Friday, February 12, 2016

They're In Space!

I didn't post about it, but last year I read Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series (2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: Odyssey Two, 2061: Odyssey Three, and 3001: The Final Odyssey). I didn't love them (though they were interesting enough for me to read the whole series) so I didn't mention them. Plus, if I had said anything, it likely would have been weird quotations from the book, possibly with some irritated commentary added.
Space pods were not the most elegant means of transport devised by man, but they were absolutely essential for construction and maintenance work in vacuum. They were usually christened with feminine names, perhaps in recognition of the fact that their personalities were sometimes slightly unpredictable. Discovery's trio were Anna, Betty, and Clara.
Yeah, I could say a few things about that.

A post devoted to those books would have ending up being rather long. And, while I didn't hate the books, reading them just left me with a sense of lost potential and, well, irritation.
Just as 2010: Odyssey Two was not a direct sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this book is not a linear sequel to 2010. They must all be considered as variations on the same theme, involving many of the same characters and situations, but not necessarily happening in the same universe.
Yes, the books weren't "linear sequels". A nice way of saying that the books contradicted each other.

But as awesome as contradictions in cannon is, there were bits that were even better!
[The students] had been helped - or hindered - by a team of four kongs, who Del Marco considered more trouble than they were worth. However, the students adored the genetically-enhanced gorillas, whom they treated like retarded but much-loved children. It was rumoured that the relationships were not always completely Platonic.
I... I just don't know what to say. I'm just going to leave that one there and slowly back away.

Anyway, while I did not love the books (and would be hard-pressed to say I even liked them) I did want to watch the movie version. Some movies are just classics, you know? So that's what I did yesterday.

Oh, I didn't watch the movie alone. I had company.

Movie Watching

Cocoa and I were equally unimpressed with the ten minute acid trip at the end of the film, but she really enjoyed the monkey-things at the beginning of the movie. I don't think either of us really needs to watch it again though.

Friday, February 5, 2016

One Day Late (But It Counts!)

It was slightly late (by a day) but Dan got his birthday socks!

Escalator Socks

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Official Socks!

Surprise! I've made socks!

Ennui Socks

Okay, in no way is this an actual surprise to anyone that has had even marginal contact with me or my blog. But still, it's exciting! More socks!

The colorway of the yarn is called Like, Totally Rad. That amuses me more than it probably should. Less amusing was the difference in the beginning and end of the skein. One end had lots of pink and on the other, that pink was significantly less intense. I'm sure you can tell which sock came from which end. But oh well, whatcha gonna do? I'm still going to wear the heck out of them.

Once these were done, naturally I cast on for more socks. But this time I'm actually knitting for someone not me. That's right - it's time for Dan to get more socks!

Escalator Socks

I might even try to finish them in time to call them a birthday present.

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm Still High From the Fumes

I finished my bunny slippers!

Thrummed Bunny Slippers

They've been mostly finished for a handful of days now, but I was waiting for the weekend so I could spray the bottom with Plasti-Dip. I managed to not get a picture of it, but the soles are bright pink.

Even with the Plasti-Dip soles, I am a little concerned with their longevity. They are just so soft and squishy! My felted slippers are about to hit two years old (next month) and between holes and patching, I think they are about done. Of course, they didn't have any type of added wear resistance to their soles, but still. I'm not easy on my slippers. So I'm not sure how long the bunnies will last. We shall see!

In other news, I forgot to share a few things I knit last year for other people.

Mitts for Mom Claudia's Socks
Grace's Socks Bill's Socks

So that brings my sock total to just 14 - much smaller than last year's 30 - but I also did three pairs of fingerless mittens, a pair of gloves, a pair of shorts, four sweaters, a shrug, nine donuts, and a handful of other random little things. All totaled, I ended up in the same ballpark yardage-wise as last year so I'm pleased.

Not sure what my knitting plans are this year. I might end up splitting my focus a bit because I want to learn to sew and how to make sauerkraut. In the mean time, I'm knitting some socks.

Socks for Euni

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Almost 20 Years Later

I managed to finish my sweater just before ringing in the new year. And now it's all blocked and lovely and I've been wearing it today and I love it so much!

The Sweater Formerly Known as Shokei

It's hard to believe, but this sweater is made from the yarn of my old school uniform the year I was in Japan. Almost twenty years later and I'm wearing it again - in a cuter incarnation - and that makes me so happy!

(Significantly less happy was the task of actually knitting the sweater. There were lots of weak spots in the yarn which resulted in a lot of ends to weave in (you can see some on the back of the sweater above). I had to redo the bottom a couple of times and there were lots of issues that popped up through the process. I thought a couple of times I would have to rip back and start all over, but everything end up okay in the end and the sweater is awesome! Yay!)

Cidering, Part Six

Angry Orchard Hop'n Mad Apple

Angry Orchard Hop'n Mad Apple
5 out of 5

The smell is really nice - light, refreshing, sweet and crisp - with both apple and grape notes. The taste is more grape than apple - a crisp white grape. It's got some strong dessert wine notes to it along with a tartness at the end. You can totally taste the hops in the middle - some nice citrus sweet notes as well as something that, when strong in hops reminds me of dill pickle. It's not dill pickle here though, just "flavorful, smooth hop". This one isn't super sweet - it's more of a dry sweet than a syrupy sweet, but it's nicely balanced on the refreshing side of things. And I think, while not very beer like, would be a great by-the-pool refreshment.
Square Mile Cider Co Spur & Vine Hopped Apple Cider

Square Mile Cider Co Spur & Vine Hopped Apple Cider
2 out of 5

Okay, the smell is definitely hoppy. A pungent, almost-pickle-like level of hops. I'm not a huge hoppy beer girl, so I was concerned, but the taste is a lot milder than the smell. There is a short note of fruity apple on the end, but the majority of the taste is very beer-like though without the typical strong bitterness. Dan said it is very much lager-like and I completely agree.

For those looking for a replacement for a kind of regular beer (Coors, etc), I think this would be a good GF replacement. I've never cared much for American lagers though so this one isn't for me. Woodchuck Hopsation


Woodchuck Hopsation
3 out of 5

The smell is tart and grape-y with a note of not-quite-pickle hops. The hops make it slightly bitter, but it pairs nicely with the tartness of the apples. There are some dry champagne notes to it and a nice aftertaste with some good hop/citrus notes that aren't bitter.

Overall this just falls flat for me. It's not offensive, just sadly boring. It gives hints of greatness but just doesn't deliver. Dan, however, says it tastes a bit of sour, a bit of funk and nothing really worth anything. He hated it.

Virtue Percheron

Virtue Percheron
4 out of 5

The taste is different than I expected - it's wet and sweet with a little pucker at end but it blends with the front sweetness so it is very well balanced.It makes me think of white wine and grape juice. I can taste the funk from the yeast on my tongue after a sip and it reminds me of El Gobernador but this funk does not taste of bandaids; this has nice levels of funk.

This one is probably not my favorite cider, but it is really well done. Dan and I both think it might be a bit sophisticated tasting for our general style but we do quite like it.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Texting Gloves

My recently completed gloves are all done and dry. It's very exciting!

Gloves

And something even more exciting, I added in some conductive thread in the index fingertips and thumbs so that I can operate my phone with them. And it works! The thread is really hard to see, too, so the gloves look completely normal.

Gloves

The two fingertips on the left have the thread sewn into them (using duplicate stitch) compared to the right-most fingertip, which has none. You can kind of see the difference - the thread is a dark gray - but it's pretty hard to spot. But it works beautifully and makes me want to make more gloves so I can use the conductive thread for them!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nummies

I made creme brûlée yesterday. It wasn't perfect but it was definitely tasty!

Coconut Creme Brûlée

I have figured out a thing or two I want to tweak for next time, and there definitely will be a next time! This experiment could be very dangerous for our waistlines.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Quietly Knitting Hand Things

I ran into a bit of a problem with the sweater I'm currently working on. It was so bad, I was pretty much convinced that I would need to rip back and start over. But before I decided to take that drastic step, I figured I'd block it to see how bad it really was.

Of course, I get a bit twitchy if I don't have something to knit on, so while waiting for the sweater to dry, I started some hand-related things. (I suppose my previous flamingo mitts got me in the mood because normally I'm not a big hand-related knitter for whatever reason.) First I did some extendable fingerless mittens.

Fingerless Mittens

The top can fold down to keep fingers warm or fold back so I can do things like knit, which is awesome. Also awesome, they are made with cashmere. SO SOFT. They were a really simple project so (relatively) quick - only about 15 hours. But by the time I was done with them, I still wasn't ready to face my sweater problems. So I decided to make some gloves.

Gloves in Progress

(Gidget was a great help, as you can see.) Those took considerably longer (fingers take forever man!) so about midway through I was ready to look at my sweater. (The gloves are now done but drying so expect to see those here sometime soon.)

Sweater in Progress

Fortunately, blocking did lovely things to it! I do need to go back and redo the bottom hem - start the ribbing sooner and make it longer all while thinking tight knitting thoughts (as I don't have a smaller needle in the right length) - and then finish the rest of it, but I'm feeling much more positive about it. And I got some fingerless mitts and some gloves out of it! Successful knitting all around!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Theme: Neon

I'm still working on my Shokei Sweater reboot (I have another couple of inches on the body and then the sleeves to do) but it is yards and yards of gray yarn and sometimes I need a splash of color. Well, two splashes. Four? Whatever. Neon!

Flamingo Mitts
Neon Socks

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Thing

Go me! I finished a book! I've been working on this puppy for a while. I really enjoyed our visit to Pompeii on our honeymoon (over a decade ago, good lord, how did I get so old?) so I thought I might enjoying reading a book about daily life pre-eruption.

I did enjoy the first half of the book quite a bit. But the second half kind of dragged. That might have been me more than the book though because for some reason the topic of art can bore me like nobody's business. Once I hit the "art in Pompeii" chapter, I think I checked out and never really fully came back to it. Probably because the art chapter was followed by the politics chapter. Even more fun! (No. Not fun.)

But still, there were neat bits in it and I did learn things, which is always good. My biggest takeaway? Archeologists make things up. A lot. Second biggest? They ate mice. Little bitty, big-eyed mice. Apparently this is a well-known thing but I did not know this thing. Now I do. I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater (or at least I used to be when eating was more friendly to me) but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about eating mice.

Speaking of eating things, have you heard of the new "alternative" protein source that is apparently gaining headway? Crickets. No, really. Crickets.

I have not tried cricket anything (yet?). I'm honestly not sure I'm brave enough. Crickets kind of creep me out (I blame this on a massive cricket infestation the summer I worked at the mall. Crickets everywhere. You could not walk without constant, loud crunching. It gives me the chills just thinking about it now.) and this creep-factor apparently transfers to food made from crickets. I think it would be easier for me to sample cooked mouse than cooked (or ground) cricket.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Monkey News

Cocoa

That unimpressed squishy face? Is the unimpressed squishy face of a kitty that has a healthy spleen!

A while back I think I mentioned that the vet discovered that Cooca had a heart murmur? Well, in testing to see if the heart murmur is a problem (it has been dubbed "incidental" which means her little heart should be fine), they noticed that she had an enlarged spleen. So yesterday we had her appointment to get her spleen all checked out and apparently, she just has a "generous" spleen. A "generous" but normal spleen.

So now she officially has a velvety soft shaved belly, a little bit of grump, and healthy organs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Four Month Baboon

This summer, I attempted to crochet something. It didn't go well. Apparently my hands (and brain!) much prefer knitting. So it was a bit of a struggle, but I finally finished my latest crochet project: a baboon.

Baboon
Baboon

Please, you didn't think I'd crochet something reasonable, did you?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Unplanned Socks!

I had intended the next socks I made be for Dan. Well, I kind of got tempted into a test knit, so pair thirteen ended up for me.

Twisty Passages

I do so enjoy socks! Maybe my next pair will be for Dan (though there is another tempting test knit on the horizon, so maybe not).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Trauma

So today was a bit traumatic. Lately we've been getting a lot of tiny lizards in the house. I don't want them getting eaten by the cats (or setting up camp in the house) so when we see one, we try to catch it and take it outside.

First off, their tails fall off really easily. And when they fall off? THEY START FLOPPING AROUND LIKE MAD. It's super creepy. Short little quarter inch tail just thrashing around like a fish out of water. HORRIFYING. I think I've finally gotten the hang of catching the little things and keeping their tails intact because that flopping tail is really traumatizing.

But if I thought flopping tails was bad, today was awful. I found a lizard stuck to a glue trap. (Our pest company put a few out to see what bugs they would collect in case they needed to change their treatment of our house.) It was still alive but the entire thing, including the side of its face, was stuck to the board.

Thanks to the internet, I figured out how to unstick it (olive oil and a plastic spatula, though the internet recommended a plastic spoon) so after a few minutes I got it free. It survived but was pretty wobbly so I don't think I can go so far as to say it was 'okay'. I got it set up outside in the front flower bed with some water and moistened cat food. (I have no idea what a tiny lizard would eat but it wasn't like I could catch a gnat for it so cat food it is.) Each time I checked on it, it was okay and still able to move around and then last time I looked (a few hours after releasing it) it was gone. So I'm going to cross my fingers that it's off living a happy lizard life. Though worst case scenario, it went somewhere and died, but it has to have been a better experience than dying trapped to a glue board.

So new house rule! No more glue boards!

(Not Really Any) Fishies!

Last week, Dan and I took a day and went to the Dallas World Aquarium. We've been there a couple of times and always enjoyed it, but this time they had a couple of residents I really wanted to see: the flamboyant cuttlefish. Of course, we saw other neat things, too. But cuttlefish.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish
Two-Toed Sloth
Seahorse
Tree Kangaroo
Flamboyant Cuttlefish

I also brought Cuddy (because I'm a dork like that) to meet the flamboyant cuttlefish. I think he enjoyed it.

Cuttlefish Meet Cuttlefish

Fun fact: flamboyant cuttlefish are actually the only toxic species of cuttlefish. They are as poisonous to humans as a blue ring octopus, but only if you eat it. So don't eat the tiny purple things.

A large part of me really really wants a pet cuttlefish. They are supposed to be massively smart but not jerks like octopuses. But they only live for a year which would be horrible. I don't think I could bond with a pet to only have it die after a year. So I will limit myself to aquarium and stuffed cuttlefish.

Also, if you have an extra hour that you want to use to learn about cuttlefish, the PBS documentary Kings of Camouflage is awesome. Seriously, I've seen it two or three times. Cuttlefish are awesome.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

I'm So Lazy

Several days ago I finished my 12th pair of socks for the year - and today I finally got around to taking pictures!

Waterkant Socks

Yay! Twelve pair of socks this year and I'm so happy to hit that mark with such a cool pair of socks.

I realize that by this time last year I had knit about twice the number of socks, but this year I've been focusing on branching out a little into sweaters (and donuts) so I'm not too worried about seemingly being so behind. I actually think I'm on track to knit a bit more yardage-wise this year as compared to last. In fact, I just finished a long sleeve shrug today (it's blocking so no pictures) and I was planning on following that up with a sweater, but that plan got derailed when I signed up to test knit a pair of socks. So socks, then a sweater, then I've promised Dan some socks. And I still want to knit another donut and a pair of bunny slippers.... Yeah, fewer socks or not, I definitely haven't slowed down on the knitting front this year!

Yay socks!