Archive for April, 2006

Excuse me while I have a nervous breakdown

April 25, 2006

Jesus Mary and Joseph, I think I might have to reknit the toe of this sock due to the EXTREME TENSION. Not the yarn tension, though. The freaking hockey tension. Double overtime and I have a long and storied history of extreme stress, and tonight was no exception. Still, after we recovered from the disallowed goal that Detroit scored in the first overtime period, it was an exciting second overtime.

We did possibly the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done tonight, and when you think about all the nerdy things I’ve done in my lifetime (oh, the list is too long to even think about, but let’s see, I think going to the bookstore in my wedding dress to buy Harry Potter VI is probably up there, as is the Gryffindor yarn I bought earlier (which, by the way, WOO!)!), that’s saying a lot. My sister and our friend Mel, both obsessive Oilers fans, are living in Vancouver, and apparently it was decided by the people at CBC that nobody in BC would want to watch the Oilers, so they were stuck with the Calgary game. Being that they both bleed blue and copper, this was not a very appealing option. (Although the rivalry has died down with Calgary, particularly since Edmonton got behind Calgary in the finals two years ago, one still chooses an Oilers game over the Flames any day.)

Anyway, it occurred to Mel that perhaps somebody might have a webcam that they could aim at the TV so they could catch the game. And although we don’t own one, we had one we could borrow. So borrow it we did, and Jamie went to his mum’s house to get the software for it. We got it set up (making Jamie late for his rehearsal in the process) so that Beth and Mel could watch the game over the webcam, using our Media Centre on the computer, which has a tv tuner.

Alas, the radio wasn’t synched up with the tv feed, so they would have no sound. Unless…fortunately, my sister has this weird computer phone system thingy that allows her to have a local Edmonton number wherever she goes. So I changed the answering machine message to redirect people t my cell phone, called her up, and left the phone by the speaker. Voila! We have an improvised (and mediocre, but better than nothing!) live CBC feed to Vancouver. They watched all of regulation time that way, and then OT was shown out there as the Calgary game was done.

So now I have one day to recover (which I will spend at what promises to be a dull work seminar and then having a Veronica Mars marathon/Amazing Race viewing with Karen and Paul) before the madness starts again on Thursday. I think I might need some slightly more mindless knitting, though – concentrating on four needles is a bit much for my brain past regulation time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe I will go and lie down with a paper bag. And possibly a stiff drink.

Go Oilers Go!


Hockey Rocks My Socks

April 23, 2006

God. I seem to forget, in the drought years, just how much playoff hockey makes me hyperventilate. The Oilers are back in the playoffs after a few years out (one of which was due to the lockout, obviously), and my blood pressure has risen accordingly. I spent Friday night at work listening to the game (streaming audio is my new best friend), and then watched overtime at IHOG. (The International House of Girls, where three of my friends live.) Today I was asleep for part of the game (Jamie was obligingly waking me up with updates), since I was out until very uncivilised hours of the night last night. But I caught the third period, which was full of hyperventilating excitement. So now the series is tied 1-1 as it heads back to Edmonton, where I will not be catching any games despite my best efforts to get tickets.

Despite all the hockey trauma, I have successfully finished a pair of socks this weekend and have just finished the gusset on another sock that I just started yesterday. This is partly due to my ever increasing sock speed (this is now my fifth pair since mid-February), but also due to the fact that I made them quite short since I’m not convinced I’ll have enough yarn. I’m using the very snazzy Socks that Rock in the Fire on the Mountain colourway, and while it is definitely stunning, it’s not quite as fantastic as I had hoped – there’s a bit of pooling. But it’s growing on me as I knit, which is a good sign.

The socks I finished yesterday (aside from the toes – I’m not going to graft them until I try them on my coworker) were for someone with size six and a half feet, and let me tell you, it made me wish my feet were small and skinny, because the amount of yarn I saved was not insignificant. They were just straightforward stockinette socks in Knit Picks Sock Garden Daffodil, and they turned out to have lovely stripes. Our digital camera is in the shop right now so you’ll have to picture it in your heads.

The baby blanket for the August-due baby is sitting on the back of the couch, just waiting for a wash. I’m not sure when I’ll send it along to the mother-to-be, but it’s nice to have it done. It’s a pretty straightforward blanket – garter stitch squares in yellow and white checkerboard – and it’s quite big for a baby blanket. Several bags are knit and just waiting for felting (I am super lazy – they’ve been done for months), and a couple of other projects are in various stages of progress.

So while I have done very little this weekend that didn’t involve sitting on my ass, at least I have a lot of knitting to show for it. And I finished my book for book club tonight, and although I was kind of bored by it, it feels like one of those books that will suddenly make a bunch of references make sense. And that was kind of the point of Book Club II: Electric Bookaloo, so I’m happy with that.

That’s been my exciting weekend. Now do you see why I haven’t been updating much?


April 20, 2006

I went to the bookstore today. Now, normally this is a fun and exciting thing that doesn’t lead to an update titled “hmpf,” but today was not so much with the fun and exciting. Because here’s the thing. We’re getting ripped off. You see, there’s this new book out that I kind of want, called Big Girl Knits, which is, appropriately, a book about knitting if you are not a toothpick. Being both an obsessive knitter and a non-skinny person, this seemed like an obvious choice. The library hasn’t ordered it yet and I’m not known for my patience.

Fortunately, I had two gift certificates from Christmas that I hadn’t used yet. (I work in a library and get an employee discount at another bookstore, so it’s rare for me to buy books at Chapters, which is where the gift cards were from.) Some of it, we agreed, would go towards a travel book for our trip to Britain, which is now coming up in less than two months. (How the HELL is it April 20th already?) But I figured the rest could buy me a knitting book. I’ve been meaning to get one for reference purposes, so I don’t have to keep requesting the same ones from the library. I trundled into the knitting section and found five brand new copies of it, which had obviously just arrived since I checked yesterday and they didn’t have any.

I flipped through and admired the patterns – the book has some awesome sweaters. There is a jacket in there that I am definitely going to make myself at some point. (My sister would love it too, I think.) But then I looked at the price. $30US – quite reasonable for a nice hardcover. Canadian? Forty-two freaking dollars! Last time I looked, the Canadian dollar was at about $1.20 US. Thirty dollars times $1.20 is about $36.00. That is a freaking ridiculous mark-up. The book industry is clearly not keeping up with the times – at that point it’s cheaper for me to order it from the US and pay the shipping. Sure, at one point, that was an accurate reflection of the state of the dollar, but these days, not so much. But I guess American publishers have just gotten used to screwing over Canadians, and don’t see any reason to change.

Needless to say, I didn’t buy it or anything else. I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be a lot cheaper to get most of what I wanted online. Which it was – by a lot. Chapters online was selling Big Girl Knits for $28.14 before my member discount. That is a huuuge difference. The other books I wanted were cheaper as well. I eventually decided to wait on Big Girl Knits, but I bought all my other stuff for about 1/3 less than I would have paid in the store.

This is why I shop online, people. I’m ordering yarn from the States that is less than half the cost of yarn in an actual store. I know there’s the whole rigmarole about needing to have an actual space to buy things from, but when it’s the same store in a bricks and mortar format and online with that much of a difference? Something is fucked up. Remind me not to buy things without comparison shopping online.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when an actual store is totally necessary – last minute baby gifts (like tomato hats!), birthday parties (where my bookstore discount comes in big time handy), and when you just don’t want to wait. But I’m really starting to get disgruntled with actual stores. I envy all the Americans who have virtually everything they could get in a mall available online with free or super cheap shipping – online shopping in Canada is not quite as far along. But it’s getting there. I have found awesome yarn stores online that have incredibly reasonable shipping-to-Canada policies, and even paying the shipping it’s cheaper than buying here, some of the time, with more selection. Sure, you buy yarn untouched, but that’s what the yarn reviews are for.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over here in the corner, knitting my online-purchased socks on my online-purchased needles. I will be sitting in my purchased from a store chair, though. There is no replacement for the nap test in a store.

March 10th? Wow, that’s a long time ago. The pro…

April 19, 2006

March 10th? Wow, that’s a long time ago. The problem is, you see, life is good but boring. This is not to say that my life has ever been particularly exciting leading to thrilling updates here, but it’s in a particular kind of rut lately. And I have to be honest, I’m usually knitting instead of writing here.

Also, I have kind of inexplicably become a tv-fanatic. Sort of. Actually, given that I know some real tv fanatics, I think that is probably a little inaccurate, but I have suddenly started watching kind of a lot of tv. Most of it totally lame. American Idol, I’m looking at you. However, it’s fun watching American Idol with Jamie, who pretends not to be interested but totally is. I watch Amazing Race and Survivor with Karen and Paul (except when I suck like tonight and nap instead and don’t make it over there), and the heckling and yelling at the tv is totally entertaining. (For some reason, we started out yelling SNAKE! really loud whenever they show snakes on Survivor, which is frequent, and now we yell snake at the tv whenever the show is back from commercials and someone is in the bathroom, or whenever we are moved by the spirit of the snake. We are weird.) I’m halfway through season three of Angel (which is NOT as good as season two, boo), and Karen and Paul and I are working on Veronica Mars season 1, which is so good. Holy crap, that show is the best show I’ve seen since, well, Firefly, I guess, but the fact that it isn’t cancelled already makes it a little more exciting. We’re hoping that season two will come out before season three starts so we can catch up and watch it next season. Hoping that there is a next season, of course. I really ought to start watching shows that don’t have the ax of cancellation hanging over them at all times. Well, I guess American Idol really covers that. But I don’t really care either way about AI. Although I have discovered that a ton of my coworkers watch it, so it’s fun to discuss every week. (It’s funny who watches that show – a lot of people you don’t expect seem to watch it.)

So. Knitting. TV. Work. Jamie. Friends. That’s about it. We went to Vancouver and Victoria last month, and had an excellent time hanging out with the various people there. Great weather, too, which is always a crapshoot out there. We also went to a hockey game while we were there courtesy of Mel, who has inexplicable connections to several scalpers. We are probably going to wish we had the same as we’re attempting to get tickets for the playoffs next week – wish us luck!

I have become a completely fanatical sock knitter, thanks to the Olympics, which was my first pair. They take me about 8 or 9 days to knock out a pair, usually, and they are portable and cute and just super cool! I love turning the heel and then suddenly having my knitting go in an entirely different direction. I’m on my fourth pair right now, which means I have just finished turning my eighth heel, and I still think it’s super cool. Which is a clear indication of just how dorky I am.

I also just finished a baby blanket, in yellow and white squares (it’s kind of huge, but that’s ok – I like blankets that can go past the first year), and a super awesome baby hat that looks like a tomato. That was REALLY cute and very quick to knit up (one evening of Angel was all it took!) so I will definitely be making more of those. It was also my first shot at stranded knitting (is that what it’s called? I don’t know. Multiple colours, anyway.)

(Are you KIDDING ME? They’re doing classical music on AI? Awesome. Oh, love songs. Well, still. Boccelli! Cool!)

Anyway, I intend to branch out into other fruits and vegetables for baby hats, although there aren’t too many other babies coming up any time soon. I might have to make some for some of the mid-sized babies I know, because they are just so damn cute.

Socks. Baby stuff. Bad TV. Trip to Vancouver. Hockey. That’s what’s been going on.

How are you? Is anyone even still reading this any more?