Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good News and ....Okay News

The good news is that my computer doesn't seem to be completely fried. It's just partially fried. No internet - that seems to be out of commission, and a bunch of keys seem to not be working properly, but I've now got my photographs and more importantly my knitting patterns backed up to jump drives, which is at least a start.

So, the okay news is that I've at least got some limited use of a computer. The good news is that I can put off having to come up with $800 for a new one for a month or two at least, which is good because Rhinebeck is coming and all my extra money is getting put away for that right now.

Must keep the priorities straight.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Apparently I Am Not Capable of Learning After All

I'm blogging from a borrowed computer tonight due to a slight mishap here at Casa de Jenn last night. We've had a leak in the upstairs ceiling for a little over a year. Not a bad leak, it was pretty intermittent for a long time, but we told the landlord about it shortly after it first started.

A year ago.

He figured that the roof is pretty new, so it was probably just a gutter backing up and said that he would come over to look at it, he just never quite got around to it. (There's a lot of that going around, as you'll see.)

About three or four months ago we started enclosing notes with the rent check telling him that the leak had gotten worse, it was now leaking in two or three spots, that pieces of the plaster are falling down, and the paint is bubbling where the water is running down the wall under the paint on either side of the window. We included pictures.

Since the leak is directly above my sofa, this means every time it rains I have to bring up somethng to catch the water in and then cover the sofa with big plastic trash bags. It's really quite an attractive decorative statement. Of course late August is thunderstorm season, so I'm spending a lot of time with black plastic trash bags spread around my sitting room, which brings us to last night's lesson.

I was using my laptop table as a work surface to make seom stitch markers, so I moved my laptop to the arm of the sofa and had beads and supplies spread along the seat while I worked. After a while, my mother called me to come down for dinner and while we were eating of course, the rain started. We checked the downstairs windows to make sure it wasn't raining in and I said I would check the upstairs windows when I went back upstairs but since it doesn't usually rain in up there, I wasn't really worried enough to rush.

I completely forgot about both the leak and the fact that I had left my laptop sitting on the sofa directly under the leaky spot.

By the time I got upstairs it was entirely too late. I noticed that the couch was wet right away and then I realized that the computer was soaked and I panicked. I went running back downstairs - without any pants (the upstairs was originally attic space, it's much hotter up there than it is in the rest of the house, so I usually take my shorts off when I watch TV and just sit around in my underwear and a tank top. That's right - Revel in the class.) and started literally pouring water out of the computer then started trying to dry it out with a blow dryer. I don't know if it worked because I haven't tried to turn it on yet today, but before I unplugged it and turned it off last night I was getting the Blue Screen of Death, so I'm not holding out a huge amount of hope.

The laptop is actually about five or six years old and I have been planning to get a new one, I just wasn't planning to do it this week, which I guess downgrades this from The End of the World to A Huge Pain in the Behind. The real problem is that I haven't backed anything up in about - well, ever. It's one of those things that I keep meaning to get around to. I know there are programs that go in automatically and keep a backup copy online somewhere - I've been meaning to get around to that too. (Noticing the trend yet?)

Originally the only thing that I thought about was the music that I've downloaded on iTunes, but I know from the last time my computer crashed (yes, it has crashed before, which makes my failure to back up even more head-slappingly stupid than you thought it was originally) that I can load purchased songs straight from my ipod and everything else that's on cd I can just reload, so I wasn't really worried.

Then I remembered that I have photographs on there. Those I really can't replace, but a lot of the ones I really wanted I had printed a few months ago, so again, not really a tragedy.

Then I remembered my extensive porn collection (to the unitiated, they probably just look like knitting patterns). They were mostly downloaded from online sites, but not all of them were in my Ravelry queue, so I don't know where I got them or how to find them again.


Well, considering that I'm currently trying to purge my house of crap maybe this is a good thing. I can look at it as a clean start.....

Okay. No.

But on the bright side, when I do get a computer back I can go browsing for patterns again to replace them all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Look Upon My Works Ye Mighty and Despair

It has come to my attention that I seem to, inadvertently, be intimidating other knitters on the Long Island Railroad.

On the way home from work one night last week I was knitting away on my current sock, listening to Game of Thrones on my ipod, and just before we got to Lynbrook station, the woman who had been sitting right next to me for the past 20 minutes or so suddenly started to talk to me. We had a very nice chat about a pattern that she had printed that afternoon (it was cute and I must remember to look for it on Ravelry), the difference between English and Continental styles of knitting (I favor Continental) and how old I was when I learned to knit (eight), all in about 30 seconds. Because 30 seconds after she started talking to me we pulled into her station and she jumped up and got off the train.

That was a little weird, I thought.

My mom figured she waited so long because she figured that way she could talk to me without me feeling like I needed to be polite and pay attention to her for too long. Okay, I can buy that - it's not like I walk around with a T-shirt that says "If I Minded You Talking to Me about Knitting and Spinning I Wouldn't Do It In Public"

It reminded me, though, of something that happened a few months ago. I noticed a woman getting on the train in Jamaica station and sitting in the seat facing me several days in a row. After a day or two, I noticed that she was watching me knit and did my little "Hi, yes I see you watching what I'm doing" smile. One morning, I noticed that she had yarn and needles in her bag and asked her about what she was working on. She sort of brushed it off and said something about not wanting to take out what she was working on because it wasn't as "nice" as what I was doing.

I thought at the time, and still think, that is a terrible reason to not take out your knitting.

Whatever it is that you're knitting - that's YOUR knitting. It only needs to be as "good" as you're happy with. If you're a beginner and you're just knitting a garter stitch scarf, that's great! Keep going, you'll get more experienced and more comfortable and when you feel more confident with your skills, you'll be ready to move on to something more challenging. And if you never have the urge to knit anything other than garter stitch scarves in your entire knitting career - that's great too! If garter stitch scarves are what floats your boat then that is what you should knit and you should never look at somebody else's knitting and think that it's any better than yours.

Hell, if I ever thought that way around my friend Lisa I would never knit another sock as long as I live. Her latest design is called Fronkenshteek and I still keep looking at it and thinking "what the hell?" I would love to get a look inside her brain someday and see what exactly is going on in there.

My point though, is that I didn't spring forth knitting lace and cables and fair isle. I started with the same wonky garter stitch scarf that you're knitting. It's taken a long time to get to the point where I am now, and I've enjoyed every minute. Also, when you see something that makes you think, 'Wow, that's incredible. There's no possible way I could ever do something like that so I might as well just stop knitting right now," you should just stop and fondle your yarn for a minute and then tell yourself, "Wow, that's incredible. I should give it a try one day!'

Maybe you should be careful about trying it on the Long Island Railroad, though. Apparently, my knitting can kick your knitting's ass.