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Monday, October 30, 2006

Check it out

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Best way to reduce your stash



Be a ball of yarn for Halloween.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Things likely to be said at my funeral

--"We still haven't figured out how such a small girl got such a big ass."

--"I didn't really know it was possible to check your email 8 times in one minute, but I guess it is. Tasha did it all the time."

--"How can someone spend five hours reading one blog?"

--"Tasha never did know how to work hard. Or smart, for that matter."

The blind leading the blind

The full-time staff at my workplace (and by full-time I mean responsible enough to not go out drinking/hooking up last night) are away on a retreat all day. I'm manning the desk until 1, at which point M___* shows up to relieve me. Having just seen M___, who looks like something the cat that swallowed the canary just dragged in, and being me, who, while I might look a little less rough around the edges, still feels the way he looks, I can safely say two things:
1. No work will be done around here today, and
2. If anything goes wrong--anything, even if a computer so much as freezes--this entire place is fucked.

*For anyone who even remotely knows who I work with, it is not the least bit difficult to determine who this is.

Why not smoke pot at 8 a.m.?

I was walking to work yesterday at around 8, and I passed this guy who was smoking a joint. He wasn't a teenager and it wasn't 11 on a Sunday morning. He was in his forties and it was 8 on a Thursday. That is some commitment to wake and bake.

Coffee presents a morning challenge

In my humbug world, there is a time and a place for choice. When I go yarn shopping, I want choice and lots of it. When I go boyfriend shopping, again, choice is good. When it’s an ungodly hour in the morning and I need to buy coffee cause one of my coworkers broke the coffee pot at work--and, let’s be honest, I don’t make my own coffee* and it’s just me today, so I’d have had to buy it even if the coffee pot was still intact--I do not want to have to choose between six different blends. I just want coffee. Regular, plain old boring coffee.

I tried to order a regular coffee this morning at a coffee shop and the guy behind the counter looked at me like I was nuts. “We have six different kinds,” he said, in that tone that implied his incredulousness at having to deal with someone who didn’t know and doesn’t care about the difference between the full-bodied Amazonia blend harvested by pygmies in the rainforest and the milder Verona grown in organic rooftop gardens in Italy.

It’s a Starbucks** world and we just live in it; I know that it’s impossible to just get regular coffee at one of these places. The struggle has been documented plenty of times, so clearly I’m not breaking any new ground. I mean, I should have known better. But seriously, I’m not a coffee connoisseur (I love that when I typed the misspelled “conoisseur” into Google [a.k.a. "The poor man's dictionary"] it gently suggested, “Did you mean connoisseur?”), and all I wanted was the basic brew.

After the barista chose one of the blends because I am incapable of making decisions at indecent hours, I produced my Starbucks cup for him to fill. I wasn’t actually at a Starbucks and he didn’t know what cup size of theirs would correspond with what I presented. I am not going to quibble with someone over 15 cents at 8 a.m., so I usually just tell them to charge me for a large, even if it actually takes a medium. Even so, he started dispensing the coffee into one of their disposable cups to figure out which size my cup would take.

That drives me nuts. What is the point of having a reusable cup if you have to use a disposable cup in order to fill it?

I tried to say something, and at this point, not only am I the psycho who doesn’t care what kind of coffee she drinks, but she also wants to use a hard plastic cup that doesn’t even fit under the dispenser. I’m pretty sure I was the crazy bitch at 8 a.m. who was a bad omen for the rest of his day. Tough shit, as I say, having worked at plenty of customer service jobs.

Anyway, he filled up his large disposable cup and poured it into mine. Of course, he filled it to the brim with steaming hot coffee. And, of course, as soon as he started to screw on the lid, it overflowed and burned his hand. I could have told him that that was going to happen (guess how I know?). At that point, I could feel his hatred; it was palpable and strong and scary. Did that stop me from giving him $20.06 for a $1.86 coffee? Nope!

*-It's not entirely that making my own coffee is, as an internet friend put it, "For the poors," it's also that I'm not that good at it. My coffee is always too weak or too strong or something. Plus, it's for the poors. I try to distance myself from them whenever possible.

**-I wasn't at a Starbucks but I still consider it to be a Starbucks world.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Treasures

I spent a ridiculous amount of money at Rhinebeck. Maybe not a ridiculous amount of money for people who have full-time jobs and who aren't students, but for part-time student me, it was a ridiculous amount. However, I *sort of* budgeted the money in. And by "sort of," I mean, "didn't really at all but also didn't care when I got there and saw all of the pretty things."

This is my loot:


Socks That Rock in Laguna (or is it Lagoona?) and Something That Makes Reference To The Colors "Reddish" and "Purplish"


A close-up of Something That Makes Reference To The Colors "Reddish" and "Purplish"


A blurry close-up of the gorgeous silk roving that I got. Colorway: No Fucking Clue, But Isn't It Pretty?


A to-die-for batt from Grafton Fibers


Four Play from Brooks Farm in yet another unremembered colorway

Those are my good pictures. I also bought a skein of Brooks Farm's Harmony in a kaleidoscope of reds and pinks, but I couldn't get a good picture of it. I also bought a beautiful nostepinde that I forgot to photograph that is currently being used to wind some "laceweight" (my "professional" term for "really skinny") Corriedale. Even though I have a swift and ball winder, I really like the nostepinde. Pictures forthcoming!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rhinebeck














This is me and my friend Stephanie (sorry, grammar police, my friend Stephanie and I) as we are about to enter the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, commonly known as Rhinebeck. We left on Friday at noon to drive down to Saugerties, NY, which is where we were staying. The scenery



is gorgeous.

The only fiber festival I had ever been to previously was some rinky-dink thing in Canby, Oregon (not Black Sheep, duh), and though I knew that Rhinebeck was going to be a HUGE event, I wasn't really prepared for the insanity. We got there at 10 on Saturday, the time it was scheduled to open. We headed straight for The Fold, proud purveyor of Socks That Rock, and it was there that I glimpsed true fiber fever. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures, but I can tell you that by the time we got there, at 10:15 on Saturday morning, that booth was already becoming picked over, and the line to pay was crazy. We waited in line for 20 minutes (during which time I purchased a gorgeous Corriedale batt from Grafton fibers, pictures coming soon), and I have heard accounts of people waiting in line for upwards of an hour to pay. Fiber-induced insanity, I tell ya!

Rhinebeck isn't only an opportunity to empty the contents of your wallet/checking account/children's college fund, it's also a veritable field day of livestock. Check these guys out:





And this is one of my favorite pictures--a close-up of a Lincoln fleece, still on the owner's back:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pet peeve of the day

People who take the elevator up or down one storey. Um, hello? Are you that lazy that you won't take the stairs? It takes less time to just walk that flight than it does to wait for elevator, especially in this building. Plus, climbing stairs is good for your ass. Do you think I got this ass by taking the elevator? HELL no. And I bet that you're all, "Oooh, we should go to the gym later and work out on the Stairmaster. [Gigglegiggle]" News flash, princess--if you took the stairs you wouldn't NEED to go to the sweaty dirty gym, AND you wouldn't piss off people like me! Sounds like reason enough to me.

Paperback Writer

I went on date #3 with the Paperback Writer last night. We went to a lecture on Churchill, which was surprisingly: a) interesting, b) short, and c) well-attended. There was free wine and like six different kinds of cheese, which made the event even better. We were sitting there, waiting for the lecture to begin, and I asked him if he thought it was weird that we haven't exchanged phone numbers. He said no, as we both hate talking on the phone (hey Dad, I bet you never thought your daughter would cop to that) and wouldn't answer it anyway. I told him about Alli's suggestion that we try to conduct our entire relationship without ever talking on the phone. He said that sounded great! So we decided that we would exchange phone numbers in case of emergencies or the destruction of the internet (please, God, even though I don't believe in you I ask you to not let that happen)--but I would only accept his number if it was written on a cocktail napkin. Do you see why I click with this guy?

After the lecture we went for sushi, which was mmmmm good. He let me pick up the check, which was cool. I've been out with guys who never let me pick up the check, and I hate that. I don't make tons of money, but I'm not in the poorhouse or anything, and sometimes it's nice to treat people. I'm not an overly generous person in many ways, and I can be downright territorial about food and stingy with my time, so paying for meals, or cooking meals for people, is something that I can do for someone else. When you deprive me of that, I get a little pissy. It's a red flag, that's for sure.

Anyway, during dinner he mentioned that he wasn't feeling well (he's been courting some kind of bug for a few days) and then asked if I wanted to go out for a drink. I suggested that, since he wasn't feeling well, he could invite me back to his place. He jumped at the idea, and so I got to meet his roommate (who was watching America's Next Top Model which pretty much means that I love him) and the cats (who I automatically love cause they're, well, fuzzy and purry [it doesn't take much]). We watched tv (and by watched tv I mean made out on the couch while the tv was on in the background) and then actually watched tv (The Daily Show was on). It was an EXCELLENT evening.

I don't want to say anything too enthusiastically (ha! As if my pessimism would actually allow THAT to happen), but I definitely get a good feel from this thing, this burgeoning relationship or whatever you want to call it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Simpsons 101: What should we be learning in college?

I was talking with my friend Heather today, who attended the University of California at Santa Cruz. I've never visited the UCSC campus but I know that the school has a reputation for being a hippie school. Nothing wrong with that; my own alma mater has that reputation, too. Anyway, we got to talking about courses we took in college. I was talking about how I'm writing one of those lame touchy-feely papers for my reference course, and she mentioned that she had to write tons of those as an undergrad: UCSC offered courses like the Sociology of Love, Women in Popular Culture, a course on the Simpsons, one on the Grateful Dead, and one on the Muppets.

As an undergraduate English major, most of the papers I wrote were decidedly NOT touchy-feely. I wasn't cracking the genetic code, but I wasn't writing about how television makes me feel, either. I remember taking a gender studies course (that was my first mistake) and having to sit through a presentation that consisted of a mix tape of Ani DiFranco's music. Worst. Class. Ever. Still, though, that was probably the flakiest course I took in college. There were probably other, much flakier classes being offered, probably in the Comm or SoAn departments, but I wasn't on either of those tracks.

It's always seemed foreign to me that people could watch TV or read magazines for college credit and/or a degree. The article that I have linked in the title of this post mentions that the study of popular culture can be made a rigorous academic experience, with connections made between hip hop and history, the Simpsons and satire. I've never taken a course on hip hop or the Simpsons, so I can't say how rigorous or how easy such a class would be. I can't help but think that these courses do not in any way indicate a real education.

And yeah, I know that, with my English degree and requisite courses in Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Virginia Woolf, my peers who have studied the exploitation of women in Cosmopolitan or the politics of the East Coast-West Coast rap wars or whatever will be making exponentially more money than I. Good thing I don't care!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dating

So, I had a second date last night. The first date was a lunch date and it went very well, so we decided to go out again. We went to a neighborhood cafe, where I proceeded to eat way more than he did (again). Over a few pints of beer, we talked about date-type stuff--movies, books, past dating experiences. I explained to him how I don't like girls named Crystal/Chrystal/Cristal/Krystal/Kristal (sorry if I'm offending anyone) or excessive displays of other people's emotions. Or sentimentality. And? Ya know what? He didn't have a problem with it! How awesome is that? He doesn't consider being "nice" (synonym for "bland," remember?) to be an attractive trait! I'm so excited!

An ode to productivity

Time spent at work: 1 hour, 52 minutes
Crappy coffees consumed: 1
Bags of delicious chips consumed: 1
Number of times checked email: 25
Number of celebrity gossip blogs read: 4
Different kinds of new birth control pills investigated online: 1
Number of times Googled self: 1
Number of times Googled date from last night: 1

Monday, October 09, 2006

FO! FO!





I actually finished this a couple of days ago, but this is the first time I've felt like uploading the photos of it. It's the cotton raglan sweater from Rebecca 31. I didn't even like the sweater in the magazine, but then I saw this version of it and realized that the shape of the sweater is actually very pretty. I used Cascade Quattro, and I bought 7 skeins but only used 4. Having knitted with cotton yarn before and having hated it, I was kind of wary of embarking on another cotton project, but I actually liked this yarn a lot. It's 80% pima cotton and 20% wool, so it has a little bit of give. I wore this sweater to school the other day, and I was wearing a one-strap bag across my chest, and when I got home and took the sweater off, I noticed that the spot where the bag had been rubbing against it had gotten fuzzy. It didn't pill; it got fuzzy. Does that make sense? Anyway, this will probably be my Rhinebeck sweater since I don't see myself finishing the cabled one in the next two weeks. Two weeks! Two weeks! Can't f-in wait.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Picky-picky

As Heather reminded me last week, I am 6.5 months away from getting my master's degree and having to get a "real job." I mean, the job I have now is fairly real but it's a student position, so once April hits, I'm on my own. Because I'll have a professional degree, I can start applying for jobs in January.

I've been thinking about where I want to live. So far, I've lived in Miami, Portland, Miami again, and Toronto, with a 3-month stay in Glasgow. Miami is the no-chance-in-hell option--I will never, ever live there again (I don't even like visiting). I like Toronto but my options for staying in Canada are pretty limited. It's not like I could get a stop-gap retail job here while waiting for something professional.

So, since I'm not going "home" and I'm not sure if I can stay here, I've been thinking about places I would live. Being me, I have a pretty inflexible list of things I look for in a city, and I'm not really looking to change any of them. They are, in no particular order:
1. Distinguishable seasons
2. Decent yarn store(s)
3. Liberal political climate (even if it means that the city is a blue oasis in a
sea of red)
4. Good public transportation
5. DIY attitude
I can't think of anything else right now, but I'm sure there are other requirements. My father thinks I'm insane. He is a firm believer, perhaps because he's a transplant from England living in Miami, that a person's environment is not important. He figures that you'll find the right people and the right places no matter where you are. I suppose that could be true. However, I never felt like I fit in in Miami and eventually I realized that it just wasn't the place for me. That experience, of feeling like a misfit in my hometown, has shaped my desire as an adult to find the "perfect" city, or at least the place in which I would feel comfortable and healthy.

So far, this is what I've got:

Kansas City, MO (I read an article in BUST about it and it sounds cool)
Portland, OR
Eugene, OR
Seattle, WA
Vancouver, BC
Toronto, ON
Maine
Vermont

And that's it so far. Out of the entire English-speaking North American world, I have 6 cities and 2 states to consider when it comes to living and working.

I never said I made life easy for myself.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

PC Load Letter

I'm just going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone is familiar with Office Space. After all, it's only one of the greatest movies of our time. I guess if you've never worked in an office or in food service you wouldn't really get it, but for the rest of us who've had nothing but office and food service jobs, it's a goldmine of humor. I think one of the most memorable "characters" in that movie is the piece-of-shit fax machine that constantly gives the Initech employees hell. The fax relentlessly gives random error messages, pissing off Mike Bolton to no end ("PC load letter? What the fuck is PC load letter?"). Remember the scene in which Michael, Samir, and Peter steal the fax, take it to a field, a beat it senseless?

I would LOVE to do that to the photocopiers at work.

I seriously HATE those machines. We got new ones this summer, and they're supposed to be new and improved. They are faster, I'll give them that. But that's about all that I'll give them. They CONSTANTLY jam or misfeed paper or whatever, and the paper is always in a different location. We're using a new TCard system, and if you're trying to adjust the settings on the machine, or perhaps putting down one journal and picking up another one, the TCard reader times out and all of the settings are lost. It seriously gives you, like, 20 seconds. Add to that people not understanding how to duplex (how fucking hard can it be, really?) or feed the paper automatically, or how to reduce or enlarge, and it seems like the goddamn photocopiers take up 50% of my on-desk work time.

I can't really fault people for not wanting to open up the copiers and retrieve the jammed paper, but sometimes I wish they weren't afraid of breaking the stupid machines. I am SO sick of jumping up every two seconds to fix a paper jam. Of course, the real problem isn't the patrons, or the amount of use that the machines receive; it's the photocopiers themselves. Why, for the love of all that is holy, can't someone make a photocopier that can handle large volumes of copying, and that isn't super slow?

And, really? Duplexing? Is, like, the easiest thing in the world. Just read the screen/look at the pictures/glance through our quick and dirty guide to photocopying that is POSTED ON THE WALL ABOVE THE COPIERS.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On boredom, and Veronica Mars

Actually, let's discuss Veronica Mars (or, as I like to call it in my head, V. Ma) first. The new season (season 3) premiered last night and it was long-awaited. I had to wrestle the remote control out of Dave's hands. He was sleeping and had some kind of crazy death grip on it. In the process of fighting with him for it, we woke up Lorien. Waking up Lorien is pretty much as dangerous as waking up a hibernating bear, and is usually something I go out of my way to avoid. However, this is V. Ma we're talking about. I won't risk life and limb for much, but I will for that show.

So. I have to admit, I'm a bit rusty on the nuances of last season. For those who haven't watched it, the show is pretty complicated at times and it's difficult to understand what's going on if you haven't been paying close attention. I think I finished season 2 in May, so it's been a while. I was a bit confused by the plot line involving Veronica's father, but that didn't bother me. I was pleased just to watch Logan (those arms!) be his sexy self (and Veronica be her sexy self, for that matter. She's a hottie!). Soooo glad it's back on...

And, on to boredom. I was sitting in one of my classes yesterday morning and I was bored almost literally to tears. Or death. I think that I was seconds away from stabbing myself with my pen. I brought a non-school book, and read that. I knitted. I drank coffee. Did any of those things relieve the pain? HELL NO. It was so awful that it put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day AND made me skip my afternoon class to go to the darkroom, where problems cease to exist.

Last night, I was talking complaining to my father about the presence of boring classes in my life and how my tolerance for boredom is pretty low. Like, there's not much I hate more than having my time wasted; waiting in line, sitting through class, traffic jams--all of these sort of inevitables of modern life drive me freakin' crazy. I wasn't there when they handed out patience. (Couldn't be bothered to wait in line... Ba dum chhh!)

So, anyway, my dad was like, "Well, do you need to attend the lectures? If you're not learning anything, I don't see why you'd need to go to class." This coming from a professor. It's like being given a "please excuse Tasha" note for all of the classes, past, present, and future, that I have ever and will ever skip. There's that phrase, "Work smart, not hard." I definitely have not been working smart. If I genuinely do not need to attend class to learn what I need to learn, why bother going? I could use that time to sleep in. Or do homework. Or go to work. Or the darkroom. Or whatever.

Thanks, dad!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Procrastination station

I have a cataloguing assignment due on Tuesday that I'm sluggishly wading through, so what better time than now to take a break from my rigid schedule of work-on-paper-for-two-minutes/fuck-around-on-internet-for-five?

I was thinking today about how sometimes I have these moments of absolute clarity. They don't happen often and they always occur when I'm least expecting them, but sometimes the proverbial light bulb comes on over my head.

As usual, my extracurricular activities of late have revolved around boys. I was discussing the idea of dating last night and, as I'm sure anyone who's read this more than once knows, my normal mantra when it comes to dating and relationships is something like, "I want a boyfriend! I want a boyfriend!" I guess I'm kind of tired of that, though.

This morning, I was thinking about dating and relationships and boyfriends and all of that, and I realized that I'd been repeating the same sad refrain for so long (see mantra, above) that I hadn't actually stopped to consider what I really want. Like, why do I feel like there is something missing in my life? Is there, actually? Cause the thing is, most of the time, I like my life. Sure, I bitch up a storm about school and work and what have you, but I'm not unhappy or anything. I have a decent job and lots of hobbies; and my recent rediscovery of photography has just brought something back, some creative spark that hasn't been there for a while; and I have friends and a great roommate (also friend, of course). I have Six Feet Under (don't laugh--my feelings for that show may be inappropriate, but they are real, damn it!). So what, exactly, is missing? Sometimes I get lonely, but if i remember correctly, having a boyfriend doesn't by definition solve that particular problem. So, maybe I do want a relationship and maybe I don't. I guess that at this exact moment in time, I would have to say that I'm not really sure of what I want. It's so weird to totally reconsider something that you've convinced yourself of for so long, but I feel so free right now, as if I've been released from some weird mental bondage or something.