You know what I really really hate?

I hate when people are like, “Ugh, I just saw FAT PEOPLE in shorts, how DARE they be fat in my presence.” Whatever you think about this country’s “obsesity epidemic” and the various alleged health risks of being overweight, fat people are in fact members of the human race, and it’s fucking hot in vast swathes of the country right now, and humans are entitled to wear shorts when it’s fucking hot. If you’re really so aesthetically sensitive that looking at fat people in shorts gives you pain, I have to wonder how you make it through the day. 

Hmmmm

Okay, for whatever reason I just read this:

Mitch Daniels Was Right

I don’t know anything about the scandal that this piece addresses, but apparently someone wrote e-mails criticizing the use of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, others got upset at this “attack on academic freedom,” and now this person defends the e-mails on the grounds that Zinn’s book is terrible history and no one should study it.

My question is this: where is there any evidence that the people using the book were using it as an objective guide to U.S. history? I haven’t seen anyone offer that evidence, and I haven’t seen anyone suggest that the book be used for that purpose. However, I think it could work really well as an example of a particular kind of academic/political thought at a particular moment in time.

I mean, hasn’t anyone else taught books that you don’t think accurately describe the universe, but that you think raise significant points for discussion? (I mean, people still teach Mein Kampf,* right?) The argument that it’s okay to say this book shouldn’t be assigned** because it’s bad history presumes the point of reading a book is simply to acquire the objective knowledge that it, the simple vessel, contains.

*Sorry, Godwin.
**The author above argues that the original e-mailer didn’t attack academic freedom because he only said teachers shouldn’t get professional credit for reading it, not that it shouldn’t be assigned, but that seems like sophistry to me.

Neuroses

I have this problem: I think every anxiety I have can been soothed by spending money. (That, or by ice cream or cookies or cake, but we’ll leave that to one side for the moment.)

Right now, the big thing I have to obsess about is 1) moving to a new state and 2) starting a new job. We have the apartment, I have a (tentative) start date, but it’s too early to do anything really practical like rent a truck or set up utilities or so on (for various reasons, we can’t confirm the actual move-in date just yet).

So, am I reading up about my new state, researching the local rules for the jurisdiction for my new job, making lists of moving tasks, or sorting through my closet to see if there’s anything I can get rid of rather than pack, or anything similarly productive?

No. Instead, I spend my free time online, shopping for clothes.

For some reason, my subconscious is convinced that if I have the right clothes (for a hot climate/the new job), everything will turn out a-okay. My subconscious doesn’t seem to realize that

1) I currently possess clothes – quite a lot of them, in fact. I am not in any danger of having to go naked.

2) They actually sell clothes in the state to which we’re moving – and even if they didn’t, I will have access there to all the same online stores I have access to now.

3) There will still be sales after we move to the new state.

4) I don’t even know what clothes I’ll need for work; I have no idea what the dress code is like and how often I’ll be in court and so on.

5) Off-work, even if I end up wearing the same 5 tee shirts and 3 pairs of shorts over and over again, the world will not stop spinning.

6) I have a lot of better things to do with my money right now than ravage the sales and sample sale websites.

Nonetheless, my subconscious keeps yelling: I need more suits I need more shirts to wear under suits I need more shoes that are formal enough for court but work in really hot weather I need more shirts I can wear in hot weather I need I need I need I need I need.

Ugh.

(I do this before travel to Europe, too – if I buy ALL THE THINGS, the trip will go well, right??)

Anyone else do this?

Where I spend my time/money these days

I’ve been absent here because I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, not for any reasons worth discussing – they basically boil down to, I’m ready to be done with this job and to start my next one, and I’m REALLY ready to live with LDH again. These things will happen, and I know when they’ll happen, but I kinda hate the feeling of waiting, and wishing for time to go quickly (I dislike wishing my days away on principle, but that’s how I feel right now). I have been knitting quite a lot – the projects are still unfinished, but eh, they’re all fun. This last weekend I started this project in a matte raw silk yarn (not sure how the drop stitches in the skirt will look in this yarn, but I figure if that part doesn’t look right, I’ll just do some regular stockinette. I’m really expecting it to be more of a tunic than a dress, anyway.

dress (mine will be red.)

© Classic Elite Yarns

I have also started this, which will be big and boxy (but hey, that’s back in again) and very casual, but seemed a good use of this linen-cotton yarn I have, variegated in shades from burgundy to purple to navy. I had used a bunch of this yarn in an attempt at a different sweater, and I really like the way it knits up, but realized the sweater (though a cool pattern) was going to be way too short on me (it’s way cropped, and I have a long torso anyway). So weekend before last I unraveled the sweater, wound the yarn into hanks, gave the hanks a soak, and let them dry, so I can reuse them.

silverlake

© 2006 Oat Couture

I also started this sometime in the last couple of months, but I’m not convinced it’s working for me. It’s a lovely sweater, but it might be a little too close-fitting and minimal. I’m using a gorgeous grass green Madelinetosh yarn, which has just enough mohair to give it a lovely fuzzy halo, but makes it a bit complicated to match to a pattern.

raiun

© Tamara Erbacher

And finally, I have been laboring away on this for months, in the most amazing gorgeous variegated yarn in purples, blues, and greens. (It’s going to be a kind of crazy loud sweater, I think.) I’ve made a bunch of changes: the yarn is slightly heavier, I made mine longer (longer even than I’d originally intended, because I made the body the length I intended the whole thing to be, then realized there’s a bottom hem in a different stitch, which added a couple more inches), and my hem and collar are seed stitch, not stockinette (stockinette collars roll back in on themselves and make me NUTS. There’s a reason the model’s holding the bottom of the sweater together). I also added some very very subtle shaping along the side seams, not sure it’s enough even to make a difference, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m stuck on the collar right now, because you knit that from the bottom front of one side all the way around the sweater opening down to the bottom front of the other side. And, well, that’s a lot of LONG rows.

feather

(not sure who to credit for this picture but it’s not mine)

What I have learned about myself from these projects is that clearly, I like projects involving miles and miles of stockinette stitch.  I am happy to work through complicated structure (see this sweater, which is constructed all in one piece) but I’m better at keeping track of what increases/decreases to work on what rows, and where to cast on more stitches or bind off stitches, than I am handling any remotely complicated stitch pattern. (I had a go at starting this in the green yarn, but could. not. manage. to keep the yoke pattern going properly. And it’s not even complicated.) This is mostly because I knit in front of the computer/TV/a book, and stockinette is easy to knit without paying close attention. Complex lace patterns, not so much. (The other thing is that while you’re making the object, stockinette looks at least a bit like what it will finally look like, whereas lace looks like a crumpled mess until you’re done with the whole thing and block it – soak it, then stretch it out and pin it to dry, so that the pattern “blooms” properly – and I lose faith during the process.)

Still, I should really find a lace pattern to tackle at some point soon, for the lulz.

So, this is how I spend my weekends. It’s actually pretty satisfying – especially the top two projects, because they use a heavier yarn and so knit up faster, and so I’ve got almost 3/4 of the top of the v-neck dress done already. And unlike so much of what I do, you see results instantly, and you’re making something, something concrete and real and beneficial. The downside is that my wrists are pretty tired, what with the computer-ing all day and then knitting in the evenings and on weekends. Which is probably a good reason to sign off here.

More movement!

We have a place to live!

Despite not having seen the apartment in person, I am REALLY excited about this place:

  • It’s really pretty.
  • It has an upstairs (loft) space (I LOVE having an upstairs).
  • It’s modern without being a cookie-cutter suburban-y large-complex apartment (not knocking these; I live in one now, and it’s very comfortable and unoffensive, but not especially interesting).
  • Lots of light.
  • A wee yard! (Fenced patio, technically, but it’s actually got earth/ground [not grass, because it’s not grass country, but it’s an outdoors!].)
  • There’s pretty landscaping (including trees! and cacti).
  • It’s a 10-minute drive from my workplace.
  • It’s right near bike paths.
  • It just looks exactly like the kind of place we would live in and like to own.

AND it comes with a former blogger friend [formerly a blogger, not formerly a friend] as a neighbor! (This one.) Said former blogger teaches at the university in town, and when I asked her about places to live, she gave me some general suggestions, as well as a link to where she lived – which she said she LOVED and was in a great quirky neighborhood, close to everything yet quiet and secluded. And LDH and I realized we’d seen (and admired) the website for those apartments before. And then I was browsing Craigslist and saw a new posting for an opening in these apartments for August. And the rest is history…

I mean, nothing is absolutely perfect; it’s a little more in rent than we’d hoped to pay (not strictly more than we can afford, but more than we’d been hoping for), and I’m a little dubious about the closet situation and where exactly we’re going to put the catbox (there’s lots of room for the catbox, but it’s a very open-space kind of place, when I’d really love some kind of closet/cubby/niche in which to hide said item). But most of the rentals this close to downtown — that we could easily identify coming from out of town — were either in very student-y places, or were houses that were too big/too expensive/too rundown. Then there were generic-“luxury”-but-comfortable modern complexes, but they were mostly 30 mins from work (I have basically a 30-min commute right now and while I don’t like living exactly where I work, it’s a bit of a hassle), and I also didn’t want LDH to feel isolated so far from downtown/the university where he’s likely to be job-hunting. So we felt the extra cost was worth having a place that we really liked, that felt like us.

And honestly, it’s a huge relief to have found this place, and I’m much more excited about the move than I was.

(Of course, now I want to buy things to decorate/furnish said apartment – particularly area rugs and a small dining/kitchen table/chairs; thankfully there is an IKEA under 2 hours away, so I think cheap and cheerful, slowly acquired, will be the way to go. I mean, in an ideal universe I’d win the lottery and be able to buy a new sofa, chairs, and mattress, but I’m not holding my breath on that one. But your favorite ideas for cheap ways to make an apartment amazing are always welcome!)

Oooh, movement!

Heard back about a potential start date! Which is later than I had expected. (Way to write an ambiguous offer letter, U.S. government!) But that’s actually okay because it means I might actually – gasp – get a vacation between jobs? It looks like there will at least a month between my end date here and start date there – and okay, we’ll have to pack and move two apartments into one during that month – but it would be AWFULLY nice not to be working at the same time! I’m thinking it might just be worth it to pay for a month’s worth of COBRA, and actually relax for a wee bit? Maybe?