31 March 2006

Ruthie Models

Ruthie is modeling a pair of Felted Furry Footwarmers (from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation), pre-felting. Actually, about the last thing in the world that Ruthie needs is Furry Footwarmers, but she's still happy to model.

I Belong In London

You Belong in London
You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.
And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

29 March 2006

One more for today

Yes, one more post today. Can you tell I have work to do that I don't want to do?

I was making dinner tonight and came across the instructions you see to the right.

Okay, I am making prepackaged crap for dinner instead of cooking from scratch. Nevertheless, I think I can muster up enough IQ points to figure out for myself when my hands need washing. Did they really need to specify this on the frigging bag?!?

My Favorite Yarn

I actually received this yarn last month, when I was cameraless, and I keep forgetting to take pictures of it. Today I remembered, so here it is:

It's beautiful yarn, sort of a variegated camel color, and with an angora-like halo. A close look at the label reveals its source:

That's right, you're looking at 100% Ruthie yarn. I have about 12 ounces in all, and it was spun for me by VIP Fibers.

As you can see, Ruthie is fascinated with this yarn. It doesn't smell doggy at all; in fact, they clean the fiber with something that gives it a fresh floral scent that's pleasant but not overwhelming. Clearly, however, discerning noses can still distinguish the yarn's origin (and wonder why that yarn smells like them!).

I wish I had a photo of how the yarn was packaged when it arrived. It was really beautiful. It even included a personalized plastic tag with Ruthie's name on it (like a dog tag). And the labels, as you can see, are very cute. You supply your own picture when you send in the fiber, and, as you're waiting for the fiber to be spun, they post the picture on their website, along with an update on the project's progress.

I met the owner of VIP Fibers and her husband at Stitches West, and they are both very pleasant people.

I'm not sure what I'm going to make from this yarn. I have enough for a scarf, but I'm thinking a teddy bear would be nice. Or something. I also have in my stash about 6 ounces or so of Billie (@RB) yarn that was spun for me several years ago by someone who had newfies, and who needed some light-colored fiber to make a striped sweater. I sent her a great big box of fur, and she sent back some of the spun results. I could combine the Billie yarn with the Ruthie yarn, if I wanted. They're not quite the same color or texture (Billie had more white fur than Ruthie, and her reds were less dark), but I could do stripes or something. Any suggestions??

The Internet Says It So It Must Be True

According to the How Quirky Are You? test at Blogthings, my Quirk Factor is 48%. This means:

"You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them! "

See--it's in writing! I'm just normal enough!

I've gotta stop playing with Blogthings.

28 March 2006

Tuesday Miscellany

My brother sent me a link to the Badger Song. I don't pretend to understand it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case in which Florida lawyers were disciplined for using a pitbull as their law firm's logo. According to the Florida Supreme Court, the discipline was allowed because the firm's advertisements "demean all lawyers and thereby harm both the legal profession and the public's trust and confidence in our system of justice." Ha ha ha!!

Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht has resigned as coroner after allegations that he misused county funds. Whether or not he actually misused the funds, this guy can write a killer letter.

I just finished reading a book that simultaneously fascinated me and creeped me out: Parasite Rex. I had no idea how important and ubiquitous parasites are. And the things they can do--like mind control!

If ever felines take over the world (as I have no doubt they are plotting to do) these people will be the first to go.

27 March 2006

The Best Sentence In the World Is...

...the meeting has been cancelled!

Monday Morning

Outside my window is a tall evergreen tree. Everytime the wind gusts this morning, thick clouds of pollen are just pouring off it. Hack, cough, sneeze.

Whatever you do, do not begin the Google image quiz. You will instantly be sucked in, and will require emergency assistance to disconnect. Via Boing Boing. Also via Boing Boing, What Kind of American English Do You Speak? (I'm 65% General American, 20% Upper Midwestern, and the rest is mixed. I guess this makes sense; my first 9 years were spent in Illinois, and the rest of my life has been spent in Oregon, Nebraska, and California.)

And, via NotMartha, felted fortune cookies!

24 March 2006

More Birthday Loot

I received an Amazon package today (Oh, joy! What's better than finding that swooshy-logoed box waiting for you?) containing birthday gifts from my brother and sister-in-law. One item was a nifty-looking book called "The Starving Artist's Way," which has inexpensive household projects and some recipes. But even better was the other book, which is pictured to the right. Apparently, the woman who established the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard (in 1936) created a series of little dollhouses that depicted actual crime scenes. These were used to help students learn to examine the evidence to solve crimes. The book contains photos and diagrams of the dollhouses. Also, this book has the best endpapers ever. They wouldn't show up in a photo, so you'll have to trust me on this one.

I'm not sure what it says about me that (1) my relatives would purchase this book for me for my birthday; (2) it would be one of my favorite birthday presents; and (3) I would be gravely (no pun intended) disappointed that this particular craft hadn't occured to me first.

PS--I am not a freaky serial killer. I am a Criminal Justice professor. Just wanted to make that clear.

23 March 2006

Via Boing Boing

Among other nifty things, this site sells earrings that look like the ends of knitting needles. And the artist who makes the jewelry is apparently the same person responsible for Knitters Anonymous. I took the quiz. My name is dephal, and I'm a knitaholic.

And, my friends, why have we not yet abolished poverty or war or disease? Because men have been too busy inventing important stuff like this.

22 March 2006

21 March 2006


Today is my birthday. I think nobody should have to go to work on her birthday, but here I am. And here are a few miscellaneous links:
Feral Children
The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society
Crafters for Critters
Knatolee's Cow Diaries
Music from TV commercials
"Transparent" computer screens

I'm currently working on a skully pullover from Stitch 'N Bitch. I'm knitting to gauge and yet using about twice as much yarn as the pattern calls for. Don't know what the problem is. I should get it done just in time for the weather to turn really warm.

16 March 2006

Dephal Pretends to Hit the Big Time

I'm in San Francisco for a couple of days for a meeting with my publisher.

I love typing that--it sounds so impressive! Stephen King needn't worry about losing his place on the bestseller lists, though; this is a textbook I'm co-writing with 7 other people. Nevertheless, the publisher is paying to put us up at a swanky hotel, the Hotel Vitale. It's a new place with a minimalist/spa theme. The bathroom (complete with shower with a "rainforest shower head") is bigger than the bedroom in my first apartment. From my room I can watch the ferries coming and going across the street.

Watching the ferries reminds me of the time Thing 1 and I spent a couple days in the city when she was almost 5. I told her a friend was going to take the ferry to have lunch with us. Thing 1's eyes got very big, and she started jumping up and down with excitement, shouting, "A ferry, a ferry!" I was puzzled for a few moments, then I realized what she was actually shouting was, "A fairy, a fairy!" and she was picturing Diana showing up accompanied by someone with wings and a pink tutu. Of course, this being San Francisco, that wasn't so unlikely, but I did have to explain the situation to a disappointed child.

Anyway, I don't actually have to be available for the meeting until this evening, but I wasn't about to waste an opportunity to spend a day in one of my favorite cities. So I checked in early and then headed over to the Ferry Building, where I rounded up a strange and delicious lunch (risotto tartlet, organic blood oranges, and salt caramel from Recchiuti for dessert--these ought to be a controlled substance). This was a balanced meal, considering I once took Thing 1 to Ghirardelli and we had sundaes for dinner.

After lunch, I walked up Mission and paid a visit to one of my favorite yarn stores in the world, ArtFibers. ArtFibers sells only their own yarns, which you can't buy anywhere else. The store is fun, too. They have lots of swatches, and they encourage you to sit down and try out any yarn you want. I fell in love with Fauve, a cotton/hemp yarn with sections of shiny nylon. One of the employees sat down with me and custom-designed a pattern to my specifications. They do this for free, and even have a tape measure handy to help with measurements.

Happily sated on yarn, I wandered over to Gumps and daydreamed about being able to hand over $10,000 for a lovely glass vase. Then I headed back down Market, stopping at a newsstand to admire the magazines and pick up a bottle of Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray. I know, celery soda sounds gack-producing, but I like the stuff, and it's hard to find. During my walk, which was probably a little over a mile, I passed 9 different Starbucks. Nine. And that's not counting any on adjoining blocks.

So now I'm back in my room, Cel-Ray in hand. I love hotels, especially when they have wifi, and especially when someone else is paying for them.

15 March 2006

Age or Ignorance?

Yesterday in class, I mentioned the song White Rabbit (it was relevant to the discussion, honest). Seventy pairs of eyes stared at me blankly. So, I helpfully added, "It's a song. By Jefferson Airplane." More blank stares.

So I was feeling pretty ancient, and the fact that my birthday's next week isn't helping.

Then after class, one of the students stoppped by my office to ask a question. He noticed my small collection of Freud toys. "What are those toys?" he asked. "Sigmund Freud," I replied. Brief pause. "Who's Sigmund Freud?"


So it's not that I'm old, it's just that my students are ignorant.

14 March 2006


I've warned you before about my political inclinations. If you're like-minded (and even if you're not) you might enjoy this page at DemocraticUnderground.com.

11 March 2006

How Many Children...

...can you fit inside a Saint Bernard-sized dog crate?
Parenting experts may disagree, but we have found this an excellent method of dealing with unruly children. ;-)

Incidentally, you may notice the batik throw on top of the crate. This is our pathetic attempt to pretend that the crate is "decorative furniture", seeing as it occupies a good chunk of our living room.

10 March 2006

Things You Didn't Know Existed

All of these links come via Cribcandy:

09 March 2006

Booga Booga

This is the Booga Bag, a felted purse made from Noro Kureyon. I love this colorway. I wish it was somehow possible to touch over the internet, so you could feel how soft this bag is. On second thought, given the uses many apparently make of the internet, maybe e-touch isn't such a great idea.

07 March 2006

Finally, a Camera Again

The new camera arrived today. It's much smaller than the one that met its untimely end at the British Museum, it has more megapixels, it has better zoom, and it has a pretty dizzying array of features, 90% of which I'll probably never use. It's a Kodak V530, which I know isn't much by Fancy Photographer standards, but considering the type of pictures I usually take, it's great. Case in point:

I don't know if it requires a "SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH C-VARIOGON Optical Zoom Lens" to take a picture of one's own foot, but there ya go. I finished these socks a couple weeks ago. The ankle part is sort of bulky and slouchy, which does nothing to slim the profile of my leg, but I do like the colors. The yarn is Socks that Rock, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The pattern is from Socks, Socks, Socks. And yes, I did actually make two. But this foot happened to be up anyway, because this afternoon I managed to hurt my left leg in a particularly stupid and painful way.

06 March 2006

Joys of Knitting

Here's a great thing about knitting. You can sit on the couch on a Sunday evening while your children sleep and your husband paints the bedroom, and you can have a great big pile of backlogged work to do, and you can watch the Oscars even though you've managed to see hardly any of the nominated films, and you can refrain from feeling guilty because you're not just sitting there, you're doing something. You're creating.

At least that's my excuse.

And, speaking of the Oscars, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won best animated feature. Not only is this movie one of the Things' current favorites, but my guess is that it was the only Academy Award nominee this year to feature a knitting dog.

04 March 2006

Snow Quip

We took the Things and Ruthie to the mountains today for snow play. Shortly after we got out of the car, some snow fell out of a tree onto Thing 2's head. Thing 2 shouted happily, "Mommy! I have winter on my hair!"

03 March 2006

01 March 2006


I finished a knitting project last night--a pair of socks. But with my new camera still somewhere between New Jersey and California, you'll just have to take my word for it.

New MagKnits is up.

James Lileks's website is full of advertisements and other ephemera from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, accompanied by his amusingly sarcastic comments. I think my favorite part of this site is the Interior Desecrations.