I’ve been busy at work and sort of down-ish… I think English needs to borrow a few words to describe moods. Weltschmerz? Anomie? Hulihudu? Dukkha?

Then, of course, Cat and Girl came to my rescue and cheered me right up. There’s some really deep truth there, I think.

I’ve been meaning to take pictures of stuff, but I’ve been getting home after dark, and last weekend R:tAG took the camera to PAX* . I especially wanted to take pictures for Ravelry, which is a social networking site for knitters that might divert knitting content from this blog. Probably not, though.

I’m pretty antisocial, as it turns out,** so Ravelry for me is more of an on-line project diary and occasional resource to answer the question “What does Garment X look like on a real person under real circumstances?” instead of a way to meet people and/or talk on forums.

I finished the Mystery Stole a while ago, by the way, but wanted to take pre- and post-blocking pictures. I am also wibbling over whether or not to add this to my large line-up of projects-to-make. I love it a lot, but I have a ridiculous number of things in the queue.

At next year’s GenCon, I hope, R:tAG will be releasing his game. So I’m planning my costume already (he might get one too). I just got my pattern in the mail, and coincidentally got a 40% off coupon from Joann’s,*** and also found additional incentive to finish really early by finding out about a Victorian cemetery walking tour coming up soon. Since we didn’t end up going to the Revolutionary Picnic, I’m going to try for this one. R:tAG might end up in something rented, though.

I’m not sure that the dress that I’m picturing, being more on the mourning/undead end of the spectrum, will be suitable for the Christmas Dickens Fair. Perhaps I could do something in dark red or purple or gray or green, which would be more versatile than the black that was in my head. Hmm. Maybe not dark red, though, as all the pictures from the long red steampunk coat show what that does to my colouring. Mind you, I was pretty warm.

I am also excited about possibly designing an Empire of Bone-themed knit lace shawl. There’re patterns out there for lace skulls, and bats, and generally gothic patterns so it should work. OK, dress first, shawl second.

* I didn’t go, but I probably should have. I can take or leave PAX itself, but the hotel at which R:tAG was staying was right next to Pike Place Market, and I could happily have spent a weekend there. Ah well, probably better for the budget that I didn’t go. R:tAG did bring me back about half a pound of smoked salmon. Yum!

** I know y’all are gasping in amazement, but it’s true!

*** Not the nicest fabric store (they have no woolen fabrics, for example, and are heavy on the quilting cottons and sparkly novelty stuff) but for my first attempt I think I want something fairly cheap and plain anyway.

I know I’ve used this song’s lyrics already. Twice. But damn, it’s so true.

So R:tAG’s brother and fambly were here, and we had a great time. Though trying to hit the highlights of the Bay Area in only five and a half days, while still eating and sleeping sufficiently to sustain life, was a challenge.

Most notable bits:

  • The look on our 13-year-old nephew’s face after spinning a dentist’s “Wheel of Fortune” display at a local community fair, and instead of winning a toothpaste squeezer like everyone else (and which he’d actually been hoping for), winning the Grand Prize of a $500 tooth-whitening procedure.*
  • Getting seriously sunburned on the right half of my body watching a lacrosse game in San Francisco when the tricksy tricksy fog decided to part. In about 15 minutes I looked like a Cheron variant.**
  • My sinister in-laws dragging – yes, dragging! – us to an outlet mall and forcing us to spend lots of money on kitchen gadgets and discount clothes! We were helpless!
  • Finding out that it’s not just me that gets really weirded out by the steepness of San Francisco’s hills. Seriously, you almost get dizzy after a while because of the discrepancy between the ground plane and the direction of gravity.
And then the fambly had to leave, and we had to get ready for GenCon. I’d done most of the costuming work previously except for the clockwork hand that I’d been planning. Of course, that turned out to be the fiddliest thing, but luckily it was just a lot of hand sewing (haw!) and I finished it in the hotel room on Wednesday night. What with the 3 hour time difference, I was staying up late anyway.

The steampunk costumes turned out well, I thought, and later that night, when Cenobyte and I were trying to go see a movie,*** a gentleman with gold teeth offered her $1,000 for her goggles. He produced an impressive bankroll lest we think he wasn’t serious, but Cenobyte declined (much to his confusion, I think).

We entered the costume contest, but didn’t win.**** I can’t argue; the winner (of our category and overall) did a replica of Queen Amidala’s outfit that was movie-quality. The closer you were, the more impressive it got. And the second place winner was pretty impressive also. *****

There were lots of goodies to be had on the dealers’ floor, and of course thousands of great games that I didn’t manage to play, and a few I did, and the usual stench of Indianapolis in the summer****** and a magnificent thunderstorm on Sunday night that made us very very happy. We miss thunderstorms.

And Stardust is really, really good. Go see it.

Oh, and it was R:tAG's and my eighth anniversary yesterday, so yay for us (does it seem like eight years to you?) So, a good couple of weeks. How ‘bout you?

* He gave it to me, bless his heart, since they weren’t staying long enough to use it. Tooth whitening? I am on my way to becoming completely assimilated by California. I suppose breast implants and hair extensions are next. Though a woman in our office just had extensions put in, with real hair, and now all I can think of when I look at her is “EEEEEE YOU’RE WEARING SOMEONE ELSE’S HAIR!”

** Hoo boy, the geek doesn’t even scrub off, does it?

*** We ended up going to the White Wolf party instead, at a rather cool industrial club that made me sort of nostalgic for PPM and where I told a punk with a 12” mohawk that he wasn’t a real libertarian. He was a great guy, and apparently quite involved in the punk scene (he’s the vocalist).

**** Thing I liked the most about the costume contest… there was Dr. Girlfriend, one of the Monarch’s henchmen, and Rusty Venture himself, and they all had come separately! Here’s a better picture of the last two.

***** And looking for pictures of us, I realized how much I didn’t see. This is a collection of links to collections of pictures that gives you some idea of the size of GenCon.

****** A bouquet of decomposing corpses, feces, and mildew, with a top note of urine. Downtown Indy is steam heated, which apparently means all the runoff of all the gutters gets blended, simmered, vaporized, and sent back to the surface via steaming manhole covers and gratings. There is a theory that GenCon moved to Indy because after walking downtown, entering a hall full of close-packed gamers is actually a nasal relief.

R:tAG’s brother and fambly are here for a visit, and then we’re off to GenCon right after they leave. Another busy late summer for us. It’s amazing what the addition of two teenagers to a household does to its water consumption.

Oh, I think I solved the Mystery of the Disappearing Coffee. R:tAG had another early-morning physio appointment* so I stole another cup of coffee from his workplace. This time, I tried to surreptitiously** pay attention to my drinking it. I’m pretty sure that the first time I actually just drank more than I thought I did, because I took a few big sips (to try and get the level down) and then put it in the cup holder without taking my eyes off the road. The big sips were bigger than I thought, so the level was much lower than when I last actually looked at it. So. You can all resume your normal lives; I know that y’all were on tenterhooks waiting to find out the answer to the mystery.

Speaking of mysteries (nice segue, eh?) the Mystery Stole is almost done. It turns out to be an interesting asymmetrical design. The designer had you put in a lifeline at one point, and I was going wild with speculation as to why… I was picturing some really cool techniques with lots of dropped and raveled stitches, or three-dimensional inserts to make godets, or something. Turns out it was just so if you didn’t like the proposed asymmetry, you could rip back and work a mirror image. Once again, reality fails to live up to my imagination.

I think I forgot to get a picture of Clue 4, but here is Clue 5. For Clue 4, just picture the same thing but without the odd flappy bit to the right where the direction of work changes to go diagonally. Eventually that bit will be as long as the body of the stole is wide, if that makes sense. I think this will end up being pretty short for me, as I had feared. But blocking will tell the tale, and at worst some shorter person will get a lovely Christmas present. I’m all about the process, not the product.

The final shape of the stole will be something like this:

But look closely! The rumours are true! It is the Lacy Mark of the Beast!

The official theme of the stole is “Swan Lake,” by the way, in case you were wondering about the post title. The border pattern is called “Wings of the Swan,” the Russian-y motif at the pointy end is from the costumes in a certain production, the center lace pattern is called “Cat’s Paw” (the standard choreography for a famous bit in the ballet uses a step called “Pas de Chat”) and the part I’m working on now will be a feathered wing shape as if the stole is changing into a swan. The suggested colours (black and white) represent Odile and Odette, and while the designer said she just added the beads because she liked them, someone pointed out that they look like droplets of water which is suitable, of course, for an aquatic bird theme.*** The designer originally said it might not be suitable for a wedding because the ballet is a tragedy with suicides and such, but I think it's a nice design and anyone who's that sensitive will just find something else to be upset about at their wedding anyway ("That butter knife is pointing right at me! You ruined it for the WHOLE LOG!")

* Hopefully his second-last one! Yay!

** Well, I was trying to duplicate the effect of not paying attention, so I had to kind of fool myself into acting like I was absentmindedly drinking it, while in reality observing. It’s hard to live in my head sometimes.

*** A note of interest to knitters; this post vividly shows the importance of checking gauge and how the suggested needles and yarn are only a starting point and no substitute for a swatch.

Dammit! I was fooling around with changing templates and managed to lose the content of all my link lists. They don't warn you that that's going to happen (even if you restore your old templates the content of your custom widgets is lost).

I don't have time to fix it right now, but rest assured I still love all y'all and I'll get your blog links back as soon as possible.


Well, I sort of fixed it for Firefox, but in IE it seems like the secondary content (the stuff in the left-most column) is now only accessible through scrolling, which sucks.

If there's anyone out there who knows CSS better than I, I'd appreciate advice.


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