Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm not sure what to think about this....

Your Score: Dr. James Wilson

50% Eccentricity, 30% Confidence, 80% Kindness

Congratulations, you're Dr. James Wilson! You've got the tough role of being the conscience and best friend to Dr. Greg House, which proves that you must be secretly (or openly) insane. You're always a good person for providing advice, witty remarks, free lunches, lectures, and (wanted or unwanted) psychoanalysis. You are about as confident as the average person, but you have some big issues with yourself, and may have problems living up to the ideals you have in your head. You do really care about other people, though, even if you sometimes express that caring by trying to get into their pants.

Link: The House, MD Personality Test written by freedomdegrees on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's done

Not the shirt, The Book. I finished it in 8 hours.

I was right about some things. I was wrong about some things. Some of the things that I was right about, I wish I had been wrong about. Some of the things I was wrong about I wish I had been right about.

Since I have no desire to ruin the book for anyone, I won't tell you what those things were. However, I will say that I liked the book. But, I'm kind of sad it's all over, now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I you haven't read up through book 6 in Harry Potter, you might want to skip this post.

I haven't discussed it much here, but I'm a bit of a Harry Potter fan. Well, "a bit" might be an understatement. I'm not going to be naming my first born child Harry, Ron, or Hermione (although Sirius might make it, you know, because my husband is an astronomer--kidding!) but I've probably read each of the books at least five times and some of the earlier ones more than that. And I went to a midnight party for each of the last two books. And, as anyone who is not living in a cave is aware, the seventh book will be released at midnight Friday.

But, I will not be attending a midnight party. Instead, I'm going to be at the rehearsal dinner for my brother's wedding on Sat. I'm a little sad about this, but that's the way it's gotta be. So, I've decided not to read the book until after the wedding. On Sunday, I'm sitting down and reading the entire thing with no stops (I'll be carrying it to the bathroom with me in case you are wondering). This is what I did with the 6th book, then I handed it over to John and said, read it as fast as you possibly can because the ending won't stay secret for very long. And, fortunately, he managed to make it through the book without reading any spoilers.

Today, a labmate told me about a website he found through CNN that has the important info from the book on it. And, being unwilling to resist, he went there and read it (he's filled with all kinds of remorse about it, now). The person had a photo of the book as some sort of confirmation that they were telling the truth. Now, I don't know how much I believe that the person truly had a copy of the book. They do have some pretty crazy security surrounding the book. However, just to make sure, I'm not turning on the tv, listening to the radio or looking at a newspaper, magazine, internet news site or reading anything but knitting blogs until Sunday. I'm also considering just wearing earplugs in between now and then to avoid overhearing anything (the wedding kind of scares me for that reason, maybe someone will have read it and they will discuss it and I'll overhear it, so to keep that from happening, I'm just going to get rip-roaring drunk so I won't remember anything anyone says anyway--though reading the book with a hangover might not be the most pleasant experience).

I'm a little fanatical about reading. I love to read and I love books. One of the things I hate about grad school is that I don't have time to do much reading for pleasure (I don't have much time to read scientific journals, either). Reading is my escape. There are certain books I only read when I'm sad or upset; they're like comfort food for my brain. I have several copies of certain books (usually a paperback and a hardcover; although I think I have four separate editions of A Wrinkle in Time, why yes, it is my favorite book, how did you guess?). I love the smell of books (books printed years ago have a different smell to them, have you ever noticed?) and the feel of the paper and the weight of the book in my hands. This is not to say that I treat them very carefully. You can tell which books I love most because they are the most beat-up (my Velveteen Rabbit books I call them). Lately, I've been listening to books more than reading them because I can do it while knitting and while on the bus and while driving and so on. It's not nearly as satisfying as reading them, but sometimes you have to make compromises.

So, what do I hope to see in this, the last book of the Harry Potter series?
  • Resolution of whether Snape is good or evil. More on that later.
  • Reason why Dumbledore trusted Snape.
  • More about Lily. There were tantalizing hints in the last couple of books, but I'd really like to hear more about her.
  • What's going on with Aunt Petunia? She seems to know more than she's letting on.
  • What happens to the relationships? Who ends up marrying whom?
  • What are all of the Horcruxes and where are they hidden? It seems like this would be a given, but I can't figure out how, in one book, in one year, Harry will find all five of the remaining ones when it took Dumbledore years to find two and destroy one.
  • The final battle between Harry and Voldemort (again, this is a given, but it is something I'm looking forward to reading about).
And, for the record, to keep me honest, here are my predictions:
  • Snape, while a mean old bastard, is on the good side. There are many, many reasons why I think this, but I think deep down the real reason is I don't want Dumbledore to have been wrong.
  • Dumbledore is really dead and is not going to somehow show up and say, ha, ha, just kidding, I've been alive all this time.
  • Harry will somehow be able to get advice from Dumbledore--most likely through the portrait in the headmaster's office.
  • Dumbledore will have stored some key memories in jars (like why he trusted Snape, for instance) and Harry will be able to access these through the Pensieve.
  • Lives or dies:
    • Harry: lives
    • Ron: lives
    • Hermione: lives
    • Ginny Weasley: lives
    • Neville: lives
    • Luna: dies
    • Snape: dies saving Harry or dies in such a way that allows Harry to defeat Voldemort
    • Other teachers (including McGonagall): live
    • Lupin: lives
    • Tonks: lives (marries Lupin)
    • Percy Weasley: dies (okay, I think at least one of the Weasleys dies and I like Percy the least, so I'm going to say him; I'd be okay with Charlie dying, though, too)
    • Draco: lives
    • Bellatrix: dies (Neville gets to kill her)
    • Lucius Malfoy: dies (Voldemort kills him)
    • Rest of the Death Eaters: live (they will still need to be hunted down at the end of the book, or they will be in prison)
    • Voldemort: dies (of course!)
That's it. That's all I'm willing to go on record saying. I think, in some ways, finishing this book won't be nearly as fun as finishing the others because we won't all be able to sit around and offer our theories on what's going to happen. That's been a large part of the fun--for me, anyway.

So, I might not be on the blog for awhile, seeing as how I'm leaving for the wilds of Iowa and don't know what kind of internet access I'll have. Have a good weekend everyone and happy reading!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Armholes--The Next Great Adventure

I took that collar and showed it who's boss. It only took me about five times, but I finally got it in to my satisfaction. Well, there is one little thing that I feel could be better, but I decided I could live with it. Then, I sewed up the sides and tried it on and it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. So, on to the armholes! This shirt is sleeveless, so I have to finish off the armholes nice and pretty. Then, I "just" have to hem it and put in the buttonholes and sew on the buttons.

I have to say, I would probably not have stuck with the shirt if I was not so desperate to have decent clothes that fit that don't cost a fortune.

Socks? What socks?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Collar: 3, Elisabeth: 0

So, um, I spent quite a bit of time on the collar last night and it still isn't permanently attached to the shirt. I'm having some difficulty attaching it so that the seam looks smooth.

Also, I knit several rounds on the Sockapalooza socks and ended up ripping them all out again. *sigh*

Perhaps I should have realized that since it was Friday the 13th, no good could come of me working on craft projects (especially with a black cat in the house).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Adventures in Sewing

Since I have been feeling ambivalent about knitting, I have decided to work on another craft: sewing.

I'm a beginner sewer seamstress. Last summer, I sewed a dress with the help of my mom while she was visiting Chicago. It was at that time that I bought my first sewing machine. Since then, I have made one skirt. Which really doesn't make up for the cost of the machine. So, I've been wanting to sew more. Then, a few weeks ago, I went clothes shopping. It was a less than pleasant experience. I have come to the conclusion that in order to buy clothes that fit me, I will either have to lose 30 pounds or gain 30 pounds (because, I had no luck at Lane Bryant, either, though it did make me feel skinnier). At the time, I dreamed of creating a new line of clothing stores called, "Just Average," or "In the Middle" for women like me who are not lithe little stick figures, but are also too small to fit into "Women's" clothing. However, given my current time constraints and the fact that I have virtually no sewing skills and absolutely no designing skills, I decided the better approach would be to make as many of my own clothes as possible.

This is easier said than done (see: Beginner Seamstress).

Currently, I am working on a sleeveless, collared button-down shirt with bust darts. So far, after many, many hours of work, I have:

  • Figured out the best way to cut out the pieces since it was NOT the way the pattern suggested
  • Cut everything out
  • Read the directions for ironing on the interfacing several times
  • Disintegrated the interfacing when the iron touched it directly, ripped off that interfacing
  • Cut out and ironed on more interfacing
  • Sewed the shoulder seams
  • Finished the edges of the shoulder seams
  • Put in the bust darts
  • Tried on the proto-shirt (this involved pinning the sides together, too, and the facing on the inside so that it would hang approximately like the finished product), realized the bust darts ended exactly on my nipples such that it looked like I had pointy breasts
  • Took out the bust darts and put them in again, shorter this time
  • Tried on shirt again only to find that by making the darts shorter it changed how the shirt layed such that the darts were pointing at my waist
  • Spent a heck of a lot of time trying to figure out how I could mark where the "fullest part" of my "bust" was without having permanant dots on the shirt over my nipples and settled for pins
  • Spent even more time in front of the mirror making sure I had the pins on the "fullest part" of my "bust" so I could aim the darts in the proper direction
  • Took out the too low darts and put in darts that actually fit right.
  • Tried on the shirt again. Victory! I made darts that point at my nipples--hooray!
  • Sewed the pieces of the collar together
  • Spent a very long time staring at the pattern trying to figure out how the hell I was supposed to put this collar on the shirt (I need more explanation of what those figures mean, please!)
  • Basted the collar on the shirt backwards such that the seam allowances were facing the right side
  • Ripped out the basting and re-basted it
  • Pinned the collar to the facing and sewed the seam to attach the collar to the shirt
  • Looked it over, didn't like the way the collar seam looked and ripped it out.
I should probably mention they bill this as a "Quick and Easy" pattern. I'm sure it is for someone who's been sewing for awhile, but for me, not so much. The collarless proto-shirt has been hanging in my hall closet since Wednesday. I may be ready to work on it again tonight. I think I can devote 3 hours to it in which time I hope to attach the collar.

Can't wait to get to the buttonholes!

In knitting news, I need to knit 0.5 inches on the foot of the 1st Sockapalooza sock and then I can start the heel (I'm knitting it toe-up). I have decided that I'm going to knit each foot up to the heel, then do the heels, then knit both legs at the same time and stop when 1) I run out of yarn or 2) I run out of time, whichever comes first. Sadly, although I like the feel of the Panda Cotton, I don't so much like knitting with it because it has a tendency to split. On the other hand, it's one of the few cotton sock yarns out there that doesn't have wool in it. And since one of these days I'm hoping to move to California, I don't so much want socks with wool in them. Yeah, I know I'll be visiting cold places, but I probably won't need 20 pairs of socks for those visits (I can just see it now, I change socks twice everyday so I can get through them all when I'm visiting Iowa or Boston). And it does come in a nice range of colors, soooo, I probably will still knit with it a lot, or at least something else comes along that I like better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Long absence = Long post

I have been operating under the delusion that since I've been gone a long time, I need to write a long blog post to tell you everything that I've done since last we spoke. And, since I haven't had a nice stretch of time in which to write this long post (or when I did, I was not "inspired"), I haven't written. And the longer the amount of time I've been gone, the longer the post would have to be and so on snowballing into me not posting in over a month. None of us are very happy about this.

Knitting News
Adding to my blogging apathy is my knitting apathy. I just haven't felt like knitting for awhile. So, I haven't. Instead, when I come home from lab, I plop on the couch, turn on the tv and sit staring blankly at the tv screen. Sometimes I think about knitting, but the thinking usually goes something like this: [with regards to a plain stockinette sock] "That just seems too complicated," or [when contemplating getLinkting off the couch to find my knitting] "That seems like far too much effort." Pathetic, but true. So, not much knitting going on.

However, here is what I have on the needles (no pictures because that would involve more energy than I have these days):

Sockapalooza 4 sock: Knit in Panda cotton in the Fruit Salad colorway; pattern--Chevron from Sensational Knitted Socks. I have got to get cracking on these because I'm supposed to mail them out the first week of August!! So far, I have the toe and half the foot of one of them done. I'm knitting them toe-up because I was planning on knitting the leg until the yarn ran out, but I think what I'm going to do is start the second sock when I have the foot of the first sock done and then knit both legs at the same time until I run out of time.

Afghan square: Rebuilding Greensburg project (button in sidebar). I've gotten one done and I'm over halfway done with a second one. I should be able to cruise through these, but... (see apathy).

Mystery Stole 3
: Technically this isn't on the needles. This is actually still in the shopping bag with various bits all over the apt. I'm not sure why I decided to join this, all things considered, but it sounded really cool and fun. Although I may or may not start it before the knitalong is over, and the newsgroup has far too many posts for me to keep up with.

Non-knitting News
I'm still in lab. Still in Chicago. Still no PhD. Please do not ask again. *sigh* I know people mean well, and they are just trying to show that they are interested in my life, but I thought I would be done several months ago and every time somebody asks when I'm going to finish, I am reminded that I am here way longer than I wanted to be. For me, it's the equivalent of asking, "So, when are you going to get that grotesque, horribly disfiguring birthmark removed from your face?" Or possibly, "So, when are you going to start that diet?" Anyway, partly because of this, I tend not to want to be around people much except for my really close friends and my labmates. My brother's wedding is coming up and I'm not looking forward to giving everyone the spiel. Perhaps I should print my answer on business cards and hand them to people when they ask.

John is well. We see each other once a month. That's about all I have to say about that.

My friend from lab, R, has now given me two riding lessons on her horse! I've always wanted to learn to ride a horse and I'll be definitely taking lessons when I get to California, but in the meantime, R is happy to take me out every once in awhile. This last time, I successfully sat a trot (western style) which I have never been able to do before, so that was pretty cool! It takes every bit of my concentration in order to do it and I can barely pay attention to steering when I do it, but hey, I'm a newbie.

Hmmm....I guess that's it for now. Hopefully it won't be another month before I post again.