Geek-A-Long progress update

Hi there, and Happy Wednesday! Today I have another knitting WIP progress post, but this one will feature my 2016 Geek-A-Long blanket exclusively. There has been other knitting, but not much progress. (I started a pair of mitts, but have decided I don’t like the yarn / needle / pattern combo, so will be frogging them.)

Anyway, I’m on to my third square for the 2016 GAL blanket. This one is the Child’s Play Charity square from 2014:

2016 GAL blanket progress 2-9-16

I haven’t gotten very far yet, as you can see, but I had to post a picture showing the color. It’s called “pickle juice” (it’s Knit Picks “Stroll Brights” yarn) but it’s not really pickle colored. At least, I don’t eat pickles that look quite that radioactive… It’s a really fun fluorescent green. The original square for this was knit in white and green (a normal green), so I figured this was a good choice for this square. Of course, I also picked the yarn out with lighting that didn’t really show off JUST HOW BRIGHT it really is, but that’s okay. It makes me happy.

Since this is my third square, it stands to reason that there are two more already complete, right? Right. And here they are:

2016 GAL blanket progress 2-9-16

I haven’t yet decided if the black is going to be the background color for all the squares, or if I will reverse half of them. We’ll see as I get more squares finished and can tell which look I like better. The one on the left is the Tetris square, and the one of the right is Aperture Science (from the Portal games).

I also haven’t decided yet if this blanket will be only video game squares, or if I will knit any of the ones I like in the proper size. But there are plenty of video game squares I want to include in either case, so I’m starting with those and will make my final decision later.

Have a great rest of the week!

Ten on Tuesday ~ Kidnapped!

The Ten On Tuesday prompt for Tuesday, February 9, 2016: You’ve been kidnapped! List the 10 TV show characters you would want to help you.
Have fun!

Well, I don’t watch a ton of TV, but this could be fun anyway. Let’s see what I can think of…

  1. The Doctor (from Doctor Who) – because having a Time Lord around might not always be the best idea (when it comes to global security), but it would certainly be interesting. Plus, he’s the Doctor.
  2. Sherlock Holmes (from Sherlock) – face it, if anyone can solve a kidnapping, it’s Sherlock.
  3. Dr. Watson (also from Sherlock) – because sometimes Sherlock needs someone to make him a bit more human so that he would actually care about me being kidnapped.
  4. Amy Pond (also from Doctor Who) – she may be a human among a bunch a bunch of crazy aliens, but she’s a kick-ass human.
  5. Scotty (from Star Trek) – beam me up! Easiest solution to a hostage situation.
  6. Sheila (from Dungeons & Dragons, the 1980’s cartoon) – if she had her invisibility cloak, anyway. That could be useful.
  7. Rip Hunter (from Legends of Tomorrow) – I haven’t seen this show yet (but it’s on my TBW list), but Rip is a time traveler. Played by Arthur Darvill (aka Rory from Doctor Who). Sounds good to me!
  8. Supergirl (from Supergirl) – another show I haven’t seen, but really, she’s Supergirl. Plus, I’d rather be rescued by her than Superman or Batman. Girl power go!
  9. Rick Castle (from Castle) – yes, this is a show more about solving murders than kidnappings. But the one episode I saw with a kidnapping ended up happy, so count me in! (Also, Nathan Fillion…)
  10. Scarecrow & Mrs. King (from Scarecrow & Mrs. King, of course) – it’s been ages since I saw this show, but I don’t remember seeing them fail when rescuing people. Of course, that could just be the episodes I was allowed to watch at the time, but hey, that’s the way I remember it, and that counts, right?

There were others I thought of, especially from the anime shows we watch, but they tend to have too much damage around them, and I wouldn’t really want that if I could help it. Could still be fun, though.

Have a great day!

Friday Reading Update: Shakespeare’s Star Wars

shakespeare_trilogy
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy (Verily, a New Hope; The Empire Striketh Back; and The Jedi Doth Return)
2016 Book Challenge: a trilogy
by Ian Doescher
(Jedi only) narrated by Ian Doescher, Daniel Davis, Jonathan Davis, January LaVoy, & Marc Thompson
(science fantasy, parody, play)

Wow. Just wow. I thought I’d enjoy this trilogy, but I really decided to read them only to see what the author did with them. I thought it would be an amusing way to pass some time. Indeed, toward the beginning of book one, I wondered if I would be able to finish the trilogy because it took me a while to get into it. By the end of the third, however, I loved the whole set.

Let me start with the premise: if you’re not sure what this book trilogy is, it is what could have happened if William Shakespeare had written the (original) Star Wars trilogy. Granted, it’s not period-authentic. There was no concept of light sabers in Shakespeare’s time, nor epic space battles, nor blasters. No one had invented an AT-AT. Also, I don’t think haiku had made its way to England – or if it had, it certainly wasn’t a poetic form that Shakespeare had employed – yet it is present in this parody trilogy.

If you are a Star Wars fan, you will likely be amused by this. If you are a Shakespeare fan, you might enjoy this as well. If you are a fan of both, then you need to pick this up and give it a try. Granted, I don’t think this trilogy is for everyone, but I think that fans should at least look at it. (Even better would be to listen to it on audio book, but more on that later.) If you are a fan of neither, you might enjoy this as an academic experience, but could probably give it a pass without missing anything. This trilogy was made by a fan, for the fans, and as such it shines.

For me, it started slow. I did enjoy the way the book opened, with the iconic scrolling titles turning into lines for the chorus. But the action at the beginning of the play was a bit slower than the rest – which is true to the source material, but was harder for me to get into than the movie, probably because I have seen the movie countless times already. (Again, the audio version would have helped here.) Once the play got truly started, though, I enjoyed it a lot. Other than the slow start, I think my biggest complaint is that now I find myself thinking in Shakespearian English, and have to keep directing my thoughts back to modern English when speaking to others or writing work emails.

I got the first two books from my library, because I wasn’t sure that I’d like a parody version of Star Wars. However, it’s not really what I normally think of as a parody. It has been described as such, and so I expected the same type of parody treatment I have seen in other books (most notably Bored of the Rings.) However, it’s nothing like that, and I enjoyed it all the more as a result. It is more an adaptation (albeit stylized) than a parody.

I listened to the Audible version of the third book, and wish now that I’d listened to the first two in the trilogy instead of reading them myself. They are SO MUCH BETTER when performed. (I’d stayed away from the first two audio books because I generally dislike audio books with multiple narrators. However, for a play, it just makes sense to listen to it this way.) It is also great that Lucasfilm was involved with producing the audio books, and so the voices used for the characters feel right, and the music playing in the background is the real movie music. I think I will go back and pick up the other two audio books in this series at some point for the full experience. It will be after this year, though, since I want to see if I can finish my book challenge for the year without repeating any books. The only thing you miss in the audio version is getting to look at the illustrations scattered throughout the book.

So to summarize: if you are a fan, you need to at least try this trilogy. (Tastes vary, and you might not enjoy it as much as I did, but it’s worth the attempt.) And if you can, get the audio version. This is a play, after all, and as such it is meant to be performed. (Could you imagine a staged version? Oh, that would be fun to be a part of!)

WIP Weds ~ a threefold update

It’s Wednesday, and I have knitting pictures! So that means it’s WIP Weds time!

First up today is actually not a knitting project. This is the rest of the Purple Majesty fiber that I spun for the Kitty Mine Crafts spin-along at the end of last year. Technically I have finished it so it’s not a WIP any longer, except that I haven’t really finished it because I need to order and spin more fiber. I plan to knit myself a cardigan from this yarn, and I don’t have enough yet. So as soon as I can determine what pattern I want to knit, and how much more fiber that means I need, I will be ordering more and spinning that up too. At any rate, here are two of the skeins I spun up from this fiber:

Purple Majesty handspun (fiber by Kitty Mine Crafts)

I have 4 completed skeins now, but only two were skeined up when I took this picture over the weekend. (This was a weekend pic instead of a Tuesday night pic because it was beautiful and sunny over the weekend.)

Next up is a knitting project. This is the Obsessio Cowl which was my traditional between Christmas and New Year’s project. (I have a habit of starting a new project between the two holidays using new gift yarn – or in this case, new gift needles. Mr. Wyrm got me a set of Needlelite knitting needles for Christmas, and they were so much fun I had to start something using them RIGHT AWAY.)

I’m enjoying the knit a lot so far. Normally I would be adding beads to this, because I love beaded projects, but since this yarn had sequins spun into it, I didn’t bother. There’s plenty of sparkle in this cowl as-is! My only problem with the project is deciding how long to make it. I’m either half-way done, or about two-thirds of the way done. I’m not sure yet.

And last up for today is the current progress of my Aperture Science square for the 2016 Geek-A-Long blanket. (Just a reminder: they’re doing this to benefit the Child’s Play Charity.)

I love the Portal games (and want another one! Portal 3 please?) so this was a no-brainer for me. I might knit both of the available Portal squares for this blanket (the other was an alternate square, but it’s the Companion Cube, so I really want to include it in the blanket). I still have yet to determine if this blanket will be only video games for me (the year’s theme is video games, so all the new squares for 2016 have that theme) or if I will use more of the 2014 squares which have nothing to do with games. We’ll see. Plenty of time to decide.

Anyway, that’s my current projects. I have more things on the needles, but I haven’t knit them in a week or more, so I don’t have any progress pictures. Have a great rest of the week!

Friday Reads: A Wind In The Door

WindA Wind In The Door: Time Quintet #2
2016 Book Challenge: a book from your childhood
by Madeline L’Engle
narrated by Jennifer Ehle
(classic fiction, sci fi, young adult)

This is the second book I’m marking off for my 2016 Reading Challenge. (It’s not the second book I’ve read this year, but as I mentioned last week, I’m not counting the Shakespeare’s Star Wars trilogy until I finish the whole trilogy.) I’m also not posting an updated graphic this week – I’ll probably do that about once a month to avoid taking up tons of real estate on the blog without adding any significant content.

I have always loved A Wind In The Door. This is my favorite of the Time Quintet, though as I mentioned on Goodreads, I think it was still a Quartet when I first read this book. I think the reason this was my favorite is that I always identified with Meg, and she is the central character in this book. (Yes, now that I think about it, A Wrinkle In Time follows Meg a lot too, but Charles Wallace and Calvin are present more in that one than this one.)

I still love A Wind In The Door. There are things I noticed this time around that I haven’t before, though. One of them is how Meg is happy when Calvin shows up for the first time in this book because he can take control and she doesn’t have to. While this feels like something the character would do – and is very appropriate for the era – it’s a little jarring to read in the present-day. I want us to teach our girls to be independent and not depend on men to make the decisions, so it’s hard to read about Meg blithely handing over control to Calvin. Fortunately, she does make big decisions later in the book, and this definitely is not a book that implies that girls are worth less than boys. It’s just interesting to see the differences in our attitudes that happen with the passage of time, and to see what I notice as an adult that I didn’t as a child.

The narration on this one is okay. I like Ms. Ehle’s reading of Meg, but all the characters are hard to distinguish from each other. She seems to have a default voice for each type of person – child, adult male, and adult female – and if there are variations for each character, they can be hard to distinguish. (Mind you, I don’t know that I could do unique voices when reading books. On the other hand, I’m not getting paid to do that.) One interesting point about this is that I found myself figuring out who was speaking based on the content and not the voice in which it was read. I guess L’Engle mostly did a good enough job making it clear who was speaking so that it worked without super-distinct voices from the narrator.

Even with the societal changes that have happened since this novel was published, and regardless of – or perhaps because of – the involved science (some of it fiction) in this novel, this is still a book that should be read. Yes, it will be hard for some children to understand. Heck, it will be hard for some adults to understand. That’s part of the point. We need to keep growing, to keep challenging ourselves. And strange though it may seem, I think that children’s books usually challenge us more than books written for adults.

FO Update

Instead of posting a WIP Wednesday post today, I’m going to post two finished objects. One of the two FO’s is my first square for the 2016 GAL blanket, and while I have started the second of the squares, as of the time I’m wiring this post, I haven’t gotten far enough to make the picture very interesting. And yes, I do have other knitting WIPs, but I wanted to do this instead.

First up, here is said GAL square:

IMG_0883

This is the Tetris square, if you can’t tell or aren’t familiar enough with the traditional game to know what the classic screen looked like. I used Knit Picks Felici for the second color here (all of the squares will have black as one of the colors this year), and I’m glad I went with that option. Having the game pieces at least kind-of in different colors feels appropriate for this game. Not all of the squares will have a multi-color yarn as the second yarn, though. (For example, I just cast on an Aperture Science square (aka the Portal games) and it is black and orange.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed this knit. I tried doing the 2015 GAL, but I used sport-weight for it and just couldn’t get into doing more than two squares in that weight yarn. It’s interesting: I can knit with thicker yarns, but double-knitting with more than fingering weight yarn was more than I wanted to consider for long. Also, the 2016 (and 2014) squares are more square, while the 2015 ones ended up rectangular. (The Portal square is technically from the 2014 blanket, since they are the same size squares, but we’re allowed to knit 2014 squares for the 2016 blanket as long as they’re knit in 2016.)

And a picture of the back of the square, just because:

IMG_0882

The other FO in this post is my third Caput Helianthus hat:

IMG_0878

This isn’t a great picture of this one – and sadly, I can’t get a better one now because I already wrapped it up as a birthday gift. If I get another picture from the recipient between the time I write this and the time it gets posted, I’ll add it (or if I get one soon enough after the post goes live). Anyway, it’s using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the “Black Purl” colorway. The purples are really a lot prettier than this picture seems to indicate.

I think this will be my last of these hats for a while. They are fun to knit, but I need to branch out a bit. Also, there are several things on my list of things I want to knit sooner rather than later, so I will be working on those for now. However, this is a fun and easy knit, and it will remain on my list of projects I’d do again. I do think that I like it better in yarns with a long color repeat (like the two I knit in Chroma), but this is still a pretty hat and I would happily knit another (later) in another variegated yarn.

Have a great rest of the week!

Ten On Tuesday ~ My Community

The Ten On Tuesday prompt for Tuesday, January 26, 2016, is 10 Interesting Things About Your Community. I encourage you to define community in the way that works best for you – your town, the nearest big city, your work community – it’s up to you to decide.
Have fun!

For the sake of this prompt, I am going to be discussing the MiceChat.com community. This is a Disney fan group that I am a part of, and for me it’s easier to discuss this than my specific home community.

  1. It’s made up of people from all over the country – and probably all over the world (though I’ve only personally met American MiceChatters).
  2. It’s made up of people from all walks of life.
  3. We have leisure activities in common (ie: going to Disney parks) and so there’s an instant conversation topic when you meet someone new in the community.
  4. The group organizes some fun events which we enjoy participating in. Our favorite is the annual MiceChat Gumball Rally.
  5. We’ve had opportunities through the group that we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. For instance, the group had arranged for a large party to have lunch at the Big Thunder BBQ as a farewell to that section of the park. We had tried to make individual reservations, but were unable to. Through our connections with our MiceChat community, we got in for a final BBQ lunch. (Note: this is not referring to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster. The ride is not closing. Only the petting zoo / BBQ restaurant / special event area have closed.)
  6. Sometimes the community organizes group vacations. We have gone on several trips to Walt Disney World and Disney cruises with the group, and have made good friends as a result.
  7. It’s made up of people of all ages, too. You can find yourself in conversation with young kids on their first Disneyland trip, or with people who remember Disneyland’s opening year.
  8. If you go on the website forums, you can find all kinds of information about other people’s trips where you can get tips for your own next visit.
  9. The people who run the group seem to have inside connections within Disney, because they often have very accurate rumors about what’s upcoming for Disney.
  10. They do also plan events at non-Disney parks. Through this community, we went on our first Haunt experience at Knott’s Berry Farm (re-named for the event as “Knott’s Scary Farm”). It was an amusing experience, and one I wouldn’t have done without having the group support. And I probably won’t go again, even with the support. But I’m glad the community gave me the chance to experience something I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Have a magical day!