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.
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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!