22 February 2008

Ahhhh! Warmth!

If anyone is looking for a furnace repair company (and you live in CR/IC area) I highly recommend Colony Heating and Air Conditioning. They came down late on a Friday evening, cleaned the buildup out of my return duct, cleaned the strange gunk off of the ingniter sensor (which I can't even find, I can vacuum the return duct), and fixed my heating.

And for a very reasonable amount. Two thumbs up for them.

The Joys of Homeownership

It's really cold in Iowa.

How do I know this?

Because my furnace totally crapped out some time earlier today (maybe last night, who knows). It's about 50 degrees in my house and about 10 degrees outside (that's Fahrenheit to anyone not in the US). My fireplace works but it really just heats the living room.

The first repair company I called doesn't have parts for my furnace. Oh, and my furnace is out of warranty. Laaaaa! Just my luck. So if the second company doesn't have any parts I guess I get to buy a new furnace. Shitty.

Current book-in-progress: This is going to be a free-for-all night, also known as grab some tea and as many books as are at hand because the house is freezing
Current knitted item: My red scarf when I can feel my hands again
Current movie obsession: Northanger Abbey (yes, I realize the Oscars are on Sunday, but it would help if they would release all the movies more than one week prior to the ceremony)
Current iTunes loop: Chill tracks shuffle on iTunes (John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, Jewel, etc)

20 February 2008

Where's my crayon sharpener?

I just wrote the worst professional letter in the history of the hospital. So bad that I deleted it before anyone else could see it and started over again. I sounded like a kindergartner with a broken crayon.


This is all probably due to the fact that my neurons are still disrupted after some seriously strange dreams. I finished The Club Dumas and Requiem for a Dream and there was some strange stuff floating around in my head. The Club Dumas was OK - the denoument was a bit of a let down because I'd been expecting something spectacular and even the crazy guy summoning demons was fairly sedate. The writing flowed very well, even in tranlsation, so that was nice. Requiem for a Dream was seriously one crazy book about some very messed up people. Selby knows of what he writes and his vernacular writing style really made the characters' speech patterns come alive and differ from one another (Sara, Harry, Marion, Tyrone). The last 50 pages were just excruciating which is probably the way Selby meant the book to end.

That's also why I probably had a dream about a satanic, one-armed heroin addict.

Current book-in-progress: Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason (read some great reveiews and just had to go buy it); I'm still chipping away at the Harold Bloom; started the ARC for the First Look Book Club (on chapter 2 - seems OK)
Current knitted item: trying to decide if I want to add a bit of a pattern to the cuff now that it's past the ankle or not
Current movie obsession: I work too much - no time to watch movie :(
Current iTunes loop: I've been listening to NPR today - I think the programming is starting to repeat from the morning (does it always do this?)

17 February 2008

Pictures of Varying Types

As promised - I have pictures for certain events from the weekend.

First up is "Cats on the new coffeetable." Unfortunately, the really cute picture of the animals inhabiting the table before it was finished didn't turn out so well. So here is Chaucer on top of the finished table - he was getting a little frisky with an imaginary toy.

Second, was the Sunday evening yarn stash organization party, ocurring because the book group party was postponed due to weather. THAT all came out of the closet. And it all went back into the closet, neatly organized, and I even wound up the unrulier skeins on the ball winder.

Kind of a jumble, wasn't it? There was also a skein of Noro Kureyon that the Dante kitty made a holy mess of about 2 years ago. Think a sheep undergoing electroshock therapy. It took about 30 minutes, and I had to pitch a bit that had obvious cat damage, but I managed to get the skein wound up (I considered a "before" picture, but it would've made people cry).

Lastly, for the BNBC people, here's some pictures of my crazy book collection. Yes, I have a small obsession with Pooh.

Don't look behind the doors on the right - that's the clutter keeper. There are books in there, too.

(This is the cabinent with the textbooks.)

The little alien under the rocking chair is Chaucer. Dante surprisingly did not want his picture taken and ran off.

The scary closet

In the middle of organizing the yarn stash I realize that the closet is scary un-organized. Most likely because I need to make sure it remains a "bedroom closet" because the condo will de-value if I try to sell it as a one bedroom with a study.

I also realized that I have a very large stash of candles that I never remember to use. Where else can I store them. I should also start dumping notes from old classes. I have binders full of notes dating back about ten years. Will I use those ever again? No.

Snow again

Yet again this winter I am stuck in my house. Not because the roads are terrible - they aren't great, but they aren't blown shut - but because it has taken all day for the snow removal team to show up and plow the lot. I tried to get out around 3:15pm to go to the store (Mother Hubbard's cupboard is a little bare) and that worked not so well. It took two neighbors to help me get the car back in the garage. And lots of shovelling. Three of us were trying to get out, one in particular because he needed to go to the drugstore because his kids were sick. We shovelled and shovelled and the guy with the 4x4 was able to finally get traction so he went to the drugstore for the other neighbor. I do actually have nice neighbors some days.

They are just now plowing the lot (4:30). Sigh. Maybe I can go to the store later.

We were supposed to have book group tonight and decided that we would postpone for a week, given that three people were coming down from Cedar Rapids and they got more snow than we did. So next week we're having a joint book-Oscar party. Yum.

In anticipation for what was tonight's party I bought a coffee table. Yay - I'd been looking for one for a while and finally found one (at Kmart) that didn't break the bank. I still had to put it together, though. Pain in the butt. Looks pretty nice. I have a picture of the cats laying on it before I even got the drawers finished since I obviously purchased the item so they have yet another flat surface to inhabit.

I also indulged in my yarn buying habit. Another skien of Mountain Colors Bearfoot (sock yarn, mmmmm) and four skiens of really gorgeous Cascade Pastaza Paints in a red variegated color. The cats chewed a hole in my red scarf so I have an excuse to make a new one, only slightly better and maybe a hat as well.

Since I'm stuck at home I guess I'll read and organize the yarn stash. It's starting to become unruly. A little coffee, some yarn, music, good book. Decent evening.

Current book-in-progress: The Club Dumas (I totally did not know this book was the basis for the Johnny Depp movie The Ninth Gate); after that dream I'm trying to finish more books than I start and that's really, really hard for some reason
Current knitted item: Well.....I'm still working on the blue socks but I started my new scarf (going to make it similar - half moss stitch, half something else with a reversible pattern)
Current movie obsession: I'm still working on the IPTV Northanger Abbey but I developed a minor obsession with Sense and Sensibility again (Kate Winslet might be the most beautiful woman ever)
Current iTunes loop: I've been on a pretty hard-core John Mayer kick today; his music seems to warm up a dreary day

15 February 2008

There are no words

Ordinarily I reserve the right to be a curmudgeon on Valentine's Day. This trumps any holiday.

The fourth school shooting this week and the most lethal. Why?
Is the "school shooter" phenomenon spreading virally i.e. one incident sets off the next and the next (think Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point)?
If this bozo (who by now has been identified as a former student of NIU, now at Illinois Champaign-Urbana) felt the need to exterminate himself, why kill people he didn't know? Why? None of them did a damn thing to him. What irritates me most is that shooters like these take the coward's way out, taking no responsibility for their actions.
Incidents like these weigh heavily on me because I would like to return to school and eventually end up as a professor. Will I need to always be on my guard in case a student, disgruntled by the lack of an "A," comes to my office with a weapon? Will I need to carry one myself? Will I have to lock my classroom doors once I begin teaching a class? Will we all need to swipe our ID badges to gain access to buildings and classrooms? Will I need to be schooled in psychological profiling to identify students in need? It is mind boggling. I am not an advocate of having more weapons because that really won't solve the problem. In nearly every school shooting as of late, the attacks were a surprise, none of them were previously suspected by school officials, security officers, or the shooters' friends. Even if a member of the class had a gun, a high powered weapon can spew dozens of bullets in just a few seconds, enough to kill or severely injure many people before that class member could procure his/her weapon.
There is no easy answer.
May the family members of the victims find peace and solace in one another. God bless.

13 February 2008


So I'd been hearing about this Ravelry site. And then there was an article in the new issue of Interweave Knits magazine (pretty much my most favorite knitting rag, ever - I even caught my boss snooping through my knitting bag looking for it) that had some shots of Eunny Jang's page. At least I think it's hers. So I went to check this site out.

And holy crap. From what little I can see of the site it is awesome. So awesome that there's a waiting list of almost 7,000 people waiting to join (!!!!!!!).

Which includes me now, so I must be patient. I would go knit something but I must go to bed. I'll read my magazine instead. Stupid work that requires me to sleep so I can function in the morning.

I guess this is an honorary Darwin Award

While the whole episode is unfortunate, and the man is hospitalized, he got frostbite on the wrong parts of his anatomy to qualify for a true Darwin.

Student loses fingers, toes after passing out in alley
Did I mention that it was about minus 9 degrees at 6am this morning?

I had a dream last night

I dreamt I was chased by all of my books and the ones that I haven't finished were in the lead!!!!

I guess this is a sign that I have too many unfinished (and perhaps I shouldn't buy anymore) or maybe I shouldn't read Walt Whitman before bed.

Oh, and there's a new addition to the "current" updates - I tend to play the same album over and over, days at a time sometimes. Thought I'd share.

Current book-in-progress: Well, since I don't have enough brains to finish anything I'm reading the Northanger Abbey chapter from The Historical Austen and I almost tried to start Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds and Joyce's Ulysses; what is wrong with me?
Current knitted item: blue socks! One sock is looking suspiciously more finished.
Current movie obsession: Northanger Abbey (2007 ITV adaptation); I finished Ratatouille - OK but didn't hold my attention quite like Monsters, Inc. did
Current iTunes loop: Sara Bareilles "Little Voice"

11 February 2008

KTC? Anyone?

So, does anyone know what happened to the "Knitting the Classics" blog? Here on Blogger? I just pulled up the the URL one day and it was gone.

Methinks I'm losing my mind

People are crazy. Therefore they drive me nuts.

And they do stupid things. Therefore they piss me off.

I need to visit one of my subordinate chapters because there is some bad ju-ju that can only be fixed by a series of face to face meetings. Email and IM only do so much.

I am really starting to miss regular television. Too much reality TV. So thank you to the studios for finally putting together a reasonable contract for the writers. On the other hand, I've been making great use of my Netflix account.

I've been diagnosed with chronic tendinitis in one ankle. This means it hurts all the time especially when I would like to exercise or take ballet class. Problematic also in that I really, really need to not gain any more weight and make some progress on getting back in shape.

I have the mid-February blahs. Must be Valentine's day soon.

I've finished a number of books. I've also started more than I've finished. Sounds about right.

Current book-in-progress: I'm about halfway through Bloom's The Western Canon; also on the burner is Cancer Ward, The Millenium Problems (because for some reason I've become obsessed with math theory - I'm sure it will pass), The Shakespeare Wars, Candy Girl, The Historical Austen, and Searching for Jane Austen (because Northanger Abbey is the February BNBC book for "Literature by Women") and there are probably more but I forget
Current knitted item: blue socks (i'm not feeling up to another Eeyore even though I really need to get them finished)
Current movie obsession: Northanger Abbey (2007 ITV adaptation); I'm also working on seeing as many Oscar nominated films as possible before the show this month (not going terribly well)