April 28, 2005
Why Stephanie Pearl McPhee rocks my world
Some of you have already heard the first part of this story. But a look back through the comments tells me that you guys comment more when I write about knitting, and since I'm nothing but a comments whore and don't have any knitting stuff to show you (still working on the one project, and it's still top-secret), I can at least offer a knitting-related story.
Windsor has only one small independant bookseller who sells new books. A few weeks ago I had a disagreement with the owner of the store that left her mad at me (even though it was totally her fault). My CanLit professor had ordered all of our course books through her and since I'm poor and underemployed I bought them as I needed them throughout the semester. Peter went in one day to pick one up for me, and didn't notice that she charged him twenty dollars for a thirteen dollar book. So when I went in to pick up the last two books I needed I brought it up and she didn't believe me, couldn't read her own scrawl on the receipt, and tried to say that the receipt was for a different ($20) book, not for the book I had bought. In the end I got my seven dollars off my other books, but I didn't really want to face her again and ask her to order in Stephanie's book for me, because I know she still thinks I'm a liar; I noticed her trying to glare a hole through me at a poetry reading a week later. Unless she was just thinking I was a disrespectful asshole for knitting during the readings. Anyway she also smokes in the store and that pisses me off enough to not want to buy from her anymore.
Instead I went to Big Name Book Chain, in Windsor's only mall. We try to avoid this mall whenever possible, because it's an unholy place that sucks your soul out through the bottom of your shoes (Peter's back gets sore every time we go there, so it's obvious that it must have evil soul-sucking floors. They look like innocent terrazzo but this isn't the same kind of terrazzo your high school had, unless you went to an evil soul-sucking high school). We had to go there, though, for a friend's birthday dinner (Laura, I've decided not to post the picture I took of you looking totally cute and holding up your favourite birthday present, the vibrating cock ring, because I don't want to be responsible for the Google hit that will bring down your political career. You can thank me by not making me go to that mall restaurant and eat that bland reheated food again).
So. Big Name Book Chain. We checked the knitting section and the book wasn't there. Not willing to subject ourselves to the hell that is searching BNBC for a book, we asked someone: while the computer said they had 8 copies, apparently they were lost in the store somewhere, mis-shelved. Not on the table they were supposed to be on. So we checked every table in the store, and in all kinds of places like self-help, humour, the "Mom's night out" section, and the place where all of the horrible daily-affirmation crap is. No book.
In desperation I went home and posted to the RAOK list to see if someone in Canada could go pick me up one and mail it to me, and offered to send the money by paypal. Stephanie, generous soul that she is, immediately wrote back that she would send me a book, as a gift. And it arrived today.
Why are there two books in the photo? In the meantime, even though we try so hard to stay away, we had to go back to the mall to look for a birthday present for Peter's sister. We found ourselves back at Big Name Book Chain, and immediately inside the door, there were Stephanie's books. On the Mother's Day table (YES, I looked there. Twice. They weren't there). I thought it was only right that I buy a copy and send it to someone else.
The one on the left is about to become dog-eared and tea-stained very quickly. The other one is going on a little plane ride first.
April 26, 2005
Show and tell time
What was a supercute, perfectly fitting boobholder pre-blocking would now be a perfect holder for boobs. . . well, bigger than mine. To prove that it's really finished, though:
Unfortunately I think this garment needs to be really snug to look its best, so I'm going to reknit it on a smaller needle. It's only a one-day knit, so I'm not too bummed. When I get it fixed up I'll post a close up of the cool button, too--it's not bright white like it looks here but it's hard to photograph and I can't be arsed to try right now.
That's the Clap underneath it; I dyed it one more time and finally got the colour I was hoping for all along. Would you believe these two pieces are the same yarn, from the same recycled sweater? Back here you can see the yucky green that it was (that's not even the original colour; it was pink/brown, and I dyed it icky mint green with Kool-Aid); I subsequently dyed the shawl with umpteen packets of blue moon berry and grape Kool-Aid to get the rich blue (it's now the same blue as the swatch in the old photo, although today's photo doesn't really do it justice). The extra yarn I dyed a gross pinky-red, then after knitting the boobholder I tossed it in one final bath of a bright orange, cheap drugstore dye to get the amazing deep orange it is now. You can bet I'm going to wear these together too.
I thought I'd used up all but about a two foot piece of the yarn with the little sweater, but as soon as I finished that, one more ball of the pale green stuff appeared on the dining room floor, fetched by the cats out of their secret hiding place (where they keep the socks they steal, so that they can continue to bring us socks when we've blocked their access to all laundry).
Hey, Crumpet, check out what I had with my tea today:
You were right, these are a lot better than English Muffins.
(what? doesn't everybody take their tea in front of the computer? Shut up, you do so)
April 24, 2005
I'm dreaming of a white May Two-Four weekend
Yup. Still snowing.
This time next year, of course, I'll be living in Georgia and complaining about the heat. When that time comes, just remind me to come back and look at this picture, okay?
There in the foreground is the pile of sticks I was planning to deal with this weekend, but I think I'll wait until they're not covered in snow. And lest you think that's garbage in my yard, that tarp on the ground (right hand side) is actually there to kill the grass so we can put in a garden. This weekend I was also going to move it closer to the fence to start killing the grass over there too, because we hate grass, and want it all gone from our sight. Those long white metal things between the tarp and the fence? Okay, those are garbage. But they hold the tarp down, so we can't throw them out yet. At least that's my excuse; in reality, as I'm sure you all know, I'm just too much of a lazy slackass to do anything about it right now.
In other news, I finished my last exam, a take-home essay for my Ecopoetic Readings in Canadian Literature class, and that's it. No more undergraduate work for me, ever. I would celebrate by running outside with no clothes on and rolling in the flowers for a while but, well, see above.
I'm still chugging along on the sample for Big Girl Knits; it's getting heavy, and just seems to go on and on. I feel like I could break it into pieces and clothe the multitudes with this much fabric. I don't mean that to sound like a fat joke, it's not the size I'm knitting it in that's the problem, just that I designed a big, long garment.
Since it's now too big to take on the bus, I allowed myself to start something small, and did so much waiting before my history exam on Friday that I now have a finished Glampyre boobholder to show you, just as soon as Peter gets here to take a picture of it.
April 23, 2005
Why I love Canada
See all those white dots? Snow.
April 22, 2005
Wicked, wicked bigots
I find this new pope to be profoundly iniquitous. No surprise there. Why can't people just be left alone to live their lives?
|Marriage is love.|
April 19, 2005
Oh, are you guys here to read about knitting?
Well, there hasn't been much of THAT going on around here, at least not that I can tell you about. I've finished writing up the pattern and drawing the charts for my Big Girl Knits project and I'm pretty much going to be working on nothing but knitting up the sample until it's done, but I can't show you pictures of that. I've also been reluctant to show progress on Peter's birthday sweater, partly because there hasn't been much (BGK is a higher priority) and partly because it's so exciting I thought you all might pee your pants if you saw it.
Four by two ribbing! Careful, don't pee!
Since I know you can't handle this kind of excitement, I'll try not to show every inch of progress. It's Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, which is beautifully lofty and a joy to work with, except for all the little bits of grass. The sleeves will have a cable on them, kind of like Mariah only a better cable, but don't expect to see them any time soon, I've got other things to do first. And it's exam week, not that I've done any studying.
"The Incinerator" might not be such a good idea for a wrestling persona
Remember the Iron Sheik in the attic? Well, he wasn't the only pro wrestler living in this place. I found this mortally wounded wrestler doll gasping his last in the backyard today:
The previous owner's delinquent teenagers must have torched this guy and left him for dead, and what do you think it says about the way I keep my backyard that we've owned the house for almost two years and I only found him today? (yes, Sanford and Son live here. In the attic, with the four little children we keep up there).
After a bath and a photo shoot, I think he's finally dead.
Peter sent me a link to this game the other day. This does not bode well for my chances of avoiding the RSI that's been courting me.
April 17, 2005
Lick[e] my what?
Seen on our walk yesterday:
God forbid you get caught still wearing your jumpers. How incredibly gauche.
And this gem:
Licke my but. Mmm.
I guess the Xs in boxes mean: check here if you want to LICKE MY BUT.
April 15, 2005
More fun with site stats
To the person who got here by googling "do skirt wedgies hurt the most": no. Pants wedgies do.
I wanted to write about this yesterday, but I'm always reluctant to talk about political things here because I feel that there are so many political webloggers out there who are more knowledgable and more articulate than me that I would not be adding much to the debate. However, this is a very important issue that I don't want to go without mentioning. So go read this report on the utter nonsense that is being taught in place of real sex education in American schools. Some "sex education" curricula contain frighteningly bad science, falsely inflated statistics, absurd scare tactics and outright lies, as well as promoting a marital model in which women keep their mouths shut, act stupid and stay home making pot roast.
Then go read Susie Bright's post on the topic, because she has said everything I wanted to say, only better (and thanks to Susie for the link to the report). The culprits? Right-wing Christians in Texas (link courtesy of Sarah over at All About My Vagina).
April 14, 2005
School's been blown to pieces
Last night I attended my last undergraduate class ever (except for the ones that I will one day be teaching). I also handed in one of the most embarrassingly bad papers I have ever written; I thought it was going along pretty well and then when I printed it out to proofread it I realized that what I had thought was an okay paper was actually a whole bunch of pretentious garbage, and I didn't have time to change enough to make it not be garbage anymore, goddamn it. Since it was my last undergrad paper ever, I'm just trying to take a deep breath and let go of the fact that it sucked out loud. Next week I will write two exams and then sit back and wait to be handed my degree, and then I can get on with my life. And maybe look for some kind of new job, so I don't have to carry on
sucking the marrow out of living off Peter for the rest of the summer.
Here's a little bit of serendipity: as I walked to the front door to check the mail today, I was thinking about how unpleasant it will be when I have to ask Peter to pay this semester's school fees for me so that I can graduate (because I have no money). And guess what I found in the mailbox? Notification from the school that I've received a small bursary that's enough to cover those fees. There will even be a little left over to pay the six dollars I owe the National Student Loans Service. Whew!
Okay, as promised, I now present my final interview. Crumpet, I'm sorry it took so long; I blame it on my lack of organizational skills. I only checked the comments on the one post for interview requests, and yours was on the following post. So, better late than never, here are your questions:
1. What exactly is the difference between a crumpet and an English muffin? The way you described a crumpet on your website sounds just like what we call English muffins here in Canada.
2. The obligatory question for people living in countries I can't get to by car: when I come to visit you (because you just know that's gonna happen soon when I can't even come up with a six freaking dollar interest payment for the government), what fun places in your neighbourhood will you take me to?
3. When I was in high school we had a teacher come from New Zealand on exchange. One of her kids told me that in New Zealand everyone hates Australians. Is there some kind of rivalry between the two of you? Do you hate people from New Zealand, or do you think it's like Canada and the US, where we engage in anti-Americanism in order to protect our national identity because there's so many more of them than there are of us, but then we still drive across the border and hang out with them all the time?
4. Tell me about your knitting and embroidery habits. Which have you been doing longer, what were your first projects and your biggest failures?
5. There's been a lot of talk about the Pittsburgh Salad here at jodi's weblog (so much so that my site comes up second on a Google search for "Pittsburgh Salad", scary, eh?), and of course my country has its own gross french fry-based snack. Is there any sort of disgusting regional way of eating french fries where you live? Or is that just a north american thing?
April 12, 2005
Call me jDoi
I have an uncanny ability to not only never type my name properly, but to type it incorrectly exactly the same way almost every time; if I didn't check my e-mails carefully for spelling, I would sign nearly every single one like this: jDoi.
Another uncanny ability I've noticed recently, and this one is creeping me out a little: when I am using the computer I leave Mozilla Thunderbird open all the time so it tells me with a little two-note sound when it has downloaded a new e-mail from my server. Very often (seriously, nearly every time) I will "hear" that sound, seemingly at a distance, in my head, and seconds later I will hear it for real and there will be a message. My brain is imagining the little noise before the message is downloaded. Creepy, no? What's worse is that twice yesterday I got up to use the bathroom and while I was in there I "heard" the little noise, and when I came back to the computer there was no mail (proving that I didn't just hear it from upstairs) but when I clicked on "get mail" a message came down. Both times.
I think it's time I spent some time away from the computer, don't you?
In other news, my little pressure tactic worked, and Rob now has a blog! So everybody go say hi to Rob and tell him I sent you.
I had a feeling I had missed somebody in the interviews, and indeed I did. I still need to interview crumpart, but as I have two more days of school and some things to finish up that are due tomorrow, it will have to wait until Thursday.
Hmph. It seems I also have an uncanny ability to use the blog as a procrastination tool when I have more important writing to do. So I'd best buckle down and finish my paper, and I'll see y'all on Thursday (see, I'm practising talking southern. I haven't been able to figure out how to work "all y'all" into a sentence yet though. At least not in a way that doesn't sound absurd).
April 09, 2005
Watch out, I may get sentimental here
Today my beloved turns 39.
I've known Peter for more than twelve years now, and loved him for most of them. Our relationship was pretty turbulent for the first five years or so, but now we've settled into a boring old-couple groove.
I used to live in a tiny apartment on the second floor of a 1 1/2 storey house in London. All the ceilings were low and sloped, and my bedroom was a little dormer walk-in closet with a window at one end, just wide enough to slide a three-quarter mattress in so that the bed had a wall on either side. We would spend long summer afternoons making love in that hot little room, sweating like crazy and then opening the window afterward to let the breeze chill our wet skin. And then we would lie there and talk, for hours. About art, politics, physics, the Russian revolution, life, the universe, and everything. Peter was just starting his masters degree then, and I was working part time, so we had a lot of free time on our hands. I sometimes wish that he could be unemployed for a little while so we could live like that again.
I believed everything Peter told me back then, something that he took advantage of more than I knew. Now I'm a little better at figuring out when he's shitting me, but he still fools me fairly often.
Some reasons why I love Peter:
He never, ever places my needs before those of his children. I know it breaks his heart that we live in a different town than them now and he doesn't get to see them as often, but he still manages to be a better parent than some people I have known who live with their kids.
He is the most beautiful man I have ever seen. I guess it's my love of figure drawing that makes me such a sucker for the subtle little contours of the human body, but sometimes the angle of his jaw or the bones in his wrist take my breath away. And he has the craziest legs, sculpted by fifteen years of ball hockey.
He has grandiose, creative ideas, but unlike me, he doesn't start working on all of them at once and then poop out. He just does things, or doesn't.
He is sensitive to my many neuroses. He makes himself huge bowls of tuna salad and has it for lunch almost every day, but he always washes all the utensils right away so that I don't have to be afraid of finding little bits of fish in the sink. And he doesn't make fun of me for being afraid of little bits of fish.
He has great taste in yarn. And if it bothers him that his birthday sweater looks like this today
he doesn't ride me too hard about it, because he knows what I'm like (I'm going to work on it today).
He puts up with the aggravation of living with my old, fat and extremely annoying cats, and doesn't resent them. He even loves them a little, which is more than I could have hoped for when we moved in together.
He is smarter than me.
He is totally supportive of my decision to go to the states for grad school, even though it means we'll be living in different countries for the next three years. He encouraged me to only apply to the best schools rather than sticking with the ones close to here.
He plays guitar and sings a lot, filling a void for me that was left when I moved out on my own and no longer had my dad and my brother making music around the house.
And, oh, about a million other reasons.
Happy birthday, Pete.
April 08, 2005
It was just a little "ow". If it had really hurt a lot, rest assured I would have whined like crazy.
Thanks to everyone who commented and e-mailed me about Hot Tamale; I'm glad people like it. Wasn't that a hilarious picture of me? I swear we took 70 shots and could not get a single one where I didn't make a weird face or look like a total goofball.
Here's what I made today:
This would be the least exciting knitting I have ever done if I had never knitted dishrags. These little stockinette triangles are going to cover up my growing-out hair while it's in the awful ugly stages. I know the colours are really BORING, but I don't plan on making one of these for every outfit so they have to be neutral. I think I'll make a red one next though, maybe lace. The camo-looking one on top is the green from the top-down raglan that didn't work, mixed with a strand of black; I said I was going to make the t-shirt with it but as soon as I had a little triangle of it like this I couldn't stop thinking of Cleo. So even though I would likely get more wear out of the t-shirt, I might just do a camocleo instead.
Thanks also for all the concern about my pain, but I guess I misled you guys a little; it didn't really hurt much at all. I've found that areas where there isn't much fat feel pretty good to tattoo, it's the fatty parts that are a bitch. It must be subjective, because I've heard a lot of people say that the areas that hurt the most to tattoo are right over bone, and that hasn't been the case for me. The absolute worst spot I've had tattooed is my belly; it hurt for more than two weeks.
Jae, if you can handle the tat you just got you can get one on the inside of your wrist; trust me, it's not bad at all. This one took less than an hour.
Grace, you asked about red ink: this tat is actually brown, but the lighting wasn't so good when I took the picture so it's hard to tell. I do have red dots in my first three tattoos, and one wee little solid area. I didn't have any problem with the red except that the dots were raised for a few years, which I really liked; sadly, they've gone down. My friend Tamara (qpaukl's wife) has lots of huge red areas and they seem fine too, although she says that every once in a while, usually in summer, the red areas swell a little.
Diana asked in the comments: "okay, I've seen other people with star tattoos on their wrists. Does it have some sort of implied meaning that I am not getting?". I sure hope there isn't. If anyone finds out and it's something bad please don't tell me. I have this t-shirt that I really like, it's red with the number 88 and inside the number is the Union Jack. Last week I read that 88 is some kind of shorthand for a certain Nazi salute that I won't write here because I don't want asshole hater-types to find me by googling it, but it starts with h and h. I bought my shirt secondhand and I'm sure it just came from some store like Zellers, but now I have mixed feelings about wearing it again; I certainly don't want the hater assholes to think I'm like them.
Yesterday I was telling qpaulk and Tam this t-shirt story while I got my new tat, and qpaukl started joking that I'm a closet white supremacist, the proof being the white laces in my boots (they are PACMAN laces, for fucksake, that's not the same). See?
So anyway. I don't know if a star on the wrist means anything to anyone else, but I'll tell you why I did it. It's actually for a class I'm taking, Ecopoetic Readings in Canadian Literature. We are all giving presentations based on one of the course readings, but we can only spend five minutes, so I thought instead of trying to cram something fun and interactive into five minutes, I would just do a show and tell. Yes, I'm serious, I put a mark on me that I will carry around forever for a five minute presentation in a class that isn't even required for my degree. Any excuse to get a little ink fix, eh?
The book is Lewis De Soto's A Blade of Grass. The story is set in 1970s South Africa. In it, there's a scene where the white farmer's wife, Marit, puts on the same type of clothes her black maid wears and goes barefoot, and the two of them walk into town together. Of course when her white neighbours see her like this, she gets a taste of what kind of treatment the black farm workers endure. So I was thinking that if we could all put on each other's skin for a while, we might not feel so different from one another. I know, I KNOW that's totally naive and hokey. So what? So I changed a little patch of my body to a different skin tone. The star is because of a story that carries some symbolism in the book, that the Bushmen never got lost because the stars always knew where they were (of course, it also suits my personal aesthetic, but hey, I have to wear this forever!). Also the story opens with Tembi planting five seeds, and they grow and bear fruit and the fruit is eaten and in the end everyone is dead except for Tembi and there are five seeds from one of the five fruits. So the five points reaching out are like the seeds, growing the little brown patch outward into my skin.
Why I think Norma is cooler than you guys are
Anybody who has received an e-mail from me may or may not have noticed the signature at the bottom:
Girls go to college to get more knowledge,
Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.
Our friend Donny is five. Last summer he told Peter "I have a song about college" and Peter said "about college?" and Donny launched into this song, which is more of a chant but sounded so damned funny because of his Chicago accent. So I made it my e-mail signature, and I thought it was so hilarious to identify it as an Irish proverb, because you always see that on self-help daily affirmation type posters, mugs, plaques and crap like that, it's always attributed to the Irish. Like they are the geniuses of stupid cliche, when we know that it's really Americans who make that stuff up. Anyway, I've had this thing on every e-mail I've sent since August, and nobody has ever mentioned it. Not once.
But just now, while writing this endlessly long post, I did a bit of e-mailing back and forth with Norma and she mentioned that she liked the proverb. See, she figured out it was a joke, when everyone else was secretly embarrassed for me ("poor Jodi, she really thinks that's an Irish proverb!") and didn't want to hurt me by mentioning it. Either that or Norma thought I meant it too, and was trying to embarrass me.
April 07, 2005
Enough about me
Today is a miserable cold day. Yesterday it was 24 C and sunny, and I wore nothing but a little skirt and t-shirt and sneakers to school. And did a little lying around on the back deck in the sunshine. Today I was hoping to do so again, but it's gone back down to sweater + jacket temperature again, and it's raining. And this cotton pony that kicked me in the back all day long yesterday has decided to gnaw on my tummy instead today, so a little lie down in the sun would have been really nice.
Ah well. The birds seem to like it; two robins have been pigging out in the backyard for more than an hour now. Aren't they full yet?
Bitch, leave those worms alone! I need them for my plants.
See that purple mound to the left of the bird? That's my valerian that I brought here from my old garden in London. Whee! I get so thrilled when things grow back, I always kind of expect plants to die on me. Lots do, of course, and I shower love upon those who choose to stay with me and thrive. Hopefully that love makes up for not watering them enough.
Okay! Interview time; these are the last four.
1. Are you planning to add anything new to your garden this year? Anything from last year that you don't want back?
2. Tell me about why you're a vegan. Is it for health reasons, or cruelty? How hard is it to raise a vegan baby?
3. You've got 5 WIP in your sidebar. Do you have any more that you're not telling us about? Any old dogs you're embarrassed to show and will never finish, but can't bring yourself to frog yet?
4. I hope to visit England some day, to check out the places where my dad grew up and maybe meet some of my family there. If I were to visit you, what would be the first thing in your town that you would want to show me (keeping in mind that I'm a total weirdo, easily pleased by stuff nobody else cares about, and not so much into the touristy thing)?
5. Now that you've been blogging for almost a year, do you think your blog has found its "voice"? How would you like you blog to evolve? And how will you celebrate your blogiversary?
1. Tell me about how/when you started knitting. Who taught you? What was your first project, and do you still have it?
2. I know you are working on a dissertation, but I couldn't find anything in your archives about what you're studying. Enlighten me!
3. Sorry to give you the same question as I gave Anna, but I really do plan on imposing on you all someday. So when I come for a visit, what one thing will you show me?
4. When I visit, I'll also expect you to take a whole day off and take me for a nice long ride on your motorcycle (no, I'm not too demanding!). Tell me about where we'll go, what we'll see, and where we'll stop for a pint along the way.
5. And here's the inevitable stash question: lion or lamb? Can you contain it in one room? Does it behave, or does it scratch at the door at night waiting to be let out?
1. How is the joint blogging working out for you? Do you ever wish for your own space, or do you prefer the communal aspect of sharing?
2. I know you're in California but I'm a little confused about where exactly (and my grasp of geography is not good). I have a chance to spend a week or so in San Diego in July with my girlfriend's business. How close are you to there? What is the one San Diego experience I should not miss? (nothing fish-related, please). Where are the good yarn shops?
3. Are you and Jen planning anything special for your one year blog anniversary? Will there be cake, and if so, what kind?
4. What's the butt-ugliest thing you ever knitted, and can I see it? Preferably on.
5. Does it ever snow where you live? Do you ever actually have to knit warm sweaters? Do you have a winter coat?
1. What are you planning to bring to Whiskey Cellphone Night this year? (hint: anything with the word Bushmill's in it is the wrong answer). Were you mad when we poured your Bushmill's in the fire last year, or were you too drunk to be mad?
2. Those knitted dresses you showed me were quite impressive but, um, really ugly. Would you wear one? If I show you how to knit, will you make one? I might pay to see it.
3. How many works in progress do YOU have? Which one has been hanging around the longest? Any ghawazee coats in there?
4. IHOP or Waffle House?
5. If I take you to the P.O. Lunch in August, will you eat the Pittsburgh Salad? Do you think we could get Thorvald to eat it? With what kind of dressing?
Whew! I'm done doing interviews. If you asked for an interview and I missed you, let me know but otherwise, I am taking a BREAK from that--it's hard work!
Now I have to get out of the house, I have a date with qpaukl to touch up my dpn tat. And maybe. . .
Goodbye, empty skin.
April 06, 2005
Don't fear the beaver
And you guys all thought I was going to lay off talking about my beaver for a while. Hah! As if.
Actually, it's not so much my beaver I want to talk about but just the whole experience of getting paid to be naked in front of people. For the last three and a half years or so I have worked part time as a nude model for drawing classes. This is in the same art department that I just graduated from, so the people I model for are my classmates and friends.
(No, I don't really show them the beaver. At least I try not to, but you know, the beav is right there in the middle of the body and sometimes it's just going to show a little. These students are young and uptight and they can't really handle that; I know one model who is not at all shy about giving the beaver shot, she gives it all the time and there are some kids in the school who are totally freaked out by her. I guess because it's not Brazil waxed and airbrushed like the ones they see on tv, they just can't even bring themselves to look at it. Hopefully they'll grow up and learn to love the beav like I do, but if not, well it's their loss, isn't it?)
The modeling is important to me for a number of reasons. I first started doing it because it's fifty dollars for a three hour class; that's nothing to sneeze at when you're a poor student. But it's a lot more than just the money. When I started modeling, it really got me thinking about what the female body means in art, and the complex power relationship between artist and model. It was a weird feeling to be on the other side, to be the object instead of the objectifier. Because I model in the same place that I study and make my art, I would do my three hour stint, then put my clothes back on and go to my studio, switching roles at will. At the same time I was starting to model I was starting to bring my own naked body into my work; before that I had been doing work like this:
(see the knitting?)
You can see that the work was always about the body, even when mostly nonrepresentational (go read my statement if you want to know more). Getting naked for other people made me want to stop avoiding the figure in my own work; I was always trying to find ways to speak about the body without explicitly showing it, and sort of had it in my head that the image of a female body carried too much "baggage", that for a feminist artist to depict a nude female would be a betrayal, an act of objectifying oneself. Now I think maybe objectifying myself is the point; I need to reconcile being an artist with being an object, and disembowel that power relationship slowly and then see what's left. I think I have a long way to go. The stuff I'm doing now is more like this:
contemplating my beaver, as usual (hey, what's that crawling out of it?)
The other impact that modeling has had is on my teaching philosophy. I have discovered that I love to teach drawing, and modeling has given me a chance to be a voyeur in other people's classrooms. I believe that in order to teach someone how to draw you first have to teach them how to see; I like to go around the classroom and look at what the students have drawn, and that has given me a great insight into how people see the human figure, and how much they don't see. I can take these observations straight back to my studio and apply them to my own work, but I can also squirrel this information away for the next time I have a chance to teach drawing. Students make a lot of assumptions about the body, and because they live in one and look at it in the mirror every day they think they know it, and know what it looks like. When they draw, often they are drawing based on these assumptions rather than on what is in front of them; the challenge is to make them forget what they think they know and actually see the body they are looking at.
Another thing I find fascinating is the way in which students will project their own body image anxieties onto the body of a model. I am five foot four and weigh a hundred and fifty pounds. I've noticed that young girls will often draw me much skinnier than I am, and much more stacked; it's like they fear fat so much they can't even draw it and prefer to pretend it's not there. The boys, on the other hand, often draw me fatter than I really am--I guess they look at me and see a chick who's kind of old and not their idea of hot, and they emphasize that. The people who tend to draw me the most accurately are the mature students (of both sexes). I haven't really got this whole phenomenon figured out yet but I'm working on it.
Whew! I wanted to get some of these thoughts down, since it's something that's so important to me and to my work. I'll probably talk about it a lot more, so be forewarned. Blah blah blah. I guess it's better than talking about my beaver all the time, eh?
The hazards of knitting in public
So yesterday morning I got on the bus and sat down and started to knit and the guy next to me started giving me a hard time, saying that knitting isn't really an activity for the twenty first century and nobody does it anymore. I said a lot of people do it. He said he bets there aren't even a thousand in North America. I said I know maybe three hundred, and he says "well that's not a thousand, is it?" as if the fact that I don't personally know a thousand knitters somehow proves his point. I said those are just the ones I know, there are millions of people I don't know (in my most derisive voice).
Then he said that more people go to Blockbuster Video than to the library. I said "that's their loss". And left it at that. But what I really wanted to say: what the fuck does that have to do with my knitting on the bus? Are you saying that knitters probably prefer the library, and are therefore smarter than those other people? Or that they're just more interesting? Or maybe he was just throwing stuff out there, not worrying about whether there was any connection.
Later that afternoon, sitting with my knitting and my tea in the library coffeeshop, I got my favourite kind of knitting in public comment, the one where someone asks what you're knitting but has absolutely no interest in your answer. One of the coffeeshop employees came over and said "what are you knitting?" and I said just some samples to see what this yarn looks like knitted up (I was making lace swatches for an article on dyeing that I wrote for Take Back the Knit 2). She grabs a finished swatch off the table in front of me and says "pretty. samples eh? someone give this to you?" and I said no, I knitted that. Oh, she says, are you making a sweater? NO, I said, I'm just making these little pieces. "Oh, how nice" she says, tossing the swatch onto the table and walking away.
Then today coming home on the bus a lady asked "are you knitting and purling?". I said yes (I really was knitting AND purling, on the Must Have sleeve). "Oh," she said, "I used to do that a lot but it gave me arthritis. But you're young, you don't have to worry about that yet, I'm 53".
W.T. Fuck? As if knitting gives you arthritis. I don't believe it, especially since I had just heard her telling someone else that she got a viral infection from being caught out in the rain. Oh yeah, then she said she doesn't like to heat her house in the winter because the last time she had the heat on her candles melted in a drawer (so the solution for turning your heat on way too fucking high is to turn it off completely? how hot do you think a house has to be to melt candles??).
A note from the comments: Alison asked about photos. I didn't post photos of the finished projects because I already posted pics when I finished those things, but I will post a photo of me wearing the skirt, just as soon as I get the belt loops on. As for the hair, it's actually still looking kind of cute right now, so I thought I'd wait until it was really bad looking and funny and then show a picture. But what the hell, here's what it looks like now, with the long blue bangs cut off:
I was also reluctant to post a picture because I know there's a certain segment of the blog world that poopoos things like blogging about your haircut. But hey, all bloggers are totally self absorbed, otherwise why would we be doing this? So suck it up, people.
Okay, that's quite enough talking about myself for one day, I think. I know I said I'd ask questions tonight but sorry, tonight it's all about me. I promise that tomorrow morning it will be all about you guys, and I'll finish up my interviews.
April 05, 2005
Just to recap. . .
My WIP Challenge is officially over. I did. . .okay. But not great.
I started with nine things I hoped to finish (notice how the language is changing, from "vowed" to "hoped"? This is code for "I give up now").
The green skirt and evening diamonds got dropped off the list for no reason other than I was crazy to think I could finish nine projects.
The olive cotton top down raglan got dropped because I tried it on when it was all but finished and it looked frumpy, which is not really the look I'm going for. I think the yarn is too stiff for this style, and I'm planning to use it for Alison Hansel's uber-cute t-shirt instead.
The red skirt has to be ripped back to the crochet part and redone; I'm not happy with the fit. It's close though, and only needs a bit of tweaking. My hope is to be wearing it in May.
The near misses:
Must Have Cardigan: almost done! I'm on the second sleeve, and would be wearing it right now if I hadn't spent more than a week too sick to knit. All that time spent on the couch seems like perfect knitting time, but just holding the needles made me queasy.
Granny square purse: close. It's put together, but I've still got about twelve inches or so on that endless garter stitch strap. And the whole thing needs to be lined with pleather.
But among all this failure, some success:
Funnel top, Clapotis, recycled skirt: done! I'm choosing to ignore the fact that I only finished the things that were easy, and had the least amount of knitting in them.
So. I'm not going to toss the unfinished items back in the stash, I'm going to set myself a new schedule for them. I am, however, going to allow myself to start a few new projects. First up: a couple of kerchiefs and hats, to cover up my funny looking head while I grow my hair out long. It's a curly mess right now; I cut off my blue bangs, and it's getting too long to spike up anymore. Once the curls take over it'll be time to hide it. Maybe I'll show a picture, just for laughs; it's looking pretty goofy already.
I have four more interviews to do: Anna, Mandella, La and Ghita. Hopefully I'll be able to get those up tomorrow night. I'd do it now, but I've got an article to finish for Jae that's already a little late. Woops.
One more thing: I'm sorry if I upset anyone with my joke about the Pope the other day. I certainly don't mean to mock anyone's mourning for the loss of their religious leader. Even if he is the leader of a church that has caused countless unwanted babies to be born and countless people to die of AIDS because of its refusal to condone the use of condoms. And even if he is the leader of a church that believes that men have a right to control women's bodies, and that rather than calling all the best candidates to the priesthood, god only chooses from half the population: those who have a dick. People still have a right to mourn him.
April 01, 2005
If only Bobby Bittman was a Vatican spokesperson. . .
At noon, Vatican officials break the news: "April Fool! He's been dead all morning! Ha! We had you guys praying out there for HOURS!"
Hysterical knee-slapping ensues.