Who says black cats are bad luck? Friday, Oct 31 2008 

Padma

Happy Halloween and Happy Samhain to everyone!

Tarot Card of the Day: Three of Swords

Holiday Knitting Panic Thursday, Oct 30 2008 

I must confess, I’m starting to suspect that I’m not going to get my holiday knitting finished in time to send it off and have it arrive by Christmas.

In order not to stress myself out, I’ve come up with a plan B, which invovles by smallish gifts (books, mostly) for my family and mailing those off in time then following up with the knitted gifts at a later date. That still feels kind of lame, though, so I’m cranking away a the holiday gifts.

Dad's sweater front

I’ve finished the back of Dad’s aran, and am now working on the front. As you can see, at this point it looks exactly the same as the back does. It is going faster since I’ve bascially memorized the charts, but it’s still a lot of knitting.

I am happy with the way it’s turning out, though, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll have it finished in time.

Tarot Card of the Day: Seven of Swords

Food inequality Tuesday, Oct 28 2008 

So, I appear to be turning into a little bit of a hippie. The kind of person who wants to buy local produce and grass-fed beef and all that jazz. Now, I’ve read The Omnivore’s Delimna and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and like many other people, was totally inspired.

But I’m wondering if this is necessarily a good thing.

Let me explain. I live in California, where we have lots of farmer’s markets open year round. Theoretically this is great. Lots of fresh, local produce available. Except that I’ve noticed something. These farmer’s markets seem to becoming more spectacle than useful–the produce is more expensive than I’d pay in a store (even certain organic stores) and half the booths are already prepared food to eat there. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this on first glance, but it worries me that we’re creating a two seperate spheres of food.

So much emphasis has been put on eating local/sustainable food that it’s become trendy to certain people. And a lot of those people? Have money. So of course that food becomes more expensive, because there are people willing to pay the price. But by doing this, aren’t we really worsening the food culture of our country?

Right now, we have a system where the middle-to-upper class can go to farmer’s markets and good grocery stores and buy nice local produce and meat and cheese and whatever. But other people, people with less money are still stuck with the cheap, junky food. Food that’s available in supermarkets and convenience stores. And that’s not right.

I think of Anthony Bourdain, and how he frequently writes that some of the best food is peasant food, food made from some of the worst parts of the animal that tastes delicious because people found a way to season and cook it and make it good. We’re losing–or have already lost–that part of our food culture I think, because now poverty doesn’t mean beans and rice and cheap cuts of pork or beef, it means Wonder bread and McDonalds and soda for $0.50 for a 2 liter bottle.  I also think of some of the health problems that disproportionately affect lower income people in our society. Part of that has to do with lack of access to healthcare, but it also has to do with the fact that the cheap, available food in this country is crap! Now, I’m not saying that rice and beans and cheap cuts of meat are an ideal diet–they aren’t. But they’re better than fries and Big Mac.

So my worry is this–it seems like so much emphasis is being put on individual choices and, as the American way, relying on the system of capitalism. If we eat it, they will sell it. Yes–but only to a select few. That’s great for luxeries, but shouldn’t be the case for necessities. I wonder if there isn’t more we can do–building local community programs that make good food accessible and affordable, for instance.

Beyond that, why aren’t we demanding more from our government? The more interested I’ve become in this, the more I’ve started trying to understand the way our government regulates the food industry, and from what I’ve seen it doesn’t look so hot. Why aren’t we demanding change? Not as individuals, but getting organized! Because you know what–as a citizen of this country, I think we should ALL have access to affordable, healthy food that comes from THIS COUNTRY. So why not give incentives to farmers who sell produce to stores in low-income areas in their communities instead of giving them subsidies to produce massive amounts of one or two crops, the majority of which don’t even wind up as food? Why not get rid of the stupid, picky regulations that disproportionately affect small farmers and don’t really have much bearing on the actual quality of food? I can honestly tell you that I care less if the slaughterhouse has a seperate bathroom and office for the FDA inspector, and more about the fact that the cows weren’t factory-farmed and killed in cruel and inhumane fashion.  Why not require that food labels are accurate? I’m on the fence about genetically modified food, but I would like to be able to make the decision to eat it on my own. Why don’t we demand these things?

I don’t know. Maybe people are and I just don’t know about it. But really?  I think we need to stop patting ourselves on the back for buying the $5 organic, local arugula then forgetting about the rest of it. Healthy, good food should not the privlege of the wealthy, and those of us who do have the luxury of being able to think about these things should start speaking up for the people who don’t.

Tarot Card of the Day: Seven of Pentacles

Urban knitter? Monday, Oct 27 2008 

So, I seem to be having a bit of an identity crisis this past year. See, when I’ve thought of my life, I’ve always imagined myself in an urban life. In a city somewhere, dressed in fantastic outfits with great shoes, living a glamourous life. Sounds great, right?

Except, as it turns out, I suck at it.

No, seriously. I’m far too lazy for fanatastic outfits, great shoes make my feet hurt, and I’d muc rather watch a DVD and knit or spin than go out and get wasted at some club with a bunch of strangers. And the longer I live in the city, the more I wonder why exactly my commute is so long and crowded, and why I can’t get any peace and quiet because I can hear all of my neighbors (in my building AND the building next door). I wonder why I don’t have grass or room to grow anything.

I find myself thinking that I kinda want to go live on a ranch in Wyoming or something. The first time I went to Wyoming, I hated it. Mostly because I was 15 and my mother didn’t warn me that there would be SNOW in JULY. And then she made me go STAND IN THE SNOW IN MY SHORTS AND TEE SHIRT! Because she is a cruel woman obsessed with photography.

Anyway. The second time I was in Wyoming was when I drove out to California and…I kinda liked it. A lot. I liked the scenery, which was gorgeously unfamiliar and that perfect place between mountains (boring, I grew up in the mountains) and endless flat praries (which kinda freak me the hell out). And it was windy and the air was crisp and it was just really, really awesome. And this year, I find myself thinking, wouldn’t it be nice? To live in Wyoming on a ranch and raise sheep and angora bunnies? And maybe some chickens and bees and goats, and hell, why not throw a few pigs and cows in there while we’re at it.

There are problems with this, of course. Namely that I am an urban/suburban girl and I would have no idea  how to raise any animals other than cats and dogs. Well, okay, I think I could figure out bunnies fairly easily, but actual livestock? Not something I have experience with. Not to mention I am extremely single, and ranching strikes me as one of those enterprises that requires multiple people. So I’d have to find other people to drag along in my insanity. But you know what? I can still dream. Someday, I’ll have my fiber ranch.

Tarot Card of the Day: The World

Amusing Conversations Thursday, Oct 23 2008 

My mother called me this morning (or maybe I called her, I don’t really remember). This is not unusual, since I am her only child, which apparently means that we must remain in phone contact at least once a day.

The conversation that followed, however, is one that I fear marks the end of my peace of mind.  You see, I am 25, single, and childless. Given my social life and dating history (hint:I have none), the odds of marriage or children occuring seems rather slim.

My mother opens with–You need to have children.

I’m thinking, what, tomorrow? And point out that this seems rather unlikely at the moment and also, hi, 25.

She responds: “Yes, but I need something to take pictures of. I got my film developed, and there were three rolls with nothing but pictures of your cats.”

This, dear readers, this is the end of my peace of mind. She wants grandchildren. It’s a day I hoped would not come for another 10 years. I am doomed.

Tarot Card of the Day: Justice

Attn: San Francisco Area Knitters! Wednesday, Oct 22 2008 

So, you know I’m loving the Guys with Yarn calendar, but I don’t think it’s fair that guys get to have all the fun!

A friend and I have become so inspired that we have decided to put together a knitting pinup calendar featuring girls with yarn! It’s super last minute, we know, but we’re confident in our ability to pull this off. Right now, we’re looking for additional knitters so–if you’re in the San Francisco, you knit, and you’ve secretly (or not-so-secretly) wanted to be a pinup model, leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

(Feel free to send this along or repost–especially if you’re in the bay area!)

Tarot Card of the Day: Ace of Cups

This and That Tuesday, Oct 21 2008 

The year is winding down, and I find myself trying to accomplish some things before Samhain. Namely, getting my apartment in shape. I’m really tired of living in a mess, and if I cleaned and decluttered and got organized, I could probably even move to a smaller place at some point! But I’m also thinking about things I want to accomplish for next year.

I want to knit down more of my stash. I have at least 3-4 sweaters of yarn, plus a lot of socks, plus 4-6 lace shawls, and a bunch of odds and ends. I know I’ll never NOT have a stash, but I can have less of one.

Get and KEEP my apartment clean and organized. I know it’ll be better in the long run, but it’s still difficult.

Do the 365 picture thing.

Finish at least one of the screenplays-in-progress and do something with it. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t throw a stick into my group of friends without hitting at least four frustrated directors, so I’m hoping my odds are decent.

Cook more, buy less food that I wind up not using.

Work on designing more patterns.

Get back to my idea of knitting items with intention–lots of things to explore there!

Tarot Card of the Day: Justice

Spinning = Love Monday, Oct 20 2008 

So, I took my first spinning class yesterday. Verdict? I LOVE IT.

It’s incredibly difficult right now–I got the hang of treadling, then promptly lost it when I focused too much on  drafting. Etc. But it was starting to come together at the end of class, and I’m looking forward to doing my homework (practicing for an hour).

I’m also already starting to thinkabout buying a wheel. It’s obviously a big investment, and I’m not going to buy one right this minute (sigh). My main considerations are price and size–apartment living means that I’d prefer a smaller wheel. I have plenty of space right now, but I always keep in mind that I could move somewhere smaller, and I’d want something that didn’t hog too much space.

My top contenders are the Ashford Joy, the Louet Victoria and the Louet Julia. My loaner wheel (for the class) is a Louet Victoria, and I like it a lot, especially the portability. But the Julia is similar, and less expensive, so that’s a factor as well. We’ll see…who knows what could happen between now and when I buy a wheel?

Tarot Card of the Day: Nine of Swords

Alas, no Rhinebeck Friday, Oct 17 2008 

So it’s that time of year again, when knitters flock to Rhinebeck and tell fabulous stories of sheep and fleece and yarn and knitters galore. And I? I sit at home and mumble about the unfairness of it all, since I cannot make it to Rhinebeck.

(Stupid economy. Stupid election season. Stupid California for not having any huge west coast fiber festivals.)

It’s probably for the best, however, since I am trying to commit to knitting down my stash and not buying (too) much more yarn. I did finish the back of my Dad’s Christmas sweater the other morning. It was cause for much jubilation and glee, at least until I remembered that I still have a front and two sleeves to go.

It looks really good, but it seems kind of long. I can’t tell if that’s how it’s meant to be (the model has it kind of bloused out over the ribbing a bit?) or if my percpetion is just totally skewed from knitting way to many sweaters for my 5’2″ self (who likes them kind of cropped) and it’s actually exactly the right lenght for a guy who is 5’9″. I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll fit, since there’s no way to tell until he actually gets it.

Tarot Card of the Day: King of Wands

Hack the Debate with Current Wednesday, Oct 15 2008 

more about “Hack the Debate with Current“, posted with vodpod

This is the last debate, so it’s your last change to get your debate commentary on air. Go to Twitter and tweet your debate commentary, including #current in your tweets. Then watch the debate on Current or online at http://current.com/debate complete with commentary from Twitter.

Tarot Card of the Day: Queen of Wands

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