Friday, March 6, 2015

The Catcher in the Rings

"...I was sort of afraid she'd fall off the goddam horse, but I didn't say anything or do anything. The thing with kids is, if they want to grab the gold ring, you have to let them do it, and not say anything. If they fall off, they fall off, but it's bad if you say anything to them." 
                                                                         -J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Hello, my lovely Readers.

I am a regular bus commuter. The dense urban environment in which I live and work makes driving inconvenient and expensive, so I usually ride the bus into work; sharing my commute with 30-40 other people every day.

As many of you can imagine, I can tell my fair share of interesting stories (both pleasant and not-so-pleasant) about encounters with my fellow passengers.

My latest "bus encounter" was, happily, a delightful and (dare I say it), a poetic exploration into what it means to be young.

On a brisk and sunny morning last week, I boarded my regular bus at my regular stop at the regular time. The bus was particularly crowded that day.

As is common in the Seattle area, a school group was riding the bus into downtown for an field trip; many bus commuters are annoyed at this, because the students can be loud and usually take up about about a good third of the available bus seats. But, the students in this school group looked to be about middle-school aged, so they were a bit quieter and easier to ride with than their elementary aged counterparts.

Luckily for me, a seat opened up right as I was getting on the bus. So, I had the great fortune to sit down across from what I can safely say is the best bus encounter I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing on our fair city's mass transit.

I was seated across from a trio of young male students, two of which were turned backwards to talk excitedly to their classmate seated behind them. They seemed enraptured, entranced, even, as they listened to their friend speak.

At this point, I wasn't really paying attention to what these guys were so excited about; I was getting my things organized and was preparing to pick up my knitting needles as this was going on. But, I had to pause and stifle a delighted giggle when I began to overhear why it was they were so excited. The following conversation is nothing short of pure glory:

Middle school kid: "You guys, this is probably the best thing I've ever written. Seriously.  It's going to get at least a thousand hits on Fanfiction.net."

Me (sotto mental voce): *snrk*

Middle school kid: "For this one, I'm going to explore some darker themes, like drug and alcohol addiction. It's going to be really deep...."

Me: *ppphhhhbbbt*

Middle school kid:  "...I'm going to channel J.D. Salinger with my writing style for this piece..."

Me: *ohmygawdohmygawdohmygawd* 

Middle school kid: "...so yeah. This is going to be the best Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic I've ever done."

Me: *BEST. BUS RIDE. EVER.*

This went on and on.

When it came time for me to gather my things and step off the bus, I realized that I was feeling a good fifteen percent happier than I was when I boarded.

Honestly, Readers, it took me by surprise how much the above vignette affected my mood; I'm no stranger to fanfiction (I would pour over page after page of Legend of Zelda and Rurouni Kenshin fanfics back in the day), and I've also witnessed many a budding nerd explore their own skills in writing and other such things. But after thinking about it a little while, I realized that my delight with Mr. J.D. Sonic-ger came from two places:

1. That I was impressed that this kid had the maturity and education to know (at least on a basic level) who J.D. Salinger was, and appreciate him enough to want to emulate his work,

and

2. That he was still not quite mature enough to realize that applying Salinger's writing style and such a dark and depressing subject matter to SONIC THE FREAKING HEDGEHOG probably won't give his finished work the kind of gravitas that I suspect he's aiming for.

Based on the kid's age, I'm guessing that the most familiar aspect of J.D. Salinger's work for him is The Catcher in the Rye, which I remember being assigned to read when I was about his age.

If there's one thing that I remember clearly about that book that's deliciously relevant and just so dang PERFECT in this context, it's that the main character's (Holden's) obsession with protecting innocence finally began to give way during the final scene, as he was watching his younger sister ride the carousel and reach for the "gold ring".

You write that magnum opus, Sonic the Hedgehog Fanfiction Kid. Keep on reaching for the gold ring.

Orb weaver out! <3



Friday, February 27, 2015

Haiku Friday

Thank you, Mr. Spock,
for the logic and love, both.
Dif-tor heh smusma!

Image found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spock

Rest in Peace, Mr. Nimoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Departures/Arrivals

I've forgotten how much I hate moving.



As some of you could probably guess, I've been absent (well, more absent than usual) from this blog for the last few weeks. This is partially because most (if not all) of my time has been spent putting things in/transporting/unpacking boxes.

Also, the internet at our new place didn't get activated until this morning.

The new apartment, thankfully, is only a few blocks away and has a layout that is almost identical to our old one (except that there is a fireplace, a larger balcony, and less storage space). So, at the very least, we didn't need to move very far.

Plus, our move-out date got pushed back to Valentine's Day. Whew!

Although I'm sad to leave the old apartment (which was lovingly painted and finished by our soon-to-be-former landlord, whose design aesthetic seems to be stuck in the year 1982, bless his heart), the new place is seriously growing on me. It's not above the usual apartment building transgressions (thin walls, parking not included in the rent, and expensive laundry), but it has several things going for it that has made our living experience (at least so far) a positive one, overall.

The best thing about this apartment so far? It allows pets.

<3
Readers, meet Mishka!

We brought this beautiful kitty home on Friday from the PAWS shelter in Seattle. She's a two year old chocolate-point Siamese mix with white socks, a docked tail, a snuggly personality, a fondness for catnip mice, and a loud voice.


"Moowwr? Omowwr?" -Mishka 

Having her around this past weekend made an exhausting and overwhelming moving experience much, MUCH better. Nothing soothes stress quite like a purring kitty cat in your lap.

Welcome to our family, Mishka!

Until next time <3

Friday, January 23, 2015

Onwards and Upwards

Bee blanket progress :-) I'd say that I'm about 30% finished at this point
Hello, Readers.

Wow. It's been quite the interesting week, full of ups and downs.

Luckily, for now, the ups are outnumbering the downs.

Last Friday, Mr. Orb Weaver and I got a phone call from our landlord. Long story short, he wants us to break our lease so he can sell the condo that we're living in.

The good news is that he is paying us a considerable amount of money to do so, and this is going to cover most (if not all) of our moving expenses. We attended an open house for a one bedroom apartment a few blocks away on Saturday and signed a lease, so for now, everything except the actual moving is in order.

The bad news is that we have to be out by the first of February. So, that leaves us eight days to pack up the apartment.

Lovely.

While I am currently dancing with joy and thanking the powers that be that we were able to get everything in order so quickly, I will say that I'm sad to leave our 1970's era love nest (textured walls, dark wood paneling and all!) The location was perfect, our neighbors are fantastic, and the view couldn't be beat.

The kitchen was pretty fantastic too. 


So, time for a new chapter in a new apartment. Onwards and Upwards!

Until next time <3

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eeek! Steek!

A good afternoon to you all, my lovely Readers!

I've decided to try a couple of new knitting techniques, so that I may create this glorious blanket. Such a beautiful and striking design!

While I absolutely love the finished projects that incorporate it, stranded color-work in knitting has always been a challenge for me. I taught myself the basics of the technique many moons ago when I made the Zelda Purse, and since the technique was self-taught, I often find myself struggling with knitting patterns that were written under the assumption that those following them know how to hold the yarn correctly.

So, I've made it a goal of mine to re-learn how to do stranded color work. The above blanket looks like a prime opportunity for me to do exactly that!

Not only does this blanket pattern call for a fancy-pants stranding technique, but it also calls for...

...a steek.



For those of you who are not familiar with knitting lingo, let me break it down:  A steek is when a garment is knit in the round, and then after some specific stitches are reinforced with either crochet stitches or with a sewing machine, is cut with a pair of scissors.

Yikes.

As of now, I'm feeling pretty confident in my (corrected) stranded knitting skills. The pattern I chose calls for a specific kind of color-work called Armenian Stranding, and I think I'm getting the hang of it.


I am MADLY in love with the fact that the back of the pattern is just as pretty as the front:


So far, so good, Readers! I'll keep posting pictures as this glorious beast progresses.

Until next time!

<3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Haiku Friday

I am truly the
Luckiest employee, to
look out and see this:



(I really am the luckiest woman in the world, Readers, to be treated to this view every day!)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moon Cosmic Snowflake! Make Up!

Readers (and fellow Moonies), if you really want to get into the nerd spirit of this snowflake, please play the music linked below. And feel free to sing along!


Readers, one of my favorite guilty pleasure TV shows has been digitally restored and put on Hulu.

While I don't count myself among the "Moonies", I will say that I have a very soft spot in my heart for Sailor Moon.

Growing up, I would joyfully set myself in front of the TV if I was lucky enough to catch the show before heading out for school (the show aired at 6:30 am where we were living), and partake in whatever fabulousness Serena (aka Usagi in the Japanese version) and her friends were up to. This was a rare treat, though; my mother wasn't exactly a fan of the show, so the channel would get routinely get changed to the morning news. She'd tolerate the show on a few rare occasions, but she'd never miss a chance to remind us that "this cartoon is the dumbest thing I've ever seen!"

Usagi, you are (and always will be!) my main animated girl, but my parents were right. You were dumb as hell. We still love you though! Image found here: http://sailormoon.wikia.com/wiki/Sailor_Moon_Wiki
Well, yes. Yes, it is dumb. Sailor Moon (at least the American version) is probably one of the dumbest shows ever put on television. But I love it anyway. It fills me full of nostalgic feels.

So, Sailor Moon wasn't a show that I got to watch all that often, along with Muppet Babies, Ren and Stimpy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Captain Planet; any show that annoyed either of my parents was generally avoided at our house. And if any of us whined enough to be allowed a temporary viewing, both of my parents would take every possible opportunity to remind us WHY they thought the show was beneath our family's dignity.

In Sailor Moon's case, my parents weren't necessarily bothered by the concept or characters (although my Dad would point out on more than one occasion that he thought Serena's Sailor Senshi outfit was stupid: "It doesn't even hide her face! It's not like she's hiding her identity! What kind of superhero is this?!"), more than anything else, it was the voice acting that set them over the edge.

Before any of you ask, yes, I'm talking about Cloverway's terrible English dub.

Anyways, my latest crochet snowflake is based around my favorite guilty-pleasure cartoon! The larger spokes are loosely based off of Usagi's Cosmic Heart Compact (I put more hearts on it), and the crescent moons are based off of her Moon Stick. To the Moonies reading this: I am well aware that Usagi never used the Moon Stick and the Cosmic Heart Compact at the same time. I just thought they looked nice together :-)  I hope you guys enjoy, Readers!

"Moon Cosmic Snowflake"


Materials: Size 10 crochet threat
Hook: 1.5 mm
12 smallish glass beads (optional)
white sewing thread (optional)
sewing needle (optional)

Special stitches: Crescent Moon
Ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in next 2 ch. Sc in next 2 ch. Ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in next 2 ch. Sc in next 2 ch and in next sc. Sl st in base of "moon".





Ch 7, form ring. 

Rd 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 17 dc in ring. Join w/ slip stitch to first dc. 
Rd 2: *Ch 11, work 2 dc cluster in 3rd ch from hook. Ch 3, sl st in same ch as 2 dc cluster. Ch 16, sl st in same ch as 2dc cluster to form ring. In ring, work 3sc, 2hdc, 2dc, 4tr, dc, hdc, sc. Ch 6, dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 2 ch. Ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch from hook. (ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook) twice. sl st in first ch of previous ch 3 and in top of last dc worked. Ch 4, dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next ch. Ch in top of 3rd dc of 1st dc group made. 1 sl st in same ch as 3rd dc of first dc group and in next ch. In ring, work sc, hdc, dc, 4tr, 2dc, 2hdc, 3sc. Sl st in same ch as previous 2dc cluster. Ch 8, sk 2 dc, sc in next dc. Ch 8, work 2dc cluster in 3rd ch from hook. Work Crescent Moon. Ch 3, sl st in same ch as previous 2dc cluster. ch 5, sc in same st as previous sc, repeat from * around. join with sl st. 






If using beads, sew the beads in the middle of the crescent moons, and in the middle of the heart spokes. Starch using 6-point star. Stiffen using any method you like!

Crocheters, you know the drill! You can do whatever your hearts desire with the snowflakes you make from this pattern, but as for the pattern itself: Please don't change it, please don't sell it, but feel free to share it all you like!