Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Knittin' Crap: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... Oh, Crap

Dipity Supervises I would almost certainly have finished the bodice yesterday, except I boo-booed. That cost me several hours of work, figuring out that I had miscounted when I divided for the armholes. I think I'll still be able to make it in time, though.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

News: No Gnus is Good Gnus

Unfortunately, there's always news.

Geeky stuff:
  • Computer security experts and organizations have released their annual list of the top 25 most dangerous programming vulnerabilities. Yes, buffer overflows are still up there. While the document is full of detailed descriptions of the vulnerabilities and practices on how to avoid them, I'd also be interested in having some kind of demographic data on who is most likely to make what kind of error. I realize that would be hard to compile though, as most code is written by a large numbers of people and even if the authors had access to commit records, it would be an onerous task to go through all that data.
  • The first major court case involving copyright infringement of open-source software was settled in the U.S. in the plaintiff's favor. The Java Model Railroad Interface had been licensed under the GPL (Gnu Public License), as is probably most open-source software these days, including the Linux kernel. The license's legal validity had never been confirmed in court before, though, leaving its effectiveness in question. Seriously, though, who would have guessed the milestone case would have involved software for controlling model trains?
  • A Federal judge ordered the Pennsylvania school district which had been spying on its high school students through the webcam of school-issued laptops to stop it. That really is seriously creepy. The cynic in me is wondering how many school administrators got their jollies watching teenagers undress. Anyway, CNET has an article on just how easy webcams are to activate even without having special spyware installed, without the user even knowing. I actually don't have a webcam, but I'm thinking I'd stick duct tape over the lens at this point. Except some cameras can actually pick up infrared, so maybe lead would be better. That way even Superman wouldn't be able to see through it!
  • A polling company claims that women secretly prefer hairy geeks. Uh-huh. Why do I strongly suspect the poll was conducted by, well, hairy geeks? Besides, this is what women really want:
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Not-as-geeky stuff:

The Quiz of Life?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Miles To Go Before My Hands Fall Off

Rav Cardi Progress In the 24-hour period between midnight Sunday and midnight Monday, I knit .15 miles. That is a lot. Most of it was the Ravelympics cardigan, but I spent a little time working on other projects to vary needle size and hand movement to lessen repetitive hand fatigue. After a little work today, I'm done about 8" of the 12" I plan before starting the armholes. As I'm working across front and back, that's a lot of progress.

I think I may be actually be able to finish before the games close next Sunday evening, but it's going to be a lot more work. The Noro Matsuri yarn is even harder on my hands than the 100% wool Jojoland Rhythm I used for the pullover. The Matsuri is a cotton/wool blend, so it has cotton's inelasticity and wool's abrasive scales. I'm applying hand lotion for lubrication, which I rarely do while working with yarn, and take breaks to stretch my fingers and wrists, and, as I said, spending a little time on other projects to get a little range of motion relief. Even though I definitely notice the effects of the marathon effort, I'm being vigilant. I watched all my Netflix DVDs over the weekend and returned them today, so hopefully I can find stuff to watch on regular TV tonight and tomorrow (at least there's a new episode of Damages tonight -- excellently intense show for knitting stockinette) and as long as the hands hold out, I'm good.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Knittin' Crap: I Am The Champions

4353989863_618a74afa3_o Yes, I finally made it to the awards podium! I actually finished the sweater yesterday evening, but I didn't post about it them because I was too busy partying while wearing my Ravelympics medal over my groin.

Anyway, to wrap up the last three days

Thursday evening: Finished all the knitting, including knitting on the collar after seaming the shoulders. I undoubtedly will redo the collar's bind-off because it's too damned tight and I can barely get it over my big head.

Friday: Didn't actually do much. I had flaked on returning my Netflix DVDs until Thursday, and there was nothing on TV, and I can't knit unless I'm doing something else visual at the same time (call it ADD or whatever, but it does have the beneficial side effect that I rarely get eyestrain while knitting or crocheting because I'm constantly looking up and refocusing my eyes).

Ravelympics Pullover! Saturday: The rest of the seams didn't actually take too long (meaning about 3 hours of actual work) because the stitches were relatively large and the yarn is pretty smooth and easy to work with. I hadn't quite finished by the time of my afternoon lesson, but I showed my students my "injury" -- the red mark on my finger.

I spent several hours last night (after the aforementioned, um, partying, which, all right, didn't happen) swatching stitch patterns for the cardigan. The yarn I'm using, the discontinued Noro Matsuri, is self-striping, but it also has white strands going through and little nubs of color, giving it an odd tweedy look. It just didn't look right to my eye in an eyelet-lace pattern, and I was getting gauge in straight stockinette anyway. I'm also going to work across the front sides and the back in one continuous piece, both to keep the striping consistent and so I don't have to do the side seams later. I'm not sure if I will finish it or not, as this is more knitting, even if it's simpler, than the pullover, but I'll give it a go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Ravelympics Day 5

p23 Keito Dama #145
My first choice. I would lengthen it a few inches and use a different stitch pattern for the body, rather than the eyelet-quads. I would get to enter this in two different categories, one for sweaters and the other for multi-crafting, as the body is knit and the edging crocheted. And what is it with me and the purple yarns?

p 50 Keito Dama #145
Me and the mitered pullovers, hmmm...
I've finished one sleeve and am mostly done with the other. While they're blocking, I'll do the shoulder seams and knit on the collar. If I stay on schedule, I will probably finish late tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I made it to Kinokuniya today to look for my next pattern for the second week of the Ravelympics. I found a couple of possibilities that might work with yarn I have and need to do some swatching.

And that yarn groove on my finger, while not indented at the moment as I haven't done any knitting yet today, has the color and smoothness of a first-degree burn. For some reason, I have this mental image of lying on a coroner's slab (I watch too much crime-drama on TV) and the medical examiner being able to tell that I was a knitter who held the yarn continental style just because of that mark.

Metro Journal: Feb 18 Come Here Already

Maneki Neko book I went down to Little Tokyo today. In chronological order:
  1. While I was waiting for the crossing light at an intersection, a school bus stopped at the red light in the right turn lane. Some dumbass behind him honked. Ok, (a) while it is, with certain provisos, generally legal to make a right turn on red here, it is by no means legally required, and (b), this was a school bus, fer chrissakes. For all the dumbass car driver knew (and he probably didn't know much more than the location of his car horn), the bus driver could have been dealing with a kid with a problem. The bus driver did turn after less than a minute, and the car behind him didn't even pretend to stop. The next car probably wouldn't have stopped either, except we were already stepping into the crosswalk because, hello, we had the crossing light. If only I could shoot lasers out my eyes, this guy would have had the Mark of Karen burned onto his forehead. Seriously, ZOMG, you had to wait 30 more seconds of your life to make a turn! It was a fricking SCHOOL BUS!
  2. There were some hyperactive kids on the 780 for a couple miles, singing loudly and extremely out of key for the enjoyment of, well, no one else on the bus. What would I do without headphones? Um, probably get arrested for throttling a kid.
  3. On the 94 going downtown, a man in a suit was having serious difficulty navigating the aisle to the exit. I didn't want to assume he was drunk, but as he walked by, I could smell the fumes. He almost fell stepping out the door. Oi.
  4. I found a couple books at Kinokuniya, including the pictured book of maneki neko (Japanese lucky beckoning cats). All cats, all beckoning, some even in costumes!
  5. At Curry House, I tried the masala curry with fried tofu and chicken. While it was pretty good, I still like the chicken katsu much more.
  6. The last block up 1st to Hill St and my stop is, guessing conservatively, at least a 30 degree grade. Close to the top, I saw that the 794 was about a block away. Ok, there was no way I was running up the rest of that hill. Fortunately, the stop light was with me, and even though I had to sprint up Hill half a block to the stop, I made it. And then wished I could have gotten a window seat because I wanted to pass out. I'm seriously out of shape.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Ravelympics Day 4

Ravelympics Project 2 I did relatively little knitting yesterday, but still a fair bit. I was getting a little burned out, and I was also trying to figure out what to start next, as it looks like I will finish the mitered pullover in the next few days. I had thought I would do the poofy flower pullover in the picture, but after making two motifs, I realized that was the kind of project I need to work on a little at a time, or I would go nuts. I then tried a two-color, reversible, double-knit scarf from another Japanese book, but I've never done that technique before and my fingers weren't getting used to the motion, so it would have taken forever to complete.

I don't have the yarn in my stash to do any other projects from my Japanese pattern library, at least ones that I could finish in about a week, with the exception of amigurumi, and I'm a little burned out on amigurumi. I plan to go to Little Tokyo tomorrow, which I've avoided for months due to lack of funds. With my tax refund in hand (well, a small portion only), I'm going to eat chicken katsu at Curry House (yum!) and see if Kinokuniya has something that interests me that I can make with some of my copious stash yarn choices.

And that yarn groove on my finger? Even if it's not permanent, it's definitely there until that skin grows out. At least it doesn't hurt. I suspect it has to do not only with the amount I've been knitting, but also that the yarn I'm using is wool, which I don't work with that often. I don't think I have a true histamine allergy to wool, but my skin still seems to be reacting to it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

News: Oddly Automotive

  • CNN headline: Landrieu elected in New Orleans. C'mon, I couldn't be the only person to think that?
  • Doing the math with off-the-shelf parts shows that an iPad may cost as little as $229.35 to make.
  • Facepalm Award of the Week: Equifax sent out its W-2 forms to employees with their Social Security numbers visible through the cellophane address windows. Bonus points for the irony.
  • Facepalm Award Runner-Up: Yup, it's Computer Engineer Barbie. I'm not going to say a word, just like I'm not going to say a word about how Mattel has "Boy" and "Girl" toy sections.
Funny break:
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
I'd totally watch that movie.

Lots of car-ish stuff:
Automotive lolcat: funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Knittin' Crap: Ravelympics Day 3

Yarn Groove Front section finished, first sleeve about ¼ done. As promised, a picture of the yarn groove, taken last night, which was still visible when I got up this morning.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Ravelympics Day 2

This Helps How?
This Helps How?
On the second full day of competition, I finished about half of the front piece. I spent so much time knitting (something like 160 yards on that alone, plus another project I've been trying to get done to the point where I can see if I'll need to get more yarn to finish it) that I wore what I thought was going to be a permanent groove in the back of my middle finger, which I use for yarn tension. (I'll try to take a picture for the next post.)

Meanwhile, I was a little better about remembering to eat, and Dipity and Spoon both "helped" with the blocking. I've left the back piece pinned down even though it didn't take long to dry from the steam blocking. I'm lazy and plan to pin the front on top of it so I won't have to re-do the measurements. I finally had to banish Dipity from the blocking board because she was starting to get a little too friendly with the wool. And you'd think those blocking T-pins would be uncomfortable, but Spoon figured out how to deal with them; he started pulling them out with his teeth. I kid you not. I can picture knitters and veterinary dentists alike cringing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Knittin' Crap: 1st Heat Finished!

Ravelympics Mitered Pullover - back I finished the back of my Ravelympics Sweaterboard Event around 2AM last night and pinned it down for steam blocking. Looking good! I did have a couple early challenges, though. First, I came to a knot in my ball of self-striping yarn about 90 minutes in, which joined two completely different colors. In addition to having to cut the yarn, which means two more ends to sew in, I also had to dig and find a ball which started at the right color scheme so it wouldn't kill the smooth transition. Then, after working several of the long mitered rows, I realized the decrease stitches at the miter were going the wrong way and a noticeable gap showed when I pulled on the fabric. I ripped out about a dozen rows and then re-did them, swapping decrease stitch slants. Same problem after a couple rows. So I created a "middle" decrease stitch and started from that point doing a 3-in-1 decrease. Not quite as magical-looking as a double-decrease would have been had it worked, but it wasn't working.

I also forgot to eat anything more than an occasional handful of snack food until about 9PM. Oops. I kept telling myself, "Let me just finish this ball. I'll get something when I get up to change DVDs. I just want to finish this section so I don't get lost."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Cast-on Time!!!

  • Yarn: check
  • Needles: check
  • Pattern book: check
  • Plenty of DVDs from Netflix (I don't actually care about watching sports): check
  • Cat treats to keep the beasts at bay: check
And we're off!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Ravelympics Zero Hour Is Nigh!

My Ravelympics Team Teami Ravatar Less than less than less than
Twenty- twenty- twenty-
Four four four
Hours hours hours
Until the
cast-on cast-on cast-on
Ceremonies ceremonies ceremonies


Monday, February 8, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Giving the Finger(s) to Puppets

Finger Puppets!For my birthday, Brad'n'Sarahliz gave me these McAwesome finger puppets. There's a bunny, a fancy bird, a snake, and... well, we're not sure what the fourth one is.

Mystery Finger Puppet
It's a.... skunkhorsupine...
McCain + Obama
Only Little Bunny Foofoo could bring McCain and Obama together.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

News: The Stupid Report

Yes, that's right, time for another skewed overview of goings-on on the web.

When Stupid Science Gives Stupid People An Excuse To Be Even More Stupid:
  • Respected British medical journal The Lancet finally retracted the much and oft discounted 1998 paper which claimed that the thimerosal preservative in vaccines was causing autism. Note that now, two days later, there's no mention of the retraction at all on their home page. They should be embarrassed; the study's statistical methodology has been shown to be bad, and while the editors couldn't have known that studies now show that the discontinuation of adding the preservative to the vaccines has not slowed autism rates, they have done the world's children a disservice by giving high-strung people who think they know better than doctors a reason to leave their kids unvaccinated for potentially life-threatening diseases and spread them to people who are either too young or medically unable to be vaccinated themselves. Mumps and measles may be confined mainly to third world nations now, but guess what? The third world is right next door. (e.g. Haiti)

Intermission: funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Wow, I can't believe those cats are just sitting there...

When Stupid People Have No Excuse To Be Acting Stupid:
  • Several Puerto Rican doctors in Haiti to help with earthquake relief are in seriously hot water when pictures came out of them drinking and posing with guns. I realize they're seeing some awful things and everyone needs a way to cope, but if you're going to be a dumbass, don't pose for pictures while doing it. Morons.
Just Plain Stupid:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Knittin' Crap: Uh-Oh

Oh Noes! Given the numbers, this must have happened awhile back, but...

Hansen Jr is no longer #1.