Sari yarn

December 31st, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Knitting - (2 Comments)

In which there’s silk!

I did the Bloggy Gift Exchange again this year and it was, of course, totally fun. I got to santa for a new mom who loves pink, and my own gift-giver was long-time friend VUBOQ, who spoiled me rotten. He sent me a fuzzy TARDIS throw and a handmade bowl/mug set that I love.

And yarn.

The yarn is made from recycled sari material and it’s beautiful to look at because of the vibrant colors. It’s also silk, so it’s not really the sort of fiber you want for scarves or hats or anything intended to keep you warm; it’s more of a cooling, slinky sort of fiber.

It’s also, well, what we knitters call clown puke. It’s fun to handle, fun to look at, fun to knit, but due to the uncontrolled colorway pretty much everything knit out of it looks like a clown puked all over it.

I spent two hours looking at FOs made from sari yarn: Pretty much universally ugly. Apparently this yarn is best for small things like mittens or gauntlets, or maybe a scarf knitted on large needles and worn against neutrals for a splash of color.

Because the yarn’s got such interesting hand I want to knit this stuff up sooooooo bad, but after swatching and looking at Pinterest pictures of completed projects, I don’t know what to make that won’t turn out fugly. I’m thinking fingerless gloves? Of course then I’ll end up with an entire unused skein… should I make a wrap or shawl instead? It’s really more of a spring/summer kind of fiber anyway…

Ugh. Thanks, Vuboq. Now I’m traumatized. ;-)

The weekend

December 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Life | Love & Marriage | Music - (2 Comments)

In which there is THE BEST OMELETTE OF ALL TIME. And I’m moving.

Saturday night, Coyote Kings and I along with Gary Winston & the Real Deal played at concert venue Main Street Studios here in Walla Walla.

The venue is pretty cool but it’s new enough that people don’t seem to know about it, so while the audience was appreciative it was very small. I think I made maybe thirty bucks for the night, which doesn’t even cover my bar tab. Oh, well.

After the show I went to Marcy’s with my friend Kimi. Much of the regular crew were there and it was like old times. We all sat around the fire table on the patio and hollered at one another. It was glorious.

As last call neared, Kimi informed me that she was no longer eligible for any kind of driving-type behavior, so I offered her lodging with me. We stumbled back to the house around one o’clock in the morning and hung out in my room hollerin’ (and drinkin’ sparkling wine that I’m sure we really didn’t need) until we passed out. (I offered her the front room like a decent hostess, but she chose a pile of blankets on my floor anyway. Gotta love yourself a low-maintenance woman!)

The next morning we walked back to town together in search of brunch. There was a wait at Maple Counter so we snuck into Marcy’s. This probably saved my life:

Eventually we got into the restaurant and this happened:

That lovely thing is a mushroom and Swiss omelette with mushroom bechamel. It was perfect. I loved every bite of it! The owner of the restaurant knows Kimi and came to our table (and recognized me!). She was incredibly gracious and nice.

I love this little town and I love the friends I’ve made here. Being able to bike or walk everywhere is wonderful. Being greeted and hugged by a dozen people when walking into the bar is gratifying and satisfying. Being a bit of a local celebrity is super fun.

I’m really going to miss it here after I move to Minneapolis next year. Yup, I’ve decided I’m gonna quit living in an attic and go shack up with the LDBF. He’s my best friend, my partner, and the only man who has ever waltzed with me in the kitchen. Plus the job market there is amazing. (The weather sucks, but after 15-plus years in Iowa I know I can adapt.)

I don’t have an actual date set yet, but am looking at probably somewhere between late March and May. I’m not really excited about going through all my crap and the multiple trips to Goodwill to donate things I haven’t used in six years, but I am excited about arriving there and enjoying city living again for the first time in years. And being with a fantastic human being. And Indian and falafel joints. And a real job market.

Anyway, the news is that I’m moving to the Midwest. Again. (Heh.) I guess I should probably tell my grandmother about this.

Vacation

December 6th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Love - (0 Comments)

In which there’s lots and lots of relaxation.

Doing basically nothing for a whole entire week is AWESOME.

Happiness

Sleeping in, cooking, eating, cuddling, movie dates, bottles of wine, cuddling. Yaaaap: you’re jelly.

Sunday

November 17th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Blurbs - (0 Comments)

In which I am the epitome of non-productivity.

Had a pick-up gig last night; apparently someone in Junkyard Jane was sick so we did their Ice Harbor Brewery show for them at the last minute. Great crowd, nice vibe. Free dinner!

Here’s Rob, me, Luther, and Kit:

Coyote Kings w/Mush

Today I’m a bit hung over. I don’t intend to accomplish much. I’d wanted to bake something — egg muffins or a fritatta — to make breakfasts easier this week, but I don’t know if I’ll get to it. I’m feelin’ pretty severely lazy. I’ve cooked breakfast and I’ve boiled water for tea, but that’s it.

Tea

I’m listening to the Gita and surfing amazon.com for samovars.

The LDBF is currently at the Mall of America with his mom, who is visiting for the weekend. I never expect to hear from him again. Malls. Heh.

In the near future I’m going to make myself another cup of tea and watch an old Depp movie on my tablet while sprawled lazily in my unmade bed.

Basically the only thing I care about lately is VACATION IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!1! Cannot wait to smooch on that LDBF again. Also looking forward to traveling and getting out of town and seeing new stuff and all that, but mostly the smooching.

In which you gain insight into The Relationship with LDBF. Or not. I have no idea.

So this happened via SMS:

LDBF: Had a crazy dream with u in it
me: Did we have adventures?!
LDBF: Yes, kinda… at one point, you were eating raw butter, at another u were an electronic device the size of a pen
me: Both of those things are AWESOME! Ur subconscious knows me well
LDBF: Wanna keep you in my pocket and feed u dairy
me: Yay! Also maybe what you want is a pet rather than a woman
LDBF: dogs don’t give great blowjobs

In which I bitch about the ‘improvements’ we’re seeing on sites net-wide, because they’re not making things work better, they’re just fads of style.

The Internet is now being built by people so young they have never lived in a world without it. They’ve been online all their lives and probably started coding as tweens. They barely remember the elegance of plain old HTML; the ‘net has always been client-side apps stuffed into browsers to them.

Now they’ve got jobs designing the resources many of us use on a daily if not hourly basis. Every so often they decide to redesign and modernize whatever property they work on (because WE HAVE TO FIX IT even if IT AIN’T BROKEN). Then you get shit like the new improved Flickr, a site I have loved and used for years, which basically no longer works and, to add insult to injury, is just plain ugly. Same with the last Twitter update, and the redesigns of basically every large web property ever. Some old guy retires, the new guy says LET’S BRING THIS SHIT INTO THE FUTURE, and then it’s a bloated abortion of a service that has so much crap buried in each page you can’t even load the site on half your devices.

The following things have become pretty much standard on all sites and yet they all suck and they all piss me off:

  • Continuous scroll – Fuck this. Pagination is better. Eternal scroll just fucking hammers resources, isn’t cool, breaks paging Back, accomplishes nothing in any case ever except for long reads of Tumblr accounts WHICH NEVER HAPPENS EVER, and the fact that everyone is doing it does not reduce the fact that it fucking sucks.
  • Pages that won’t stop loading when you click Stop – LISTEN, I DONT WANT TO WAIT FOR ALL THAT SHIT TO LOAD. I ONLY WANT TO SEE WHAT’S BENEATH THE FOLD FOR LIKE FIVE FUCKING SECONDS. I AM NOT GOING TO LOOK AT ANY OF THE SHIT YOU’RE STUFFING INTO MY BROWSER RIGHT NOW, ASSHOLES.
  • Putting the content I want under the fold – Fuck you. Fuck your ad revenue. Fuck your layout. I followed a link here to see your CONTENT, and all you’re doing for the first 32 seconds of my visit is hiding that from me and showing me a bunch of crap.
  • Non-local authentication only – Fuck you, I do NOT want to link my Google, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts to your stupid recipe site. That information is none of your goddamned business.
  • Endless push notifications as default – Listen, I don’t give a fuck that 20 friends are chatting on Facebook. Your stupid apps BLEW THE FUCK UP, ON EVERY DEVICE I HAVE when that chat started. Jesus.
  • Video – Listen, embedding video on a landing page is fucking AWFUL. You’re wasting my time and I DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. I CAME HERE FOR SOMETHING ELSE, AND YOU’RE FORCING A FUCKING VIDEO AT ME? It’s because of assholes like you that I have to leave my speakers turned off at work.
  • Meaningless pages requiring redundant clicks – I’m looking at you, Pinterest, Yummly: I clicked on something and I want to SEE IT. So fucking take me there! I DO NOT want to click through your stupid interim page that does nothing at all but require me to CLICK AGAIN to go where you already know I want to go. FUCK your ad revenue; you’re wasting my time and resources and pissing me off and that’s why I quit using your sites.
  • Sites so unusable in a browser you can basically only interact with their content through mobile apps – The Flickr and Facebook mobile apps beat the actual websites hands-down. Unfortunately the apps aren’t available on all my devices, which pisses me off. (I want Flickr for Kindle Fire, goddamn it.)
  • Sites that simply don’t work at all if you have AdBlock enabled – LOOOOL YOUR CODE SUCKS, SON.
  • The need for AdBlock in the first place – Dude, I get you need to monetize. I honestly don’t mind ads on web properties; it’s when you slam them down my throat and hide your real content so coyly that I give up on it altogether that I think you’re a fucking jerk.

I love having so much information available at all times. I love the ubiquity of bandwidth these days. I love my phone and my worstations and my tablet. What irritates me is time-wasting bad design and the endless reinventions of wheels that already worked.

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″

October 10th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Gadgets - (0 Comments)

In which I review my newest device, even though it’s already obsolete.

A couple of weeks ago I spontaneously bought a fourth Kindle — a tablet upgrade. My previous Kindle Fire worked fine and I didn’t need a new one. I knew they were probably going to announce a new model soon anyway. (Which they did. The very next day.) Pretty much the worst time to upgrade, really.

Luckily I found Amazon Warehouse Deals, which is the interface through which Amazon sells damaged, refurbished, and/or remaindered stuff, so I got the 8.9″ HD for less than a new 7″ HD.

amazon-kindle-fire-hd-8.9

The device is pretty awesome. The screen is great and the on-board speakers really are as remarkable as the reviews say. The device is thin and elegant. The opsys is stable. There’s a shitload of great content, especially if you have Amazon Prime.

But I hate the location of the hardware buttons. The power switch is right next to the volume rocker switch and it infuriates me to find myself pushing things multiple times just to get the device to turn on or off. The ports and buttons are horribly laid out: in order to charge the device while watching video (which you absolutely have to because the thing is a battery drain) you have to turn the device upside down. Of course the screen reorients, but then the buttons are on the opposite side… basically every time I pick the thing up I have to search for the on/off switch.

Ultimately my inability to memorize button layout is my own fault, but it drives me nuts.

The device I bought was returned or refurbished — the description wasn’t terribly clear — but it arrived in factory packaging and looked brand new save a few tiny cosmetic scratches I didn’t even notice until I’d had the thing for several hours. I love those little scratches because they knocked over a hundred bucks off the prices of the device!

I still use my older Kindle device, the Kindle Keyboard, for real reading, though. While the Fire HD is an excellent media consumption device — great for everything from email to social media and HD movies — it’s not half as comfortable for reading. The Kindle Keyboard isn’t backlit, is half the size of the Fire HD 8.9″, and is wholly superior for sucking down long-form works of text. With its nearly infinite battery power and the leather case complete with built-in reading light it’s an ideal reading device. (I would upgrade to the Paperwhite except I dropped a lot of money on that leather case and am not ready to make it obsolete quite yet. Also the thing is still receiving software updates and works just fine.) The Kindle Fire models are adequate for reading, but the size, weight, battery drain, and lit screen are all non-trivial issues by comparison.

Anyway, I gave the Fire 7″ to my brother. He immediately rooted it. I probably would have kept it and done the same myself — sometimes you really want access to the Google market — but I tend toward generosity when wine drunk and excited about new electronic devices.

I’ve ordered a Bluetooth keyboard to use with the thing. I don’t really need it, but it will make using the device for emails and blogging while traveling much more comfortable.

Update: It’s the last day of the year and I LOVE this tablet. Use the shit out of it. Still hate the button locations, but otherwise it’s a great device.

Dense fog

October 9th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Life - (0 Comments)

In which it’s cold.

Actually, it’s not that cold. It’s just colder than it was, and it’s damp and gray so it seems colder than it actually is.

This morning the valley was socked in with dense, cold, damp fog. I half-wished I’d been wearing an entire extra layer of clothing while riding my bike to work this morning. (Oh, yeah, on the subject of work: The second part-time position went to someone else. I was relieved. I fucking love working part-time.)

I will be spending the first week of December at LDBF’s. Super excited! Haven’t been on a plane for far too long. Well, I flew to Seattle not too long ago, but haven’t been out of the state in awhile. And I can’t wait to see him again.

I finished a knitting project!

I finally bought a rain suit to wear while biking in inclement weather. I hope this purchase of mine doesn’t cause the entire winter to be wet and rainy.

Heater

I made a lovely mushroomy lentil stew for dinner on this dark and damp day. Excuse me while I go hork down a bowl of it.

Autumn, work, and airplanes

September 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Love & Marriage | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I wore a coat to work this morning. RIP, summer.

That huge tree in the neighbor’s yard has begun dropping horse chestnuts into the alley by the bushel, it’s darker earlier every night, and we had our equinox on Saturday: it must be fall.

Horse chestnuts

I really need to get some working lights on my bike since it’s going to start being dark all the time.

I’ve decided that if one hasn’t gotten into a box in over five years, she probably doesn’t need any of the contents. So now I’m going through the dozen boxes I brought with me — and put in the attic when I arrived here in October of 2007 and have ignored ever since — and basically donating everything that isn’t actual garbage or a family photo album. (I still want to scan the albums. They’re so bulky and nobody really displays stuff like that any more.) I went through three boxes over the weekend and kept nothing but a couple of paperbacks and a stack of photos that belong to my ex-husband and which I’ll mail back to him.

Applied for an additional position at the paper; have a second meeting about it tomorrow. Might end up working full-time again through virtually no fault of my own! I love working part-time, I really do, but there’s nothing wrong with extra income. And I really do enjoy working in the newsroom; the people are great, the vibe is great, and it’s only a couple more hours each day.

Last Friday my boss walked up to each of us in turn to tell us what our remaining vacation hours for the year were; I was pleased and shocked to learn I have 33 hours to use up before the end of the year. Once I get my vacation dates approved I’m going to book a flight so I can spend a week with LDBF, who is the best thing ever.

I could go on and on about how wonderful he is, but people generally don’t care about new couple stuff. (My friend Embo usually responds with something along the lines of, “Eww! Barf!” when I say cute shit about him.) Suffice it to say he and I still talk every single night and both feel as if we have yet to uncover in one another anything we don’t like. We have a great deal in common, are very compatible, and would probably already be shacked up by now if we didn’t live so far apart. It’s wonderful to be in love, but it’s kind of a bitch having to do it over the internet. Thank God for Skype so I can look at his face, at least.

I’m going to go do the dishes and then maybe take a decadent autumn afternoon nap. I can do that shit as long as I’m still working only part-time!

In which the e-BF is now the LDBF (long distance boyfriend).

I’m sure I cannot express to you how much fun I had with LDBF this weekend, but I’m’a try.

Thursday I left work at one and caught a cab to ALW. Was nervous as fuck. Sat in the lobby and waited for his plane to land; saw him walk in the door and thought, “Wow. That dude’s tall.” Got his attention, we hugged, went to the Hertz counter to pick up the rental car.

Drove to Marcy’s. Had a few rounds. Kept touching him because he was THERE, IN REAL LIFE, OMFG WOW. Dropped his stuff off at the house, introduced him to G’ma and my brother. There was a storm and the power went out. Went over to the Wendover-Briggs patio and ate Thai food and drank adult beverages in the dark. Went home, chatted with G’ma in the dark. Went to bed. May or may not have done one or two adult things in the dark. Snuck up to my own room about four o’clock in the morning and passed out for a few hours.

Got up happy as a clam and packed a picnic lunch. Woke the man up, got cuddled for awhile. We took off about one o’clock and took the scenic route to Soap Lake. Had a picnic at Lyons Ferry, visited Palouse Falls and saw some yellow-bellied marmots.

IMG_20130906_141550

Soap Lake is kind of a sad little burnt-out town with a lake in it. We stayed in room 14 at Notaras. Had a soak in the jacuzzi. Went to Ephrata for Mexican food (in keeping with the lodge room theme, of course). Hung out alone together in real life. Did a lot of grinning and gazing. Passed out at a fairly reasonable hour. There was much snuggling.

Saturday we had a leisurely drive to Grand Coulee. Ate a bunch of sunflower seeds in the car. Saw Dry Falls and Banks Lake. Got to town too early to check in to our hotel so wasted a little time at a casino. He played slots and turned $20 into $40; we drank the winnings.

IMG_20130907_125240

Checked in, went out and ate Chinese food. Saw the dam’s laser light show cuddled in the dark on a picnic bench. Went back to the hotel, drank a bottle of champagne and soaked in the jacuzzi tub. Sat on the balcony and giggled.

Went out for brunch in the morning, then checked out at eleven. Visted the Grand Coulee Dam visitor’s center. Wandered around outside. Went shopping. Eventually went to Sunbanks Resort to check out the festival. Went back into town and ate lunch at a taco wagon.

Sunbanks

Sunbanks Blues Festival

Played a set with Coyote Kings from 4-5. Great crowd! I had expected it to be in the low 70′s so the gig clothes I brought were entirely too warm; signed a few CDs after the set. Changed into a skirt and t-shirt in the car and then we took off.

Arrived back in Walla Walla about nine o’clock. We decided to watch a movie but ended up just cuddling and talking instead until we passed out.

Monday morning we just sat around and spent every single second together that we could; left for the airport a little after twelve-thirty. Dropped off the rental car, got his boarding pass. He went through TSA into the fishbowl. I called a taxi and we sat with a glass wall between us texting each other.

I got into my cab about one thirty and had the driver drop me off at Starbucks on 1st & Main. Went inside, ordered an iced coffee, and nearly broke into tears realizing that he was just then boarding his flight and was leaving.

The man is wonderful. We get along fantastically. He’s kind and generous and hilarious and smart. I miss him terribly and will probably wear the t-shirt he left me until it falls apart.

So now I’m in love with this big tall fuzzy nerd who lives two thousand miles away. We’re either going to have to get bored of each other real soon, or someone’s gonna have to move real far.

Moral: getting mauled by an adorable bearded dude from the Midwest is awesome.