21 December 2009

A post! With lists! The world is in shock.

I frequently get really excited about many things at once, and then time gets away from me. But chances are, you knew this about me already.

So far, my time in LVC has been spent becoming interested and/or involved in many things, and then having to make thoughtful decisions about how to spend my time. Here are some things I've become focused on during the last couple of months:
1. The local knitting/fiber communities. I attended YarnCon, and have spent many hours at Loopy Yarns. I'm learning more and more about the yarns and designers local to Chicago, too. I'm continuing to obsess over lace.

2. Music. Of course, I have no drum kit to bash around on. But I do have guitars around, and have been writing songs that sometimes don't sound like shit. I'm registered for a songwriting class in the new year that I'm really excited about. Perhaps you'll get more mp3 links someday.

3. Russian. I haven't spent a ton of time working on language skills, but I did find a Russian bookstore and a Georgian bakery. Talked a little. Bought some good music. Bought some bad music. Bought khachapuri. Psyched about almost all of it.

4. Walking instead of giving the CTA my money. It's really not that bad. I spend about 1-2 hours walking each day. I swear guys, Lincoln Square's not that far.

5. Choir. I've joined the Immanuel Church Choir. Singing in a choir feels good.

However, the list of things I'd like to spend more time with is much longer:
1. Reading. I've been reading Moscow to the End of the Line, which I was definitely supposed to read last spring in my Russian Drugs, Sex & Rock & Roll class. It's good. Getting back into the habit of reading for pleasure is hard. I tried Twilight, even. Got halfway through the first book. A self-indulgent author, poor characterization: it sucks.

2. Chess. Someday I will be able to hold my own against someone who isn't Russian. (Note: 'Someday' refers to the very distant future. Possibly decades.)

3. Playing guitar. Writing songs (focusing on the creative, ignoring the technical) is really all I've been doing.

4. Swing dancing. I've meant to go out a few times, but haven't actually done it yet. Also, contra dancing.

5. Playing mandolin. I played it at LVC orientation, and made everyone think I know what I'm doing. I'm totally a poser.

6. Crossword puzzles. The cruciverbalist in me is crying.

7. Local radio. Needs to be appreciated. There is some station that broadcasts in Russian sometimes. Have I listened to it? No.

8. Russian/Georgian cooking. Kapusta i khachapuri. Cooking in general. Granola will happen, one of these days.

9. Photography. I missed my chance to photograph fall leaves. I need to not let winter slip by undocumented.

10. Refining my thoughts on eating environmentally consciously. I'm trying to move beyond vegetarianism as a crutch. It gets back to the reading thing, mainly.

11. Everything on the first list, but more so.

And now for something completely unrelated: I've become noticeably less quiet and reserved in recent months. I used to be extraordinarily quiet and reclusive, but I'm speaking up a lot more, and enjoying the attention that comes with it. I mean, I'm wishing it could have happened about a year and half ago, but it's quite nice, all in all.

Look at that. I didn't even talk to you about knitting hardly at all. Be super impressed by my restraint.

13 October 2009

It ain't libel if it's true...

And yes, Novaya Gazeta was the paper Anna Politkovskaya worked for.


Tomorrow: the grandson of Adolf Hitler insists that Auschwitz was all Eichmann's idea.

"I Took the Walk!"

As part of their social activism, Hanson's been leading walks with fans before each show on their last two tours. They worked on much of their album The Walk in Africa, and became really motivated to contribute to the fight against AIDS. So people show up, walk a mile barefoot, and Hanson donates a dollar to one of five differently focused charities (providing people with shoes, general healthcare, clean water and schools for children, or AIDS medication for pregnant women).

So today, I took the Walk. It was pretty cool. Erin and I were a little late, but we caught the mass of people leaving the UIC quad.

We walked about half of the mile, and then stopped for a bit, while Taylor told us about the concept behind the Walk project, and how with over 30,000 people having taken the Walk, we're working on (the equivalent) a second lap around the world.

He speaks well, and looks quite comfortable with a megaphone. He'd make a good grassroots organizer (which, I guess, he kind of already is).

Then we finished our mile. Some of the time, I walked fairly close to (a few feet away from) Zac, and I got to hear him talk about how much fun he had playing with the guys from Cheap Trick, and how he hopes that after he and his brothers have been playing for as long as Carlos and Nielsen have, that they'll be that good. I love musician-talk, in general, but especially musicians talking about other musicians. He was also encouraging the fans around him to independently organize Walks in their communities.

They even treated us to an acoustic version of "Great Divide"!

The Walk was the perfect ending to my first experience of seeing Hanson live. The concert reminded me of how much I love music, and want it to be a part of my life, but the Walk allowed me to step back from the intensity of the concert, and refocus on the power of social justice. As I've said, Hanson's always been exactly where I needed them to be, and that proved even more true today.

11 October 2009

A Song to Sing

I don't know where to start. So much has been happening, and it makes me want to explode with joy.

So I guess I'll focus on one thing, and we'll start at the very beginning. Not Chicago, not knitting, not the MN Twins and how much I'm beginning to like laundromats. The beginning is music.

There was always music in my house growing up, but Hanson was the first band to whom I really became attached. It was frustrating, because while they were popular for a while, their success was followed by a whole string of boy bands, who somehow managed to convince the general populace that Hanson was a bunch of gay, talentless girls. Well, I heard such bullshit opinions constantly throughout fifth and sixth grade (from two different sets of best friends), and they eventually convinced me to hate Hanson for a while. However, by the release of Hanson's second album, This Time Around, they pulled me along musically, and I grew to love them again.

(Since then, everyone who disparages my musical taste can shut their piehole. I don't take it anymore. (So if you didn't get enough Hanson bashing out of your system 10 years ago, grow the hell up. They did.))

The remarkable thing about Hanson is that they have always been exactly where I needed them to be. This Time Around warmed me to a pop-rock sound I hadn't been completely ready for. And by the time they came out with the Walk, independent labels and social activism was right where I was at.

For some reason, I never made it to one of their shows until tonight. Tonight's been twelve years coming, and it was incredible.

Their set at the House of Blues was preceded by those of three bands: Sherwood, Steel Train and HelloGoodbye. Sherwood was neat. Their lead singer plays bass, which was unusually cool, and their keyboardist has figured out a way to play keys like a rock star. Steel Train was high-energy and fun (they covered Mamma Mia), and their lead singer has more energy than any frontman I've seen play, with the singular exception of that guy from The Legendary Shack Shakers. HelloGoodbye was chatty, but pretty cute, and there was a little mandolin and ukulele action going on.

Sherwood. You can barely see it, but that reddish figure in the middle by the keyboard is having a grand time.

Of course, Hanson played last (and Erin and I even made it on to the main floor for their set), and they played for a long time, about 18 or so songs. Highlights included "Worlds on Fire" (from the new EP, and their set opener), any of Isaac's guitar solos, "A Minute Without You", and "I Want You To Want Me", which was the encore that brought Bun E. Carlos and Rick Nielsen (of Cheap Trick) to the stage.

Left to right: Isaac, the bass player, Zac, and Taylor.

But really, whenever you have three people on stage that are clearly having so much fun, the entire show is memorable. (It was kind of like watching Kirby Puckett play baseball.) The whole thing makes me want to perform music and write songs, and learn to play drums. (It also makes me miss my electric guitar and bass.) These three have always been where I needed them, and they're still fulfilling that role: playing the hell out of their instruments, loving every minute of it, and reminding me of how powerful and joyous music can be.

We didn't participate in the Walk that happened this afternoon, but that was a result of confusion about the time. Fortunately, they're doing another show tomorrow, so I've got another chance at walking in the morning. Which means I should probably head to bed. (As if I can fall asleep after tonight!)

14 September 2009

Two portraits and a moment of joy.

Some friends on Ravelry decided to start a thread for people to post their favorite photos of themselves. A way for us to see everyone's beautiful faces. I've realized that some of my favorite photos of myself are only available through Facebook, so I thought I'd share them with you.

I mean, I kind of need a website to host the photos so I can link to them in the thread, but I really did want to share them with you.

This is the oldest one, taken in Chicago a couple of years ago.

And this, of course, is from an OB-52's show. As if the bouffant and teal shoulder-pad jacket weren't a dead giveaway.

And this is me with Anna, just after graduation.

Pretty soon, I'm going to get a bunch of photos from the Oberlin era in the mail and put them into photo albums. Remind me about it, and I'll share those with you in person some time.

08 September 2009

Putin = Sketchier than Bush/Cheney

An excerpt from this article, by journalist Scott Anderson, which appears in this month's GQ. But not on their website, and not in any of the copies of GQ that end up in Russia.

"One of the odder footnotes to the whole affair was a statement that Gennady Seleznyov, the Speaker of the Duma, had made on the floor of Parliament on the morning of September 13, 01999. I have just received a report, he had announced to legislators. An apartment building in the city of Volgodonsk was blown up last night.

While Seleznyov got the basics right - an apartment building had indeed just been blown up - he had the wrong city; the blast that morning had been at 6/3 Kashirskoye Highway in Moscow. Which put the Speaker in kind of an awkward spot when an apartment building in Volgodonsk was blown up three days later. At least one Duma member found that puzzling.

Mr. Speaker, please explain, he had asked Seleznyov on the Parliament floor, how come you told us on Monday about the blast that occurred on Thursday?"

03 September 2009

New City, New Friends, New Song

I could have told you about two years ago that Chicago was pretty great. But now, I have more evidence.

As many of you know, I'm spending the next year with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, living in community with other volunteers, and volunteering at a church (most placements aren't in local churches, but mine is). Specifically, I am working at Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Edgewater, as their Youth Outreach Coordinator. I'm working with some after school programs, as well as Sunday School.

My non-work related adventures are brought to you (as always) in handy non-chronological list format:

1. Saw a Cubs game (Thanks for the tickets, Bret's mom!). They actually won.
2. At the Cubs game, found a Blackberry. Housemates and I got it back to the orthopedic surgeon it belonged to, and he bought us a round of drinks.
3. Helped a housemate make a chocolate souffle.
4. In conjuction with other housemates, got the souffle-making housemate hooked on Firefly.
5. Made a tasty eggplant parmesean.
6. Briefly ignored the vegetarianism and had some deep-dish pizza at Giordano's with my dad and brother.
7. Crocheted (!) a bird. Photos later.
8. Took my brother (and dad) to see the bean.
9. Saw a concert in Grant Park. One of the bands tried to be the Decembrists, but failed.
10. Got tix for the Hanson concert in October.
11. Visited my yarn store; bought sale sock yarn. Again, photos later. But they gave me a tote bag, and it has reaffirmed my love for them.
12. Wrote a song. I was thinking about creation (since the first Sunday School curriculum I'm doing with the kids is called 'God Makes a World'). Flipped through my Bible and ran across Psalm 19.

The result.

Still enjoying the hell out of public transport.

02 September 2009

The Tale of Mr. Bedbug

Made up on the spot, regaled to a friend via Gmail chat, and now shared with you. Capitalized and punctuated for your reading pleasure.

So once, there was a bedbug. Now this bedbug was really friendly and outgoing, or wanted to be, but he was really lonely. He didn't have any bedbug friends!

Mr. Bedbug lived inside the walls of the bedroom of a little girl named Louisa.

Mr. Bedbug didn't like living in the walls. The spiders and other small bugs didn't talk to him, and the old crochety cockroach that lived down the hall scared him a lot.

One day, Mr. Bedbug crawled out of Louisa's wall, and decided to eat himself a little home in Louisa's dresser.

But Louisa's dresser wasn't ideal. He got a little bit of light, but only when Louisa opened the drawer to pull out some clothes. Sometimes, Louisa's mother opened the drawer, to put clothes back in, but somehow, that was never as much fun.

"The clothes!", thought Mr. Bedbug. "What if I lived in the clothes? There's that green sweater that Louisa really likes. If I lived in that, then I would be around Louisa all of the time! I could see the world, and make friends!"

So Mr. Bedbug packed up his nonexistent belongings, and waited patiently.

In a few days, Louisa's mother put the green sweater in the dresser drawer. Mr. Bedbug hopped onto it and nestled in. Living in a sweater was wonderful! Louisa saw and did so many wonderful things every day! But one thing still made Mr. Bedbug sad. Louisa would talk, but every time Mr. Bedbug responded, Louisa ignored him! He really wanted a friend, and Mr. Bedbug thought he was being very nice. But it was like she barely even noticed him.

So one day, he got angry.

And you know what happens when bedbugs get angry.

They BITE!

But Louisa still didn't notice. She said something about maybe being allergic to something and asked her mother about going to a dermatologist. So Louisa's mother set up an appointment. Mr. Bedbug was very sad, and still very lonely.

So the night before the appointment, when Louisa was getting ready for to go to sleep, she took off her green sweater and threw it onto the bed. Mr. Bedbug was feeling quite cynical (and maybe the sweater was starting to smell, or maybe it was going to get washed tomorrow), so Mr. Bedbug decided to leave.

"Anywhere is better that here!", he thought. So he jumped onto the bed.

Nestling down into the bed, Mr. Bedbug heard a noise.

Lots of noises.

Big, noisy noises.

Party noises.

Noises, that kind of sounded like him! Mr. Bedbug went to investigate.

And he found

a GIANT party. Hundreds of other bedbugs! Chatting and eating hors douvres and knocking over the punch bowl. He casually strolled over and introduced himself. By the end of the night he had many, many new friends, who listened to him when he talked, and even talked back to him!

So Mr. Bedbug, Roger, Gertrude, Eugene and Rhonda went on many adventures together and had a grand time.

And Louisa had a terrible bedbug infestation. Once they finally figured out what was going on, the only answer was to burn the mattress, and the dresser and the sweater.

The moral of the story is: Catch bedbug infestations while they're small.

23 July 2009

О фильме "Узел"

Сегодня вечером я смотрела первая часть фильма о Александре Солженицыне. У меня был фильм с средного последного семестра, но не нашла времени смотреть до сейчас.

Вольшинство фильма следит за Солженицын и автор фильма (называется Александр Сокуров) на прогулке в лесу. Иногда, они останавливались и сидели на скамейке, или наблюдали облака и деревьи. Вообще, фильм - разговор между двоими. Несколько интересные суеты.

Солженицын много говорил о возрасте. Он сказал, что в жизне молодых - так много действие, а это значит, что трудно для молодого себя понимает. Но в старосте, у людей больше времени сидеть, и думать. Солженицын сказал, что его жизнь много раз прошла в уме. Но думаю, что он чувствовал, что - жаль, что у России молодое население (что люди там не так долго прожить в старосте), потому-что бы было лучше если молодые видели этот процесс ражмышления.

Другой интересный мысль: они со Сокуровом говорили про ответственноста человека для его поведения. Сокуров предлагал, что лучше, если у него модель для поведения, если он часто видет доброго человека. С моделом, он веден от насилия. Но Солженицын сильно думал, что модель - хорошо пример - но отсуствие модела - никакой извниение для насилия, или другых формов плохых поведеней. Когда это я слышала - я думала о детей здесь в Америке. Может быть вообще не дети, с которами я вырастала. Но может быть дети, с которами я работаю в этом году в Чикаго. Трудно, потому-что я знаю что у много детей нет хороших моделей, или в том, что у них таких много примеров насилия или жадность, и меньше доброта. По мнению Солженицына, у человека ответственность для поведения. А я понимаю, что эта идея важная, чтобы сообшества нормально функционировать. Но грустно, думать, что у многих нет хороших моделов, и их жизни - такие быстрие, что их себя не понимают, но в конце концов, мы даем им эта ответственность.

Во-третьих: Солженицын сказал, что сосни во Вермонте (где он со семей жил лет 20) по-другому. У русских сосен долгие стволи (4/5 дерева) вез веток, а в США у нас очень короткие стволи, и много веток рядом с землой. Он предпочитает русские, а он не писал об американским природе. Было интересно, но я считаю, что предпочитаю сосни как во Вермонте.

21 July 2009

Shows, and Show and Tell

The last few weeks have been pretty splendid, full of good music, a bit of travel, pretty great people, and, of course, knitting, too.

I believe I already mentioned July's earlier excursions to see Rosanne Cash, and Fountains of Wayne. Last night saw another awesome band added to that list. It was my first time seeing the Old 97s live, and also my first show at First Avenue. (It was 18+, so I didn't get to use term 'diaper show', but that's okay.) The lead singer and bass player (Rhett Miller, and Murray Hammond, respectively) each have their own solo careers as well, and they each played a set. So they opened for themselves. My favorite parts of the evening were the parts that involved Rhett. So about 80% of the show. I'm not sure why he isn't an obnoxiously hugely famous rock star.

Also, I saw parts of the old Batman movie before the show and between sets. This was a completely new experience for me. If you haven't seen it, you should. It is IMMENSELY amusing. ("The Drinking Water Dispenser is clearly labeled!")

Earlier in the week, I also took a short trip to Chicago to visit my LVC placement. I met Sarah, who's in that placement now, and went with her and a bunch of youth from the community to the Field Museum. I have lots of pictures of dinosaur skeletons, and I'm feeling more confident and less anxious about next year.

And so, the knitting. One new project, one new finished object, and a photo of the lace I mentioned last time.

First, the Estonian lace:

I also mentioned the shrug I cast on for as an impulse. Well, I found some motivation on Monday and managed to finish it. I had to use some of the cast-on tail to finish the last two inches of the bind-off. All in all, I had 17.5" of yarn leftover, all of which were cut off from the woven-in ends. Perhaps my most efficient stash-buster yet. And I used a cute button from my tiny, tiny button stash. It fits: perfectly.

And the socks. I started a pair in Mountain Colors last week, on Bastille Day, when my family and I attended a production of (more or less titled) 'all of Shakespeare's plays in 97 minutes by three guys in tights'. It was hilariously funny, but the sock was pooling in vertical stripes. So when I hopped on the Greyhound to Chicago, I took my Misti Alpaca and started the Herringbone Ribs Socks from Knitting Socks in Hand-Painted Yarn. By Friday, I had about five inches, and it was beautiful. I tried it on, and it didn't fit over my heel. So this weekend, I frogged it, cast on more stitches, and started again.

Things are going pretty well. I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (only once so far), and made some stuffed eggplant and black bread last week. And we've even gotten a little bit of rain. What more can you ask for?

10 July 2009

Crafty Developments

Alas! This is not the post in which I tell you about Laminaria. Tomorrow, maybe.

But behold! The many knittings that have transgressed since we last communed in yarny goodness:

Five FOs! Count 'em.

1. Those teal socks! The Knotty or Knice ones, from Interweave. Cute and done.

2. Commencement Socks: Done. Such a simple, pleasing pattern.

3. Experimental Halter: quite the adventure. Released on Knitty, knit, reseamed to make it fit (it overlaps quite a bit in the back), all in the space of about a week. Not the best thing I've ever made, but surprising in that it kind of worked. Me! In a halter! What a notion!

4. The Gentleman's Half Hose/Lumberjack Socks: Done. Also, simple, yet gratifying. Haven't worn them yet, as it's July. But come October, I shall walk to work and have toasty feet.

5. Knucks: my third set, started on an impulse. I ended up somehow sacrificing a US 4 dpn to the Fearless Knitting ExCo last semester, so I had to get a new set of needles. Then I proceeded to knit them in bulky yarn. On 4s. So they're a little stiff, and I made them in the smaller size, since they were kind of big. There were a few modifications near the wrists. But I'm still head over heels in love with this pattern. I want to make more.

Then I had to decide what to embroider across the knuckles. So I turned to the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group on Ravelry, and they voted on ПЕРЧАТКИ. Which in Russian means... gloves. Hah!

So, then, Bethany, what are you working on currently? Well, two (stil unphotographed) things.

First of all, as soon as I finished Laminaria, I was itching to cast on more lace. So I did. I'm making this cute Estonian scarf in this delicious bright green alpaca yarn that Kathryn brought me from Chile. I've been amazing the local knitters by working on lace charts in public. It's close to half done, but I'm a little skeptical about how long it's (not) going to be. So I might add some more repeats somewhere.

Then, a couple of days ago, another impulse struck. I had this skein of TLC Lustre that I purchased several years ago at the Ben Franklin in Oberlin. (They have a knack for stocking yarns that get discontinued.) I really wanted to make a little off-white shruggy, thing. I wasn't sure how far one skein could get me, so I stuck to short sleeves, but I poked around online, and my knitting books, and finally found this shrug (Ravlink). I'm working it in a smaller gauge, and I kind of winged the proportions. So it's kind of experimental, too. So we'll see how it turns out.

So, if you've processed all of this correctly, you will notice I have no socks going at the moment. This will soon be remedied. I might cast on a pair to take with me to Chicago early next week.

A note on recent laundry experiences:

The dryer at my parents' new house only has one setting: hot. The halter knit of cheap cotton yarn may have shrunk a bit, which would not be terrible. Unfortunately, the pink/yellow/orange cotton-blend socks that I knit this spring are feeling a little shorter than I'd like them to be.

03 July 2009

Two Months in One Post

The last few months have ranged from obnoxiously hectic to obnoxiously unscheduled, and I've found both ends of the spectrum to be extremely tiring.

Taking into consideration that approximately 50% of all events that take place on Oberlin's campus happen in April (the other 50% happen between the last day of classes and Commencement), and I've been chilling around MN for a month or so, here is a list of:

Things That Have Happened Since My Last Blog Post
1. Jonathan Rundman gave a concert at First Church of Oberlin, UCC. Ecumenical Christians of Oberlin sponsored the event, which regardless of turnout, was quite enjoyable. My friends Marty and Colette saw to it that the UCC hymnal became part of Jonathan's hymnal collection, and there was some geeking out about Scandinavian heritages. Afterward, my friend Anna and I took Jonathan out to dinner at the Feve (om nom nom), and posed for a picture on the newly dedicated Toni Morrison bench near my house.

2. After an OB-52s gig fell through at the 'Sco, Linden and Tyler and I deejayed the Dance Marathon. I seem to recall a reenactment of Zumba class on the 'Sco stage to the tune of the Bangles' "Walk Like An Egyptian".

3. Laminaria. It really deserves it's own special post, so more on that later.

4. The OB-52s had our last show at the Jewish/Muslim students' picnic. There was a pretty decently sized audience, which included a lot of people who hadn't been able to make it to any of our other shows! It was our most relaxed show, though there were a few really memorable moments. "Funplex" somehow ended up at an incredibly fast pace, and Tyler and I started laughing.

5. I received a generous gift from my knitting circle, and promptly realized that they are going to be one of the most missed things about Oberlin. Here is a really cute picture of them:

6. Last day of classes!! My last class was an exam in New Testament/Christian Origins. In retrospect, I must say, that test went pretty well.

7. I went on a really nice walk with Liz. I was feeling pretty ready to leave at a time when it felt like most people weren't. There are things I'll miss about Oberlin, but I was really excited about everything ahead. I think it was about to implode with anxiousness about hearing back about an LVC placement.

8. Special meal at Pyle: I got people to be down with cooking Russian food without feeling like I was imposing my tastes on others! Hooray! Made pirog. Eet was delicious (imho, but then again, I like cabbage).

9. I realized and admitted to myself that I am addicted to lace.

10. Commencement week happened. It was stressful; it was exciting; it was awesome; it was kind of sad. The Piano Extravaganza was amazing, and the dean of the Conservatory has a good sense of humor. The Politics department largely ignored me at their department meeting, but the Russian department was downright lovely, as always. I spent quite a while watching Tim Scholl's dog run around with a small child. I spent time with people at my house, and parties and a barbeque. I dressed up like Kate Pierson for Illumination. The Firecones (and Danielle and Julia) danced front and center at the OSteel performance. This last event was documented on Oberlin's website. Oh. And I graduated.

11. Saw Bruce Springsteen's guitar from Born to Run. It's been retrofitted with new pickups several times. It's his favorite guitar, and so beat up and so cool and he says that it's his only guitar that he can put on and not feel extra weight. It's like an extension of himself. Sooooooo cooooooooooooooooooool!!
Note: In the past, I had written that this guitar had been used on every album since Tunnel of Love. That was another guitar they had. Not as cool as the first, but almost!

12. I saw Jonathan again, and Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan, and Lloyd Garretson, and some other cool Lutheran musicians at this show/worship resource debut thing.

13. I saw the Legendary Shack Shakers for the first time. Also my first time at the 400 bar.

14. I saw Erik Brandt / the Urban Hillbilly Quartet perform at the Gingko Coffeehouse. Tried the Vanilla Black Tea. The drummer recognized me, for some reason, and he also told a really great story about Brer Possum and some toads. (Is it deep enough yet?) There was also an artist who had his computer/drawing pad hooked up to a projector and drew live art during the whole show.

Sidenote for Obies: The Gingko Coffeehouse is one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities. If you crossed the Cat in the Cream (murals, coffeehousey atmosphere, live music) with Java Zone (on a corner, that kind of a menu, neat old tin ceiling), you'd have it. If you multiplied Java Zone by two, that'd be about the size of it.

15. The local cool old theater (the Heights) showed "West Side Story" for a week, and my parents, brother, godmother and I went to see it.

16. I've been cleaning out my room. Basically, you're supposed to clean house before you move and get rid of tons of stuff, but I wasn't around when we moved last summer. So I get to do it now. Hoo boy. Fun times, I tell ya.

17. Aaaaand... I have a list of all of the knitting circles in the general area, and have been frequenting a few. Finished the pair of socks that I started the morning of Commencement (and worked on during the ceremony), and finished another pair of socks today. Also knit a halter top from the latest issue of Knitty. Have generally amazed my new knitting circle cohorts by my ability to knit lace while socializing.

I've also been reading a little, and have watched a few movies. Unfortunately, I've not done that much of either. Hopefully that will change in the weeks to come. However, I am past page 100 in Гарри Поттер (Garri Potter)! Yaaaaaay!

Also, in case this was at all in question, Limenviolet are awesome.

And! In case you don't know this, I'm going to be in Chicago next year! Starting August 23rd. I'll be living on the north side, and doing some youth and outreach programs at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Oh, and there was a Big Parade and the Weasleys got married, and basically, too much to tell you about at once. But generally things were pretty awesome, and recently they've been a little boring.

That is all. I know it's a lot to read in one fell swoop, but divide over the past two months, and I've really concised it up for you. Really. <3

21 April 2009

An Unsolicited (but Unsurprising) Review

The Tinted Windows debut hasn't even been available for two hours yet, and I'm already opinionated. I'm sure this comes as a shock.

So. Poking around a few reviews (Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Spin), and the general consensus seems to be that this isn't a killer, incredible debut, but it's certainly far from the trash that the naysayers (i.e. Hanson-bashers) expected it to be.

First of all, let me say that this is the first full album I've downloaded from iTunes, and I didn't know they came with little digital pdf booklets. That's neat. There's something to be said for downloading an album the moment of its release from the comfort of my own small-town home.

So. The actual music. Unless you have an ear injury, it should be painfully obvious already that 'Kind of a Girl' is pretty spectacular. There are a few songs on this record with a similar intensity: 'Messing With My Head' and 'Can't Get a Read On You' fall into that category. In the middle, there are handful of slightly slower songs that I'll have to listen to a couple of more times before I can say anything intelligent about them, other than that they seem a bit more Ivy-esque than FOW-y. The only dud is 'Cha Cha', which James Iha is responsible for. Part of my problem with it might be my aversion to nonsense syllables. It's executed well, but I don't really like the lyrics, and it's pretty repetitive, so they're repeating something that isn't that great in the first place. It's worth noting, though, that as my least favorite song on the album, it's really not all that bad.

As a long-time Hanson fan, my perusing of critics' opinions sparked some Hanson pride. I've been bothered by how much of the reaction to this band has been along the lines of 'the Hanson kid? the one that looked like a girl oh my gawd mmmbop sucked', but both Rolling Stone and EW singled out Taylor Hanson's single track as 'terrific', and one of their 'best cuts'. Between that and 'Cha Cha', I'm going to defer to whatever critic pointed out that Iha, and not Hanson, is the weak link in this quartet.

Of course, Schlesinger serves us some trusty power-pop, as we've come to expect from him. (He is behind most of the songwriting on the record.) My only request, after listening to 'Take Me Back', which he co-wrote with Hanson, is that he please collaborate more. Churning out hits individually is more tricky, but he blends well with other styles.

It is HIGHLY IMPORTANT to note that, despite the fact I think he co-writes well, Spin needs to stop referring to such an endeavor as a 'collabo'. NOT OKAY.

07 April 2009

unfree media = unfair campaigns

Here's what's up in Moldova. This week I'm going to be thankful that politics in the U.S. really only get rhetorically out of hand.

I guess you could be really cynical and point out that Americans won't get off their asses and protest despicable government behavior, but I'm trying to stay as positive as I can be.

03 April 2009

3 down, 47 to go

Does this mean I can't make fun of Iowa anymore?

Come on, Minnesota. You'd better beat North Dakota, at least.

28 March 2009

SB09 Day 7 - A Short Day and a Long Night

14:11 - Wake up, bum around for a while.
15:00 - Knitting circle at Smith's. Worked on Laminaria. Knit one row, I think.
17:00 - Happy hour/Foxy-Feve-Guy-watching at the Feve with Cory, Linden, Alex, Kelsey, & Segroves & someone else that I recognize but don't actually know the name of. (Sorry!)
20:00 - The Big Lebowski.
23:00 - Cigars & whiskey (& nachos & taste of nirvana) on Alex's porch. Followed by 'the Invasion of the Body Snatchers'.

I need to figure out how to wake up before noon again.

I started the second 'Knotty or Knice' sock during 'the Big Lebowski' and was quite pleased with the couple of inches I got done.

I have no photo for you today.

26 March 2009

SB09 Day 6 - It's Thursday Already

How is it almost the weekend again? I have things I should really be doing...

Here's what I've been doing instead.

!. 11:00: Phone interview with Lutheran Volunteer Corps.
2. 15:30: Much sock progress is made while watching the Lion King with Cory.
3. 18:00: Preparing and eating of...
mustard green fried rice!

4. 21:30: Visited the hedgehog and was introduced (via YouTube) to Devandra Banhart. Was less than totally impressed, to be frank.
5. 23:00:Short margarita tour of Oberlin. Margaritas while watching Foxy Feve Guy play at Agave's open mic night, and then mojitos at the Feve. If we'd been on top of things, we would have gone to Lupita's (the restaurant formerly known as Casa Fiesta) first, but we'll hit that next time.
The Feve gets really empty during spring break...

С днём рождения, мама!

Today also included the formation of a list matching the sock yarn that I already have with sock patterns I would like to knit. I find the creation of this kind of list is endlessly enjoyable.

SB09 Days 4 & 5 - In and Out of Oberlin


1. Picked up books of Akhmatova's poetry from Mudd. Not Anna. Raisa. (She's Chechen.)
2. Knitting at Smith's (again). Chuck left us in charge when he went to the bank; Cory signed for a package; some women thought we worked there.
3. A trip to the grocery.
4. Knit along to the documentary 'Mad Hot Ballroom'.
5. Newsies, again, this time with Cory.

My First Bread: Honey Whole Wheat Bread from the St. Martin's Cookbook

1. Breakfast (above photo + banana).
2. Mailed some books.
3. Excursion (thanks, Gail and Richard!).
4. Cleaned/rearranged room.
5. Ate dinner; listened to Elvis.

Wednesday: the Photo Narrative

Kirinlemon and me at Fine Points!

Kirinlemon bought Maaaaaaalabriiiiigo (sock yarn)!

Some Koigu KPPPM in it's natural habitat.

4 oz. Corriedale from Louet: my yarn diet is still intact!

Curry and Gyu-don at the Flying Cranes Cafe.

My new hobby: splitting desserts with friends.

A grilled sandwich of the peanut butter and banana variety. Also, milk.

23 March 2009

SB09 Days 2 & 3 - Eat, Knit, Sleep

Александр Панайотов: le Russian pop singer du jour, of the duo that brought you the hit, 'Balabalabalabalalaika'.

Pretty typical, uneventful last couple of days.

1. Knit some lace.
2. Ate some food and watched 'Pleasantville' with Anna.
3. Ushered at church.
4. Knit some lace with Jenny and Nicole.
5. Watched 'Cold Feet' (a 1989 movie with Tom Waits in it, which apparently belongs to someone in my house) and knit some lace.

20 March 2009

SB09 Day 1 - A Small Equation

A. It's been a while, friends. Almost 3 weeks.

B. January's posting habits made me do interesting things.

A + B = C

then C =

1. Cardio kickboxing and a New Testament test. As good as can be expected.
2. Listening luncheon with dear band. Mandarin takeout + speakers = new set list plan.
3. Knitting circle. Laminaria is out and about again.
4. Classy dinner with Liz at Black River. Rabbit ragout. Creme brulee. Win.
5. 'The Passion of the Jew' and 'The Coon'. In case it hasn't been mentioned frequently enough, Liz and I have this thing where we watch a lot of South Park. Yeah. It's awesome.

I conked out at about 9:30. Returning to sleep in 5... 4... 3... zz

(Photo credit goes to Eric Gjerde.)

01 March 2009

In which Bethany rants and marvels

First of all, I can't stop talking about this band.

I've been reading a lot of the reviews/criticism of Tinted Windows. Now, it's not really fair to write an opinion piece on the existence of a group, when you haven't heard their single yet. But that's not what ticks me off the most.

Most of what's circulating reads kind of like this: "new supergroup...Tinted Windows...dumb band name...Taylor Hanson? are you kidding me? Mmmbop...what the hell are the Cheap Trick and Pumpkins guys doing in the same band with the Hanson kid...blah blah blah".

1. 'Middle of Nowhere' (Hanson's first album) came out in 1997. I do believe my parents gave it to me for my 10th birthday. THAT WAS 12 YEARS AGO.

2. Taylor Hanson would have been 14. It's obnoxious to claim that someone who is now 25 is producing the same kind of music that they came up with in their early teens. I mean, Hanson didn't sound anything like 'MmmBop' even by the release of 'This Time Around' in 2000 (which was damn near 10 years ago). No one near my age that I've ever met listens to the same thing they listened to a decade ago.

3. Invoking the noun 'MmmBop' is a cop out. Any critic that's going to have anything worthwhile to say about Tinted Windows needs to have gotten all of the Hanson-bashing out of their system first. Alas, that would rid us of about 90% of them.

And then there was the critic who said he didn't really enjoy Fountains of Wayne. Double-u tee f. That sentence just plain doesn't compute.

Now that I've aired my grievances, how about this for interesting?

Friday morning I was reading an article in the Oberlin Review talking about how the local businesses have been dealing with the economic recession. There was some discussion about how shops like Bead Paradise have had to drastically change their ordering/stocking levels, but most of the article was centered on food prices, which affect both grocery stores and restaurants.

The biggest change we've seen so far was the recent closing of Downtown Pizza. Agave has since changed their hours to pick up more of the late-night crowd, and the Black River Cafe made up a dinner menu and is open in the evenings as of a few weeks ago. Just like probably everywhere else in the country, most restaurants and groceries have had to increase their prices. However, the person the reporter talked to at the Oberlin Market said that if she hadn't read about the recession in the papers and heard about it from other people, she wouldn't have known it was happening. Why isn't it impacting her business?

She sells mostly local and organic food. Oddly enough, when you don't use pesticides and don't ship things very far, oil prices don't really raise food costs. It may cost more in the first place, but local and organic food is becoming more competitive with Big Agriculture.

Isn't that kind of neat?

24 February 2009

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa

Junebug has a hard bassline; I should really be practicing if we're going to get it together for Saturday.


According to the internet (Billboard and Rolling Stone - so these are like real sources):

James Iha (guitarist from the Smashing Pumpkins)


Bun E. Carlos (drummer from Cheap Trick)


Taylor Hanson (keyboardist from Hanson)


Adam Schlesinger (bassist from Fountains of Wayne)

ARE FORMING A BAND called Tinted Windows.

Now, I'm going to admit that I'm not as conversant in Smashing Pumpkins and Cheap Trick as I probably should be. But Hanson was what sucked me into the music world in the first place, and FoW, well, let's just say that everything monsieur Schlesinger touches is powerpop gold.

The one thing I don't understand is how that happened. I mean, of all of the four of them, who's the one that said 'hey we should start a band'? I mean, can you just walk up to other accomplished artists and say 'hey, guy from Cheap Trick, come be in my band'? Is that, like, normal? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Anywho, I AM SO PSYCHED FOR APRIL. (When their record comes out.)

Go go go go go go go listen to the single.

Google Doesn't Know Everything

Google says I (or, I suppose, a fellow Bethany) need the following things:

1. Bethany needs a middle name.
2. Bethany needs a new liver - or else she could be dead by Christmas.
3. Bethany needs you!
4. Bethany needs to go home.
5. Bethany needs help with this new venture...

Well, I guess number 3 probably true.

Things Bethany needs, according to herself:

1. Bethany needs a job.
2. Bethany needs to apply for some jobs.
3. Bethany needs to think about grad school.
4. Bethany needs to do some reading.
5. Bethany needs to do some laundry.

Also, figure out what I'm playing at the Ash Wednesday service tomorrow. Ash Wednesday! My favorite holiday! Tomorrow is going to be intense. Whee!

16 February 2009

It's fall semester all over again...

I have this problem with my Russian classes. It's partly due to the fact that I consider my Russian language classes to be most strongly linked to my future since they build concrete knowledge that I plan to use, and partly to them being by far the most challenging classes I've ever taken.

I dedicate too much time to them. Not too much time in the sense that I'm spending more time than is necessary for me to adequately get my work done, but too much time in proportion to the other classes I'm taking. Somehow, everything that has to do with the Russian language gets elevated above my other classes, and I find myself falling behind on reading, or skipping class, so I can better keep up with the pace of a Russian course.

It's a difficult situation to maneuver, because Russian is the hardest class for me to be behind in. Not only does an unhealthy amount of my self-esteem depend on it, but it's much smaller than any other class I'm taking. My Russian course in translation has about 25 students, my New Testament class, about 40. The Russian seminar? 5. If I don't speak in class, it's painfully noticeable to everyone.

My goal for the next semester is to manage my time, such that I don't sacrifice too much else to this seminar. It might be worth it in some sense, but it's strikes me as having too much power over the rest of my schedule. It's only going to control my life it I let it. Therefore, I need to start translations early, and structure my weekends better than this past one.

Then again, I spent part of the weekend being sick. I'm totally convinced that if I had felt better Saturday afternoon, I wouldn't be in this boat right now. Bah.

13 February 2009

What do you expect, really?

It's 9:30 a.m., half the campus isn't even awake yet, and all I can think about is how I'd really like a burrito right about now.

09 February 2009

New Adventures

So I have this friend. Her name is Danielle. Twice now, she has given me gifts that sort of spiral out of control. Well, once. And I'm predicting the second one.

The first gift was an Oxford Russian-English dictionary, in August 2006, for my birthday. The August before I took Winter term, which was the August before I fell in love with the Russian language, and so on and so forth. But I had the dictionary. I had to continue. It leads back to Danielle.

And now, we have the DROP SPINDLE AND ROVING. We kind of all knew that me learning to spin was an inevitable thing. Well, folks. Now it's here.


I watched a couple of YouTube videos and read through the instructions, and have managed to make several questionably usable inches. It's really twisty. I'm going to do some more research and try again later this week.

1. Danielle is awesome.
2. Danielle has either incredible influence or foresight. I suppose either of those are cool.

D: Thanks!

02 February 2009

New semester, new obsessions.

Classes got off to a good start this morning. Cardio kickboxing is going to be full of amusingly sped up mixes of American pop music.

Of course, we're covering all the bases. Despite the fact that Altered States (sex, drugs and rock 'n roll in modern Russian culture) mostly musically focuses on Russia's poetic rock, my professor revealed that she has a weakness for cheesy Russian pop music.

Who doesn't, really?

Hey, it's my new favorite song.


01 February 2009

Saturday 31-01-09

The last list should have gone up about yesterday! But I don't remember what I did, because so much has happened since then! I did watch a CNN documentary about autism, and ate some pineapple upside-down cake. Except I ate half of my piece of cake inverted (then I flipped it over), so I'll refer to it as the 'reversible pineapple cake'.

Most of what has happened today has been the creation of new facebook albums, which cover both the Inaugural Ball, and some more OB-52s history. If you're on the Facebook, you should go look at those. Maybe I'll get bored and post some photos one day, if you're lucky.

So ECO was at our apartment tonight, since Steve and Mary are getting ready to leave tomorrow morning for a Baptist Peace conference in ITALY. Exciting times! We ate fondue and did some planning. As people were leaving, Anna mentioned that she was headed to the 'Sco for a while, where they had the Superbowl on a big screen. I looked at the clock, did a few calculations in my head, and went with her. We had to sit through a good 20 minutes of football before Bruce came on, but it was worth it. Then I came home and tried to play Born to Run and Tenth Avenue Freeze Out on my Telecaster. Have I mentioned that Bruce is pretty much the reason that I picked a Tele? I mean, it should be pretty obvious...

Today also marked me getting impatient and giving housemates Christmas presents. Liz is going to knit a couple of nice skirts, which will help amp up her post-graduation wardrobe.

Also awesome on the clothing front: today at the Fava gallery, there was a runway show featuring all of the garments made in the weaving winter term. Ondrea took it this year, and made a snazzy red and gray winter coat, which I'm really excited to see her wear. Pictures might be coming soon (I'm guessing) at her blog.

Aaaaaaand classes start tomorrow! It looks like I'll have almost everything on Mondays and Wednesdays, which is pretty sweet.

No new progress on knitting. Took a lot of photos of knitting today, but haven't processed them yet.

30 January 2009

Friday 30-01-09

1. Борщ (borshch) making.
2. Knitting at Smith's.
3. Purchase: rechargeable batteries (+ charger)!
4. Beer bread making. (It's like bread, but using beer gives it flavor and takes the yeast out of the equation.) Борщ + beer bread eating = happy tummy.
5. Dance party.

Thursday 29-01-09

1. More job searching. More not much success.
2. Received a package in the mail that contained, among other things, Anne Lamott's Grace Eventually, which I started reading.
3. Went to the Oberlin Public Library with Liz. Looked at knitting books; got some movies.
4. Apollo excursion to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. $2 to see a great film. What's not to love?
5. Danielle made a quiche and rosemary lemon cupcakes. Nom nom nom.

29 January 2009

St. Leninsburg


Read the paragraph, and then click on the link and see the photos. Incredible.

Wednesday 28-01-09

1. Peters Hall: Chatted with Sara Stefani for a while. Then the college shut down for the day at noon and everyone went home.
2. Java Zone: The Great Job Search. Have I stepped aside recently and mentioned how thankful I am for the internet?
3. Smith's Furnishings and Yarns: Knitting with Ondrea and Holly. A color card came in for the Joseph Galler Superfine Alpaca 3-ply, and IT'S GOING TO COME IN COLORS NOW. I have new yarn to dream about.
4. the Psychomantium: Knitting with Liz, while watching South Park.
5. the Psychomantium: Knitting with Liz and Danielle, while watching The Fellowship of the Ring. (!, I know.)

It's worth mentioning that I started a new knitting project. I'm in love with it and it's challenging in new ways and I'm hoping to have it done by this weekend. It's going to be a surprise, unless you give me a call and hang out and knit with me in the next few days. Which would be totally okay.

28 January 2009

Friday Pie Blogging: The Tuesday Pirog Edition

1. Last day of class! Watched some Чебурашка (Cheburashka) and familiarized my class with the "delicious taste of Choco-Pie". Sent them an email full of links to various interesting Russian things on the internet, a list of which X Files episodes contain spoken Russian, and forgot to include my dumb little song about the Megabus (Для Мегабуса). Which goes as follows:

Где автобус?
Я хочу автобус.
Я не вижу автобус.
Автобус сейчас!

That last line doesn't make any sense, so anyone singing and not playing an instrument has to pound their fist in a demanding manner, and suddenly, the meaning becomes clear. A couple months later, I wrote a second verse. The first can be repeated indefinitely, but the second verse is meant to be sung only once:

Где автобус?
Там автобус!
Я вижу автобус!
Автобус здесь сейчас.

Maybe if you're lucky, I'll make a lo-fi recording of that someday. I have the feeling that it would be like giving the world blackmailable materials, though.

2. In order to foment the end of her Urban Aran Cardigan (she's on the last sleeve!), I made Ondrea come to my house and knit while we watched Firefly (Jaynestown). She also helped me make dough...

3. ...for my пирог! (pirog!) (it's like a pie!) (but savory, in this instance!). I finished making the pirog (which contained a little fresh cabbage, but mostly the sauerkraut that's been fermenting on my porch for the last few weeks) and it was a success. (As in most of the people who ate it don't normally like sauerkraut but liked my pirog.) Still have a small ice cream bucket full of sauerkraut, and a little pirog left for lunch on Wednesday!
4. Watched the X Files and ate pirog. (Red Museum)
5. Watched the X Files and worked on my матрёшка mittens. (Blood, Sleepless)

Monday 26-01-09

1. Went to IGA to pick up food and batteries. Came home with AAAs instead of AAs. Made of fail.
2. Stretched a jar of salsa twice as far by mixing it with a can of diced tomatoes. Two days later, it's still almost gone, but hey, tomatoes are healthy. Made of success.
3. South Park and knitting.
4. Karaoke at Lindsay's, with Schmindsay, Schmulia and Schminden.
5. Joan of Arcadia, season 2, (on YouTube) and correcting homework.

25 January 2009

Sunday 25-01-09

1. A peaceful, contemplative morning.
2. Peanut soup, act II, scene II.
3. An intense afternoon: lower body workout and many long sighs about Russia.
4. Peanut soup, act II, scene III.
5. An evening of knitting, Firefly, X Files (Chimera), hot chocolate and Bananagrams with Ondrea.

Russia Needs a Dark Knight

So, Gotham's got issues, and among the worst are the intense levels of corruption in the criminal justice system, which prevents people from acting independent of the controlling forces (in Gotham's case, organized crime). And due to his mysterious identity, Batman is able to fight the corruptive forces, and be a figure that is either trusted or blamed, depending on what people need at the time.

Can Gotham lend him to Russia for a while? They've got intense levels of corruption, and it appears that their criminal justice system isn't on the best road, now that controversial lawyers appear to be riding in the same boat as the journalists.

CPJ confirms that of 41 journalists killed for their work in 2008, two were killed in Russia (they also acknowledge two unconfirmed cases). 49 journalists have been killed in Russia since 1992.

Well, we're not even out of January, and one Новая Газета (Novaya Gazeta) journalist, Anastasia Baburova, has been killed already, in conjunction with the murder of Stanislav Markelov, a defense attorney known for representing anti-Kremlin parties (like journalists, Chechen civilians and suspected terrorists - the sort of people who otherwise would not have a fair trial), who was "shot dead in broad daylight in downtown Moscow on January 19" (RFE/RL "Are Russia's Lawyers in the Crosshairs?, 25/01/09). Way to kick off the new year.

I think part of the reason that I love Russia so much is that I love the spirit of their people. It is incredibly inspiring that even while Russia keeps killing it's journalists because of their work, Russian reporters keep on reporting.

Saturday 24-01-09

No list today.

24 January 2009

Friday 23-01-09

1. Learned about my eyes. Turns out I'm so near-sided that my vision with contact lenses will be slightly over- or under-corrected. When the St. Paul Eye Clinic people have said 'you have slight astigmatism but not enough that you should be able to notice a difference', what they really meant was 'dude, you are so near-sided, it's probably not the astigmatism that bothers you'. Turns out they were wrong, and that's why I don't like my left lens so much. So we'll be trying an astigmatism lens in that eye. Also, every time I type 'astigmatism' I keep forgetting the 'g'.
2. Last minute decision to go the yarn store with Mary, Linden and Julia. For the sake of my budget and my sock yarn stash, I probably should have just stayed home. Two skeins of Panda Soy and a skein of Sockotta later, I have an announcement:


Hold me to this, guys. Even you, Cory, even when I tell you I really want to buy it and need enabling.

3. Happy hour at the Feve and dinner at the Mandarin with Linden, Julia, Becca, Connor, and a couple of other folks who I can't remember at the moment. (Sorry, people I'm forgetting.)
4. Contra dance in Fairkid basement. Embellished with one figure of an Irish set dance. Fun times.
5. Fun times with piano, guitar, fiddle and mandolin with some awesome contra people.

ALSO ON FRIDAY: The most amazing email from a professor ever.

ALSO: Not a concise list at all. Here's the concise version.
1. Eye doctor.
2. More yarn.
3. Drinks and dinner.
4. Dancing.
5. Music.
Isn't it more interesting with the details?

Thursday 22-01-09

1. Lunch of pretzels and homemade sauerkraut.
2. Knocked a significantly large ice chunk off the overhang near our door.
3. Collaged a cover for my journal.
4. Watched 'Kitsunegari' with Linden and Liz.
5. Fell asleep before blogging.

ETA: Kitsunegari is an X Files episode from season 5. Robert Patrick Modell, part two.

22 January 2009

Wednesday 21-01-09

1. 20 minutes of cardio before class.
2. Showed friends the Petersburg photos.
3. Cleaned my room. Reorganized a bit. Moved my keyboard.
4. Began the transition from iTunes to Songbird.
5. Cross stitched the Obama logo. Freehand (counted cross stitch, but I made up the chart). On a whim. Not really sure what I'll do with it.

21 January 2009

Tuesday 20-01-09

1. Walked to Mt. Zion Baptist and watched OUR NEW PRESIDENT speak. Cheered at appropriate moments and waved goodbye when Senor Bush left in the copter.
2. Checked at the book store to see if the three remaining Russian textbooks had come in. Guess what came in just recently? NACHALO BOOK 2. THE BOOK THEY NEED FOR SPRING SEMESTER. Guess who's slightly frustrated with the bookstore, and is also a master of the Peters copy machine, when she shouldn't need to be?
3. Led my Russian class in an innovative experiment in the Pictionary World of Science, when Натан suggested that we try to draw sentences. So we picked sentences from the dialogue. (Like 'Is the heat working?' 'I play rock music and jazz.' 'She's an unpleasant woman.') Made Pictionarical scientific leaps of progress.
4. Guac prep. The avos that Danielle bought a week ago went bad. Which we realized at about 4:45. So I walked to IGA and got three. And made avocadically-intense guac. And then it didn't taste right, and I though 'Oh. I'll just add more cumin.' (shake shake shake the cumin canister) and a couple hours later Danielle pointed out that it wasn't that spicy and maybe I could add more cayenne and FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I FAILED TO ADD ENOUGH CAYENNE PEPPER TO A FOOD ITEM. But it was still tasty.
5. INAUGURAL BALL. Photographic evidence to come. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

Part of me thinks I should correct tests right now.
Part of me wants to clean my room.
Part of me wants to sleep.

Guess which of those is going to happen right now?

19 January 2009

Monday 19-01-09

1. Copious amts of sleep.
2. Copious amts of dumplings!
3. Copious amts of Joan of Arcadia.
4. MLK service at Rust UMC.
5. Beautification of one High School Musical poster in our hallway in anticipation of tomorrow evening's festivities.

Sunday 18-01-09

1. Slept in. Realized that as much as waking up Sunday morning is great, if there was something like the Well in Oberlin, that'd be kinda convenient for my schedule.
2. Hung out with Nicole and Jenny (listened to Stash & Burn). Worked on the Knotty/Knice socks. Made a silly mistake, but I'm not fixing it. Added 2 rows in between cable repeats (for a total of 8), for future reference.
3. Started making a macrame-y kind of yet-to-be-determined jewelry. Could be a bracelet, could be an anklet. Might just get attached to a piece of luggage.
4. Sat around with Danielle and Liz compiling playlists for Tuesday evening.
5. Tank party to celebrate the end of the Bush regime.

Bonus: Fact of the Day: Part of the scientific name for the cacao plant is theobroma, which means 'food of the gods'.

Extra bonus: Fact of the Day (reprise): If you switch the Os and As in cacao, you get cocoa. Isn't that awesome (Y/N)?

Thanks again Wikipedia for the fact of the day! Also, thanks to Bethany's brain and that one young adult book she read from the library that one time that prominently featured anagrams and influenced her paying attention to the arrangement of letters in words, which she actually probably already payed attention to anyway, but we'll give you some the credit anyway just to be nice, unnamed Y/A novel.

17 January 2009

Saturday 17-01-09

1. IGA trip numero tres to acquire ingredients for Tuesday night's menu
2. Made eggplant caviar with no sliced open fingertips or really weird coincidences. Doesn't taste like the eggplant caviar I've had in the past. Tastes kinda like guacamole made with eggplant instead of avocados. Looking at the ingredients, I shouldn't be surprised by this.
3. Clean(er) room! Hooray!
4. Managed to stay warm despite heating issues in the house. I'm not sure if I have this entirely correctly, but I think a pipe froze and broke, and was leaking on lower levels of the house. They fixed it, but as the house has a radiator system, they had to bleed the heating system and restart it. I think it's only going to get warmer at this point... I should probably go turn off the burners that are going on the stove. Hey, at least our water is running, unlike the water at my parents' house.
5. Made a cover for my journal, which has gone coverless for the 5.5 months it has existed. Still undecorated, but maybe I'll take care of that at the next crafty Mod Podge session.

I realize that I originally meant to make a rather concise list, and I'm straying into several-sentence paragraph territory. I hope you don't mind.

Friday 16-01-09

1. Introduced genitive singular.
2. Knit at Smith's for a few hours. Turns out Holly just started Laminaria, on size 8s!
3. Wrote short messages to some of my host family on vkontakte.
4. Baked cookies with Liz.
5. General hanging out in Linden's room. Linden and Emily did crafty things. I did crafty things and corrected some homework. Liz studied for the MCAT.

16 January 2009

Thursday 15-01-09

1. Actually ate lunch (cous cous & peanut sauce) during the lunch break between classes.
2. Discussed Inaugural Ball menu, music and decorations with Danielle.
3. 5.25 miles on the elliptical.
4. Dinner and coquitos with Colette and Marty Buck and their neighbor Marisol, who surprised us with the news that she is moving to Buenos Aires in May/June.
5. Watched Beach Party with Linden and Lindsay. Was amazed.

15 January 2009

Wednesday 14-01-09

1. Purchased decoration for the upcoming Inaugural Ball.
2. Jumped around in a bus shelter waiting for the bus to come to take Linden and me back to Oberlin from Elyria, where we spent 1.5 hours at a craft store. Did not buy the owl pendant.
3. Ate a delicious dinner of варенные пельмени. Вкусно!
4. Compiled Russia prints and postcards and other prints into my new photo album, purchased at the aforementioned craft for on sale for $7. I could have gotten one for $1, but this one is pretty classy.
5. Corrected Russian tests/observed craft time/conversed with 5 other people in Linden's room.

14 January 2009

Tuesday 13-01-09

1. Cooked (and ate) a potato.
2. Potluck dinner at Peace Community Church, followed by a Mormon film, 'Baptists at Our Barbeque'. I never knew such a self-depricating side of the Mormon community.
3. Started Knotty or Knice socks (from Fall 2008 IK) with Knit Picks Palette in the colorway Calypso Heather. Pretty. Fortunately, they're toe up, so I can make sure they fit...
4. Went to 50 cent beers at the 'Sco to support Franny's first night as a DJ. It was pretty great. Danced a bunch, saw some folks, heard 'All the Single Ladies'.
5. Decided to write a euro pop song with Linden, which will be entitled, 'Tonight (Move it to the Rhythm (of Love))'.

Bonus: Fact of the Day: Aqua is the best-selling Danish band ever.

Bonus: Follow-up Fact of the Day: The judge in the Mattel vs. Aqua lawsuit (Mattel had issues with the song 'Barbie Girl') dismissed the case in 2002, saying 'The parties are advised to chill.'

Fact du jour credit goes to that reliable source of all wisdom and truth in the universe. Thanks, Wikipedia.

13 January 2009

Monday 12-01-09

1. All vegetable lunch = leek + red cabbage + mustard greens + wok
2. Made appointment for future eye enhancement! Also, Liz has (new) specs.
3. Contributed chocolate chips to the household cookie fund.
4. Was underwhelmed by the non-music-related questions at Pop Music Trivia Night at the 'Sco. Had the trivia not involved the biggest jump a pig has ever made (in inches) without dying, and instead focused on 90s pop, the Jive Records Executive Council (Linden, Tyler and myself) would have owned. Turns out Menudo has had a total of 50 members.
5. Fell in love with all of the characters of Firefly (for the nth time) while watching Bushwhacked.

11 January 2009

Sunday 11-01-09

1. Shared a pot of cheddar fondue with Danielle (the fondue chef), Liz, Linden and Anna.
2. Saw Anna off at the LCT stop, and went for a walk around the South Main St. general area.
3. Finished the first repeat of the blossom chart on Laminaria.
4. Corrected Russian tests.
5. Story time with Danielle: The Fountain of Fair Fortune.

Saturday 10-01-09

1. Snowball fight and sledding down Mount Oberlin with Danielle, Joe and Anna.
2. Finished the transition chart on Laminaria (that Estonian lace shawl that has beek kicking my ass). Turns out I'd missed a yarn over (not surprising) two rows back, and managed to unknit almost half a row without getting into FUBAR territory (very surprising). I love it! Seriously! Why have I been ignoring this project for two months?
3. Guacamole with Anna and Liz and LINDEN who is back earlier than any of her housemates expected.
4. Drinks and tots at the Feve with Heather and Anna (the recent birthday women), Glenn, Linden, Shaquille, Jeffrey, Danielle and Liz. (Thanks again, Shaq.)
5. Chillaxed at Keep, with Linden and Tyler, and some other folks in the lounge that were subjected to a bunch of 90s pop music (the guitar's been drinking, not me, not me). I also realized that I can handle as much Hanson or BSB as you can throw at me, but I max out at one Jewel song. Sorry, Linden.

10 January 2009

Friday 09-01-09

1. Had a lovely oatmealy breakfast at Emily's with Anna, Emily and Allison.
2. Spent the afternoon knitting at Smith's, as Friday afternoons should be spent. True to form, I brought the lace shawl, but didn't touch it, and worked on the socks instead. Resisted the strong temptation to buy more sock yarn.
3. Played Bananagrams! with Anna & Danielle.
4. Finished the Flying Trapeze Socks at the cookie bake at the Hammonds'.
5. Worked on my flagship application.

08 January 2009

Thursday 08-01-09

1. Met with Emily to pick a book to read with ECO. Considered Anne Lammott's newest.
2. Learned to play the Guacamole Blues on the mandolin, and didn't forget the solo on Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
3. Got a burrito and Dos Equis at Agave with Anna, and then played two songs (If I Had a Million & Guacamole) at their open mic.
4. Played 4.5 games of Connect 4 with Anna (also at Agave). The pieces all fell out the bottom in the middle of game 5, and we gave up.
5. Made a berry coffee cake for breakfast tomorrow at Emily's.

Wednesday 07-01-09

1. Met Krokodil Krokodilovich Alligatorov, a creature designed by Russian Winter Term students to showcase clothing words.
2. My day got 10x better when I streamed some Russian radio and recognized a song I learned this summer. It got 8000x better when I found the YouTube video of it, and saw the dancing sailors.
3. Learned a bit more about Russian Icons at Wednesday night supper at First Church.
4. Purchased guacamole ingredients and mustard greens at IGA with ANNA!
5. Watched Wall-E. Awww-ed a lot.

06 January 2009

Tuesday 06-01-09

1. Mailed Raelene (who's off to Ireland on Saturday) a 10-song compilation CD.
2. Ran 2 miles in 19 minutes and 49 seconds.
3. Watched a few minutes of the final scenes of Serenity from across the kitchen.
4. Learned to play 'Deadbeat Club' on the guitar.
5. Started making sauerkraut, which involved picking through jellied cranberry to sort out the whole cranberries floating inside.

Monday 05-01-09

1. First day of teaching - I lived!
2. Talked to Linden.
3. Made delicious peanut soup.
4. Watched 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?' with Liz.
5. Almost 1 full repeat of Flying Trapeze Socks. (1 repeat = 1/3 sock)

ps. I never said this would be interesting. But you know how much I like lists.

04 January 2009

Sunday 04-01-09

I need to blog more. So for Winter Term, I am going to sit down at the end of the day, and summarize my day in a short five-itemed list.

Beginning with Sunday.

1. Mucho sleep.
2. IGA trip numero uno
3. Met with Will.
4. Reorganized my knitting life/stash.
5. Freaked out about teaching.

The Adventures of Bethany and Sam on the Megabus

The Original Plan: Bethany and Liz take the last LCT out of Oberlin on Friday, take the RTA to Tower City, wait around for a while, and take the Megabus at 11:59 to Chicago. Bethany kills 8 hours in the Windy City, and takes the Megabus to Minneapolis at 3.

As I'm sure you can guess, that's not how it happened.

8:15PM Bethany and Liz take the last LCT out of Oberlin, where they find Sam, the illustrious Quidditch player who also happens to be taking the Megabus to Chicago, and is going to Minneapolis, but with a shorter layover. Good so far.

9:20PM Bethany, Liz and Sam take the RTA to Tower City. We had a hard time reading the map of the stops from far away, but our mad squinting skillz came through.

9:45PM Bethany, Liz and Sam poke around Tower City, looking for an unlocked public restroom. No dice. They then decide to patronize the Hard Rock Cafe, where the waitress drops Liz's salad, there's a wide variety of 'rock' music played, they have one of Prince's suits on the wall (yes, he really is that short), and they have restrooms.

10:15PM Into the HRC walk Robin and Holly Jenkins! Hello, friends!

10:17PM Holly steals one of my croutons.

11:20PM Bethany, Liz and Sam decide to leave the restaurant and sit around by the door with the gathering Megabus patrons.

11:50PM The bus is nowhere to be seen. Expecting it soon, Bethany, Liz, Sam, Robin and Holly head out to the bus stop to wait.

12:15AM Some guy comes out and says there's service advisories on the Megabus website and that our bus was canceled. Everyone heads back inside.

12:20AM Much using of Tower City's free wireless and calling of parents ensues. The website mentions weather problems but doesn't specify which buses have been canceled. Do our heroes wait to see if it comes (remember, Bethany and Anna took one out of Cleveland that was 40 minutes late that one time)? Take a taxi back to Oberlin and try to catch a (probably full capacity) bus the next day? No email has been sent so far. Someone is here to pick up their kid, and they're on their way. Is the same bus going to turn around? No! The same driver can't go more than eight hours. But can't they just switch drivers? Amtrak and Greyhound prices are looked into. Sam is going to miss her connecting bus. Cwap.

1:00AM The security guard shows up and he really needs to close Tower City. Parents are called. Bethany has this little moment where she feels like a real adult. She calls her dad, explains the situation, and asks "What do I do?" and he says "I have no idea". They are on the same page. Unfortuately, not a good page. Robin and Holly (trying to get to St. Louis, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to get to Chicago) decide to go back to Oberlin for the night. Bethany, Liz and Sam go the Ritz Carlton where the nice woman working at the desk calls for a taxi. They head to the Amtrak station, to try their luck.

1:30AM There's a 2:57 train to Chicago, but too bad that that's full. (Pay no attention to those other out-of-luck Megabusers who bought their tickets online.) There's a 3:45 to Chicago, and that's running late and should be here at 5. Three tickets are purchased and the are happy to be in a place that is warm, has restrooms and vending machines. Liz shows some cute kids how to knit.

2:15AM Liz reminds Bethany and Sam that those kids were so cute.

2:30AM They were so cute.

2:40AM So cute, Liz, we know.

3:45AM The bus is running even later. ETA is 5:45.

5:45AM An announcement is made. It's our train! It's here! Hooray! Bethany thinks about waking up Sam, who is sleeping on the floor. WAIT. NO. IT'S THE 6:20 TRAIN HALF AN HOUR EARLY. Bethany and Liz: heartbreak and agony. Sam: sleeps on, not knowing the pain she has spared herself.

7:00AM The train shows. Bethany, Liz and Sam board. The woman Sam is sitting next to is confused, but it all works out. Liz makes hecka progress on her scarf.

12:30PM Arrival in Chicago, at Union Station. Bethany and Liz accidentally lose track of Sam as they exit the train.

1:00PM Lunch at Potbelly's. The waiter is kinda flirty with Liz. Liz guesses the artist of the music playing (Credence Clearwater Revival) and wins a cookie.

2:30PM The Minneapolis Megabus is waiting outside! Already! Bethany says goodbye to Liz and boards. Sam waits to see if she can get on, since she missed her earlier bus. She succeeds, and the two Quidditch teammates feel so victorious as the bus departs on time.

6:00PM In one purchase at a rest stop, Bethany doubles the number of times she has eaten at Taco Bell in her life.

9:00PM Weather conditions have slowed down the bus. It's seriously snowing outside. It's behind schedule by a couple of hours, but everyone is safe and warm.

Sunday Morning
1:30AM Arrival in downtown Minneapolis.

2:00AM Home. Phew.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Bethany and Sam's Megabus Adventure: the Summary

31 hours total
11 hours in Cleveland
6 hours in the Amtrak station, specifically
17 hours in motion

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
The trip back to Ohio was much better. The bus left Minneapolis on time, and was ahead of schedule going through Wisconsin. I sat next to an Oberlin alum (an Econ major), who married another Oberlin alum (a History major), and it was really neat talking to her. We stopped in Madison and dropped some people off, but there was no one there to pick up. The driver calls HQ and asks if there's anyone there we need to wait for, and they give him the okay to keep driving.

52 miles outside of Chicago. There are people in Madison. We need to go back. An hour and a half there and back, we're three hours behind schedule coming into Chicago. Fortunately for me, it was just less time I spent waiting around Union Station. But it was kind of ridiculous.

Knitting in Oh Nine

So! The last few weeks have been wonderful in terms of knitting. This holiday season was relaxingly devoid of knit gifts, though I did help my dad block the alpaca scarf he got for his birthday last year. It's now keeping him warmer than ever, I hear.

For Christmas, my grandmother gave me a gift certificate to Crafty Planet, a neat little yarn and fabric shop in northern Minneapolis. I got a soft, enticing, colorful skein of Misti Alpaca sock yarn. Behold!

I also received a skein of Patons Shetland Chunky as a gift. It's variegated, so it's trickier to figure out what would work well. I think there's three colors, I might be able to do something like that hat from the last issue of Knitty, where I switch from knitting to purling every time it changes colors, or something.

As far as what actually clicked around on the needles, I finished a lovely little red cowl during break. Cory made up the pattern a while ago, and it produces this adorable little cowl that's soft and stretchy enough, but is also stiff enough to be really warm in place of a scarf. Since it isn't bulky, it was great for traveling (it looks like the neck part of a turtleneck sweater), and since it was a 2x2 rib, soft yarn and my favorite needles, it was the marvelous project for finals week. In fact, it was a productive thing to have around. I mostly worked on it while trying to formulate thoughts and sentences in Russian.

On the Megabu... AMTRAK trip to Chicago, Liz made significant progress on a scarf, and showed some really adorable kids at the Amtrak station how to knit. I worked a little on my orange and green socks, which were finished by the end of my Minnesota stay.

These socks have been just great. They're the first toe up socks I've made, and the beginning was a little fidgety, but it worked out nicely. Since I couldn't find size 1.5 needles, I made a larger size on size 1s, and added some ribbing on the sole. They fit perfectly.

The most interesting part is that there were two really great moments with these socks where I found out about some technique from someone else, thought it was really neat, thought about trying it on these socks, and decided against it, choosing to stick with the pattern as written, only to realize that the pattern included the technique I'd just found! This happened with the eye of partridge heel flap stitch (thanks to Stash & Burn) and the twisted rib (thanks to Liz). I think I've been solidly converted to sock knitting, if I haven't mentioned this already.

I also finished one of the Flying Trapeze Socks (from the newest IK), AND IT FITS! (I wasn't sure it would) and am working on the gusset of the second one.

I have decided that I'm not happy with the not-fitting-ness of the orange lace socks I started for the ExCo. I ripped out the beginning of the second sock, which had only been an inch or so, and I think I'm going to make it a little bigger, and then rip the first one out. I like the yarn (Araucania Ranco) too much to make socks that don't fit. I like the way my high arches make my feet look, but not the way they make socks and shoes not fit normally.

Alas, no progress has been made on the Laminaria shawl. I need some motivation for that; I don't know what it will take to get that off the ground again.

I talked and talked about my resolutions for what would be done for the new year, and it didn't really come true. But if the Malabrigo Fetchings and Ranco socks are in frogging stages, here's what's left in progress.
1. Laminaria
2. Flying Trapeze Socks
3. Tatiana (nesting doll gloves)

And just barely...
4. Mosey (still need to finish adding cords and pompoms)
5. that penguin

I'm basically down to three, and those socks are going to be done before knitting circle next Friday. Mosey will be done, too.

Basically, I'm down to three WIPs. Which feels SO good.