July 28, 2008

I am not in love

I am not in love with the Bayerische Socks anymore. It's not because the pattern isn't lovely. It is. It also the most fiddly thing I've ever seen.

It's the yarn.

I do not like Knit Picks Gloss for complicated patterns. It isn't plied tightly enough for very intricate detailed patterns...which are my favorite kinds.

You see? It's all fuzzy. I can't even hope that blocking will take care of that because I know that blocking will simply make it more fuzzy.

This does not make my day.

What does make my day is the promise of beautiful new yarns.

From Zaol.

Never heard of them? Me neither (and their website was a beast to find).

Oh, but you have to see the swatches . . . I already want the Toki 80, Toki 40, Cashmere Classic, Lady Cashmere, BioRope, Biosof, Biosof 2, Olive and Muse. You have to check out their yarn!

July 26, 2008

Woo-hoo! More Books

I received another email from LibraryThing!

Congratulations. You've snagged an Early Reviewers copy of The Empress of Weehawken by Irene Dische.You should get your copy in the mail shortly. The publishers ship the books directly--some are speedier than others, so please be patient!

We hope you find the time to read the book and review it on LibraryThing. You are free--indeed encouraged--to put your review on your blog, or wherever else you want, and to talk about it in the Early Reviewers group. I want to repeat that, although writing a review will help your chances of getting more books, the actual content of your review will not.

Remember, we also have a bonus batch of books up this month--you could win from that batch as well. Take a look!

We hope you like the book! Let me know if you have any questions.

Another book to look forward to! If you aren't on LibraryThing, you need to join. It's wonderful!

July 25, 2008

The comment I posted on WAOD

I posted this comment on What About Our Daughters, one of my favorite blogs.

You know, I read all the comments her before I decided to post mine and all I can say is this:

If you really, truly, expected Soledad and CNN to cover the diverse spectrum of the Black Female Experience in 2 hours, then you have no concept of TIME!

I think the fact that Soledad even attempted is an accomplishment unto itself. She didn't have to try to produce this segment. She didn't have to care, but she's at least put the internal dialogue out there for us to discuss in public.

Moreover, a lot of you are missing the point. The point was to discuss how, as a whole, the black community is not doing as well as any other group in America. Here we are, on the verge of making history with the first Black President, but the bulk of black America has less equity with American society than we had in the 1960s. This is a tragedy and a shame and the burning question is Why? Frankly, considering the time constraints, I think Soledad did a good job. Not a great job. Not a crap job. She backed up her info with facts. She interviewed a diverse number of people (although I got tired of seeing Roland Fryer, as much as I do admire his work) and tried to cover as much as she could. Did she have a chance to interview every luminary in the Black Academic out there? Who knows. Unfortunately, so many comments on this page are complaining about the fact that she didn't cover more about the healthy, successful, and well-educated among us. Well, who wants to listen to a bunch of successful (and semi-successful) people make petty complaints? Who has time to watch a visual history of Howard, Morehouse and Spelman? Who needs a history of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Alpha Phi Alpha? We are out there, doing what we have to, doing what we need to, while 2/3 of our brethren are mired in poverty, thinking they don’t have options, without role models and fathers to help guide them. What has to be done to help them? What do we need to do in order to raise all boats? You know that you have these people in your family just like I do and if you’re anything like me, you don’t understand it either and you don't know what to do or how to help.

Urban Sista said it well: “Whether or not you like it, it’s necessary to show the other side of the coin. There are problems in the Black community – serious problems like poverty (the brother struggling to raise two kids on his own; the sister making ends meet on one income and supporting five children), ignorance (no one showing up for the AIDS awareness class), lack of importance placed on education, the difficulty Black women have meeting Black men who are like-minded, lack of proper healthcare.
The program may not have shown your particular reality, but this is one series on a very diverse group of people. Soledad and CNN would have to give us an entire year or more to truly dissect the diaspora.

Well said!

PS. I didn’t like the Poetry brother either.

July 24, 2008

Just ain't fair

This has been a diffcult week and I'm just going to unwind, so hang in here with me and let me vent . . .

Two Thursdays ago, I walked into work, booted my computer up, and watched in horror as my computer came up with the following error:


Wanna see?

If you don't know that that means, it means "You just wasted 2.5 days trying to encrypt your machine. Ha ha ha!"***

AGGHHH!! Frustration does not begin to cover my feelings. I did as I was supposed to: I encrypted my machine, I started working on my open projects again, and this happens.

Did I mention that Friday at 5PM was the corporate deadline for encrypting each computer?

So on Friday, I start trying to encrypt the machine again. Of course, we get off work at 1PM on Fridays, so I know that I'm working against time. Thank God for Teresa.

"Victoria, you sent me proof of encrypting that machine earlier in the week, right?"
"Yes, I sent it in email."
"Then quit that and go home. I'll send in the proof that you did what you were supposed to and we'll encrypt the machine next week. Bye"

Thank you!

So on Monday I return, chipper, happy, ready to start reinstalling the encryption software. I reinstall Windows, get everything done by Monday afternoon, encrypt the machine Tuesday morning and send in the proof.

Then I rebooted the computer.


Yes, you are seeing that right. This time I go to the helpdesk. James takes a look at my computer and suggest I find a nice cliff to toss it off. He calls Dell, order a new drive for my computer, then we get started again. On Friday, having sent in proof that I've reencrypted my machine, I reboot.


This ceased to be funny about two reboots ago.

The new drive arrived on Friday. I uninstalled and reinstalled Windows and the excryption software again. This time I receive a new error and my computer no longer senses my keyboard.

By Monday, everyone in the office is ready to throw in the towel on my computer. You can't make up this kind of absurdity. I wipe the drive clean again, reinstall Windows, and start the encryption to run over night. I came in Tuesday expecting the worse. Instead, I had a Windows desktop . . .I rebooted the sucker twice.

If I'm going to have to reinstall this stuff for the 5th time, I better find out in advance, right?

Right. Machine still encrypted, Windows still installed.

As of this moment, this very moment, I've had a working computer for 1 hour. I'm not doing anything important, lest I screw with fate.

2.5 weeks of knitting in my office. All because some idiot lost a laptop.

Not bad at all. Just not fair either.

***Actually, it really means that the master boot record (the file that starts up Windows) is gone, missing, has been moved, etc. For me, with an encrypted drive, this means that the computer cannot boot from a recovery disk. Long story short, reinstall everything, starting with the OS.

Sometimes life is very good

One of the little life's lessons I'm working on (besides patience, and the cursing, and the anti-social behavior) is the inability to be anywhere on time.

CP time is not even an issue with me. I keep black folks waiting (which is an accomplishment, because if you know black people you understand that while we will keep people waiting, you betta not leave us waiting!).

So on Thursday, after working on installing Oracle and TOAD on my machine all morning (more on that in tomorrow's post), I look up and realize that I've been sitting on my butt all morning and the WoolGather's Lunch meeting is in 30 minutes.

Did I also mention that I am incapable of getting dressed and out of the apartment in less than 30 minutes?

So here I am, in Bradenton, Florida (also known as God's Waiting Room), trying to rush 85 blocks across town. It took me 20 minutes and I'm surprised that everyone remained alive.

So I get to the LYS and there isn't a single parking space available anywhere! They're all gone! I can't believe it! So I park next door and walk over to the LYS! It's a MADHOUSE!!!

Mattie greeted me at the door (I'm beginning to really want a dog).
Linda is there (I missed her so much!)
Bettie, Carol, and Jaya are back (Wonderful! Always wonderful to see the return of new knitters and crocheters)
Lots of new people! Yay! Debbie really shouldn't worry about traffic into her store.

Now, walking in, I knew something everyone else didn't: There was a columnist from the local paper and a photographer there. The photographer seemed a lot more interested in what we were doing, so he (eventually) admitted that he had a habit of getting involved with his girlfriends' hobbies. He had been involved in miniature dollhouses and blue china, before, but right now, he was devoted to antique cameras.

So, like any proud knitter, I asked each woman to compile a list of her single friends who were fiber artists (regardless of affiliation) and let's get this man hooked up. The look of (momentary) horror gave everyone laughs! Everyone kept trying to push needles and hooks on him, so he started taking pictures, which gave everyone something new to do.

Hide from the camera.

But eventually we all settled down and started talking about our project. Bonnie brought a gorgeous crocheted dress, which she had also lined, and we all cooed over it. I'm tempted, tempted to take up my hooks again.

I brought my So-Called Scarf (Knit in 24 hours out of Noro Silk Garden)

My So-Called Scarf

and my Cable Love Scarf (Cascade 220. Probably about 2 weeks, on and off)

The lunch was excellent! Bettie brought a wonderful chicken spinach alfredo, so good that everyone asked for the recipe. Carol brought cheesecake fudge brownies. I ate three (3). That's all I'm going to say about that.

We knit, and stitched, and giggled for 2 hours. The photographer took lots of pictures. That columnists lit out so fast it wasn't even funny. We had a great time, as always.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

July 20, 2008

Book Review: Summer Blowout by Claire Cook

Three Sentence Synopsis: Bella has been betrayed by her half-sister, who slept with her ex-husband. At a public makeup demonstration, she meets entrepreneur Sean Ryan, who helps her start a sideline business. Misunderstandings ensue, involving her personal life and the family business, conflict is resolved, and Bella and Sean eventually end up dating.

Recommendation: This is a quick airplane/beach read. Light and fluffy, this book should take little time to finish. However, the characters are not well-drawn, the book suffers from product placement overload, and the motivations are thin at best. The best part of the book was the pacing.

Main Review:
Bella Shaughnessy is a woman scorned and betrayed. Her half-sister, Sophia, is now dating her ex-husband, Craig, a situation Bella finds intolerable. Her family is trying to keep peace between the sisters, especially since both Bella and Sophia work at the family salons. However, at a college fair Bella meets Sean Ryan, an entrepreneur who is selling a “How to Get into College” kit in the booth next to her. He admires her work (she’s a makeup artist) and suggests she start her own makeup kit for women. While doing the makeup for a wedding party, she is paid to take care of a pair of unruly children, then a dog. No one ever comes back for the dog, so she decides to keep Precious (who is later renamed Cannoli), then begins to create her personal makeup kit. Bella’s makeup knowledge combined with Sean Ryan’s sales knowledge ends up making the personal makeup kits a nice sideline for Bella. She invites him to her nephew’s wedding in Atlanta and he accepts, but later refuses when her ex-husband shows up one night to talk. Bella ends up flying to Atlanta with Cannoli and attends a college fair with Sean Ryan, where he tells her he’s interested, but he doesn’t want to be the rebound guy. At the wedding, Sophia flirts with Sean right in front of Bella and Craig. Bella confronts Sophia and tells her to get her own life then kicks Craig out of the reception. She then turns to Sean and tells him that he has to make a choice: she’s either a business associate or more. Sean eventually chooses more and they end the book dating.

Final Opinions:
Summer Blowout by Claire Cook ranks as one of the fastest chick-lit books I’ve ever read and for good reason. It’s badly written. I could not identify with the main character, Bella Shaughnessy, her family, or anyone else in the book. The only people remotely interesting were her brother and brother-in-law. Overall, the pace was good, but the rest of the book suffered. The product placement was staggering (to say the least).

July 18, 2008

A long awaited prize

Today I received an email from JoAnn's.

Thank you for shopping at Joann.com! The item(s) below
were shipped on Jul 14,2008.
Qty Name
1 Swift Yarn Winder

Woo Hoo!!! My Swift is finally on it's way.

Seeing this email around 1PM made the entire day go by faster. So of course, once 5 PM came and I could leave, I had completely forgotten about the email. Besides, I didn't expect the swift to come today.

What's this?

MY SWIFT!!! I couldn't get it into my house fast enough.

Or unpack it fast enough.

Is it my swift??

Yes!! It's here.

So Pretty . . . I need a better picture.

Oh forget that. I just want to use it.

Ok, maybe not. This bar pass is filthy. Time to clean.

Much better.

Time to work.

Wanna see me work?

(Hmm...I looked too goofy in that video. I promise, I'll be back with a better video soon).

July 16, 2008

Viva la Vida

Today's word: Talisman:

  • An object marked with magic signs and believed to confer on its bearer supernatural powers or protection.
  • Something that apparently has magic power.

My knitting stand is a talisman. Whenever I take it to work, one of two things happens:

  1. The day goes so fast that when 5PM comes I'm genuinely suprised; or
  2. The day is so stupid I don't get anything done and I'm genuinely surprised when 5PM comes.

Either way, 5PM gets their faster when I take my knitting stand. This can only be good. Anyway, the last few days at work have been great. Someone within the corporate office lost a laptop and in higher ed there is no greater fear than students' SSNs getting out. Anyway, because of the lost laptop, now everyone has to encrypt their machines and run all sorts of virus scans and disk checks.

You know what that means?

That means that for the past two days I haven't been able to do any meaningful work in the office. I asked to go home earlier Tuesday so I could do some work from home. In 30 minutes I managed to do what would have taken me 2 hours at work.

I wish they'd just let me work from home. I could get much more accomplished and take naps.

I am in love with Coldplay. Viva la Vida is on constant replay on my iPod; so beautiful, so lyrical . . .I like this U2 direction Coldplay is moving in.

Keyshia Cole is the most ghetto R&B artist I've ever seen, but her song "Heaven Sent" is my song right now. She's rough (with the most appalling family I've ever seen and GOD KNOWS I don't like to pass judgement on other people's families) but she has a god given voice and some excellent song writers.

Tonight's Woolgather's meeting was Excellent!!!There were four new faces tonight:

      Betty, who's only been knitting for 3 days, is a self-proclaimed perfectionist, and who was enthused be everything. She's definitely a natural leader, organizing a lunch for next Wednesday at the store and talking to everyone.
      Jaya, a Realtor who is crocheting for her new grandson. She looked unsure when she first arrived, but soon got involved, went to her car and pulled her blanket out and showed it off.
      Karen, hmm....I didn't get to talk to Karen much. Darn.
      Carol is a teacher from Pittsburgh and is looking to move to Florida permanently. (This is a correction. I couldn't remember her name earlier. I just remembered and ran to post it before I forgot again. Sorry :( I know you expect much better of me.)

Of course the regulars were there: Jean, Deb, and Jim (who celebrated his 60th yesterday!!!) (hey, where was Linda?). Vashti was there as well and she reads my blog...! I have a reader!! OMG! That made my day (Thanks Vashti!)

July 12, 2008

Wonderful Surprises

I love when nice things happen.

I went to A Yarn Outlet to pick up some more yarn for Mommy's beret's. After touching everything in there (I'm not even going to try to break that habit), I picked up 5 new skeins (and successfully avoided the sock yarns . . .sigh).

Yellow Cascade 200 Heathers

Purple Cascade 220

Nashua Handknits in Green

Misti Cotton in Mint Green

and in a Pumpkin Color

On the way home, I began to wonder when my advance book from LibraryThing would arrive. If you aren't on LibraryThing, and you are a voracious reader, you need to sign up. I signed up to be an early reviewer and I received an email about a week ago to tell me I'd been selected to receive and advance copy of Summer Blowout by Claire Cook (which is somewhat amusing to me, considering the book was released on June 3).

Anyway, guess what was inside my mailbox?

Hmm....I wonder what could be inside?

Yup! Now I have about 5 books around the house I need to read.

July 11, 2008

Where have all the good civil rights leaders gone?

*****DISCLAIMER: This post is me calling it like I see it. I am in no way unappreciative of the heroic and brave work that these men and women did in order to secure my happy life. I am by no means ignorant of the struggle. However, I do believe that no one is immune of criticism.

Once you reach a certain age (sometimes called the "Age of Reasoning"), you realize that your heroes have flaws. Mommy doesn't always know the answer, Daddy doesn't like to play, Granny and Pop-Pop are old.

And if you're black, you notice that all the good civil rights leaders either died early or you don't hear from them and this cast of characters they left us is a joke. After the death of Dr. King, many of his contemporaries tried, in vain to carry on his mantle of self-righteous goodness. Most failed; if you ask me, John Lewis came the closest to correct, using the system to which the Civil Rights Movement had given him access to try to press for change from the inside. His work in Congress is laudable and his reputation as a member of the Civil Rights Old Guard means that no one in Congress even attempts to pull a race card on him (besides, he has a pretty safe district. He could die in Congress first).

However, the rest of that cast of characters is a joke: Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, you name 'em, I'll laugh at them. The biggest part of the problem was that they never changed and adapted their message with time. They became mired in the marching/praying/chanting movement and never moved out. They never made themselves relevant to the younger generation. It was almost as if they expected us to fall lock-step behind them because they fell lock-step behind Dr. King.

So now you have an entirely new generation of African Americans with no connection to the Civil Rights Movement who watch these guys on TV and roll their eyes. People of my generation don't pay any attention to Jesse or Al. So now you have an African-American at the head of a national party ticket (a position made possible due to Shirley, Carol, Jesse, and Al) and Jesse wants Obama's nuts?! No wonder the political pundits are saying that Jesse may be a toothless tiger.

My sense is that many of the old-guard civil rights leaders, are seething at the prospect of a black president who owes them nothing. That's perhaps the most appealing thing about Obama -- that he could leave Jesse Jackson and his ilk in the dust. That's what has excited my friends and myself - Obama didn't come through the "Black Church Farm Method." His trajectory is one all my friends can see themselves on, no stop at seminary school, no marching. Just an excellent education, a sincere effort to organize and help his community (without having to get involved with the dysfunctional NAACP), marriage to a wonderful woman, and a desire to go further by winning elective office.


The NAACP needs to get it together. Ditto for the Urban League. Do it quick.
Jesse needs to retire (extra point to his son for rebuking his father's words. Jesse Jr. gets it).
Al needs to stay quiet (we've really appreciated your silence Al)

The King Kids . . . well, it may be too late for them. Have you seen the latest?

UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only person thinking this:

When The Man is One of Us by Jack White

July 9, 2008

This should be required reading...

An Ideal Husband--NY Times

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Chris!!!
Happy Birthday Andrea!!!

Getting Old

My little Brother turned 23 today.

So why do I feel old?

Gotta admit, the boy is fly!

July 8, 2008

This could be awwkward....

Mommy reads my blog.

Do I care? No. There's nothing here for me to be ashamed of (and even if there were, it's my blog!)

So . . . why am I mentioning this? Because Mommy didn't like how I characterized her in a previous post. Hmm . . . What was it that I said?

She's prissy, ultra-ultra-feminine, a shopaholic, a do-it-my-way-or-hit-the-highway, emotional sort of person.


Well, that is you Mommy. But, I suppose in the interest of fairness, I can expand on that a little more.

My Mother, if you ever meet here, is one of those gorgeous individuals with absolutely no concept of her own beauty. She doesn't dress to impress other people; she dresses to make herself feel good. She still has (most) of her figure and she makes the most of it when she dresses. Males between 13 and 80 still double take after her.

Consequently her looks have bought her plenty of ill-will from other people (well, women and/or hateful ass bitches) who believe that, despite the fact that my mother has been happily married to the same man for over 20 years (and with him for 25), she must be looking for some extra play or she is deliberately flirting. Sad part is, most of the time, these men are flirting with her, but she's so wrapped up in her own world she either ignores it and thinks they must be teasing her.

(This part of the explanation never sounds good, because most women remain aware of their effect on men and exploit that power to the best of their ability. My mother doesn't. She's just that clueless).

So, this has caused difficulty for her, even with her own daughter.

How would you like to be the 14-year old whose mom is considered hotter than her?
When the objects of your affection hit on your mom instead of you?
And she's still freaking clueless?

Between 14-18 I hated Mommy.

I still cry a little thinking about it. Even knowing my mother like I do, I still cannot believe that any one woman can be that damn dense.

But she is.
It's who she is.

And it didn't help that I'm considered a replica of her. Same face (except for the eyes and lips), same build, same voice, same looks. All of it, but bigger. About 50% bigger.

I'm the "What the hell went wrong there?" version.

Now that I've left my teen years behind, I am (grinding teeth) grateful for that experience. It taught me a few things:
  1. Any man who hits on my mom gets dumped the same day. (obviously)
  2. I cannot afford to be that clueless about the opinions of people around me. I don't have to care, but I do need to be aware.
  3. Whatever I've got, I better flaunt it.
  4. Some people really do float through life unaware of what's going on around them.
  5. High-mindedness is good, but no one ever climbed the corporate ladder being high-minded.

Mommy, if you read this post, just know . . .a decade later and I'm still not over some of that stuff. It would be really nice if you came down and lived in the real world for a little while.

July 3, 2008

New Play Toy

Mommy is gone.

I should be happy about this, but I'm not. She left on Monday and I've missed her ever since, especially since my friends (Andrea, Nikki, and Ashley) arrive tonight. Since they're staying until Sunday night, I won't have my apartment back to myself until Monday.


Anyway, I mentioned in my last post that I built a light box. It cost me all of $5.

  1. Box - Free. Left over from my move to Florida

  2. Tissue Paper - $1.79 at Wal*Mart, for a jumbo pack.

  3. Glue - $.33

  4. Tape - Free. Left over from my move to Florida

  5. White Poster Board - $.50 at Wal*Mart

Hmm . . . OK, $2.62. Not Bad. . .oh right

  1. Daylight light bulbs - ~5.00.

Well, that's about $7.00. Not bad. Wanna see the results?

The Inside:

And this is my little setup. When I'm ready to take the picture, I angle the light right next to the tissue paper to illuminate the interior, setup my camera on it's tripod, and snap away.


This is what a light box will do for your pictures:

Without a light box: Taken on the kitchen counter top, under florescent lights. Edited with Picasa, using Sharpen Filter and "I'm Feeling Lucky"
And knowing me, probably taken somewhere near midnight with flash.

In the Light box, with a special "Daylight" bulb. Macro settings on camera, no flash. Edited with Adobe Photoshop...(I can't remember all the filters, althought I know "Auto Levels" came in somewhere).
Definitely taken after midnight. You can't tell can you?

The Brilliant colors of the Baby Cable sock is really coming through. The light box makes everything look much more lifelike and honest. So in what could only be termed as a "fit of stupidity" I decided that I wanted to take new pictures of everything in my stash using the light box....

I'm betting my friends will ensure that craziness doesn't go anywhere.

Today's Random Thoughts

  1. When is Mad Men coming out on DVD?
  2. I need to buy some books from KnitPicks before they go off sale.
  3. I need to buy Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister...Next month, definitely.
  4. I need to clean the house and buy fruit.
  5. Do I have enough vegetables?
  6. I'm tired to thinking . . . and my eyes are tired.
  7. It's 4:59 on the Thursday before Independence Day . . .I'm allowed to shut everything down now, I think.

Oops. 5PM. Time to go.

July 1, 2008

Today's Random Thought

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo

I considered atheism, but there weren't enough holidays.