Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In which my terrific Thanksgiving holiday has rendered me sick and with little knitting to show for having had an entire week off.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! (Yes, yes, I'm a little late on the well-wishing, I know.) My Georgia Thanksgiving turned out to be great fun, especially since the Boy came along with me and met the family. Phew! A week in Atlanta flew by all lickety-split and I've been left adaze with a newly acquired cold, a week's worth of blogs to read (wow, they sure add up quickly!), a ton of students' emails to respond to, and a catch-up blog to post. So here 'tis - the catch-up post about my big time Thanksgiving fun in Georgia, much of which M and I spent sight-seeing and galavanting around the city and burbs, with me showing him all of the places that impacted my childhood and early adulthood (having grown up in Atlanta and having gotten my undergrad degree from the University of Georgia). As I mentioned just a few words back, I've been floored with a pretty severe cold/sinus infection, so my catch-up post is brought to you in photographic-montage form pared down to the interesting highlights, as thoughts and sentences are being formed at a significantly sluggardly pace (thanks for the much-needed sedation, Nyquil, my sweet, sweet friend in gel-cap form).

Highlight no. 1: The High Museum of Art.

The Louvre Atlanta exhibit was pretty cool.

The High has an excellent collection of Contemporary art to ponder.

Sunny atrium in the High.

Awesome Alexander Calder installation.

Rodin statue and gorgeous fall colors at the High.

Highlight no. 2: The Grit.
My favoritest restaurant ever. Pure vegetarian-hipster heaven. I do miss the days when I could eat here any (and every!) day I pleased.

Highlight no. 3: My sweet old orange house in Addieville.
I lived in this teensy, single-room house during my undergrad years in Athens. Did I mention it's a mere block from The Grit? Ah, perfection.

Highlight no. 4: Downtown Athens and shopping at my favorite Downtown Athens store, Helix.

Mmmm...drool-worthy set of danica expresso cups.

Highlight no. 5: The Fountain.
Awesome. Did not disappoint in the least. No rants or overlong criticisms about this one.

Highlight no. 6: Frolicking in beautiful Georgia fall weather.
Two Falls in one year...sweet! We got to Georgia right when all of the leaves had fallen off the trees in Philly. How nice to play for a week in more beautiful Fall weather!

M and I had so much fun running around seeing things that I forgot to knit while on vacation... I did get the first Hedera finished and started the second one, but the progress is too scant to bother showing. I should have some awesome purply Hederas to show off soon, though! And while I didn't have much time to knit this past week, I was able to visit a new knitting store in Atlanta called Knitch (thanks for the heads-up on that one, Leah!). It's an awesome, awesome store... one of those rare yarn stores that is actually a cool, comfortable place to sit and knit. Of course, I didn't have time to sit and knit, but what a lovely place to do so! I managed to survive the store without emptying my wallet (boy, did I ever show restraint!), but I did get a few knitterly souveniers that I can't wait to put to good use!

Now it's off to nurse my cold and catch up on my work...and resume reading all of your awesome blogs ~ can't wait to see what everyone has been up to!

(Wow, this must be the most non-Thanksgiving-y blog post ever... I swear I hung out with family and ate pie and vegetarian stuffing 'til I nearly burst!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

RWS: A Postscript.

First things first: a great big :::thank you::: is in order to everyone who commented on my snazzy new blog design. As a new knitblogger, I am super happy to see that there are people out there reading the darn thing. Secondly, I've come to realize after posting my brief opinions about Running With Scissors a few days ago that I didn't provide any explanation as to why I walked out of the movie. I still can't believe I walked out, by the way. It. Was. Just. That. Bad. So, I'm going to explain myself, particularly because some of you who left me nice banner comments also wondered what it was about the movie I found so odious. I am happy to oblige, if it saves any of you the time, hassle, and disappointment of seeing a totally bad movie.

Now, I should firstly admit that I haven't read Burroughs' memoir, though I had planned to, until the fateful viewing this weekend. (Usually, I am not encumbered by poor movie knock-offs of novels, but, it's so hard not to be, in this case). I'd heard great things about the book - adjectives that ususally make my ears perk up: dry, sardonic, witty, sharp, ironic, black, satirical - you get the picture. Clearly, being described thus, a movie based on said book was sure to be right up my alley. I can't speak for the book, but the movie fell so far short of these adjectives it was painful. Like a train wreck on screen...during most of the movie, I wanted to look away, but I just couldn't because it was so freakin' bad.

Okay, so what exactly did I find so fault-worthy? Here's the few adjectives I could come up with: ridiculous, over the top, unrealistic, and unendurable. 1) Ridiculous in that there were too many crazy, off-the-wall things going on to find any true humor or scathing value in any of it. 2) Over the top in that, again, too many kooky scenes one after another to have any sense of connectedness or to grip the viewer and evoke any true emotion in the viewer. I felt very passive and uninterested in all of the characters through the whole thing. 3) Unrealistic in that the situations, for the most part, were not grounded in any sense of actuality or reality. Fine for some movies, like The Fountain, which I can't wait to see, but *not* fine for a *memoir,* in my opinion. 4) Unendurable in that the movie was a senseless, disconnected string of kooky scenes, one after a painfully long montage of sights and actions that results in a great big headache. Simply put, it was overdone and overlong. And did I mention the super-depressingness of it all? I am certainly one who enjoys a good, depressing movie - happy endings are overrated in my book - but not if it's not grounded in reality in any way, and RWS is just depressing in a very vacuous way.

My advice? It's simple, really; solutions are possible, people! If you want to see a *good* movie about a whacked-out nut-job, forget Annette Bening in RWS, and go watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Whack-job. Check. Emotive and connected. Check. Depressing realism tempered with comedy. Check. Excellent, awesome film. Check. I'd also suggest Requiem For a Dream for similar reasons.

Okay, tirade over. I leave you all with my favorite Rotten Tomatoes quote: "The film trips over its willy-nilly story line and falls on its own blade." I feel somewhat vindicated knowing that it got destroyed on Rotten Tomatoes.

PS: I rescind my previous statement that implied that I would ever see Let's Go to Prison. Under any circumstances. Because that just wouldn't happen. Under *any* circumstances.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekend toing and froing.

This weekend was full of train travelling, wedding attending, hedera knitting, tea sipping, and...a small blog face-lift. Boyfriends with computer skills and a flare for blog design are super-nifty. I heart mine a ton. We couldn't resist incorporating the custom-made needle case that Ashley made me into my banner. I mean, all of the *philistine* colors were represented so well - the light blues, oranges, and brown. I'm enjoying the updated look a ton. What do you think?

And, if anyone was thinking about or planning to see Running With Scissors, do yourself a HUGE favor and see ANYTHING else. What a steaming pile. It is the first movie I've walked out of before it finished since...well, if my memory serves me correctly, since Cape Fear. Hell, I'd sit through Let's Go to Prison before ever attempting to sit through the entirety of Running With Scissors. Even Let's Go to Prison has a redeeming value - GOB. Running With Scissors has none. Whatsoever. It was the disappointing blow of the weekend. I had such high hopes.

I hope everyone had a happy weekend.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hedera. Progressing.

Short and sweet this Friday. Loving the Hederas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Profile Meister.

Lately, I've seen many a-knitblogger profiling themselves using quizzes such as the American accent quiz and Nicole Kidman character quiz. Indeed, I can see the inextricable relevance of both of these quizzes to providing penetrating revelations about one's innermost character. Granted, some knitbloggers have reported questionable results, but overall, it seems that these internet quizzes are wholly reliable and effectively revealatory.**

Concurrently, I've been considering adding the *100 Things* feature to my knitblog (it would definitely appear Julia-style, since there is *no* way I could generate such an extensive list in one sitting). I agree that it's nice to know one's knitblog friends more earnestly than just what kinds of yarn and needles they prefer and which knits they've completed. The first thing I'd probably divulge about myself is that I am an avoider of social situations at pretty much all costs, if it involves public participation in chatty conversation. I'm an introvert, people! I am not wont to regale people with my openly bubbly, charming personality - mostly, because it doesn't exist. Now, that doesn't mean I don't have or want friends, I just have and want them in the single digits.

Having divulged my reticent personality, it didn't come as a huge shock to me, upon reflection, that my rather young blog provides little substantial intimations about me as a person. So, as I slowly form the beginnings of my *100 Things* list, I have concocted a profile meister, of sorts, in the trendiest of knitblogging fashion (and because you introduce me to one fun thing to do to waste time, like take internet quizzes, and I'll take it to the nth degree). The results of my personality are in!

Your Brain is 47% Female, 53% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?

You are starch. You are rigid, opinionated, hard-willed and not too friendly about it. You keep people out of places, or you keep them in, and without you a lot of things would collapse. hopefully you'll never have the authority to burn people at the stake. Sir. Ma'am.
Take this quiz!

You are

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy

In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho

You Are 68% Brutally Honest

Most of the time, you tell it like it is. Even if it's hard for people to hear.
Sometimes you hold back though, because you never want your honesty to be hurtful.

Candy Cigarettes

You're a total badass, but you don't taste very good.

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Christmas Story

Loving, fun, and totally crazy.
Don't shoot your eye out!

Your Personality Is Like Acid

A bit wacky, you're very difficult to predict.
One moment you're in your own little happy universe...
And the next, you're on a bad trip to your own personal hell!

You Belong in Greenwich Village

Avant garde and bohemian, you're quick to adopt new ideas and lifestyles.
And while you're a bit less weird these days, you still have a "live and let live" philosophy.

In many ways, the results of these quizzes really *do* provide some frightening accuracy in describing many of my personality traits. I am, for example, starchily rigid and opinionated, and can be, at times, less than friendly about it. I am also *very* espresso-y in that I am ambitious and straight-shooting, but can also be super-high-strung in tense situations. The 68% brutally honest? I'd add about 30% to that for the sake of accuracy. And the Shetland wool? Well, that's me in a nutshell (or skein, as it were)! And last but not least, my favorite movie is - by far - The Royal Tennenbaums. I watch it on a monthly basis.

So read into the other answers as much as you like, and take a few of them yourself!
And I'll return shortly with knitting-related content...

**Okay, so I MIGHT be just a little sarcastic, as well... Maybe. But just a little. Or a lot.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Finished, or, Salina in a Shower of Ginko Leaves.

Finished: Salina Sweater by Kim Hargreaves
Pattern: Rowan Vintage Knits
Fiber: Rowan Felted Tweed (7 balls of 159 "Carbon")
Size: 38''/97 cm
Needles: sizes 3 and 5 Addi Turbo circs
Date Started: 7 September 2006
Date Completed: 12 November 2006
Modifications: None
Notes: I came very, very, VERY close to running out of yarn during this knit. I got down to knitting the cuffs and collar, and, having finished the two cuffs, I ran out of yarn when going back to finish the collar. I had to unravel my swatch (which was good sized, approx. 8x8" square), so I managed to squeak by with enough yarn to finish the collar and seam the sweater together. I would like to note, however, that I knit the size large, which called for 7 balls of yarn, and the x-large also calls for 7 balls, and I'm willing to bet that anyone knitting an x-large is *very* likely to need 8 balls, instead of 7.

I absolutely heart this sweater. The pattern is very easy, and, for some reason, I didn't mind the endless stockinette...I'm betting that it has something to do with the awesome-amazingness I feel when knitting with Felted Tweed. I love Felted Tweed a whole heckuva-lot. It's fluffy, squishy and smooth, with few to no twiggy organic bits, and the colors are amazing! The colorway I used, Carbon, is so nice and subtle. It's a beautiful charcoal grey, but it has burnt orange and periwinkle flecks in it - very nice. Colors that will be right at home in my wardrobe.

As always, the details in a sweater pattern are what get me excited about the knit. And there's no shortage of artful details on this sweater. The moss-stitched band of ribbing along the lower body is quite nice, and the moss-stitched sleeve cuffs and collar are super-pretty and eye-catching. And the split neck and placket for buttons is also a great (and functional!) detail. And I love the way the cute little shell buttons I chose look! They're very glinty in person.

The shaping built into the pattern is really nice, as well. I wanted to avoid knitting a shapeless bag at all costs, and I chose this pattern because it looked well-shaped, and, it turns out, it is. There's few things more pleasing than a perfect-fitting sweater for Fall. I'll be wearing the heck out of this one! (And will probably be knitting it again).

Look how well it works for keeping me warm and stylish while doing some early morning frolicking in ginko-leaf-heaven!

I couldn't have found a more gorgeous street this morning...and a mere block from my apartment. What a beautiful morning. Which, as it happened, was followed by a persistent and cold, bleary rain that didn't let up for the rest of the day. Inconvenience for some, perfect weather for knitting bliss.

And, as always, Michael wielded the camera with patience and brilliance.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Joys of Finishing and Other Friday Ramblings.

Ah, yes, the joys of the backstitch and the mattress stitch once again fill the air chez Megan. Salina, she is finished. She is still in pieces and piles and replete with unwoven tails, but she is FINISHED (emphasis for all of you politically correct knitters, where finished means final, wearable product). And ack, as I was picking up the stitches for the collar and was knitting it 'round and 'round, I ran out of yarn. D'OH! With. Mere. Rows. To. Go. But hoorah! My swatch saved the day! Remembering that I had actually swatched for this project (*So* atypical of me...plan? ahead? No! Blindly charge forward and hope for the best!), so I got to unravelling the swatch and it turned out to be enough. PHEW. Crisis swiftly and decisively averted.

Let the seaming begin.

And here's a little sneak peek at the awesomeness-in-cute-sweater-form that is to come. Imminently.

And because I'm feeling insouciant on this Friday afternoon (so much so that I can use the word *insouciant* without a second thought of how pretentious that word actually is, despite my personal affection toward it), I'm throwing in a full facial reveal. Gasp! That's what I look like!

In other Friday news, I'd like to share my sadness that I was not able to sign up for the Knit Mitt Kit Swap. Boy, I really wanted to! I've been wanting a knitting swap buddy for awhile now (I see so many people in knitblogland who partake in the joys of giving and receiving of knitting-related goods with secret pals, and I want in on that action!), so I got very excited about the KMKS...especially because I've only ever made one pair of mittens and they were really fun, though really simple, and I've been looking to expand my mitten-knittin' lately. And I kept seeing knit pals of mine joyously signing up and filling out their questionnaires. The problem? Weellll...just the tiny (albeit exciting!) inconvenience that I will be away excavating in the UAE from December 18 to January 20. And that completely conflicts with the KMKS. So, in conciliatory zeal, I'm buying myself my own darned kit (two, in fact, this! and this!), and I'm knittin' my own darned mitts. It doesn't solve the fact that I'm still out of the secret pal loop, but I'll have the other part of the fun...the knitting of mittens. And I just want to say, THRUMS! Or, to my boyfriend's dismay these days, TTHHHHHHRRRUUUUUUUUUUUUMMS! (I've been sorta boisterous and loud about my thrum excitement in the past few days, and we *do* have sort of a small apartment...he's such a good sport about indulging my knitting craziness.)

And, in the spirit of divulgence, here's a little flash of some things I've been itchin' to throw on the needles:

I heart aquaknits' new sock yarn, available at sKNITches. Perhaps a new fetish. Perhaps.

Chromatic sport-weight sock yarn in the *Scream* colorway.

Chromatic sport-weight sock yarn in the *Nest Egg* colorway.
Lovely, no?

And that's a wrap. Stay tuned for a weekend Salina finale.