Wild Moon Swings

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Learning to Crochet

I'm not the sort of person who takes instruction/direction/advice from others with a good attitude. Anyone who's tried to give me instruction, direction, or advice will know that it's almost impossible. I have my own ideas about how to do EVERYTHING and so unless I go to someone and specifically ask their opinion - there is just no point in talking to me. I'll just get owly.

When I was first learning to crochet, I was told that I was holding the hook wrong. Interestingly enough, I was also holding the yarn wrong and all the charming young woman got for informing me of this was an incredibly dirty look. I frowned deeply and almost glared. I couldn't see what her problem was - it looked the way it was supposed to. I had successfully made a lovely chain and then double crocheted all the way down. It looked the same as everybody else's. Despite my crossness, I managed to get through the class actually thinking that I could make something on my own.

Have any of you ever read a crochet pattern? As far as I'm concerned, I might as well be looking at something in kanji for all the sense I can make out of it. A crochet pattern's directions look something like this; ch 6 sl 2 dc 4 tc 39. Something like that, but I actually understand what I just wrote, and when I actually read a pattern - I'm like wtf? That abbreviation is probably standard - hehehe. Anyway, I've had much more success looking at a finished article and figuring out how it's constructed by looking at it.

It's just that I bought some yarn a little while ago and had the intention of making an afghan out it, but whatever I tried just fell to crap and looked so ultimately crappy that I seriously ripped out entire balls of yarn in my fury. So, a couple weeks ago, my grandma sent me an afghan (because I actually needed one, which was why I was trying to make one, dang it). Every time I look at this blanket I am stunned and awed at my grandma ... she's insane! I look at it, and everything I've always wanted to do with my crochet hook has been done. I thought being that practical was against the rules. I thought there was some secret code hidden somewhere in those ch sl dc's and I was somehow being excluded from the crochet club. But my grandma's afghan goes beyond practical - it's not even mathematically sound (all crafts I make are 100% symmetrical). I don't know how this thing ended up as a rectangle in the end, but it has left me with the opinion that my grandmother is a genius of the most incredible kind.

So, after I figured out how my grandma made this mad-hatter afghan I went back to work on my own. I was absolutely positive that I could come up with something great without driving myself into fits over it. AND I have figured out how to construct an incredibly cute blanket. I even did some sampling for later in the pattern, too, and I CAN DO IT without having to listen to someone explain instructions to me, or tell me that I'm fundamentally doing it wrong and have to learn how to hold my crochet hook and yarn all over again. And not only all that, but I also learned from my grandma that crocheting is flexible and you can do whatever the heck you want. Which is just the way I want it since I'm more of a B.S. artist anyway.

And best of all, I didn't have to listen to a single person patronize me on the subject. After all, no one is allowed to be patronizing besides me. Thibbit!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Slyther me this

It's probably pretty juvenile of me, but I like taking quizzes online when I'm bored. One of the most common is a Harry Potter sorting hat quiz. Which house are you in? I'm not going to refer you to one that I have taken because I don't think I have ever taken one that I thought was even remotely good. They start out with dumb questions like "Which of these best describes you? A) Brave B) Smart C) Cunning or D) Hardworking". It's like - doesn't that pretty much tell you which house you're going to be in by the end of the quiz? I mean - why bother? And who would admit to being hardworking if all it landed them was a seat in Hufflepuff (the lamest house of the four)?

But (like the loser I am), I was still sort of interested in which house I would have been sorted into. I didn't actively search for different quizzes for very long before I realized they were all quite similar and an equal waste of time. Now, a lot of time passed before I happened to be thinking about this subject again (it was probably years), but lately I was just sitting somewhere passing the time with my brain when it hit me - I would have been a Slytherin.

I am not especially brave. I'm scared of heights and so non-athletic in personality as well as in body that I clearly wouldn't been in Gryffindor. I'm not particularly fond of studying - farewell to Ravenclaw. And if I can see a way out of working my butt off, you'd better believe that I'm going to take it. It is practically the philosophy of my whole life to work smart instead of hard. But using your mouth to your best advantage, looking for shortcuts, compromise, and getting exactly what you want without slicing off your leg sounds like everything I want to be a part of.

Except that I don't qualify for anything like that right now - my brain is too slow just now for words. My illness has that effect. I mean - I don't seem to know the difference between a shallot, a scallop, and a scallion. I should practically be taken out back and shot for how brain dead I am, but when I'm better I'll be as wily as ever - I promise! Grrr!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

They Would have Slaughtered Jane Austen

As bizarre as it might be for some of you, I am not actually a great reader. It's not that I don't like to read, it's just that I find that when I read other authors their work corrupts my own voice and I have a harder time expressing myself. Yeah, I know, I'm impressionable. So, I only allow myself to go on reading rampages when I have no inclination to write anything myself. So, I learn, but I don't write a chapter like I'm Anne Rice and then another chapter like I'm L.M. Montgomery. Since I'm still unwell, I was reading Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'.

I was quite impressed with a few things and when I say 'impressed' I don't necessarily mean that as a good thing. But I don't mean to take old Jane out to the gallows myself - I just noticed some things that struck me as unusual considering what a classic author she's supposed to be - utterly timeless - and yet ... they would have slaughtered her.

To start out easy - as I was reading the book I kept having this feeling of familiarity. Now I know that I have not read 'Persuasion' before - I don't forget books once I've read them. I just felt repeatedly that the substance of the book was old hat, and I mean really old hat. It didn't take me long to realize that I had probably read a hundred books that were variants on the exact same themes with near the exact same plot arches. Reading the book was like seeing the mold for a cookie I've already eaten a hundred times - uninteresting. That being said, I could feel the quality of what I was reading. There was definitely a certain level of perception that wasn't included in the dime novels I read that copied this book. I also came to an understanding regarding why some of those dime novels were so particularly frustrating - they were copying this. The outline of a passionate relationship that ended for poor reasons and the couple's struggles for understanding between the two of them in order for them to get back together. The end is topped off by the gentleman's explanation of his incomprehensible behaviour and why he loved only our lady all along. I have to say that Fredrick made a lot more sense than some of the explanations I've heard in my day.

So, even though this is a story that hundreds (maybe thousands) of romances are based on - years ago I saw a movie adaptation and was thoroughly bored. Me being bored by a romance sound uncharacteristic, but seriously - it was completely, 100%, BORING. And when I read the book, it became extremely clear why I was bored and why it didn't make a good movie. This is also the reason why Jane Austen would have been slaughtered (of course I'm thinking of those darlings on fanstory.com who enjoy ripping up hopeful authors for their own gratification and to satisfy their own intellectual superiority). Of course, I'm referring to the way the entire novel is written. She's 'telling' the story instead of 'showing' the story. This is a grave sin on fanstory.
There are probably less than 30 direct quotes from Anne (our main girl) in the entire book. And she's not the only one who's dialogue is explained rather than quoted. Actually, that's the rule in the book rather than the exception - they would have skinned her alive. And it doesn't stop there - very few of the characters are described in detail (physically), the settings are barely noted, and as I said, there are few direct quotes from anybody. Lady Russell is considered a main character and yet she hardly speaks except she is paraphrased. Instead, the book focuses on the thoughts and situations of Anne and those around her. Needless to say, a girl sitting on a couch and thinking doesn't make a good movie.

I have personally been shocked a number of times as to what is expected of modern authors. A person really needs to draw their reader into a different world and I have to say that - though it's painful to admit - Jane Austen wouldn't be able to cut it if she sent in her manuscript nowadays. They'd tell her to go back to her computer, because every page would have to be reworked. But at the same time - that was HER style of storytelling. Isn't it rough that a person can't tell a story in their own words, but instead have to style it after a proven formula? Bah!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Five Reasons to Dump a Guy

It has always been my philosophy that if you can find just one thing that you don't like about the guy you are dating, that you should dump him immediately. I know - this sounds unbelievably inflexible, but when I say 'one thing that you don't like' - I mean something that you will NEVER like. I believe in accepting people and loving them even if they have faults and flaws, but they should be faults and flaws you are willing to put up with without scrunching up your nose or clenching your fists. Your next thought is that I probably don't have a boyfriend since finding a guy who could reasonably fulfill all your wishes is basically impossible. I know that men are a rather hopeless gender, but this is not so. It IS possible to find a man who suits you.

Actually, I'm married and have been for quite awhile. But lately I happened to be thinking about things that I used to chuck guys out on their ears for. Granted, everyone's list will be different. This is mine, in no specific order.

Number One
The first thing is that a guy would have to be the same religion as me and faithful in it. This is mostly because I really wanted to have a religious, faithful life, but I also knew that I wasn't going to have the stamina to make sure that the man I married was always doing the right thing. I think it's wrong to push someone around and to make them do what's right. I had to marry someone who had a similar (if not almost exact) standards, so that we could always count on each other to be good.

Number Two
I couldn't marry a man who had a sheep mentality. Did you ever meet a guy who always had to consult his friends about everything he did? He couldn't do anything without his friends' approval? Yeah. I can't stand this. I honestly can't even stand a guy who has to have MY approval before he can act (unless it's courtesy). What I mean, is a guy who needs to talk to me about fashion, music, movies, or behaviour in order for him to be able to outline his own personality. It's like - DUDE - get some convictions!

Number Three
Materialism. Back in the day when I was dating, it was never important to me how rich my boyfriends' parents were. In my opinion, it makes no difference whatever how much money or privilege a guy's parents had. As far as I was concerned - it had absolutely nothing to do with him. It also didn't matter to me what his current job was or what his prospects for employment were. The most important thing was his tastes and appetites and how extreme they were. A guy who wants everything and can't tell himself 'no' will always be in debt no matter how much money he's able to make. This manifests itself most in his conversation. For instance, he'll start talking about his watch and how much it cost and how excited he is about the watch that's the next level up in price and value. Sometimes it's cars, or electronic equipment instead of a watch. And I've never listened to such boring conversation.

Number Four
This is going to sound pretty snotty, but I could never stand a guy who I thought was dumber than me. I'm not saying that I'm brilliant and deserve a rocket scientist or someone like that. But I did need someone who I could have a stimulating conversation with, someone who could think of solutions that maybe I couldn't, and lastly - someone who wouldn't make irrational choices that I would have to live with.

Number Five
I needed someone who was in love with me. This might sound strange, but there are a thousand ways that a person can be in love and show love. When I say that I wanted someone who was in love with me - I mean that I wanted someone who had a style of loving that I enjoyed. I wanted someone who would let me know what they were doing - not because I wanted to keep tabs on them 24/7 - but because I wanted to be a part of their everyday life even if we were apart. I could do more of these examples, but it would be unnecessary. Basically, I wanted to be the highest priority in my boy's life, and if there was anything that was more important (friends, school, work, sports) then he could go do whatever was more important and I'd go home. It's hard to describe exactly what I wanted. I wanted him to have his own life, but I had to know that no matter what he was doing - his thoughts of me were more precious. I hate guys who can't express themselves or equal me in their devotion.

Anyway - I'm still sick. Actually, on top of everything else, I have a cold right now. Ew!