Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you. May it be sweet and full of good things, yarny, inky, and otherwise.

Note: Recipe for the cake is the same as for the ATK Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, but done in a cake pan at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pizza de Resistance

I went to the library today. Yay for me. I struck out on a few things from my must-read list, but in the end I think I did quite well by leaving with a stack of books which probably haven't been checked out for the last decade at least.
So, without further ado or grumbling about what I feel is disorganization on the part of the library (why keep classics in two places and not alphabetize them?), here's the list of yummy books. I'll update my Bookshelf listing and link to the appropriate books on Amazon. ;)

  1. The Selected Works Of Cicero (published 1948)
  2. Greek and Roman Classics In Translation (this is a big volume of just about everyone and everything under the category of "Classical Philosophers and Historians"; 1947 edition)
  3. Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles, and Tales (1963 edition)
  4. Caesar's Commentaries On the Gallic War
  5. Icelandic Poems and Stories (1943 edition)
  6. The Dark Is Rising
  7. Foreign Correspondence
  8. Hannibal's Crossing of the Alps (Livy, of course! The 1995 edition.)

So I'll be busy reading lots of nice dusty books. And enjoying them.

Note: Most of the editions of the books I found were published in the 1950s or thereabouts, so Amazon doesn't have the same editions. I'm linking to slightly more modern versions where possible.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Knitting Update

Dec. 23: 2:18 AM. Just finished grafting the toe of the first sock. There is no way in the deep south that I'm going to be able to finish the second sock in time to overnight it to Minnesota so dad can have them for Christmas.
Halp meh!

Mom Makes A Funny

I'm watching an episode of The Outer Limits (the new series, not the original), in which someone makes quite a lot of noise, wailing and sounding like she's being dreadfully abused. This is the conversation which took place:
Mom: Are you watching Rose Red again?
Me: No. It's "The Outer Limits".
Mom: What's all that caterwauling?
Me: Someone's just given birth to a burgundy mohair shawl.
Mom: Well, some people take their love of knitting too far...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Four Wise Mice

Happy Solstice!

I know it's not just me, but for some reason this year hasn't felt particularly Christmasy; several people have remarked on this, including mom. My own reasons are sort of indefinable, though the weather may have something to do with it. We've had rain for about three days straight, and today the sun finally came out; I feel like changing the words of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" to "I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas", but it ends up sounding... erm... risque. Besides the weather, PBS has insisted on airing the same pablum for its now almost incessant pledge drive, which has gone on for the past four weeks (at least!). You'd think, given the time of year, they'd find a way to air something slightly holiday-related and still use it as a vehicle for fundraising. But... no. So no "The Nutcracker" this year, and definitely no Vicar of Dibley holiday specials.
Instead, I've been busy knitting and making cookies. The gingerbread mice pictured above came about because I couldn't find the little gingerbread man cookie cutter, but this worked just as well; there are also some little gingerbread holly leaves and pine trees, but I thought the mice were a bit more picturesque. :P

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Reading List

I've always regretted that I didn't go to what I jokingly call a "real school". Rachael, you went to a real school; be glad! :P Thinking back, which I blame on Drew because he sent me the link to this, I realize that, even though I went to school in a poor state, they really did try to introduce us to things that might have been the last gasp of an almost-Classical education. In 7th grade, we read Homer's Odyssey. In 9th grade, I got into an argument over certain points about it with my honors history teacher; that was also the year I read Caesar's The Gallic War for a book report in the same class. When I got to high school, we read Sophocles' nice depressing Antigone, and then later, possibly Oedipus Rex. Independently, I read a little Petronius, to wit, The Satyricon. In college, because of my choices of electives and my choice to , study what Shepherd calls "Traditional History", I was able to read Euripides, Hesiod, Ovid, and Virgil , all in translation. Later, rather than selling the books back to the campus bookstore, I kept them.
Anyway, now that Drew's sent me the above link, I intend to go prowling through the library during my next trip to get books, and these will be (hopefully) on my list of Must-Reads:
  1. Reread Caesar's The Gallic War
  2. Anything I can find by Catullus
  3. Anything I can find by Cicero
  4. Anything I can find by Sappho
  5. Plato's The Republic

This will be mixed with Susan Cooper and a few.. um.. lighter things. I wish I could read these in the original language, because I feel something is lost in translation, but since I didn't go to a real school... you get the idea.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Little Night Music

Which creature of the night are you?
Your Result: Sorceror

Control is the name of your game. You are a studied tactician and scientist and you seek a kingdom where things make sense, damn the morals, even if you have to create it. You are cold, calm and calculating.

Cthulu Spawn
Which creature of the night are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Got this one from The Lady. I'm oddly puzzled by the results, but I'm not sure I want to the answers and end up being listed as a ghost or demon. Still, I suppose there are benefits to being a sorcerer.. or sorceress, as the case may be. ;) I wonder if one of them is getting one's socks to knit themselves....

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Pen Pr0n

Vintage, at that. One 1975 Platinum Preppy with a converter that holds a miniscule amount of ink. The pen writes beautifully, even if the nib is a little scratchy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Which I Discover How Not Literate I am...

Just kidding. :P Got this from Lyndsey-Jane:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres Mans
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (in Spanish!)
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (also in Spanish)
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73.The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Oh, the weather outside is frightful! The flakelets are beginning to fly, so it's time for the big fuzzy hat to come out. Since it's blorping cold and the light's gone for the day, the hat and I chose to stay indoors for our little photo op. I'm so glad the weather's finally gotten appropriately wintery!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kissy, kissy!

I don't believe I need comment. ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pen Pr0n

Finally, here's a picture of my new pen. Thanks to the ladies on the fountain pen board on Ravelry for introducing me to Lamies and nudging me down the road of pen perdition. :P

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Just a little food for thought: While grocery shopping this afternoon, I happened to observe a young family with a toddler in the aisle with the baking supplies. The child was jumping up and down, demanding something or other, right in front of the raisins and dried fruit; the mother's response to this was to scold the child and say, "If you keep acting like that, you won't get any of the junk food you're looking at."
'scuse me, but since when are raisins and prunes junk food? O.o

My new fountain pen arrived today, so I'm now the proud parent of a Lamy Al-star in Ocean Blue. With a fine nib. Which means I can go back to working on my book--if the muse has anything to say, that is. A writer's muse can be fickle, and after writing about 28 pages in the last few days, I guess the muse is taking a break. On that note, I leave you with this: Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with Grey Poupon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hot Stitches

I hate picking up stitches. Doesn't matter how carefully I do it, I always seem to end up with too few to do 2x2 ribbing. This time, however, I think I've got the stitch pick-up from hell. The hood Tam Lin's hood is finished now that I figured out why the hood I based it on called for a three-needle bind off; instead of binding off on a wrong side so the little ridge wouldn't show, I did the opposite, so the hood has a nice little line of BO along the center of the very top.... approximately where I part my hair. Mmph. Okay. That flaw can be passed off as decorative, I guess, since it's too late to fix it.
The next step, then, is to pick up stitches starting at the bottom of one front side, go all the way up around the edge of the hood, and down the other side. I picked up as far as the middle of the hood because even my longest circular needles aren't long enough to do the whole thing in one sitting. Gah! That one side and half the hood is a little over 200 stitches. I figure I can work about 15 rows of 2x2, figure out which side the buttonholes are supposed to go on (I can never remember... men's buttonholes go on one side, women's buttonholes go on the other... I should write it on a sticky and put it in my binder along with everything else knitting-related, I know!), and depending on whether or not I've picked up stitches on the wrong side to do the YO buttonholes, BO and tackle the other side.
So far it looks like I'll have enough yarn to do the sleeves, provided I don't make them belled and I don't do any more cables. The sleeves are going to be a little tricky since the pattern I'm basing the body of the sweater on had saddle sleeves and I modified it to use set-in sleeves. This will require measuring, scribbled calculations, and quite possibly some muttered swear words. Blocking will also be tricky since I seriously doubt this monster will fit on the ironing board, and since I don't actually have a blocking board, I'll have to figure out how to improvise without involving the ironing board.
Still, the hood is apropriately voluminous and the body of the sweater has the kind of shaping I wanted, so if I can live through the stitch pick-up from hell and the sleeves, I'll probably be finished in about a week and a half. At which point I'll post pictures. PROMISE!
One last thing to add: The buttons! Mom surprised me with an Anne Choi bead that I've decided to use as one of the buttons. It's a little cylindrical thing with the words "Lux et umbra vicissim, sed semper amore" printed around it. Click Ms. Choi's name for the page with the bead and pictures of her work. She's amazing. Mine's about three quarters of the way down. It'll make a good button for Tam Lin, I think. ;)