Sunday, October 28, 2007

Numbering Error, Random Rants

As I glanced at the calendar today, wondering how this month flew by so fast, something stranged occurred to me and I wondered if anyone else has ever noticed this.

SEPT = seven
OCT = eight
NOV I can only assume = nine
DEC = ten

Why then, is SEPTember the ninth month, October the tenth, November the eleventh, and December the twelfth? Why isn't October the EIGHTH month?

And why is it January February March etc through August, then...


Anyone? Bueller?

And when is this new time change supposed to occur again? Wait. We fall backwards. So that means... if darkness comes at 7 PM... and we turn 7 back to 6... hmm. Well, I guess it'll be dark when I wake up.

Man, I hate this time of year. Even if I did manage to wake up in a GOOD mood this afternoon.

Oh, and one last thing. Pet Peeve: 700-page software manuals that come only in PDF form. Meaning in order to have this necessary reference on hand and visible while working in the software, one must either:
  • buy enough ink cartridges and paper to print out the epic (and buy a notebook or two large enough to hold a ream-and-a-half of paper, thank you)
  • buy a book someone wrote that is similar to having the manual but not available from your LBS meaning shipping cost/time
  • have a second computer available and running at the same time to hold the PDF (because we don't want to put stress on the main CPU running the music software by having an "unnecessary" application open nor does it help to have to switch back and forth from PDF to program to PDF to program when you're trying to look at the screen shots AND the monitor at the same time)
Personally I HATE trying to read manuals on screen. I like having the book propped open in my lap while I work. I don't like trying to balance the laptop while attending to, uh, eliminatory matters (my best reading time). It tends to burn the skin. Not to mention the threat of dropping it in the toilet accidentally. Or the bathtub. Books can dry out. Laptops? Not so much. (No, I don't know this from experience; intuition tells me so.)

What happened to the good old days when you got that big 3" x 11" x 8" box of software and it contained something substantial, not just air and a DVD and a whole lot of filler cardboard?

Enough whining. Besides. I have to go to Wal-Mart™ for another ream of paper and some ink.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

OK Now That Is Interesting

Daily Horoscope

For 28 October 2007

A family matter, relocation or contract on a property that tied in with events about a five weeks ago*, will be important in the organisation of events during October 28-November 7. Routines tie you into activities with others during October 28-November 1, creating a sense of familiarity and comfort. Relationships are strengthened then.

Well. That's interesting. Events relating to relocation/property of about five weeks ago? That would be around when Rocker Boy arrived. HMMMMmmmmmmm.

In other news: ankle is much improved. I'm bustling around like normal except for the occasional reminder when I step funny that "oh yeah, I hurt it". I think it's safe to say that it's a sprain. Thank you for all of your concern and, I'm assuming, many happy healthy ankle prayers/vibes.

My schedule is all whacked out. First, I got Cubase (music recording production software for the computer). I went with the Studio 4 version rather than the full or the limited—right smack in the middle. But it's pretty powerful stuff.

Next, I finally overcame my fear and discovered the magic of MIDI, which opens up entire new worlds of possibilities for recording my music. Yeah, it scared me. It sounded too techie for me and I was put off by concepts like algorithms and programming. GUI interfaces changed all that, though (meaning it's visual).

Then I decided I needed Groove Agent, which is... hard to explain. It's like a glorified drum machine for use with Cubase. It rocks. I got the previous version at a discount from my local music store—would that be an LMS?—with upgrade potential. It's amazing.

Plus I made the happy discovery that my ancient BOSS DR-5 Dr. Rhythm Machine that I bought in, oh, 1995 (state of the art then) is still paying for itself since it can be used easily as a MIDI controller. In layman's terms, I can tap out my drum parts (or any other instrument really) on it and "play along" with the song in real-time while the computer records me, then go into the MIDI file and nudge things around. Unbridled. So if I decided I needed more cowbell *wink* and forgot to add it, I can just click spots on the MIDI grid on the proper voice and voila. Instant cowbell. Or if I don't like the 1950's drum kit sound I can change it to techno-house, baby. Or for fun, assign a Sitar to it and see what noises it makes.

This MIDI is crazy shit, mon.

THEN I read in the Cubase manual that there is a feature for scores—actual music notation—within Cubase, AND it can read .mid and .xml files produced by music notation software. Well, I had an old version of Finale NotePad floating around—freebie—so I experimented with that, then went searching for the upgrades to that.

Enter Finale Allegro. Yes, my friends. It makes composing your first symphony in four movements as easy as typing an email. Plus they have a 30-day trial version (I had to geek tweak the URL to get to the link, though—it's mislinked). I'll probably wind up buying this, too.

So guess what I did last night? and early this morning? and was still doing at noon?


Back in 1987, I took a course at the college in Composition (music). Final project: compose an intricate piece of music that would be performed live at a class recital. Being I have a fascination with neo-classical virtuoso guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, and so on, I decided to compose a piece for a chamber ensemble, featuring the electric guitar as the solo voice. Yeah, the classically-trained music students in the ensemble looked at me cross-eyed. (The jazz guitar major was psyched, though.) But I forged ahead, and I composed an 8-part theoretically-correct piece loftily entitled "Emotion Trines Venus: Mood et Variations in A Minor". Transcribed and transposed the entire thing, master score and individual parts, by hand.


Last night, I dug it out of my pile of old music, blew off the dust, and re-transcribed it in Allegro. Yeah. All night. Like 12 hours I sat there note by note, measure by measure, part by part. (I've heard tell there are scanners that'll do this for you, but... eh, I was on a mission.)

Then, I exported the XML file. And imported it into Cubase. And assigned each part a more realistic-sounding "voice" (except the guitar—it's gonna have to be recorded by an actual player, unless Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist is worth purchasing because I sure as heck doubt I can play what I wrote, LOL!—and the guitar tones in the VST instruments don't sound like guitars really... but they'll "do").

Then I sat back and listened to it, and I was shocked. First, I was shocked that I'd spent nearly 16 hours in front of the computer with no food, very little tea, and no sleep, transcribing non-stop. Then shocked to think that technology allows us the ability to do this. Finally, shocked that I had actually composed a symphony piece, and IMHO (take it for what it's worth), it's pretty good.

I'll tweak it and upload it one of these days. The mixing and panning part is next on my list of things to learn and explore.

So my bedtime wound up being 1:30. Pee Em. Yup. It was so grey and rainy today it didn't really look like daylight anyway, so... slept until 7 ish. That's a good six hour nap. Got up, ate, read the paper, got the mail, did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, talked to W on the phone, called Rocker Boy (left msg)... totally whacked my circadians again but OH WELL.

Let's just be honest here. I'm a musician. Always have been, always will be, I love me some fibrosity and some horseflesh but my #1 has always been music. Did my best to avoid the inevitable. Did my best to ignore the calling. For what? Why? If it's who I am. Let me be me. Maybe it didn't fit in with my Mother's grand vision for me, but I am under no obligation to make her happy anymore. It's ME time. I'm back on musicians' hours and I've never felt better.

Now if Rocker Boy would just follow suit. I'm pretty sure his own ignorance of the Call of the Strat is what is making him depressed. (We're a lot a like, in good and bad ways.)

Off to de-compose...

Oh—what—knitting? Uh... yeah. About that. Haven't knit a stitch since Rocker Boy left. Uh... maybe I should admit defeat and just start a musician's blog instead.

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OK, it was only on two posts. But if it happens again, I will be forced to get out the voodoo doll.

Someone left 20,000-mile-long ANONYMOUS comments on two of my posts all about how I'm condemned and going to hell so I should visit their website.

I have my ways of researching. Before deleting them—believe it or not, comments that were twice as long as MY longest diatribe—I lovingly paid the spamments forward to the webhost, the owners of the domain name, their tech support and their "abuse" email.

So. For the moment, I'll leave the comments as is. But if I get spammented again, I'll have no choice but to require moderation.

Dirty rotten filthy stinking spammenters. They should all rot in Hell.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ankle Update I

Since it's not an emergency, I'm seeing the doctor at 2:15 PM Thursday.

I can walk. I can also, apparently, drive, though I wish now that I hadn't. But I was receiving a large cosmic nudge to head to the music store for a software app called Groove Agent (the virtual drummer) and absoposi had to go rightnow. Ouch.

You know it's sore when your cat lays on the floor at your feet, casually flops one delicate hind leg next to your ankle, and you flinch.

OK. I promise. I won't move any more furniture today, nor will I drive, nor will I lift heavy bins full of comforters, nor will I engage in tap dancing lessons. I'm done. Going to bed. I think.

Or I might stay up and create some wicked beats.

Or maybe not *yawn*.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fear Not

Fear not, for I have decided to see my doctor in the—I was gonna say morning, but let's be honest and just say during the daylight hours.

I've had the thing propped up and Ace bandaged all night (old pro at that, after all the mishaps I've had), been taking it easy, watched Cavemen/Carpoolers/House/Behind the Music: Vixen, called a friend, watched When Harry Met Sally and have basically been off it all night.

Somewhere between the friend call and the beginning of WHMS I took a Vicodin for the pain. I should feel nothing right now. OK I feel... verrrrry drowsy and out of touch with my body, but I can feel two distinct spots that are definitely ouchie and I know that's not right. Besides, I need to make sure that was bronchitis I had (and not allergies to dog, smoke, or Rocker Boy) and get a prescription filled so it's time.

Xrays cost less if the doctor orders them than if I went to the ER. But I'm going. This hurts a little more than it should. Although I'm not nauseated. Which I was when I broke all the cartilege in my knee two years ago. So I dunno. Better safe than sorry, though...

Nightie night...


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The PAIN, the PAIN!

Dear Social Life,

The reason for my sudden absence from you is because I am currently immobile.

Went out to run a couple quick errands. Drop off books at the library. Drop the mail in the box. Which I could have done at the library drop-off thingie if I'd been thinking about it but I wasn't and besides I had to go in to p/u a book. Anyway. Over to Barney's/BP for milk and lotto tickets.

I'd better effing win.

Because I effing twisted my mutha effing ankle in the mutha effing parking lot on a mutha effing UNEVEN SPOT in the pavement that should not have been there and now it mutha effing hurts all the way up my leg.


It's my right ankle. Yes, I drove home. Using my left foot. Shoulda been there. I need practice. VROOM screech VROOM screech VROOM screech VROOM screech VROOM screech.

I can walk on it. Sorta. It's still relatively close to its normal size. It's developing puffy spots and slight bruising. I heard a snap or pop or something when it happened and I did it REALLY hard. The kind where it flips in under you? Yeah. It was either a bone or a ligament—not sure which.

My ankles are weak. Plus being 188 whopping pounds doesn't help, with my skinny ankles, and do you know how narrow and tiny my poor feet are? Made to support someone long lean and lithe, not a heffalump like me.

So now I've got it Aced up and I'm contemplating between Ibuprofin or something stronger (leftover Darvies, perhaps?). I refuse to go to the ER. Besides. Who's gonna take me? I mean I can take me, but... if it IS busted, and I get a cast... they may not let me drive home even if I am rather accomplished (VROOM screech) with my left foot. I only have one friend in town—everyone else is a half hour away at best—and this happens to be the night she's up in Toledo.

Is it fair of me to be really snottily pissed off at Rocker Boy right now for abandoning me to live in Florida? (Oh. Yeah. For those who aren't caught up in the drama, he left to pursue better job opps elsewhere. It was amicable. He was basically on a long-term visit, anyway, not actually living with me permanently. Plus we're still talking about meeting up down south somewhere once I am ready to move, which might be a month or so. Or more. Depending on this ankle situation. So it's all good. Except for right now because I'm in pain and pissy and hungry.)

How do I tell if it's broken? Can you walk on it if it's broken? I want my mommy.

I'm so mad. It was PJ's night at InsanKnitty.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Excitement Abounds

The cats—five of them—require supervision to prevent wayward claws from deciding the woodwork makes a fine scratching post, or to dissuade opening the cabinet doors to walk amongst the cooking utensils, or to carefully taste any object not nailed down. Hence they are rarely let loose in the main house.

Today, I allowed them the privilege. After cleaning the catboxes, I needed a shower, so I asked Rocker Boy (who was shackled to his computer) if he'd mind keeping an eye on them for me. He agreed. I showered, then got on the computer briefly to see if my mail had decided to work. I heard him rise, walk to the deck door, open the slider, and close it behind him as he exited for a smoke.

I quickly abandoned my computer a moment later after hitting Send. I knew... can't trust those cats.

Guess what I found?

My Embossed Lace sock and yarn cake splattered all over the floor, one needle hanging on precariously to its stitches, one needle liberated from its moorings nowhere to be found. I shouted. Cats scattered. Rocker Boy re-entered. Saw the carnage. Exclaimed in disbelief, "but... I was only gone for a minute!"

I cast a wise eye on him, raised one eyebrow, and said pointedly, "And you tried to tell me that cats are different from kids?" (They're not.)

The liberated needle was located moments later out in the cat room where it had been abandoned like a ladies' purse after a mugging.

My Addi Lace #1 will never be the same. The culprit was my blue cat, who has a taste for the plastic (he chews and sucks on all manner of baggie, wrapping or tube). There are teeth marks. Prominent ones. There is one particularly dicey area that I fear—no, I know—will, eventually, under pressure of use, give way and separate the two ends forevermore.

Alas, Yarn Haven closed at 6 PM, five minutes after I found the mess. I'm limping along with my wounded Addi's, having reclaimed the stitches and reworked the short-rows my cat so thoughtfully determined needed redoing, and am past the heel gusset into the footwork.

And I think nothing exciting ever happens around here.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hoard Any Good Yarn Lately?

So the stranded colorwork has been laid aside until I forget how upset it made me. In its stead, I finished the Waving Laces, started a pair of Embossed Leaves (same book) with the Araucania #310 (OMG is it pretty, I know, photos soon, it's dark out now), did a couple of rows on the CPH ribbing while debating whether or not to rip it out and reconfigure it for steeks except that requires actually reading Eunny's steeking tutorial, casting on a swatch and practicing first plus the whole frogging thing...

Oh, and I got the doors to the yarn closet to shut.

FINALLY!!! I have made goal.

What I did not do was pull out all the yarn and photograph the stash. I should have. But as I could not even turn around in there until it was all put away, trying to take pictures was out of the question. Another day.

I also realized I have a serious problem. It's not just the yarn. I already knew I had a yarn problem. But I also have... a fabric problem.

All of my sewing projects are in one bin now. They were at the time of purchase stored with notions and sometimes patterns in individual zippered baggies. The baggies have been put inside a bin.

The bin is a 96-QUART bin. It is about 4 feet long, one foot wide, and a foot deep. Like a mini-coffin.


Of "future western shirts", "future vests" and "future tunics". Some of the fabric I bought when I was doing alterations.

That was 1997.


OK, I admit it!

Hello, my name is Jeanne, and I am a hoarder.

No, not "whore"—HOARder. TWO syllables.

I hoard yarn. I hoard fabric. I hoard books. I probably hoard cats, too, but at least they can't stack up like the other stuff does (or can they?).

Let's be honest. When one has every room crammed full of stuff (mine and my parents'), has two sheds and a deck room, and still has to pay for another large room to store stuff in, one has too much stuff.

I gotta have a yarn sale or something.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

New Beginning

How painful was it to frog eight inches of carefully-constructed stranded colorwork?

Indescribable. Plus I was mad as hell at myself for doing what I always do—forging on, not really reading the instructions and advisements to carry the strands loosely lest the work be too tight nor the admonishments that too-loose stitches can be tightened later.

I ripped back all the way to the ribbing. SAD.

I looked at my needles expecting to see that this here idiot had been knitting on 0's.

What do you MEAN, these are 2's? And it was THAT TIGHT?!? Well, then... Gawdeee, should I be on 4's? Does Addi even make Turbos in 4's? *grumble*

I re-knit the first four rows of colorwork l-o-o-s-e-l-y.

Then I put it down and went to bed.

Then I had nightmares of being strangled by too-tight knitting with visions of vicious Addi's dancing snakelike around me.

Right now I'm contemplating which pattern will be suitable for the Araucania and whether I should set aside the stranded colorwork, cast on the Araucania, work on the CPH for a change, or dig out the Traveler's Socks that got lost in the shuffle. Or fix the horrendous oversight on size on my niece's Christmas Socks (2006—too short for her large feet). Or try to finish last year's Christmas scarves for my nephews-in-law. I procrastinate. Can you tell?

Or maybe I should take up stunt flying or some other hobby with less risk involved.

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Too Good To Be True

I knew it was too good to be true.

Eight inches into the Blue Herrings. Everything was going beautifully. Neat stitches, neat flipside, humming along.

Then I decided to try it on.

And the danged thing would not go over my heel.


rippit rippit rippit rippit...

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Serious Yarn Pr0N

*** WARNING—Photo Heavy Post ***

Araucania Ranco Multy #310
Destined to become a pair of Evelyn Clark's Retro Rib Socks (from Favorite Socks). The interesting thing is that Rocker Boy liked this colorway better than the browns. (He has good taste.)

Araucania Ranco Multy #306
Destined to become... another pair of socks, pattern TBD. The autumn's afternoon sunshine lends a bit more red to the color than the yarn displays—the darkest parts are like Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate—rich, deep, woodsy, almost-black brown. Yuuuummmm. The photos toward the bottom more closely replicate the color, especially the third and fourth from the bottom. Can you tell it's love?

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've Sock-cumbed Once Again

Yes, the Call of the Yarn has hypnotized me. Photos to come. Last night, at InsanKnitty, I sockcumbed to the call of the yarn and two skeins of Araucania Ranco Multy Sock Yarn wound up following me home.

I'd never heard of this yarn before, but the colors—OH THE COLORS—there was no resisting them. These swatches do not do justice to the tantalizing beauty of this hand-painted masterpiece.

My eyes first fell upon Color #310—which in the swatch appears to be dark blues. It's not. My hank is lilac, lavender, wine, teal, red, orange, fuchsia—a veritable rainbow of purply pinky blues. It reminds me of a Monet painting palette. Each strand is different. I cannot wait to see how it swatches.

I would have been satisfied with just 310, but due to a chocolate craving, #306 also found its way to the cash register. Here, the swatch corresponds more closely to reality, but IRL, this hank is the deepest, warmest, chocolateyest autumny goodness with hints of olive and yellow ochre blended in.

Here I was, all set to knit solid socks next. Then along comes Araucania Ranco Multy, and all my plans were tossed out the window. But what pattern? This is definitely size 0 Addi territory... perhaps a relatively plain toe-up to show off the multisplendiferous color variants? Would it lose the definition of a carefully-placed cable?

To be continued...

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Monday, October 01, 2007

You Asked for Photos

And here they are.

First up: Swatch for the CPH. In the back of Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar book, she provides instructions on how to swatch for three needle sizes at once. It seemed like a great way to swatch, especially since I plan to knit the CPH on circulars as all one piece. Maybe even—*gasp*—steek it. (Next up—Jeanne practices steeking on a swatch)

I quickly ascertained that it is better to cast on for the swatch on the largest needle size rather than the middle size (derrr) and that it is better to transfer the first set of stitches to the smallest size and the second set of stitches to the middle size. She advises casting on 63 stitches, dividing into groups of 21, and purling the 21st stitch to show the size division.

It works pretty well, except blocking is tricky. (I blocked the sock swatches not shown on Gatorade bottles and turned a bowl upside down for the CPH swatch, which may explain the somewhat triangular appearance).

Next up: a lovely photo of the almost-finished Waving Lace Socks. I LOVE this pattern. It's fun to knit. It's so pretty. Next time I'll try it with solid yarn and see how I like them. There are a couple of mistakes but oh well. The first mistake was that I knit an extra set of rows in the scalloped edging on the first one (and didn't replicate it on the second one). The second mistake is on the heel. I did it right the second time. I did it wrong the first time. The pattern for the RS heel reads

*sl 1 as if to purl, k1; repeat from * to end

The first time round, I sl 1'd, then knit all the way across (because in the next row, only the first st is slipped, then you purl). The second time round, I read it correctly.

Third mistake: I just realized I forgot to incorporate heel (and toe) reinforcement thread. Oh, well. Too late now... they're special occasion socks, anyway. I don't foresee wearing the heels out.

Lastly, the piece de triumphe (forgive my spelling): the Blue Herrings!

Closeup of the herringbone pattern:

Closeup of the inside—can you believe it's this neat on my first try?

I'm itching to cast on for the CPH, but it's been so long since I rewrote the pattern in the round that I'm scared I made errors. If I can get a moment's peace around here, I'll take a second look. It's my modus operandi to get in the mood to knit it in the evenings—you know, cozy up on the couch and knit a sweater—but my brain is better suited to the figuring process in daylight. (Oddly enough, I also prefer to clean in daylight so I can see the corners and shadows, yet I am awake during twice the amount of dark hours... hmm.)

OK. Roomie is off to WalMart. Maybe now's a good time to tackle the CPH pattern, examine my four inches of ribbing (on size 8s that should have been done on size 6s) and try to remember how I was doing that thing with two balls of yarn at once.

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