. A-freakin'-mazing.

Dundracon was really good too. We only went for Saturday, but it was bigger than I'd expected and the LARP lineup was pretty impressive. I chose the 7th Sea one, being a sucker for the genre, and did not regret it. Despite not registering, I landed a key role* and had a great time. A long LARP, though... seven hours!

I was very glad that Monday was a holiday so that we could rest up from the weekend.

* Amusing incident: I was talking with an ST beforehand about what character I could play, and she said "Well, I've got a fairly central character here... do you think you can play arrogant, manipulative and condescending?" I actually laughed before I realized she didn't know me from a hole in the ground and was not being funny.

Announcer 1: And it's the beginning of Day 8, the halfway point. Olympic knitters are really feeling the burn now. Aren't they, Bob?
Announcer 2: You said it, Bob. This is when athletes can really start doubting themselves, thinking they were crazy for choosing the events they did.
Announcer 1: And what about Inishmore, Bob?
Announcer 2: Well, Amy squandered precious knitting time last night trying to estimate whether she was actually half done or not. If the back and front are a third each, and the sleeves are the third third, then being wholly done the first third and half done the second third means she's half done the whole.
Announcer 1: Could... could you say that again, Bob?
Announcer 2: Probably not, Bob. Anyway, she should leave the math to her coaches, and just get her head down and knit.
Announcer 1: She has coaches?
Announcer 2: Well, not really.
Announcer 1: OK, Bob. Off now to the Sock Biathalon.

Announcer 1: Once again, we go to Bob and the California Inishmore. Bob, any developments?
Announcer 2: Not really, Bob. Endurance and time-management skills are starting to count more than knitting ability here, so we'll see if Amy has what it takes.
Announcer 1: What's happening here at the beginning of Day 7, Bob?
Announcer 2: Steady progress, Bob, a bit slow but competing in the Olympics while holding a full time job will have that effect. You won't find many athletes in Turin even trying something like that. Wimps.
Announcer 1: True, Bob. We take you now to the Cable Slalom hill.

Day 6

Announcer 1: Time to go to Bob and our regular Inishmore update... Whoa, Bob! What happened? Is that a picture from Day 2?
Announcer 2: No, Bob, we're not on instant replay, and there hasn't been a frogging incident. The front of Inishmore is identical to the back until the last sixteen rows, and what we're seeing here is the progress on the front. As you remember from yesterday, the back is complete.
Announcer 1: Well, that's a relief, Bob. Thanks for explaining that aspect of Inishmore. I guess you really have to be a fan to know something like that.
Announcer 2: Not really, Bob.
Announcer 1: Well, anyway, what's the status at the beginning of Day 6, Bob?
Announcer 2: Pretty sluggish, Bob. Yesterday evening was Valentine's, after all.
Announcer 1: You mean that Amy actually chose spending time with her true love over knitting?
Announcer 2: Pretty much, Bob.
Announcer 1: Well, we can only hope that this loss of focus won't affect her chances of a medal. We take you now to the Speed Frogging track and events there.

Announcer 1: And we interrupt our regular coverage to briefly check in on the Inishmore. Bob?
Announcer 2: No surprises here, Bob, the back is completed and I see it's a bit longer than the 2.5 centre repeats that Amy had originally predicted. This is probably a bit of strategy on her part; she's probably making absolutely sure that she won't violate the IOC "Dessus du petit pain" or "Muffintop" regulations which apply even to a cropped event like this. Since she's pretty long waisted, this bit of extra time spent here will pay off at the finish. She might even regret that she didn't go the full three repeats, but we'll see. The saddle shoulders might provide that crucial extra distance.
Announcer 1: And do I see a start on the front, Bob?
Announcer 2: Yes you do, Bob. Just a couple of centimeters of the ribbing, but the advantage here is largely psychological. It's Day 5, after all, and the initial thrill of starting is being replaced by sheer stubbornness.
Announcer 1: Thanks, Bob. We now return to the Freestyle DP event in progress.

(Edit) Oh yeah, it's Valentine's Day, isn't it? That's why there was a lovely pot of tulips on the table this morning... R:tAG is such a sweetie. He is a master of the marital arts.

(I was trying to find a clever way to work this one into the post, but I couldn't. It's damn funny though).

Announcer 1: And now we go to the Inishmore in progress. Bob, can you tell us what we're looking at?
Announcer 2: Well, Bob, we're seeing the Inishmore at the beginning of Day 4. Frankly, there's not as much advancement as we might have hoped, given Amy's strong start and the fact that she had no hard commitments at all on Day 3.
Announcer 1: What were the factors there, Bob?
Announcer 2: Some have been saying that her cross training in other domestic events might have been a mistake, Bob. The Freestyle Dishwash might have made her hands feel good, but the 100m Spider Chase and Heavyweight Clutter Boxing took time away from Inishmore and, frankly, contributed no tangible benefits to it.
Announcer 1: Except to reassure her husband that she hadn't gone all Rain Man about the Knitting Olympics, Bob.
Announcer 2: Well, there is that, Bob.
Announcer 1: What are the prospects for the future, Bob?
Announcer 2: Pretty good, Bob. After all, the back of the sweater is about a quarter of the total knitting and she's on track to finish that tonight, so she's certainly not out of the running. She also just discovered that Feb. 20 is a holiday in the U.S. So barring any upsets, a gold is still possible.
Announcer 1: Thanks, Bob. We now go to the Lace Stadium to check up on events there.

I thought I'd better include some non-knitting content and the thing that's looming in my mind is our garbage disposal. I've never had one before, ever. It's scary and strangely thrilling to have this thing that, as Bill Bryson said, could any minute convert your hand from a useful grasping tool into a dibber.

Ours has been having performance issues, though. First it was the discovery that you should never put eggshells down it (well, that doesn't hurt the garberator itself, it clogs the pipes). And then it wouldn't drain properly, and just kept making unhappy grunts (kinda like R:tAG before coffee :)). So yesterday I threw a cleaner pellet down*, then ice cubes, then a sinkful of cold water. And there was this hella big "krr-krr-krr-kerchunksqshsqqshhBLOOP" sound, as something that it makes my gorge rise even to think about came loose and disappeared from our lives forever. And now everything's fine!

And now knitting... those of you not interested in this had better just tune out for the next two weeks. I'm going to use this as a sort of photojournal for my own benefit since I've never chronicled knitting progress this obsessively before.

Start of Day 2, back ribbing and some cables.

Start of Day 3 (today), over half done the back... there will be 2.5ish repeats of the centre diamond in the end.

I love this pattern; the cables are all so elegantly and sensibly aligned that you don't need the charts after a while. I'm trying to get a lot done now, because next weekend is Dundracon and I'm thinking of attending.

* Down the garbage disposal. Not down R:tAG. That wouldn't help At All.

OK, so I can't post a picture of my Olympic knitting progress, because R:tAG took the camera with him to a gaming convention today. But I do have one of the Super Secret Project mentioned earlier, which is now declassified because it's been given to the recipient.

Yep, the CEO of R:tAG's company and his wife just had a baby boy, so obviously the Heir Apparent needed a Statesman toy. The Heroclix figure is shown for scale. I was pretty happy with how it turned out, except for the helmet which I think could be better. But it's not bad for about eight hours' work, no prior planning, and using only materials on hand.

And in other news... well, not much. I'm a full-time employee now, my probationary period of two months having been reduced because they realized how awesome I am.* Which means a pay raise, so yay!

Some cool links:

Party recipie (some day...)
Good interview with Dan Savage (favourite quote: "...everyone's so completely pussified by our therapy culture, where anyone who's seeking counsel has to be f*ckin' nursed at your hairy tit for half an hour before you say a discouraging word")
Also from the Onion (it's a joke, obviously, but it's also part of what my thesis was about. The concept of adding visual usage information to digital content is a valid one! Really!)
Superbowl Entertainment (OK, too late for this year, but it's a great idea. We didn't watch the game, but this actually made it tempting)
Art Knitting (um, probably should be for grownups only)

* I'm experimenting with Tomas-style blogging, but I'm not sure I can sustain it...

So you might notice an arachnoidal addition to my Yahoo avatar. This is to celebrate me getting used to the fact that 'round here, anything left undisturbed for more than about four days will become covered in webs. For an indifferent housekeeper like me, this is taking some getting used to.

Here is our latest house guest:

Allow me to provide some context... the gray-green background is our couch back cushions, viewed from above looking down. The red/black part is a Celtic-patterned blanket, lying over the couch back. The webs are webs (a classic tunnel shape), and the freakin' huge spider is a freakin' huge spider. I ought to have put something in for scale, but I didn't want to get close. The thing wouldn't have comfortably fit on a loonie, anyway. We don't use that blanket very much, so Mr. Spider moved right in underneath it.


Now I don't want to even go into our back bedroom.


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