Well. That was a Week That Was and Doesn't Have to Again.

Blog pix 035 Now THIS is a tree.

I'm bummed at mortality. Two good men are gone from the earth this last week and it's just so wrong.

C-Span is airing their Library of Congress special tonight at 8pm.

Elizabeth I is done to the neck shaping thanks to nine hours of continuing ed last week.

(That's a Ravelry link to the main pattern and not mine, as mine isn't even using the same yarn. You'll be shocked to learn I'd changed my mind, frogged her and started over). (The Ravelry link is to a Slate article about Ravelry. Rav rulz)

I finally slogged through Aldous Huxley's pretentious drug trip tome, The Doors of Perception. Other than inspiring a great band name, what a snooze. I suppose it was more exciting in 1956 but he's prattling on about vision quests and psychological breakthroughs and I'm picturing meth kids.

 

 


WIP Wednesday - wait, what?

It doesn't feel like a Wednesday. Possibly since it's Thursday. But it doesn't feel like Thursday either. It feels like next Monday. Why do short weeks seem so very, very long?

Blog pix 046 In the spirit of WIP Wednesday, and, to a lesser extent, rummaging for something I felt like knitting, I took a fearless and searching inventory of my WIPs.

Ahem. I started to. 

< - - - See that? There are at least three charts with highlights.

I do not want to "read" my knitting. I want to knit.

Maybe I should mark where I've STOPPED rather than where I STARTED.

Has anyone read any Alain De Botton? (Have I asked that already? He's my new litcrush). I'm rapidly aquiring all his books, the latest, How Proust Can Change Your Life. (That's a New York Times review that won't pop up in a link but can be Googled).   By george, I think Proust might. If, mind you, I actually read Proust.

(My other litcrush, Simon Von Booy has a new book out this week, Everything Beautiful Began After. He is the most lyrical writer.)

Uh oh.  Hez is inside.
I am out. 
Blog pix 047
Clearly I'm going to have to take Aldous Huxley's pretentious drug trip saga inside and.....watch TV.
 
 Hurray for Summer! I wasn't even planning on watching Necessary Roughness, the new USA series. Football? Even peripherally? But
Callie Thorne is a likeable, believable, semi-bitchy competent psychiatrist who lands a pro football player as a client during a messy divorce.
Besides. Marc Blucas (Buffy's old flame). Scott Cohen. 'Nuff said.
Switched At Birth (Monday 9pm ABC Family) has an interesting premise.

Blog pix 019 The child that they raised IS their child. Just one that they, horrifyingly, somehow have to share, and the have just met their own child on the verge of adulthood. Just thinking about it makes me slighly teary.

It has the obligatory opposites, wrong side/right side of the tracks, married vs single, recovering alcoholic vs socialite, deaf vs hearing but it's all so seamlessly woven. Lea Thompson and Constance Marie play the mothers.
 


August & September Books Read

Blog pix 1749 Back in the beginning of August I picked up God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicholson.

I like it.

It's pretty fascinating. The various knaves, the holier than thou types and the how-on-earth-did-they-get-that-gig? men that were responsible for what might very well be the only well written-by-committee work in existence. The contemporary background (Guy Fawkes figures prominently - evidently King James took it very, very personally that they tried to blow him up) and the fallout from that event are fascinating.

I just can't seem to read more than 10 pages at a time. I'm still only halfway through.

Poor Josephine: A Biography by Andre Castelot started back on...July something. I returned it to the library.

What did I read, you ask? (Huh. You're not asking? I'm telling anyway. So there.)

The Book of Spies by Gayle Lind. A book historian and restorer claims that she wasn't driving in the accident that killed her husband but all the evidence points to it. A man confides in his college friend that he thinks money is being diverted from a bank account to terrorists. The Book of Spies, a book from the legendary Library of Gold is donated by an anonymous donor and displayed at the British Museum. Is there a global conspiracy behind all this? Is the legendary Library of Gold true? If you need to ask, you're in the wrong genre. A pretty good gripping yarn but if you have to put it down, use a bookmark. I managed to miss the first encounter with the assassin, The Carnivore, and the man is practically the moral compass of the book. 

RomeoAndJuliet18 Rue and Rosemary by Seanan McGuire. A half fae/half human changeling, Toby Daye (October) lives in San Francisco, and is not only a PI but a knight of Sebastian of Pleasant Hill. I mean Shadowed Hills. (I love that it's local to me). This is big stuff for a changeling. (Being a knight, not necessarily living near me, although you can understand her excitement. If she knew). A pureblood friend of her mother's is brutally murdered and in true fae/wizard fashion, Evening Winterrose curses Toby to find her killer. I don't think Toby would let it go, with or without the curse. A cast of characters that includes Tybalt, King of the Cats (who IMO looks and sounds like Michael York circa Romeo & Juliet, 1968), a teenage changeling that hero worships her, and a water-hag help Toby in her quest. (Did I mention that she spent 14 years as a fish in the Japanese Tea Gardens?)

Let's see. I was trading genres back and forth. Spy, Urban Fantasy, Spy.

The Enemy by Lee Child, the 8th outing of Jack Reacher. Jack is still in the Army (and probably has been up to this point - I think I'm reading them both randomly and backwards). A Colonel dies in a pay per hour cheap hotel on New Year's Eve and naturally the military wants to keep in on the downlow. Unfortunately his widow is also killed that night, the hooker is nowhere to be found, there's a suspicious worldwide shuffling of CO's on various bases and Jack Reacher is curious. Curious at first, then cornered by bureaucracy, Reacher shows why red tape and paperwork is not match for on hands on skill. Walt Kelly's Pogo came up with the title. 

Hmmm. Spy, Urban Fantasy, Spy, Urban Fantasy.... 

Blog pix 1728 A Local Habitation (Seanan McMguire), Book 2 of October Daye. This time Toby's liege lord sends her to Fremont. No, she wasn't in trouble. (Although considering that she was on the case of locating his wife & daughter when she was turned into a fish and consequently his daughter was magically tormented and is now psychotic more or less........I'm not sure why he lets her live much less still love and trust her. The Fae. Their ways are mysterious.) But no, he sends her off to Fremont to check on another family member of his, his niece, January Torquill, Countess of Tamed Lightening who runs a computer company that's a Changeling think tank.Other than Toby being unbelievably obtuse at times, it was a pretty decent second outing. It helped that I liked April, the former Dryad housed in the machine and Quentin, the pureblood Fae fostered w/Sebastian that plays her loyal sidekick. More or less. 

I hope this is the last we've seen of Dare unless she finally realizes that Toby is a terrible hero. Toby seems to, but figuring eh, maybe you can save the next one, is not exactly my ideal.

Spike, her rose-goblin-cat.

Seanan has a very helpful pronunciation guide of the Fae at the beginning of the books but it'd be nicer if she gave a brief definition as well. If the singular and plural versions are identical, I wouldn't bother to list them. 

One Shot by Lee Child - I like the premise in this outing - a sniper kills four people in an area the city is trying to renovate and upgrade. At first the case seems insolvable but the culprit is quickly identified and arrested. Jack Reacher hears of the crime and sets out to the scene, luckily for the defense who are completely unable to locate him. But is it luck? A seasoned District Attorney is pitted against his daughter in one of her first cases. A loving and supportive sister is forced to confront the reality of her brother. And Jack? Is on the side of truth and justice, as usual, Reacher style.

Blog pix 1667 Persuader by Lee Child. A mistake in Jack's past chances into his path and the con is on. The DEA has muffed an arrest so badly that they're not only off the books but one of their agents has gone missing. Jack has reasons of his own to aid them but is the mountainous steroid bundle Paulie finally too much for even Jack? (Hint: not the last Reacher novel). The book was gripping as usual, I love the twists Child comes up with but I was really hooked by the twisted Beck family dynamics in this one.

The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman. Oh, I liked this. Iris is now a 40-something NYC urban dweller, even if she grew up as a hotel brat in the Catskills in the hotel her parents managed. She has all but the ring (she's been seeing Jack for the last for ten years, Wednesdays through Saturday, a tragically scheduled romance, if you ask me),she's ABD, (all but dissertation) and the story unfolds with an assignment about fairy tales that she gives to two of her disparate classes, one for prisoners and another in the City College.

Her mother had published two out of three books about a Selkie's daughter. I admit, I was half expecting her mother to have actually turned into a seal and returned to the sea but no, the novel isn't urban fantasy but nearly as satisfying, following a 16th Century saint's necklace, her mother's mysterious past and death, obsession and love. All in all, a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.   

Blog pix 1083 A Nameless Witch by A Lee Martinez. The horror, a witch cursed with bewitching beauty and a White Knight with a pure heart forced to battle together. A cute enough story. Her demon duck sidekick was my favorite.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. The 13th outing of Lee Child. This time Jack Reacher is minding his own business riding the New York Subway late at night. What are the odds that he'd run across a desperate mother with ties to state secrets and war criminals? Hmmm. 

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman. Separated, with her husband being difficult about her young daughter, a Latin teacher accepts a job at her old college by Heart Lake. Secrets and a long ago pact threaten her future. Carol Goodman weaves Jane's past as a college student and her present as a teacher with great effect. I love how she mirrored the past and present and unveils the many, many secrets. Jane might be the narrator of the story but she's not the one who drove the plot.

Blog pix 1722 Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen by Anna Whitlock. Serviceable enough. A nice introduction to Mary Tudor, Elizabeth's big sister.

The History of Civilization Volume 1 by Crane Brinton. I picked this up for a little background for the 1500's but ended up reading most of it. It's been a long time since I've read anything about the Romans and the Greeks that didn't involve England or the Huns. Pretty fascinating. A little jarring to see some of the biases from 1960 when it was clear from the text that they went to great lengths to be nondiscriminatory. Signs of their times. 

Die Trying by Lee Child - remind me never to wander the woods in Montana. Holly Johnson, FBI wunderkind, is kidnapped by a charismatic nutcase and Jack goes along for the ride. I appreciated that Lee Child gave Holly a bad knee/ankle/something to explain why she couldn't just take care of the lot herself, which she darn near did anyway.

Started: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Too soon to tell but I am already in love with her sentences. Example: The mission to Rakhat was undertaken not so much secretly as privately - a fine distinction but one that the Society felt no compulsion to explain or justify when the news broke several years later.

Knitting: started Chart C on Elizabeth I. Am fooling with the cross & crown pictured to make it a felted embellished patch on a bookbag for my mother. NOT THE FINISHED PRODUCT. Not even close. The stack on the patio table is the Tailored Jacket - I didn't realize how close I was to finishing it. If I get a few minutes to take a look at it this weekend, I think I'm going to seam up the sides & shoulders and start the sleeves. 

Tattoo of Mary Wollstonecraft by Sarah Schor.



First I'm Obsessed with Poetry and now Television. Where will it end?

Nowhere good, no doubt.

What to Watch This Week:

Monday

  • Dancing With the Stars. ABC 8pm. I am weirdly fond of Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino from Jersey Shore. It probably helps that I've never seen it. I think Margaret Cho has the capacity to do really well, if she stops sabotaging herself. I was right! I was right! The Hoff went first!
  • Hawaii Five-O CBS 10pm On the high end of violent but the best bromances are. I liked the banter between McGarrett and Danno. A little too twee explanation for "Danno" but acceptable. Daniel Dae Kim rounds out the cast perfectly.
  • Watch later: House, Chuck, Castle. 

Tuesday:

  • NCIS CBS 8pm. The pilot was a little flat - the team had been split up? Again? I didn't follow the recap but then again, I haven't seen the finale since it aired. I was just happy that Jethro took after his father.
  • NCIS: LA 9pm. Deeks is back! He adds a nice bit of life to the show - Sam and G needed a little brother to gibe them and he works really well with Kensi.
  • . Detroit 1-8-7 ABC 10pm My parents are from Detroit (as in, Detroit was the nearest big city), my dad worked Homicide so it was a natural. Not bad. Great cast, great quirky characters without being cartoonish but still slightly over the top. At the end of the first day? Really?
  • Watch later: Dancing With the Stars Results show, Stargate Universe, Sons of Anarchy, The Good Wife.

Wednesday

  • Law & Order:LA NBC 10pm. Premiere. I wonder if Dick Wolf and Sam Waterston are gnashing their teeth over this timeslot? But Skeet Ulrich, late of the late, lamented Jericho is in it, so I have to give it a shot.
  • Also on: Undercovers, Criminal Minds, Terriers. I spaced Undercovers last week, did anyone catch it? I have yet to actually record/watch Terriers but it looks cute. It also looks like the ratings are tanking so if it's any good, watch it now.

Thursday

  • The Big Bang Theory CBS 8pm. Sheldon dating. The earth is spinning on its axis. (huh).
  • Fringe/ Fox & Nikita/ CW 9pm. I flipped back and forth between the two last week and they were both confusing enough that I actually thought I was following the plotlines. We'll see.
  • The Mentalist CBS 10pm.
  • Watch later: Ace of Cakes Food Network 10pm, Project Runway Lifetime 9pm. 

Friday

  • CSI:NY CBS 9pm Sela Ward seems like a good fit with the team. If only she could move her forehead.
  • Supernatural CW 9pm. Wait, what? I think I've missed a few episodes. Or a season.
  • Watch later: Medium, Blue Bloods
Blog pix 1746I'm being viewed with deep suspicion, I have no idea why. She's the one laying on my knitting and my book.Of course, the word "bath" may have been bandied about.

KNITTING PROGRESS:

Up to the chart on the other side of Elizabeth. Woot!

Tailored Jacket pulled out of its bag and inspected - no elves completed any further work but then again, I'm practically done with it except the sleeves and collar.

Books Read:

Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard Queen by Anna Whitlock. A nice sturdy introduction to Mary,  daughter of Henry VIII and sister of Queen Elizabeth. Linda Porter's The First Queen of England: The Myth of Bloody Mary packs more research into her book and fleshes out Mary's life a bit more. Both are good reads. 

My fascination with Jack Reacher continues. I finally broke down and put Killing Floor on hold at the library, what the heck, might as well read where Lee Child started the series.



Uffish Thoughts

According to Carrol the term uffish suggested to him "a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish."

Huffish, eh? I like that. 

JABBERWOCKY

Lewis Carroll

(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.


"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
  The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
  The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
  He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
  He chortled in his joy.


`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,

  And the mome raths outgrabe.

Somehow, I suspect my knitting WIP's are outgrabe.

Blog pix 1596 

Here's Elizabeth I to date. Hmm. Black and white is not kind to my two gauges - one knit and one purl. I did try using two different sized needles but that's where the difference shows the most. Oh well. it'll either block out or not. It's pretty. 

I've got an insane intarsia project going - I figured no sense in knitting up a gauge swatch (which is possibly my usual supposition) since it's basically a big rectangle. I'd forgotten to take into account that patterns for cross stitch don't necessarily translate into patterns for knitting. I've reworked it a bit so that the sword point doesn't look like a giant blob (which you're not going to be able to judge for yourselves because my camera (read: iPhone) decided to die and I ripped & fixed it rather than wait and snap a pic for posterity.)

Other than that, all other projects are ongoing, the stash busting cardi, the tailored jacket, the scarves, the Veronica Lake shell, the keyhole shell, Lillian........huh. No wonder my WIP area looks like this:

Blog pix 1600

There's actually more, but it's too embarrassing.

I don't think I've done a book update in ages. I managed to read 59 library books last year and.......32 so far this year. It helps being broke.

Best books so far: The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L Carter. The novel is told from the point of view of the son of a judge who at one time, was a nominee to the Supreme Court, and at his father's death, become embroiled in what derailed his father and now threatens him.  More or less. Great suspense book and if you like politics, you should love this. 

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis. So that's how the economy collapsed.

Mary Stewart novels, Nine Coaches Waiting, The Ivy Tree, Madam Will You Talk? Moon-Spinners, The Gabriel Hounds. I hadn't read these in decades. The Moon Spinners title is based on an island myth about the phases of the moon - as a wannabe spinner, it was fun to read that the full moon glow was twirled onto a drop spindle causing it to wane then the spindle was plunged into the ocean where it  unraveled and filled the moon again. 

One thing that struck me is how dumbed down our vocabulary has gotten since these were published. 

And in the spirit of dumbing down everywhere, a few of my favorite summer shows: Too Hot In Cleveland (Wednesday night at 10pm on TV Land) with Betty White, Jane Leeves, Valerie Bertinelli and Wendy Malick. Fun. 

Warehouse 13 starts tonight at......9? 10? on Syfy. (Ridiculous name for a channel. And oddly enough, most of the shows I watched used to be on SciFi. This (and Eureka starting Friday) are the only two shows I watch on SyFy.).

Burn Notice on USA 9pm on Thursdays. I really like the addition of Coby Bell, I've missed him since Third Watch. Jason Wiles, aka Bosco of Third Watch is on Persons Unknown on Mondays NBC at 8pm now (and soon to be Saturdays) but that show is so convoluted and dull that if it wasn't for the cast, I wouldn't bother.


I Continue To Start And Never, Ever Finish

Stolen from limedragon:


You're The Guns of August!
by Barbara Tuchman
Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can diplomats."
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Hmm. That sounds sort of like me. Except for the interest in war, imperialism, militarism and interest in Europe. It is however, a great title. And calendar appropriate!

Blog_pix_596 Wow. In no way is that yarn that blindingly bright. It's a lovely muted red in Rowan Wool Cotton and the pattern is  Elizabeth I from Tudor Roses. (Golden Gate is on a time out.) I took it with me when I went with my mother for her temporal artery biopsy (she has, presumably, temporal arteritis) but because she's on Plavix for her stents last May, predisone for the temporal arteritis for the last 3 weeks and the surgeon didn't think the biopsy was all that conclusive to begin with, she didn't have the biopsy. I'm happy about that. I was worried, as I could clearly see when I got home and realized that my gauge tightened up considerably while we were in the waiting room. Hopefully it's not going to skew the piece because I am not reknitting it.

Yet.

btt button

There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?

Hmm. One of my girlfriends will read anything anyone gives her - she apologizes that it's fluff, but considering her life, she needs the fluff. My brother & sister in law probably read more than I do. My parents read (my dad has his books stashed in the medicine cabinet). I think most read at least one book last year, if not considerably more.

Look what I won from Bridget! Blog_pix_595