I should really go visit my old relatives

Last night Galen and I popped down to Pagliacci’s to pick up a pre-amp from Brooke, who was playing there. Pag’s jazz jam in full effect! It had been awhile since I’d been down for one of those nights. I think it was officially a Marc Atkinson show, but he was out of town, so the rest of the band asked Brooke to come play, and then various musicians came in off the street, and everyone on stage played several instruments so they all took turns switching. A pot pourri.

Of particular note, I finally got to hear Devon sing, and he is not kidding around about singing. I was having major grampa-convergence feelings watching him get settled on stage, though, because he was wearing the same kind of cuddly, old-man cardigan that my grampa always does, and this great plaid cap. Furthermore, Devon started out sitting in a chair on stage with no instrument and no microphone, no obvious reason for being there, just looking contented and watching the other guys play the intro.

My grampa does that kind of thing a lot, since his Alzheimer’s got noticeable. I’ve done a lot of sitting with the old guy, looking around and being contented. It made me think that my grampa should join a band. I think he’d be into it, as long as they played something old timey.

Color This Book

Galen got me a present in Anacortes. Best present ever! I didn’t know I would be so excited about an indie colouring book, but it’s really blowing my mind. This is the first time I’ve done any colouring since I’ve been obsessed with colour schemes and combinations. Playing with colour schemes is a lot more fun when you’re starting from a picture of say, a pensive rhinoceros writing its memoirs, or a knitting squirrel!

I just mailed this one to my parents (for the fridge). It’s red and blue, and coming to getcha.

Monsters for Peace colouring page

Mini me

More photos from forgotten file directories. This is me, looking cute and androgynous in a bunny hat I knitted, in December 2002. I was 23. I look a lot younger— the soft (aka crap) focus probably helps. Everybody has baby skin in blurry photos.

I like this one, where I’m making a rabbit face.

Younger me, in a bunny hat

And this one, where I’m making a… stern rabbit face

Younger me, in a bunny hat

I taught myself to knit by inventing that hat, during a 40 hour bus ride to Winnipeg. I double-knit the ears on two straight needles, including the cables on the front and back. For any non-knitters reading this, that’s fucked up, that’s self-torture. When I think about how I learn, this is the project I think of: I don’t so much go for baby steps.

These photos are very funny to me— they might as well have been taken to document the dawn of the current era of me. I was about to be self-employed, living in the first apartment after deciding I only wanted to live in corner suites in Fairfield, addicted to knitting, and cultivating a potted jungle in my apartment. I stand by all those decisions! Way to go, stern bunny, for laying solid foundations.

Mossy scarf (with free knitting pattern)

Mossy scarf

Yikes! This classically headless blogger-photo was clearly taken in the fall. Hopefully last fall and not years ago! I found it during an expedition into one of the dustier corners of my hard drive.

It’s a scarf I made from some thrift store yarn.

I tried a few different stitch patterns before settling on this. The pattern made me happy immediately and I still think it really suits the yarn. It reminds me of Old Man’s Beard lichen in a big way.

Dropstitch garter is the True Destiny of skinny, gray-green, wool boucle. Who knew?

If you can’t work out the pattern from the photo, it goes like this (very easy and straightforward).

Mossy scarf

Gauge, needles, etc: whatever, it’s a scarf. Aim on the loose side.

CO 20 (or more)
Rows 1 and 2: K to end.
Row 3: K, wrapping yarn twice. Drop extra wraps on next row.
Repeat these three rows until scarf is desired length.

One 50g ball made a very, very long scarf. I wear it folded in half, wrapped twice around my neck and it still hangs to my waist.

Mossy scarf

You’d yelp too

Euphorbia in bloom

I awoke to this. Giant flower buds have yet to disappoint!

Galen is away on tour, so I exclaimed several things out loud to no one. Fortunately, Marc dropped by to loan me a book on his way to work, so I got to share the special thrill of outlandish botany with another human.

Two neighbourly humans agree: it’s so hairy.

Euphorbia flower-- it's very hairy

My immediate thought was for the pollinator. What is supposed to rub its body on that flower? Marc surmised that the pollinator should be at least as hairy as the plant.

Hopefully the flower is hard at work summoning this creature, and later this afternoon I’ll find some variety of Ancient Beast knocking against the window screen, trying to achieve its hairy destiny.

Of course I needed an anarchist’s perspective

Why didn’t I think earlier to look for anarchist and class-struggle critiques of V for Vendetta? I came out of the theatre thinking that the movie, in which the politics are less extreme, made me appreciate the book’s take on anarchy and revolution all the more. The movie was a good foil for the book, in other words, besides being a fun movie.

This anarchist’s take on the movie covers lots of good ground, especially, I think, regarding modern anarchist ideas as something of a fairy tale— fitting for an action movie.

The comic, and to a lesser extent the film, are often viewed as anarchist. I would submit that they are “anarchist “ mostly because at the time of the writing, the anarchists had the most new, vibrant and semi-underground white subculture. … I think it’s mostly seen as anarchist because anarchist theory is so heavily mythological when it comes to revolution.

The general strike has historically been the mythical event that was most often cast to usher in the new world. Leaving the caveman fetishists aside (who, no, I don’t view as “real” anarchists), the critique of vanguardism and political manipulation has left anarchists, in a post-revolutionary union world, without a grounded theory of revolution. Paris ’68 suggested that students spraypainting walls, refusing to attend class, and fucking in the streets might be enough to disrupt the “Spectacle” and push people towards true awareness of their role in society of oppressed and oppressor. …

… Many anarchists and fellow travelers are so starved for positive signs that we mistake repackaged hipness as revolutionary art.

Mostly I like seeing him criticize the theory in the movie, while still obviously appreciating it as an entertaining movie. So balanced, so personable.

Off to read the further commentary linked from that post!


Baby sugar pea So it turns out you can’t really grow a “crop” of peas in a single pot, but you can grow snacks. I’ve been dutifully planting into this pot at three week intervals, indulging my little gardening urges. My reward appears to be four to six peas at a time.

I’d been pollinating the sugar pea blossoms with a fluffy paintbrush, but I don’t think the plant sex is necessary. When I was tickling each flower in just the right place, the pods would end up nursing a single, swollen pea among 5 or 6 shrivelled unpeas. Since the vines have gotten denser I’ve been missing a lot of the flowers, and their pods look less Knocked Up and more like regular sugar peas.

Either I was not a very good lover or virtue makes peas strong.

My euphorbia is in a family way The big news around my fake garden, though, is the monstrous bud the euphorbia is making. I don’t know how long it has been growing this; I spotted it about a week ago. It’s about the size of a golf ball— hilariously out of proportion to the rest of the plant.

The bud is shaped like a bird head, like it’s about to start talking. It’s covered in peach fuzz. I am excited just to have such a ridiculous bud hanging around. I wonder how long this will go on before it pops.

Rebecca thinks euphorbias are related to pointsettias, and that I might soon be the proud guardian of a pointy red flower. She also maintains that when cacti flower, they flower for weeks at a time. She’s a bit of a garden enabler.

Bride of the Unicorn necklace

Bride of the Unicorn necklace

I’m not sure whether all green and white jewellery would look bridal, or whether it has to involve tiny pearls and botanical clusters. This necklace ended up with an overpowering resemblance to a wreath of ivy and grapes. It is a hairband for a unicorn, or better yet a wedding bower for fairies. I can’t wear this. I am not bethrothed to a pegasus, and I feel it would give the wrong impression.

I started to get misgivings before I even finished making it— same method as yesterday’s necklace— but I was determined to keep up my stash-into-treasure momentum. I gave Bride of the Unicorn a couple of weeks and tried it with different outfits, but no dice.

I figure if I can find a big unicorn pendant to hang off one side of this, I might be able to bring it back from the edge of whimsy, back into territory controlled by the Empire of Irony. (Just thinking about the necklace is apparently enough to shift me into the conventions of epic fantasy. Thus begins the Age of The Reluctant Bride and her Pearly Necklace!)

Fair tax and other aphrodisiacs

Grist has a great little article about economic responsibility, the neglected cousin of social and environmental responsibilities.

Much more than most progressive or activist websites, Grist seems to make an effort to come up with a simple vision of priorities, and start pushing the vocabulary to go with it. I appreciate their thoroughness, and skill. In this piece, the writers suggest we need to refocus on gigantic environmental issues like global warming, and we can’t do that without more sustainable economics.

Incidentally, how did economists get to be such rock stars on the internet? It started before Freakonomics, maybe to do with social software engineering and online community theory? It’s Clay Shirky’s fault maybe? I have no basis for this hunch.

In any case, the latest bit of Grist that puts a twinkle in my eye:

Economic issues have long been the poor cousins within the corporate-responsibility debate. For many years, they were considered to be synonymous with financial issues, and widely assumed to be well managed. But as concerns like fair trade, fair pricing, and fair wages have increasingly made headlines, it has become clear that economic issues are surprisingly ill-understood by most corporations, and an underrepresented dimension of the corporate-responsibility agenda.

And getting into the meaty words and definitions:

Let’s just toy with one of these dimensions: economic equity. This addresses the reasonably transparent — and certainly strategic — management of the creation and distribution of wealth. It includes issues like fair trade; fair wages (is it reasonable for 50 cents of the price of a $100 sneaker to go to production workers, and $18 to the retail labor selling them?); fair pricing (is it reasonable for the world’s poorest to pay from two to 20 times as much as the richest for their food, water, energy, and drugs?); and — the new humdinger — fair tax (is it responsible for business to see corporate taxes purely as a cost to be avoided, rather than part of their “social contract” with society?).

‘Fair tax’ would be a hot response to any mention of ‘“tax relief”:http://www.rockridgeinstitute.org/projects/strategic/simple_framing,’ which is a phrase that I notice has started popping up in Canada now that we’ve got a conservative federal government. (“Hot response?” Hot? This is what I’m talking about. Since when do economic buzz words have sex appeal?)