Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Everything Must Go to my book shelf

Borders is apparently filing for bankruptcy. Part of this includes (unsurprisingly) closing a ton of stores. As a selfish creature, the ones I'm concerned about are all of the Austin locations. Sad face.

And while this makes me sad for the obvious reasons - people need jobs, I dislike leaving the house so having a book store nearby is obviously better, it's a book store, even if it is a large chain, and any book store closing is a small tragedy. Because books.

The small upside is the oh crap, we're closing sale. Oh yes. Because I need to have even more books if I'm to realize my plan of eventually building bookshelves out of books. I understand that's a stupid plan, but it's really the only storage solution for my obsessive book hoarding that I can come up with. Bookshelves are expensive, yo.

My spending spree wasn't at all helped by the fact that I hadn't been to buy books in a while and so had quite the list. Seeing me attempt to self edit choices was probably at once pathetic and terribly amusing. There was much put upon sighing and weighing options in my hands and looking at the fluorescents as if they had any sort of opinion.

And what resulted is most certainly on the wrong side of nutty. But I'm rather proud of myself because it wasn't as nutty as I wanted it to be. Way to tone down the crazy, self!

I know. I know. It's still the definition of a ridiculous stack.

Just in case anyone's curious, here's a more readable list:

First Lord's Fury - Jim Butcher
Cold Magic - Kate Elliot
13, rue Therese - Elena Mauli Shapiro
A Short History of Everything - Bill Bryson
Machine of Death - edited by North, Bennardo and Malki !
The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear - Walter Moers
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
The Years of Rice and Salt - Kim Stanley Robinson
Ghost Stories - edited by Peter Washington
The Best of Wodehouse
Blackout - Connie Willis
All Clear - Connie Willis

I hardly know where to start first. So many favorites! So many new things!

Also, you get a hint of this from the ridiculous stack photo, but here's how awful the cover for Rebecca is:

Hahahaha! I'm not usually one to quibble about cover design - for the most part I'm more interested in, you know, the actual book.* But man, what design team decided that a classic Harlequin cover minus the Fabio was the way to go? I can't believe that anyone involved had read a synopsis, let alone the actual book. Too funny.

I did notice something during my excess of materialism though. I used to be one of those people that would head off happily to the book store or library with nothing in particular in mind and pick up some randomness. Where now that I'm an internet addict I primarily have lists of recommended books. I still occasionally grab something random (and have found some real winners) which makes me think I ought to try that more, as even with all the careful reading of reviews from a plethora of sources I've ended up with some real stinkers.

In other words, why go through the trouble of researching if I have as much success with the 'well that looks fun' method? And because I'm nosy, how do you pick books?

* To be fair, I will always love a good cover, tired platitudes aside. It's the mediocre or just plain bad ones that usually slip beneath the radar. I like pretty pictures, ok?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Not to Spend a Rainy Morning

Or Why Can't I Do Anything in a Straight Line?

Aside from my old lady bones hurting, I can tell that I need to take a break from knitting when I wear a notch into my right thumbnail from rubbing it against the needle to move my stitches. I don't know why something so simple and not that weird skeeves me out so badly, but it does,

I still have a pile of things to get done; despite making what feels like considerable progress I still don't seem to have anything much to show for it. I know I can't be the only one this happens to, right? Where you're chugging right along and feeling good and then you check your 'to-do' list and decide that you might as well be farting around on the Internet anyway if that's all you've managed to finish.

Substitute your procrastination tool of choice, obviously.

At any rate, I took the night (and by extension this morning because I keep vampire hours) off from the sticks and strings. But being incapable of sitting still I decided that it was probably time to make a sleeve for my iPad.

I busted out the fabric leftovers from making the Boyfriend's mom's Christmas present measured multiple times (proof I'm capable of learning), did some math and got to stitching. And here's what I have:

I know it doesn't look like the total waste of time and fabric that it was, but allow me to demonstrate:

That's as far in as I can wedge the pad. Awesome. And why, despite my measuring and math and whatnot did I manage to make this too small?

Let's zoom in on a clear example:

Yep. It appears as though straight lines and I still don't get along very well. I probably should have been able to see this coming from how misshapen then patchwork was looking while I was pressing the seams, but I powered through, hoping through magic and wishing it'd come together. Clearly it didn't.

While having a useless sack is sort of frustrating, at least I have this to comfort me:

Oh yeah, I'm set to try again once I undo the filing job I did to get rid of the creepy notch. Though I'm tempted to dive in now that I've got my sewing legs back under me and can stitch in a sort of straight line again. Or possibly do something sensible like wait until I can borrow Mater's machine.

Note to self: get the sewing machine living in your guest bedroom repaired, this is getting beyond ridiculous.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Ok, I feel as though I should put in a disclaimer here at the top. Despite it becoming a more regular occurrence*, I'm still floored by the fact that, yes, it will snow in central Texas.

And while today's showing wouldn't even register on the ''what is real snow' scale, I'm still thrilled at my snow day. Despite the fact that in order for it to actually be a snow day I'd have to be somewhere besides my butt dent on the couch. Ever.

Those of you from colder climes who are probably well and truly sick of winter are free to make fun of me for being perpetually five.

Look, it beats the pants off of weeks of hundred plus temperatures, ok? I'm used to those.

After being told it'd snow last night, first thing I did once the sun was up was take a peek out the back door.

Then I had the immediate need to go outside and play with it. Actually remembered to put on shoes and coat first, something I'm not always capable of managing when I have 'outside, yay!' urges,

This is what waited right outside the front door. It actually crunched when I walked on it. Hee!

The bushes by the door look downright edible now. I know intellectually snow is not frosting but when the only time you're ever really exposed to it is on gingerbread houses you get ideas.

Panoramic view of the neighborhood. All snowy and awesome.

It soon became clear that I hadn't shut the door properly behind me when Junior came running out, happy for freedom after being kept Inside for the last few days. Only to skid to a stop and throw me a rather accusing look because outside had gone all funny:

He had a few minutes of fun before I dragged us both inside because brrrrr!

Didn't stop him from protesting though.

My niece apparently has grand plans for today that seem to involve all of going of to the grandparents' house to stand in a circle and throw snowballs at each other. I imagine she'll get the hang of snowball fights eventually.

*Usually in February and usually after a few weeks of 'oh jesus it's hot' weather.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I've got a list a mile long of things that need to be knit for people which shouldn't be much of a problem (especially as they are trading me money for my time and that always thrills the little bit that's left of my capitalist pig-dog heart) but I just can't seem to finish anything.

It started with this monkey:

But then I decided that I didn't much care for him. I knew I could do better, so I've put him aside for awhile and fully intend on going back to try and fix his proportions and give him ears and a tail and his very important scarf and hat.

So, since Monkey Mark I was a failure, I started another:

Obviously he's not much to look at right now and still needs quite a few things before I can call him done. Unfortunately I forgot to put in the safety eyes before finishing off his body so I get to have fun trying my hand at embroidery again. Let's just say that there's a reason why I love those little bits of plastic so much.

But before any of that could happen something shocking occurred. Mater needed me to take over a project for her. A set of what I rather inappropriately call 'nub caps' for a coworker whose legs were amputated at the knee. As they we're promised to her a while ago, they replaced then monkeys at then top of my queue.

Despite that, it's clear I haven't made much progress on them. But I will say that I have progressed as a knitter because of them - I have finally jumped on board with gauge swatching for every damn project. I know, I know. It's about time. All i can say is that if I have to start these things one more time my brain will start leaking out of my ears.

Overcoming my natural inclination to do things by the seat of my pants is a huge step for me. And for the cats who have a tendency to be in the way whenever I chuck a project across the room in a fit of pique. I don't know how they manage it but they always do. It's like their super power.

In other news, my 'resolution' to blog more is proving to be difficult. Both because of laziness, a lack of doing anything remotely interesting ever and some technological hangups. I've switched to using an iPad as my primary 'computer' and while it is perfect for my needs in a lot of ways, I really do miss my keyboard. I suppose I could try and be less wordy but really. Lets not kid ourselves.