October 31, 2005
The Joey stuff
A couple of weeks ago I went to a pot luck with my neighbours, and Jenn's old roommate Joey showed up halfway through supper bearing an amazing cold pasta dish that was so good it gave me that little food orgasm. I went home carrying all that was left of it, and badly needing to know how to make it. I haven't got the recipe yet, and today I couldn't wait any longer. So I made it up myself.
The dish was basically pasta, greens, garlic, crushed red chillies, bread crumbs (I never would have thought to use bread crumbs in a pasta dish!) and some kind of light sauce. I wanted to try something tahini-based, even though Jenn said that she doubted he would have used tahini. I thought a good starting place would be Jae's vegan "alfredo" sauce recipe, since it contains most of the things I was guessing were in the Joey stuff.
I started by frying up some garlic and onion in olive oil, then threw in a huge pile of chopped-up collard greens (thanks, Cari, for the great tips on how to cook greens. I've been eating them all week) and sauteed them until they were soft and really bright green. Then I added about four chopped (dried) red chillies, some black pepper and sea salt, and about half the tahini and plain soy milk called for in Jae's alfredo recipe. Here's what all that looked like cooking down:
After it had thickened up a bit I added the lemon juice and took it off the stove. I let the sauce cool before mixing it into my cooled pasta, but next time I'll mix it up while both are warm so that it's a little easier to get the collard greens to not clump together.
I toasted three slices of bread under the broiler with butter and crushed garlic (obviously to make it vegan you would substitute margarine or olive oil). I accidentally let about half of it burn up, so only about one and a half slices of bread made it into the salad. This turned out to be the perfect amount.
Then came the fine tuning: I was pretty sure that Joey's recipe had a lot of raw garlic in it, so I crushed one more clove right into the salad bowl. It didn't taste quite hot or tangy enough, so I chopped three more chillies into the bowl and threw about two tablespoons more lemon juice in.
Perfect. I could eat this every day. If you want to try it, you can get Jae's "fettucini no-fredo" recipe in her hot-off-the-press cookzine, Ripe #4.
Update: Jenn told me that Joey likely also puts Braggs in the salad, because apparently he puts it in everything. I've never used this and have no idea what it tastes like, but the second time I made the Joey stuff I threw in some soy sauce, and it was good. Really good.
I also made myself a Hallowe'en costume today, since there's a party tonight. Here's a peek:
I'm going as flypaper.
The sweater was started on Peter's birthday in April, and completed in September. I guess if I want to make him another sweater for his next birthday, I had better start now.
October 29, 2005
Studio Saturday: being cold makes me lazy
Also: being warm makes me lazy. Being hungry makes me lazy. Eating too much makes me lazy. Being happy makes me lazy. Being miserable makes me lazy. But for now, the excuse is my below-ten-Celcius Shack.
Here's two panels of the woodcut placed side by side. Are you getting sick of seeing woodcuts printed to look just like wood yet? Too bad, because I'm not!
Did I mention that it's going to cost me eighty sheets of BFK just to make ten of these prints? Well, I've decided to re-print the first panel (the one on the right), so now it's going to use up a hundred sheets. Don't worry, I can still use the twenty scrapped sheets as a bottom layer under some other prints. When I printed that panel I overlapped the two pieces of paper, and you can see the line in the print (it's a little more heavily inked). I thought this looked kind of crappy so for the rest of the blocks I tore the paper down so it wouldn't overlap, and now the sheets of the first panel don't line up nicely with the rest, so even if I tore the underlapping edge off it would still look wonky. Ah well. If I'm going to use this much paper for ten measly prints then they have to be worth it.
On Thursday night I printed the third panel, but forgot to take any pictures; trust me, they look exactly like the others except with a boob and half a head instead of a leg and half a torso. This process will get a lot more exciting when I get to the next colour.
Yesterday I wimped out and stayed in my bed all day with the laptop, using my amazing chat skills to distract other, less lazy people, from doing their work (first Peter, then my brother Dave, then Sandy and Bob). Because laziness loves company. Or something.
When my arse got too sore to stay in bed any longer I moved to the kitchen and worked on finishing up my Glampyre boobholder (finally) while finishing the novel I've been reading, Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. It's about a rare book dealer (Yambo) who, on awakening from a coma, has forgotten everything about his life but can remember the text of every book he's ever read. I'm still digesting so I won't discuss it too much today, but the ending (while not disappointing, exactly) left me feeling like the middle section of the book had been far too long, even though it didn't seem too long to me while I was reading it. Oddly enough, when I was about thirty pages or so from the end, I inexplicably started to daydream about Hagar Shipley, and specifically the note on which her story ended. And wouldn't you know it, it turns out that Yambo's story ended in a (superficially) similar way. It's one of those weird jokes your brain plays on you; as well, throughout the second section of the book in which Yambo searches for his past in the boxes of books, newspapers and records of his youth, every time the lyrics of popular wartime love songs were reproduced next to the lyrics of Fascist anthems, my brain automatically inserted the word "war" for the word "love". It wasn't on purpose, it just happened.
In other studio news, I haven't made any more progress on my plastic dress. I've been given a huge pile of plastic bags, though (the Target ones are especially pretty) and I'm going to start a crocheted dress as well, because I think that will be more sturdy and more likely to stand up on its own, and also it will be much faster. Because I'm all about the instant gratification (which is why I do lithography; it's not because I'm, you know, good at it or anything).
October 27, 2005
On wankers and stupid people
(the wanker is my next-door neighbour; the stupid person is me). But first, new hat!
This was finished two days ago but it took me that long to get a decent enough picture. Okay, almost finished. It still needs some pompoms on the ends of the strings, just as soon as I can remember how to make them.
It's the Kittyville hat from Stitch 'n Bitch, worked on size 4.5mm needles in Lamb's Pride worsted. I think I'll block it a bit bigger so my massive hair fits under it better, but other than that I'm pretty happy with it. And I'm suddenly obsessed with making hats, when just last week I said I looked dorky in them. I guess dorky can sometimes be kind of cute too, I just needed to find the perfectly cute amount of dorkness.
Speaking of kitties, last night I dreamed of a tearful and rather stressful reunion with the Fats. Tearful, of course, because I miss them terribly, and stressful because they were afraid of me and trying to run away. Fat girl in particular acted like she had never seen me before, like I couldn't possibly be the person whose bed she was born in and who fed her fat ass for eleven years, and she scratched my boob and it bled. The scratching part wasn't that unusual, she does that all the time. But, I really want to go home. And see if those fatties even remember who I am.
so here's the stupid part
Let me tell you a story about what a techno-dumbass I am (Norma, you are not the only one! My microwave has a dial on it too, and I can't even operate a tv remote). So the other day I was using my laptop in the computer lab at school (I bring my laptop because I am terrified of the Macs the school has) and I needed to print something. I e-mailed the document to my Yahoo address, unplugged the network cable from my laptop and stuck it back into the Mac I stole it from, logged in to the Mac, opened up my document and hit "print". When it only printed one page I thought maybe the printer was out of paper, so I asked the undergrad guy who's the lab monitor how to put paper in it (that's right, because I can't figure out for myself how to open up a drawer and stick paper in, okay?). Anyway, that wasn't the problem. So we futzed around for a while trying to get it to print, until finally it told us it wasn't connecting to the printer.
Because, I started printing the document and then immediately unplugged the network cable and put it back in my laptop.
(we will pause a moment, while the laughter dies down)
Norma, I think I have you beat. I am that stupid. That poor boy probably breathes a thankful sigh of relief every time he comes in for his shift and I am NOT here.
the wanker part
Did I tell you guys that my neighbour has an electric guitar? And he plays nothing but wanker music. Seriously wanker music, like Smoke on the Water and Crazy Train. Sometimes he gets up and plays his wanker guitar music at four in the morning, and it's like sleeping next to a twelve year old Eddie van Halen. Argh. Actually, I'm betting that Eddie van Halen was a better guitar player at twelve than this guy is; he's probably some kind of wanker prodigy, don't you think? Thank goodness I didn't make the room right next to his apartment my bedroom; in the next room over it's quiet enough that sometimes it doesn't wake me up, although I do hear it in my sleep. Ew.
In case you're thinking that I'm just being mean about the guy's guitar playing and he's really not that much of a wanker, here's a story that Jenn told me (she lives in one of the little shacks behind mine). The only time Jenn ever talked to my wanker neighbour was one night when he knocked on her door, after trying all the other shacks and being turned down, and tried to sell her and her roommate a package of meat for five dollars so he could buy cigarettes. A package of meat that had been in his fridge for the gods know how long, and then carried around outside for a while, maybe getting all warm and soft in his hand as he tried to convince the other shack-dwellers what a great deal they were getting. So now I'm studiously avoiding my neighbour's eye any time I see him outside, lest he try to get me to buy some gross old meat, or something worse.
October 25, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - cold fingers and toes
I know I'm supposed to be the stoic Canadian girl scoffing at these southerners for thinking it's cold. And indeed, when I'm outside I will be. But the Shack does not appear to be insulated, and this little unit in the bathroom wall is the only heat in the place. Okay, there's also a gas furnace in the attic, but it's twenty years old, the price of natural gas is fucking outrageous, and I am on a fixed income right now, so there's no way I'm paying to heat the roof with an inefficient furnace. Still, this morning when I woke up it was seven degrees Celcius outside and couldn't have been more than ten inside. Thanks goodness this heater is in the room where I have to get wet and naked most often.
It's too bad I don't eat chicken anymore; this heater looks like the perfect place to set up a spit and make some shawarma.
October 23, 2005
If I had a smartie launcher
I was a little alarmed to see these laid out on the wine table at our show Friday evening: Rockets, lots and lots of Rockets. That in itself isn't alarming, after all Hallowe'en is next week and pigging out on Rockets is kind of a yearly tradition for me. But look: these Rockets are called Smarties. They look exactly like Rockets, they taste exactly like Rockets, and the packaging is exactly the same. Except that they don't say Rockets.
Apparently Rockets can be called Smarties in the States because they don't have real Smarties here. I know, I know, it's sad, isn't it? So if I were to say "do you eat the red ones last?" to someone here, something I might actually do since my head is packed full of jingles from 1970s commercials, they wouldn't know what I was talking about. Kind of like when I said "hey you kids, get out of that Jell-O tree" to the kids in my practicum. Yeah, I know, the next tattoo I get will be a big "L" on my forehead, okay?
I'm confused about the so-called "Smarties" being made in Canada, though. If they were produced in Canada first, why can't they just import them to the States under the name Rockets? Shit like this keeps me up at night, I'm telling ya.
In other news, new hat!
I am much happier about my new hat than I appear in the picture. Love you, Manos! All I want for Christmas is more more more Manos (howdoyoulikeit? howdoyoulikeit?). And I think I don't look too dorky in it, either, which only proves that Manos del Uruguay is MAGIC.
October 22, 2005
Studio Saturday: this episode is brought to you by the colour brown
The graduate printmakers had a show this week (we installed on Thursday and the opening was last night) so most of my time was spent trying to get a few things finished for it. Because y'all know, I don't work very quickly, and never create finished work in a month. I printed the large sintra plate on top of the two drawings of legs that you saw the other day, and while one of them was so terrible that they can no longer be companion pieces, I think the other one is done. Sorry the photo is so dark; the quality of the lighting where the piece was installed is kind of shite.
I also did some more sewing on this piece, which I'll call finished for now. Again, sorry for the photo quality and the nasty glare; this piece is not nearly as shiny in person, but it's impossible to photograph.
To see images of all the works in the show, check out my colleague Jessica's Flickr page.
I started working on a new piece, and even took it to stitch and bitch with my girls in Atlanta on Wednesday instead of a real knitting project. It will be a dress, I'm thinking floor length with long sleeves and a fitted bodice, and maybe some kind of flouncy action in the skirt. I'm working it from the top down, using white garbage bags cut into strips. Knitting with this stuff SUCKS OUT LOUD; while it's fairly easy to work with, it feels really, really gross.
In knitting news, not much has happened. I did go and check out the yarn shop in Watkinsville yesterday with one of my colleagues who wants to learn how to knit. While I tried to spend conservatively, only getting the things I needed - 2 copies of Knitscene, one for me and one for Anna (Anna, let me know where to send it), something for a baby gift and something I needed for some pattern-related swatching - since both my mom and my gramma sent me money this week I splurged a bit and got one skein of Manos del Uruguay just because I had to have it, and also some cheapo Lamb's Pride for the Kittyville hat.
I've often fondled the Manos in shops but have never tried it before, so this morning at the laundromat, while watching the clothes go 'round, I popped my Manos cherry. And it was good, for both of us.
I started a simple stockinette hat from the top down, and it's halfway finished already. I'm totally in love with this yarn; I think it may be my new favourite. The colours are gorgeous, and that little jolt of happiness every time the colour changes while I'm knitting just never gets old. I found that with every yarn Jenn and I looked at in the shop yesterday, I was gravitating towards the brown shades. Must have been my mood, and probably had something to do with how I spent my morning. Boys and girls, give your greetings to the new brunette:
It's a little darker than I'd expected (I was trying to get back to my natural brown) but I think I like it. Some of my curl disappeared when I bleached my hair back in June, and not all of it has come back. After I dyed it the curl seemed to be gone completely, although I'm pretty sure that enough will come back to make it puffy and weird. But for now, this is as close as I'm ever likely to get to that bitchin' Joan Jett shag I always wanted. So I'm not complaining.
October 20, 2005
Use it! Zip it! Toss it! (this episode of jodi's weblog complies with CRTC Cancon regulations)
Okay, first, about the yogurt. Please remember that I'm Canadian and thus it's part of my genetic makeup to complain about the States. I didn't mean to imply that ALL American yogurt is disgusting. Just that the stuff I can get at my neighbourhood grocery store is. I live next to the BiLo, people. I actually tried the BiLo store brand, because it was the only gelatin-free kind there, and it was beyond disgusting. It was lumpy and runny at the same time, and the jam layer at the bottom was a solid, rubbery slab of jam, and you know how when you put watery jam on a piece of white bread and let it sit, the jam and bread sort of mix into a wet spongey thing? That's what had happened to the yogurt where it was sitting right on top of the rubber jam-slab. So. Gross. I have tried Stoneyfield and it's very good; it's just that I don't have a car or a bicycle so it's kind of a pain in the arse to get out to where I can buy the good stuff.
Lunastrixae, Astro definitely does not have the consistency of lube. I like my yogurt firm. The reason they use gelatin is because of the "low fat" craze; they take out all of the milk fat so that they can market the product as low fat, and without the milk fat it falls apart, and yes, is probably a lot like lube. So gelatin goes in to firm it up again. Personally I'd rather have the fat, which is obvious to anyone who's ever seen my love handles. Also, I am a little freaked out by all the growth hormones and antobiotics and pus and grossness that is in milk (which I don't drink anyway, since I'm allergic to it), so I probably should be sticking with the organic stuff.
So. Let me tell you about my Wednesday evening. After a long and miserable trip to Atlanta in which the bus was 45 minutes late (fortunately for me and my fellow Greyhound travellers, entertainment was provided by a teenaged girl screaming her head off while resisting arrest on the floor near the pop machines, making the wait seem a lot longer but, at least, not boring), another imaginary friend was verified to be flesh and blood. And look at how cute she is.
Don't worry. Steph's fingers didn't really get eaten by the sock puppet. It may have consumed a considerable amount of her whiskey sour, though; it was acting a little crazy.
Hockey Mom and I picked up Steph and we went out for some Ethiopian food, which I've kind of been craving. Unfortunately I would give the restaurant we went to about a three out of ten; the mesir wot (red lentils) was good enough that I asked for more, but the yekik alich'a (split peas) was cold, they didn't have the cabbage, one of my favourites, and there were a couple of dishes I'm not familiar with that were boring. Also, they had videos playing on a big screen t.v. instead of music. But lucky for me, the company more than made up for the ambiance. Hanging out with Sandy is always a blast, and Steph is a really sweet, fun and funny person. And you wouldn't believe how homesick I was for a Canadian accent, ANY Canadian accent.
Supper was followed by drinks and knitting in the bar back at Steph's hotel (in case you were wondering, I'd also give the hotel bar only about a three out of ten, because nice booths with high sides for privacy just don't make up for running out of Guinness as soon as I get there). But we had a great time anyway. Here's proof that knitting happened:
Okay, they may just be pretending to knit for the camera. But almost as much stitching as bitching really did get done, and both Steph and Sandy tried knitting a few stitches on my current project (knitted with strips of cut-up garbage bags, and visible on the table there next to my pint) and proclaimed it really gross-feeling.
Sandy can't believe how small Steph's needles are. I can't believe they let her on the plane with them; don't you know you could jab a dpn into someone's eye and right into their brain? Sheesh.
There was also some picture-taking going on. And gift-giving:
Steph brought us some lovely stitch markers that she made (Sandy's excited, now she has enough markers for Clapotis), and I gave her a bunch of my shrinky-dink beads to use for more markers, so hopefully we'll see pictures soon of what she does with them. Steph didn't bring the marble slab or the Russian matchbox, though; for that I went into a total stranger's house tonight just to use his belongings as a cool backdrop for the markers. Really, I did. I couldn't get my laptop connected on his cable internet, though, so I had to come back home to post the pictures. Plus, total-stranger-guy's dogs kept licking my keyboard.
Steph also brought me this, because she knows how small my bladder has become in my old age (gone are the days when I could work an eight-hour shift and hold it, only having to close my store to run and pee once all day. Now I seem to expel three teacups worth of pee for every cup of tea. How does that happen?).
It's a bag you can pee in, full of some sort of crystals that turn your pee to GEL so that it won't leak all over your hands and trousers while you're looking for a garbage can to throw it in. And it's biodegradable. Because it's a sin to spill your pee on the ground when you could put it in a disposable container first. Come on, this is America, people! Everything is better in a disposable container, even pee. (Before you guys get all crazy-mad on me, let me just say that Canada is just as bad for excessive packaging as the States is.)
October 19, 2005
Today's breakfast made me homesick
Because this was yesterday's breakfast, and that was the last of the Astro yogurts from home that Peter brought me (see, he really does love me). Now I have to go back to eating shitty American yogurt, but not today. Because I have to take a bus somewhere in order to get any that is gelatin-free. Ugh.
Tonight I'm going to Atlanta with Hockey Mom to verify that another blog friend is indeed flesh and blood: Steph is in town for a conference. I'm so excited just to get to hear an accent from home all night, so Steph, you'd better be up to a lot of talking!
October 18, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - good riddance to old rubbish
The Levigator strikes again, joyfully flattening her opponent sans merci.
October 16, 2005
Episode 200: potluck with the neighbours tonight
Here's what I'm bringing: spicy rice and bean salad. Long grain white rice, black beans, carrots, celery, red pepper, green onion and a crushed clove of garlic. Cut all the vegetables really small so they're not bigger than the beans.
For the dressing: mix up a basic oil and vinegar (I use extra virgin olive oil and a white wine vinegar) and add cumin, cardamon, turmeric, a little bit of nutmeg and cayenne, dried dill weed, pepper and sea salt. When I'm at home I sometimes also put fenugreek or coriander, but don't have my full complement of spices here at The Shack.
In the spring I like to use chopped garlic scapes instead of garlic. Chives from the garden are nice too, if you have them.
Yesterday was apparently the day for people to come to me for really bad ideas. From the search stats:
"knit toilet seat cover in garter stitch"
"angora sweater masturbation"
"crochet pattern for granny square shower curtain"
People. Seriously. I don't promote activities that will have such obviously disastrous consequences. You are on your own.
October 15, 2005
Why is it always about lust with me, and sleeping around and stuff?
Googling "jodi needs" will give you the following:
jodi needs a ticket to ride
jodi needs to excuse herself from the table and leave through the nearest exit
jodi needs to focus on men somewhere in between being married and having never been married - a good old divorced man
jodi needs deliverance from lust, unforgiveness and the mental attacks and strongholds of the enemy, she promised she would go to church sunday. . .
jodi needs someone experienced to work with her. she is slow to trust.
jodi needs to do well because she would be the next to leave
jodi needs lessons from you on how to treat a woman and let her follow her own fate
jodi needs a hug
jodi needs to bring the fam to chicago and take us all out to dinner
By the way, I never promised anyone I would go to church tomorrow. A Christian church? As if! I only go there if someone's getting married, and even then I dress as slutty as I can get away with for a wedding if I know it's in a church. I certainly wouldn't go there to get delivered from lust, my favourite cardinal sin. Oh, and I already have a divorced man.
Studio Saturday: frustrating day
First of all, if you're waiting for an e-mail from me, I apologize for my slowness. It seems I cannot send e-mail with my craptastic new Bell South dial up service, and had I known this last night I would have done more e-mailing from school. So please be patient while I begin the long and frustrating process of changing my service with these jokers, who already took two weeks longer than they were supposed to to get my phone hooked up, and then when I tried to set up the dial up I discovered that the day before, the billing department had cancelled my order for the dial up service because I didn't have a valid phone number. Because they had not hooked up my phone. Last week when Peter told me that a Bell South worker had left a note in my door saying it was going to be another three days, I shouted "goddamn these southerners! Why can't they be more uptight?", which Pete repeated all weekend because he thought it was so funny. But, really. Is it too much to ask for people to do their job, and on time? You don't even want to hear the story of the month-long wait for the Office of International Education to pull a form letter out of a file and photocopy it and write my name in with a pen. Really, you don't.
Ahem. So this is supposed to be about what's going on in the studio.
First, this big bitch. I decided to change the image on this plate, and carved it on Thursday. Yesterday, with just the lines carved, I pulled a proof just to see where to sand it. Wiping this plate took me an hour, and my shoulder hurt afterwards. Oh, and the proof looked like shit, uneven and way overwiped, but I stapled it up on the wall to draw on after it dries. I may not be quite so in love with sintra now that I know what a colossal pain in the arse it is to wipe.
After that I tried to print the litho, which was a total disaster. The prints were so bad, I swear they were worse than some of the big screw-ups I've seen intro litho students do. It's so hard to get into a groove of making work here, when every single thing is different. I'm in a new town, new school, new apartment, new studio, using a new press and a new stone and dealing with totally different humidity conditions, and also a different kind of gum arabic, different lithotine (it smells different, which is really disconcerting). If only one thing were not new, if I had my beloved Griffin press instead of this infernal Takach, if I had Josie to print with or Peter to come home to, or even just some lithotine that didn't smell unfamiliar and weird, maybe I wouldn't be fucking up all my prints. Maybe.
Anyway, something sort of bad might have happened to that litho image. Here's a hint:
So after a nice long break to read blogs, I went back into the studio and printed the first colour of one of my woodcut panels.
Finally, something that looks exactly the way I wanted it to look. There's a lot of woodgrain showing, but that's why I'm using cheap plywood, to get that look. I like for the process to show, as long as the prints aren't CRAP. Like, you know, everything else I did yesterday.
There are four panels to this image, and each one takes two sheets of paper to print. Last night I made ten prints of this block, and then realized while counting out sheets to tear down for the other blocks that this means I will be using eighty sheets of paper to make ten prints. At two dollars a sheet (a phenomenal price, less than half of what I would pay in a store for the same paper) that gets kind of expensive. I did want to make more than ten but I'm not sure I can afford to use that much paper for this project. I have to decide soon though, because this is a reduction woodcut so once I change the block, there's no going back. Argh. I really need to find more funding.
I guess it's my own fault that I insist on working so BIG, but what can I say. I'm a size queen.
Here's the block after printing:
I feel like I need to come clean about Tuesday's self portrait image. Thanks, everybody, for the compliments on my legs, but I have to tell you that my legs don't really look like that. I was lying on my side on the floor, and somehow all of my thigh fat was pulled by gravity away from the camera and hidden from view. My legs are a lot fatter and a lot lumpier than they looked there. Sort of more like these drawings in progress:
Griffin, I really miss you.
October 14, 2005
"Forced to wear soft angora sweaters"
I see from the search stats that Glen (or Glenda) has been to my website again, the perv.
You guys are in TROUBLE
I love my internet friends, and I think you guys are usually pretty good at looking out for me. So how come, when I was caught up in the huge life decision of choosing a graduate school, not a single one of you thought to warn me that I was considering moving to a state where vibrators are illegal? Come on, people. This is important information, and y'all held out on me. Didn't you know I'd be too scared to bring one across the border, lest our car get searched? Especially after that time they grilled me about the "craft products", and I thought they meant I was trying to smuggle Kraft products into the U.S. (they just meant my knitting). I think maybe somebody needs to atone for this gross oversight by sending me one in the mail (in an unmarked package, please, I don't want to lose my student visa and get deported). I'm kind of partial to the ones that have a really realistic shape but are a crazy colour. Oh, and while you're at it, send one to Snowball too, because I see she also lives in a backward, uncivilized state that bans vibrators. I just have to say one more time, what is wrong with these people?
For those of you who still think this blog is about knitting
Here are the superexciting knitting pictures I promised; sorry about the quality, but my shack is surrounded by trees and english ivy. Not a lot of light gets in.
Here's the body of the cardigan I started the night I stayed over at Sandy and Bob's. The red is merino, the brown (it's brown! not black, although I was going to do black until Sandy very wisely reminded me that my sweater would be "way too UGA". Good call, Sandy) is lambswool. Both are recycled from secondhand sweaters.
Because I was gullible enough to believe a filthy, lying gauge swatch, I now have to block this bad girl to within an inch of her yarny life in order to make her stretch around my chub (my chub is new, improved and bigger than ever since coming to Athens; what the hell am I climbing up and down all these damned hills for every day if it's just making me MORE CHUBBY?). Sheesh. Anyway, the sleeves will have the stripey switch to brown at the same height as in the body, and then I'll pick up the neck stitches for a (brown) hood. I decided to use the brown because I didn't think I'd have enough red for a hooded sweater, and then while I was getting ready to move I found a motherload of the red. Ah well, matching scarf I guess.
Here's all I've done on the first sleeve of Arisaig. See, Anna? I am way behind you. I'm not quite as far behind as I look, though, because I'm doing 3/4 sleeves instead of the long ones the pattern calls for. I love sleeves that come down past my wrist, but the sleeves on this sweater are so narrow that I know they will interfere with my bracelets (which I never take off) and make me mental. So I started the increases right after the garter stitch edge, and will just hold it up against my arm to decide when to start the armscye decreases.
The yarn is (say it with me, kids) recycled, 100% cotton with two strands of different pale olive greens. I haven't decided what colour to use for the contrast edging yet, but was thinking maybe orange, tan or brown. Or if I cop out and use something from stash, it'll likely be black.
No pics yet of Sgt. Pepper, because I'm embarrassed at how little I've done for something that knits up so fast. It's just that, well, did I mention that the yarn turns my hands black? I think I'm going to have to knit up all the body pieces and then wash them with the sleeve yarn before I knit the sleeves, because I'm afraid to put white yarn anywhere near this stuff in case it leaks black dye all over the white cuffs the first time I wash it.
Super extra bonus feature: Norma's terrible secret revealed*
From this week's search query stats: "pictures of the legs of Norma's legs". Um, Norma's legs have LEGS on them? Big legs, or little ones? Do they stick out, do they show in trousers? How does she fit them all under her little court reporter desk?
I guess now we know why we only see pictures of Norma from the waist up. Norma, I'm so sorry. But I still think you're totally cute, despite the extra legs.
*I figure, if Snowball's going to kill me, Norma'd might as well kill me too.
October 11, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - alone again
Peter left this morning, and is getting farther and farther away from me every minute. I don't feel quite as empty as I did the last time he left; I guess because this time I know that I can make it through the intervening time until I see him again. For the first week or so after he left me here in August I really didn't think I could. The Shack feels more like a home now since he's been there with me, but it'll be harder to sleep alone there than it was before he came.
We had a pretty good weekend, just hanging around town and not doing much. On Thursday we had supper with Bob and Sandy and then killed a bottle of wine back at the Shack. Friday we were all going to go see Gang of Four but Bob and Sandy pooped out so we did too, and just went for pints instead. Saturday we saw an awesome show, and the rest of our time was spent slouching around, going to the coffeeshop, hiking up and down the ginormous hill between the Shack and downtown, and taking afternoon naps. And also doing stuff I can't talk about because my parents read this; use your imagination, y'all know we're dirty dogs.
For those of you looking for the knitting and who are sick to death of hearing about lithography and my sex life and my self pity, I've got a finished cardigan body to show you soon (I've been totally holding out on you, I know). I'm also knitting Arisaig along with Anna, but she's way ahead of me; I only have a few inches done on one sleeve. I need to catch up! I've also started the other Anna's supercute Sgt. Pepper jacket, but haven't gotten too far because the black yarn turns my hands black. Pictures of all this tomorrow, if I feel like it.
October 08, 2005
Studio Saturday: weekend off
So our pagan festival thing fell through for this weekend and we're just hanging around Athens instead, which is just as well really. It's been raining, and we've been sleeping in and being lazy; if we'd gone away we would have been busy-busy the whole time, and I can really use a lazy weekend.
Here's the litho image, redrawn and etched. It's crazy the difference that climate makes; in Windsor I was using 35 drops of acid per ounce of gum to etch a heavy lithotine wash on limestone, and twice that on marble. For this one I used ten drops. Really. It's kind of like learning litho all over again.
I drew the same image on a sintra plate just to get a feel for the material before cutting into my big piece. Here it is with a hastily-pulled (and very badly wiped) proof. There'll be a lot more drawing on this before it's done, and I'll be printing it as a layer on top of or underneath the litho image.
My paper order came in this week, so I'll finally be able to start printing this stuff, as well as that woodcut that's been sitting in the corner all ready to go for weeks now. I also just found out that I got a small research grant for materials, so I'll be able to get more paper and more sintra plates, enough to get me through the winter at least.
I got a package in the mail from Erin in Taiwan the other day. She sent me some cool maps that are all in Mandarin, this funky tea mug with rainbow-striped yoni shapes on it, and cute little socks:
October 05, 2005
(nudge nudge, wink wink)
It's going to be a little quiet around here for the next 5 days or so. Peter will be here, and I'll be busy. We'll be away camping for the weekend without internet access, hanging around with pagans and freaks and spending as much time as we can in the truck, having sex.
Do I have to tell you how badly I don't want to go to class today? I'll be totally distracted and antsy, and it's my stressful class, and an hour after it ends, Peter will arrive. Of course, if I cut class and go home I'll just be sitting there watching the clock, so I guess I'll go. Hopefully class won't be as bad as the last two weeks, otherwise I might just lose it and cry or something.
Five more hours. And then I can take this piece of string off my arm.
October 04, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - mantra
One more sleep, and Peter will be here.
October 03, 2005
Man hands and gross insects
Here's a picture I forgot yesterday. Every good shack needs a junk pile out back. Mine features a drawer that says "man hands" on it. I'm tempted to drag it out and stick it in the garden (by garden I mean creeper patch, of course) and put something in it. Feet, maybe?
Let me tell you a story. When Peter and I first moved to Windsor we rented a really grotty apartment in a bad area of town, and Peter moved in by himself in August while I followed a month later with all our stuff. He lived there for a month with only a mattress, chair, suitcase full of clothes and some cooking utensils. The first night he was there, he went into the kitchen to throw out all the food the previous tenant had left behind, and dozens of cockroaches ran out from under the first thing he picked up. He spent the month washing everything, putting poison down, and washing again, and we spent the next two years trying to get rid of them before finally giving up, buying a house and moving out of there. Let me tell you, living with cockroaches changes you forever into the sort of person who will jump at any slight movement in your peripheral vision.
This is why these gigantic southern cockroaches are so hard for me to get used to. I've found a few at Green St. (mostly dead) and they give me the willies. And so far I've killed two in The Shack and let one get away. I'm trying not to get too worked up about it, because since I washed out the cupboards I haven't seen much sign that there are a lot of them living there. Still, every little noise last night had me jumping out of bed and running out to the kitchen with a box in my hand ready to smash them (I found none).
Now, I've heard that the roaches down here aren't as prolific as the German cockroaches we get in Canada; here they can live outside, and I'm hoping that they do their breeding and their egg-laying outside too. The fact that I've never seen immature ones would seem to back this up. I've also heard them referred to down here as palmetto bugs, and every time I see one I repeat that name to myself like a mantra, hoping to make it seem less roach-like, "palmetto bug. palmetto bug.". To which my self responds, "GIANT FLYING ROACH!". Gah.
So, those of you who live in the south, please reassure me that these giant flying roaches are not like the German cockroaches. Yeah, I could just go do some research myself, but I still don't have my internet hooked up in The Shack and I have to blog from the coffee shop. Also, I'm lazy.
Other than that, I love my Shack so far. It's a lot darker at night than my bedroom at Jenny's was, so I'm hoping that will help me sleep better. Everything seems to work okay and there isn't any water leaking anywhere yet (which was more than I could say for just about every other place I've ever lived after two days there). When the fridge runs, though, it sounds like a spaceship landing. A spaceship landing right on top of my house.
October 02, 2005
I told you this little shack was funky
Inside, it's like the Tardis: huge. With hardwood floors and a fireplace. This fireplace was made to burn coal, though, so I don't know if I'll really be able to get a good hot fire going in this tiny grill with wood. My landlord said "I don't know where you'll find coal anymore. . . ", as if I would actually burn coal in my house even if I could find it. That would sort of cancel out the benefits of the almost non-toxic print shop I'm working in now. Also, that might explain why the walls in this room are so filthy. I am going to need a ladder to wash them.
The bathroom is a bit primitive, but not the worst bathroom I've ever had. There's a whole wall of built-ins that you can't see on the left, and an electric heater in the wall with a grille, just like in motels. And the tub is red, which makes me feel like I'm bathing in a whorehouse. All I need is to get a good whorehouse lamp with fringe, and it'll be perfect.
October 01, 2005
Studio Saturday: moving day
Some things I'm working on this week. I started sketching on the big Sintra plate with a dirty eraser but haven't cut into it yet; I've started an image on a smaller piece first just to get a feel for the material. I've got to be careful with it because I'm used to carving wood, and PVC foam is a hell of a lot softer.
I like how in this picture, with the big photocopied picture of me on the wall behind the Sintra plate, it looks like a big gross brain coming out of my waist. Yeah, I know, small minds, small pleasures. . .
I cut the background off the Venus block (on the floor) and was going to print her again on top of some other things. Then Daniel came in yesterday and saw it and talked about how much he liked the block as an object now that the dirty, inky figure is floating on the clean, creamy lino. So I said, maybe I could take my extra piece of wood and carve away a layer to mimic the chatter in the large cleared-out areas of the lino and then print that in the creamy colour and print the Venus figure on top of it in a dirty gray; then the print would look just like the block. That sort of anal geekiness reminds me of an artist Daniel was just telling me about last week (I can't remember his name!) who does lithos with meticulously drawn renditions of masking tape in #7 crayon and prints them so they look just like tape on the print. Anyway, it might be fun just as an exercise.
I tried out the big Epson printer at Green St the other day; you can see the image I printed at the top right on the wall in this picture. This thing makes a really nice print, although the black doesn't really get very black. But the black has no printer lines in it. I'm excited about putting litho and intaglio on top of the digital prints, because unlike the Epson printer I used to use at Windsor, this one can take printmaking paper. Whee!
As for last week's minor litho disaster, I can fix it. I counteretched the stone and started drawing on top of what's already there, and I'll consult with Daniel or Carmon before etching it. It makes sense that because of the difference in humidity between here and Windsor the stone has a lot more moisture in it than I'm used to, and also the gum we use here is a slightly different kind than what we had in Windsor. I just have to etch really, really light and see what happens.
Tomorrow: shack pictures.