Thursday, May 20, 2010

Y is for Yammer

I thought I had all the letters planned out from R-Z.

Apparently, I forgot there's a letter between X and Z. Or else I planned something for Y and forgot what it was. Either way, the only Y word that keeps coming to mind is Yammer. Lucky you.

Completely Meaningless and Random Yammering....

A couple weeks ago, I came out of the kitchen at 8:30p and saw D2 still sitting on the couch next to Dave. I said, "Um D2, pretty sure I told you to go to bed." He sits up, looks me dead in the eye and says, "I'm watching TV..... Woman!"

Dave about fell off the couch laughing. I said, "Oooh, I will cut you little boy, you better get your butt upstairs!" but it wasn't very effective (and not at all serious) since I was also laughing pretty hard. What 6 year old talks like that?? He only said it as a joke and it was the pause that completely did me in!

Two days ago, I made an excellent sandwich. It was half a soft baguette of brown bread spread with cherry jam, then some thin deli ham, a slice of Swiss cheese then put in the oven to broil the cheese. Heaven!

Yesterday, I wanted to make another with the second half of the bread but I realized I was out of cherry jam. I almost panicked then realized I have literally 17 jars of jam in the pantry (I counted them). This sandwich is just as good with Peach jam!

I also discovered a lovely soup by accident. I put a bunch of leftovers together and decided to call it soup. Busch's Fiesta Black Bean Extravaganza + can of corn (the kind with very little water) + cut up cooked chicken = Hell Yeah!

Some strange mid-life crisis has caused me to go and buy a bunch of thong underwear. I had a brief thong phase in 1991 (when I was 21 and it made more sense). A girl I knew wore them and got me to try them. She said, "They are way sexier and normal underwear is usually up your butt anyway, right?" She's right! With these new ones I just bought, I switch them out with the bikini style I normally wear. Also, I found out the hard way that wearing a thong while working out on an elliptical machine can cause a near-fatal wedgie situation.

Speaking of working out, I forgot to tell y'all in my W post about the Singer. When I was working at that spa in Tucson, I would go to our little gym-for-hotel-guests after work and workout. That was one of the few perks of working there. The gym was located in our spa building and if no guest was waiting on you to finish, you could use it as much as you pleased! I'd go in there and workout on the recumbent bike for about 10-15 minutes each time I worked.

One day, I came into the gym and there was a woman in there, on the elliptical machine and she was singing at the top of her lungs! And, man, could she ever sing! She saw me and didn't stop, just kept on singing along with the radio. The recumbent bike was next to her machine so I had no choice but to be right next to her. The next song was one of my favorites and she saw me bobbin' my head along and said, "You should sing with me!" I was all, "Um, I don't sing well." She said, "It never matters, Little Sister, singin' is singin' and it always makes you feel good! Besides the breathing needed for singing helps you maintain better breathing while working out!" So that's how I ended up belting out Best of My Love with a complete stranger! She was a regular there and we'd always sing together - so bizarre!

I still sing while working out only, you know... not out loud. I mouth the words and breathe like I would if I was singing it loud. I save the loud singing for my car.

Movies I've Seen Recently:
Where the Wild Things Are - this movie sucked ass. We got it to watch with the boys and I was so excited about it because that's always been one of my very favorite books. The movie was horrible. It was depressing as hell, dark and really just disturbing. This movie tried it's absolute best to ruin the book for me. It failed.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - this movie was very excellent but also very difficult. It's about a little boy in a Nazi concentration camp. No. Scratch that. It's about a little boy who's dad gets a promotion and is now the Nazi in charge of a concentration camp. The family has to move out to the country, into a house near the camp. The family of the Nazi has no idea what's going on there. The mom knows the Jews are there but she doesn't know what exactly goes on until the Lt. Nazi accidentally tells her (about halfway through the movie). She has a big fight with her husband and starts drinking heavily. The little 8 year old boy knows nothing. He doesn't understand about the war and only knows he has moved somewhere where's there's no other children and he's lonely. He goes exploring and meets the camp-boy. They become friends.

I knew this movie was going to end badly for the camp-boy and that I would cry.

It ended so. Much. WORSE! During the last 5 minutes of the movie I had my fists at my temples and I was rocking back and forth saying, "nonononononono". That movie fucking destroyed me.

So. Yea. Now I want to read the book. (Apparently I enjoy being emotionally destroyed.) Seriously, though, there were so many nuances alluded to in the film that I've got to read this book.

Speaking of Books...

Shutter Island was finished last November (I need to change the sidebar thingy). It was EXCELLENT! I started Stephen King's Dark Tower 4 (Wizard and Glass) and it took me forever to get through it. No fault of the book, I just got into a rut reading-wise. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book!

I took a Dark Tower break (I'm reading through the whole series but I'm reading at least one book in between each of the series books) and read a book a friend gave to me about six years ago. It's called Chemical Pink and it's so very strange. I ate that thing up! It took me about two days to tear through it. I mean, it's only 270 pages but it was so bizarre and twisted I couldn't put it down. It's about a woman who wants to be a professional heavyweight bodybuilder and the man she meets who is very rich and very strange. He offers to put her up in a house, buy her a car, pay for all her training and all her drug training as well. In return, he expects... favors. His sexual tastes are.... strange. I think the least strange thing he did was to dress like a silkworm (in a tube made from silkworms) and writhe around on the floor while she steps over him in "dangerous shoes" and he begs to not be squashed.

The training and the drugs they gave her were all very detailed and fascinating. And the relationships in the book were disturbing and strange and you can't look away. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You stare and feel dirty for staring but you just can't. Look. Away. Great book!

Now I'm reading Nightwatch. I've been wanting to read this book forever and I received it and the first sequel (Daywatch) from my friend and upstream swap partner in the Vampire Swap. So far, out of all the swapping I've done, that Vampire Swap has yet to disappoint. It's the best!

Nightwatch is one of the few books ever that I'm glad I watched the movie first. My friend Donna got Nightwatch and Daywatch on DVD and we watched them together. They are a bit confusing but VERY cool! The book is also a bit confusing but very cool! Between the movies and the book, I understand them both better and I'm flying through Nightwatch. I'll read Daywatch next then Dark Tower 5.

Giving the Best of My Love, Ruth!

Friday, May 14, 2010

X is for Xacto

I've always been interested in Art. I took several Art History classes in college and when I was in Europe, I spent a lot of time going to places with amazing art and/or architecture (which, to me, is just another form of art). I've always wanted to purchase art pieces that appeal to me but I've never had the kind of cash to make it happen.

Lately, I've been seeing some amazing art that has got to involve Xacto knives (or maybe Ginsu but that wouldn't fit in with today's letter).

I saw these two paper pieces on Epic Win FTW (the antithesis of the Fail Blog)...

There was no accredited artist that I could see but I'd love to know who did them and where I can see more!

This next man is the MASTER of the Ginsu, Thomas Allen...
This piece is called "Polecats" and is my favorite of his work. He takes old pulp fiction paperbacks, cuts them up and places them into extremely clever little... dioramas? vignettes?, then photographs them. I am in awe of his cutting skills.

I also like strange photography. This next artist is Erik Johansson. He's 23...
A lot of his work is very M.C. Escher (whom I also love); it fools the eye and can be a bit disturbing at times but it's all rather amazing!

I don't know what medium this next artist uses but here's my favorite from Ray Caesar
It's called "Decent" (which I first read as Descent) and like most of his work, there's a rather disturbing quality to the subject.

My favorite sculptural artist is Lisa Snellings. She often works rather closely with Neil Gaiman (of Coraline fame) and she has a whole series of little guys called Poppets. She also has a whole series of Poppets based on Gaiman's The Graveyard Book - love those! They are creepy and cute at the same time.
There's also this little sleepy rat that I adore and will someday buy...

I'm hoping none of these artists come after me for posting pic's. Not really sure how the whole copyright thing works here but I've given full credit for each one and a link to the artist's site (in case anyone wants to buy me something). I'd hate to have to take the pic's down.

I've been interested in making art as well. I've dabbled in watercolors because I like the way they flow into each other better then any other paint I've tried. Particularly watercolor and ink type shenanigans. I'm also interested in photography and took some classes but the classes seemed geared more toward developing film (back in the '80's when people still used film) and I was more interested in knowing how to take the shots I wanted, then manipulate them into what my mind's eye saw. (A lot like what Eric Johansson does with his photos. But different, not so Escher-esque.)

Do you guys have favorite artists?

Filing it under "Someday....", Ruth!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

W is for WIP

My friend Donna came up with this great idea for knitting. She's started the WIP Cup! It's to coincide with the Word Cup of Soccer which, like the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, happens every four years.

Her husband is English and very much into soccer. She's not as into it and I'm not into it at all but she thought it would be a great motivation to finish some UFO's. We started a group on Ravelry and here are the rules.

The 2010 World Cup runs from 11 June - 11 July. That’s a whole month to clear out those WIPs.

Rules (Yes there will be rules):

We will be using the Ravelympics Wip rules, projects must be dormant (no work being done) for a month before the start of the World Cup (11 May)

A finalized list of Wips/Ufos that you will be working on must be decided on a week before the start date (June 4)

Tag your projects WIPCup2010

Post all of you finished works here

To be eligible for the prize (yay prizes!) you must complete your list of Wips by 11 July (will figure out what time zone later)

The prize will be a skein of Skeindalous yarn dyed in the winning teams’ colors, a $25 gift certificate to Scout Swag and a stitch saver. It will be determined by a random drawing.

In the spirit of knitting in general, this is all for fun! There will be no knitting police to stomp your feelings if you don't finish everything you've listed for the WIP Cup. Come join our Ravelry group and break out your WIP's! The group is small which surprises both of us as Soccer is so popular worldwide. Please help us spread the word! As knitters, we all have WIP's hanging about and this is a perfect opportunity to finish them. (Also, if for whatever reason you are not on Ravelry and you still want to play along, just email me (see email addy in my sidebar) and let me know what your list is and how you're doing!)

And there's prizes! Who doesn't love prizes?

If you have any fibery prizes you'd like to donate, we'll give them lots of press and appreciation!

Initially, when Donna brought up this WIP Cup idea, I was all, "Sweet! I can cast on a bunch of stuff now, then throw it in the closet for a month before it starts!" Then I remembered I have about 15 WIP's that need attending.

My WIP list is small but mighty...
The Bed Jacket of Doom - this thing's been finished and even sewn up for two years now! I just need to crank out the edging to call it done.
Icarus - This shawl has been on the needles for close to 3 years now. Must finish...
Odessa Hat - This hat has also been on the needles for about two years. I did the lower ribbing band and then just stopped for whatever reason. Ridiculous!
Chevron Scarf - I saw so many lovely Chevron Scarves and had two single, yet mismatched, skeins of Koigu that would go great together. I started the scarf, got about 1/3 of the way through and tossed it aside. Turns out I hate making Feather and Fan stuff. I like the way it looks! but I don't like making it. Gotta finish it as it's turning out really pretty.

Those four things won't even put a dent in the amount of WIP's and UFO's I have but The World Cup is only a month long and I'm not an especially fast knitter so it will have to do.

Before Donna brought this up, I figured I'd write W is for Workout, so guess what? Bonus W!

W is for Workout
When we moved to Highlands Ranch, I found out we'd have free access to all four of the town's huge Rec Centers. Each RC has an indoor and outdoor pool and rather large and well-equipped workout gyms. The closest to us is about a mile down the road and starting last October, I began working out.

I started on the recumbent bicycle and worked my way up to 30 minutes. One of the ways I motivated myself to go was by taking a paperback that I could only read while working out. Eventually I made my way to the elliptical machines. No reading there! At least not for me. I mostly just had to concentrate on not dying. I started out with 10 minutes and then I'd go into a corner and have a little lie-down. I'd pretend I was stretching but I was actually just getting my heart rate back down to a reasonable level!

Well, it's been 6 months and I'm up to 35 minutes on the elliptical, 5 or 6 days a week. Still don't read on it but I have a series of music that I listen to while I... ellipse? And in the last ten minutes, there's three songs I listen to that have 20-40 second sprints in them. I got up to 40 minutes for about two weeks but I really hit a wall with that.

See, initially, I lost ten pounds right away - yay! But I swear to you that I have not lost one single ounce since then. It's very disheartening! My shape has changed dramatically but even that stopped! When I went up to 40 minutes I was getting very discouraged. I whinged and whined for two weeks about how even my shape stopped changing then I looked in the mirror and was all, "Hm. It's changing again!" My dark pair of jeans really don't even fit anymore, they keep falling off! (Which is weird because they are the exact same size, style and maker as my other two pair.) So I keep going. Back down to 35 minutes but I keep going.

Here's a couple of strange gym stories...

A friend gave me a bunch of T-shirts that were to go to Goodwill. All my workout T's are over ten years old and are getting too ratty even for just gym-wear. So I got these new-to-me T's. I was wearing one in particular quite a lot. It's grey and has a big blue Transformer with Asian writing on the front and some Asian writing on the back as well. There's this tiny Asian woman I see at the gym nearly every day and she's a rock star on the elliptical! She sprints the whole time and is on it for about an hour - sheesh! She walked up to me by the weights and introduced herself and we started talking. She asked if I knew how to read Asian writing and did I know what my shirt said. I explained that it was given to me and I had no idea. She said, "Oh, I thought it had something to do with your job. I thought maybe your were an Animator or something." I said, "No, not an Animator" but what I thought was, "Wow. That's random!"

Then another day, I got in a conversation with this guy. He was walking past me (I was working my arms on some weight machine) and he has these incredible full-sleeve tattoos and here's the conversation we had...
Me: Wow, that's impressive! Where did you get it?
Him: Excuse me?!
Me: I've been looking for someone to give me one since we moved here three years ago!
His Friend: What is wrong with you??
Me (confused): No, it's fine! I've got six already and I'm just looking to get some more.
Him: I don't.... know what to say... to that.
Me: Sorry. I don't mean to offend, I'm just a big fan of really great tattoos.
Him: [starts laughing really hard] I thought your were talking about this...

Here's where he points to the HUGE, and obviously recent surgical scar on his shaved head that goes from the middle of his widow's peak, around the hairline and all the way down to his ear.


Why does this keep happening to me? I need to learn to be a bit more observant. sigh. At least now I've got the card of a really amazing tattoo artist!

Off to the gym, Ruth!