Saturday, January 24, 2004

Scalzi on the Spirit Rover's Poor Attitude

*laughs out loud*

Sullen Mars Rover

How About Those WMDs, eh?

David Kay - that's the guy in charge of finding those pesky weapons of mass distraction - told Reuters, "I don't think they existed".

read it here, and here.

Friday, January 23, 2004

And that's why I'm voting for Dean

...I believe we ought to balance the budget and until we can show how to balance the budget, we can't promise people tax cuts. The biggest difference between me and everybody else in this race, including President Bush, who is in some ways acting like the most liberal Democrat you could have because of the borrow and spend, borrow and spend, spend, spend, spend, charge it (Inaudible) credit card the administration. And but those (Inaudible) everybody else is running, they'll promise you tax cuts, they'll promise you health care, they'll promise you education, they'll promise you help with your college. Now, everybody knows that that's not true and you can't do it. I think the reason 50 percent of the people don't vote in this country is because they know darn well not only is there not much difference between a Republican and a Democrat, but everybody in Washington says one thing at election time and goes back and do something ... does something else. The reason I was so successful in (Inaudible) is because I didn't mind giving people bad news. And when they ... they'll respect you a lot more as a political leader if you give them bad news straight to their face.

Read the whole interview with Diane Sawyer.
Captain Kangaroo

Children's-show host Bob Keeshan, aka "Captain Kangaroo", dead at 76.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Zero Progress on Anything

Well, I mean knitting-wise, of course. I do have a yen to haul out a half-finished project that's been languishing for year or so and work on it.

*rolls eyes at self*
White House Wants More Media Control!

Well, gee whiz.

How and what Americans are told about public health emergencies would be controlled by the White House, not by the agencies with the medical or scientific expertise to handle these crises, under a new plan proposed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Critics fear such a move would delay the release of critical public information and politicize the way it is presented. In comments submitted to the OMB, Dr. Jordan Cohen, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and Robert Wells, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, described several recent public health emergencies where delays in releasing information could have endangered the public. Among those examples were the emergency termination of a clinical drug trial that showed the drug was dangerous, and the announcement that hormone-replacement therapy was more harmful than beneficial to many post-menopausal women.

From Bush GreenWatch

Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.
Bush speeches and 'empty language'

Fascinating little article on Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.
What was with that State of the Union Speech?

What was all that inspirational message gunk in the second half of the speech, huh? I felt like I was in a shady self-help seminar or something.

I'm sorry to be so relentlessly US-centric for so long. It's not going to change anytime soon. Really. I love my country. But not my government.

The Nine Statements You Won't - But Should - Hear During George W. Bush's State of the Union Address

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The World Votes

The World Votes

Check it out, this is a very interesting idea.
Donating to Dean and the DNC

A fellow campaigner asked about my entry regarding donating to both the DNC and to the Dean campaign. Monetary limits, rules, that sort of thing.

I went over to the DNC's ePatriot page and read their FAQ, which I'm reproducing here, sans permission. It's helpful, but I don't think it's everything donors might want to know. I'll try to learn more and post it when I do!

Frequently asked questions about donating to the DNC via ePatriots

Q: I want to support a particular candidate. Why should I give to the DNC?

A: You can support your favorite candidate and the DNC.

The DNC is the only entity that can provide direct support to the presidential nominee, up to a specified dollar limit, for general election expenses, including polling, media, etc. -- even before our Convention begins on July 26, 2004. Such DNC support may prove absolutely critical if we have a competitive Democratic primary and face George Bush with his $200-million plus war chest to spend between their primaries and their convention.

The DNC is the only entity that can and will fully coordinate with the presidential nominee with respect to strategy and political operations.

The DNC will continue to be the driving force behind targeting, field strategy, and voter contact operations. And the DNC will still oversee the development and implementation of the coordinated campaign plans run on behalf of the Democratic ticket by each state party to register, identify, persuade, and turn out the Democratic vote.

Q: How will the DNC use my contribution?

A: Your contributions will be part of the DNC's special "Presidential Fund" -- an account that will collect the essential funds for the general election expenses and field operations described above upon his or her selection. The DNC will use this fund, for among other purposes to present the nominee with the maximum allowable financial support. All of the current candidates support this war chest, as they know that in addition to their own fundraising, this fund would be crucial to a Democratic victory in the general election.

Q: How much can I donate?

A: A lot -- and every dollar counts. Here are some quick facts:

An individual may contribute up to $25,000 per year to the DNC, and couples can give $50,000 total to the DNC per year.
Contributions to the DNC do not count against the $37,500 per-cycle donation limits for all federal candidates. There is a separate, $57,000 limit over a two-year election cycle for contributions to national party committees, other party committees, and federal PACs.

Q: Will any of my donation be used to fund the new DNC headquarters?

A: No. None of your contribution will go to fund the DNC's new headquarters. That vital project is already paid for by money already raised by the DNC.

Q: If I'm a DNC Sustaining Member, how do I suspend or cancel my monthly donation?

A: Sustaining members can suspend or cancel their donations by sending an email to Be sure to include a daytime phone number so we can contact you with any questions.
Memo to George W. Bush

Please don't tell me 'there's no global warming'.


Concerned Voter

p.s.: Earth 'entering uncharted waters'

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Current Project I'm Actually Knitting On

As opposed to the 'current projects I'm not actually knitting on'. *discreet cough*

I dunno, looking back at finishing sweaters 2 years after starting them, maybe the 'not' group has just as good a chance of finishing as anything else.


Vest (or sweater) for me in raspberry and white. Colorwork, self-designed using patterns from Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens. Knit from the bottom up.

I've got different front and back panels, each flanked by another panel design. Raspberry and a very white white. Am trying steeks for the arms and neck. Am nervous about the steeks, but colorwork back-and-forth? Eeek!

New Year's Knitting 2004


(Started June/July 2002)

Garter stitch shawl with a little shoulder shaping, for best bud Janis. Worsted weight, my most colorful scraps. Yellow, red, white, black. If I had a neon green lying around, I'd use it. Just started, knitting from bottom point up in a very simple pattern from "Knitting in the Nordic Tradition", by Vibeke Lind, Annette Allen Jensen (translater).

Cast on one stitch. Turn, and knit into back and front. [2 st on needles]
Slip one as if to knit, knit into back and front. [3 st on needles]
Slip one, knit across, knit into back and front. Do that forever. You're always slipping the first stitch, and knitting two stitches in the final one. Everything else is just knit. This forms a pleasant textured edging that would be easy to pick up from if you wanted to add some kind of trim later.

There's a discussion of shaping I'll leave to those who read the book, but basically you don't do anything special until you're worked up toward the shoulder, then do some short-row shaping. Very traditional approach.

Finally completed the weekend after New Year, the color scheme came out to be red, yellow, and blue. We call it "The Crayola Shawl", and took pictures this last Friday night. Should have them shortly.

(later edited: full shot, close up, close up on neck shaping)

Christmas Knitting 2003


A headband for Janis, she of the enormous mane of hair, and resulting distaste for hats. I cast on using the waste yarn crochet method so I could pick the stitches back up later. 16 inches worth of stitches (64 for this project), join on circular needles. Knit any kind of ribbing (k4p4 in this case) for about 8 inches and then fold the thing, pick up the stitches from the cast on edge, and weave or otherwise bindoff the start and end edges together.

I worked in 3 different colors: navy (5 inches), hunter green (2 inches), and black (1 inch).


A cute little ski cap in black, navy, and light blue for my nephew. 8 inches of ribbing in Red Heart black, a couple rounds stockinette, and then colorwork with the navy, then a couple more rounds black, then color work with the navy and blue (including a couple decreases), some navy rounds, and color work (and decreasing to the end) with the light blue and navy. So the background colors go from black to navy to light blue, and the foreground colors from navy to light blue to navy. It looks very nice, I just made up the thing as I went along.


A thick, juicy scarf for my brother. In a soft black, knit in the round and then with the ends seamed -- to produce the effect of double knitting without actually double knitting. The 'front' of the scarf has two small panels of p1, twist stitch, p2, twist stitch, separated by k6.

Another gansey in Lion Brand "Pound of Love", Antique White 099. This is a gift for my dad, Jim [and I swear, we took a photo! I just don't have it yet.]. This stuff works up at about 4.5 st/inch in stockinette on size 8 US (5.0 mm) needles. Ribbing welt, initials in the plain area, and I've just finished the first design band, which means I have about another 5 inches or so before I start the underarm gusset(s). I'm doing the sheep's path, and other basic geometric designs on the panels. Being a pale yarn, everything shows up beautifully, and I'm loving working with this yarn. From
Knitting Ganseys, by Beth Brown-Reinsel.

My First Socks!


Socks! Cribbed shaping, heel and toe construction from the Latvian sock in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. Using Regia multi-colored sock yarn, so tossed the actual lacy pattern that is the point of that particular sock. Nonetheless, I finished both, wear 'em, and have the yarn for another pair.

Twist Stitch Vest


A quick break this past weekend for a nifty vest pattern, the "Twist Stitch Vest" (#8 in Leisure Arts leaflet 3023, "The Big Book of Quick Knit Sweaters"). This is knit from the bottom front, up over the shoulders, down the back. (So the stitches in the back go down, and those in the front point up. Neat.) Two tiny cables in the center, not done with a cable holder, but instead affected via a 4-row sequence of twist stitch* and stockinette. There's cable accenting at the armholes, the neck is basically ignored (I deviated from the pattern and instead of binding off umpteen stitches on one row and then adding on the same number on the next, I just knit umpteen stitches using waste yarn instead of my working yarn, and have now picked those stitches up to have a more-or-less oval hole for my head. Don't know what I'll do for the neck stitches. Might just bind 'em off. We'll see.) I like vests, but am also a sweater fan, AND I have enough it looks like I'll pick up stitches at the armholes and knit sleeves.

The neat thing (one neat thing, actually) about this project is that there's no shoulder seam(s). All seams will be under the arm and down the side -- hardly visible.

The other neat thing is that I started this at 8pm on a Saturday night, knit will watching the late movie(s), knit all day on Sunday, and finished the back (about 6 inches of knitting) on Monday night. If I hadn't decided to do sleeves, I would have been BLOCKING AND SEAMING this thing 2 days -- 2 days!! -- after starting it. I feel like I've just established my knitting cred. I am a knitter. Wow.

Finished in Tennessee during a family reunion -- and yes, I had enough yarn to do sleeves. Here it is.

[*] Twist stitch? Takes up the next 3 stitches on your left-hand needles. Instead of knitting off normally, knit into #2, leave on needle, knit into #3, leave on needle, then knit into #1, sliding all three off onto the right-hand needle. Knit stockinette normally for the next 3 rows. Poof. Easy.

Birthday Beret and Mittens


A beret from Zilboorg's 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats To Knit. In gray and a maroon/navy/cream ombre [Caron something-or-other], for my twin brother on our birthday.


Matching mittens from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears. In gray and a maroon/navy/cream ombre [Caron something-or-other], for my twin brother on our birthday. My very first mittens, and extremely easy.

More Colorwork and Hat-Like Entities


A knitted bag for my niece, using band and top patterns from Zilboorg's book. In 3 colors: Red, black, and white. Snowflake like motif on the bottom of the bag [using a beret top pattern], and various wave-y and geometric patterns. Aside from the charting, completely seat of the pants. About 1.5-2 inches ribbing, yarn-overs for the make 1's to get up to 144 stitches, to leave gaps I can run silken cord through. Beret bottom pattern from chart. Some random stuff, mix-n-matches from a couple other charts. Top chart for beret as bottom of bag. Looks cool, now I just have to find a couple things to put in it, and the right drawstring cord. Birthday gift in August. Pictures forthcoming.

A beret from Zilboorg's 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats To Knit. In green and a creamy off-white with some sort of yellowish undertone [a Caron Sayelle]. Definitely for a man's head. I tinkered with the classic beret pattern, using ribbing instead of garter stitch, after seeing a photo online of a beret with ribbing. Pictures forthcoming.

Learning Berets


A beret from Anna Zilboorg's 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats To Knit. In 4 colors of varying brands all alleging to be "worsted weight" -- Caron Sayelle, Jiffy Imagine, some other stuff. These things are perfect for using up a ball of yarn left over from some past project.



An Egyptian hat from Zilboorg's 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats To Knit. A fabulous book for the seat-of-the-pants knitter. Zilboorg tells you the generic pattern, then offers charts of different color designs you might like to use.


My very first stranded color work!

Ganseys and Distraction

When it comes to knitting, I'm eminently distractable.

ON HOLD-ish, JAN 2002:

I got TOTALLY distracted by this project. [see? what did I just say?] A big fluffy cardigan from the December 2001 issue of Knit N Style [page 37, the "Naomi" Cardigan]. I'm using 2 strands together of a pale blue and a blue/white/pink variegated yarn. Finished the back last night and started the left front. Mostly I just wanted to do something with the yarn. I have a matching pink solid that I'm going to do the pockets in, and the collar will just be in a solid pale blue. I might do the cuffs in just solid color as well, but haven't decided.

I hauled it out while rummaging through the stash about 10 days ago and don't like it at all. I may rip it back to nothingness. I'm not sure.

2002-2003 "Baby's First Gansey"

(no, no, it's not for a baby, I'm just being a smarty)

A basic gansey I started in Jiffy 'Santa Fe' variegated yarn. I'm going for the basics of the gansey style with very little embellishment. It just won't show up in that yarn, so there's no point. This one'll be for me, and I like simple. It's also enormous, and heavy, but who cares? It's my first gansey!

Nov 2002: Hate the sleeves, going to rip them out and redo.

Feb 2003: Finished the redo. Thinking of ripping out the garter welt and doing a matching blousing effect with ribbing.

Christmas Hats


A circular shawl for my mom for Christmas. It's the shawl from "Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac" [Elizabeth Zimmerman. ISBN: 0-486-24178-5], done in a beautiful green mohair blend from Dharma Trading Company. My mom has red hair, she'll look fabulous in it. I was just recently back up at Dharma to pick up another couple final skeins, and snatched up some of a lovely pale gray that will, I believe, look great on ME no matter what my hair color is.

The Well-Traveled Scarf


I am currently knitting a scarf! Jiffy Mohair-like Yarn. Mostly, I was just looking for an excuse to buy this yarn, and use some of my recently-purchased circular needles. So, I'm doing a simple garter-stitch scarf -- it'll be someone's Christmas gift. The color changes from purple to pink to green, and I really like the way it's knitting up. Size 4 circular needles, cast on 30 stitches. Knit until finished. :-) This doesn't require the use of circular needles, they're just more convenient.

I call it the well travelled scarf, now that it's done, after looking back on all the places other than home, that I've worked on it. Good grief. Finished it in 2000 after 2 years of pecking away at it, during a trip to see my papa in Alaska, in the process showing him and my brother how a knit stitch is done.