Friday, September 30, 2005

i have finally harnessed (about time, right?) the search-feed power of google's blogsearch (much in the same way that others use technorati) to find out what people are talking about. namely, me. :) some pleasing discoveries:
  • mollycoddle really made the rounds. the first mention was from regine on wmmna, and then meandered through blogspace to new art (a performance/installation art blog based in lisbon, portugal), turbulence, some russian blog in cyrillic. my favorite gofugyourselfwithwearables you-make-crap (as opposed to money-not-art) entry is at delta-sigma.
  • the only one in the entire world who seems to link to my blog is danielle. without her, i'd be virtually nothing. (ha. ha...)
  • and... there's not much else. not terribly exciting nor particularly pleasing. hmm.
the entire last day and a half has been nothing more than surreal. details soon, i promise. however, i can say that i had a spectacular coincidence this afternoon when i tackled ms. hanacious in the sprawling citizens bank at harvard square (i like green, but banks in general make me queasy). we embarked on an impromptu eating session, which managed to incorporate small hot chilies, carrot-strip stealing, and sippable salty limes.

i told you, i like green.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

i haven't decided if this is the worst or the best thing to arrive to the interweb. stuff on my cat. one look is enough. and strange communal collectives like this are enough to deter me from becoming a crazy cat lady one day. niknak will be ever thankful.

check that cat out.

no guys, really. check him out.

ooh, ooh. i've been waiting for this to appear for some time.

martin mairinger won this year's ars electronica next idea grant and residency, which niknak missed by a nose with his awesome honorable mention. the winning project entailed using RFID tags to record, trace, and document clothing as it traverses time and space. seems the goal is to infuse new meaning into personal objects, and to integrate clothing distribution into the enriched social network.

[i found out about this project in august, but there wasn't any pretty website to go along with it.] but i just discovered it. voila.

[USED]clothing project

[USED]clothing at ars electronica

i'll take some time to read more about it and post additional thoughts here.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

lots of bliu news (nius?) still on the horizon to update, though the knitting bits shall have the spotlight for now.

for one, secretpalsix has gotten off to a blazing, fantastic start. i've had a fun time communicating with and researching my secret recipient, and i hope she enjoys reading/knitting/experiencing the stuff i sent her this week! i don't want to give any clues away, but i'm glad we're like-minded because it's easy to send her stuff that i would get for myself!

voila, the first package i received from my pal!

and yes, it is as scrumptiously cute as it looks!

so, to give some context, last friday i was plugging away at getting this paper out for the submission deadline that evening. i typed away in my kitchen the entire day, and rushed out of the door around 5pm for lab so i could print out revisions, talk to my labmates (in similar dire straits), and defrazzle under the witness of others. i bolted out the door, and distractedly checked the bulging mailbox on my way out. how wonderful it felt to see a little box addressed to me! i tucked it under my arm as i continued for the subway stop.

i was itching with excitement the entire walk, and i actually summoned enough willpower to wait until i got settled in the subway station to open it. the train actually came (i know, unbelievable for the T) shortly after i got underground, so i ended up unwrapping it on the ride over. i have to say it was impeccably packaged to heighten anticipation. :) brown wrapping paper on the outside yielded to a small, bank-check box. prying off the tape on the box exposed a small little parcel wrapped in paper decorated with colourful, mod circles. as a fan of all things mod, i was seriously giddy. it was totally like christmas day, except just for me!

after such a stressful day, it was super timing to receive this. once i saw hello kitty, my spirits were instantly revived. all was good, because there she was, looking at me with those eyes, reassuring. heehee. what can i say... it was just the cutest thing. so, if you check it out above, my secret pal sent me all this cool stuff housed in a hello kitty plastic purse (very tiny, like 3" x 4" x .5"). the contents: three flavors of glittery lip gloss (i love the hello kitties on the caps), a funky gold camel measuring tape (replete with tailhair tufts), a hundred tiny colourful rubber rings, and a sweet handwritten note on hello kitty stationery.

thank you, secret pal! not only was it really good timing, but everything you sent is quite useful and so darn cute. i appreciate so much the effort you're putting into figuring out my style and speculating what things i'd like. it shows!

the rubber rings are a godsend for my need for effective stitch markers, and i have to say i'm really impressed by the ingenious use of them for this purpose. they're strikingly simple and seductively modern, and they're flexible, snagless, and bright. impeccable design of form and function.

... which is a good segue into showing picture of an ongoing project that i do not believe has yet debuted on this blog. here's my pillow cover (20" x 20") that i'm working on slowly but surely:

i'll give you a moment to guess the pattern and the yarn. [1... 2... 3... ]

okay. here's the dirt:
  • pattern: motif from ribbed bark tunic in loop-d-loop
  • yarn: knitpicks merino style in moss, double-stranded
  • needles: denise interchangeables, size 9
  • stitchmarkers: my fancy new coloured rings!
i was using these other handmade stitchmarkers for a while, but the ends of the cut wire kept snagging on my work. even though i tried to tuck the ends in as tightly as i could, as they were sharp and pointy it still ended up happening. so i'm really psyched about these new rubber rings. i mean, my fascination with them is almost embarassing. so amazingly simple! *swoon*

anyway, i love love love this sinuous motif, but the ribs really slow me down. my english style isn't quite as efficient as i'd like, but i can usually go through half a dual-skein in one sitting. i'll let you know how this thing grows.

brrr... i can feel the new england fall already. time to whip out the sweaters! whee!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

last night's glorious receipt:


Subject: CHI 2006 Notes confirmation of submission (submission #270)

Date: September 23, 2005 8:00:01 PM EDT



This email confirms your submission to CHI 2006 Notes:

Number: 270

Title: urbanhermes: social signaling with electronic fashion

This file has been submitted:

size type description

1391 Kb pdf your submission

To make further changes to your submission, go to your SIGCHI home page.

Please send enquiries to

This is an automatically generated message.

i am most proud of the timestamp. booyeah, baby!

Friday, September 23, 2005

immediate wishlist, in no particular order:
  • one of these keyboard purses
  • a light green vespa
  • a sewing machine to match my vespa
  • a nap
okay, back to my paper. hooray for tonight's deadline, since there is no way i'm spending another weekend working on this...

good news: my big sis #2 is out of galveston, though not by much. apparently it took her 9 hours to drive from galveston to houston. we're talking 50 miles. 9 hours. wow.

anyway, since she's a fancy doctor she'll volunteer at the houston hospital for now. but man. that hurricane looks horrific. i wonder what the entire nation would be worrying about for the last month if katrina and rita had never transpired. egad, the power of media.

[by the way, the national hurricane center website is completely and utterly incomprehensible! i just wanted to find out what storms from names L to P had elapsed in the meantime. all i can gather from about 10 minutes poking around is 'Lee' and 'Philippe'. stupidly, i cannot access september's report until the end of september! i did learn, however, that there was a hurricane fernanda on the tip of southern baja california on aug 9 - 17. i'm sure our fernanda had absolutely nothing to do with this. despite the surfing inclinations.]

alright, enough of meteorology brain suckage. i shall now resume my paper. :)


interesting feature [quicktime video format] on cnn that showcases (in 30 seconds, just enough to conveniently skirt over the highs and the lows of human memory-recording technology) sunil's research at MIT.

i haven't really heard of anything like this since the remembrance agent back in 1996. however, those who know me know how i feel about this life-recording stuff. those who don't, please ask me and i'll happily elaborate.

although, i have to say my favorite parts in the cnn video are the scenes in the media lab kitchen. look at that sleek buttoned steel in the background... that espresso machine has saved many a frazzled soul at the lab. i have seen it, and it is beautiful.

hi, joanie!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

this is nothing short of amazing.

read about the pink bunny here and here. check out the aerial view here. i am in no position to interpret the bunny's facial expression.

gelitin is the crazy art group responsible for the cute madness.

i'm still holding out for the possibility this may be one humongous photoshop scam. :)

i'm so upset i'm late in the blogger game on knowing about the bunny. slate exposes how woefully unfashionable i am on this, on an article posted yesterday.

a day after! a day after!

hear that? that's my ship sailing.

too tired to wax poetic like i normally do. here i present the essence of today:
  • first one sis, then the other. remember how sis #1 lives right north of new orleans and still doesn't have phone service? sis #2 lives in galveston, texas, smack dab where hurricane rita, category 5, is destined to hit by the end of the week. what are the chances that my two siblings are both caught by the worst storms in recent history? what's more distressing is that my sister can't evacuate, since she's a fabulous brain doctor and must remain working at the hospital. hope things stay safe down there for jeannie.
  • i managed to get a fabulous work of art from the mit list center student art loan program, even as an 'alternate.' that means my name was picked in the lottery, but the top three choices i listed had already been assigned. so i went into the gallery today and could pick among the non-assigned works remaining on the wall. lo and behold, it was open season on one of the yoshitomo nara prints! it's even remarkably cute, too: a little girl secretes little brain juices all over her pretty dress while sticking her finger into a goldfish bowl. the goldfish remains remarkably content.
  • the two-hour set i did for sigtronica tonight seemed to be a success. i test-drove my tuned taste of more dance-inflected four-on-the-floor drop-bass electro chill-outs. oh yeah. and people called the station! people dialed in from far reaches of the world, like... indiana! and... illinois! it was definitely encouraging, and i look forward to gleaning a following to my new show. emergence slated in two weeks. stay tuned.
okay. waaaaay too late now. must get up uberearly to do uberintense amounts of work. i shall dream of how CHI really stands for christine hacks imagination. or chica hecka insane. what was that? oh yeah, sleep. the mission shall continue under the dark covers of night.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

yay! superhappybirthday to my big sis #1 today!

the picture above was taken in june 2003 when i went down to visit her in louisiana and we traipsed through the lush greens and pink petals of the new orleans botanical gardens. we also shared delights such as dining on warm gooey desserts at at commander's palace, spoiling her then-terrible-two-times-two-year-olds, and visiting the gorgeous residence of edgar degas.

not too sure when anyone, much less we, can enjoy the beautiful spots of new orleans anytime soon. time will tell. . . ... . .

my sister is the only person i know who can
  • pronounce yaourt (yogurt en francais) with great polysyllabic aplomb
  • rival me in nose-blowing-music skills
  • consume an entire cheesecake within one, slow, thoughtful, sitting
  • do the best impression of cookie monster
  • look amazing in purple
  • withstand life's unpredictable turns with love and courage
three cheers for gracie poo!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

listening to
army of me (tor bruce) :: army of me remix album (bjork)

8-bit wonder.

* * * * * * ** *

two more weeks until the updated wmbr fall season. stay tuned for more details on the inauguration of a deliciously new show carved by the whittling aural tastes of your very own liucubed. the name of the show will be a secret for now. it's no sigtronica, but you can bet on an s. [maybe two!] niknak will hold onto the sigtronic reins with the glory that only modern sounds can provide, but with our dual powers, we can make twice the impact on the radio waves. viva la musica!

these last couple weeks have been the most busy i have experienced in recent memory. yay for the onset of the school year! the colorful columns in my iCal aren't merely due to the new instantiation of classes, but also conference deadlines and fabulous concerts and interesting talks and career fair madness.

oh yes, a job! something. post-thesis. interesting. stimulating. mysterious and as of yet undetermined. somehow it amazes me how early this process starts, way before anyone gets a chance to let the gravity of its significance on life sink in.

[i'll write some guidelines for myself tonight. standards, you know.]

p.s. so last friday night, the eve of chris' wedding, i accompanied niknak to burlington coat factory to help him choose some pants from the astonishing selection of fine men's clothing. [insert sarcasm here.] anyway, it's always a fun excursion into the underground land of overstocks and imperfects. however, i couldn't help but notice this display near the discounted half-filled bottles of lotion and stained kids' books, of teenage mutant ninja turtle candy. TMNT! i can't even imagine how old this candy was, candy that was viably still for sale. it was a true x-entertainment moment. maybe next time i'll acquire one turtle egg and do my own experiments on classic early 1990's artifacts. yum.

Monday, September 19, 2005

{ i hate the mbta i hate the mbta i hate the mbta i hate the mbta }*

*repeat ad nauseum

thank you, boston's amazing system of public transportation, for wasting a half hour of my life almost every morning. your schedules are completely worthless if you don't follow them consistently. as an abiding legs-only citizen, i have no choice but to rely on you... how can you have the heart to always let me down?

everytime this happens i either want to move to new york, defect to japan, or get a mini cooper. co-existing with the incompetencies of the mbta is a terrifying blight on the bright eye of boston.

okay. rant quota met for the day. back to work.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

i have so much [back]log on my [web]log right now. however, midnight's approaching, and if i don't get any work done tomorrow i will indeed turn into a stressed, orange pumpkin. so, you know what that means... blitzblog!

here we go in reverse chronological order...

tonight i finally had a change to talk on the phone with my ex. just some friendly catchup that was long overdue, and with some relaxed and unharried conversation. seems like we're doing well on our respective parallel paths, both academic and personal. it's really fascinating (there's probably another word for it, too) just thinking about how dramatically different my life is now from one or two years ago. different people in my life, different circumstances, different choices. one thing that was really quite surprising, and actually kind of funny, is that he always suspects whenever i call him i will have some huge item of news to disclose, like i am engaged or something. i find that truly hilarious, although i suppose it is uncommon for people who end relationships to continue investing time in a regular friendship. i hope i never end up breaking permanent ties with anyone i feel close at one point or another in my life. complete severance is a harsh thing.

this afternoon i attempted to find a decent messenger bag in the city of boston for my research prototype. it's amazing how unsuccessful i was... are messenger bags just 'out' this season? i couldn't find a simple, hip design for the life of me. i saw a colors of benetton one at tj.maxx that was kind of cute, but the design construction was a little strange... like an attache and a courier bag mated and spawned a grey sack with uncongruous orange straps everywhere. i ended up defaulting with some black rucksacks at H&M. a little rustic, but will do the job. however, i am horribly disapppointed with the selection i faced at downtown crossing. to reinforce my shopping displeasure, i promptly took a fantastic nap when i got back home.

before i went shopping though, i got a haircut. a little modern 'do by jimmy at le gala salon in chinatown, my mainstay. honestly, where else can you get a scalp massage, a professional cut, and complimentary tea and soda for pretty much the cheapest rate around? also, must mention the italian lighting and all those flat-screen LCD televisions hung about, showcasing enthralling videos of asian popstars and karaoke ballads.

this afternoon, yummy brunch at johnny d's. weekly dig, how i love thee!

so yesterday was the wedding on the cape. some tidbits to mention: the ceremony was short and sweet, and i loved how the readings diversely ranged from religious to literary to spiritual. everything from 1 corinthians to the blessing of the apaches. a very special moment was when chris read somewhere i never travelled by e e cummings for julie. super-romantic. she had on a traditional-style strapless ballgown, but what caught my eye (and made the outfit, i think) was a lovely gold brooch pinned to the side of her waiststrap, which i later discovered belonged to her grandmother.

the reception was at a small inn and bistro in sandwich, ma, and i was thoroughly impressed by the food and drink presentation. you know how sometimes you go to group events and they serve stuff like chicken or pasta because it's (1) cheap and (2) bland and boring yet generally likable? i really hate that. the wedding reception edibles last night, on the other hand, were truly classy and inventive. thank you so much, chris and julie, for investing in good food for the guests. we started off with a pre-dinner buffet, filled with yummies like good cheese, fruit, tapenade, proscuitto, herbed mozzarella salad. waiters came around with plates of hors d'oeuvres with the likes of wild mushroom in phyllo, andouille sausage in puff pastry, peking duck mini egg rolls, and mini crab cakes. dinner was a sit-down affair, with champagne and wine a-flowing. first course was this salmon and vegetable wrap thing, a fancy appetizer. following that was a spinach salad, dressed with dried cranberries and wrapped within a belt of proscuitto. the main entrees were roasted lamb en croute and chilean sea bass within a mediterranean tomato-based sauce with pearl barley and capers. niknak and i shared both dishes, which were quite delicious. then lastly, of course, was the wedding cake. i'm guessing something like hazelnut cake with vanilla icing, very sweet and yummy. we didn't end up leaving the reception until after 10:30pm. five hours of eating, drinking, dancing, and smalltalking... not too shabby.

and niknak was dressed so handsome! i've always loved pinstripes. :) we danced a bit, which was quite heartwarming, though we'll have to practice a bunch to rival some of the elderly but rug-cutting couples we saw on the dancefloor. i know i will have to glean some jitterbug skills from my parents one of these days.

*yawn* bliu blitz blog to be continued. i should be completely ecstatic that i am living life at a greater pace than i can ably write down, but at times i need some moments to catch up! :) however, maybe all this collective electronic memory may one day come back to haunt us. humans were engineered with forgetness built in, which in many ways renders these tools of remembrance a significant necessity. will i be re-reading all these words when i'm 90 years old and wielding a retrograde ascii reader? only time will tell.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

so i'm just about to run out the door into the drizzly grey, en route to mister and (future) missus baker's wedding out on the cape. the feel is definitely very england right now, wet, quiet, and thoughtful.

i am feeling very lady-like right now (which is a big departure from what i'm like most of the time... or so i feel when i trip on the sidewalk on a daily basis). have my laundry by shelli segal dress on, with the oh-so-dramatic back, and the shoes that will take me a good ten minutes to step in to. hair swept back, makeup carefully applied. who knew that i would be a kid growing up to sooner or later attend other people's weddings? our generation has arrived, which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. i have a feeling that more and more weddings will cross my path, and will get old after a bit. but for now, the events are still fresh, and i'm very happy to be able to celebrate with friends on such a momentous point in two people's lives.

lots lots lots of stuff i have yet to blog about, from last night's endless array of artistic openings and receptions around cambridge, the AIGA conference yesterday, and the life-changing concert on thursday seductively staged within the immaculate cocoon of the boston opera house.

so, suffice to say, photographs of everything from jittery solar-powered dragonflies to festive wedding snapshots will be forthcoming. but for now i must get back to work.

you know. the shoes.

Friday, September 16, 2005

last night i heard heaven,
    and heaven
sounds             like

                                        sigur ros.

[also, incidentally, heaven tastes like deep fried spicy tofu.]

details coming soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

i just downloaded sigur ros' newest album, takk (which means thank you in icelandic, one of the very few words we utilised like pros while in reykjavik), from iTunes. finally using up some iTunes credit that i had stowed away from reviewing some math text a couple years ago as a poor college student (as opposed to a poor graduate student). honestly, if there has been any sort of 'free money' advertised on campus, i was there. one's pecuniary status really does affect one's spare-cash-earning dignity.

anyway, listening to sigur ros is warming me up for the concert tomorrow at the boston opera house. i am shivering in anticipation.

listening to this album, it sounds like they're doing a mix between post-rock instrumental (did i just hear a fanfare of trumpets?) and the usual fairytale ethereality. good brainy music for a good brainy day.

okay. back to paper. after i stop daydreaming about iceland.

so i'm going to try a new experiment (and i hope it works) in doing stuff at home today. i have this paper to write for CHI, which isn't a terrifyingly insurmountable assignment, but as you know, it pretty much hits the fan when it comes down to the multiple cups of green tea and being swaddled in my oversized HARVARD sweatshirt. roommates and close friends, you know full well what i'm talking about.

haven't had much time to knit lately at all. with this new year picking up and excitement over classes and snowballing projects, i'm finding it harder and harder to isolate time to knit without feeling guilty about shirking other waiting obligations. sometimes i wish i had a long ride on the commuter rail or something so i could fiddle with a needles on a regular basis, since reading makes me carsick and it'd be a good way to start and end the day... a soothing transition to and fro.

however, yesterday i blocked a [secret project]. i do have something on the needles for my sister's birthday (and my mom's!) next week, which i might have time to finish up on a longish car ride this weekend for a friend's wedding at the cape. oh, which reminds me... must buy wedding present soon!

by the way, a to-do list is my best friend. i mean, as far as paper-based task-oriented friends go. [the nonpaper friends keep me on task too, though they do sort of get irritated when i try to check off their boxes.]

the secretpalsix thing has been hanging over the edge for a bit. everyone's been held in suspense since monday, which was the proposed date for match send-outs, but due to technical difficulties with gmail (which i have no clue about; i never thought google could ever be broken or wrong... doo bee doo...) they've been delayed a bit. i'm still in anticipation mode, though i did get an email from my hostess with the mostess, and should know by tomorrow. hope hope hope. i have to say that i'm probably more impatient than most (though i haven't gone so far as to harass the organisers, they're doing their best) because i really want to shape a coherent story about the other person. i mean, we're all going to read each other's blogs and become superspies about it, crafting a plausible narrative and then constructing ideas and gifts in effort to spark the most quintessential delights of the other. and actually, i'm most curious on how my pal will take me in, size me up, and make some assumptions based on my writings, my photos, and other clues of self-identity.

this really does sound like stuff from my research creeping into my personal life. but, oh how relevant sociable media is to everything we know and do these days! anyway, i invite my secret pal to read any of my blog entries from 2002 to today, to visit my personal website at (sorry for the pop-ups, i really do have to switch domain managers), and try to figure out anything about me. because, honestly, i'm still wondering myself. :) but online identities are so beautifully crafted and documented, though consistency is the key. hence another internal motivator to keep this blog's momemtum going.

okay, okay. enough procrastinating already. i will start writing my paper. heehee.

* * ** ** * * * * * ** * * *


from: a media lab project coordinator
to: media lab list


Will the creators of those great Lego murals that appeared overnight in the 3rd floor lounge off the kitchen kindly come up & reassemble them...then engineer a better solution to affix them to the walls than double-sided tape?


post-post script

i saw it. legos. everywhere. pixels on the carpet. tear-inducing. soul-strengthening.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

new media lab class blog, in case anyone is listening:

no, i haven't started my own company... at least not yet. the class is called "incorporated: embodiment, enculturation, technology, and the human form," taught by none-other-than chris csikszentmihalyi (mnemonic device: cheeks-sent-me-high).

if you're interested, the class will explore enculturated forms of computational clothing. follow along if you like.

now back to your regularly schedule programming.

Monday, September 12, 2005

what a lovely surprise upon coming into the lab today. take a look for yourself! the entire mural monstrosity was mounted, i hear, with none-other-than industrial velcro.

i cannot wait for the one day the entire world will be entirely press-fit.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

another beautiful, sunny morn, enabling a certain pixelgirl's energy stores to make it through all that's on the agenda today!

speaking of pixels, yesterday was one of the most amusing and engaging social experiences i have had at the media lab. (amusing and engaging is commonplace, social is not so much so...) so, we have a relatively recently-instated (maybe a year or so) student lounge in the lab. it's a cozy little corner tucked away conveniently near the magical espresso machine and boasting a couple futons and an array of brightly colored ikea seats and stools, with lovingly obscure design magazines scattered about and some random posters on the wall to keep it lively. it's kind of comfy dorm room aesthetic with a hint of cool residents who are never around. as a huge push forward to livening up the space to true ML standards, ben dalton managed to acquire both the design and materials for a sizeable unique art installation. medium? legos.

the mural design came courtesy of eboy, based on their icon-esque pee-col system. pee-col sort of reminds me of those exquisite corpse visual drawings, where a lion's head could rest on a penguin's shoulders which stood on tree roots, gnarling in curlicues around the rosehips. except, of course, deliciously lo-res.

so here's the design. now imagine each of these pixels existing as 1x1 lego blocks. to give you an idea of scale, 182 x 110 pixels, at 25 pixels per foot, equates to roughly 7.5' x 4.5' on the wall. because of the lab's close ties to lego, we managed to get all the blocks in the colors necessary to render this image. what's even more hilarious is that they only issued us just enough blocks, so if we lose even one pixel, we're pretty much on the hunt for the missing piece. i'm glad one of the creatures has 'MIT' on its belly, because it's not really closely tied to the lab in any other way, other than its physical pixels and the fact that legos are just intrinsically cool. especially in ginormous aggregate.

so yesterday afternoon/evening (and finishing the last third or so of it today), medialabbies came in to do their share of square-pushing, as you will. you just grabbed a color print-out of a particular tile of the image, snagged a foot square of lego base, and then dug your hands into deliciously deep piles of colorful squares. yellow, red, purple, three shades of gray... and then got to work on replicating the design one square at a time. it was engaging on many levels. first, you have all these amazing engineers just playing with the stuff. second, the collective work spirit was just infectious. it was like a party, complete even with some libations and an mp3 soundtrack. third, it was the first time i saw the student lounge actually inhabited... and with lively action to boot. fourth, it was neat, methodical work. check out some of individual lego'd tiles to the right. as we all were working, ben rightfully remarked, "don't you feel the zen of this? you are one with the printer... now you know how it feels to color an image dot-by-dot." so true. my mind can now breathe free.

wmbr meeting and barbeque to follow. wish for good weather and good food.

happy sad anniversary to 9/11 today. all these events really do remind us that we're all human. we don't have all the time in the world to keep resisting each other. give a hand, and accept a hug. be thankful everyday.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

yay for secret pal six! now that i've gotten my feet wet with the last secret exchange, i'll do my part to be the best pal in the entire knit blogging universe. small task, no doubt.

here's the questionnaire, for the benefit of my pal, plus some healthy navel-gazing along the way.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

admittedly, i am a huge yarn snob. once you start on fine merino wool and mohair blends, you cannot go back. i think it might also be a reaction to an enormous, bulky 100% acrylic cabled sweater my mommy lovingly knit for me by request (the pattern and the dark raspberry color, but i wasn't old enough to know the difference between yarn qualities), and being completely roasted in the scratchy shell of a winter garment. novelty yarns tend too look too "middle-aged artsy mom" to me, and the only exception are the strings with sequins or paillettes attached (see adrienne vitadini fiora or berroco lazer FX ). i really aim to invest in high quality, non-scratchy, and resilient fibres.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

nope--knitting already keeps me busy!

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

i really detest the smell of smoke. happily, i'm not allergic or repulsed by much anything else.

4. How long have you been knitting?

i learned when i was quite young, maybe in elementary school or something, but i got back into it two years ago, when i realised i shouldn't miss the opportunity to live across from a yarn store during my last couple years in college.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

not yet!

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

my darling niknak got me my favorite scent last year for christmas, absinthe and black fig by slatkin. i tend to like more natural scents, like citrus or water, than floral or vanilla or fruit. however, my olfactorial (ol!) taste is pretty obscure... what i crave most are uncommon pairings, such as fleurs du chocolat, violet moss, or pomegranate anise.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

i tend to prefer savoury over sweet, but it's hard for me to pass up some valrhona dark chocolate. also, anything that whole foods or trader joes might sell would do too, yum.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

i'm trying to learn how to do some basic sewing or garment construction skills, but i'm still in the process of saving up for a decent machine. on occasion, i love making cute, mod patterned papers and stationeries. i get into origami to a disturbing extent from time to time. if i had the time and space, i would love to learn how to make beautiful food.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

the best way to figure this out is to visit the website of the radio show i co-host, sigtronica on wmbr 88.1fm in cambridge. if you're really hardy, you can listen to archived shows and hear me on-air! my music taste could extend from here to the golden gate bridge, but some styles i fancy are electronic, intelligent dance music, glitchpop, analog synth craziness, downtempo, trip hop, dub, drum + bass, trance, ambient, indie, icelandic artists, scandanavian artists, japanese artists, female singerwriter songwriters, and classical. apologies to the bazillion other genres i've left off. favorites extend from bjork to fourtet to cibo matto to bartok to flaming lips to dido. suffice to say, yes, i can play MP3s.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

my favorite color in general is chartreuse--that lovely shade between lime and lemon. however, finding the right kind of chartreuse for clothes can be tricky. i have an asian complexion--and i have no idea what 'season' i am. i tend to think dark reds and raspberries complement my skin, though i wear pretty much every color except 80's style pastels. i prefer saturated colors over heathers, and fine tweeds have a soft spot in my heart. dark neutrals are cool, too, especially gunmetal grays and things with a hint of texture.

in general, no color is a bad color in my book, though you probably wouldn't think so with all the black in my wardrobe! :) the only colors i sort of despise are those awful "jewel" tones, like bright turquoise, bright purple, bright orange. you know what i'm talking about. stylishly mod light palette (robin egg blue, buttercup yellow, delicate green), good. saturated and deep, good. sophisticated and neutral, good.

"jewel", bad.

actually, i really like the new fall collection at anthropologie and the feeling of west elm. colorwise, take that as you will.

oh yes, perhaps unrelated, i am obsessed with pantone.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

right now i'm a youngster that shares an apartment with three twentysomething roommates. such is life as a grad student. no room for pets at the moment, although those who know me recognise my general adoration for kitty cats, koala bears, and doggies. i have parents and two older sisters who live in all corners of the country.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

okay, so "what are your life dreams" is sitting right next to "favorite yarns". hmm, this one's not so easy. all i can put for this one is that i want to do something that's creatively-based, not money-worshipping, void of politics, helping others, and with a smashingly good wardrobe. i would also love to be traveling around the world and seeing beauty in everything.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

i haven't had that much opportunity to try a humongous array of yarns, but i do enjoy european brands like rowan, debbie bliss, and filatura di crosa. i also love original fibers... i've been lucky to visit the habu textiles store in nyc, where i found stuff made from stainless steel, persimmon extract, and pineapple ramie. i was in heaven. i've been tempted by malabrigo, artyarns, and cherry tree hill. as long as it's soft and pure and lovingly spun or manufactured with care, it will do. actually, i would have to say one of my favorite yarns i've worked with so far is jo sharp silkroad. cashmere, silk, wool. sooo delicious. working with cashmere is just like eating a pink frosted cupcake.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

i haven't yet worked with alpaca, so i don't know how that will work, but i like creating more fitted garments, so i like how wool has a little more structure to 'cling' to the body. however, baby alpaca has always intrigued me, though i've never tried. i tend not to like things that are excessively mohair (really fuzzy), but wool and mohair blends with subtle halos are fine. microfiber, nylon, is fine, but most i try to minimize most cheaper synthetics. and i hate hate hate ribbon yarns. i tried it, and it was just gross. disaster.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

designs teva durham's loop-d-loop, handpainted sock yarn, and sexy vintage designs.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

i haven't knit too many things, but i'll tentatively say shrugs, sweaters, and socks. i say no to shawls, but yes to scarves and capelets and hoodies.

17. What are you knitting right now?

let's see if i can remember everything! a 20"x20" pillow covering with the rib motif from the tree bark tunic in loop-d-loop in knitpicks merino, the ballet pullover from IK summer 2004 in debbie bliss cashmerino aran, rib and cable socks from IK fall 2005 in mountain colors bearfoot, the theresa cardigan from debbie bliss junior knits in knitpicks shine, corkscrew scarf from loop-d-loop in berroco quest. i'm sure there are more lurking here and there in my apartment, as projects are wont to do.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

ponchos are bad news. capelets are much better and a lot more classy.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

circular. somehow the weight distribution works for me.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

bamboo, so lovely in the hands. aluminum, i've never tried addis but they seem like a dream. plastic, i use my denise set like crazy, but mostly because of convenience and lightweight. the only needles i despise are the heavy metal ones because they hurt my wrists.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

yes, and a recent one, too!

22. How did you learn to knit?

first from my mother, and then most recently on my own from the original stitch 'n' bitch book and countless online resources.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

not too embarassingly old. maybe half a year.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

i love supercute japanese-school-girl-loving cartoons. see sanrio, meomi, or happy tree friends. :) among some of my many favorite animals are koalas, jellyfish, kitty cats, penguins, and polar bears.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

arbor day, because everyone can love a tree!

26. Is there anything that you collect?

i started a mini-collection of cute japanese collectables from just be in portland. not much else i cant think of... i'm not really a 'collector' type of person, honestly. when i was younger i used to be obsessed with keroppi. i still have the mini aluminum lunchbox to prove it. i also was really into patterned tights. ah, high school.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

none, though i am contemplating subscriptions to rowan, vogue knitting, and/or interweave knits.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

the latest rowan book, issue 38. adrienne vittadini fall 2004. noro knits fall 2004 by jane ellison. perhaps scarf style by interweave. i have a very distinctive taste in patterns... they have to be chic and different and daring.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another?

the astrid sweater off of glampyre knits! i am so in love with that, though i'm not sure when stefanie will have that available, but search for it in her blog for cute photos of it from every angle. orangina is also lovely. and can you believe i haven't purchased one-skein-wonder yet? i know, crazy.

so, there you have it, folks. if you need any clarification, or if you have any other questions for me, i'll be happy to answer. especially if you're wondering what you should order from a restaurant... i'm really good at that.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

a supersunny (and superloud... is everyone in this neighborhood doing some sort of renovation to their home?) saturday morning. i'm still trying to adjust to everything this week... new year, new students, new apartment, and NEWs.

as some of you know, my older sis and her two kids live in mandeville, located right above lake pontchartrain, which sits immediately north of new orleans. we couldn't have had the liu family reunion (i didn't go since i was in portland, but i heard i missed some seriously insane chinese food) at a better time, since they all were neatly in chicago with the rest of the relatives the exact same weekend that katrina struck the south. impossibly perfect timing. so right now my sister's family is still in chicago, and then they will head to the east to stay with my parents for an indeterminate amount of time, enough to assess what's happening with the situation down in louisiana and see if she may be able to fix and possibly sell her house, and find a job elsewhere. mandeville, since it's not located below sea level, is in better shape than the city below, but there's still definitely wind damage, uprooted trees, and no electricity and gas. sister reports that her neighborhood still isn't traversable by car; she'd have to find her house on foot.

knitters who want to help, each contribution to the red cross helps, and give a little features some donated knitting prizes to give you no excuse not to contribute to the cause.

i can't sell it any better than crazyauntpurl, so check out her post here, marvel at the kitties, and give what you can.

* * * * *

long overdue, but here are the goodies i got while in portland last week.

i first espied this book in the yarn garden, hesitated, and then realised it was irresistible and bought it at lint downtown a couple days later. with my sock fears dismissed (teeeeny needles! achoo!), i've been researching more into sock patterns and yarns, and have only found a handful that i particularly like. i am definitely pro-texture and pro-unique, and not really into the self-striping or self-patterning yarns--stockinette really bores me to tears. also, even if it's a crazy color, what's the point of knitting plain-jane stockinette socks if they look exactly like any pair you can buy at kmart? this is just my own thingy. call it masochistic if you will. :) anyway, i really love the sock patterns in this book because they're highly elaborate and definitely worthy of the time you put into them! i mean, check it out! they're beautiful. reminds me somewhat of ooh-la-la french-style stockings, in that ornate-on-your-toes sort of way.


last saturday, nick's parents took us to the oregon coast, starting at cannon beach and heading south to eat yum dinner in pacific city. i have several more photos, so email me if you'd like to see more, but the day was inbelievably clear, and the water as blue as can be. we went on a couple mini-hikes to view different angles of the ocean, and went up the small cape meares lighthouse to stick our noses against the fresnel lens. we also managed to visit the tillamook cheese factory, where we could watch the wonders of the industrial revolution spin and twirl before our eyes. endless blocks (not like a street-block, but almost) of yellow cheese and lots of fresh ice-cream at every turn. i must say that this destination is definitely not for the lactose-intolerant. luckily, i am a proud fromagophile. :)

anyway, back in cannon beach, one of those coastal towns filled with fudgeries, kite shops, and handmade jewelry, there happened to be a yarn store (as well as a quilting store) there also. well, there was no excuse not to go! i (plus niknak, heehee) stepped into siren song, and the place was superduper. cozy, yet somehow i managed to espy many yarns that i didn't recognise, either from local spinneries or esoteric european yarns. there's also a section for needlepoint and embroidery on the other side of the store. i figured sock yarn was a good souvenir buy, since i don't have to have a specific pattern in mind, and i don't have to worry about finding an additional skein in case i don't buy enough! they carried some german self-patterning yarns, which i poo-pooed (i'm probably the only one who does), but they did carry this awesome yarn from blue moon fiber arts that's based in oregon. beautiful handpainted stuff that fulfilled my obsession with supersaturated colors (maybe that's another reason why i shy away from the european sock yarns). although the blue moon website is pretty minimal, you can see some of the yarn colors here. i snagged the 'farmhouse' colorway, and it's apparently named after the 'farmhouse knit shop' in beaverton, oregon. how awesomely regional is that! everytime i would wear the socks, i'd think back at oregon's natural beauty. so perfect.

remember that little red sock from before? i managed to finish all the way through the heel flap on the cross-country flight back home, so i'm approximately 75% through this complete pair! i know i'm almost at completion, i can taste it...

the colors are all messed up here... the yarn is primarily red with some black and blue tossed in there, but chalk it up to a photograph taken in partial streaming sunlight and a canon digital elph. so there.

[cue the casting-on of another project. in knitpicks merino. in the round. using a motif from loop-d-loop. i am so so so attention-deficit on the needles! ha ha]

so yes, my other passion, music. remember that interview i had with morgan packard a couple weeks ago? when i spotted this cd, ezekiel honig's people places & things, for sale (used) at jackpot records (about a block from the powell's bookstore), i had to snag it. it definitely provided an appropriate soundtrack for the occasional times we drove into the city, with portland's industrial roots showing beneath the hem of its skirt, and the indie kids tearing it up next to the guy with the beard. i really like the stuff on the microcosm label, since the non-organic organics of the rhythm and sound seriously sinks into your psyche, and makes you believe you're really listening to a city's breath, its sleeping patterns, its people running, its soul.

last night (okay, revert mind back to boston) a bunch of us went to the devanaughn theatre, which is technically in roxbury, to witness the 'camp electronica' project. (let us not mention how it took forever and a half to wait for the #1 bus at MIT, rendering us late for the performance and basically missing everything except the last ten minutes. fie on you, mbta!!!) so camp electronica are these two guys who are former rhythm section members of blue man group, that cerulean show that's distinctly boston. anyway, they decided to learn how to compose and perform using laptops (reason, live, reaktor) and analog synths over the course of this summer. hence, the camp. first off, i must say that the dev theatre is an awesome space. it's at the back of the piano factory, and is well-hidden, but features a small, intimate black box theatre in an effective industrialish warehouse setting. the crowd last night was older and stranger than i would have expected, but the performers werent exactly kid606 either. we got to see a moog voyager in the flesh, and some kashi breakfast bars as well, but the compositions weren't particularly inspiring. if i closed my eyes, it really did sound like guys running samples hither and thither, without much synthesis (in the figurative sense). however, the mature musicianship was appreciated, and it was incredible to actually be able to see what's going on their laptop screens during the show (reason, it turns out). that was redeeming. though, i couldn't quite shake this sort of sounds like yanni throughout the end of the set. my favorite was this japanese folk song, but they ruined it by calling it a folk song. throughout the entire performance i was waiting for some sort of melodic hook, or a japanese tone structure, but the piece was a mellow, ambient, awash-in-texture composition. not congruous with established mental model; titles matter. i think i would have liked it supremely better if it were called 'japanese seascape' or something similar. quelle domage.

happy long weekend, everyone. listen to wmbr. eat barbeque chicken. go surfing. sunny climes won't be here forever, so go out and enjoy it!