Tuesday, April 25, 2006

On knitting while walking

I own this little piece of plastic that will magically allow me access to "the gym." The Gym is a mystical place full of rather frightening looking machinery that's supposed to turn me into a super model...er...super pirate...uhm, yeah. So far though it hasn't worked. The problem seems to be that you can't just own the card, you actually have to go and use the magical, mystical, frightening equipment.

Instead of using my special piece of plastic I "walk." I walk anywhere that's less than three miles away, and in this town that's most places. Walking provides me with transportation, an excuse for not going to The Gym, and also fills up that void that some people fill up with television and other people fill up with meditation...the staring off into nothing void. Basically walking is a good thing.

Actually the only problem with walking is that it takes time, sometimes lots of time, valuable time that could be taken up with knitting...you see the problem? So I decided to start knitting while I walk. Yup. I'm the freak that you see walking around with a ball of yarn in the pocket of her hoody squinting at whatever's on the needles, bumping into things and basically causing traffic problems where ever she goes.

These are the things that I've noticed about walking and knitting. First of all, I walk a lot slower when I'm knitting. A former 40 minute walk now takes about an hour. Second of all, traffic is a good thing. Waiting at a stop light for the traffic to clear gives you a chance to look back and see if you've dropped some stitches or miscrossed your cables etc. And Thirdly...parking lots are really scary places full of people who are almost as oblivious as I am.

If you are going to attempt walking and knitting do it someplace that you've walked many times before, someplace where you know all the bumps in the sidewalks and which driveways contain crazy teenagers who are likely to zoom out without looking at what's behind them. And don't try to fool yourself into thinking that knit-walking is exercise because you walk so slowly that your metabolism probably slows down...if you want to be a super pirate you still have to go to The Gym...or I could try running and knitting? Knitting marathons? Miles per inch?

Ragnar...see I didn't talk about unemployment at all, even though I'm at the library printing out my resume.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Not what I should be doing

First of all I am not supposed to be blogging right now, I am actually supposed to be writing my resume, but shush. I just had a realization that I wanted to share.


I have not yet missed a “normal” blogging day. Monday thru Thursday bloggety with a long weekend. See! I’m not so bad.

Second of all, I am totally stressed out for no reason. I think it’s because I don’t believe that this is really happening yet, the whole not having to go to work but instead fumbling around with a new bureaucracy that I have yet to fathom thing. I got a call from “work” a few minutes ago and when I recognized the number my first reaction was “Shit, what did I do?” Answer being nothing, because I don’t “do” anything there anymore. They wanted me to return my key (which I was planning on doing on Wednesday when I go to pick up my last paycheck anyway, so nyah). That doesn’t seem natural does it? To have heart palpitations when someplace you don’t work anymore calls you?

The other possible reason for stressed outness is that I have a writing assignment. You’ve probably noticed that I don’t have a problem with “writing” per se (you do tend to go on and on don’t you Ragnar?) but it’s all that propaganda that I had drilled into my by the career councilors at University. All that “your resume is you” and “the average employer only looks at a resume for 10 seconds” stuff. I’m not very good at condensing…or completing assignments in a timely fashion come to think of it. Also the two crutches of my writing style are frowned on in resume writing, those being superfluous ellipses (…) and random (misplaced) parentheses…

On the other hand, I mentioned to FWI that I would be hogging his computer today and when I got here I found that he had made me my own personal playlist with Slayer and Rasputina and all sorts of other “resume writing” music…isn’t that sweet? Although the only thing in the house to drink is pink wine in a box, but I suppose one isn’t really supposed to get soused while working on one’s resume is one?

Are you all thoroughly sick and tired of the Ragnar as Unemployed topics yet? I am. No more unemployed shit for the rest of the week. I was going to write about the Andy Goldsworthy show that I went to this weekend, but somehow my train of thought was hijacked by that “work” phone call.

Andy Goldsworthy…I have such a crush on that guy. If I lived in Scotland and he wasn’t married (and I wasn’t madly in love with my Manimal) I would totally stalk him, or place personal ads like “Nature lover seeks rugged middle aged artist for long walks on the beach, building things out of moss and piling of rocks into interesting shapes.”

Ragnar…I am more than my (unwritten) resume.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Forget all the nasty things I've said about Blogger

Because evidentally they employ wizards who can find "disappeared" posts in the ether of the blogosphere.

Finally have all unemployment things filed...somehow the State Of Michigan has figured out a way to print 4 extra pages for every page that they required me to print off their website so now I own several blank pieces of paper that either have Michigan letterhead, or the Unemployment Agencies web address on them...at 10 cents a page no less. I'm unemployed! I can't afford that! Oh well, whatever.

My parents will be here in an hour and a half...I must go home and freak out at the dust maggots.

What are you doing here you dust maggots? Didn't I tell you to get out of here? You're not welcome around here. I swept you like 6 months ago, don't you know how to take a hint?

Ragnar...paying for internet.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Two posts in one day!

But read the other one first okay? It'll make more sense that way.

Argh! Filing for unemployment is really annoying! How the hell am I supposed to know the specifc dollar amount that I've been paid for the last 18 months? Booger on you Unemployment Insurance Agency...you stink.

But on the bright side (there's always a bright side to these things isn't there?) since I was unable to file today, I will have a good excuse to seek out an internet connection tomorrow!

See ya then!

Ragnar...a tool of the system, man.

Unemployed baby!

I had a sweet post all ready to go at 10:30 this morning, because unemployed people have nothing better to do that walk over to their FWI's houses (that Friends with Internet) and write entries for their blog...ah, wait that should be file for unemployment benifits. But then blogger ate my post, which was very witty by the way, full of poignent observations about the Unemployment Agency and the fucked upedness of it's website and phone system...but like I said blogger ate it, so y'all are missing out on that one.

I foundered in my attempt to file since I neglected to bring a copy of my (former) employer's tax ID number, or some such bull-oney, so here I am again at the CWI (Cafe with Internet) about to try it all over again. And since I'm paying a dollar per 15 minutes for this terminal I'm gonna make my presence known.

And for all you confused people that don't know wether to say "yay" or turn sideways and offer me their shoulder to cry on...thanks for the shoulders but really, the correct response is "congratulations!" This really is my happy face...see?

Ragnar...redundant and lovin' it.


Unemployment...Day 2

Well more like 1 since I didn't technically become unemployed until 12:30 yesterday, less than 24 hours ago in fact. I have hiked my ass over to a FWI's house (that's Friend with Internet, an abreviation that will probably appear here with much more frequency, along with CWI, Cafe with Internet) so that I can use the super unfriendly automated Unemployment Benifits Website...I don't know if unemployment is like this in other states or if it's just because we're an auto building state and GM and Ford are in the habit of laying off their employees every 6 or 7 months so that someone else can pay them for a little while, but our unemployment system is weird.

When I called this morning from my cell phone I was told that because my social scurity number ended in XX that I had missed my appointment, which was on Monday between 8:00 and 12:00, and that I should call back on Thursday or Friday between 8:30 and 12:30. Huh? Missed my appointment? I wasn't even unemployed on Monday! Does this automated phone system (MARVIN, the Michigan Automated Response Voice Interaction Network...and isn't that freaky) know things about me that haven't even happened yet? And apparently I have to post my resume on the Michigan Works Website 2 days before I can start receiving my benifits. Uhm...Resume? It's been about 6 years since I had one of those. Ack!

So far being unemployed is not as much about sleeping in and sitting around drinking tea as I hoped it would be. I am lacking several crucial numbers without which my claim can not be filed...I think these numbers would be on my W-2...which I saw not too long ago....where oh where?

But instead I am going to go for a run because it's 60 degrees outside and I haven't been running in about 3 months...actually I'll probably be going for a jog/pant/walk...that 3 month thing. Then I am going over to the Forge (the building where I have my studio used to be "Melling Forge" and I think Forge sounds less hoitey toitey then studio...plus I like the image of a Forge with lots of red hot metal, ashes and smoke with the notion of quilt making. At the Forge I will push filing cabinets around...look for my lonely little W-2 with those important numbers on it and hopefully find enough cubbies to cram things in that I can claim enough table space to work on.

And plug in my electric teapot that used to live in my office...yay! And arrange all my little boxes of tea! Yay!

Oh...and since I'm using FWI's computer the spell checker doesn't seem to want function...it must be attatched to a cookie or something, so you'll have to be gentle with me about my spelling errors...I'm not as dumb as I spell, okay? I refer you to the first post where I clearly stated that any realation to any spelling living or dead is purely accidental.

Ragnar...unemployed AND unorganized.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

One of those Hallmark moments

I was going to blog about the massacre of my tomato plants, willfully gnawed on and uprooted by some horrible neighborhood creature...I blame the squirrels, but then something happened that made that seem utterly insignifigant.

That being the thing that I've been hoping and praying for for the last 3 or 4 years. That being a thing that will severely limit my ability to blog regularly in the future.

That being I got fired from my job! Well layed of technically, there was much protestation about how it was not because I was doing a bad job. In fact my evil boss (Who I can trash at will! Because what they hell is she going to do? Fire me? Ha ha!) made quite a lot of noise about how sorry she was and how she would be happy to give me a letter of recommendation etc. She even left me alone to clean out my office so that I could delete incriminating evidence from my computer...like the bookmark to this blog. Don't worry, I left up the Jolly Roger wallpaper on the desk top so whoever they get to replace me (at half my wage, I'm sure) will have a little Ragnar reminder.

Why have I been hoping and praying for this? Well, because I hated the job, and I was close to walking out once a week or so. Had I walked out though, I would not be getting unemployment checks...and now I will. I probably wouldn't be getting letters of recommendation either...and now I will. So I will have some income for the next 6 months or so while I get restablished in art. This is the best of both worlds as it were.

The really strange thing is that I dropped off a check with my studio landlord this morning that payed the rent on my little spot of heaven for the next year...yes I am fully paid up, rent, utilities...everything until next April. The only thing I have to buy is beer...and, you know fabric etc. So really this couldn't have happened at a better time.

The only thing that makes me sad about it is that I don't have a computer at home (I am at the library right now, which is only 2 blocks away from my house) so I won't be able to keep in touch with you all as easily...but I'm not disappearing! Never fear. If I can build my customer base back up with custom quilting then I might be able to justify a computer purchase...gotta keep track of those invoices right? And I already have an offer to hang a show...as soon as I have enough work finished to fill the space.

So anyway. Yeah. That's what happened to me this morning. I think I'm going to have a party...after I get back from the unemployment office.

Ragnar...unemployed, rather than underemployed....and that's really better don't you think?

Monday, April 17, 2006

A list, in no particular order

Things I did this weekend, with no photos. The photos have been getting entirely out of hand:

Slept in

Made bread

Got a sunburn after being outside for 15 minutes….the phrase pasty white? Yeah, that’s me.

Brought my spinning wheel outside and spun in the sunshine…possibly related to the last item

Transplanted some tomatoes that had been disrupted by a squirrel digging in their pot

Planted spinach

Moved the quilting machine out of my living room, this only involved the removal of one piece of hardware…my screen door no longer closes automatically

Moved the quilting machine into my studio, 12 foot long table, 11 foot high ceilings, 5 foot wide hallway…normal sized door. I think we ended up having to fold the space time continuum, but somehow we got it in without breaking any windows or light fixtures.

Gave a friend a ride to work

Drank a cup of hot coco

Swept the living room, this is miraculous if you know me (the anti-housekeeper), can I just say? Dust maggots as big as your head.

Ate a bacon cheese burger for breakfast, most imporant meal of the day dontcha know?

Organized my yarn and roving…it all fits into one very stuffed suitcase, thank you very much

Made two new friends…this deserves a longer explanation since I’m still boggling over it. I was knitting at the bar, it was Jiggy’s bartending shift…always a good excuse to go to the bar, and there was this couple sitting next to me. They heard Jiggy say something about her home town, which turned out to be their hometown as well. They are potters, and they are new to the area, yada yada…and suddenly I realized that I recognized the male half of the couple. I had been puttering around in my studio one evening last week, and this guy had walked past my window…it was sort of startling because I had my headphones on and hadn’t realized there was anyone else in the building. Anyway, I asked him if they were the potters that had their studio in Melling Forge, and he looked at me really funny and said “yeeeess.” “I’m the quilter that just moved in there! That’s so amazing!” I should mention that the bar we were at was not actually in Lansing, but about half an hour out of town….so it was even more amazing that we had run into each other there. We ended up chatting and drinking for a couple of hours

Finished the body of the baby sweater I’m making (first beer)

Started the sleeve for the baby sweater, figuring the increases while sitting at the bar (second beer)…extreme knitting

Messed up the cable repeat on the sleeve of the sweater (fourth…possibly fifth beer)

Frogged an inch of sleeve to get back to an un-fucked portion of cable and managed to recover from drunk knitting episode (morning after…no beers)

Ate a lot of fresh bread

Broke my favorite glass

Was asked if I was Amish when I told an irritating drunk person at the bar that I didn’t have a television Cutting him some slack, I was knitting, maybe it distracted him from the fact that I was wearing pants, sitting at a bar, wearing a sweater with a skull on the back of it and figuring out sleeve increases using the calculator on my cell phone.

Finished a quilt

Wrote a bill for the finished quilt

Called the client and told them how much they owed me and arranged delivery of finished quilt…see this studio thing is making me more productive already!

Rearranged my studio in an attempt to accomidate the 12 foot long sewing machine table that is taking up most of the east half of the room

Moved every sewing related item out of my house

Piled every sewing related item that used to be in my house in the middle of the studio floor

Finished the first sleeve for the baby sweater, miraculously the increases that I figured while sitting at the bar ended up being spot on…very exciting.

Started the second sleeve for the baby sweater

Opened the last jar of homemade jam

Hijacked most of the shelves in our house and donated them to the studio organization project

Got irritated by my new neighbors, whose entire social life seems to consist of standing on their front porch and talking loudly on their two-way chirp phones. *BEEP* crackle crackle you crackle bitch crackle mo’fo *BEEP* WHAT? I CAN’T UNDERSTAND YOU! *BEEP* crackle crackle

Got morbidly drunk…drunk enough that I’m having one of those “maybe I shouldn’t drink anymore” days.

Pulled the winter plastic off the windows

Ate breakfast outside

Wore flip flops

Hula hooped…in a bar. Was complimented on my technique by a random stranger.

Got a ticket for “failing to observe a traffic control device” That would be a stop sign…which I failed to stop for. That would be a very expensive ticket.

Read comic books in bed

Officially “moved in” to my studio, if by “moved in” you mean stocked up on water, beer and snack bars

Washed dishes

Did laundry…four loads of it, yeech. Such a waste of time, it’s just going to be dirty again.

Went to the library…twice!

Picked a friend up from work

Got mooned…well almost. It was the same drunk guy who asked me if I was Amish. He lost his nerve after unbuckling his belt…wuss!

Did I mention, swept my living room?!! I was thinking about the “flash your” contests that are going around..flash your stash, flash the cupboard above your refridgerator etc., and I was thinking there should be a “flash your dust maggots” contest. I would have started it but I don’t have a camera…so I’ll just consider myself the winner.

And I have a question. Is there such a thing as darkness deprivation? I swear since daylight savings time I have not been my shiny happy self. I’d say it was “seasonal affective disorder” but it’s been 60 degrees and sunny...maybe I’m allergic to sunshine.

Ack! I just realized that my parents are going to be in town in 77 hours! I must start compulsive scouring in an attempt to convince them that their offspring turned out to be a functioning adult, rather than a pirate that lives in a nest comprised of little bits of yarn, fluff, dirty laundry, and cat hair. Hush! They must never know.

Ragnar...functioning adult...no laughing!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Some unrelated subjects

Two unrelated things that I keep forgetting to mention.

First of all…and Imbrium, you know people who are breeding so pay close attention to this…these books should be on every new mommy’s wish list. “Baby mix me a Drink” and “Baby make me Breakfast.” They are cardboard baby books that teach babies important skills through color and shape. “Baby do my Banking” and “Baby Fix my Car” are due out later this year. I’m considering pregnancy just so someone will buy them for me.

Also, out of curiosity I installed one of those stat counter things…thanks Inky for helping me out with that…and I am fascinated to discover that my blog is the first thing that comes up under “self-delusionment.” This is possibly because delusionment is not really a word, but is that not prophetic? In a rather perverse sort of way, I’m pretty proud. The other thing that seems to lead people to my neck of the woods is pirate jokes.

Also going with the flow, here’s another knitting picture.

Remember I said that I swapped a different cable pattern for the Celtic Icon sweater from Inspired Cable Knits, not because that one was “bad” just completely incomprehensible to pirates…this pirate anyway. This looks like a scarf, but it’s really not, this sweater is knit in 5 panels, and this is the front right panel. I was really truckin’ on this for awhile, but the inconsistency with the handspun yarn became an “issue.” I also got an offer to teach a class at Woven Art this summer, so I’m madly knitting a sample, and “Celtic Icon” is on the metaphorical back burner until I decide what to do about the yarn. No, that’s not true, I know what to do, I just don’t want to admit it. What I have to do is spin more yarn. I’ve even located someone who has some of the “free wool” left, and is willing to barter with me. I just don’t want to face the reality.

And I have a favor to ask of you.

See that? That’s me!! Fine Art Quilting. This sign shows the wrong suite number, but they fixed that the day after I took the picture. Here’s the favor. I have a mailbox that goes along with my new studio (which is filling up see?)

and I check the mailbox everytime I go there, because I’m a compulsive mailbox checker. There is never anything in it though, since I haven’t actually given anyone the address yet. So what I was thinkin’ was that y’all could send me some mail!! Just a postcard or something. Isn’t that a fabulous idea? (Isn’t it sort of pathetic to publicly beg people to send you mail…uhm, thanks we won’t be discussing that issue today.) The only problem is that I don’t really want to put my real name up on the blog (*gasp* her name’s not really Ragnar? Betrayal!) and the only name that fits on the mailbox is my actual personal name, not my business name. So if you are up to the challenge, then send me an email, savior_in_cellophane(at)yahoo(dot)com, and I will give you my address and my real name.

And look! This is the factory that my spanky new studio is in. Doesn’t it look all…factory like? Kinda “Urban Blight Chic” or something?

Ragnar...unrepentant mail whore.

Skull shrug? What skull shrug?

Aside from being and excellent opportunity for sock knitting, the eastwardly roadtrip had several purposes: to show Dready the French the “old” part of America (We’ve got history! See right there, there it is…oh you missed it.) and to reconnect with “old” friends…Dr. Vic who I’ve known since I was 16, and Molly a wonderful friend from Jr. High School who I hadn’t seen in over ten years! Ten freakin’ years! Molly came into Philadelphia from New York on the Chinatown bus on Sunday night, and we had a hard time finding each other…apparently there are two bus lines out of Chinatown that will take you to Philadelphia, and they stop within a couple of blocks of each other…we picked the wrong one to wait in front of. I don’t say this very often, and I will deny, deny, deny if ever confronted by it, but “thank God for cell phones.”

R: Where are you?
M: I’m in front of the bus stop.
R: Well I’m in front of the bus stop too.
M: I’m standing on a corner.
R: Which corner.
M: Oh never mind, I see you. You have a skull on the back of your shirt.

So I guess it’s good to know that I haven’t changed that much in 10 years…I am still easily identified by the skull on the back of my sweater. Or shrug rather. What? Skull shrug say you? Would you be talking about this skull shrug?

Hmm…it’s kinda blurry, and you’re wearing it over a black shirt so it’s sort of hard to tell where the shoulders come in. You’re not a very good photographer are you Ragnar? No. No, I am not. But in my defense it is an on location photoshoot in the Subways of New York. That’s pretty damn exotic for a Midwestern girl, eh? Eh? The particulars. The skull, my first intarsia project, why thank you...I think it turned out very nicely too, is from the DomiKNITrix, who hangs her hat here. She's pulled the skull chart off her site because of bandwidth theft, but you can probably make your own with Knit Pro, which is found here. I promise, promise, promise to post better pictures of it someday.

Oh, and by the way. The hat/earband/bad-hair-day-hider that I’m wearing? That’s Manimal’s first knitting project ever. Pretty good huh? In the round, double pointed needles, ribbing, no pattern and did I say first project ever? He’s a talented boy that Manimal o’ Mine.

I’m going to randomly include roadtrip anecdotes until I run out of anecdotes/pictures. This is an attempt to limit the “and then we went there” and “then we did this” aspects of roadtrip stories so that my dear bleaders don’t get bored…also to ration the pictures since I have no camera of my own.

This is a picture of the engine compartment of Dready’s car. Notice the brighter silver object? That’s my left over breakfast, wrapped up into a burrito by the owner/cook of the best breakfast place in the world. We had pulled off to get gas and I told Dready to pop the hood so I could heat up my lunch. I said this in a matter of fact sort of way, as if everyone heats up their lunch in the engine compartment of their cars, and I think she felt too self conscious to say “What are you crazy?” It was sort of hard to find a place that would accommodate a burrito. I think they should design special food heating platforms on the exhaust manifold, but alas my letter writing campaign doesn’t seem to have had any effect just yet.

Anyway, we’re pulled off at this gas station, and I’m rummaging around in the engine compartment, and the only other car in the place has two girls in it; girls of the white t-shirt, tight stonewashed jeans and teased hair variety. Very solicitously they ask if there’s something wrong with the car. “No,” says Dready in her French accent, “she’s just heating up her breakfast.” Without any noticeable pause one of the tight-jeans wearers says “That’s the kind of girl to be!” reinforcing the notion that normal people do this sort of thing all the time. I think at this point Dready was thinking “everyone in this country is nuts.” She really started to question my sanity when I closed the hood and said “Okay, ready to go.” “Is your burrito hot yet?” “Oh, no, I’ll pull it out when we stop.” “What?! We can’t drive with that thing in the engine! It’ll fall out, or get caught in something!” “It’ll be fine.” “It’ll fall out.”

So for the next 40 miles Dready got a big kick out of saying “What’s that silver thing on the road? I think your burrito fell out” every time we hit a bump. When we stopped she said “If that thing is still in there, I’m taking a picture of it.” Which is why we have a picture of a burrito in the engine compartment of Dready’s car. The burrito was very tasty by the way, more warm than piping hot, but definitely edible.

Ragnar…road pirate.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Next big step....

I have decided that I'm going to use a "real" photo on my profile, instead of the nice drawing of Mary Read that I have been using. Basically because I find this to be an acceptable picture. Slightly blurry...mostly red.

Ragnar...the red.

Roadtrip Knitting...

Subtitle: I’m gonna be a photoblogger! For the first time ever on domestic piracy, it's nothing but knitting....with lots and lots of photos!

Continuing in my recent pattern of putting skulls on everything, I recently knit a pair of socks using the skull from the “we call the pirates hat” and some other fair isley type funkiness of my own devising. Here is the first sock sitting on my desk, posed with my Princess Leia pirate doll. Subplot for those of you interested in Princess Leia, , she came out of a 25 cent bin at a thrift shop when I was about 4. She was the scourge of the doll house…co-ruler with Mr. T who was about 2/3’s her height. Anyway, last year for my birthday my Mother dressed her up pirate fashion and sent her back to live with me…she sits on my desk to keep me sane. As you can see the first sock was well on its way in this photo. Because these are flip flop socks, and because I’m making them up as I go along, I decided to knit the second sock before fiddling with the toes so that I would have some hope of remembering what I did when I got to the toe on the second one….not a note taker you see.

And here’s the second sock after about an hour of on the road knitting. That’s southeast Michigan in the background, Monroe Country I think.

And here it is after the heel has been turned, somewhere in the wild backlands of Ohio…a fierce and fulsome place Ohio.

And still in Ohio. Ohio is sort of big and really flat….we drove most of the eastern half on the Tollway, so there’s really nothing but roads, big rigs and flat for as far as the eye can see. I grew up in North Dakota though, so it seemed very lush and interesting. I mean look...aren't those trees?

I think by this point we were finally in Pennsylvania. This ended up being an 11 hour drive, which was considerably better than the 15 hours that we were expecting. This would be the magic “and here's the turkey that we put in the oven 3 hours ago” picture. This is also when Dorothy said. "No, you're not putting pictures of your feet on your blog. There's going to be an intervention. So yeah, these are my feet. Please to note my unshaven legs and my untrimmed toenails. But y'all are knitters, I know you can face foot nudity.

We were alternating between sort of mellow world beat/folky type music and industrial/metal/hardcore punk music. This is one of the things that I like about roadtripping with Dready. I say “what music do you want” and she says “Do we have anymore Slayer?”

Gosh! A Toe! Unfortunately after this point it started going much more poorly. The big toe was fine, only had to frog it once (which is "fine" by my definition). The other half of the toe didn't go so neatly. I'm trying a non-kitchner method and it ended up being much too short and toe squishing. By the time I frogged it the second time it was too dark to knit.

But that's why there's a 11 hour drive back as well! So that you can get those little inconsistances worked out. You probably can't tell from this picture, but the road is going in the other direction! We are on our way home.

Here's my attempt to photograph just how strange a split toe looks when juxtapozed with a map of western Pennsylvania. I don't know why I decided to make the toe red. If I hadn't promised Manimal that I would stop quoting him in the blog I would tell you that when he saw them he said "Uhm, honey, what were you thinking?" My only excuse is that I really love the yarn. Both of these are Kona Superwash dyed by the wonderful owner of my LYS, Woven Art. She does mail order if you'll excuse the shameless plug.

And for those of you who like happy endings...

As you can probably tell from the landscape we're back in Ohio. They would have been done sooner but Dready made me drive. This is another reason why Dready is a great road trip partner. She likes to drive. It makes for a nice division of labor. I knit, she drives.

Tune in tomorrow for blurry photos of the skull shrug...if Blogger continues it's recent streak of photo-cooperation.

Ragnar...see, I can pull it together every once in awhile.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monkey on my back...

So I’m having a bit of a conundrum. I got a forwarded email from someone this morning that sort of disturbed me. The person who sent it is not a close friend, although they are a friend, and they don’t read this blog although people who are closer friends with him than I do have the address. Basically, I want to talk about this email, but I don’t want to person who sent it to feel like I’m accusing them of some heinous bigotry just because they didn’t think very hard before hitting that “forward button.”

But I can’t stop thinking about it, so I’m going to go ahead and write about what’s on my mind. Damn the torpedoes, etc.


So the subject line of this email was “Kill before they multiply.” And I suspect that that was the subject put on by whoever forwarded it to the acquaintance who forwarded it along to me, since it had "fwd:" in front of it, so hopefully that was not the sentiment of my friend.

The body of the email read: And some people consider this attractive.

(Okay...here's where I would post the pictures, but blogger is being a COMPLETE BASTARD! Suffice to say that they were pictures of extreme body modification. Pretty much eveyone had facial tattoos, one person had a coke can in his earlobe, bones through the nose, branding etc. If you're really interested I can email them to you.)

So anyway. Yes. Those are pretty extreme. But really? None of your fucking business. If people want to have klingon ridges installed in their foreheads, or have their ears stretched out so that they always know where their cellphone is, then what business is it of yours? If you find it disturbing, then guess what? You don’t have to look at them. And “kill them before they multiply?” I know you’re joking, but it’s not remotely funny. The fact is that there are groups of people who think it’s okay to persecute people because of how they look: there’s a neo-nazi group that’s coming to rally at the Michigan Capital on the 22nd…13 days from now, which is perhaps why this is on my mind.

And you know what? I’m one of those people who find it attractive. I think that tattoos can really enhance a body’s appeal, and they can be deeply spiritual if done for the right reasons. I have a one on my back, a stylized depiction of my womb and ovaries approximately life sized and tattooed over the “real” ones. Designing it and having it applied was one of the ways that I came to terms with myself as “woman.” I’m terribly fond of it. Also, piercings. I had to take mine out because they never healed properly and they hurt like hell when they got caught on things, but for the 2 years that I had them, I got a lot of joy out of them.

I’m sure that the person who sent this to me has a list of people who he forwards things to, and thought “wow, those are some pretty crazy pictures,” hitting “send” without considering the full implication of what it was he was sending, but come on! I mean, I don’t have purple hair anymore, and yes, I don’t have any visible tattoos or piercings, but why would you think I would sympathize with this? Perhaps I’m just cranky because I’ve become enough of a “normal” person that people who know me slightly think I would be entertained by something like this.

In case you are wondering I did reply. "It amazes me that we are friends. FYI, I'm one of the people that find it attractive." And I left it at that...if he brings it up to me in person he will get an earful, but hopefully that's enough that he'll think a little more deeply before hitting the "send" button next time.

Sorry, the normal entry was hijacked. I was planning on posting about the knit-in, and the multi-skein project, the pirate themed yarn tasting that the LYS is planning, and the cult of bar knitting and how it spreads. I even have the roadtrip photos in my knitting bag…but I needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and blog will return to normal tomorrow. Actually, why don’t y’all vote on which of the above topics you want me to write about.

Ragnar….not a fucking "normal" damn it, in spite of home-ownership, office job, and import car.

Be patient...

This is for Jiggy who gets all freaky if I don't post a new entry by like 9:30 in the morning.

I'm "working" I'll blog when I get to it okay?

Ragnar...office drone

Friday, April 07, 2006

No knitting, only Pirates

Haven’t had any piracy in awhile so there will be no knitting today. No knitting, only pirates…’cause that’s the kinda mood I’m in damn it.

This is such a great story, actually some people think that it might be the basis for Rapunzle, also a favorite of mine, since it involves a beautiful princess hidden away in a tower and guarded by poisonous snakes. Alvilda (also known as Alfhild, or Elf Warrior) lived sometime between the 5th and 13th centuries so there’s been plenty of time to embellish this as you can probably already tell. Anyway, the idea was that the person who would be able to get to her through the snakes would be man enough to marry her….Vikings being big on manly. Many tried and failed of course until Prince Alf (yup Alf) made it through. Neither Alvilda, nor her parents were too excited about Alf. Alvilda was so un-excited in fact that she dressed as a man and took to the sea with a crew of other women “who were uninterested in marriage.” Boat full of Viking Lesbians, anyone?

She and her female crew hadn’t been at sea for very long, when they ran into a crew of pirates/Vikings who had recently lost their captain. The crew of the pirate ship was so impressed with her that they voted unanimously to make her the new Captain. She and her new crew set about raiding the coastline around the Baltic sea. Her raids were so devastating that (get this) Prince Alf himself was sent to try and stop them, unaware that the fierce pirate captain he was being sent to subdue was actually his former fiancĂ©. The battle was fierce, but in the end the pirates were defeated. Alvilda had her face covered when she was taken captive (to hid her great beauty of course), but when Alf found out who she was he was immediately renewed his offer of marriage (nothing makes a Prince think about settling down like a fierce battle). Alvilda had been so impressed with his battle prowess that she married him on the spot…and they became king and queen of Denmark and lived happily ever after. Great shit eh?

Okay…so that’s too much of a fairytale ending for you? How about this for an alternative. The punishment for piracy was to be burned at the stake, but she escaped and “burned her husband on the same stake.” (seems like that could be embellished a little bit more, like maybe there should be some exposition in between “she escaped” and “burned her husband on the same stake”) So instead of becoming Queen of Denmark, she became queen of the sea, raiding and plundering with her crew of pirates.

I kinda like the happy ending though (softy that I am) so in my mind they arrange a fake stake burning, and run off together, and Alf becomes her second in command. Can’t you see them holding hands on the beach in the glow of a burning Norman village? Maybe a little Viking ankle biter or two…

This is the only picture that I can find of Alvilda, but since it doesn’t look very Viking or bad ass I’m discounting it as a fraud!

Instead let us think of her as Tilda Swinton in the Battle scene from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe….because, yeah, totally bad ass.

How come the "good" guys always win in those movies? It should be obivious to everyone that the "bad" guys (so subjective) are much cooler.

Ragnar....pirate propagandist.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Workin' or Smirkin'

I am suffering the side effects of having the nerve to take three whole days off of work…namely that everyone seems to have forgotten that it is not my job to do their job; my desk is covered in a drift of paper work that has already collapsed all over the floor three times today.

I also have a headache, and I’m semi inclined to think that it’s because of the caffeine I drank over the weekend. What the fuck, I’m on vacation right? I’ll have an espresso, and what the hell it’s a long drive…why not have half a cup of coffee? Because you’re a recovering caffeine junky Ragnar! Remember those splitting headaches you used to get? Remember how you had to prop your eyelids open with toothpicks, slither down to the kitchen in the morning and eat coffee grounds out of the bag before you had enough energy to make coffee? Remember the bad old days? It’s chamomile tea for you, or maybe some peppermint if yur feelin’ frisky, but you gotta stay away from the Black Devil of Java.


And I haven’t been able to go over and play in my new studio since last Wednesday. That’s more than a week! And since I don’t have time for a nice long winded rant, I’m going to post some photos and then try to find my sanity again…I think it’s under this pile of paperwork....or if you prefer I could tell some more pirate jokes?

Okay, sorry about the blurry blurry, but I don't like using the flash because it makes everything look so startled. Anyway, this is my old garrett studio, notice the sharply slanting roofline making most of the south side of the room completely useless.

And this is my cutting table...completely buried in crap and not so useful for things like...oh maybe cutting?

And one of my sewing machines. This is an old Consew 100, I love it because it's got about 3 inches more throat depth than a normal sewing machine...and it has that nice table that's so useful for piling things on. This picture also shows the only "closet" in the old studio...it's about 2 feet by 2 feet, and completely useless.

But what's this? Why look at the space! Those ceilings must be 12 feet high! Those filing cabinets look lost in all that space! That wall is crying out to have things taped to it....or shelves, yes lots and lots of shelves. What the hell am I doing at work when I could be puttering around in all that space!? I must be crazy....or maybe I have some deeply hidden responsible streak that I haven't managed to squelch yet. Grrr.

And hey Beverly! I'm excited that your guild has jumped on the "multi yarn" idea. It sounds like some really interesting projects will come out of it, I definately want to see pictures!

Ragnar...happy worker.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm baaaAAAaack

Sorry, who can resist shit like that?

So Philly and New York both survived invasion by Midwesterners, and our hosts both lived to tell the tale. There were also many photo’s taken, so I think I’ll restrain my urges to Blog about the roadtrip until they can be better illustrated.

However, I do have something knitty related to throw out into the blogosphere, so I’m going to write that up.

The last time we were Pillaging and Plundering, one of our crew was making a bias scarf with this fancy ball of yarn that she’d purchased for “way too much money” (according to her). It was basically a skein of yarn that was made up of a whole bunch of novelty yarns that had been cut into 2 or 3 yard sections and then tied together, and it was very cute! (did I just say cute? I’m sorry, I’m still suffering from the 13 hour drive yesterday) And me, being me, I open my big mouth and said “we could do that, if we just got a whole bunch of people together…” and she, being her, went out and organized a whole bunch of people (okay, like 3 besides me and her). So I’m going to present this idea at our LYS “knit in” this Saturday, but I thought that I would mention it here in case any of you freaky people wanted to get in on the action.

I’m not sure what the “rules” would be, basically we all have to agree on a color that we don’t hate, (black? Anyone? Black is a good neutral?) and probably on an amount of money and yardage etc. so that that's all fair and happy. Then everyone goes off and purchases one (or two or however many) skein(s) of the coolest yarn that they can find that “goes with” that color. I’m hoping that we will get mostly the main color, but some variegated stuff that will sort of go a long with it to add interest, and of course the idea is to get as many different weights and textures as possible. Then I will collect all the skeins, do a little math, and cut them into sections. I was thinking about tying them back together, but I think I’ll leave them in as long of sections as possible so that the project participants can decide what order they want to knit them in, etc.

I should say that I’m not talking about “fun fur” but rather all those nifty slubby, boucley type things that you always see at the yarn store but think “and what would I do with it when I got it home?” You know, silky and soyey and bambooey things like that…with maybe some eyelash thrown in for fuck’s sake. Hey if nothing else you’ll get a chance to knit some interesting yarns you’d never have picked up on your own…and you’ll have a ready made present for those people who aren’t worth knitting socks for, but who always want you to knit them something.

So anyone who thinks that this idea isn’t the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought of, can email me: savior_in_cellophane(at)yahoo(dot)com, and I’ll give you my address, blood type etc. Actually I think we will probably choose a “parent” skein at the “knit-in” and cut swatches off of it for anyone who wants to participate, so that there is a clear “must go with this” direction in which to depart, so the first thing you’ll probably get is an envelope from me with a little bit of yarn in it.

Ragnar...always volunteering herself for some goddamn thing or another.