Saturday, October 30, 2010

Television: Freaky

... and not in a wholesome, cutesy Freaky Friday way. 

Stargate: Universe threw us into Lt. Scott's subconscious by way of the episode "Cloverfield".  How sweet that he wants to marry Chloe, that he sees his Colonel as a father figure... it's too bad he knows something's up with Chloe and that dangerous alien DNA she's carrying.

Supernatural is getting rough.  Sam is just wicked wrong right now, and despite my best efforts I got a spoiler for next week dumped in my lap.  Look people, there's a REASON I don't watch the previews, goddammit.  Stop blabbing them.  Anyhoo, props to newlywed Jared for some fine acting... nice use of subtle facial expressions man.

We are behind on Modern Family, No Ordinary Family, Glee, and any of the other shows we watch with hubby.  Band concert this week kind of cut into our family evenings.  I'm rather glad though that my "manly" husband will sit down and watch Glee with us... I think the high ratio of Journey and Billy Joel did a lot for that.  Now if we could get them off that damned Lady Gaga thing... I just have very little respect for techno pop where half the instrumentation is turn-a-dial-and-push-a-button.  Learn to read sheet music and play a fucking instrument!

Ahem.  Yeah, I'm a music snob.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Knitting: Chalupa?

There's a Taco Bell right behind the apartment complex.  I'm a fan, but only because it can be cheap and filling and damned convenient when Mom needs a break from cooking.  Unfortunately the rest of my family is too darned picky, so it's usually just me celebrating a nice sale on Etsy or going for lunch when I'm too hungry.  My favorite is the #6 Chalupa combo in steak or chicken.

What does this have to do with knitting, you ask?  I just finished the Chullo hat kit from Knit Picks in brown.  Naturally, my family doesn't call it by its name... it's now the Chalupa Hat.  Yay.

To say it looks dorky as heck when you're wearing it is an understatement.  It's darn toasty though.  The colorwork causes a lot of floating strands across the back side, so it's as warm as an aran-weight hat despite being made from sock-weight.  There is a crap-ton of yarn left over.  I am not surprised they say you can make an entire second hat from the stuff.  I'm not doing that however... I'm holding two strands together and making old-fashioned granny squares.  I'm always looking for something large to wrap up in, and my shawls... made rather small because of my impatience with knitting them... don't cut it most of the time.  And since I can crank out at least four or five squares per television episode, it's terribly satisfying to use up left over yarn so quickly.

I still haven't progressed much on the Big Red Tights or my Valkyrie cardigan.  My positional vertigo is all but cured, but I haven't picked up knitting much except to finish the hat.  I expect to have at least a partially finished blanket of some sort by next week to show off to you, though.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gaming: WTH?

LoTRO used to be a nice place to go and play.  I could log in for fifteen minutes in the morning when I needed to kill a bit of time, or spend an hour or two later in the day when my eyes needed an adjustment from knitting or reading.  Not so any longer.

I don't know if Turbine is broke, or if the influx of new kiddies from going F2P (free to play) is causing a slogginess, or what the cause is, but it takes a good twenty minutes for my server to even show up, much less my logging in. 

As people who had purchased lifetime subscriptions, we were assured that we would not be inconvenienced.  Well I'm feeling mightily inconvenienced right now.  By the time I get logged in I'm saying to myself "Feh, now I don't feel like playing."

Maybe that will change as the kiddies lose interest and the traffic dies down, but for right now I'm pissed off.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cooking: Postponement

This week I was going to review my pre-order of Cook'n 9.  It's a recipe software organization bundle I've been using for a couple of years now, ever since Mastercook has become buggy abandon-ware and Living Cookbook annoyed me with their ridiculous license verification scheme that ended up with me emailing them for a reset every time I went to open the darn thing.

Unfortunately they are pushing back the release date a week.  I liked how on the original release date, they waited until practically the next day to tell all of us who had already plonked down our money for the pre-order.  Not.

So... next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

General: Vertigo and Crochet

For the past two days I've been dealing with dizziness.  Apparently I have something called "Positional Vertigo" and it comes from an ear infection affecting the part of the ear responsible for balance.

To say that intricate, multi-colored knitting is not on my top priority list is an understatement.  If the room started spinning while looking at all those colors...

So part of what I've been doing is trying a very basic crochet square.  In fact, in my Harmony Crochet Motifs book, it's the very first one listed.  It's part of my prep for the Lafayette Afghan, inspired by the one used on True Blood.  Right now I'm using a very soft boucle cotton yarn that's pretty forgiving of errors.  I'm at the point where I can do one entire square in the time it takes my husband to walk to CVS, pick up my prescriptions, and come back.  So, not shabby.  If I had, say, four episodes of True Blood to watch, and the yarn (already on order) I could probably finish half the blanket in the time it takes me to watch them.  Assuming I'm not distracted by flashing fangs and interesting pectorals.

Edited to add... holy crap, Claritin is effing expensive.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gaming: Back to Civilization

Sid Meier's Civilization V was released recently, and although I'm not the world's biggest fan of the series, sometimes boredom causes you to make leaps of faith.  I very, very nearly got the digital deluxe version, but I didn't see how I could justify spending an extra ten dollars on a game I wasn't sure I'd enjoy for very long just for an extra cultural leader character.  And as convoluted as that sentence is, if you haven't played the game it'll be really hard for me to make it any clearer.

In any case, they've improved the game tremendously.  I still feel like an idiot when I play, because it beats me every freaking time, but at least now I'm having some fun while all this is going on.  Civilization IV was on sale while they were building up to the release date, so I gave IV a go (it was ridiculously low-priced, like $10) to guage what my interest in V would be, and I didn't like it very much.  Four seemed boring.  But for some reason, five is maintaining my interest.  You're closer in on the action, for one thing, although you can pull back to get an overview if you want.  It's amazing what that little difference can do.

I've also been slowly making my way through all the episodes of Left 4 Dead on the PC.  Steam recently had a sale, selling both L4D and L4D2 at a ridiculously low package price, and although I've played through the first one on the Xbox 360, it was insane to spend $60 for the second one in the 360 format, when I could buy both L4D games for $10 on Steam.  Yes, you read that price correctly.  I don't know why people keep crying that consoles are going to kill PC gaming... with price differences as big as those for the content, consoles aren't taking over any time soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Television: Formula, Formula

I believe I'm going to have to switch my TV blogging to Saturdays.... since the move of "Supernatural" from Thursday to Friday, it's far too long a wait to discuss the really good stuff.  And yes, I consider "Supernatural" the best show I'm watching.

This week, much like "Enterprise"s episode "A Night in Sickbay", "Supernatural" had a one-hour focus on one of the more peripheral characters, and a slice of their life.  "Weekend at Bobby's", directed by show star Jensen Ackles in his big debut, gives us a quick two-day peek into what typically goes on in Bobby's average day.  Or not so average.... and why, oh why, won't the powers that be let him eat that frickking peach cobbler?  Great episode.

On "Fringe", I knew Walter's acquisition of Massive Dynamic would prove to be a candy store the writers could not resist going nuts in, and they did not disappoint.  I did not get a chance to read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" before the episode, so I could compare and contrast the themes, but it was an excellent episode nonetheless.

"Rubicon" is winding up its season.   With the dramatic attempt on Will's life, they're setting us up for a firecracker of a cliffhanger till next summer.  They do a very good job of making him human and interesting.

I'm not sure I like the appearance of Dr. Rush's dead wife on "Stargate: Universe".  Jiminy Cricket she's not.  I also really wish they hadn't found a way to get Lou Diamond Philips onto the ship... that guy annoys me.  Oh well, he won't be poaching wives from men who are on assignment anymore.

We're behind on "Glee" and "Modern Family".  We've checked out "No Ordinary Family" but we're undecided on whether it's a keeper.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Knitting: The Crack of Doom

After Katrina happened, we were living off of rental furniture.  The first thing we rented was this huge sleeper sofa because we couldn't afford to rent two beds as well.  We ended up keeping it, mostly I think because we didn't want to have to haul it back to the store. 

This thing is enormous, and comes in two sections... very heavy sections.  There's the bed section, and then it turns a corner in an L shape, much like an attached chaise.  At this point in the couch, where the two parts join, there's a dividing line we call the "crack of doom".  If things fall down there, it's going to take an act of congress to get it back.  And where do you think my favorite knitting spot is?  On the chaise section.  It's next to both a light and a window, and dammit, it's comfy.  It demands a heavy price though....  I'm sure when we move I will find a bazillion and one knitting needles, cable needles, pens, tapestry needles, and quite possibly Al Capone under there.

Anyway... knitting.  I finished the Vanity sweater, so named for the color of the Rowan summer tweed yarn I made it from.  I'm not terribly happy with it.  The cotton/silk blend makes for a very loose knit, even though I went down a needle size.  The ribbing is floppy and has no "pull" to it.  I also did not understand the way the author wanted us to construct the button holes. 

The Big Red Tights are up to the knees, but I'm not enthusiastic about those right now.

After the Vanity was finished, I started in on the Andean Chullo hat kit I got from Knit Picks.  I love the look of colorwork items, but man, I hate knitting them.  My floats are always too tight and picking the different colors with every other stitch makes for slooooow going.  Like I'm not frustrated enough with the speed of my knitting.

The crack of doom nearly took my Chullo hat yesterday though.  If I disappear for more than a week, send my hubby an email and tell him to pull the couch apart... I may have fallen down in there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Books: Late, Late at Night

When I was in Junior High and High School, I was famous for mostly one thing... having the world's biggest crush on Rick Springfield.  I believe the best descriptive phrase would be "obnoxiously obsessed".  I would challenge my friends to come up with trivia questions that I could not answer.  I knew most of the answers, but when they occasionally came up with one I didn't know, I'd pull the answer out of... well, you know.  The brand name of the champagne he was holding on the cover of "Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet"?  Really?  But I really did think I knew it all.

Until I read his memoir.

It seems tragic to me that a man who has brought such happiness, enjoyment, and (let's face it girls) lusty feelings to millions around the world once tried to hang himself when he was seventeen.  I know the landscape of my life would have been vastly different, and not for the better, had he succeeded... although that tragic picture of me in a shirt with epaulets playing a tennis racket like a guitar could disappear without one word of complaint from me.

The meaning behind some of his songs have also been altered for me forever.

The book is set up in a mostly chronological order.  I had several strong impulses to play his albums as I read when he mentioned them... and I'm a fast reader.  Despite the 320 page length I think I could have kept up with the pages as the story behind them unfolded, with a suitable pause during the dry spells.

Rick is exactly twenty years older than me.  I've known that for years.  What I didn't realize at the time is that he and my mother are almost the exact same age, Rick being two weeks younger.  I mean, I knew the facts of it, but I never really put it all together.  When I was one, he was dodging bullets and playing gigs for the GIs in Viet Nam.  My stepfather was there several years later, but it's likely they trod on the same patch of dirt once or twice.

Mostly what I didn't know was the sad stuff, the tragic stuff.  The scary stuff.  The idea that he's had a shadowy dark figure he's nick-named Mr. Darkness tailing him all his life, whispering in his ear that he's not good enough.

Has any of this tarnished my view of my idol?  Not so much.  At fourteen I probably would have been devastated, but I'm a grownup now (and pretty damn long in the tooth myself) so I understand it a lot more now than I would have then.  I have my own tragedies and regrets.  My own little Miss Darkness that travels with me wherever I go, whispering that what I've made is crap.  Yeah.  I totally get that, and I feel badly for him... that he can't just pick up a flashlight, shine it on his darkness, and stab that fucker right between his eyes, banishing those dark whispers forever.

Huh, I guess playing Alan Wake has given me an alternate method for dealing with darkness.  Sometimes I wish real-life demons were as easy to vanquish as fictional ones.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Knitting: Resurgence

I've gotten back my knitting mojo... with a vengeance.  I'm currently on the lower edge ribbing for the "Favorite Cardigan" whereas this time last week I had not even cast it on.  In about three inches of ribbing, I'll be on the sleeves and then done.  Of course I'm kind of slow on sleeves... we'll see how it goes.

Obviously, or maybe not, this means I finished the "Stripey Tang" sweater.  I decided not to steek it, and went easy on the collar, instead of making it very long for a folded turtleneck.  Yes, I wanted to finish it more than I wanted it to look just "so", why do you ask?  :D

Once the Favorite Cardigan is finished, I might finally start those orange and black striped socks I've been meaning to make for the past two years.  Possibly in time for Halloween, not that they'd go with my outfit, but hey... they're 50% silk and the orange is a discontinued color from Knitpicks (yes, big surprise) so I'll at least feel special wearing them down to the bus stop under my kick ass boots.

My husband wore his Fish Hat to work today.  I'm not sure whether to be pleased and flattered, or just embarrassed for him.

I just bought a three-shelf organizer for the front entryway (which would imply that there's a back entryway, which there's not... dunno, I'm weird).  It does NOT fit three of the recommended cloth drawers in it, only two, but I've designated one drawer for hats and another for gloves and mittens, clearing up a bunch of space on the back of the door, where I'd been hanging a cloth shopping bag full of said items.  It's a stackable, modular style thing, so I can probably order more pieces and add to it.  Hopefully there's a piece that would do for hanging coats and such.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Television: Events, Hacks, and Surprises

During my television watching this week there was a kind of odd convergence of random oddities that, as a whole, added up to a very surreal experience.

Not only am I starting to watch a few new shows, get reacquainted with old ones, and finishing up the summer's entertainment, I'm also watching very old shows... most notably Star Trek Enterprise and X-files.  I watch older shows before bed, because if something is *too* interesting I will never get to sleep.

First, the season premiere of "Supernatural" with Mitch Pileggi (remember that name, folks) reprising his role as Samuel Campbell, the boys' grandfather and father to Mary Winchester nee Campbell.  Excellent as always, and an interesting return for the show.

Then, an old X-files episode where AD Skinner (played by Mitch Pileggi) is conned into thinking he's killed a prostitute in his bed while asleep.  This prostitute was played by Amanda Tapping, the actress who portrayed Carter on Stargate SG-1.  Mitch Pileggi was on Stargate Atlantis, so watching the two of them roll around under the covers was a bit... odd to say the least.

And then the second episode of "The Event" which has gotten infinitely more interesting now that we know it's all about "aliens among us", and could only possibly be improved upon by the inclusion of Mitch Pileggi.  Considering it's about aliens, he'd fit right in.  Or as my husband would say, "He's got a background in alien acting", taking a riff from the character Joey from "Friends".

Then to wind up the whole oddball package, I was watching a re-run of "Graham Norton" I had never seen, and who should be a guest but Gillian Anderson formerly of "X-files".  I had no idea that she was British.  At first I thought she'd just picked up the accent from being in the country, as I will do in a heartbeat if I'm around heavy accents for more than five minutes, but no.  And she was still disgustingly beautiful, damn her.  I would kill to have her luminous complexion.  That's not makeup, folks.

I have not managed to catch the new episodes of "Chuck" as yet, as my DVR is having scheduling difficulties.  Also, some weird randomness seems to turn off my cable box once or twice a week, leaving my Tivo nothing to record but blackness.  It's annoying.