My second hat did not work out.  I am not sure what went wrong.  I used the right yarn, the right sized hook, followed the pattern correctly, etc.  And yet the hat turned into Hatthulhu, the Head Eating Hat of Madness from Beyond Space and Time.  Ia!  Ia!  It is enormous, and floppy, and without body, and it eats heads.

You may witness the horror that is Hatthulhu here for lo, it is horrible to behold.

Bed and Yarn

We bought a new bed. It’s not a spectacular bed or anything, it’s just a bed. But we bought a bed frame, and that is a big deal because we’ve never had an actual bed frame before. Now we can do theoretical things like read in bed. We’re not used to the whole concept of the bed frame.

The mattress is much harder than I am used to. I was absolutely convinced I was not going to be able to sleep on something that hard until I fell asleep 2 seconds later and slept like a stone. The old mattress was pretty soft, and it had broken, so I was used to this thing that went moosh underneath me. For two days, my back complained because all the sudden it didn’t have to constantly support me at night and all the knots, especially in my lower back, came loose in a painful display of pain. I walked around with Icy-Hot patches glued to my back all yesterday as my back readjusted to the new, interesting reality.

I finished a hat. It was in the old crappy yarn, so it feels like an old, crappy hat although I just finished it. Because the yarn has no spring and no give in it, despite following the pattern exactly the hat is way too small. But it is hat-shaped. I took pictures, which I tossed up on Flickr and you can amuse yourself looking at here. Note the use of the highly attractive hat model who would not sit still.

Thus, a small project was completed, I passed my self-imposed barrier, and we went to Michael’s to pick up some yarn. I bought big spools of that Red Heart Super Saver stuff just to noodle with, bought some Lion’s Brand yarn for two real projects, and a set of great big hooks to mess with. I packed up the old crappy 35 year old yarn and put it away. Then I tried to make another hat with the Red Heart, as I was messing around with a pattern, but for reasons unknown it is way too lose, so it looks to be a failure. But! Fuzzy yarn! And thus, I am apparently turning into a junky.


I am not doing much else in the evening at the moment, so you are all stuck reading about my adventures in yarn. Listening to techno podcasts and crochet! Oh the woe! The woe!

I’ve started a hat. It actually looks plausibly hat-like. However, it is in the old, terrible yarn which is stringy and falls apart if you look at it too hard and rough on the hands and generally nasty. So it is now a white-ish, plausibly hat-like but not fun to hold hat. I made it about halfway through the pattern last night and generally intend to finish it this evening to see exactly how far my hat-making prowess has come. Then I will take pictures of it and everyone can say, “That? That is a hat.”

All I am really good for right now are lumpy things (square), lumpy things (round) and hats. Katie has claimed anything that looks plausibly useful for dolls as hers and has made off with it all and made demands that I clothe all her dolls entirely in strange looking crochet contraptions. I made Crochethulhu, which started as a round granny square and grew horribly out of control, and she claimed it as a horrible orange hippy crocheted doll skirt that, for reasons not quite clear, had to go on the Daddy doll in her dollhouse.

I have gotten over my Death Yarn Grip problem, so there is something.

I did discover I have a 4 hour cap. After four hours, neither hand can work very well and I get real problems with my left hand. Even if my left hand is merely holding the piece and some yarn, I start getting magnificent shooting pains that never really seem to end. This is, of course, 3:55 longer than I can hold normal crochet needles or yarn needles, so it is an improvement. (And 1:55 longer than I can hold drumsticks for Rock Band or my guitars.)

Eventually I will do something more interesting with my life but for now it’s all sort of yarn-based.

General Life Update

1. On the LJ Kerfluffle:

Nothing on the net lasts forever. We’re often lucky if it lasts a handful of years. Livejournal has been in slow decline for years now, ever since it was bought by Six Apart. It will eventually be gone and there are newer, sexier services on the block called things like “Facebook.” Sadly, it does three things very well which I would prefer not to lose:

1. Aggregated posts as “Friends Lists”
2. A global identity
3. Threaded comments

If WordPress could do #1 and #3 with even a passing attempt at well without having to install complicated plug-ins, then it would have something and no one would need Livejournal anymore. But I haven’t found anything satisfactory in the friend’s list department yet. Once I do, I will try it out, but it needs more searching.

Meanwhile, I believe LJ will go through a very slow decline with increasing database issues, bugs, and users fleeing to better supported services until, much like GreatestJournal, the lights will simply go out one day, or it will limp along like an Internet Zombie.

2. On crochet:

I have made a granny square! And I am making something… round! It started off as learning to read instructions for a round granny thing but it has now overgrown and now it is just round. I have yet to make something really worthwhile. However, this crochet thing is naggingly addictive and, sooner or later, I will follow a pattern to completion and make something. I have stopped holding the yarn in an overly tight death grip, which has helped progress immensely.

3. On books:

Selected Crafty TV Writing as the winner of the pile o’ books sweepstakes.

4. On the Inauguration:

Bizarrely, I have MLK Day as a floating holiday! And it will float one day forward! Because I am not going anywhere near Silver Spring right on top of the Red Line Metro on the 19th or 20th. While I am a Great Fan of the Great Hawaiian Shark God, I don’t want to be anywhere near DC. I’m going to watch it 20 miles away from the comfort of my HDTV.

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Book Decisions / Concert DVDs

I am going to finish my current book, Bill Bryson’s “The Mother Tongue – English and How It Got That Way” rather quickly because he is neither a difficult nor slow read, although it’s interesting because it is a survey of linguistics right before English + the Internets = Mayhem.

I have two books up on my docket next and I’m not too sure which one to attack.  I am thrashing between:

– Fairy & Folk Tales of Ireland, edited by W.B. Yeats (the original awesome)

– Crafty TV Writing by Alex Epstein

I am going to read them both. I am just undecided on which one.

I have for the time being given up on the Great Shark God’s Audacity of Hope with a mild pang of embarrassment.  It is not because I do not hang on everything the Great Shark God says, I ran headfirst into his very lengthy “Faith” chapter and I’ve reached a point where unless your name is “Jefferson, T.” or “Adams, J.” I am not terrifically interested in yet another take on Christianity and the Constitution.  I will likely just skip the chapter to finish the book.

On a completely different topic, we have discovered concert DVDs in the new 5.1 surround sound audio rig in the living room and it is heavenly.  We are watching the Police Reunion Tour concert right now and the extra money blown on the upgraded speakers and the big subwoofer is paying off handsomely.  I see a future of buying concert DVDs in the future.

2009 Resolutions!

I didn’t do New Year’s Resolutions last year, and that did not turn out as well as planned.  The only thing I really accomplished was getting my CISSP, and then worked drowned me and health really drowned me and I was so uninterested in doing anything else that I basically only read security literature and coasted.  I was essentially sick from March – November.  As years go, 2008 was one I’d rather give a miss.

This year I have several goals I want to accomplish:

1. Writing research, research, research

This is the year of focused reading and heavy note taking.  I have my topics: the occult (Alchemy, Hermetic, Kabbalah), fairy tales (Germanic/British), some Middle English, Joseph Campbell, some high-quality books on writing.  My huge knowledge of history is helpful when overlaid with myth to weave into things.  I have all the tools I need to take the notes and organize them into easily searchable categories.  I also have all the books.  I simply need to do the work and carve out the time to do the work.  I’m tired of procrastinating and saying I will get to it. I have the seeds of several ideas in my head — I need to do the background work and the notetaking work.

Thankfully I also read Katie something fairytale-ish every single night and that is leading mousedroppings of ideas in my head.

This ties neatly in with #2…

2. Spend much more time at the gym.

One of the problems I have with the gym was not allowing myself to just go, get on a bike, ride for 10 miles, and say that was far better than skipping.  No, I had to get to some ideal of pushing myself to lose weight.  And because I was pushing myself I wasn’t going.  Instead, I need to retool the gym and realize that 30 minutes on a reclining bike is 30 minutes of both exercise and reading time.  That is 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading time while burning calories. I simply need to get into the rhythm.

3. Learn to crochet

I want to be able to make simple hats and bags.  I’m not holding myself to some great ideal, but if I can make simple things from patterns, that would be wonderful.  If anything, I can follow instructions.  When I am not reading I want to make something.

4. Spend more time with Katie Rose

Always!  But she has a tiny piano now and I want to spend alot more time playing it with her.  I bought it for her for a reason.  We have a book!  We just need to work on basic things.  We’re already working on a basic scale and she’s fascinated.

5. Focus on my Japanese

I’ve been picking at Japanese for 2 years.  I simply need to make my Japanese language podcasts a priority in my podcast queue, and that is a little change with big payoffs.

6. Back off my online time

It is eating into my research/writing time.  And that is more important to me.

I am putting music aside (for now) to focus on writing research.  Theoretically, I should have enough notes by November to use NaNoWriMo as a way to flesh out the strands of ideas, and then use those strands to start working into real functional manuscripts.  I have no idea if I’m going after novels or if I can find an artist who can draw against scripts or what, but I need to amass notes like a crazy weasel so I have a body to work from.  That’s how I work — from notes to scraps of ideas to fully formed things.

That’s it!  Happy 2009!