Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Celebrity In Our Midst!

Congratulations must go out to Michael for the fantastic job he did on his book...what an accomplishment!

Everything, from the well written text to the layout, from the knitting instruction to the illustrations and photos, looks great! I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and read it from cover to cover (yet) but the patterns look super and I know I will be making many of them. But which first? Hmmmm...

On this Halloween night, I thought I might watch a scary movie. Now I don't crave the gore-fests that my friends and I used to live for back in high-school, but I do still like the occassional, well-done, scary movie. And tonight seems perfect for just that. I have a few that I was thinking of popping in, but I think I'll settle on "High Tension."

This is one I haven't seen before and I really don't know much about it. But after hearing some good buzz, and seeing it on sale for a mere 5 bucks, I decided to pick it up.

My only hesitation about watching this by myself relates to the time that my friend Royce was up for a visit over Thanksgiving. Royce is one of the aforementioned friends from high school with whom I used to watch scary movies. So even now when we get together, we easily fall back into that pattern. He brough a bunch of movies with him and we started off with the easy lead-in of Shaun Of The Dead, which, if you've seen it, you know is more comedy than anything. Then we jumped into the new version of Dawn Of The Dead. This was actually pretty scary in parts, especially the opening sequence. Right as this was ending, we hear a loud couple of thumps on the front door. We both looked at each other and froze.

Now we're both sensible adults, but with it being dark out, living in a very rural area and our adreneline pumping from the movies, this all added up to zombies trying to get in! So we made our way over to a window where I could peek out and see two individuals dressed all in black waiting at the door. Yikes! I motioned for Royce to follow me to the door for "back up". I worked up the nerve to answer the door and the indivudual on the right launches into his pre-rehearsed speech on the Kingdom of Heaven. I have to tell you I have never been so happy to see a Jehovah's Witness in my entire life. I politely declined any further information or pamphlets and Royce and I headed back to the living room for a good laugh and our next movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


Sonic Youth's sound started to gel on "Bad Moon Rising", their third proper release (not counting the strictly-for-the-rabid-fan-curiosity, "Sonic Death"). The songs are full of dischordantly chiming/grinding guitars and Thurston's pseudo-beat poet lyrics. Kim takes lead vocals on a few tracks as usual, including the apropos "Halloween."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Windy Weekend

The weather made a bit of a turn this weekend. We went from relatively mild weather to down in the low 40s with really strong winds. They were calling for gusts up to 65 MPH, but I'm not sure that we actually reached that. Though it was strong enough to knock over a stand with a heavy potted plant in the back yard!

I avoided catastrophe just a while ago with my new socks. Actually, let me back up just a little. I started the socks in the same way I always do, thinking that after the leg was finished I would make a heel flap, turn the heel, pick up the gusset stitches, decrease back down to my normal number of stitches and carry on with the foot.

Well about halfway through knitting the leg, while perusing my "Sensational Knitted Socks" book, I decided maybe I should try a different heel. I decided on the traditional turned heel without the heel flap. So this afternoon I started working on the new style heel and didn't get very far into it before I figured that I had made a few mistakes. Plus I realized that I wouldn't be able to carry on with my K2 P2 ribbing down the top of the foot like I wanted to without some extra fancy figuring that didn't seem worth it. I was instead going to go back to the original plan.

The only problem is that this meant I'd have to either tink or frog back to where I had started. I chose to frog. I must say that I am no expert at frogging and then inserting my needle back into the loose stitches. In fact I have a huge phobia about doing it! But I tried it. I got about half of the stitches back on the needle when the other half, from me manipulating the fabric, started slipping/pulling through the previous row. Here I stopped to take a breather...

Then it dawned on me that I had seen a video on Amy's site. It's an alternative to what I had tried to do and it's titled "Inserting a needle into destination row, before unraveling" (look under the "Fixing Mistakes" header...) She basically shows how you can insert your needle into the fabric below the active stitches. Then when the needle (or needles in my case) is in place, you can frog back to where you inserted your needle(s) and you're ready to go.

Well, I tried it and it worked like a charm. Woohoo! A big thank you goes out to Amy. Without that video I fear I would have been frogging the whole thing and that would have made me very sad, not to mention cranky!!

So anyway, here's the sock as it is now, back to how it looked before the heel fiasco...

If you get a chance, head over to my friend Ruth-Anne's site and say hi. She just started a blog of her own and has some shots of the hats and socks she's been working on lately. Very fun stuff! Ruth-Anne and I used to work together here in Bangor, but she's sinced moved out to Colorado...even though I told her she wasn't allowed to go! Can you imagine the nerve?...


I've been listening to this a lot lately with Halloween right around the corner. Siouxsie's dark and icy voice is in top form and musically and lyrically it's definitely one of their darker albums. A perfect fit for the season! Take a listen to the terribly appropriate "Halloween."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another visit down, one more to go

Well, the visit with my parents went really well. We had a nice time touring around Bangor, Ellsworth and Bar Harbor. We also knew that my Dad, hating to be still for too long, would need a project of some sort. So, he helped us with the bathroom that we are re-doing. We ended up getting the new sink on (a lovely 'beige' granite top) and the new lights installed.

Though we probably would have preferred a whole different set up for the lighting, we decided not to worry about re-wiring anything and just replaced the two old lights with newer, more modern looking ones.

Not too much to report on the knitting front. I'm all done with Sock Wars, having gotten my socks out to their intended target. I had a fun time and met a couple of really nice people in the process. So, having one war under my belt, I look forward to next year's. I just hope I'll get a little further next time!


The new Severed Heads disc is finally out AND it comes with a bonus disc called "Over Barbara Island." The sound of the first 9 tracks varies but seems to be taking a cue from some earlier SH albums like "Cuisine" and even "Come Visit The Big Bigot." The last 5 tracks are an instrumental 'suite' as are all eight of the tracks that make up the second disc. Great stuff all around, I'm very impressed! Definitely for fans of electronic music with a sense of humor and a bit of patience! Try them on for size here...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Super Busy Week

Well, Sock Wars is now behind me, but despite the fact that I don't have the pressure of a pair of socks needing to be knit, I'm still having a really busy week. Work has been crazy and we've been getting the house ready for my parent's visit. They will be coming in tonight and staying through Tuesday. So I probably won't be able to knit during that time as we'll be too busy running around, eating and playing games! But I hope to have some kind of update here next week. Hope you all have a great weekend! Ken

Thursday, October 5, 2006

It's official, I'm "dead"...but oh, the goodies!

I made the walk to the end of the drive to get the mail this afternoon and there was the package I've been waiting for. My Sock Wars socks! I had fair warning that they were on their way and therefore knew of my impending doom. But this sealed it. So while that's sad news, the good news is that Jaci from Wisconsin, who was my assassin, sent me all kinds of goodies along with the socks she made! So without further ado, here is a look at the wonderful care package that she put together.
First, here are the great socks that she made. The color is super and I was even wearing a t-shirt of that same color today!

And here's everything that accompanied them...a bar of scented soap this is so yummy you could eat it(!), a bottle cozy (which Mark immediately took from me and put to use on a bottle of Sam Adams!), some "orange citrus" lip balm (all from Leinenkugel's Brewery in Chippewa Falls, WI), Silver Springs honey dijon mustard/mayo spread (from Eau Claire, WI), a ball of yarn that I can't wait to cast on for some socks, and some wonderful stitch markers that Jaci made herself!

I can't begin to tell you how excited I was, like a kid at Christmas! Thanks Jaci for being so thoughtful, you made my day!! I really appreciate all the trouble you went to! Oh, and I still have about a third of the second sock that isn't done, so according to the rules I guess I'll be sending them your way to finish...that is, assuming you're still in the game?

In other news, I worked on the bathroom today. Last weekend I tore down all the wallpaper. Surprisingly this task wasn't as terrible as I had been warned it would be. There were definitely areas that were troublesome, but all in all I was pretty happy with how it peeled away. Today I went back and did some patching and cleaned the walls and ceiling in preparation for the paint. A much needed facelift for an outdated bathroom.

As an aside, a while ago I got an audio book from Mardens, which is a large surplus and salvage store up here. Kind of like a Big Lots, Odd Lots or Ollie's if you're familiar with any of them. The book is called Clubland and is a well-researched, journalistic look at Michael Alig, his rise to fame as the "King of the Club Kids" and his eventualy involvement in the murder of Angel Melendez. This lead me to rent Party Monster which is a movie based on those true events. It's all a pretty interesting, though sick and twisted, story. The movie was fairly entertaining and it was fun to see Macaulay Culkin all grown up and back in action as Alig, but Seth Green as James St. James really carried the movie. Plus, Dylan McDermott was in it and he's just plain hot!

LISTENING TO: DEAD CAN DANCE - "Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun"

Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry fill their third album with a sense of foreboding, mystery and beauty. They've made many stylistic changes since their debut and by this time have set aside most traditional rock instruments in favor of classical ones. The Gerrard-sung "Summoning Of The Muse" is a particular highlight.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Corn Chowder... And My Imminent Demise

Matt has requested, on behalf of his vegan wife, the recipe for the yummy Vegan Corn Chowder that I mentioned in the last post. So without further ado, here it is!



2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups water
2 cubes veggie bouillon
3 cups corn, fresh or frozen
6 medium red potatoes, cleaned and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cups soy milk
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions and celery; cook until just slightly golden. Stir in carrots and garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly golden.

2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil over high heat. Stir in bouillon and reduce heat to medium. When bouillon is dissolved add corn, potatoes and the vegetables from the skillet. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Add more water if necessary.

3. Reduce heat to low and pour in 1 cup soy milk. Stir soup well, then stir in remaining 1 cup soy milk. Quickly whisk in flour. Stir in parsley, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until chowder thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.


-The potatoes could be peeled, but I chose not to. The red skins looked nice with the yellow of the corn and the green of the celery.

-I used 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes which made a pretty hot soup. If you don't like a lot of heat, cut it back to 1/4 tsp. But if you really like heat, kick it up above 1/2 tsp.

I really liked this recipe and if you try, I hope you will as well!

I got news from my Sock Wars 'assassin' ('Hi' to Jaci in Wisconsin!!) that she has finished my socks and they will be sent out soon. I am only about 75% done with my 'target's' socks ('Hi' to Joanna in Texas!) which I'll continue with tonight. In any case, I know that I am ultimately 'dead.' But that's ok, I wasn't in it for the glory...just for the fun, and of course, the consolation prize...a pair of socks! Oh and Don had asked what kind of yarn the socks were made with. Both colors used are Sirdar 'Country Style' DK weight yarn. The shot above is of the progress so far. As you can see from the picture, the instructions for the "International Sock Of Doom" make a sock with a short leg. That isn't something I'd normally chose in a sock, but it was actually a nice feature in a knitting contest!


This band from Portland, Oregon makes catchy pop music that some might think is a little too smart for it's own good. Colin Meloy leads the band through a great album of what could best be described as 'literary pop.' Who else could fit a line like "Medicating in the sun with pinch doses of laudanum, longing for the old fecundity of my homeland." into a modern rock song? Listen to a sample of the lead track from the album, "Leslie Anne Levine" and see what you think!