Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Look at what I did...

...OK, this is not going to be so impressive to certain graphic artists among us. But during our statewide meetings this week we had a little hands on iMovie 8 seminar. I created this.

These are photos taken at the PA Grand Canyon and the environs of Wellsboro, PA. The water you see is Pine Creek a kick ass trout fishing stream. Wellsboro is noted for being a dark circle on a satellite map. There is limited cell service and only small town type businesses. Think Deliverance. We love the area though. The rock pyramids on the bank of the creek are a mystery, but we found odd rock formations all the way down the trail we took to the creek. It was rather mysterious. It was my first attempt at creating a video since, well, a lifetime ago. This was way easy, but I can see it can turn into a time sink.

And the knitting elves are back! Last weekend I completed these.

Monkeys in Socks That Rock "Stormy Weather". Storm something anyway. But look at the heel. This is an Eye of Partridge heel. Look at the difference between the leg of the sock, and the heel and gusset.

Weird huh? The colorway knits up completely differently in the heel and gusset.

I also finished a "waiting to be felted" hat. I was going to put beads in it, but I got too lazy and didn't bother to dig through my stash to find beads that fit on the yarn (worsted weight wool). No time this week for a work-in-progress photo shoot. I'll just have to wait until this weekend when I hope I'll have time to felt it.

I've moved on to a pair of Embossed Leaves socks, in Socks That Rock lightweight, Cobble Creek. Notice a pattern here. I do love me STR, but I also have some Dream In Color Smooshy which will have to wait until I'm done with my Christmas knitting to use it. I've realized that I have been knitting tons of socks, but for other people. I need more hand knit socks.

Anyway, have a great Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to sleeping.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is so accurate.....

.... it's incredibly spooky. Ok, maybe the "balanced" part is off....

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

6 Impressionist, -4 Islamic, -9 Ukiyo-e, -8 Cubist, -6 Abstract and -8 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People that like Impressionist paintings may not always be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without always worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but because they also value honesty tend to have a few really good friends. They do not, however, like people that are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the impresssionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their live they will be more than likely pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Last time's the charm....

I know yunz (that's Pittsburghese in case it's unfamiliar) are wondering why I just didn't let go of this media research stuff. Well, here in academia you can count on a couple (OK,more than a couple) things: 1) political correctness rules; 2) the only diversity that is enthusiastically embraced is that of the rest of the "community"; 3) it is a mortal sin to admit to getting your news anywhere besides NPR/PBS; 4) the only print media worth reading is the NY Times. If you admit to watching Fox News, in particular, you may get your parking pass taken away, and they won't sell you coffee at Saints (local, excellent coffee shop) anymore. The "community" firmly believes there is little (they admit to a little) bias in the media as a whole. (An aside: I don't eschew NPR/PBS, or print media. I DO NOT read the NY Times as a rule, and I don't JUST get my news from Fox. There are too many accessible sources on the internet to only read one point of view.)

So, now, here are studies, (though NPR/PBS wasn't included I grant you), that simply decimates that thinking. And from a source that these people think is second only to ...well...Barack Obama. And because of the source it gives me the opportunity, the next time someone says, "I only listen to NPR, I certainly won't listen to Fox", for me to reply, "According to Pew research, during the last election, Fox had the most balanced and unbiased coverage. You probably didn't have all the information." The according to Pew Research are magic words in these here parts.

So that my friends is my story and I'm stickin' too it. And Bezzie, I don't think it is petty at all.

Now for the important stuff.


Dear Knitting Elves,

Why have you deserted me? I scaled my Christmas knitting way back I decided on 3 pair of socks, and one felted hat (and a beaded ornament, but that's not knitting). The cats will have to survive with purchased gifts. Yet, I am not finished with the first pair of socks. How can this be. Last year, I pelted through socks (1), scarves (2), hats (2), AND a kitty tunnel. I am still waiting for a zipper from zipperstop for my Ribby Cardi (they are trying to match my yarn), and I have a Lace Ribbon Scarf in Koigu on my needles, just languishing. Yet, I have hardly knit at all this week, and not because I don't want to.

I beg you!! Come back! I'll leave out cookies, filet, champagne, anything!!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Somebody stop me....

...before I hurt myself.

This has just come out, from, again, the venerable Pew Research Center.

Bill O'Reilly is both the most and least liked journalist. In my book that means he's doing something right. However, if you read more closely, you will see this

At the top of the Democrats’ list is Keith Olbermann of MSNBC (6% of Democrats named Olbermann).

Olbermann is their "most liked" journalist (and I use the term loosely) I've not heard him recently, but remember him from ESPN. Major ass.

and this

Among those who name the Fox News Channel as their main source for campaign news, 52% are Republicans and only 17% are Democrats. By contrast, among those who rely on MSNBC for their campaign news, 50% are Democrats and only 11% are Republicans. Similarly, CNN’s campaign news audience is largely Democratic – 45% are Democrats and 13% are Republicans.

from here

Ok, absorbed all of that? Now go to the research below, and just look at the graph (read the research findings too if you can stand it), which is ...umm....telling for want of any other terminology. Here's a hint, compare the coverage of the two candidates between the two networks.

What do you notice about the coverage between where most Republicans get their news and where Democrats get theirs? Kool aid anyone?

FYI: Pew is a highly respected non-partisian research institute. Pew funds research at all our major educational institutions. A Pew grant almost assures tenure (just in case you're wondering).

And I like to directly source my data, something MSNBC, and many of the other news outlets, do not do on a regular basis.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some things I think, I think....

1) I was getting mail out of my box, and another resident of the townhouses, stopped me and said "Is that a Kate Gilbert scarf?" I was wearing my clapotis. It was draped over my shoulders, not spread out. I have no idea how she recognized it. It turns out she attended a knitting group in Paris that Kate belonged to. She, herself, is not a knitter, but a good friend of hers is. We briefly discussed the dazzling nature of Kate Gibert's pattern. But I was tickled that someone actually recognized it.

2) In my last post I quoted an Ann Coulter (heaven help me) piece. In a Sunday (11-9) paper (not local) her article appeared. This is how that passage looked:

This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. Question: What exactly would one have to say to alienate Pennsylvanians? That Joe Paterno should retire?

See what's missing? Check the previous posting. I don't know if I am outraged or entertained by the [PC]omission.

3) That extremists who are interested in hurting this country could care less about the political setting. Just look at the acts of terrorism beginning in the 70s, and then who was president, or what party was in power. Yeah, it's a little bit of what, suck it up. (You can start with the Iranian hostage crisis, and move on to the bombing of the Beruit barracks.)

4) A few months ago I ran into a fellow I used to work with. He was freshly back from a 5 month tour in Iraq. I hugged him and told him how happy I was to see him looking so well. We chatted for a few moments and I asked what his assessment of the situation was. (I always like to defer to people who are/were involved in any event.) He said that we, here, are clueless because our media is not being honest with us. The situation is improving daily, and he has hopes that we'll be able to bring most of our forces back soon. But...he cautioned we have to be careful, with "that nut" sitting just across the border. It was as honest a reflection as I've ever heard.

5) When this gentleman was shipping out we had a good-by party for him, and I spoke to his wife for a few moments. I asked her how she was "holding up" - trying to be empathic and all. She looked me dead in the eye and said, "Geeze I'm fine. Of course, I'm praying he'll be OK, and come home promptly, but I have no sympathy for these whiney wives. If you marry a man, and he's wearing a uniform at the wedding, you'd better expect that he'll be shipped out into danger one of these days." So there! I guess she told me.

6) From, Deborah Howell, the ombudsman (ombudswoman?) of the Washington Post, the entire article appeared on the Op/Ed page on 11/9. (Emphasis mine.)

An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage

The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement. The Post has several conservative columnists, but not all were gung-ho about McCain.

Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.

The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.

The article also goes on to discuss their lack of attention to Rezko and other issues, and the soft scrutiny Obama was given.

Seriously, go take a look. Use if you don't want to register.

Nice of you now, Washington Post, to do a chest beating mea culpa, after the damage [to the fourth estate] is done. Wasn't ANYONE paying attention for the past 18 months? No we don't forgive and no, those of us who have not been sipping kool aid, won't forget. You, along with others, do not deserve fourth amendment protection.

7) Ol' Deborah refers to this research article from the Pew Research Center. If anyone pooh poohs the "slanted media" accusation again, please refer them to this. Especially if reporters crying as they give their reports isn't enough. There is a huge difference between an op/ed page and news, and this bias was/is evident in the news pages. We STILL don't know anything beyond the obvious about this soon to be president, because news journalists let their bias rule their stories. This is not about a better v worse candidate, a better v worse campaign, this is about information left unexplored because of an agenda.

8) I am beginning to sound like a raving right-wing loon. This bothers me. My voting record, with regard to party, like my knitting, is rather spotty. I've only ever voted for one party for president twice in a row (and it may have been a mistake). That being said, I have been appalled at what has been going on in the media, at rallies, on the internet, and in classrooms. The fact that we now have a president-elect who can count the number of DAYS he has spent as a Senator is pretty scary to me. And all because many, many people don't want to really assess issues, ask hard questions and demand answers. Instead they launch ad hominem attacks (e.g., Caribou Barbie, etc.), get news from the Daily Show, and make assumptions ("support the troops, bring them home) without ever asking the players. Maybe the ultimate decision would have been the same, however,I have no confidence that this one was made by an generally informed electorate. It was an electorate who just wanted to get rid of George Bush.

9) And finally, I am now addicted to Korean Tea in a jar. I am trying to cut down on some caffeine, though I don't drink a lot of it, caffeine is a "trigger" for hot flashes, and this is a nice substitute. My current favorite is Citron, but Pomegranate is pretty good too.

10) Thanks to all the veterans, and those currently serving, who have responded, regardless of their own politics, when their country called. In my world, that's my dearest husband (Vietnam), my father (WWII), my father-in-law (WWII), my maternal grandfather (WWI)- who refused to fight for the Russian army (in Poland) because they wanted him to bring his own horse, he immigrated to the US and fought in the United States Army. No horse required apparently. I am very lucky because they all returned whole and safe. Thanks to Rick for accepting the posting to Iraq, even though he didn't have to, to Ted of Drive By Thinking (come back safely), and thanks to all those who sacrificed their lives. You (and your families) are all heroes in my book.

Edited to add (1:30 pm EST):

This must be my week for standing in the cold for my "country".

I attended a Veteran's Day ceremony with my husband. These ceremonies are put together by the student veterans group here at Penn State. The length and type of ceremony varies from year to year, but this time, they outdid themselves. From the bagpiper who piped the colors into position, to their speakers, to the 21 gun salute (that the university had to warn the community at large was going to happen so no one got "excited". We did have a sniper on campus once with lethal results.) The speakers though, really got me.

John Magill Jr. served three years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in the 17th Airborne Division during World War II. His unit received the Presidential Unit Citation for its jump into Germany behind enemy lines. Magill was awarded the Purple Heart with two clusters, three bronze battle stars, and a Bronze Star for his actions in Operation Varsity, and in 2002, Magill was inducted into the Legion of Honor-The Chapel of Four Chaplains. He is a Penn State alumnus.

Joining him is Lt. Col. Douglas A. Etter, the executive officer in Pennsylvania's Office of Veterans Affairs. Etter functions as the chief of staff for the deputy adjutant general-Veterans Affairs, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He is responsible for the oversight of Pennsylvania's six veterans homes and all of the state's veterans programs. Etter is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom for which he was awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star Medal.

Mr. Magill actually broke up several times while describing his final jump in Operation Varsity, and how we are losing the last of our WWII veterans. It brought tears to my eyes, and made me wonder, how people who just denigrate our military can just ignore heroes like him. Lt. Colonel Etter, spent 18 months in the Iraq theater, and described the ultimate sacrifice of too many of his troops.

OK, then the piper, a woman BTW, played Amazing Grace, my father's favorite hymn, and that was all she wrote for me. I just don't understand how anyone can fail to understand that these people have a higher set of ideals than the rest of us. This is a personal decision and a calling.

By now, I realized my feet might not be connected to my body anymore (thank goodness for hand knit socks and for Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate).

Friday, November 07, 2008

You know the world has spun off it's axis

...when I agree with Ann Coulter. I admit, sometimes her snarky writing gives me a giggle. But in the same way you can't help looking at a drunk student in a Batgirl suit. (Yeah, I saw this and it was in September, not Halloween.) But this week she writes this:

This was such an enormous Democratic year that even John Murtha won his congressional seat in Pennsylvania after calling his constituents racists. It turns out they're not racists -- they're retards. Question: What exactly would one have to say to alienate Pennsylvanians? That Joe Paterno should retire?

See what I mean about a car wreck. Only I wish it weren't true. I am completely baffled by the good folks in Altoona, Somerset, Johnstown and points west, among whom I have some respected friends and associates, and this isn't the first time I've wondered. What the hell were you people thinking? Are the earmarks worth being called racist and redneck by your own Congressman? Apparently.

And the answer to the last question is yes. That might do it. Not in our house, but elsewhere.

I swore that I was not going to fash any more and go back to knitting. But this was too good to pass up.

Oh yeah....and she ended with this.....

For now, we have a new president-elect. In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, we owe it to the Democrats to show their president the exact same kind of respect and loyalty that they have shown our recent Republican president.

Is this what they mean by poetic justice?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The end is in sight.....

Well, it wasn't this morning. I walked to my polling place (it is less than a block from the house), and the line had about 50 people in it. They were standing all the way back to the picnic pavilion. My polling location is the local Knights of Columbus (a Catholic service organization, they do bingo and lots of picnics). This is PA, and it's chilly in the morning. So my hands would have been too cold to knit as I stood in line. We're expecting the low 60s today, so I'll go back during the day.

None the less, while I'm extremely concerned about a BO presidency, I am floored by the behavior of our fourth estate and that concerns me more than anything. If things keep going the way the election coverage has been handled (e.g., Chis Matthews and "Softball" etc.) who is going to be "watchdog". We don't need a press smiling benevolently at everything a new president (of either flavor) does. We need a press that is going to ask the questions we would ask, without reservation. Anyone else have no hope for that?

And finally, thank you Governor Palin! You performed the ultimate service for all women in this country, though some won't think so. You "outed" the feminists. I cut my teeth on the feminist movement in the mid-70s, but somewhere in the late 80s I began to realize that what I had thought and learned as feminism (equal pay, the right to choose ...everything, standing up for ones self, etc.) was way out of the feminist mainstream. Instead, feminism was blaming everything on discrimination, whether it was or not, not the right to choose-but the absolute necessity of abortion, the right NOT to be a stay-at-home mom (and heaven help those that chose this option), and the right NOT to disagree with any of these tenents. In other words, it wasn't about rights at all, it was about being a victim. It wasn't about having freedom, it was about a new kind of cage. But like many women of my generation, I went about my business, stepped on the toes that needed stepping on, and didn't worry about the rest. Apparently, Governor Palin, thought the same thing. So what if I have 4 (and one on the way) kids why can't I be governor....why not indeed?

So when she was picked as the VP choice and the Sally Quinns and the Gloria Steinems, as just two examples, hauled themselves out of their cauldrons, and began the barrage of criticism, they let the cat out of the bag. Rather than embracing this a different model of feminism, they disparaged it. Rather than celebrating diversity, they dumped on it. This woman has a husband who handles housework and childcare, he supports his wife, the uh, GOVERNOR of Alaska (a little more responsibility, then a journalist and a editor, don't you think?), and because she chose to give birth to a 5th child, knowing he would have challenges, is a religious person, and has values that conflict with their antiquated philosophies, they attacked. And they attacked in the very same way that they were critical of way back. They attacked her fitness as a MOTHER. For cripes sake--when I interview someone for a position, I can't even ask if they are married (male or female) because the Sallys and Glorias determined that that was a discriminatory question! The response of these whiners was more illustrative than any writing I could have done. I can't give credit for this, but the best quote I read during this election was "Tolerance ends, where diversity begins." This seems like it should be the new liberal mantra.

To all the Sallys and Glorias, we're here, we're not whiney, and we're happier and more satisfied than YOU. And if we're not, we take responsibility for our own lives. Get used to it.

And just for fun, I thought I'd show you a deep dark knitting secret. I hate the idea of hauling charts and instructions around. So instead of trying to follow a chart, and keeping track with post-its and highlighters, for every pattern I knit here's what I do:

This is a monkey sock, but that little ring of colored index cards there-that's the pattern. I simply write one row of the pattern on each card, punch a hole in the corner, and slide a ring through it. As I go through the pattern I flip a card. The card on top is my place in the pattern. I never have my cards flip around, and it is quick, easy and portable, for someone who is not very careful transporting knitting. Also you can put something down for a long period of time, and go right back to it without post-it notes, or pencil marks or whatever. Easy peasy.

Want a closer look?

The only down side is when you have very LOOOONG patterns--way too much writing. But the up front work is worth it.

Edited to add (2:00 pm EST):

I stood in line, in 54 degree chill, for nearly two hours to vote. Why? Because the Knights have TWO precincts in their hall. Precinct A has all the apartments housing the students in our neighborhood. Precinct B has residents. Guess where we fall? Yup, you got it, precinct A. The precinct B had NO LINE AT ALL! Yes, read that again. NO LINE. To add insult to injury, there were annoying helpful poll workers (outside) asking you to check your precinct to make sure you're in the correct line, and they are all wearing and handing out Obama stickers. Nice huh? The inside folk, can't show their political affiliations. Then there is the "cheerleader". An idiot excitable woman, probably a student, who kept walking up and down the line, asking if people wanted coffee or water, and literally screaming "Aren't we EXCITED? We're VOTING! Wooo hoo!" I was knitting a sock, but she never came near enough to me for me to stab her with my #1 needles. What I wanted to yell was...where the hell were you people two years ago when we elected a governor and a senator. And NO, "we're" not excited. My husband participated in a miserable war 30 odd years ago, and we exercise this right yearly. It's not excitement. It's a duty, and an honor, and if you've been 18 for any length of time, and this is the first time you're voting, then you should be ashamed not excited! So if all the twenty-somethings who were in line around me, were "excited" to vote, then I have grave doubts that they were even informed.

To make myself feel better, I took a few MORE minutes away from the office, and went to my LYS and vented to Cynthia, the owner, and squeezed the Ella Rae laceweight, and bought some Lamb's Pride to felt a hat for my sister for Christmas.

I have to admit Ted of the "Drive By Thinking" blog comments is probably right. These people are going to get what they think they want, and we're going to be magically transported back to the 70's. By then they'll be working and trying to get established, and damn, those payroll taxes are gonna be killer, and geeze, why are all the goods and services going up (to make up for the higher taxes they'll be paying out). Oh yeah, and then there's the thing where the people with money, who understood this to begin with.......they don't wail about moving to Timbuktu because we have a liberal president. They'll simple protect their assets, take their investments out of the market, and jobs will dry up. (Anybody remember Herbert Hoover?) They'll show up again when they aren't penalized for making sound financial decisions. Some people never learn.