Thursday, April 29, 2010
How To Knit a Love Song: A Review
Before I continue my saga about Stitches, I owe Rachael a book review. I told her I'd do it. She likely doesn't remember me saying so, but I keep my promises to my friends, and so here it is.
Now, before I get started you need to know that I love Rachael more than I love cheese. If she had written "I hate green beans" on a piece of toilet paper, slapped it between two pieces of cardboard, stapled it and handed it to me saying "o hai, i has a book!" I would have reviewed it, and favourably at that. I am in no way an impartial observer.
That being said, this is not a piece of toilet paper slapped in between two pieces of cardboard. It is a real book, published by Harper Collins.
And it's pretty damned good.
I was nervous about reading it. I'm not so much about the romance, and straight romance at that. I thought "Oh fuck, what if I hate it? How do I tell her? No, no, how do I tell her I love it and fool her into thinking I don't hate it?"
I really didn't want to read it. I knew I would hate it, and I hate lying to my friends.
When we met up at Stitches, she gave me a copy (before it was released, which makes ME more special than you, so nanny-nanny boo-boo) and she signed it for me, which makes me even specialer.
Yes, that's a word. Shut up.
When I got back to Canada (after getting lost many times) I sat down and read it. And read it and read it and read it. I think I read it in two sittings.
Now, it's not Sartre and it isn't Camus either, but that's ok, because really my French is limited to ordering beer and asking where the bathroom is. Either of those dudes wouldn't have done it for me. Well, you know, unless they'd ordered me un biere and told me where la toilette was located.
It is, however, a sweet and funny story, with enough sexybits to get your attention.
I really really liked it. I liked that there was spinning, I liked that there were horses and dogs, I loved imagining living in that house.
I admit it -- I even liked the sexybits.
The characters were believable. The situations were funny. And there was spinning and horses and dogs.
And, you know, the sex.
I don't know how to write an actual book review; you may have noticed. This is more just an endorsement. It's good.
And now, I've been working a hell of a lot of graveyards of late, explaining my absence. I'm going to bed. While I'm sleeping, go buy her book and read it and stuff, k?
I'll expect a report shortly.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Apparently So, Ellen
This, in response to Ellen in Indy's question as to whether I was going to make you wait ten days for the next installment.
In my defense, I've been very busy -- the District is still knocking our house down so we have to move, and also too some rats (now very dead) got in.
I must say that the rats make the thought of moving all of my shit a lot easier to take. (please note that no yarn or roving was harmed during The Great Rat Slaughter of 2010)
Back to Stitches. Man, it's taking me longer to post about it than the event itself took, isn't it?
It's hard to know what to say. I suppose a list of things I learned is in order.
a) Some of the big kids won't acknowledge your existence, even though they've clearly seen you several times before. The amazing Maia Discoe from Tactile Fiber Arts tells me that this is par for the course and that you have to be around for a long time to even get a nod. I wasn't particularly worried -- I was busy. (Maia was unable to come to Stitches, which was a terrible pity, but I got to meet her later. That'll be in the next installment. Really. Or the one after that.)
b) I need to learn to prepare more. Way more. Even though I came nowhere near selling out, I didn't have enough yarn to look pretty.
c) I need to learn how to set up a display in a booth.
9) Tracy and Carry are insane.
&) Concrete is really, really hard and the smart people either bring pads to stand on or order the carpeting for their booth even though it's obscenely expensive.
R) California is hot.
@#$!) I can drive 1600 km in one day (foreshadowing)
.) Motel staff are often assbuckets. (more foreshadowing)
pop!) If you take your camera to a big event -- you know, a big event that you have to drive 1600 km to get to -- you should probably use it.
I think that the thing that was most important to me about this whole event was that I got to meet a ton of people who I've known online for years, but have never met in person (I don't remember who I met on what day, and I met several people more than once so it's all just a mishmosh here. I may well not include everyone. If I miss you, please let me know and I'll give you my address so you can come kick my ass.):
The beautiful and talented Bakerina (with a bonus Momerina thrown in, to boot! Um, no, there was no booting. You know what I mean. Shut up.)
The lovely Jennie, who seems to have been so overwhelmed by the entire experience that she's stopped blogging completely since then.
Susan, who I don't think has a blog. I met her on Facebook and it turned out that she's a friend of Jennie's and, although not a knitter, the minute I put out a plea for help for tear-down, volunteered her services. For this she was paid the magnificent sum of one felted bowl (that needed to be felted a little more but my washing machine sucks) and one felted soap. She knows how to drive a hard bargain.
No-Blog-Rachel (who, amusingly enough, has a blog).
Some readers came by to say hi (hi Mehitabel!) and even someone who had heard me on that podcast I did 900 years ago. I suspect she remembered me because of the disgusting names of my yarns but nevermind.
There were a lot of familiar faces, too:
Michael from A Verb For Keeping Warm, Stephen from HizKnits, Rachael and Lala, to name but a few. It was absolutely lovely.
I could go on name-dropping all day but y'all likely want the meat of the story. You know, the reason my face is on the post office wall in Santa Clara.
You'll have to wait, alas, until tomorrow. Today the small black dog of depression has been biting me firmly on the ass. Many people have annoyed me. Several have disappointed me. I have found myself both annoying and disappointing. I think all that I can cope with (it's 10:51pm) for the rest of the day is to go to bed.
(Yes, me. I sleep sometimes. Shut up.)
Never fear, my pretties. This is just transitory or whatever that big word is spozed to be. I'll be fine by tomorrow. I'm not falling down the rabbit hole again.
to be continued ...
Monday, April 12, 2010
The Bitches at Stitches
O hai! U still hear?
(Please excuse me, I know it's horribly passé, but when I like something I really like it, and I'm still just as much in love with the Lolcats today as I was when first I met them. I seem to be unable to stop talking like them).
Sorry for the unauthorized absence there; I wasn't ignoring you and I really, really meant to blog, but you see ... on the way back here, I got lost.
(more like on the way back here I got sucked into working a whole bunch of graveyard shifts. All that got lost, at least temporarily, was my will to live.)
So to continue the saga ...
We got up in the morning after a ridiculously small number of hours of sleep and, after a huge breakfast at the IHOP (which, I must say, was nowhere near as good as the Denny's in which I lost my virginity in Portland -- still gotta tell you that one) dragged our weary asses over to the convention centre to set up.
The first things I noticed upon leaving the hotel was that a) it was freakin' hot and b) there were palm trees everywhere. I have no idea why the trees freaked me out so much but they seemed somehow indecent, just sort of strewn about the landscape where anyone could see them.
The third thing I noticed was that for such lovely people, a horrifying number of them had a serious crack habit. There's no other way to even begin to explain the driving. U-turns, people, U-TURNS, across three, four, five lanes of traffic. Speeding, veering ... you get the idea.
Despite the clear intention of the Californicators to send me to my early demise, I managed to arrive, unscathed (and hardly lost at all), at the convention centre.
I almost died when I went to the Sock Summit, having been used to far, far smaller events, but this time, having been through the fire, I was almost maybe sort of prepared for this. Or so I thought. But dudes, that place is HUGE. Seriously huge. I wasn't as scared as I was at the Sock Summit, but still ... I am but a small rabbit, and it was a little overwhelming.
We were greeted warmly at the door and while moving through the hall to our spot way back in the boonies, I was delighted to see a number of familiar faces, such as Mike from A Verb for Keeping Warm and the women from RedFish Dyeworks. (Unfortunately their names escape me, but if you're looking for beautifully-dyed silk, they're good folks to go visit.)
It was fantastic to get to see again the amazing glasswork of Michael and Sheila Ernst, and in fact the only thing I bought during the entire event was a set of glass knitting needles. I'm at work right now but I'll try and get a photo of them for you shortly, as this particular style doesn't appear in their store at the moment.
Finally, after a few hours of work, setup was complete, and we were ready for the ravening
Or were we?
to be continued ...
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Here We Are Now, Entertain Us
I kept on driving and kept on driving, secure in the knowledge that Santa Clara was big, and that there would be signs. I remembered vaguely from my look at the map that it was somewhere near San Jose. (foreshadowing)
That whole bridge thingie had picked me up, bigtime, and I was starting to believe that maybe I would stay alive to get to Santa Clara, after all. I really, really love driving but I'd been doing a lot of this trip down unfamiliar roads, after dark and in the rain. Not the ideal driving conditions and I was starting to fade.
To the point where I was getting a little scared.
The knowledge that everyone in California has at least three handguns didn't make it any easier for me but I hadn't been shot at more than seven, eight times so I wasn't really all that concerned.*
Finally I saw the signs for San Jose (which is apparently larger than Santa Clara and does have signs.) I got off the highway and started noodling about looking for signs to Santa Clara. I finally saw one and followed the sign and then found a gas station that was open. I pulled over so I could ask for directions to the Best Western, where we had a reservation, and then noticed that the Best Western was right across the street.
I drove over there and parked, So Freakin' Relieved to finally be at the end of my journey. I sauntered into the office and was met by a small girl who looked at me in great confusion and then went into the back office to get a larger man. A man who, alas, also looked at me in great confusion. I immediately suspected that I had encountered one of the Californians who was very serious about his weed.
Him: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I have a reservation. My friends are already here and I'd like the key to our room.
Him: Oh. You'd like another room?
Me: No. I have a reservation. There will be three of us in the room. I'd like the key to the room so I can go and sleep.
Him: OK, what's the room number?
Me: I don't know. Maybe you could look it up?
Him: Oh. Oh, yeah. What's the name?
Well, I gave him my name, and there was no reservation. Then I gave him Tracy's name ... still no reservation. (By this time I must say that I was having some reservations, myself.) I gave him another name under which Tracy might be registered. No reservation. Then I gave him Carry's name. Still no reservation.
Me: Um, this is Santa Clara, right?
Him: Uh. No. No, it's San Jose.
Me: (brightly) Oh! Well, that would likely explain why you don't have a reservation for us!
Me: Nevermind then, thank you for your time!
He gave me directions to Santa Clara and returned to his weed-enhanced fog in the back room. I set off again, too tired to be embarrassed and secure in the knowledge that come morning he wouldn't remember any of our names anyhow.
I followed his directions and soon became completely lost, seeing I'd apparently only listened to the first of about seven different things I was supposed to do. I went into a 7-11 to get further directions.
Me: I'm sorry to bother you (we Canadians are so polite! Don't you love us?) but I seem to be lost. Could you tell me how to get to Santa Clara from here?
Him: Saga Babba?
Me: No. Santa Clara.
Him: Sabla Wawa?
Me: No. Santa Clara.
Him: I new here.
Gee. I never would have guessed. I thanked him for his time (again with the so polite!) and went over to the Taco Bell where a nice young lady didn't seem to think I was a total assbucket for going through the drive-through and not ordering food but instead asking for directions.
She was very clear. I followed the first two directions and then ... um. (I think y'all saw this coming, no?) I got lost.
I found a nice-looking hotel and the very polite man behind the counter (I suspect he was Canadian) gave me directions to where I was going. Fortunately I had been zeroing in on my target and this time there were only two steps to the directions.
THIS time, I did not get lost.
I got to the hotel, and oh thank the blessed FSM, there was a reservation. They knew who I was! (I suspect that because by this time almost everyone in California had heard about the demented woman in the car full of yarn who knew the way to San Jose but not to anywhere else.)
The clerk gave me the room key and gave me directions to the room.
And um, then? Can we all say it in chorus? Yeah. I got lost.
I finally found the right hotel room (the women standing on the balcony screaming "Rabbitch" gave it away) which was in fact one building away from where I had been engaged in a futile search for our room. We unloaded the car and I collapsed gratefully on the bed, greatly in need of beer.
Only to find that the bitches hadn't bought any.
They had flown, so couldn't bring liquids with them, but there were STORES dude, and they were OPEN. All I can say at this point is that There Will Be Retribution.
Eventually, we all slept, as we had to be up in a ridiculously small number of hours to do set-up. They claimed that I snore. They lie.
*As far as I know, nobody shot at me, or at anyone else for that matter.
to be continued ...
Friday, April 02, 2010
Welcome To The Hotel California
So I drove and drove and drove. I drove until I thought my ass would fall off. I was so incredibly grateful for this car that my parents had given me (I mean, dude, who just gives you a car?) but I was close to toast.
And I kept looking for signs to Santa Clara, because after all "It's big, there will be signs."
And I saw no signs.
But I kept heading for San Francisco, because dude, that is my dream city. I knew if I could get there it would be OK.
All of a sudden there was this bridge, and I realized it was the Golden Gate Bridge.
I was tired beyond tired and everything hurt. My shoulders were on fire, because the steering wheel on that car is a little too high for me.
But when I saw where the road led, when I saw that I was actually about to drive right over the freaking Golden Gate Bridge, although I was alone in the car, I laughed out loud with delight.
It was one of the highlights of my life.
tomorrow ... The Incident in San Jose
Before I continue with the saga, I'd just like to note that there has been a small (very small) store update. I'll try to get more listed tonight after I stuff myself, friends and family with some turkey.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Silence Is Golden
And so is that bridge thingie outside of San Francisco. I know. I drove over it by mistake.
As I've stated many times, I could get lost in my own bathroom; quite possibly in my own glove compartment. I start out confidently, fully aware of where I am and where I'm going and how I'm going to get there, and then somewhere in the middle of the journey I get distracted by something shiny and it all goes to hell after that.
Every. Single. Time. (this may help explain how I tried to go to a fibrefest in the wrong place last summer. Apparently the people at CFB Esquimalt didn't want to buy yarn, but at least they didn't shoot me.)
I managed to leave Beth's house just fine, and find the I-5 again (eventually) and even found a place to get off the highway for lunch (Arby's) and to buy some ibuprofen (Bi-Mart -- how could I have resisted?) and managed to get back ON the highway again. Going in the right direction.
This, for me, is a plus. I wouldn't have been at all startled to have gone about 20 miles in the wrong direction before I realized I was heading north, but I didn't make that mistake that day. (it later turned out to be one of the few mistakes I missed making)
I drove and drove and drove and oh, Oregon! Why did nobody ever tell me before how pretty you are? If I'd had more time I'd have gotten us a room, that is just how pretty you are. Sheeps! Trees! Green everywhere! And everyone was nice and polite and funny and bla bla bla. As you can tell, I was utterly enchanted.
I finally got to the border and was through the Fruit and Nut Gestapo (they were actually very nice and not a bit intimidating but this is my story, so shut up) and managed to convince them that I had no fruit in my car (I didn't). They didn't seem to notice I was nuts, so all was well and they let me through.
The change in terrain was almost immediate, and I was again enchanted, although not quite as smitten (I'm used to green). I pulled off the highway in a little place called Weed (Californians are serious about their weed, apparently) and called home, as I had realized I'd left the directions here. Or perhaps never even printed them out.
Ben couldn't get Santa Clara to come up on the map, so he said, "Oh, it's big, there will be signs. Just head for San Francisco and look for the signs; you'll find it with no problem."
Apparently it is NOT big, and there are NOT signs.
There were problems.
to be continued ...