Monday, January 29, 2007

No Disasters Here

I think I can safely say that my weekend had no disasters. It's Monday, so I can't have any backdated disasters at this point. It was a weekend for staying in out of the cold and finishing projects. Projects like this beaded bag. It was way more work than I thought it would be, but it was worth it. I was standing in line at the market and the woman behind me noticed it and complimented me on it. Turns out she's a knitter too. I also finished this sock. I love this sock. I just hope I can manage to knit the other one, so I can actually have a pair of socks. I have a remarkably short attention span so I currently have six different socks, all in different yarns and patterns.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

But I rock!

In a very uncrafty move this week, I played a fair amount of Guitar Hero II on our Playstation 2. I may now have a case of fake rock star tendonitis. My wrists and fingers hurt. My right thumb's lower joint is apparently necessary for everything I do... hitting the space bar, writing, pushing buttons on the copier, talking w/ my hands, using silverware.

I suspect this whole thing is an elaborate plot set into motion by my little brother, who suffered through years of having to play Contra on Nintendo with me as his partner. "Just try not to die, I'll take care of this" he would say to me through clenched teeth. He bought my husband this game system for Christmas, with the explanation that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. I'm not very into video games. Mostly because I stink at them, but also because they kill your brain, and your free time before you know it. And some of the games are just... well, socially unsavory in my opinion. To the suprise of my husband, I quickly became addicted to Lego Star WarsII and then Guitar Hero (if you've not experienced this - you can plug the game's guitar in and play it). I've never played guitar - I was a clarinet playing band geek from fifth grade into college, so this experience makes me feel pretty darn cool. Evil plot meets success when older sister gets addicted to the roar of a fake crowd, and the fact that your character's fingers burst into flames when you're playing well and kicking butt.

Addicts often spread the love, and after an evening at our place, our upstairs neighbor bought the game. He and his wife (she is also NOT a video game kinda gal) seem to play with some regularity, and we played together the other night. According to the game, I ROCK! (it said so! in big flashing letters!), and that's why my fingers hurt today.

If this sounds like whining, it is. I'm supposed to be too old to tattle about my brother to The Mom, and admitting that I fell for this particularly evil plot would just be embarrassing. So I've complained to you instead. If after reading this, you feel the burning desire to buy the game and discover how fake cool you could be, let me know and I'll listen to you whine when your fingers hurt.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Grumpy old winter

I walk home for lunch most days. With the onset of winter, the hill is slick with ice or slush, and I skid and baby step home, praying to the gods of winter sidewalks that I don't land on my tailbone.

I live in an old building that's been subdivided into four apartments. It must have been built before the idea of insulation really caught on - I'm quite sure there is none. All the heat in my apartment warms the floors of my neighbors upstairs, and all the heat in their apartment goes straight up to our "quaint" and "historic" slate roof.

On Friday afternoon, my apartment building bucked and shuddered, windows rattled, I heard a roaring noise - the whole nine yards. I really thought we'd had an earthquake. Realizing what had actually happened, I wondered if I would have to shovel my neighbor's or mail carrier's body out from under the snow. Brained by a heap of ice.
The rattle and roar was an avalanche of white sliding from the warming roof of our building to the path and driveway three floors below. At random intervals, scraps of leftover ice continued to fall and smash on the ground.

I decided to ignore my overactive imagination and head back up the hill. I couldn't very well call in sick for the remainder of the day because I was afraid of being killed on the way out the door. I stepped out, looked up at a looming chunk of ice at the peak of the roofline (2 seconds) and ran like hell for the sidewalk (7 seconds).

I love lunching in my quiet apartment with a good book, so I'll continue the practice.
Should you never see another post from me again it may mean i'm in jail on suspicion of obstructing the federal mail service, or I've been squashed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Now We Know

Well, our excitement over being in the top twenty for the Slamdance Horror Competition has come to an end. Oh, well. You know, it was his first try at a screenplay ever and it made the top twenty. I'm still impressed by him, and I'm hoping that that will make it hurt a little less. Thanks for the congratulations and good wishes.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Disaster of the Day

I almost set myself on fire. For dinner, I went with the decidedly un-gourmet fresh packaged tortellini and alfredo sauce, with a salad and garlic bread. While the pasta boiled away, I put the sauce on the back burner to warm up. I chose the back burner because it's the only one without food burned on to it, and it's the only one that doesn't currently smell. For some reason that was apparently beyond me, the sauce wasn't getting warm, but there was definitely a burning smell. I leaned over and peered into the pot, as if that would answer my question. Then I smelled something very different, but kept leaning over that damned stove. I'm not too swift at seven o'clock on a Friday after work. Finally, I moved away from the stove and notice that the smoky smell was actually coming from me. More to the point, it was coming from my favorite powder-blue hoodie, which was on fire. Apparently I had turned on the front burner instead, and leaned right onto it while trying to figure out the reason for the cold alfredo. For long enough for it to catch fire. I'm going to go lie down now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A big brown reason to check your gauge

This. I made this. With my own two little hands. My head won’t fit through the neck opening, and the arms hang down to my knees. I don’t know why this pasty tan color appealed to me, or why I thought fuzzy trim would help. I did not know a lot of things about knitting (and I still don’t), but that one must not spend dear cash on Ooh Really Nice Yarn for a first big project was common sense.

For non knitters, “checking gauge” means knitting a small swatch with your chosen yarn and the size needles directed in the pattern. When you’re done, so many stitches should equal so many inches. If stitches-to-inches equals the pattern specs, your piece should turn out to be the size and shape promised. “Blocking” your finished knitting applies moisture to help shape and smooth out a piece. I read enough about these things to repeat them for you here, but I skimmed over the part that established them as important knitting knowledge.

I was uncharacteristically dogged about this sweater. I remember casting off the last stitch in a haze of irritated accomplishment. Before sewing up the seams, I slipped it over my head. Ut-oh. I had not swatched or checked gauge. No amount of blocking was going to save me from myself.

Of course the big brown message here is that I should read directions and more importantly, do what they say. I should. My husband will tell you that I read cookbooks as suggestions rather than actually using a recipe as printed. Sometimes life is too short to fiddle with directions. This sweater is not a good example of one of those times.
I do have enough common sense that my husband happily eats my dinner experiments, and it does rescue me from my own impatience in other craft projects. It just didn’t save me here.

Heather’s posts are a reminder that life happens to be messy, aggravating and highly entertaining. I thought this sweater was a fine example of that.

P.S. It’s time to repurpose this… thing. Suggestions?

With All The Fanfare She Deserves....

As of today, loyal reader, things will be a little different around here at GKD. I have grovelled and cajoled and finally Kate has agreed to be a blogger here with me. We're going to just sort of wing it at this point, and see where things take us, but one thing I can assure you of...we'll will now be able to bring you double the disasters you are normally used to!

Welcome Kate!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mark Rules!

We didn't really tell anyone, because we're far too superstitious, but Mark recently submitted a couple of screenplays to the Slamdance Horror Competition. And if you look here you will see his name on the list of semi-finalists! Right there in the middle of a list of people who have no chance of winning. Seriously though, how could he lose to something called Porn Star Zombies? I mean, I know this isn't Oscar caliber stuff we're talking about, but really! Anyway, we're very excited, and waiting impatiently for more news of the next cut to five finalists. Stay Tuned!

P.S. See, Alex, I can do it!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Holiday Abominations

When should you take down holiday decorations? Personally, I hate taking down our tree. I like to have a little bit of the outdoors inside for a while, even if it is an already dead tree. I asked Mark when I had to take it down and since he knows my tendency to refuse, he replied "Well, I guess I don't want to still see it in February..." So I have some time left. Part of the problem is that our city will no longer pick up and recycle the trees. This is a problem for someone with a tiny little Honda. Getting the tree to the recycling center is a huge logistical problem. If you knew us at all, you'd understand why tying anything to the roof of one of our cars is just asking for trouble. A few years ago, we were subletting a condo from someone, and we took care of the problem by leaving the tree in the garage until it was crispy. When we had to move out the following May, it was still there so we took a hack saw to it and disposed of the pieces in garbage bags. I now have some idea of how murderers end up with body parts in black plastic bags. Sometimes it really is the only way to deal with things. Last year was no different. The tree made the short trip to the garage, where we saw it every day, reminding us to please put it out of its misery. When we had to move last August, it was there waiting for us. The new folks were already moving in as we were getting the last of our stuff out, and there it was, a symbol of our shame, in the garage. In a panic, and without a saw or a garbage bag, I called my inlaws to come over with their truck and take it away. I think they're still laughing at us. I can promise to be better this year, but I really think we need to be realistic. That tree will undoubtedly haunt us for months. We don't even have a garage anymore. Maybe it would enjoy the deck.

There are always people like my mother-in-law who goes to great lengths to make her home a winter wonderland and it's worth every second to see it. She does a beautiful job and could easily leave everything up for an extra week or so, but she takes it all down and bundles everything up to the attic by the end of the following weekend. The other side of the holiday coin would be the woman who runs the local Doll Hospital. There isn't a holiday that goes by that she isn't massively decorated and apparently her true holiday of choice is Christmas. You can't possibly miss the yard lit up like a landing strip, illuminating the nine, yes nine, inflatable Christmas Atrocities. There is a snowman, a tin soldier, a Chritmas tree, Rudolph helping Santa out of a chimney, Rudolph and Santa standing next to something that looks like a pile of presents, Santa on his own, Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger wearing Santa hats, Rudolph and Santa on an ATV (apparently the sleigh was out of service), and a rotating carousel that is supposed to look like a snow globe. To say nothing of the red and white lighted candy canes circling the house and lining the driveway and blinking lights that would do a convenience store justice on every available space. What would you like to bet that these are the decorations we're still driving by in February?