Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knitting: Sock-size frenzy

For some reason, perhaps influenced by my hefty stash, I've been drawn to fingering-weight yarn projects of late.  Next payday I'm ordering some long-desired sock books and a skinny yarns book that looks promising.

I've started the Tempest sweater for my daughter, since she wore the pink one I made to tatters last year.  Well, not tatters, but there are some snags, worn spots, and a general dingy quality to it.  She is also growing like a weed, both up and out, so a size adjustment was necessary anyway.

Inspired by my Mr. Foster adventure, I attempted some free-form amigurumi knitted animals with leftover yarns.  Other than a noticeable hole where the neck meets the body, my first attempt at a giraffe is passable.  However, I am running out of the yarn I used.  How much orange does one buy, anyway?

I am also tempted to cast on another Girly Top, but I have strayed very far from my one-project-at-a-time resolution, so I need to focus and whittle things down.  I am nearly done with the Valkyrie socks, but they are sized more for little Monkey Pants than myself.  I have very narrow, long feet.  Apparently I need to remember that when I try on the toes and estimate the rest of the sock.

I am also strongly tempted to order some of the current crop of Knit Picks sock kits... if only they were just the patterns and not the yarn.  I seriously need to adhere to a yarn diet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gaming: Back to the Ring

Well, the family has re-embraced LotRO as our activity of choice.  When the twelve-year-old calls a kinship (guild) meeting, you know it's serious business.

I spent more time and in-game silver running around helping them with quests than I did knitting this past weekend.  I was not amused.

I have three characters that are the highest in our family, and three minor ones where I just wanted to try out a new class.  My minstrel is the highest, but she's always broke.  She's a Jeweller/Cook (go figure), both very expensive crafting categories.

This past weekend I concentrated mostly on helping them advance, but starting next weekend I think we're going to try doing more of the "Book" quests.  These are the quest lines that follow the storyline of the books, and we've been neglecting them because we never all seem to have time to do these things together.  It doesn't help that Barry has restarted his entire character lineup about 17 times in the lifetime of my best character.

There are, so far, three Volumes, each with 10 to 15 Books in them... each Book is a quest, most of which take an hour or two to complete.  Even just running back to Bree to talk to some random guy, depending on where we are in the world, can take quite a bit of time.  MP stops every ten seconds to mine for ore, B keeps getting jumped by mobs, and I'm usually too broke to use the horse travel network.

Getting the family organized seems to be more of a challenge than fighting our way to the tops of mountains.

LotRO is going free-to-play coming up this fall.  If you would like to join us at that time, or even sooner, contact Diela on the Silverlode server.  I believe the client is already free to download on

Friday, June 18, 2010

Television: WTH: U

So I put off watching both halves of the two-part season finale of Stargate: Universe until I had both halves on my DVR.  I shouldn't have bothered, because it ended in a cliffhanger anyway.  I really knew better.  I think I must have missed something in one of the other Stargate series, because this enemy coalition trying to take over the Destiny is new to me, even though they're presented as a long-standing problem.

  I'm getting more excited about where the show is headed, even though I'm still not comfortable with the obvious "Battlestar Galactica" clone-edness they're going for.  I'm all for a good, dramatic, soap-opera in space, but for the love of all that is holy, a show *can* be too gritty and "real".  The introduction of this new enemy faction may be an attempt to fix what I've seen as a problem, though... that eventually the civillian and military factions would stop fighting so damn much.  Eventually everyone would recognize that they're all stuck on the same boat, and that would end about half of the drama of the show.  But here's an idea... gate down to a few more damn planets and stop worrying about the people quite so much.  Earthlings stuck far from home... boo friggen hoo.  Nobody watches a Stargate series for the Earthlings... we're far more excited by what's at the end of the wormhole.

Bring on the Wraith!  Bring on the Goa'uld!  Bring on the SG:U equivalent! 

Or is that the problem?

By presenting us with a ship the Earthlings can't control and gates that can't be used until the ship stops, have you painted yourself in a corner?  The Destiny just hopped between galaxies... how can you possibly create an enemy that can keep up?

I say forget damned Battlestar Galactica... the show ended stupid, and should not be an example for anyone.  Instead, take a page from Star Trek: Voyager, another ship of humans (and vulcans and betazoids) stuck far from home.  Make it about the journey.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Knitting: Mr. Foster meets a unicorn

I finished the Supernatural Knitalong shawl, "Gabriel's Wings" a couple days ago.  I then totally forgot my New Year's resolution to only work one project at a time and went into a casting-on frenzy.  I *finally* started the Mr. Foster stuffed animal kit, Monkey Business.  I've had the thing for quite a while.

Sock monkeys trouble me, though, especially in the colors presented by the Knit Picks kits.  I think I need to ask a few of my friends if they're still considered a throwback to a time when racist representations were commonplace.  I did a google search and found out that a recent media scandal involved a toy company creating a representation of President Obama in sock-monkey form.  I think I'd feel much more comfortable if the kits were in purple, or orange.  I have a crap-ton of sport-weight cotton in purples, greens, and fuschias... I may make Mrs. Foster out of one of those instead.  She may clash with her frilly pink Rio dress, but I'll feel better letting my daughter play with it.

My husband just wants me to finish Mr. Foster's sailor uniform so he can make him say "Ahoy!" a lot.  Then again, Barronius is not the most PC individual.

I've also started a smoke ring scarf in Knit Pick's Imagination sock yarn, in the Unicorn colorway.  I think I would LOVE to make socks out of the Imagination yarn if I could get the exact same base yarn in solid colors for heels and toes.  Unfortunately it is the ONLY yarn they carry with that particular fiber content and ply-style.  It is soft, yummy stuff though.  It has just enough halo to make it snuggly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gaming: Switching it up

I'm still switching my time between the tag teams of the Sims 3: Ambitions and Tropico 3.  I have managed to complete all but one campaign scenario in Tropico, and gotten my next generation sim to level 10 in the Firefighter career.  I now only have the Stylist career left.

Then a couple of days ago, out came a new installment of Farm Frenzy 3... the unfortunately titled "Russian Roulette".  The main character is also pictured holding a six shooter.  Are they completely mental?  All that aside, the game is as challenging as ever, perhaps more so.  Normally I can finish almost all the levels at gold speed the first time around, with only a few silver and checkmark ones scattered in there.  This time?  Mostly  silver.  I'm looking forward to going back and getting gold on all of them.

Normally, my gaming blog day would be the perfect place to slip in my thoughts about the World Cup, but after Germany's completely sneaky trouncing of Australia, it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth.  They were practically bowling for Aussies, there was so much sliding around with their cleats up.  Oh look at that... I did talk about it.

Tomorrow, knitting progress.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food and Budget: Hot weather cooking

It's gotten to the point where I'm scrounging through the fridge looking for things that don't require heat to prepare.  It's just too darn hot here, even with air conditioning, to want to cook.  I *may* go so far as to heat meatballs for subs in the microwave, but that's about it.

One summer staple I like to haul out is a pasta salad.  It's not only a relatively cool dish to prepare and eat, it's another one of those recipes where you can throw just about any leftovers into it and it will still be delicious.  I've thawed out some ham from Christmas out of the freezer, but this could as easily use tuna, chopped cooked chicken or turkey, leftover veggies like corn or carrots... just make sure it's bite-sized or smaller.

Pasta Salad mashup

3 C. cooked pasta (elbow macaroni, penne, etc.)
1-1/2 C. Cooked meat (ham, turkey, chicken, pork, bacon) diced
1/2 C frozen peas
2 green onions, chopped
1 C. mayonnaise or Miracle whip, more or less to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a lid.  Salt and pepper to taste if you like.  I sometimes add a dash or two of hot sauce.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

*End of Recipe*

I will sometimes add a bit of mustard, chopped bell pepper, yellow onion, or other odds and ends from my leftovers, depending on what's in there already. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Knitting: Tang and Gabriel

I'm working two projects concurrently right now... a striped "Tang" sweater from Custom Knits that was put into hibernation briefly last month while I waited for additional yarn to come in, and the "Gabriel's Wings" shawl I'm doing for the Supernatural Fans group KAL.  They've tagged it the #dickswithwingsshawl.  It's a line from the show.  I think I'm the oldest gal in that group, because I still cringe when I use that tag and remember that my mother reads my blog through my notes on Facebook.  Hi, Mom.

The shawl is actually going *too* fast, as it's supposed to be a summer-long project.  I may  cut back to only working on it on Thursdays when the KAL picks episodes to watch in place of the normally-aired episodes while the season is running.  It's not like I can wear it until summer is waaaay over anyway.

The Tang sweater was supposed to use up the yarn I had leftover from the New Traditions Afghan kit, but in order to make it look right, I wanted to do the bottom, neck, and sleeves in Oyster Heather, and I didn't quite have *that* much left over.  Thus, the order of extra.  And the waiting.  Again, can't wear it for at least a few months.

Queued up on Ravelry to follow though is a series of stuff I can wear this summer, including Entralac Socks, the Craic socks by Three Irish Girls, and of course the Foster monkeys, which I still have not started.  I swear, they will get done.  Do you know why I've been putting it off?  My poly-fiberfill is buried in my closet, and I don't want to dig it out.  Yeah.  Lame excuse, but if you saw the closet, you'd fear for your life too.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gaming: Ambition

So, last Wednesday my pre-order of "Sims 3: Ambitions" arrived... just in time to delay my progress on a knit-along.  But I digress.  I've been playing it for a week now, so I have some thoughts.

Fans in the Sims community have been asking to go to work with their sims since way back when Will Wright put out the original Sims.  I know, because I was there.  (Sorry, every once in a while a "Clue" line slips in out of nowhere)  Anyhoo, with "Ambitions" you can now do that... sort of.  Instead of following your guy or gal around from his cubicle to the coffee station to the restroom in an office environment (which, lets face it, would be a lot of fun if you could do the "Fight" option with your clone of the annoying guy you work with) you have five professions to choose from, and there are set tasks you do around town.  I've only done three of the five:  Inventor, Architectural Design, and I'm halfway through the Private detective.  The Firefighter also looks to be a mission around town sort of job, but the tattoo artist could be stationary.  We'll see.

This expansion pack is proving very entertaining, and a real breath of fresh air for the Sims 3.  Once I get done trying all the new profession options, we'll see if it continues to hold my interest.  For right now though it is very engaging.

My only problem with it is that it seems to be a bit on the buggy side.  I had a second-generation daughter who was my architect test run, and she somehow got bugged in two ways.  One, she was always disgusted by spoiled food, even though she had nothing in her "pockets" and nothing in the house.  Even when she went on a job.  And it read a steady ten minutes no matter where I took her.  I finally had to delete her family and start over, even though my plan was to take each generation through one of the new professions.  Two, her portfolio stopped updating, no matter how many pictures I took of new renovations she completed for her work.  Scrounging up clients was also a pain.

But despite these problems I'm enjoying the expansion a great deal.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Television: Bitten by the real Glee bug

Okay, so I decided to watch the pilot and the Joss Whedon directed episode of Glee, because I am THAT big of a Joss Whedon suck-up.  Well, naturally after watching the pilot I bought all the following episodes on Amazon because it was amazing.  And I'm a sucker that way.  The funny part is, hubby got hooked too.  We ended up watching all of season one up to current in the space of a week.

Funny how my highschool didn't have glee club... we had the even geekier Madrigal Singers  (think glee club for renaissance faire) which I didn't participate in because I was the madrigal magician's assistant.  Don't ask.

My point is, those kids aren't even close to being geeks.  All it would take is one huge number by the guys in the cafeteria, and they'd be fine.  Try doing that when you're in harlequin outfits and pantaloons.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Knitting: Guesstimation

I'm starting a knit-along today so let me throw the hashtag in: #dickswithwingsshawl

I have roughly six rows of ribbing and then I am *really* done with my Girly Top.  I said this exact same thing yesterday on Ravelry, but today it's actually true.  It's amazing what a difference ONE line in a pattern can make.  Nobody warned about little lines that say "Do four more rounds, then repeat"

It did not help that an expansion pack showed up yesterday afternoon.  "Sims 3: Ambitions"  You just have to install it and reboot the machine right?  And uh... you know, test it to make sure it didn't break anything.

Today I start the Supernatural group knit-along, the "Gabriel's Wings" shawl.  It's fairly simple, so I'm thinking I'll be okay with it.  Normally I frog shawls about halfway through, but this time I think I'll go the distance.  And if I finish before the summer is over I might make another one with that Noro Silk garden I still have left, because it's too scratchy for sweaters.  Seriously, WHY is that crap so popular?  There are plenty of cotton/wool blend knock-off yarns with the long color repeats that are much softer.  You know I found vegetable matter in the Noro I used for my Jewell sweater?  Not just once, either.  Yeesh.

Well, I ordered one of the knock-offs from Paradise fibers last week.... just enough for Jared's Noro Striped scarf... we'll see how it measures up.

In the meantime, I'm doing the KAL with some Knit Picks yarn whose colorway is named "Make Believe".  Should be fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gaming: El Presidente

There was no leftover steak yesterday.  Bummer.

My mornings have been consumed with completing the campaign on Tropico 3, still.  My little banana-republic sim-citizens are surprisingly demanding and difficult to please.  Try saving $500,000 in the treasury when you can't even build tier-2 industry buildings for the first twenty years!  Oy.

I have very little of the campaign left to complete, but I still have not tried any of the user-created challenges yet.  I did glance through the list yesterday, and they look promising.  The only problem I have with the game is when I'm broke and waiting for a ship to come in and get paid, I might as well be knitting at my computer.  I suppose some people follow their little citizens around, watching their daily little lives, but I'm not that voyeuristic.