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.