Saturday, December 29, 2012

Misc: Ongoing Experiments

  • Spoon is still on a diet. Spoon is still fat. Need to tweak the parameters of that experiment, probably.
  • I made a blanket for the cats to lie on when on the couch so they wouldn't steal my blanket. I used the same yarn (leftover). It seems to be working. Of course, I put the blanket in their designated area, but maybe once I'm sure they're adequately attached, I'll start moving it to new and exciting places.
  • I got one of those faux-perpetual-motion drinking birds for my boss. We'll see if his boss can tell the difference in their output.
  • The ongoing experiment that was my 13-year-old, massively-lo-def CRT TV has ended with the TV's descent into catatonia. (Power on, a red light starts blinking and won't stop, and no picture. I left it unplugged for several days and no change.) So now I've begun the HD flat screen TV experiment!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Knittin' Crap: November Missions

At the beginning of November, some dude got poisoned or something...

Division My report
Diplomatic: Craft something to keep the Cardassians and Bajorans apart so they don’t use the poisoning of Legate Porania as an excuse to declare war. Craft something worked in sections, something striped, something using modular techniques or entrelac.One might say we should avoid driving any more wedges between the Cardassians and the Bajorans, but it hardly seems possible to create even more strife between the two. The middle wedge of this wrap device is meant to keep Cardassians and Bajorans segregated on opposite sides of the wearer. Lest the wearer inadvertently be caught in crossfire between the two groups, it will deflect any phaser strikes and reroute them safely to the ground. It even works on vegetative (as opposed to animal) sentient species, such as this brilliant diplomat pictured:
Fuzzy shawl
Medical: Craft something to help Dr. Bashir slow the effects of the poison and keep Legate Porania alive and comfortable until an antidote can be found. Craft a special pillow for the Legate’s head, something in soothing colors, a metabolism slowing device, anything that will help prolong the Legate’s life. This jacket is water-cooled to help slow the patient’s metabolism and calm them while delaying the poison’s effects. While it looks like it is only big enough for a humanoid infant, it can stretch to fit an adult.
Science: Craft something to help identify the poison or develop an antidote but do it quickly. Craft something that is quick to knit. Craft something that represents the poison’s DNA structure or spectral analysis.This device is a portable in vivo mass spectrometer. By laying it over the patient’s body, it will automatically detect foreign substances, like poisons, and perform a chemical analysis of the substance to allow for its identification. You can see the spectral analysis of this poison in the device’s display:
5-Day Baby Blanket
Security: Craft something to help Odo find the culprit before anyone else is hurt or to help Quark prove his innocence. Craft something that represents Quark’s alibi (a tea cozy to show he was having tea with a client, or a towel to show he was cleaning the storerooms with Nog). Craft a clue for Odo to follow (a poison vial found in a shuttle bay, an encrypted message) or craft some item that would help Odo find the clues (a special scanner, a magnifying glass).It’s a well-kept secret that Quark really enjoys the Earth delicacy called sushi. Replicator logs show he was ordering his favorite combo platter at the time the poison was being delivered to the legate.
Sushi Combo

Shawl pattern adapted from Vivian Hoxbro
Baby Surprise Jacket pattern by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Sushi pattern by NeedleNoodles

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

News: STEM Cats

Sunday, November 18, 2012

News: Creepy Crap

There are, seriously, some unpleasant, if not downright shitty, people out there.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

News: Kittenpocalypse Time!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Knittin' Crap: October Missions

We finally managed to escape from that bothersome planet we were stranded on during the last Starfleet Fiber Arts Corp tour of duty. For this tour, the Command and Tactical division missions span all 3 months of the tour, while the other 4 divisions have monthly missions. In other news, I was promoted to Lt. Commander at the end of the last tour.
Division My report
Diplomatic: Follow Commander Sisko’s orders and craft something that shows your support or appreciation of the Klingons. Craft a cozy for their bloodwine, craft a sheath for their bat’leths or craft a favorite Klingon dish. Remember that Klingons are a warrior race; be bold and adventurous with this mission. I have constructed this device to aid in the making of gagh jerky. I know most Klingons love their gagh live, but that just isn’t practical for long missions, so jerky it will have to be.
Organized Circular Needles
Engineering: Help Chief O’Brien upgrade the warp drives of our ship. “Upgrade” a simple pattern by adding a cable, colorwork, lace, or a decorative edging, “upgrade” your skills by trying a new knitting or crochet technique, “upgrade” your library by knitting a newly published pattern (one published in the last 6 months) or “upgrade” your tools crafting something with a new kind of needles or hook. To aid in re-wiring the engines, I decided it would be easier to pre-wire the cabling, allowing us to lay the cabled mat in place and simply hook up the ends at the appropriate junctions. The mat is color-coded for ease of identifying which input goes where.
Medical: Craft something to help you reconnect with yourself and the world around you. Craft something you missed while stranded, something that makes you feel more connected to the world around you, or something that represents something or someone you love.I may have had my holo-kitties with me during our time stranded, but I did not have much quality time to spend with them. In honor of our renewed snuggle time, I made a mini-Spoon:
Spoon + Mini Spoon
Science: Analyze the samples that you collected. Craft something representing plant life, rock formations, or soil composition of the planet where we were stranded. For example, craft something that uses a botanical or geological pattern or craft a fossil.We had the misfortune to stumble across this odd creature. While it seems vegetative, it is also mobile (on four feet, although it seems to have no actual legs) and seems to have an intelligence of sorts. However, what makes it truly dangerous is that once it gets close enough to a humanoid, it will explode, taking the surrounding terrain with it and causing potentially severe injury. We only managed to capture this individual kamikaze bush by creating a stasis field.
Creeper Finger Puppet

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Other: Possessed Baked Goods!

We ate lunch near Porto's today, so afterward we walked over and got some baked goods. Porto's is a very popular LA-area bakery with a couple locations. Little did we know (and maybe it's just a Halloween promotion!), their baked goods are possessed...

Timeline of events:
  • Approximately 1:30PM: My boss raves about the potato balls.
  • Approximately 3PM: My boss says the potato balls had kicked his ass.
  • 5:13PM: I announce on our IRC channel that the mango empanada on my desk is calling my name.
  • 5:14PM: My boss tells me empanadas can't talk
  • 5:14PM: I reply, "but potato balls can kick your ass? huh?"
  • 5:14PM: He replies, yes.
  • 5:30PM: We ask Samir if he ate his cupcake. He said he had tried to save it, but he ate it hours ago because "it was staring at me."
Possessed, I tell you...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Other: South Bay Plunder

At some point, the bulk of the Japanese expatriate population in Los Angeles moved from Little Tokyo in the downtown Civic Center area to Torrance, which is down in the South Bay area (roughly between LAX and Long Beach). It's a crap drive from where I live (every place that involves dealing with LA drivers is a crap drive from where I live) even though it's only about 30 miles, and is about a 2-hour trip by public transportation, but I recently heard that Daiso had opened their first Southern California location there, so I finally got off my ass last week and drove down.

The Daiso is a good size. I've only been to two others, the one in Seattle, which is not very large, and the one in Mountain View, which is cavernous. This one was sized in between, but packed with the same variety of 100-yen store awesomeness. I'm hoping it does well so that perhaps they'll open up more locations around LA County, including ones north of the 10.

Some of the crafty stuff I got at Torrance Daiso:
Crafty Stuff from Torrance Daiso

I also discovered that a store I'd heard of a couple years ago, but never made it to before, was only a block away from Daiso. The Store of Unbearable Cuteness, aka Tamaya, is a licensed distributor of San-X goodies, including Rilakkuma merch, so I finally made a trip, and could not, of course, leave empty-handed:

From the Store of Unbearable Cuteness

I also drove to Mitsuwa Marketplace, which is a couple miles away. The Sanseido bookstore only had a few knitting books this time, none appealing, but I got some treats from the grocery area.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

News: Cattack!

  • My aunt and uncle brought their Pomeranian to visit once. My parents' 20-year-old Siamese was all "WTF! I haven't lived in this house for 20 years to put up with a dog now!!!" And jumped the dog. The dog spent the rest of the visit in terror, and Coco was probably satisfied that he was the reason the dog eventually left.
  • Babies who live with indoor pets seem to have lower incidences of adult allergies. I have very few allergies, none particularly serious, and I'm more than willing to give old Tiger some credit.


News: Mauled in the Whiteboard Jungle

  • Unfortunately, I got stuck in the position of having multiple de facto job titles on this list, and all of a sudden... where the hell did all the coffee breaks go, man?

  • Oh, please, god, let this be real. Oh, please, god, let this be real. Oh, please, god...

  • Crap, I almost had a chance to send this a month ago... Must re-resign.

Monday, September 24, 2012

News: Customer Disservice

  • Too bad that whack is backordered at the supplier.

  • When don't I feel this way?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spoonerisms: Zombies'n'Dip

I got Dipity and my Roku remote. I'm pretty sure I'm doomed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spoonerisms: Staycation Song

Hangin' on the Couch
Dip'n'me, we're hangin' on the couch
Hangin' on the couch
Hangin' on the couch
Dip'n'me, we're hangin' on the couch
Hangin' on the couch all day
Spoon makes occasional guest appearances.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Knittin' Crap: Starfleet, Tour 2, Engineering Missions

Oh, the ignominy! Oh, the horror!

I didn't finish the 18th and final mission before the deadline.

We're all doomed!

Tier Mission Requirements My report
α: It’s time to get creative in fixing the shuttles. A talented engineer uses what he has on hand and finds new and innovative ways to fix things. Your Mission: Jury-rig something: change the details of an existing pattern (e.g. adding a border, an element that wasn’t there), combine two patterns (e.g. putting an intarsia or fair isle pattern onto a hat pattern you like) or design something from scratch.

This mission is based on a modification to a design I had improvised previously, but I had not been completely happy with the result, so I had left it aside, planning to re-work it at some point. That was over 2 years ago. Given our current dire situation, now was the perfect time to finish this feat of genetic engineering and turn this creation into a useful sub-aquatic exploration tool. Therefore, I finished the re-design, and I am much happier with the results now, which should help us find food and perhaps useful minerals in this planet’s bodies of water.

Behold, the Lemon Shark, Mark II:
Lemon Shark
Here is the Lemon Shark, Mark I, side by side with its replacement. (Mark I is the darker yellow on the left-hand side.)
Lemon Sharks Mark 1 & 2
I am much happier with the mouth in particular on the 2nd iteration. And with the larger mouth, Lemon Shark Mark II should be able to grab larger samples from the oceanic floor. I will be writing this up as a free pattern with design schematics and posting it in the next few days to submit for my Science Gamma mission so that other stranded crews can also benefit from it.
β: Being out here means that we have limited supplies, and we have to be smart about the things we do have to work with in making repairs to the shuttles and later helping in breaking through the force field.

Your Mission: Craft something using reused or recycled supplies. Use anything that is unusual or that you don’t use very often. Ideas include garbage bags cut up into yarn-like stripes (plarn), strips of leather, nylon loops (used to make potholders), etc. (Reclaimed/frogged yarn does NOT count as most of us use yarn on a regular basis.)
As we have many tasks and are very busy trying to figure out how to escape from this planet while also working on basic survival, I thought an extra pair of hands might help. Using parts recycled from this obsolete communications device:
Harvesting LEDs
Harvesting LEDs
and wire removed from what was called a "personal computer" from the end of the 20th century which has been awaiting a trip to the electronics recycling center (apparently for a few centuries now), I created this cybernetic mini-me.
Mini Me
Note that, despite its small size, it makes an excellent guard against any hostile indigenous creatures we may encounter, as the eyes also have phaser circuits, as demonstrated in the following holo-video:
γ: We need to figure out how to break through that force field. Our scientists have been studying it and have made plans on how we’re getting out of here.

Connect with someone who has written out a pattern for the Science Gamma mission and test it for them. Please link the post from Science where the design was turned in.
Um, oops.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Knittin' Crap: Starfleet, Tour 2, Medical Missions

Tier Mission Requirements My report
α: Our first priority must be those who were injured - either in the systems failures aboard the ship or in the shuttles that crashed on the surface of the planet. A doctor trained in emergency situations is capable of quickly discerning who needs the most attention at a particular moment, and who can wait for a while before being attended to.

Your Mission: Demonstrate this ability. Make a plan for the tour. Eighteen missions is a lot to take in at once. Set a goal for how many missions you want to accomplish or what projects exactly that you want to finish. Are there deadlines throughout the tour that you need to keep?
Um, I scrawled my tour mission plan on paper. Most sections are filled in, but a few are blank as I await ideas and/or leave spaces for future swaps or gifts. I have no particular order in mind, other than where required for tiered missions, but the Tactical β and γ missions will encompass my main Ravelympics event, with the α mission (swatching and, as I am trying to resize a Japanese sweater pattern by going up in gauge, doing some math), occurring before July 25.
My SFAC JJA mission plan
Special notes: My Medical β mission will be a re-working of my lemon shark, for which I have had pattern requests, so writing the pattern up and posting it to my crappy pattern site will be the Science γ mission.

As always, I am working projects that were already on my to-do list, except for aforementioned emergent swap and gift needs.

Two of the missions will be met by the ST:TOS finger puppets I offered to make for my RL co-irkers Engineering co-irkers co-workers.
β: Dehydration is a major medical problem we will need to watch out for. Until (or even if) we can find a suitable water source, we must ration our limited water supplies.

Your Mission: Craft something inspired by water.
This device acts as an advanced dousing rod, spinning when it is laid over an underground water source. It also acts as an insulator for very small humanoids, with soothing colors and ripples reminiscent of a slow-moving, tree-lined river in what was previously the southeastern United States back on Earth.
Hypno-Baby Blanket
γ: Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially when stranded on a planet like this. In order to prevent becoming overwhelmed by the possibility that we might never leave, it is important to plan ahead and visualize events that will take place after this ordeal is over. Go ahead: Plan that shore leave trip to Risa; think about taking time off to visit your family; have a goal of something you will do.

Your Mission: Make something that is purely for yourself that you can use/wear when we get off this planet. Indulge and make that shawl you’ve been eying for ages; imagine the food you’ll eat or the entertainment you’ll partake in when we work our way out of this mess. (For fun, really do take an evening to yourself … Cook yourself a beautiful meal or pig out on junk food, rent that movie you’ve wanted to see and knit while you watch it. Share your fun “Me” times when you turn in your mission if you like!)
This pullover integrates transporter-amplifying circuitry, causing the flowing color effects. Those amplifiers may help us get off this planet sooner, and once I get shore leave, I can also wear it on the balmy Wrigley's Pleasure Planet, as the special fibers cause micro-eddies, which have a cooling effect.
Lace Saddle Tee

Blanket adapted from Oat Couture pattern
Pullover pattern by Lisa Rowe

Monday, August 20, 2012

Knittin' Crap: Starfleet, Tour 2, Tactical Missions

Shelter is one of the first things we need to get underway. Since we are unaware of the weather conditions on this planet, we should be prepared for anything. Next, we really need to find food. We can do all we want in trying to get off this planet, gathering will comprise the majority of our efforts toward survival. (Once we build a shelter, it’s pretty much done; but we’ll always be needing more food).

Finally, we need to exercise responsible resource management. We must use what we have wisely: While we are trapped on the surface of this planet, sources of new materials are few and far between.

Choose either Option A or Option B.

Option A is a tiered option. Tiered missions must be completed in order; so to move on to the beta mission, you must complete the alpha mission, and to complete the gamma mission, you must complete both beta and alpha. Option A is intended to be ONE large project. It also needs to take a considerable amount of time (more than a month) to complete, similar to Special Assignments.

Tier Mission Requirements My report
α: Create the “building blocks” of a project by gathering your materials and swatching. I have completed the formulation of the fabric prototype for this special garment, designed to help protect us from the strange light radiation we find on this planet.
Ravelwhatsit Project
Details: This is a pullover from a Japanese pattern book (no English and our Universal Translators seem to be on the fritz).

The front section has interlocking bias sections worked by picking up stitches, all done in one piece, to form a zigzag. The pattern is written for one size only, 88cm (34.5”) which, uh, is a bit too small for me. I’ve used a thicker yarn than called for, but to get a fabric I like, my gauge isn’t that much of a improvement -- I get fewer stitches per inch, but more rows per inch. The back and sleeves, knitted flat in stockinette and reverse stockinette, will be fine with the stitch count, and I can simply add rows, but the front is a little more complicated. I plan to increase the stitch and row counts of the bias sections proportionally. Crossing fingers.

The original pattern calls for 1050m (about 1150yd) of yarn. I have 1250yd minus the swatch, which probably won’t be enough. Given that the resulting knit fabric is pretty lightweight, I am considering making it short-sleeved so I can get more wear in the temperate climate in which I live, which would also mean I will probably have enough yarn.

Oh, and this is my Ravellenic Games entry, so given how busy my job is right now, this will be a major challenge to complete. I may take a couple staycation days.

And my cat disagreed with my assessment of the materials I would need, and so added herself to the pile:
Ravelwhatsit Project
ETA: My other cat came by later and usurped the entire project plan:
Spoon's Project Plan
Looks like I’ll be having an awful lot of “help.” I may never finish :P
β: Actually craft the project you gathered materials and swatched for. I have completed the components for the personal radiation shield, and begun assembly, although I did not manage to complete assembly in time for the Intergalactic Whatsit Games.
Almost there, but not quite
γ: Finish your project by weaving ends in, felting it, blocking it, etc. After having to make numerous alterations to the generic standard Starfleet personal radiation shield to get it to work with the materials on hand, making 3 sleeves in case I grew a 3rd arm because I did not have a working personal radiation shield, and having to redo the neck portal stabilization as the material’s wave function kept turning in on itself, I present my completed tactical mission:
Rav Games FO

Pullover pattern adapted from original by りょう (Ryo)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Knittin' Crap: Starfleet, Tour 2, Diplomatic Missions

Tier Mission Requirements My report
α: An important part of a first contact is to get to know the new race while not directly interfering. If we’re lucky, they might even help us!

Your Mission: Craft a gift to give to an indigenous species. Make something specifically for someone and give it to that person.
This mini-hologram of the venerable Mr Spock should teach the local indigenous species that we come with peaceful intentions.
Live Long and Prosper
This is KnottyKnerd’s prize for her winning June mission report and will be going out in the next inter-ship delivery capsule!
β: It’s possible we might be stuck here for awhile. In ordinary circumstances, ship-board duty – wherein we are all around each other 24/7 – is frequently relieved by shore leave and visits to other ships and space stations. Here - in close quarters, with emotions running high - it is entirely possible that we might get on each other’s nerves now and then!

Your Mission: Get to know your shipmates, so when they are being irritable or difficult, you can give them something that will cheer them up. Craft something inspired by someone specific serving aboard your ship.
As it turns out, many of my shipmates on the Kitchener are also fond of the domesticated Earth species Felis catus. To help perk them up while we are stuck in deep space, I’ve created a small, portable holo-kitty:

Kitten with a keyboard
γ: We need to inform others about the force field, warn them to stay away, and let them know we’re ok for the time being. The shuttles’ communication capabilities aren’t as powerful as the starships’, but perhaps we can still make them work well enough to get a message out to whoever might be near.

Option A: Craft something to boost the signal on the shuttles’ comm systems.
This space-age material is non-planar, with signal-conducting right-angles to help route and amplify comm signals.
Space-age Material
In a pinch, it can also be reconfigured into an insulating device for very, very small humanoids, which will also help reduce noise intereference because they will be less fussy when they’re nice and snug.
Surprised Jacket

Kitty pattern from Japanese book Amigurumi Cats & Friends
Baby Surprise Jacket pattern by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Monday, July 30, 2012

Knittin' Crap: Ravelwhatsit Games, Day 3

Ravellenics cast on
Day 1:
Ravelwhatsit Day 1
Day 2:
Ravelthingie Day 2
Day 3:
Ravelmajig Day 2.5
Well, folks, we're past the 72-hour mark of the Ravelwhatsit Games, and after knitting my hands sore all weekend, I have finished most of the front piece of my pullover in the Sweater Triathlon event. The left shoulder area is all that remains. Note that in addition to knitting, I was also double- and triple-checking my alterations required for sizing up, which meant lots of fiddling with the measuring tape, counting stitches and rows, doing simple algebra, counting stitches and rows again, and squinting at the chart. I think they've worked out, although I'll be nervous about it until the sweater is done and I've pieced it together.