debetesse: (Sense of Direction)
It seems that I may have found my calling. It is not so much my calling because I am dispositionally well-suited for it (my memory for technical details and numbers is, quite frankly, crap). It’s more an on-going source of irritation that leads me to feel compelled to act.

I have become an amateur fact-checker (in common parlance “insufferable know-it-all”*). This happens in class (both classmates and instructors), in regular conversations, online…all over the place. Most of the time, I stop and ask myself, “Is it really worth it to correct this person?” Often, the answer is, “no,” so I don’t. But, man, do I want to. I expect that when I am a venerated elder, rather than telling people to get offa my lawn, I will be Snopesing them.

*I don’t actually know it all. I just have mad google-fu and a pretty good “I don’t think that’s right…” sense.
debetesse: (Default)
The scene ¾ of the way through the episode, where Our Hero is stuck on a seemingly-intractable problem, and then his trusty buddy says something unrelated, and a look of comprehension suddenly dawns on his face.

I had that scene today.

I do not have to go to the baby shower. Even though I could be in town, I, as a grown-assed adult*, can choose to say, “No, I think I will do this other thing, instead.” And send a gift with my mother to deliver (two, actually, since it’s a joint thing).

Because, you see, my brother (who I almost never see for any length of time) and I are going to go have a fucking** Adventure****. I would much rather have an extra day of Adventure than go to an antiquated rite of passage for the wives of cousins I almost never see. I am not going to be the village****** for these kids. They will likely not remember my name until they are teenagers.

* In a lot of ways, I’ve been a grown-assed adult for over half my life. I am The Responsible One if ever there was one, but a month away from my 30th birthday, I am really most sincerely a grown-assed adult. I pay bills and everything.
** Funny story: many people who know me a little in real life (school, work, church, whatever) apologize when they cuss in front of me. My ongoing bewilderment at this is substantial and makes me wonder how differently I present from my self-concept***
***Although, in many cases, they’re like 12 (not really. Metaphorically) and I probably ping their “don’t cuss in front of grown-ups” sensors.
****If the Adventure goes according to plan***** I'm sure it will generate several posts' worth of material
*****The official plan is something like Napoleon’s Battle Plan (per Sports Night): First we get in the car, then we see what happens.
******They will not lack for village, but I, first cousin once removed from out of town, will not be part of it. My cousin’s kids on the other side of my family know me a bit, though. They’ve got a smaller village, and I do my best to be a part of it. Now, should my brother reproduce, his kids will know me, even if I live on another fucking continent.
debetesse: (Default)
Let me be clear, it is not that I am unable to knit starlight into the things I make. I am capable of doing so and have done on multiple occasions. Being a fundamentally nocturnal creature, I tend more toward starlight and moonlight—very rarely, though. One does not call on the Moon lightly—in my creations than toward rays of the Sun. I can do these things, and I have even found ways to streamline the process. But the process, however streamlined, is still tedious and cumbersome. So know, if you ask for strands of starlight and I smile and nod, that it is an even greater display of affection than the item itself. It is one thing to offer my efforts to The Ladies on your behalf, to knit up strands cleanly and beautifully that you might wrap them around yourself as protection against the unravelings of fate. It is another thing on top of that to capture the light of the stars to shine for you when you find yourself in darkness. Though it is a thing worth doing, there are many things worth doing, and a second boon must, by its nature, preclude some other. So, knitting starlight is a thing I can do, but know what it is that you ask for, and know what it is that I offer.

Wal*Quest

Jul. 11th, 2012 11:21 pm
debetesse: (Default)
Setting aside my current slog through Paradise Lost.

And my procrastination-fueled preparation for a thing that's a year away and not confirmed yet in any case.

And the actual work I did do on the procrastinate-y thing.

No, today I will focus on the exercise in frustration that is trying to buy group refreshments at WalMart.

There are some quests that are best undertaken alone or, at the very least, with a leader. Lacking a leader, the group flounders in indecision as option after sub-optimal option is considered. One group member may make a suggestion to no comments from the group, and then the same question is posed 2 minutes later.* Having group members who explicitly abdicate decision-making doesn't actually help, and helps even less when they repeatedly and vocally plead ignorance, but are the keepers of the Guidelines From On High.

Walmart, contrary to what one might imagine, is not, in fact, a good place from which to buy group refreshments. The disposable plate and cup options, for example, are sadly lacking, as are any even remotely interesting snack options. However, Guidelines From On High specified Walmart, and who are we to argue with the Quest Parameters?**

And, then, we get to the exercise in frustration known as "the family two people in front of us requires a price check that apparently requires multiple visits to said item by no fewer than 3 employees, who appear constitutionally incapable of hurrying." Fortunately, one of them had enough sense to open another lane when it was clear that the dispute was going to take a (further) while.

In fact, two of the three of us had time to go sequentially to the Subway in the Walmart and get food,**** as it was clear that any other lunch options would make us late for class.

The ultimate success of the quest, of course, will not be known until Saturday's attendees are (or are not) refreshed.


*At which point said group member may be thinking, "I'm fairly certain I told you what I thought we should do already. You seem to be ignoring that, from which I will infer that you don't like the idea, for some reason. I will, therefore, not make any further comments."
**We totally argued with the Quest Parameters. We even ignored some of them. Autonomous Decision-making***, bitches.
***This is one of the values and goals of the program that is our academic large-scale quest.
****It is generally considered bad form to be actively eating chicken wings while directing the Subway employee in how to make your sandwich. In case anyone other than the lady in front of me in line was confused on this point.

Habla

Jul. 10th, 2012 11:24 pm
debetesse: (Default)
I forget, sometimes, that I can Speak. That's not actually what I mean, on two counts. First, I am more than willing to speak up in class and elsewhere; I consider it my obligation, even, although at times I specifically bite my tongue and let other people (feel obligated by the silence to) talk. I am well aware of my ability to Hold Forth. I keep a portable imaginary soapbox for the purpose. Second, I know that I'm more comfortable in front of groups than most people. It's strange to me that people can get through college and still dread it, but, then, people are strange.

But, having never not been in theatre, having gone to State in impromptu speaking in high school, having coached and directed and taught...these things have given me the ability to generate things to say and then say them in a way that is not only clear, but engaging. I forget the gap between my "normal" and other people's.

I half-ass it a lot (because generally there no incentive not to*), but I should probably keep the joints oiled more than I do: you never know when you'll need a bit of oratory to blow the doors off the place, and that's the sort of Speaking that takes work.

*Even today, I was at 3/4 ass, at best.
debetesse: (Default)
When you have a freshly-written script for a PSA based on a joke from a radio sitcom from another country sitting on your desktop and plans to film, edit, and release it...

And the annotated Shelley* and complete Milton** are serving as mutual bookmarks on your bedroom floor...

And you have a presentation script due tomorrow--sorry, today--that you really ought to be writing...

you might reasonably be mistaken for a humanities major.***

There are times when I think one should be able to earn credits toward a degree in cultural and media studies through fandom activities. I have certainly had higher-level discussions online than I have with my classmates, more than a couple times.

But there is a Life of the Mind aspect of education that seems to be fading, as more and more students go to college seeking to be trained for the sole purpose of getting a good job. I know it's an incredibly privileged position to take, but it makes me sad when students ask what the point of something is, and respond to the instructor's "it's just so cool!" with a "why would that matter?" rather than "Yeah, this is not my thing, but I get it: I have my own just-so-cool thing."

I can't honestly say that I wish I lived in a society where there were regular, well-attended public lectures: I don't generally go, even when I have the chance, but I read, and I listen to podcasts, and I wish...I wish the room would keep up with me, more often than it does in meatspace.

Yeah, there are a half-dozen ideas here that are begging for their own posts, but that is work for another day.

*Mary
**poetical. ISTG, the word "poetical" is on the cover.
***I'm not, for the record. The presentation is part of my coursework for a doctoral program (clinical, not PhD).
debetesse: (Sense of Direction)
I was having an imaginary conversation this evening,* during which I managed to get my room into a reasonably habitable condition. I also went to the gym and worked out and finished my homework for one class today. Now, yes, I am not commenting on the pile of dishes that are now in the sink, the unfortunate backtracking the scale at the gym showed me, or the major assignment I am procrastinating on. But it is progress, and it is something that I can build on tomorrow (especially given that the assignment is due on Tuesday).

Next May, I will be leaving here, off to spend a year living in at least three different places. In preparation for that, I have begun to sort my things, not so much into the sheep and the goats as into the sheep, goats, alpacas, rabbits, llamas, and yaks. Some things, I wish to keep, in the long term, but will not need in the next two years: these things can begin to make their way to my parents’ house for storage, so that there is as little to move as possible in May. Some things, I will need in the next year, but not in the year following: my television will fall into this category, as will at least one of my bookshelves. Some things, I really don’t need at all: I’m trying to get rid of those. Some things, I will want to have with me: ideally, these will all fit into my car, so that moving at least three times will be as easy as possible. It is possible that I will be going overseas for a month. In that case, I will need another category: things that go with me on the plane.

Today, I’ve selected a bagful of books from my shelves that can go to Indiana when I do next month. This paring down of belonging will continue and probably only get more difficult. I already have fewer things than many people I know, and I find myself torn between the desire to have less Stuff and the desire to make my temporary spaces my own through my belongings. The itinerant year will be a crucible for that, I think, and I expect that when I come out the other side, out of school and into a job and a place to live, I will be a bit surprised at some of what burned off and what didn’t.

*Don’t judge me. I live alone. It’s either that or talk to the cat, and all he ever says is “fucking pet me,” “fucking feed me,” or “fuck off.” He came from a home with toddlers and allergies, so I don’t blame him for this attitude. I’m sure I’ll do a post or several on these imaginary conversations at some point.
debetesse: (Sense of Direction)
Driving home from Panera, I saw the first three splatters of raindrops on my windshield before I saw any fall and realized that it was finally raining. My neighbor has her door open to let in the air, a decision I replicated when I realized that it was much cooler outside than in. Although it will still be too warm to sleep under it when I go to bed, I will put the summer blanket that has been banished to the floor for a week and a half beside me on the mattress, knowing that I will wake up at 3 am feeling cold.

“The heat broke” is the phrase that comes to mind, of course, and I am reminded of that scene in all those movies where a child was sick, and her fever finally broke. Living through this heat wave has been like the fever dream of our collective unconscious, where reality melts around the edges and it’s hard to find any sort of narrative drive to push things forward. We’re not out of the woods yet--it is still summer after all—but the high won’t be back above 90 for at least a week, whereas it’s been over 100 for days. But my motivation has crawled out from whatever cool, dark place it was hiding, and the creative circulation in my brain is starting to decoagulate.

I will have to be extra frugal for the next few weeks to make up for the A/C-seeking behavior I have engaged in, but that is the least of the things that now seem possible. I am halfway through my classes to be a Doctor-Otter and a month from my 30th birthday, and this feels like the prologue to a volume in the story of me. I will admit that I have had similar feelings in the past; I hope to conspire with the Universe to increase the longevity of this new beginning.
debetesse: (Carter--Earth)
So, there's this pair of photo sets going around Tumblr of the cast of Trek. In both of them, the men are all dressed in, well, clothes--clothes that one might wear, say, out in public. Meanwhile, Zoe Saldana is...not so much.

Dammit, fandom. This is a series with one major female character, who just happens to be Nyota Uhura. Uhura is a kick-ass character whose clothing we have been complaining about for decades now. Decades. Longer than I've been alive, and I'm older than a lot of you. Particularly, given this context, the sensible thing is not to find pictures of the actress playing her in even less clothing while putting the men in more clothing than their costumes. It is not to find pictures of the men making serious faces, while hers is more about "fuck me" (with legs spread and nipples clearly visible through her clothes). It is to treat Nyota goddamn Uhura as just as much of a serious character as any of the rest of them, and Zoe Saldana as an equal to her castmates. As an alternative, you are welcome to provide mostly-unclad photos of the entire cast.

Fandom, I want you to know that I'm disappointed in you. I hope that you will take a moment to reflect and make better choices in the future.

And I am sick of these motherfucking picots on this motherfucking bind-off.
debetesse: (Sense of Direction)
So, I've been making lots of To Do lists this semester, and it's been helping me remember to do things. But, there's this whole treadmill aspect of it. I saw this blogger (that I now can't find) who switched over to a Quest Log, putting each task in the larger context, awarding XP, things like that. I thought, "I like that plan." So, today, I went in search of a small binder to use (so that the pages for finished quests can be moved to the back, things can be re-ordered, etc). I had no luck at B&N or Target, but found this at Office Depot, which I think will work. I currently have 7 active quests, plus one bonus quest. We'll see how this goes. At the very least, it should help my schoolwork feel more epic.
debetesse: (I have fixed the toilet)
1)My right knee hurts sufficiently that I am limping around the house. My limp is not psychosomatic, even though it is idiopathic. (I did not realize that my missing my knees when they're gone would happen at about a decade after high school, even though it's only temporary--I trust)

2)I've got the music from a couple of shows in my brain (I have more than that. There are just two I want to talk about at the moment). One of them, I have the score for. The other, a CD of the cast recording. Both of them are shows that I worked on. This music is probably known by a couple hundred people or fewer, but I'll be humming it while I'm shambling around the nursing home 50 years from now. This is a strange feeling, especially as I had the impulse last night to post part of one of them to Facebook yesterday. I realized that no one would get the reference (actually, that may not be true. One of my FBfriends might have. I don't know if she got the CD. I don't really talk to her at all, though). For posterity: "This quite unnerving and downright disturbing wave of clarity..."

3) #2 does highlight, though, that the vast majority of references I would make are shared by at least some people I know. I can refer to "Handlebars Doctor", a "Not Fine List", the Bechdel Test, the Uncanny Valley, the King of the Cosmos, Cleaning All the Things, and a ton of non-media-related stuff without worrying too much about being unduly obscure. (for a fun game, count and cite the allusions in this post! Okay, maybe not that fun.)

4) And, while we're on the subject, it makes me deeply happy in my heart when someone I didn't expect shares a shibboleth. Like the guy from High School who was drinking from the keg of glory and demanded the finest bagels and muffins in all the land. Or the one I know from a couple shows who replied to a post of mine with "Pins...Abigail" (it worked in context, and probably shouldn't have been as surprising as it was). I was that person for my college roommate, who checked to make sure I knew what the Bechdel Test was before continuing with a point. I responded with my recently-acquired knowledge that War & Peace doesn't pass it.

5) Which makes me think about Back in the Day, when everyone had the same 6 books, and referenced them freely, or even when everyone had the same 3 channels on their tvs. That baseline of shared knowledge is something that we don't really have anymore, outside of our little communities (AIFG!). But, at the same time, there's so much more possibility of sharing and creating new shibboleths. This is somewhat related to how and why I hate playing Apples to Apples with my extended family: our idioms are almost entirely separate.

6) Finally, bike trails that are closed for flooding and then don't give any clue as to good detours really suck when you're using them for transportation, rather than recreation. The trip home on the streets was about half the travel time as the trip there.

7) As do closed gates in flood walls when you want to get to the other side of said flood wall.
debetesse: (Don't Panic)
Someone took Dinosaur Comics text and used Sherlock screencaps and it is a thing of beauty and awesomeness. Here!

Of T-shirts

Jun. 8th, 2010 05:14 pm
debetesse: (Default)
I've been thinking for a couple of years that, if we're going to be more visible in the community, we need a t-shirt, or, at least, some kind of apparel. I go to a Unitarian Church, which is a fairly unique situation with regard to visibility. We also have a lot of members doing things, on social justice and charity work, among other things, and it would be helpful if people could signal affiliation.

Anyway, I've been thinking about how to make a t-shirt that doesn't suck (step 1: not white). Which, oddly, is what one of the resent episodes of Planet Money was about (if you're at all interested in real-world economics and you're not listening to Planet Money, you should try it out. They have a very approachable narrative style and tend to explain big concepts in understandable ways.). What their style guru told them was that women tend to like artistic, fitted shirts and men tend to like shirts that look like they swiped them from their cooler older cousin.

Ok, I think, it would be awesome if we could do a full-front-of-the-shirt watercolor-style version of the chalice mandala from our sanctuary:




However, I am smart enough to know that that is probably well outside our capabilities.

But what if we took that as something akin to a band logo, and went for a "Yeah, I saw these guys on tour 15 years ago" look with the shirt. That would be cool. But I don't know that there's anywhere that does that in smaller orders.

Anyway, these are the things that I've been kicking around. We also have access to the congregational logo, which is single-color. My original plan was to put that small on the front and the big colorful one on the back. But I need to spend some more quality time with photoshop to image-ize the big colorful one. And I think there's a better path.

Any ideas?
debetesse: (Default)
After ripping back the sleeves a bit and adding contrast cuffs, all that's left is to chuck it in the wash and then buy and sew in a zipper for the front.



It's been interesting hauling this around with me. The other people in my bio class are generally impressed with person! making a garment! Right here! I got to give my "fighting mass production one project at a time" speech today. Now I need to find someone with a chest no more than 34 inches to gift it to...unless it shrinks, in which case it will be even smaller.

I'm now on the prowl for a sweater pattern for me...maybe I can use the silk I'll be re-claiming from a Salvo sweater I bought...
debetesse: (Default)
So, I ran out of yarn for the second sleeve. This left me with 2 workable options: 1) frog and re-knit the whole thing in a smaller size, this time probably with a hood or 2) rip back 10-ish rows on the first sleeve and do the last few rows of both sleeves in the body yarn.

I went with plan 2, but seem to have either created or lost a stitch. Pantsy bollocky arse-damn! I have not, as yet, dealt with this. It is sitting on the couch until tomorrow, probably, when we will have a heart-to-heart and figure out what's going on.
debetesse: (Default)
Yesterday, I did not have enough yarn for the hood, so now it is a sweater with a collar. I also decided that, should I make this pattern again, I will do stockinette, rather than garter stitch, as this is a bit crunchy granola-looking for me. However, I think that any number of children would happily wear the basic design and construction of the thing.

Tonight, i realized that I picked up the wrong number of stitches for the first sleeve, so I had to rip back and start again. I have not yet made it back to where I was when I figured that out. I did, however, leave a longer tail, which I can use to stitch up the under-arm and start the sleeve seam at the wrist.

Net progress for the day, but not great progress.

debetesse: (Sense of Direction)
Yesterday, I got the rest of the body finished, and started on the hood. There's still the sleeves and edging to do.

I tend to take my knitting with me places, and one of those places is church. I work with the kids, and they took to the idea of knitting. So, next week, a couple of us are going to hold a knitting workshop. The plan was to have them make a keyhole scarf or bag, but they want to make blankets for Haiti, so they'll be making squares to be pieced together. There are a couple of the kids already knitting, and one of the boys has been teaching some of the other boys (boys do knit!). I am hoping that at least some of them stay interested, as it's a good way to keep fidgiting hands busy at times when they need to sit quietly (like, say, during church). But that's yet to come.

We will be without a minister starting in March, and I keep thinking that I'd like to volunteer to speak one Sunday on "Why I knit" or "Knitting and religion" or something like that.
debetesse: (Default)
We went to see Wolfman last night, so I didn't cast on for the Knitting Olympics until this morning, sitting in the classroom before my weekly Bio test. I knit while waiting for everyone to finish, and I knit a bit during lecture. I knit on the way to the dog park and I knit while editing documents for church. I was going to knit while watching the opening ceremonies, which I had TiVoed, but I seem to have recorded 4 hours of "no signal". Bastards.

I'm feeling really good about my progress and worried that I might need a second project. But, then, possibility for double gold!

I'm almost halfway up the body (to the armholes), and should easily get there today. My original plan was to change colors each day, but I'm not sure how that will go. Ask again tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, I'm making Elizabeth Zimmerman's Tomten sweater. I won't swipe someone else's picture, but if you google "tomten", it's the sweater you see pop up repeatedly, with the hood. It will be somewhere in the range of small-human sizes. I'll have to measure when it's finished to figure out what size, exactly, it is.

The goal of Knitting Olympics is to set for yourself a challenging but do-able project to start once the torch is lit and finish before it is extinguished.

This is my first sweater, and it's a fairly simple, straightforward one (I have the instructions written out on a piece o junk mail so I can carry them around with me), but knitting a sweater is up there with knitting a scarf for iconic knitting projects. Now all I need to do is mittens to have the hat trick. If this one goes well, I have a couple of other sweaters I'd like to make (for me, mostly, as Todd doesn't want one.). There aren't a lot of sweaters I own that I love, and I'd like to rectify that. I'd also like to start building up a stash of giftable items, should the need arise, but I also have queue of things I already know I want to make, so, well, long-term plans. Today, I am an Knitlympian, working on one project at a time.
debetesse: (Default)
After Love Letters, the last two shows of the season at the theatre where I work costumes are Harvey and Intimate Apparel. I read them both yesterday.

Harvey will be fun. It's 40s clothes, which we have, especially nice ones, and not a huge cast. Should be a good time.

Then there's Intimate Apparel (set in 1905). Now, even leaving aside the issues of needing 3 African-American women (two of whom are onstage in not much clothing, one of whom plays piano, and one of whom adjusts the breasts of another actress onstage and then gets kissed by her), and an African-American man who can do a Caribbean accent (and I really hope is vaguely the same size as the Jewish guy who wears the same jacket at one point), there are no fewer than 6 corsets worn onstage. One more is seen but not worn, and I am counting one worn but not seen (as it would be odd to have a single character not in a corset when all the other women are). We have...none. I have made none ever. Our sewing guru has put boning in wedding dresses (did I mention there's one of those in the show, too?), but never made a corset. These are supposed to be things of beauty and craftsmanship. And beading. And embroidery.

I may be freaking out slightly.

However, if I can learn to make corsets, I will have another marketable skill. This is me thinking positive.
debetesse: (Default)
Someone linked to this on b.org, and I watched it and thought it was cool.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html

It's a video about how happiness works.

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