Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Living the high life

You know your potato chips are overpriced when the serving suggestions include wine selections (nay, champagne suggestions):

But then you probably good have guessed that from the front of the package already:

This webpage was advertised in my feedreader as

Six new denizens of the deep—from crustacean crushers to pale and fleshy-lipped eelpouts—were found recently in oceans off Antarctica.

Possibly the most irresistable link I've seen in a long time.

I didn't realize I'd taken such a long blogging hiatus. I have the usual complaints (busy life, empty brain) and some not-so-usual (debilitating eyestrain-induced headaches from too much computer time which flare up from time to time). I've also been engaged in an abbreviated course of the spiritual exercises in everyday life. I've been flush with blogging topics because of it, but strangely hesitant to actually blog about any of them. I guess I'm a bit uncomfortable talking about my spiritual beliefs. This is partly because I don't want to alienate anyone (although I noticed myself getting a bit strident at times on environmental pollution topics), but also because I came of age at a time when it was really Not Cool to be religious, and I find that hard to shake. Anne Lamott talks about some of this in her book Traveling Mercies--the bizarre, ironic shame of having to "come out" as a Christian to one's hipper-than-hip friends. This prejudice is only magnified in the science world, where I sometimes wonder if they will secretly revoke my degrees if they find out I'm not an atheist!

I make occasional mysterious references to my "secret life" to my colleagues, implying that I have some kind of wild side which keeps me busy in my off hours. The irony of this amuses me to no end--my activities are in fact the most sedate, wholesome kind I can think of. It's also funny to me because I used to engage in a lot of wildly unwholesome ones, which I never kept very secret when they were going on. But that's a whole 'nother post. Another blog, even!

But I've also hesitated because, frankly, I fear the posts would veer off into self indulgence. Yes, even a personal blog has a limit to self absorption! I will say that I've found the experience extremely rewarding and enjoyable so far (I've done 2 weeks out of 5). I'm currently struggling with What I Want To Do With My Life, and this is a helpful process. More on this in the future.

A brief knitting update:

My two color brioche in the round cowl thingie (knit from all wool, not a wool silk combo like I mistakenly wrote). All I can say is squish heaven:

Pecan Pie Beret. While I achieved exactly the gauge specified in the pattern (possibly a first), the brim came out faaar too large.

I knit it with a wool silk blend which already had another life as an overly tickly neck gaiter:

I contemplated ripping back the beret and adding way more decreases, but I can't bear the idea of tinking so much brioche (and my experiences with ripping and picking up the stitches in brioche is far worse). The entire hat is a bit floppy. Since I already hate this yarn for being expensive and being such a failure (2 scarf attempts, a gaiter attempt) I'm going to take the plunge and see if I can't felt it down just a bit.....

The rest of that yarn is trying to be a pair of fetching, but all that tight knitting is killing my hands. Plus I need to extend the part so it even reaches my knuckles. I'm now feeling all self conscious about my hands being freakishly long.

I'm about to rip the half done bearded cap and the strap to the Monk's Travel Satchel. Both had been started in Zehpyr as a stash buster, but my experience with the aibhlinn stretching out like a mofo has made me realize I need to save the wool silk blends for items that don't need to hold their shape somehow. Hmmm, how is this relevent to the Pecan Pie Beret?

And I whipped up a little scarf for my mom. She liked the black hearts of oak pattern scarf I'd made, but also wanted something a bit lighter for better night-saftey. This is icy blue bamboo cotton and white polyamide furryness that was the softest thing I'd ever touched. I've always been a bit of yarn snob so I was surprised to find myself buying synthetic fun fur, but there you go. This was also my first garter stitch scarf!!

And I've made a bit of progress on the unspun sweater for my friend:

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