Sunday, February 26, 2006

The arena is empty except for one (wo)man,
Still driving and striving as fast as (s)he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But (s)he's driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of a sweater for whom (s)he still burns.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I am completely screwed

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There is no way I'm going to finish this. In a spurt of completely unreasonable optimism, I think I may be able to finish the knitting, but not the steaking or zipper sewing. Unfortunately, I was only able to knit four of the days I was in MS (between the 10th and the 19th) because a good friend was in the hospital so I was taking care of her house and family. In retrospect, I'm pretty impressed I am so far. I have learned a few things: 1) choose something that is more portable if you're only going to be working on one project at a time, 2) while starting with the sleeves is an important step for ensuring the finishing of a sweater in normal circumstances, the challenge of the time limit will take care of that in this case and the body should be begun during the time there is much sitting around the house, leaving the sleeves for when there is much travelling on the bus (see #1), and most importantly 3) the real challenge for me is not finishing a sweater in a short amount of time, it is working on only one project for 16 whole days. About an hour in I was already thinking about "just kicking out that hat real quick" or "there's almost nothing left to that sock." It has only gotten worse. I don't think I'll be doing this again; I just don't enjoy it, and there's no reason to make my hobby into work.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder...

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***Warning: this post is all pilot training and no knitting***

The primary reason for my current trip to MS is that last Thursday was Mark's track select day. The part of pilot training he's been doing up to this point has been generic; every AF pilot, including helicopters, goes through this training. At track select they find out what track they're going to go down (fighter/bomber, tanker/transport, turboprop, or helicopter) and then they begin more specific training. Only slightly more specific, though, as fighters and bombers are pretty different planes and there are something like 47 different tanker and transport planes. To determine who goes where, everybody in the class makes up a dream sheet and the Air Force determines how many slots for each type of training the class will get based on AF need for each type of pilot. The powers that be (possibly a computer) then go down the list of class rank (based on academic and flying scores and instructor and peer scores) and pass out the slots available on a first-come-first-served sort of system. The assignments are then passed out in a ceremony that we attended on Thursday.

Before the official event I got to ride with Mark in one of the simulators. It moved and everything, so it was pretty cool. He showed me all his bad moves, and let me try some flying too. I now agree with him that instrument landings do indeed suck. He said my visual landing was pretty good. Excellent, if we pretend it was icy to explain the twisting and turning around the runway. At one point he did get distracted explaining all the gadgets in the plane and let it get too high so the wings fell off or something and we crashed. Not exactly instilling confidence... I also got to walk out on the flightline and see the planes he's been training in.

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Unlike graduation the track select ceremony is somewhat informal; it is kicked off with an hour or so of drinking

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Mark's class has the dubious distinction of being the only class that has spent every Friday since they arrived in the officer's club for hours on end, so the club manager gave them a free round of their class shot (another dubious distinction) Jaeger and Redbull (eeeeeeeew). They then moved to some special room to take a shot of some sort of whisky with the wing commander. Finally, everyone grabbed another beer from one of the kegs and moved into the auditorium.

The guys all stood off to one side waiting until it was their turn.

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A slide had been prepared for each, and the instructors roasted them as introduction.

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Mention was made of Mark "making an Excel spreadsheet to choose an Excel spreadsheet," having ear problems preventing flying on a regular basis (DNIF = duties not including flying), and geeking out even while working out (using a metronome to make sure he was lifting at the right speed). Then he would yell clear and spin the propeller and photos of the possible next training planes would flash across the screen and end with the one he would be in next. The plane is the top of the post is the one that settled on Mark's screen, and is a T-1 tanker/transport trainer. This was not what he had hoped for, but was what he had expected, so it wasn't too disappointing. We had a deal, though; we would follow his dreams and I would just hope to be able to work wherever we ended up if he got fighters. Now that he didn't, it's his turn to follow my dreams and let me have an actual career. As a result, he's trying to move to the Guard (you get to choose where you live and stay there) and be an engineer in the real world. This is technically not allowed while you are in a formal training program, but basically everything in the AF is waiverable. If that doesn't work, he'll leave pilot training and just finish his commitment as an engineer and we will say goodbye to the military.

Monday, February 13, 2006

End of Day 3:

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I'm trying to convince myself that the sleeves are the slowest part, since I have to keep stopping to pull and push the needles for the magic loop. I'm sort of tempted to go buy some 16" circulars so I can just go round and round... it's probably best to keep working on them simultaneously, though. I think the random ribbing part way up is a bit odd, and the second pattern doesn't look right without it, so I'm leaving them out.

I forgot to mention that I big sticking point in the beginning was that the first instruction was wrong. That's right, the one that started with "cast on." You don't notice at first. 54 stitches seems like a very reasonable number, so you trust them and start on your merry way. You knit the hem and a turning row. You knit a few simple rows. Then you start Pattern I, beginning in the chart so that the specified stitch will be in the center of the sleeve... hey! There is no center stitch with an even number! And reading further ahead, I'm supposed to add sets of two to get 125 stitches! After some consideration I determined that 53 was better than 55 for the pattern and knit two together somewhere. Since I had used a provisional cast on to be able to attach them hem by knitting two together rather than sewing, this required a k3tog at one point as well, but I think it's all fine.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

And it begins. My olympic knitting had a bit of a rocky start. Despite actually thinking about it in advance, it turns out I had not in fact brought the proper needles to MS with me for my project. Fortunately, Friday is one of the four days a week the lys is open. It sucked to pay full price for needles, but I just got 40" cables so I could do both sleeves on one circular and didn't need dpns or two circulars or anything and it wasn't too bad. My best bet for finishing an item seems to be by beginning with the sleeves, so that's what I did. Slowly, because the beginning looked like this:

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That's a provisional cast on using needles rather than waste yarn for two sleeves on one long circular. Two balls of yarn, six needle ends, and extra needles that were only 12" long. Oy. But I pulled it together, and by the end of the evening it looked like this:

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Can you tell what I'm making yet? It's the Hardangervidda unisex pullover from Dale, and I'm using Tuir in three shades of gray. It's lovely so far, but I sure hope I accelerate.

Go team!

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Okay, the Super Bowl isn't until tomorrow. The chanting "Sea-Hawks, Sea-Hawks!!!" could really wait. And dude with the ukulele outside my window... why?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

So it occurs to me that I haven't actually shown my Clapotis.

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I love it. I wear it everywhere. I use it as a scarf on the way to and from work, and then as a shawl when my office is cold or when I dash somewhere on campus. It's perfect.

Here's the baby sweater I promised, knit from the leftover Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran from Lara:

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It's knit from Rebecca Home and Family, though I made some substantial changes. I knit it in the round, added button plackets, changed the size...

I'm too tired to post anything real (why on Earth am I still awake at 1:29?), but due to house-sitting I've been absent and want to get something up. So I will give you an option: you can follow my link to read this response to President Bush's irrational fear of science State of the Union, or you can read this random internet silliness (or you can wait until tomorrow when you can see photos of a finished baby sweater and maybe, just maybe, Mark's Blazed and Confused sweater blocking):

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Molly Phariss!

  1. The liquid inside Molly Phariss can be used as a substitute for blood plasma!
  2. Molly Phariss is the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the World that still survives!
  3. It takes more than 500 peanuts to make Molly Phariss.
  4. The Eskimos have over fifty words for Molly Phariss.
  5. Pacman was originally called Molly Pharissman.
  6. American Airlines saved forty thousand dollars a year by eliminating Molly Phariss from each salad served in first class.
  7. Molly Phariss can clean her ears with her tongue, which is over thirty-nine inches long.
  8. Some hotels in Las Vegas have Molly Phariss floating in their swimming pools.
  9. Molly Phariss is actually a fruit, not a vegetable.
  10. In her entire life, Molly Phariss will produce only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
I am interested in - do tell me about