Paste it in the head!

Spinster

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wee little things


I am not a bubbly person by nature (ask anyone who's ever met me. I am constantly being told that I need to smile more, usually by strangers who see me walking down the street. To them I say, "Fuck off!"), but spring makes me indescribably happy. Growing up in Miami where everything is green year-round, I hadn't ever seen spring until I went away to college. Now, you can argue with me until the cows come home about how Portland doesn't have a real winter and therefore doesn't have a real spring, but I beg to differ. Until you've hung out on the waterfront under the blossoming cherry trees, or driven the Fruit Loop in the Columbia Gorge, you have no idea what you're talking about. Spring is the most amazing season. Even for those of us who generally aren't given to waxing rhapsodic about the changing of the seasons and the renewal of life and who are constantly muttering things about "those damn hippies" under our breath, spring is optimistic and beautiful and wonderful. I haven't experienced spring in Toronto yet so I can't tell you much about it, but in Portland it's such a fickle season. Temperatures can differ by 20 degrees (Fahrenheit, obviously) in one day, and rain and hail even while the sun is shining. But to see the sky after months of rain...
And I think that cherry trees are pretty much the greatest congratulations-you-survived-the-rainy-season gift ever.

Archival humor: an oxymoron? You decide!

Last night in one of my classes, I wrote this:

So I'm sitting in my archival arrangement and description class (wow. I just lost, like, my entire audience. Way to go!) and I'm more of less paying attention (less). We had a big assignment due today and I'm going to assume that my classmates worked as hard on it as I did. And that's not a joke--I did work really hard on this one. Basically, I've done nothing but this assignment all week. I've attended 1 out of 4 classes--and it's the end of my school week. Needless to say, I haven't done any of the readings for this class and I'm a little bit bitter about even sitting here right now.

Out of the 20 people in the class, probably 18 of them are archives students; the other two are library science students. It's pretty much this class that both reinforces and undermines my decision to pursue archives. My arrangement/description project was pretty cool and I definitely enjoyed working on it. On the other hand, I just don't get the enthusiasm of my classmates. Jokes relating to archives? I'm not laughing at them and I'm certainly not making them. Overachieving? I'm thinking maybe I'd be a better librarian than an archivist. I'm really looking forward to next year when I don't have to take requirements. I'm gonna take book history and an indexing class (I HATE incomplete indices) and maybe library science requirements and maybe museum studies courses. Yeah, I know, now it sounds really exciting. I should've just gone into publishing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dizzy miss lizzy

Oh my God. So, I take anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication. I am usually very conscientious about taking it every day, but I happened to forget yesterday. I am now having these insane fits of dizziness. As in, if I sit very still and don't turn my head I feel fine, but if I even move my eyes quickly I am overcome with dizziness. This happened once before in one of my classes and it totally sucked. And still does. I think I have to wait for the meds to penetrate whatever they're trying to penetrate (bloodstream? brain? I knew I should've paid more attention in chemistry) and then I'll feel fine, but for the time being all I want to do is go back to sleep, but I can't cause I have to finish this goddamn archival description project.

Anyway. I finished Miracle in the Andes last night. Wow. I remember reading Alive when I was a teenager and just being floored by how incredibly unlucky/graced by the will of whatever forces exist those guys were. I mean, having your small plane crash in some remote region of the Andes in the winter is terrible. Then hearing on the makeshift radio you've rigged up that search efforts have been cancelled is heartbreaking. Then experiencing an avalanche is disastrous. Then having to decide to eat the bodies of the dead--including some of your best friends--in order to possibly survive an unsurvivable situation is unfathomable. Then deciding to save yourselves, and climbing to the top of the mountain you've been stranded on and realizing that you are smack in the middle of the cordillera and your chances of rescue/escape are minimal anyway, and when compounded by the fact that you're starving and dehydrated and experiencing altitude sickness and lost your chances are pretty much nil, that's just cruel. But then when you and your buddy manage to climb over 70 miles--without enough food or water, adequate sleeping bags and clothes, or any maps, ice picks, crampons, or tents--and manage to pick just the right route and find running water and stumble upon a group of farmers tending their winter flock--that is some kind of miracle. By all estimations, everyone on that plane should've been dead. Most of them did die. But 16 of them somehow managed to survive despite the most insurmountable odds. It's such an incredible story and reading it from the perspective of a survivor--the perspective of the survivor who was condemned after he returned to civilization for seeming to forget to be humbled by the experience and instead turning into a race-car driver/international playboy and who examines those choices in a pretty honest manner--just drives home the hopelessness of the situation even more. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

This is my "I hate school" post. In the next two weeks, I have to write two 20-page papers, write a take-home final (which includes a 7-page paper), finish a database assignment that I don't even understand, and... well. I guess that's it. But still! I also have to go to work AND I have to be fabulous, which takes up a considerable amount of time. And of course, all I really want to do is hang out and read and knit and spin and sew and enjoy the insanely beautiful weather we've been having.

Speaking of reading, I started The Miracle in the Andes the other day and it's quite gripping. I'm such a sucker for compelling non-fiction. I love travel literature and adventure stories. I even like the books that movies are eventually made out of, like Under the Tuscan Sun (kinda crappy movie, pretty good book). One of my favorites is Chris Stewart's Driving Over Lemons. He's a sheep-shearing Englishman who moved to Spain with his wife to live on a small farm in the Alpujarras (south of Granada). I know that the Anglo ex-pat is a theme that's been explored and re-explored--it seems like everyone is leaving the US or the UK or Canada or Australia to live in some sun-drenched Mediterranean country--but Stewart's books are humble and insightful and funny. I think that the reason that I love those books is because those people are living the ultimate dream. Who wouldn't want to live in Tuscany or Provence or the south of Spain? Even when the writers mention the hardships they go through, like Stewart's winter from hell, or Mayes' trials and tribulations with her house, I'm still like, "But dude, you get to eat fresh-baked bread drizzled with olive oil from your own grove and in the afternoon, have a siesta under a lemon tree," or whatever.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Progress




I am on row 128 of my sweater and have done the shoulder shaping. I tried to upload a picture but Blogger is not very generous with the picture hosting these days.
I have a ton of homework and I'm supposed to go out tonight so this post will have to be short.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Green top




Last Sunday I was working on the green top that I was sewing and I got really angry at it. Nothing was working out. In fact, last Sunday was kind of a crappy day in general and nothing really worked out. I decided to leave it alone for a while cause when I get mad at things I can't be nice to them. Soooo today I finished it! Finally. I've been trying to upload photos of it but Blogger is being a jerk.

Instead, I will tell you about my wonderful Sunday. First of all, the weather is beautiful--blue sky, fairly warm, very sunny. Lorien, Dave, and I walked down to Kensington, stopping first at Book City so I could buy He's Just Not That Into You. Did I just hear a collective groan at the title? I so don't care, because I think that the idea behind the book is fabulous--why waste your time on guys who just don't like you as much as they could. Or should. And Lorien bought Around the World in 80 Dates which I can't wait to read as well. After Book City we headed down to Kensington, where we just wandered around and went into various shops. We went into Lettuce Knit which is a very very dangerous store. I might have bought a book there as well. I look at it as an investment in my knitting skills and my knitting sanity. It's called The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and it has different designs (raglan, drop-sleeve, cardigans, etc) in different gauges and sizes. It's a good resource for the budding designer.

Ok well Blogger still won't let me post pictures, but I'll try again later and you can always go to my FOs and WIPs link to see it.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lap dances and hockey

Every time I walk down Yonge street to get to the Y (I'm doing an archives project there), I pass a strip club called the Brass Rail. They have an electronic marquee and one day, I noticed that it said, "Very satisfying lap dances." Now, call me crazy, but shouldn't a strip club be advertising things like "Hottest lap dances in town," or "Most flexible girls in Canada"? At least those statements give you something to compare your previous and presumably crappy experiences to--even if you thought you got a good lap dance or saw a flexible stripper, that was nothing compared to what you can get here. But really, "Very satisfying lap dances"? Doesn't that just imply that on the scale of satisfaction, from, say, so unsatisfying that you weren't aroused at all to so satisfying that you had a happy ending, "very" satisfying might lean towards the latter but in no way meets it?

Last night, Alli invited a group of us to watch her brother play hockey. He plays for St. Mike's, and the connection between St. Mike's, the OHL, and the University of Toronto is pretty hazy to me so I won't even try to explain it. Anyway, I'd never been to a hockey game before. We had pretty good seats--fourth row from the rink. The game was really good, very fast and exciting, and holy shit, hockey is so violent! I mean, I knew it was, having watched it on tv, but I really had no idea. At one point, two players got into a fight and started punching each other, and the refs just stood there watching. Are you fucking kidding? I might not be a sports fanatic but I've been to a few games, mostly football and basketball, and if the players started punching each other at a football game, the refs would be on them in two seconds and they would be kicked out. And theoretically I'm opposed to fighting and violence, but I have to say it was pretty exciting to watch those guys fight. And when they body check each other (or whatever it's called, when they slam each other into the sides of the rink), it's so loud! But seriously it was so cool and I had so much fun. I even got a free shirt for yelling really loud and the girl giving away the shirts was totally looking at me when she threw it, but Jarrod intercepted it and then I think Alli made him give it to me anyway. Somehow both he and I ended up with a shirt. Awesome. And then Lorien and I went home and knitted. I'll post pictures later.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ode upon a sandwich

I finally got my wish,
Thanks to my good friend the fish:
Even though tuna is smelly,
And isn't as sweet as the jelly;
My lunch today was delish.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The OC is hotttttt

Finally! After weeks of sexless OC, we finally see some action. And it was hot. I love it when they show Ryan without his shirt, he has the hottest upper body ever. Ok I have to stop using the word "hot," I think we get it.

Memo

To: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had for lunch
From: me


PBJ, I often rely on you to provide me with the sustenance I deny myself by frequently being too lazy to cook. Normally, you come through for me and sometimes you’re even tasty. Not so today, however. If there was ever a day when I needed a lunchtime pick-me-up, today was that day. Unfortunately, instead of my usual fun bread—with sunflower or flax seeds or some other hippie shit—yummy, creamy Maranatha peanut butter and sweet berrylicious jelly, I got stale boring wheat bread, dry PB and—well, ok, the jelly was fine. I’m actually angry at the bread the most. How could you go stale on me in two days? (I HATE Dominion.) Yes, I should’ve just cooked dinner last night so I would have had leftovers today, but I got invited to a pizza party. And maybe I opened a bottle of wine. And maybe America’s Next Top Model was on. But still. PBJ, you can’t let me down like this again, or I will have to remove you from my lunchtime rotation. I don’t think either of us wants that.

Sincerely,
Tasha

I have been out on a couple of dates with a guy who’s established himself as one of those boys who prefers to be unavailable. I understand the feeling—it’s nice to not have a cell phone since it means that when I’m out I can’t be contacted. Not that my cell phone was ringing off the hook when I did have one, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, most of the time if someone has a cell phone they can ignore when they don’t want to talk, they usually have the conventions of call display and voicemail. Not this guy. He’s pretty much living in the ‘80s, or whatever decade it was before everyone had an answering machine.

I was talking to Aundra last night and we were discussing why he hadn’t called me, and she was asking why I hadn’t just left a message for him to call me back. When I told her about his lack of Caller ID and voicemail, there was dead silence on the other end of the phone. I thought maybe she hadn’t heard me, or had lost reception or something. Then I realized that she had been struck speechless and was just trying to process what I’d said. Sure enough, “I had no idea you could even get a cell phone without those things. Didn’t know they were optional…Where do you find these guys?” Dude, I don’t know but clearly, I have some kind of special radar for this shit. I’m pretty sure that only I would be able to find the one guy in Toronto who is so communicationally challenged. Although, Dave (Lorien’s boyfriend) not only doesn’t have a cell phone, he also doesn’t have a landline. Talk about frustrating. Luckily he’s a) totally in love with her and b) always at our apartment, so it’s very rare that she wants to get in touch with him and can’t and has to freak out that he doesn’t like her and she was imagining the chemistry and the next time she goes on a date she’ll have wrinkles. Which yeah, is ridiculous, but it’s my life and my obsession and I’ll develop a complex about it if it’s the last thing I do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Presents make the world go round



Princess Awesome, you're the best! When I arrived home from a frustrating day at school and work, there was this fabulous package waiting for me with two wonderful books in it. Miracle in the Andes is written by one of the guys who got stuck in the mountains after the plane crash, as chronicled in Alive. Everyone remembers the story (most people probably remember the movie with Ethan Hawke, but it was a book first) because the survivors must resort to cannibalism to keep themselves going. I read the book many years ago and loved it. I am a sucker for graphic, gory details, especially when they describe something real, and Piers Paul Read, the author of Alive, is pretty generous with his account of the cannibalism that took place. When Kristen offered to send me the ARC of Miracle in the Andes, there was no way I could say no!
The Yarn Girls' Guide to Simple Knits was an unexpected and very pleasant addition to the book package. I am an avid collector of knitting books and this is one that I don't have. My friend Aundra has it and I've browsed through it many a time. Though the authors use some prohibitively expensive yarn for their designs, the patterns are clear and easy to follow, and the words of encouragement that the Yarn Girls give throughout the book are excellent. In particular, I would imagine that my friends who are relatively new to knitting will enjoy using it as a resource/cheerleader through their first sweater/tank top.

Kristen, thank you very much. I would like to send you a little something in return, so if you would email me your mailing address that would be great.

In other musings: I am so sick of school. I am finding it to be kind of difficult to juggle a full course load and 20 hours a week of work. I know that I signed on for the job and the classes, but inevitably I have to skip at least one class a week in order to get all of my assignments done. Not homework or reading, but actual assignments. I will be a very happy girl when these next few weeks are over!

Today was the Dean's Tea at FIS, and it was the first that I have attended. I think it's pretty obvious by now that I'm not much of a joiner. Never have been, probably never will be. It annoys me when people expect me to have organized extracurricular activities--I'm not into team sports, I don't go to church, and I extend the non-involved attitude quite happily to school and work as well. I mean, people, my hobbies include knitting, spinning, and photography. How more loner can you get? However, the tea was really nice. I could only go for a few minutes cause I was at work, but I enjoyed myself. There was a vegan food theme, as apparently quite a few FIS students are vegetarian or vegan (myself not included) and one of the student council members thought it would be nice to share this common "food choice and way of life" with the rest of the students at the Faculty of Information Studies. The food was pretty good and though I definitely could never be a vegan and would probably struggle to be a true vegetarian, I think it's good that there are a lot of very food-conscious people in my program.

Obviously, the vast majority of the people in the US--I don't know about Canada--are not food-conscious in a healthy way. While vegetarianism and veganism are popular among some demographics, most Americans are meat-eaters--and proud of it! I almost never eat red meat, but it's not for ethical reasons, really; it's just cause I don't like the taste. However, I recognize that there are numerous problems with a diet that is meat-heavy and I take that into consideration when making food choices. On the other hand, I have found that people who don't eat meat can be really self-righteous about their eating habits. I have had several roommates over the years who have been varying degrees of vegetarians/vegans and more often than not, they tend to get up on their high...hmm. Well, it wouldn't be a horse, now would it? Their high carrot? Celery stalk? I don't know, whatever. They get a bit uppity about being a vegetarian. Not my current roommate, though, she's pretty cool about it. I lived with these two hippies in Portland, though. They were the most uptight hippies I've ever met--no caffeine; no alcohol; they were on some Ayurvedic diet which meant they couldn't eat garlic, onions, or mushrooms; organic everything; and they popped a million Chinese herbal supplements every day. I couldn't stand them, even though they were the healthiest people I've ever met. I think people need to do things--almost everything--in moderation, and just cause you don't eat meat or drink beer does not mean that you're somehow better than the rest of us!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Knitting + (friends * wine) = party

Stephanie and Alli knitting
Stephanie and Alli knitting some more

It's an algebraic equation: put a group of knitters in a room with a bottle of wine and some yarn, and you've got yourself a party. Last night Lorien and I invited Alli and Stephanie over to teach Alli to knit and just hang out.

Alli hiding her knitting from the camera

Lorien knitting



Having taught myself and several others to knit, I'm always interested in who picks it up quickly and who doesn't. I was definitely in the "did not pick it up quickly" camp--when Aundra and I decided to learn how to knit one day, we sat on my living room couch for hours with our Michael's yarn (somehow I got it into my head that I should knit a pink scarf--pink!) and needles and our American School of Needlework "learn to knit" pamphlet, which I still have; and we must have sat there for five hours trying to figure it all out. When Aundra left she'd definitely gotten a handle on it, and though I don't consider myself to be a competitive person by nature, the fact that Aundra had gotten it and I hadn't really bugged me. I struggled with that stupid pink yarn until my fingers were sore from trying to knit into stitches that were so tight I couldn't get the needle through them. My "scarf" turned into the world's most lopsided potholder--straight on one edge and veering out dramatically on the other, complete with holes. Eventually, I switched to nicer yarn and made a scarf for my then-boyfriend, and that's all it took. Once I'd been successful with one project I was hooked.

Most of the people who I've recently taught to knit have picked it up pretty quickly--my mom, Lorien, and now Alli--and I figure it must be because knitting is so much easier when you have someone there to show you what you're doing wrong and how to fix your mistakes, and also because knitting is such a good social activity and doing it with friends and a bottle of wine is immensely enjoyable. That said, though, I've always felt that since almost everything I know about knitting I've taught myself, there's basically nothing that I can't do, if you just give me enough time and alcohol. If I could wrestle with that squeaky pink acrylic yarn and still manage to master garter stitch, I can do cables and lace and sweaters, no problem.

Last night was excellent, and I hope Alli sticks with knitting. With her more-mathematical-than-mine mind (how's that for alliteration?) and ability to pick things up quickly, she might turn out to be one of those savant knitters who comes up with crazy stitch patterns and color combinations. Likewise, I'm stoked that Stephanie taught herself to knit, and that she's willing to figure out the things she doesn't know on her own, cause I think that having the confidence to make mistakes and undo them yourself is a pretty powerful tool--in knitting as in life. Lorien is a perfectionist and wants everything to look smooth and even; as a result, her finished objects look polished and in no way do they reveal that she's been knitting for six months. There's no right or wrong way to do this particular craft, and though each of my friends has a different approach to knitting, that approach works uniquely for them.

Friday, March 17, 2006

This one's for you, Mom













I'm wearing a green skirt with frogs on it (not snakes, unfortunately) and green earrings. And I'm going to drink tonight. If that's not a St. Patrick's Day celebration, I don't know what is.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I live in a somewhat funky part of town, and the major street in my neighborhood has tons of bars and restaurants and, as I was walking home from work this afternoon, I noticed that people had already started the revelry. It was approximately 5:15 and people were out wearing green in full force, already spilling out of bars, and already stumbling drunkenly down the street. I went out last night and I'm pretty tired, but man seeing those drunkies definitely inspired me to go out tonight and see Toronto at its worst (and by worst I mean best).

My mother has a fascination with all things Irish, including herself (she's something like 1/8 Irish which would make me 1/16 Irish, which I guess counts for something). She called me at like 6:00 this evening to wish me a happy St. Patrick's day. The conversation went something like this:

Mom (Keep in mind that this woman was born in upstate New York, lives in Miami, and has been to Ireland once.): Tash? Do you know what day it is, lassie?

Me: Hi, Mom. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Mom: You better be celebratin', my girl. You know you're Irish.

Me: Yeah, Mom, I know.

Mom: You've got that Irish blood runnin' through your veins. Are you wearing green?

Me: No, I'm not.

Mom: For shame, lassie, for shame.

Me: Well, I'll wear green if I go out tonight, how about that?

Mom: If you were here I'd give you a Guinness.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Things boys need to know about girls

1. If I am cool enough to hit on you and give you my number (which clearly I am) and you are cool enough to call me and set up a date, you MUST give me more than two hours' notice. And even though we talked on Tuesday and said that we'd go out "around 8 or 9" on Thursday, you STILL have to call me and give me two hours' notice. Why? Because...

2. I am SO not going to take a shower until you call, and it takes at least an hour from the time I get in the shower to the time that I'm ready to go--at which point you're about to write me off as "too high maintenance" (which, let me assure you, I am not).

3. Even if I do give in and take a shower before you call, I am obviously not going to get dressed (even though I've known for two days what I'm going to wear: my cool black t-shirt with the skulls on it to show you that, despite me being four years older and therefore at least four times cooler than you, I am not too uptight for you; tight jeans to show off my assets; and cute black boots instead of trainers cause I don't want to look too Hot Topic high school goth).

4. Because I was so fucking ballsy last week when I asked you your name and gave you my number, you are SO NOT ALLOWED to ruin the high that I've been riding on for days by being too fucking lazy to call me at a proper time to confirm our date.

5. Just cause Thursday is considered the beginning of the weekend for students, and it is Thursday and I am a student, does not mean that I don't have to go to work tomorrow and be alert--so if you call me at 10 tonight to hang out, the answer is no.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


























Since I'm apparently on an environmental kick--and I am an environmentalist by nature--I'd like to share with my loyal readers my favorite author, David James Duncan. He lived in Oregon for most of his life before moving to Montana; the Pacific Northwest is the setting for most of his writing; his capacity for storytelling is phenomenal: these are not necessarily criteria for being my favorite writer, but they certainly don't hurt. He has the ability to infuse each sentence with beautiful language and each scene with palpable emotion, yet somehow he manages to avoid coming across as saccharine. I read The Brothers K first, and fell completely in love. The Brothers K and The River Why are his novels; River Teeth is a collection of fiction and non-fiction stories and essays about nature, specifically rivers; and My Story as Told by Water is a collection of non-fiction essays chronicling Duncan's experiences with the rivers of Oregon and Montana. I find him to be at his best when writing about nature...My Story contains some of the most eloquent, beautiful, and heartfelt accounts of human interaction with nature that I've ever read, and in The River Why Duncan somehow melds the coastal environment of Oregon with the power of romantic and familial love. He makes no attempt to hide his love for nature, and he makes no excuses for the myopic and greedy destruction of it.

I've read a couple other works of both fiction and non-fiction that could fall under the genre "environmental literature." The Last Child in the Woods comes to mind, as does Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, though I wouldn't normally consider Bryson to be an environmental writer. I think that the interaction between humans and nature is fascinating (Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild come to mind), particularly in light of global warming.

If anyone has any good environment-themed books that they've read lately, I'd love suggestions!

Last night I bought this, even though I don't need it. Why don't I need it, you ask? Because I already have 3 1/2--no wait, 4 1/2--spinning projects that need to be worked on. But my roommate wants to learn to spin, so she very bravely bought two batts and I figured that while she was at it, I might as well buy more too.

Sometimes, when I'm really bored, I like to go onto Friendster and see what people from high school are up to. I realized last night when I was taking a break from studying (a break that lasted 2 hours), that I went to high school with some ridiculously attractive people. Maybe I'm biased cause I spent time with these people every day, and you tend to find those you know more attractive than those you don't, but I'm pretty sure that when you're in school with models and winners of beauty pageants it's safe to assume that other people would find these kids attractive too. I was talking to a few of my friends and they said that their high school peers weren't very hot, so I wonder what it is about my school... well, the hotness probably isn't limited to only Palmetto Senior High. Maybe Miami has more hot teenagers than most places? Maybe the gene pool is more diverse, with the influx of people from the Caribbean and Central and South America, and so people are more exotic-looking than in someplace like Sioux Falls, SD?

Now that I've indulged my shallow side, let's talk about the book I'm reading. It's called The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery and it's awesome. It's about how humans have caused global warming and climate change. Flannery supports the idea that everything on earth, including us, is part of the same system (called "Gaia," the mythological name for Earth), as opposed to the reductionist worldview, which states that human actions can occur in isolation and therefore, we are not responsible for changes in weather patterns and climate. The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere (a result of our dependence on fossil fuels) is responsible for a multitude of climatic changes (hurricanes, ice caps melting, coral reefs dying) and, if we don't do something about it soon, we are going to destroy life on earth as we know it. I don't have the most scientific mind but I am finding this book to be really easy to understand, and sooo interesting. Flannery may be preaching to the choir, as the people who will read his book probably already think along the same lines as him, but he's saying something that desperately needs to be heard.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

New Wave




Clearly, I got a hair cut (and maybe a little bit of color--maybe). At first, I was convinced that I now look like Chrissie Hynde and Melissa (the best stylist ever!) thought I looked like Emily from Metric and also Mena Suvari but I couldn't find pictures of her new hair. Now I think maybe not so much Chrissie Hynde (but your music still rocks, Chrissie!).

Anyway, I think I like the cut but I'm not totally sure.

Progress report

I've somehow found time in my busy schedule to knit and spin, and here are the results:

86 rows on my sweater



My latest Corriedale:



I know that the quality of the last two pictures isn't that great, but it's really annoying cause I can't seem to get the color of the wool right. No matter what conditions I take the pictures in, it always comes out looking more silvery than it is. The reason that I chose to post a couple of less-than-sharp-focus pictures is that I thought the color looked the most accurate of the dozen pictures that I took. I guess I don't take digital photography very seriously. I am a decent black-and-white fine art photographer and I use a medium format SLR camera--but I use it for my "real" photography. Digital just isn't real to me. I love having a digital camera but mainly because it's convenient, not because I think that the quality of the photos in any way rivals that of film photography. Plus, I love the b/w printing process so much that I'm pretty sure I'll never feel the same way about sitting in front of a computer pushing buttons. Sorry to be a traitor to the digital revolution (and I know it's ridiculous that I'm using my blog as a soapbox for it) but that's how it is.

In other news, my friends and I went to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) yesterday evening cause it was free. I have to say, free museums are the best. I tend to get exhausted by the information and sensory overload of museums, so it was nice to just look at a couple of exhibits and leave. Having never been to the ROM before the construction began, I don't know how it used to be, but I take it the exhibits were much more extensive. As it is, their displays did seem a bit anemic, though I did like the Evolution of Style. It was really cool--they set up rooms, I guess they would be the equivalent of our living rooms, or whatever room people use to entertain guests, reflecting decorative and furniture style from the medieval era to the modern era. The baroque one was hilarious and way over the top. I definitely liked the rococo style--well, i guess I liked everything from baroque to the modern period, but skipping victoriana. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was represented, which was awesome. He's like the son of Glasgow--he was an artist and designer in Glasgow around the turn of the 19th century (or is it 20th--whenever the 1800s became the 1900s) and Glasgow loves him. As Erin would say, Mackintosh pretty much designed the font of Glasgow. He designed the University of Glasgow School of Art, which is beautiful and awesome. The university owns the Charles Rennie Mackintosh house, which they turned into a museum, and while I was studying there I went and visited it. Anyway, it was cool to see Scotland represented here in Toronto.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Guys, can we be serious for once? I mean, really. All we ever do is joke and laugh, and I feel like our relationship is a bit... shallow. I have something weighty I need to discuss with you, a confession I need to make:

I love The OC. I really, really love The OC. I know that I complained a while back about how there wasn't enough sex on the show, how it was a bit disappointing. I feel like I should take back those cruel words--I was trying to turn a beautiful blossoming of love, and character development, into a cheap, tawdry one night stand. I've been watching season 2 (lesbians, illegitimate children, infidelity, and porn) and I have slowly been realizing that I am in love with Ryan Atwood. I thought I loved Seth Cohen, I really did, but Ryan just has that perfect mix of sensitivity and strength. Like, he would totally get in a fight for you to defend your honor but he would feel really bad about hurting the other guy. Seth would just run away like the pussy he is. I'm not saying he doesn't love Summer, I'm just saying that he doesn't have the life experience to really know what he wants. And I think we can all agree that Ryan looks pretty hot in a wifebeater.

My calling in life might not be archives, or knitting, or photography. It might be television shows. The OC, My So-Called Life, 90210--these are the episodes that define us, these are the common bonds that hold us all together. After all, I'd rather watch a tv prom than relive my own any day. At least that way I can spend it in comfy clothes with the people I like.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You never knew this about me...

Your Stripper Song Is

Master and Servant by Depeche Mode

"There's a new game
We like to play you see
A game with added reality
You treat me like a dog
Get me down on my knees"

Yawn, dancing is so boring without a little spice.

I spin you right round

Last night, I took a break from doing homework (when I mention doing homework on my blog, you can safely assume that I'm lying unless I provide specifics. I was totally watching The OC.) to spin some of the huge amounts of wool that I've accumulated in the past few months (and by months I mean years).

I turned this:


Into this:


I bought 3 batts of Corriedale fibers from here in colorways "definitely 236" and "the rest I forget." Anyway, they're all various shades of green, even though blue is my favorite color. One of them is for my aunt, the one I'm currently spinning is for a sweater or some kind of garment, and the other I just thought was too pretty to pass up.

I also have about 50 rows of my sweater knitted but I didn't take pictures cause I need to go do some archives homework (see what I mean? I was specific there, so I'm not lying; however, if I'd simply said that I need to go do homework, that would have most likely meant that I was going to go watch tv.).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Article review

Virtually everyone is familiar with old, worn-out books, their spines cracked, covers torn off, and pages ripped out. Even if they haven’t been actively abused, books just don’t seem to last that long; even books first published 50 years ago have become yellowed and fragile with age. Librarians have learned to cope with these “brittle books” and, since the 1950s, have grown adept at taking measures to conserve them (Marcum & Friedlander, 2003). Marcum and Friedlander (2003) argue in “Keepers of the crumbling culture” that information professionals attempting to preserve electronic media can learn much from libraries’ experiences with the preservation of paper materials.
For over a century, libraries have been suffering the consequences of the inferior, acidic paper that has been used widely since the mid-1800s (Marcum & Friedlander, 2003). Though the problem of unstable books and other printed materials was recognized at least as early as 1900, committed efforts to correct the issue were not made until the mid-twentieth century, when the chemistry of paper was fully explored (Marcum & Friedlander). Armed with knowledge of the certainty of short-lived paper, librarians knew that changes had to be made. Marcum and Friedlander (2003) write, “Realizing that the cycle of deterioration would not end unless alkaline paper was adopted in book manufacture, the library community worked with other concerned communities and standards-setting organizations to promote guidelines for and use of durable paper” (Section titled “Books and paper: permanence and durability,” ¶ 14). As a result of these actions, in 1981 “the Z39 Committee of the American National Standards Institute drafted a standard for permanent paper for printed library materials” (Section titled “Brooks and paper: permanence and durability,” ¶ 14). Other advances in preserving brittle books were made when the National Endowment for the Humanities and private foundations provided funds for the preservation of brittle books, particularly by microfilming (Marcum & Friedlander, 2003).
By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the preservation of print materials had become assimilated into the management of libraries. Now that some of the issues surrounding preserving paper have been resolved, information managers have begun considering the preservation of electronic media. Marcum and Friedlander explore the unique qualities of digital media and the challenges of preserving them. One of the biggest challenges of preserving digital material in libraries lies in the area of ownership (Marcum & Friedlander, 2003). Marcum and Friedlander (2003) ask, “If libraries become gatekeepers, aggregators, editors, and consultants to researchers, leasing rather than purchasing the resources researchers need, who will ensure ongoing access to those resources? Who will preserve them as part of the human cultural record?” (Section titled “Why digital is different,” ¶ 23) Another problem surrounding electronic interpretations of print media is the relationship between content and form—when texts are microfilmed, for example, much of the original form is still visible, including the binding and the pages; however, electronic texts “decouple content from the artifact, so that information became separated from its original vehicle and expressed in a new form” (Marcum & Friedlander, section titled “Why digital is different,” ¶ 20). Furthermore, electronic materials tend to be unstable (Marcum & Friedlander). Finally, obsolescence is a concern, as well—even if the digital object has been well preserved, the absence of compatible hardware or software essentially means that the information contained within the object has been lost (Marcum & Friedlander).
Marcum and Friedlander conclude by emphasizing that libraries are and will continue to be on the front line of digital preservation. Also, librarians are familiar with the collaborative effort that the authors assert will be necessary to manage digital preservation effectively—they write, “Librarians inherit a tradition of local and global coordinated practice and procedures—namely, interlibrary loan, shared cataloging, and the development of directories of microform and manuscript collections, practices that are perpetuated through library school, professional training and continuous education” (Marcum & Friedlander, 2003, section titled “Why digital is different,” ¶ 29).
Overall, Marcum and Friedlander present convincing arguments to support their thesis. However, limiting this view to only libraries—ignoring the role that archives and the other information professions can and do play in the effort to preserve electronic information—is myopic. Certainly, archivists are also aware of the problems associated with preserving electronic information. Lin, Ramaiah, and Wal (2003) note that archives’ preservation programs “have been organized around physical paper records, microfilm, and other visible record media. Now, the archival repositories are in a long transition from paper to electronic records as the predominant record-keeping medium” (p. 117). Also, Lin et al. recommend that archivists and others in the preservation field partner with those who work closely with information systems, as a means of ensuring that archivists have a role in the process of publishing digital information. Though Marcum and Friedlander assert that libraries will lead the way in successful digital preservation programs, they do not present examples of how this will be accomplished, given the unique challenges that digital materials pose. Lin et al. provide several examples of ways in which digital preservation is being addressed, albeit in archives, not libraries.
Finally, Marcum and Friedlander appear to be operating under the assumption that simply because libraries responded successfully to the deterioration of printed materials, they will experience the same results with electronic information. Smith (2004) explains that, while libraries have been successful in the preservation of print material, the circumstances surrounding digital information are different. Smith writes, “With digital information, the preservation mantra seems to be ‘use it or lose it.’ That is a serious problem for collecting institutions that are working to ensure the integrity of the historical, intellectual, and cultural record. Low-use materials by definition die a premature death” (p. 110). Fenton (2004) comments on the link between preservation and ownership; though this relationship is clearly defined with traditional sources of information, it is much less clear with digital. Fenton explains, “Because these materials [electronic resources] are not held locally, neither the library nor the parent institution is compelled to make the same kind of infrastructure investment as with print materials. The link between local ownership and preservation and access is broken” (p. 118).
The movement to save digital information is too young to be declared a success in libraries, archives, or any other information organization. Though Marcum and Friedlander may be right in asserting that libraries’ history with preservation will stand them in good stead throughout the digital preservation process, it is more likely that a collaborative effort between libraries, archives, and information systems developers is the approach that will bear fruitful results.

References

Fenton, E.G. (2004). The digital preservation conundrum, part 2: Preservation and electronic archiving, The Serials Librarian 46, 115-119.
Lin, S.L., Ramaiah, C.K., & Wal, P.K. (2003). Problems in the preservation of electronic records, Library Review 52, 117-125.
Marcum, D. & Friedlander, A. (2003). Keepers of the crumbling culture: What digital preservation can learn from library history, D-Lib Magazine 9. Retrieved February 28, 2006 from http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may03/friedlander/05friedlander.html
Smith, A. (2004). The digital preservation conundrum, part 1, The Serials Librarian 46, 107-113.

This is ricockulous

Ok, so I know that I'm not the most outspoken student ever, but really, I've had this professor for two semesters. These classes are not that big. I've written a bunch of papers for her. And, for the love of God, she was one of my references for my current job, so clearly she must have some inkling of who I am. Why, therefore, is it so hard for her to remember my name???

Alright, I got it out of my system. Can we talk about fashion now? Unfortunately, because I am loath to give up my complex about being a good student, I was too busy writing another useless paper to watch the majority of the Academy Awards last night. However, I felt ok letting go of a wonderful opportunity to dis celebrities because of a little website I like to call Go Fug Yourself. If there's ever a time when you need a dose of Hollywood's sartorial (I just love that word) disasters, visit Go Fug Yourself. These people clearly cannot dress themselves but when they let others do it for them, bad things still happen! Freakin brilliant. Oh by the way, who thought that Nicole Kidman looked insanely beautiful last night?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hoo boy

Things that I learned about myself last night:

1. Having super-straight hair (thank you, Lorien and flat iron) gives me oodles of confidence. More than alcohol, though I had plenty of that as well.

2. I can talk to the cutest boy in the bar! Even if he is a liar lawyer.

3. Even though I know my limits very well, it is still extremely possible for me to completely ignore them if I'm feeling drinky.

4. I think that I have a pretty cool group of friends.

That's it. No details, as I would like to protect the innocent, and really, you guys don't need to know everything.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

30 rows



Finally some decent pictures! I took these just now, "just now" being this morning in actual daylight, not Tungsten light which distorts color.

So there you have it--30 rows so far.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The first 23 rows


The first 23 rows of my sweater are finished! I love this yarn. It's Fleece Artist Blue-faced Leicester and it's really soft and I love the color changes. And the colorway. Veddy veddy nice. Oh, by the way, those holes at the bottom are yo, k2tog repeats for the picot hem; I'll turn the bottom part under so that only the points are showing.

Um so in other news, my week is finally over, I get to enjoy the next few days, do some homework, knit, and hopefully have some fun.

Lorien and I are going to watch The OC tonight and I've been trying to convince myself to go to either the LCBO or the corner store to get some coke. Not cocaine, dudes. As if I would blog about that even if I was into it. Coke to mix with some liquor. However, it's like negative a billion outside so I'm not really into the whole walking thing. On the other hand, I do love my liquor.

Stay tuned to find out... did I stay or did I go?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

oh dear god the pain

Things I learned today:

1. I am a total fucking wimp. I went to an ABT class (abs, butt, and thighs) this afternoon and I'm pretty sure that the phrase "It kicked my ass" is a complete understatement. There were lunges. And squats. And more lunges. And then there were these leg kick things that I hope to never experience again. My legs were shaking so bad by the end (and by "the end" I mean "10 minutes into it")--but I've decided that if it gives me sexy thighs I'll do it once a week until skirt season.

2. I enjoy living in my own little world of delusion--if I want to believe that I'm in shape, there's nothing stopping me as long as my most strenuous exercise includes lifting the wine glass to my lips.

3. I HATE taking out garbage. Yet still I do it.

4. I am pretty bad at statistics but my roommate is pretty good. Hence the 2 + hours that I spent totally confusing myself about various statistics-related crap and the 30 minutes she spent totally clearing it up AND giving me a bunch of shortcuts.

5. Thursday is one of my favorite days. It's an even. And it's pretty close to the weekend but it's not the actual weekend so there's the buzz of anticipation.

I have now knit 20 rows on my sweater. Maybe, if you're very lucky, I'll post a picture before quiz/work tomorrow.