Note: I wrote the first section of this post a couple weeks ago but couldn't figure out how to upload the image of the Excel s/s to Typepad*. So the knitting part predates my last post. But those words are mine own deathless prose and I am wont to delete them.
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Thanks to Elizabeth for the link to BuyBlue.org, I can now substantiate my claim that Amazon donates to predominantly Republican causes while Barnes & Noble donates to predominantly Democratic ones. Thanks, Elizabeth!
It turns out that yes, Barnes & Noble (and Powell's) donate(s) to
blue causes and Amazon donates predominantly to red ones, but the
disparity is not as great as I had thought.
And because I am a number cruncher I delved into the site, sorted the data, copied and pasted into an Excel spreadsheet, and sliced and diced it (sorry, obsidiankitten, I had to say it), and came up with the following. Each list contains only those businesses that donated 51% or more of their total donations to the party in question, meaning that I ignored those pansy-asses with have no principles who donate the same amount to both parties. The lists are sorted by the total $$$ donated to that party. The blue list has everybody; I cut off the red list at $100,000 because the list was so frickin' long. No surprise that the Red Guys are rolling in it.
Of special interest to me were the few corporations that donated money
to "Other." Imho, "other" holds great promise for the future.
(For those of you who are not totally nutso do not delight in poring over spreadsheets, scroll down to the summary.)
To summarize, the conservatives among us should buy our:
craft supplies at Michael's and WalMart,
gas from Exxon Mobil,
drilling supplies from Halliburton (gee, that was a surprise),
bloomin' onions at Outback Steakhouse,
tires from Goodyear,
burgers at Wendy's, and
fertilizer our lawns with Scott's Miracle-Gro.
The liberals among us should buy our:
craft supplies at JoAnn,
insurance from Progressive,
investments through Working Assets,
wine from Ernest & Julio Gallo,
clothes at J. Crew and Men's Wearhouse and Dress Barn (okay, maybe not that last one), and
books from Barnes & Noble and Powell's.
Well, actually, we should buy all our stuff locally from locally-owned businesses, but on those occasions when we don't... you get my point.
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I promise on a stack of butterfly ballots that this will not morph into a political blog. Politics bore me, although their effects do not.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled knitting.
* * * * * There has been a woeful lack of knitting in my hands for the past couple weeks. Like, zero, none, zip, nada. Until last night, when I finished a swatch for my next Dulaan sweater and tonight when I finished a ballband dishcloth. I washed the swatch, and it is drying now. When I locate my camera I'll have some actual pictures of stuff. The sherbet-colored toddler sweater is still in pieces waiting to be sewn toge-- WOW!! I just heard the loons on the lake for the first time this year. They are being creatively vocal, too -- breeding season and all :-)
ther. Sewing sweaters is not my favorite part but I'm hoping to learn some things on this sweater. One cannot knit ONLY one-piece raglans.
I am sooooo ready to knit again.
* What I ended up doing was downloading a freeware screenshot program for Mac, SnapClip, which did exactly what I wanted it to. At work we use SnagIt, which may very well be the gold standard for screen capture, but which, alas, is only available in a Windoze version.
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Edited to add: (Help, I've started going political and I can't stop!) Shortly after i posted the above I got this link in an e-mail from No. 1 son. Apparently great minds think alike, er, I trained him well. Actually, he trained me. Anyway. One celebrity's political donations.
This is a drawing of a proposed shoe, done by one Donna Pick of Sammamish, WA*, that I found on this site. Look carefully at that shoe. Now, imagine it in whatever color you think appropriate, on your foot, which is wearing -- of course -- your very own handknit sock. Is this not the perfect shoe to showcase our socks? (I'm rather taken with the colors shown, although I know I would probably never buy it in those colors because they would detract from my socks. But I digress.)
I found the site from Fleece Street, which I found from Ryan's post here. (The internet! Down the rabbit hole again!) The site belongs to a shoe designer/manufacturer/retailer who is apparently also a really cool and original person. Wander around there. I guarantee you'll be intrigued. Who'd've thought of open source shoes?
I put a long comment for this shoe on his site extolling the shoe's virtues and its high marketability to sock knitters. I even linked to the Blue Moon/Nastybank story from last January to point out just how many sock knitters there must be out there.
Here's your assignment: go look at that shoe, and if you agree with me that it is the perfect handknit-sock-showing-off shoe, vote for the shoe and leave a comment saying why. Let's get their attention. I.Want.This.Shoe. and if I have to make some noise to get it into production, I will :-) Maybe I need to get another contest going? We'll see...
And if you like the shoe and the idea that we could get it produced, talk it up on your blog! Let's get the word out! I'm just a tiny spark in the blogosphere but the power of the internet and knitbloggers is tremendous. To paraphrase Margaret Mead, "Never doubt the power of a small group of thoughtful people to change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
And while I have your attention, I also love this shoe:
Totally too high-style for me, and I would need an entire new wardrobe to wear with them, but I love 'em anyway. However, they are $319 (Yikes!). So they will remain just a dream...
* Once again, the power of the internet. A little judicious googling and I found Donna herself! She is also a knitter and -- gasp! -- a former yarn store owner. Hi, Donna, and I hope (totally selfishly, I must admit) that your shoe goes into production.
That's the body of my latest Dulaan sweater. Notice the fair isle band right above the ribbing. That's a new skill for me. Not that I haven't attempted fair isle before, it's just that this is the first time I feel like I can say I've really done it. The secret to keeping my tension smooth and the floats long enough was to keep the stitches on the right-hand needle stretched as far apart as possible. My previous fair isle attempts always puckered because they were too tight. Not this time, though :-) I'll do the same band on the lower sleeves and lots of similar stuff on the yoke.
The pattern is the seamless yoke raglan from Ann Budd's A Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, which is my Dulaan bible. (The fair isle pattern I made up as I went.) The main color is one strand of Reynold's Lopi Lite held together with one strand of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. The two colors of blue are a bit closer together than they look in the picture -- the Lopi is accurate, the WotA is darker. The white is one strand of cream Lopi Lite held with one strand of some Bernat ivory [purportedly] merino worsted. The little dark squares are one strand of oxford gray Lopi Lite held together with one strand of Ella Rae wool worsted in camel (I didn't have a gray worsted weight and didn't feel like waiting until I got some). I'm making the sweater on KnitPicks Options size 10s, which is giving me a gauge of ~15 st/4".
I bought the Lopi Lite during a Webs sale last year, intending it for a Dulaan sweater. But it is soooooo harsh that I couldn't face knitting it nor forcing some poor Mongolian child to wear it. I'd had such good luck with the double-stranding thing on my last Dulaan sweater that I decided to try it again. The white and camel worsted wools were in my stash; I had enough of the WotA blue to know it was the right color but had to buy a few more skeins to have enough. (I heart WotA.) The resulting fabric is dense but supple, sturdy and warm, not snuggly soft but definitely an improvement over using just the Lopi Lite. I swatched on KP 10.5s to get the 3st/1" gauge that I intended, but the fabric just didn't seem quite right, so I went to the size 10s.
Given the rather harsh nature of the wool I modified my original plan for a pullover into a cardigan, reasoning that this sweater could function as a jacket. And I did knit it back and forth until the fair isle. But I just couldn't face doing fair isle -- for the first time *for real* -- flat, so I joined and began knitting in the round. At some point the weird look of the cardigan-style first 3" began to bug me so I sewed it together. If I had thought of it when I was shooting these pictures this morning I would have taken a shot of the seam -- it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself -- but I didn't so I can't. I'll try to remember when I shoot the finished sweater.
And now some gratuitous feline shots for your amusement.
Tonight I put everyone's name into a spreadsheet, sorted it alphabetically just to be sure there were no duplicates -- wanted to be fair about this -- and used randomgenerator.com to choose a winner in the "phrase I hear at work that most makes me want to hurl the nearest colleague out the window" contest. The lucky commenter is...
Olga, if you are reading this you should be checking your e-mail because I sent you one a couple hours ago. Let me know your preferences. My brain is really too fried (after working 127 hours is 10 days -- and I took half a day off somewhere in there to go to a doctor about my broken blood vessel hand) to be entrusted with the awesome responsibility of choosing a prize thingy.
I loved reading all your entries. Many were phrases that I (*cough, mumble*) use myself on occasion and some I had never heard. What struck me, though, was that most of them -- if used in the proper and narrow context in which they originated -- were useful and meaningful. The problem comes when they become way too popular. I guess that's what "buzzword" means, huh?
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Somehow, I don't know how I did it, but I managed to read 2 books (really 1-7/8, but let's not quibble over that last 20 pages) in the last couple weeks. Both were stunning in their impact on me. (That last sentence doesn't deserve to live. Please ignore it.) I want to recommend both.
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Nonfiction. The author is a Somali woman, raised to be a devout Muslim, who escaped on her way from Somalia to Canada to marry a man chosen by her father to be her husband. She sought and won refugee status in Holland, where she stayed and eventually became a member of the Parliament. Her take on Islam is shattering. In her view it denies individuality and free will and sanctions horrific violence against women.
Come Back by Claire Fontaine and Mia Fontaine. Nonfiction. Claire Fontaine married a man who turned out to be a pedophile and who molested their 3-year-old daughter Mia. This book is the mother's and daughter's account of their lives, their descent into hell, and their recovery. I picked it up while waiting for my husband to finish in the bathroom and was hooked after 2 pages.
(You may notice that I linked to these books on the Barnes & Noble website. I read somewhere that Amazon donates a lot of money to conservative causes, whereas Barnes & Noble supports liberal and progressive causes. I don't know if this is true -- and if anyone knows for sure and can cite an authoritative source I'd appreciate it -- but just in case it is true I avoid Amazon if I can.)
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Gratuitous cute puppy photo:
...stolen lifted from the website of a friend's parents, who raise dogs. This little sweetie is a Shih-tzu/Bichon and just begs to be cuddled, don't you agree? You can admire him and his littermates at www.aligene.com.
However, I tend to doubt the scientific basis :-) upon which this profound psychological evaluation is based. One of the questions was the following: You tend to be too addicted to drugs, eating, sex, shopping, or reckless behavior Just exactly what is the difference between being "addicted" and "too addicted", hmmm?
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Lots of good entries in the buzzword-that-sets-your-teeth-on-edge contest. I've been alternately groaning, gritting my teeth, and laughing my butt off reading them. Check out yesterday's post and comments and see for yourself.
Here are the results of a nationwide poll conducted among the employees at my firm. There were 4000+ responders.
In my personal work experience I only hear the last two and then not so frequently that they bother me. I suspect that says more about my lack of contact with the outside business world than it does about the poll. Mostly I just sit at my computer and crunch numbers, review tax returns prepped by other staff members, and drink coffee. They don't let me anywhere near the clients :-)
How about you? Ooooh, I have an idea -- let's make this a contest. (Whoring for comments again. Hey, I'm not proud.)
Everyone who submits a comment with his or her submission for "phrase I hear at work that most makes me want to hurl the nearest colleague out the window" will get their name placed gently into a wooly container for the drawing.
Deadline is, um, ...
Hah! Got it. Midnight CDT April 17, 2007. Same deadline as for your tax return if you live in my time zone.
I'm forgetting something. What is it?
Oh. Prizes. Hmmm.
Don't know. Maybe chocolate, maybe yarn, maybe a lifetime supply of SweetTarts. Or white-out. Whatever. I'll decide later.
This afghan is a more recent project than the crocheted shawls of Part I. I made it from a Colinette kit bought in England in 1996. When I got home from the trip I put the kit into the cedar chest to protect the gorgeous wool and mohair and silk yarns -- and then forgot about it! A few months later I opened the chest again to get out the wool sweaters and socks for winter and rediscovered the kit. Even then I didn't start knitting it right away; iirc, I didn't actually start it until about 1998. Once I started, though, I worked diligently. The whole thing was knit on US10.5 or 11 needles, so it went fairly quickly.
The yarns were gorgeous. There were 3 different mohair colorways, one mostly navy that shaded to a lighter blue-gray, and the other two mixed blues/grays/pinks/white. There was a tweedy navy chunky wool called Skye (heavier than the worsted weight they now call Skye); a thick-and-thin wool-cotton blend called Prism in Umber and another colorway that was light gray-blue with pinks and white; and, my favorite, a plied silk yarn in a gorgeous peachy-pinky-golden beige that felt like butter through my fingers.
As you can imagine, there were a lot of ends -- I wove them in after every few squares because I knew it would be a nightmare to do it all at the end. The photo above is the back side of the afghan. It's definitely a back side to you and I, but to the uninformed eye it probably looks goodenough.
This photo shows the colors most accurately (Matthew happened by as I was tweaking it and he showed me a couple things. Techies are so useful to have around.) As the afghan grew larger and larger I found that it kept my lap nicely warm as I knit. It was so comfy that when I finally finished knitting all the squares it seemed done enough to use, and it took me nearly a year to get around to knitting the border, then another several months to weave in the final eight ends in the border. I do have a problem with that final finishing-and-letting-go thing.
No one else is allowed to use this afghan but me. I once thought I might back it with some nice cushy fabric, maybe velvet, to hide the back side, but it is so warm already that it would become unusable. So it is really and truly done. Depending on your taste, it is either the most beautiful thing ever created or the ugliest. I choose the former but YMMV.
(Yes, I know I misspelled the title. It's more appropriate spelled that way, believe me.)
I am whoring forbeggingrequesting comments. Give me a joke, link me to a cartoon, tell me a funny story -- anything to make me smile! Please!
I'll tell you why.
I'm typing this right after I got home from work. It is 2:17 am. Next Tuesday is Tax Day and I am an accountant. This is what we do for fun. I worked until 11:30 Monday night, 12:30 Tuesday night, and 1:30 am tonight. Anyone sensing a trend here? When I posted my time before I left tonight I found I had already worked 55 hours this week. And I only worked 4.5 hours on Sunday.
Please don't commiserate or offer sympathy or pat my head. I signed up for this, they pay me, and there was at least one person still working when I left. Could have been more, but I didn't walk the aisles of Cube Land to check.
What I need are little, i.e., quick! short! things to boost me up. Truly I love what I do, it's just that I'm kinda tired. Kinda.
So, anybody got a quickie? The fewer words the better -- no shaggy dog stories, please. Pictures of cute kittens welcome, cartoons of the Far Side genre happily accepted. and if anybody could e-mail me a backrub I'd be eternally grateful.
First, thanks for all your concern and kind wishes about my hand. It is functioning fine now, although it is purple and yellow and ugly. The swelling is nearly gone and I'm not wearing the Ace bandage any more. (I'll spare you a photo; just picture a hand with purple bruise-y blotches slowly turning yellow and you've got it.)
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Next, howzabout winning a new vacuum cleaner? Go here and sign up. Or don't -- that improves MY chances :-)
Remember when I was a winner? It happened again, only better. I was the one of the winners of the Friday raffle -- a $50 Visa debit card, good pretty much anywhere. Heck, if they keep treating me like this, I'll keep coming back to work. Year after year after year.
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A bit later on Friday afternoon I was talking to my husband on the phone and noticed that the back of my left hand was swollen and sore. I told him I had maybe broken a blood vessel, didn't know how. And went back to work.
Twenty minutes later I glanced at my hand and discovered that, unbeknownst to me, someone had sneaked half a ping-pong ball under my skin. Really. There was a hemispherical lump about an inch high and two inches across on the back of my hand. Guess I really had broken a blood vessel, and not a teeny tiny one.
I showed it to the woman whose office is next to my cube and she said I ought to go somewhere and have it looked at. I said I'd give it five minutes and see what happened. Thirty seconds later I could tell it was bigger -- I was getting stretch marks around the lump.
I wrapped some ice cubes in a paper towel, held than on the lump, and walked to an urgent-care-type office in the next block. By the time I got there I was starting to panic a little. My hand was getting shooting pains because the leaking blood had filled all the slack in the skin and was now starting to exert some serious pressure.
The nurse in the urgent care office asked if I had injured my hand; no, not that I was aware of. She told me that there was nothing she could do for me then -- I should just wrap an Ace bandage around it to keep the swelling down and put ice on it. Gee, thanks. But she didn't charge me or even ask for my insurance card.
Now, just in case you are ever in a position where you need an Ace bandage, like, NOW THIS INSTANT, let me advise you not to be in the downtown Minneapolis skyway. It is not something sold in every little convenience store. What are readily available, however, are pantyhose, which make a perfectly acceptable emergency substitute.
(Crummy picture courtesy of my cell phone.) The ice pack held on with a nylon stocking reminds me of a cartoon of a hung-over guy with an oversized icepack on his head.
On Saturday I got myself a real [Walgreen's] Ace bandage and kept that hand nicely bound, which helped the swelling but made typing difficult (of course I was back at work; Tax Day is just 2-1/2 weeks away, after all). I had to unwrap and rewrap it several times on Saturday to corral the swelling. The nurse had warned me that the whole thing would turn all sorts of purple and ugly and bruised-looking and probably go up my arm as the blood was reabsorbed. It doesn't seem to be spreading any higher than where my watchband would be, but my hand and fingers are now quite spectacularly colored. At one point my fingers were getting rather uncomforably swollen, but the rewrapping -- around the individual fingers, then on to the hand -- seemed to take care of that. I don't think I'll be wearing my wedding ring this week, though.
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No knitting on Friday or Saturday. My left hand was more of a paw than a hand equipped with an opposable thumb. Today, though, I started swatching for my next Dulaan sweater.
And in a few minutes I'm going to teach Matthew how to knit. Another muggle joins The Force!