Saturday, December 24, 2005

Should I laugh or cry?

Well, here we are, December 24th. This is the day I think of as the real beginning of Christmas celebrations, since we usually go to my husband's father's house and then to my uncle's house in the evening. Then, on Christmas day, we go to my parents' first thing in the morning, my Granddad's for a few hours, and then my mother in law's.

*insert sound of record screeching here*

Yeah. Not this year.

I have been sick since Wednesday. I mean, sick, sick, throwing up, fever going up and down, dizzy, pain, sinuses, dehydration, can't eat anything since Tuesday, lost my voice yesterday SICK. Today is the first day I've felt human since this whole thing started.

First I had CGod call my grandparents to let them know we probably wouldn't see them on Sunday, since Granddad is on dialysis (sp?) and I'm not really into the idea of getting HIM sick. Ok, I can deal. We'll see them later in the week, all is well.

So then last night I'm thinking, I'm still feverish, I don't want to get my other grandma sick, either, and I'm really not going to be up for two parties at two houses, especially since I'm unable to talk and my head hurts when my husband even talks a little louder than normal--so maybe we'll forgo the Christmas Eve stuff. Not my favorite decision, but I really wanted to be up for going to at very least my parents' and my mom-in-law's.

Then today hits, and I'm still not my husband calls my parents to see if the gifts have come yet (we ordered a ton of stuff online and had it shipped to their house instead of here) and my mom says, "If Jen is less than 100%, don't come over, since we can't afford to get sick, too."

While I understand their reasoning--my sister is on break from Dartmouth, my parents both can't take time off from work, and my brother is both working AND going to school--I was still hurt by the words. Everyone drills into my head how important 'family' is at Christmas (ever since I mentioned possibly breaking off and doing my own thing once I got married; imagine how well THAT went over) and yet, that very family was pretty much "don't come near us with your germs" when I just really want someone to make me a cup of tea and say "aww". I just want to hang out with them and have my Christmas morning like I have for just about every one of my 30 years. It sucks and I am really sad about it. Don't get me wrong--I am not coming down on my family here. I am mostly angry that I'm sick over the one holiday I actually WANT to see them on.

Well, after hearing that, I had my husband call HIS mom to make sure we shouldn't go there, either, which is a good thing--his uncle is visiting and HE'S got heart problems, which means someone as sick as *I* have been would be a very bad addition to the party. So I'm all about to feel crappy again, when CGod says, "my mom wants to know if she can bring Christmas to us."

Basically, she's bringing over our gifts today and some food tomorrow, because she feels really bad that we can't have ANY of our Christmas plans. On top of that, one of my best friends in the world is coming by to show me the proud result of my teaching her to knit (yay) and then tomorrow, we may just end up going to visit Jeff & Kristin, who have promised delicious chicken soup and lots of fun people to make us feel better.

All in all, the holiday is not a waste, but it is turning out very differently than I had planned. It's hard like this, when I'm up to going out but am afraid of getting certain people sick. At family gatherings, there's so much hugging, so much closeness, and I really need to be able to curl up in the back of the action and just chill. It also sucks that I can't talk, which means at a family function I'll have to either wear a tag that says "don't ask me how I am, I can't tell you" or try to explain in a whisper that I can't talk while all the noise of the party is going on around me.

And now I need to go neaten up more. My inlaws are coming and my house is a disaster, and I am moving verrrrry slowly today.

*hugs all*

Monday, December 5, 2005

Finished: One "Hat of D00M"

So-called because it was knit on little needles and with finer yarn than I should have used and it just took for EVER AND EVER OMG...

Check out the pics, taken in a dark kitchen with no flash, and only my computer monitor for light!!

This one is the best for color. It's just before I threaded the last sts at the crown.

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Another shot with all the needles:

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And the finished product!

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The pattern is from Knits from the Heart, a book by Kristin Spurkland. The yarn is called Cashmere Luxury Aran, which is essentially a Debbie Bliss Cashmerino knockoff. With less cashmere, I do believe. Bought last year at ACMoore. It's quite soft, and the fabric really is pretty and has a nice drape.

I call it the hat of D00M also because it was begun on a bamboo circular needle, and you know, next time I'm doing the whole darn thing on dpns. That circ KILLED my fingers.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Some catch-up stuff

Isn't she CUTE??? This is my kitty in a paper bag. XD

In other news: tomorrow I bake--the apple crisp I made for Thanksgiving went over so well that I'm going to be making some for the game group. Before THAT, however, I am spending the morning at my dad's.

A few months ago, one of the owners of my LYS (the wonderful Criations) lent me her Turkish drop spindle so I could learn the basics of how to spin.

She reminded my husband last week that I still had it. Erg. I meant to return it, like, a couple weeks later--instead, it's been months. My apologies, Erica.

Since I like making things with my hands, and I have full access to my father's wood shop (he's a cabinetmaker, after all) I figured I'd make some of my own. I'll be posting them up here when I do. I think I have the construction down, so we'll just have to actually MAKE the things.

And that's about it. Doing a lot of knitting for the holidays, about to start writing on Created again, and trying to work some art in there someplace.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Holy crap, I finished NaNoWriMo.

In the middle of doing NaNoWriMo (I WON! SEE MY ICON! XD) and knitting holiday gifts, just because gifts, commissions, and charity things, I decided suddenly upon getting my copy of AlterKnits in the mail that I just HAD TO MAKE the fingerless glove/mitten/lace up thingies.

For myself.

Right now.

I just HAPPENED to have two skeins of Manos del Uruguay handy--the pattern really only needs one, but hey. I have two. I just HAPPENED to be looking for something to make out of them that I could wear this winter, along with the scarf and hat/band/earwarmer thingy I'm making out of the Debbie Bliss Soho I got from my secret pal a couple of months ago.

So here we are, some very warm, very pretty (*I* think) fingerless arm warmer thingies.

Because warm thingies are nice.

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So you can see the ribbon and the gusset:
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OH and this is neat, too--a scarf I made from the yarn my pal spun and sent to me. I love how it ended up striping at one end. XD I get so many compliments on it when I wear it; it goes with everything I own. For this, I just did feather and fan and knitted the whole darn skein 'til it was gone.

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And then some UFOs:

This one is made from handspun alpaca, by my favorite LYS owner's alpacas. :) The colorway is called Citrus, and it really is beautiful. The colors are more subtle in real life. She is going to be dyeing some of the same yarn in the same colors, only with the greens prevalent for the body of my sweater. Yellow isn't my best color, but green is fantastic on me. :)

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This next is my own design. I wanted to knit Pac-man eating the dots and chasing ghosts; the best and easiest way for me was to knit him side-to-side. I learned fair isle, intarsia, and charting for this. :) Part 2 is in the works, and will be 3-needle bound off when done. :)

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And a close-up:
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I know, pic-heavy. :) I have been sitting on some of this for a while now. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

WHOO! Yarn! In the Mail!!

Wow, two updates in this blog in one week? You guys are SO lucky. :P

Yesterday in the mail, I received this mysterious box:

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And I was like, huh, who sent me a package?

And then I opened it...and it was...


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Want a closer look? How 'bout THIS FREAKING NEAT cloud-colored thick N thin uberbulky yarn:

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And THIS "college" by Filatura di Crosa (HEART!!!)

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AND THIS...the thing that made me actually squeal like a ninny, KOIGU OMG OMG:

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And among the cool things? A diy pin, a cute card (with bunnies! in costumes!), a wine charm kit, a felted heart keychain (XD), a martini magnet, a little candle, and a chinese flower knot template!! So many cool and wonderful things.

I think I already have a pattern in mind for the College, and the Koigu has gone onto my Yarn Pedestal of Admiration and Petting, and the bulkytwistysoftsoftsoft yarn is starting to tell me it wants to be something specific, but I just don't know what. Yet.

I will speak more about these later. For now, I must admire and bask in the delight of new, beautiful, and awesome yarn and fun little gifties. :)


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Well, I AM a Writer, Too

I keep forgetting that I haven't, oh, updated this blog with one of the four passions listed in my very blog title: Writing. I've talked about gaming, talked a LOT about knitting, and the geekery has pretty much been evident, I think...but writing?

Of course, this could also be because I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, and I'm completely frazzled. For those of you who don't know what the insanity is all about, here's the short version: You have to write 50,000 words in ONE NOVEL between November 1 and November 30. You can't write the same word 50,000 times, and you can't count anything you've done before November 1 or after November 30 toward your word count. You also can't edit, can't rework, can't stop yourself from writing whatever comes out. It's all about quantity over quality, for as they say, "December is for editing."

As of this moment, my word count is at 33,002. I have eight days in which to write the remaining 16,998 words. I can do it, actually.

I tried this a couple of years ago but had to stop due to an arm injury. Last year I didn't remember in time, and I realized I had missed it right about at Thanksgiving. This year, I'm going to do it.

I'm bending one of the rules slightly, since my story IS actually a work in progress, however, I don't count anything I have done before, and in fact my story has taken a very different turn at times because I'm starting from scratch with it. I know the characters, I know what I want the scenes to contain, and I know what I want the end to be. I consider everything I've done before to be a really detailed outline for this month.

I've also learned some things about myself and how I write. For instance, I found that saying "omg 2k words per day?? TOO MUCH!!!" is nothing but a way to convince myself it's impossible. Now I think 2k is a cop-out, since I have had days where I've done 4k without breaking a sweat.

Another thing is that I write more when I'm supposed to be doing something else. XD If I write between calls, I find that I'm eager to get the next few sentences down THE SECOND my customer hangs up. :) This keeps me moving all day, since I have time while the customer is on the phone to mull over what I'll say next--and before I know it, 4k is done.

At this rate, I SHOULD be done by now, but honestly, I haven't written every single day. I do far less on the weekends than I do during work days.

I ALSO found that I like round numbers. Seeing a word count of 2875 makes me think, 'why can't I get to 3000? Not even 200 words away--hell, 200 words is usually the limit on a bio on a forum, and I always get cut off on those!' And before I know it, I'm actually to 3542, and I think, 'less than 500 to get to the next thousand...I have half an hour, I can do it!'

Granted, what I'm writing is mostly crap. But there is a lot to be found in there, and under the stilted dialogue, the melodrama, and the angsty characters, there's a lot that is salvageable and honestly good. It feels SO GOOD to see this story develop into a real tangible thing, something I can print out and read, something I can say, 'ok, time to change this' instead of saying 'I'll write it someday'.

And that's the REAL point behind NaNoWriMo. Someday is NOW. There is no reason why you can't write a novel in a month. 50k? Pfft. Go for 100k. Write your 50k and then don't stop. Keep going. Edit it later, get it all out now. Don't think about it. Let your characters talk to you. Let them get secrets off their chests. Let the plot turn silly or serious.

So, yes. Writing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


OK, I can deal with people liking ponchos--it's fine, really. To each their own. But...this whole "Martha Stewart Poncho" thing has GOT TO STOP.

Let's think about this, ok? A woman breaks the law and, in one of the few times I think justice is being served (albeit lightly, but hey, she didn't murder anyone or anything), she goes to jail. Fine. She serves her (short) time, while her media empire bravely chugs along without her (sniff sniff sniffle) and then, when she leaves jail, she is seen wearing a...a PONCHO. That another inmate made for her.

The knitting/crocheting/textile crafting world goes CRAZY. I mean it. Every major yarn brand creates a version of THE PONCHO. They call it clever things like the "Going Home" poncho (now for dogs, too!), the "Home Again" poncho. I'm waiting to see a "Free at LAST" poncho. Don't laugh--it'll happen. Mark my words. Even Lily Chin, a lady whom I admire and usually respect, has created a version.

NO, people! NO! Why do you do this? Martha wasn't wrongfully incarcerated, or held hostage, or heck, she wasn't even innocent. She did a crime, did her time, and manipulated every single one of you poncho-knittin'/crochetin'/whateverin' people into believing that you were bereft without her and couldn't find your way in the dark, dark months that she was gone and OMG SHE'S BACK AND SHE LOOKS FABULOUS!!!

Or maybe you WERE bereft, and really, that's just sad. Feel bereft when your grandma dies, or when your dog runs away, or when your brother moves across the country. Want to celebrate/glamorize the return or coming home of someone? Knit or crochet something in red, white, and blue when the servicemen come home alive.

Do I hate Martha Stewart? No. I've been known to pick up her magazine from time to time. I have thought, 'hey, that's a good idea' on occasion. But honestly, people. I hate the poncho. I hate the spin and I hate the glamour around it. Let the poncho die.

Godsdammit. I was GOING to write about my life recently, the fact that my new job and its hours have turned my life upside down and the fact that today is my FOURTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY with the always awesome (if dish-washing-deficient) CGod. ;) But NOOO, I have to see Martha Stewart's show auctioning off A WHOLE SLEW of ponchos in some of the ugliest yarn I've ever had the misfortune to lay eyes upon.

Thanks, Lion Brand. Whoo.


Monday, September 26, 2005


The picture doesn't do it justice. I wish I had a better image than the digital camera; if this skein makes it through the night without being wound into a ball so I can use it RIGHT NOW OMG OMG I shall take better pics in the morning.

It was in my first present from my Secret Pal. XD When my husband and I came home tonight, I said, "Hey, what's that on our mailbox?" We got closer, I read the label, and then it was like Christmas and my birthday came at once. XD

The absolutely dreamy multicolor yarn is SPUN BY MY SECRET PAL OMG and is, from her note, "core spun...the core is Jaeger merino and on top is hand dyed mohair locks."

Let's just think about that for a moment. Hand dyed. Hand spun. Mohair locks. Jaeger merino. I am dying of happiness. What am I going to make?? What will do this justice?? The yarn is SO soft, so pettable. I am in love. It also, funny enough, matches the twinset I wore to work today. Like exactly. I tried to take a pic, but it just doesn't want to work. Again, I'll try tomorrow. You have to see it.

This is the other yarn in my package, some yummy Debbie Bliss Soho, in a colorway that is precisely my favorite set of autumn colors. I want to play with it like a kitty. XD I want to make mittens out of it; I bet I could get one out of each ball.

It had better get bitter freaking cold this year. I want to get use out of my new wardrobe of scarves, mittens, hats and socks. XD

And for a pic of the complete package:

The other two items are a REALLY cute set of origami girls that I can't wait to play with, and at the very bottom of the pic is a wired burgundy ribbon with gold bees. Secret pal, you really hit my loves, I'll have you know. I didn't even MENTION how much I love bee motifs, and yet I get bee ribbon from you. :)

I'm off to revel in my yarn and to think up something really special for the handspun, because whatever it is, I'm going to end up wearing it ALL THE TIME.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gamer Stuff

Sorry for the dry spell. I have been busy getting a job, working on a TON of art, trying to reconcile four (count 'em, FOUR) separate stories, and assisting my dad in his Cabinetmaking.

I actually had a rant ready, but as I wrote it, I realized I disagreed with myself halfway through. XD Nothing like thinking something through and changing your mind once you place all the elements out on paper. I have been re-thinking it since, and I'll be putting up a new rant very soon. The world of gaming is shifting, and I'm not so thrilled with some of the directions.

To tide you over, here are some mini-rants about my dearest, beloved Final Fantasy VII:

1. WHAT ON EARTH are they doing to Reeve in DoC?? If they kill him off, I will be a very, very unhappy bird. It's one thing to kill a character within the original game, but now? Eight years after? When I've had a LOT of time to become attached to the characters who remained alive? Nuu. Do not, repeat, DO NOT kill Reeve. Please, someone, tell me it isn't so. Of course, this is based on a trailer, so maybe I'm reading too much into it. I just hope I am.

2. Why is there another delay on FF7:AC? Honestly? There comes a point where delays cease to make people want the item more and instead make fans irritated. I can even see delays early on, but two weeks before the supposed release date? Grrr.

3. Reeve TUESTI? What the heck kind of name is THAT?

4. Note to EGM: I have a subscription to your magazine for a reason. I like receiving the issues sealed, pretty, and in good condition. Why in the name of every god did you slap a non-removable, 3" round, YELLOW ADVERTISEMENT STICKER over half the beautiful image on the cover?? I save my issues, thank you very much, and I look forward to getting copies that aren't damaged. It took me a while to realize the pic on the cover was Cloud holding KADAJ and not TIFA, since everyone wears black and the ENTIRE UPPER BODY of the person in Cloud's arms was covered by said yellow sticker. Feh. I am very disappointed. Why spend all that money to have such a beautiful image printed on the cover if you're going to cover it up anyway? It's bad enough that I get those stupid 'fake' covers that are just ads glued to the spine of the mag.

So see? I can still rant. XD Next time I discuss games, I promise I'll have some more intelligent things to say about games, the politics surrounding them, and why Mr. Schwarzenegger has severely disappointed me.

Thursday, September 8, 2005


This is for the Secret Pal 6 project; non-knitters need not read. :X

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I am such a yarn snob. I do use Lion Brand, but only if I can't get an all-natural fiber instead.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

No, and no. I want to learn to spin, but a wheel is waaaay too expensive right now. I am thinking about getting started with a drop spindle, however. :) I don't know crochet. It's not something that I want to pursue. Yet.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

Mangoes. *cries* I love them, but I can't have anything with them IN it. That goes for candles, body washes/lotions/etc, shampoos, and foods. I also am highly sensitive to cigarette smoke; I can tell if something comes from a smoking house. Ugh.

4. How long have you been knitting?

Almost exactly one year as of this writing. I started last year with a friend, and I have been addicted ever since.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Not really; my husband and I share one, so his stuff is mixed in with mine.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I love citrus (pure, not mixed tropical, because they often add mango), the smell of cocoa butter, herbal scents like sandalwood and real lavender.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

Oh heck yes. White chocolate rules my world. So does milk chocolate. And dark chocolate. And chocolate-covered cherries. And chocolate-covered espresso beans. And...well, you get the picture. ;)

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I draw a lot in pencil; I also sew--mostly costumes/renfaire garb. Oh, and cross stitch, blackwork, embroidery...needle arts!

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

A quick overview of my music selection includes: Linkin Park, video game remixes, anime themes, game themes, celtic folk, Billy Bragg, trance, techno, Melissa Etheridge, symphonic arrangements of video game music, bebop jazz, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I throw in because I like them. XD My computer IS my stereo, so MP3s are actually preferred. :)

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

My favorite changes between purple and blue, though I tend to wear blue and just like looking at purple. I like to buy and knit with autumn colors, though; right now I have browns, berries, and oranges on the brain.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married, no kids (ever), one pretty white cat. Her pic is on this blog somewhere about a million times. XD

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

I want to own a shop someday, one that sells yarn, video games, used books, and costumes. I think there are about 3 places in the world where that would work. XD Realistically, I'd like to make a living off my art and craft instead of working for THE MAN. I have a good start, but I'm not there yet. Beyond all that, I just want to be happy for a long time with my husband.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Noro Kureyon--anything with that gorgeous cobalt blue in it. Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes. Manos del Uruguay. Alpaca Boucle. Brown Sheep Co. Lamb's Pride. OMG, I love that stuff. I prefer a handspun-style yarn to a machine-spun yarn.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Acrylic except in small amounts. NO FUN FUR. Gods, I used to like the stuff, but now it's just EVERYWHERE. Like Kudzu.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Gloves. Gloves and cables. OH, and finding a hoodie pattern that will not look stupid on my rather large form.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Socks. <3

17. What are you knitting right now?

On the Needles at this writing: Booga Bag, Cigar Gloves from, chemo cap in cashmerino.
About to start: 2 more pairs of Cigar Gloves, possibly DNA scarf.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

Honestly, I keep wanting to make one, but I think it would look silly on me. I've had the yarn ready and I always put it off. So, ponchos are cute, but not really for me.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Straights. I also prefer DPNs to circs. I will use DPNs for as long as I can on a project.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Bamboo or birch. Never used plastic, can't stand aluminum.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

Yes! :) Haven't made many yet, but I love the ones I have. :)

22. How did you learn to knit?

Originally, I was taught by someone who didn't think to tell me that at the end of a row, you turn your work--so I put it down for a few years in frustration. Last year, a friend of mine started, and I thought, if SHE can do it, so can I. We've since converted other friends to the way of the needle. ;)

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

Not very--if I don't think I'll ever finish something, I frog it. The projects on the needles are pretty much my UFOs, and they're only a month or so old apiece, if that.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

My real obsession is with Sephiroth from the video game Final Fantasy 7. *swoon* Favorite animals are horses and bunnies.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving. Non-religious, happens in autumn, and we eat a lot. Perfect! :)

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Statues of video game and anime characters--either really pretty men or really sexy women. :) I am a nerd.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

None, sadly. I read Interweave Knits, Knitter's, and Vogue Knitting. I absolutely love IK.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

KNITTING OVER THE EDGE. I have the first book, and I about died when I saw the second.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??

The Eris and Rogue sweatshirt patterns, and there's one on White Lies Designs that I dearly want.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

So mad I could Spit.

It's not news, really, but the latest wave of anti-videogame crusading has been particularly disturbing to me. I usually sit back and snort in derision when some new complaint comes up, as there is rarely a permanent effect on the industry, and if there is, it's usually for the better. (ESRB, for one.) Not this time.

To explain: I am a gamer. I play video games, role-playing games, live-action games, board games, word games, and card games. I love games in all their forms. I am also 30 years old, a taxpayer, a voter, and someone who thinks long and hard about what I want from my government. Though the ideal of what I want is often elusive, there are many things I do NOT want.

One of them is some department or committee that decides what content can and cannot be put into video games. It scares me. It really does. I don't want someone to decide that a game is too bloody, too violent, too sexually explicit for my eyes. Do I PLAY games like that? No. But I like having the right to play them.

There are many reasons to love video games, and games are different things to different people. To my husband, games are his main hobby. Some nights he wants a well-written story, others, he wants a stress-beating mindless fighter. One of my friends has been known to play Manhunt when she's stressed, just to blow off steam. As she said, "I'd rather kill something that doesn't exist than take my anger out on someone in the real world."

I get so angry when I hear games--in any form--being blamed for the actions of some irresponsible individual. A few years ago, a local attempted murder case involved a young man who, the newspaper article snidely noted, "was an avid player of Dungeons and Dragons." Honestly. The incident had nothing to do with the game, or the character he played, or anything at all. Was he messed up? Oh yes. Was the game to blame? Not in the slightest. As I recall, there were drugs involved, and quite a sum of money. But D&D gets the blame.

Well, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of hearing parents come into the bookstore and tell me they would rather spend money on books than 'those awful games'. I'm sick of watching rampaging crusaders twist the attention away from personal problems that criminals suffer from and create media circuses around them to point fingers at the games.

There is a rating system in place for a reason. Just as a movie theater employee can get in trouble for allowing underage children in to see R-rated or NC-17-rated movies, so can a game store employee get in trouble for selling a game rated M to a minor.

However, as someone who has BEEN that game store employee, there's something you should know.

Parents don't care.

I have been yelled at by parents who come in after I refuse to sell their child a copy of whatever M-rated title they wanted. I have seen those same parents listen to their children's whines that the title isn't bad, honest. I have seen the parents BUY the titles, huff about customer service, and storm out of the store. I have also later seen and heard those parents complain to someone else that the games their child is playing are inappropriate.

The above is not an isolated incident. It has happened more times than I care to remember. Go ahead. Ask any game store employee about M ratings and parents. I dare you. Each and every one of them will tell you what I told them. The parents who listen to us, the ones who actually absorb what we're telling them, are few and rare and we bless their passage. Those are the parents who will watch what their children are playing. They will monitor the content they wish their child to see. They will believe the store employee who knows the law over their children's insistence that, say, "GTA: San Andreas" is really not a grownup game, and the letter on the package doesn't mean anything.

Unfortunately, those parents are in the minority. Most aren't involved with what their kids play, just as they don't monitor what they see on TV or in movies. Violence in the society is just fine, but the moment the child snaps and shoots a fellow student, it's the game's fault that it happened? Sorry. I don't agree.

The fact that I have never gone out and killed someone, never even HIT anyone in anger, must stagger the minds of people like Jack Thompson, a Florida attorney who builds his career on fighting video games. The very idea that I--and millions of other gamers--can be creative, responsive, articulate, social, and a productive member of society must boggle him. That I have other hobbies, including knitting, drawing, singing, and--GASP--reading, must not compute with him. He, and the number of politicians and 'pillars of the community' who are joining him must have the hardest time wrapping their minds around the fact that the vast, overwhelming majority of gamers are actually normal, functional adults. We have jobs, lives, marriages, bank accounts, mortgages, pets, children. We have dinner parties and we go grocery shopping. We are NORMAL.

We pay taxes. We serve in the armed forces. We volunteer. We vote.

Why bother, though? I mean, they're just games, right? And it's not like ALL games will be banned. What's the problem?

The problem is this: I fear that the legislation of video games will lead to bigger, more insidious things. I am afraid that if Jack Thompson gets his way, someone in a government-controlled group will decide what content goes into games before they're even made. I am afraid that the choice will be removed from me and placed within the hands of someone who wants to filter what I see and play.

I will not stand for it. I urge you all to do the same. There are many civilized, peaceful ways to make your voices heard. Write to your representative, your governor, your mayor. Talk to other adults, non-gamers especially. Discuss right and wrong with your children, and make sure you educate yourself about what they are playing. Make a difference on some level: personal, local, national, global.

I suggest you head over to for news on the crusade (among other things) and to talk about this issue with other people who feel the same way you do. Or you can leave a comment here with your email, blog, or webpage and I will form a list.

I have made up some bumper stickers and t-shirts that reflect my feelings. Head over to my cafepress shop and you'll see them under the "angry gamer" heading.

*steps off soapbox* This took me an hour to write. It's time for bed.

ETA: Links changed to hyperlinks, image added, blockquotes selected. Now go out and make a difference.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Charity Knitting, Yarn Porn. It's all good.

First, the charity question.

I have a family that always says, 'don't get us gifts; just having you here is enough' and 'don't spend money on us, we know you need it'. However, I love giving gifts, and the last few years of just cards just haven't been as fun for me. I was able to make scarves last year for a lot of people, but I don't want to just make scarf after scarf all the time, and with the vast number of people for whom I would be making these gifts, I can't knit fast enough to do more complicated things.


I have always wanted to knit for charity; I thought it would be cool to do some projects for a few of the charities I support. While looking at my gift list, I realized I wouldn't have time to do enough projects to cover both.

So I'm combining the two. I am going to knit items--one for each gift I normally would have given--and donating them to various charities in the names of each person on my list. For instance, a blanket for an animal shelter would be 'donated' in my aunt and uncle's names, because they love their dog like she was their child. I know it's a charity they would really support. The 'donator' would get a picture of the finished item as well as a writeup about the charity, what they do, and how to contact them for further info.

Knowing my family, this idea will really take off; many of them already donate to their pet causes personally and through their churches. I have the added advantage of knowing they highly value handmade items, and the charities will benefit from a few more things donated to help out.

My question, now that I have bored you all with my explanation of WHY I'm asking, is this: What are your favorite charities/groups/causes and how can I contact them? I have a source for Project Linus (blankets) and a lead on several animal shelter groups, both local and national. I also wanted to look into Knitters without Borders/Tricoteuses sans frontieres. Any info about other groups would be greatly appreciated.

If I get started now, I will be able to cover all the gifts in time for Christmas and Hanukkah.
I don't really care if there are specific religious or social groups involved; people need to be helped no matter what their beliefs might be.

...Ok, and before I get too serious and philosophical, here is some yarn pr0n that has me on the verge of hysterical laughter. This all came today. I feel giddy.

First, Miao Yin models the group. (That's her in the pic above.) It doesn't look like so much, but the pile is at an angle. Three of her could fit on the whole thing. XD

These are two balls of Plymouth Sockotta. I liked my socks so much that I want to make more, in different colors.

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In the below two images, the red and the green (ok, I lied, the green came a couple days ago, but still) are recycled silk and wool. The multicolored skeins are recycled silk. Though they may look smaller than the ones I got at my LYS, they actually each have more on them. I love, love, LOVE recycled silk. I really do. I have no idea what I'm going to make out of them. Maybe I'll just fondle them and think of something delicious. One skein seems to be spun differently than the others; that one may end up as something separate. It's softer, like the spinner was more experienced or something.

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This gorgeous Cascade came as well; I just happen to be knitting up a ball of the exact shade of pink in a thick n thin yarn. I haven't gotten far; I may just frog what I have and think of something to do with these lovely things.

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And that concludes my post for the day. I will post more this weekend; I'm almost done with the first of a pair of Cigar gloves from knitty. XD I realized that, if I can make these gloves, I will be able to make TOE SOCKS. *faints*

x-posted to my personal lj and to the LJ Knitting Community.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Yarn Snob

Yarn snob...hmm.

Ok, so I have this issue with going into Michael's (or JoAnn's, Walmart, etc.) and just grabbing Red Heart or some such. I can't knit with just ANYthing, the way some of my friends can. One of my beloved IRL friends made a cute hat out of Red Heart in a grey--it looked really nice, but I couldn't bear touching it.

Does it stem from my hatred of cheap acrylic sweaters from Filene's? Is it because I remember wearing said sweaters and how they smelled if, god forbid, I perspired, or how badly they pilled after a single wearing? Is it because I always felt like I was wearing a plastic bag?

Of course, silk smells funny when it gets wet (at least some does), and cashmere pills like CRAZY, and I wear PolarFleece sweatshirts and wraps, and that stuff is MADE from plastic bottles. So it really isn't that.

I think my obsession with natural fibers comes from a desire to be connected to the yarn. I certainly don't mind blends most of the time, so long as the natural fiber outweighs the synthetic. Also, I won't balk at using a pretty, quality synthetic as an accent--Fun Fur is the first thing that comes to mind. I don't think I could make an entire garment out of it, but cuffs? Scarf? Sure. After seeing some of the god-awful-hideous projects featured on You Knit What?, I am almost traumatized by the things Lion Brand can come up with.

So right now I'm making a cabled scarf with the recycled silk/wool yarn I mentioned in my last post. No specific pattern, just making cables when I feel like it. I like twisty cables. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2005


FIRST: if you read my post about the socks, I erroneously stated that I used Plymouth Sockotta colorway #619. That should have been 617. My mistake. Teach ME to list specs without the info in front of me.

Ok, so Socks are done, and I've got a Christmas gift on the needles, but I need something new. I have about 400 patterns to play with, plus what I can find online, and I have a ton of yarn in my stash that is calling out to me to DO something with it, already...

You know the song 57 Channels and Nothing On? Yeah. That's my WIP situation right now.

I started three different scarves tonight, only to decide that I don't want to make a scarf. I have two skeins of some gorgeous recycled silk/wool in a nice dark evergreen; I was thinking about making a bag or something, but nothing is jumping out at me. I also have five full balls of a pretty pale blue Safari; maybe a little wrap? Or a mesh bag? Not a tank top; I don't have a shirt to wear WITH it, and I do NOT wear tanks without something else to cover my arms. And chest.

I'm a big girl--no, really--and I don't have enough of anything to make a sweater, and the OneSkeinWonder will just look idiotic on me. I do have gifts to work on, but honestly, I just need a project that will be interesting enough to work on in addition to being just NOT complicated enough to keep from having to concentrate too much on it.

Oh, and on top of all this? Every pattern I get attracted to requires something I don't have--a certain size needle, a specific yarn that is the reason I was attracted in the first get the idea. I'm trying to use up the stash, not add to it!

Well, not any more than I already am...

So anyway. Grumble.

Suggestions are welcome. Sometimes I just need a nudge.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


These are Vladimir and the Count. Vlad is on the right.

I finished them at game tonight; it was so tempting to just not play my character but Zin was actually useful this time around. It took me most of the evening to do the last few stripes on the Count and then decrease the toe. I know I screwed up on the Kitchener stitch at the very end; it made perfect sense the first time when I was working on Vlad, but I was distracted by a drunken gambling elf and the possible impending deaths of two of my friends. XD

I'm really proud of how they came out. This yarn is funny--the stripes NEVER made a pattern after all. I would like to point out that, with the exception of skipping two sets of stripes between socks (so I could start with yellow on the Count), I knitted these in order of how the yarn came from the ball. For the curious, I used Plymouth Sockotta #619. I'm looking forward to trying other colorways with this yarn. I think I'm going to knit a pair of little girl socks for a friend with the remaining yarn. XD

A little about me: I'm a gamer (see above), a knitter (ditto), a writer, and a geek. Not as geeky as I'd like to be--my computer skills aren't as polished as they could be, but I make a pretty web page, I think. The writer aspect is always busy, and I'm trying to juggle several projects at once.

I read a lot, though not as much as I used to; I draw a lot, and I'd love to use that skill to support myself someday; I sing, though not in performance anymore; and I sew, embroider, and design costumes when none of the other hobbies appeal to me. In between, I play a lot of video games and participate in (and sometimes run) tabletop roleplaying games. System of choice is GURPS, followed by BESM, followed by SHARP, the last of which is my husband's creation.

Currently I'm playing one of my quirkiest characters, a human named Zinaida who has a thing for elves. No, really--she REALLY likes elves. Think of an otaku american who learns fangirl Japanese and wears Japanese street clothing and listens to J-pop, just because she wishes she was Japanese. Now replace "Japanese" with "Elven" and you have Zinaida. I love her so much. :)

Ok then. Now you have seen TEH SOCKIS, and you may marvel at my nerdiness.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005


Sick. Meh. All excited to do the new blog, and I'm sick.