Friday, March 25, 2011

Mysterious Knitting

Sometimes, despite all your best intentions, things happen and you don't know why. And while you might think I'm referring to something larger in life, something more incomprehensible, something fateful or destiny-related...but I'm not. I'm talking about knitting.

I just spent the last 2 hours knitting and tinking, knitting and tinking, knitting and tinking the same inch-and-a-half of fabric, over and over again. Why? Because there was a problem. Specifically, a missing stitch. Not a dropped stitch...a missing stitch. And not several...just one. I was off by one, single, lonely, bastard stitch...but I couldn't figure out where or why.

It's the super secret project. It's due in a week at the end of this month. And it's lace. Lace is a beautiful, delicate and intricate weaving-webbing thing based entirely upon numbers, patterns and visual rhythms. You start with a certain number of stitches and you end with a certain number of stitches. Everything that happens in between is only numeric poetry, conducted by deft and nimble fingers.

And because I'm a dude knitter, living on the edge of the knit world, a rebel, a loner...dare I say even, *gasp*, a dangerous knitter...I knit without lifelines. Lifelines keep a knitter from completely losing their frakkin' mind when a lace pattern has gone totally, terribly awry. They allow one to unceremoniously remove the errant needle and haphazardly tear out the offending stitches until peace and order has been re-established...at the base of the lifeline. Screw lifelines, I say. It's knitting, for crying out loud...how many ways to we have to liven it up a bit?

So, as you can imagine, I was so very tempted to rue my fate this evening when, to much perplexity and wonderment, I found myself several stitches into a row, yet missing a stitch. I knew instantly I was missing a stitch because I was slated for a SSK...but I lacked an S. At first, I considered just doing an SK, though that looked cheap and tawdry. Well, okay...not tawdry but most definitely cheap. And cheating. No cheating allowed.

I take a moment's reflection, then begin tinking back to the beginning of the row. I read my stitches, following the pattern in head bit by bit and arrive at the end of the row utterly convinced that all the stitches are there. I start out again, only to arrive at the same place with the same problem: one damn missing stitch.

Next, I tink back not only to the beginning of the row but also the prior all-purl row. All purl WS rows are great for lace. I call the equalizing rows, as the serve to set up uniformity and regularity in the stitches for the next complicated shaping row.

So, now 2 rows tinked and back to a shaping RS row. I count the stitches...53, right on the mark. I read the stitches and follow the pattern. All present and accounted for. Excellent! I redo the all purl WS row, turn my work and start in again...and discover one missing stitch.

...

...

At this point, conspiracy theories begin to form in my brain as to how everything can check out, yet still I fall short one stitch in the same place every single time. Tink, tink, tink...3 rows out, then 4. Count stitches...53...run through pattern, a-ok. I consider handing my knitting to my friend, Daniel, and having him count to verify but I can't take a negative hit to my massive PR machine, so I don't.

I take a deep breath. All systems go, sir. We should be ready for take-off. Alright...here we go. Slowly, like a newbie knitter, I work stitches as though I were in the midst of a walking Buddhist meditation. K2, ssk, 2yo, k2tog, yo, k3, ssk...it repeats, and repeats. I arrive at the end of row successful. WS all purl row...also checks out.

Fast forward 10 minutes and I'm back to where this story started, only this time...no missing stitch. So...where did it go, or, rather, where did it come from. Obviously, the logical and rational explanation lies in my own handiwork and my working of the stitches. But I think the mystery of the situation is more fun to contemplate, so I chalk it up to an intellectual exercise and secretly thank whatever gods may be listening that I didn't completely frak up the super secret project.

And I'm still not going to use lifelines. You only live once...make it count.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Young Christian Soldier

...is one thing I am most resoundingly not.

True story:

I walk into my gym tonight and go downstairs to the locker room to change for my workout ('cuz being this beautiful is really, really hard). When I walk in, there are already two guys there: one shirtless, younger; the other in nothing but a jock, older, maybe in his late 40s. The young guy is just mentioning that his middle name is Michael. I don't know why...now hush!

"Oh yeah," says the older guy. "I've got a story about Michael that'll flip your lid, man."

"Huh?" The younger guys furrows his brow, clearly not understanding.

"Yeah, Michael...you know, the archangel? Yeah, man...check this! When I was just a young Christian soldier, I was partying one weekend in Salem, Missouri and one night I went down to the river and I challenged all the demons. I challenged all the demons and spirits in Salem, Missouri. I said, 'C'mon then!'

"And man, suddenly, I felt weighed down and I hard a hard time breathing. Oh, man...it was intense! I was choking and could barely speak but I eeked out, 'Call Michael...call...Michael!' and BAM! It was over...just like that. I tell you what...man, that Michael...he's something else, huh?"

The younger guy, all the while the story is being told, is collecting his things and getting dressed. Whether he purposefully timed it or maybe it was a matter of luck and happenstance, but he was ready to go by the time the older guy had finished.

"Wow, that's crazy, man. Well...have a good workout!" and he split.

The older guy and I conducted ourselves in silence for a couple of minutes, all the while I'm thinking one overpowering thought. It wasn't that he was crazy or that he had probably been on drugs at the time (...okay, there was that, too...) but the one, overriding thought that I almost...almost vocalized was:

"What the hell made you think you could take on all the demons and spirits in Salem, Missouri?"

And there you have it. True story.

Because no matter your faith or lack thereof, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Indefinite Spirituality With No Definite God Or Goddess Figure (or just Other)...I think we can all agree that challenging all the demons and spirits in any one location is probably, decidedly not a great idea.

Though, apparently, if you're a young, Christian soldier, you can call on Michael the Archangel to help you. No guarantee he'll show, though. Best probably to avoid spirit challenges altogether...unless you're a professional skilled in this sort of work, of course. In these tough economic times, I wouldn't want to be viewed as a "job-crusher." (Boehner, I'm looking at you, you Cheetos douchebag.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?

That famous line was lifted straight away from 1986's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," starring a very cute and precocious Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara and Alan Ruck. The latter appeared just last night on the newest episode of "Fringe," only one of the best television shows going right now. If you haven't seen enough to be hooked, then you really haven't lived. In any case, the famous line was uttered by the dry and humorless teacher played by Ben Stein, who, though a great character actor due to his signature deadpan delivery, is also a super-conservative douche who champions the teaching of Creationism (or are we calling it Intelligent Design now?) in our classrooms. Ludicrous, I tell you...

Intelligent Design is the academic equivalent to a massive shrug of our collective shoulders and resounding, collective "Idunno."

I'm sure I'm over-simplifying the whole thing (but probably not), but it's essentially the idea that the universe, our planet and, well, everything is just so complex that it could only have been "designed" by a Divine Hand. Really? That's your explanation for everything?! It not only sounds like the ultimate cop-out to brush away anything we don't already know about our world but, at its core, I think it's just plain lazy.

In any case, I've been on a sort of sabbatical but, as you can see, not much has changed in terms of my political thoughts. I know I started a separate blog for political stuff but sometimes, you know...I just sit down and start writing and what I get is what I go, so go with it, will ya? The line from "Ferris Bueller..." just popped into my head as I came to realize that I've been absent from these pages for about 4 months. What the frak, dude?! Where ya been, huh?

Well, I've had an "atypical lung infection," which happened right after a weekend business trip to Montreal at the end of February. Before that, there were some other medical issues unfolding in the family unit that require a modicum of attention. I love that word: modicum. Truthfully, though, the main reason for no bloggy-bloggy was simply that I was working on one project and one alone: 'Ber's Baby Blanket. You don't have to go back very far to find the blog posts in question (or for a satisfactory synopsis). Suffice to say, it has been completed:

The irony of all ironies, however, was that 'Ber was totally for sure this embryonic life form would result in a little girl. THe nursery was designed around this, from the wallpaper to the color scheme...which, of course, dictated the colors for the blanket, as well.

It was meant to be the coordinating piece de resistance! Alas, the universe, the powers that be, hell...maybe even Jesus himself, has other plans and 'Ber gave birth to her fourth son. As far as I'm concerned, the blanket is his. After all, I made the blanket for the baby in her belly...I gave no though to its sex or gender. However, from what I'm being told, many of the items that were intended for the little girl are being placed in a box and saved for her eventual arrival in the future. I'm okay with that, too.

There was also a quickie birthday chullo for my bff, Daniel:

Friday nights have become out "Fringe" nights, which is way better than its former Thursday time slot which meant I had to miss Knit Night on those evenings when I had to choose between a newly minted episode or a riotous evening with the girls. I love my ladies, this is true...but "Fringe" nights are serious bro-time, so a balance had to be struck. No more, though...no, sir.

Currently, I'm working on a super-secret project for a very special something coming up at the end of the month. I'll have pictures and the accompanying story then. No more 4-month absences, I promise.