Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Battle Plans

So, it's December 19th.

I have 5 days to finish all my christmas presents. Most of these simply aren't going to happen. LittlerBrother's hat I *gasp* actually didn't have the yarn for, so I'm getting him an awesome couple of books. TwinSister's soaps I don't have the money for, so she's getting a tin of delicious made-by-me-with-stuff-I-already-have cookies. We're going in on mom's gift, the lot of us, and I guess that means I need to pick up some socks for dad as well, then whip up a pair of felted clogs for FavoriteAunt and the hat for FavoriteCousin, and then I should be good to go.

I also have 5 days to get together all of the financial info needed for the wedding (will work on much of this over the phone, I hope), waaaay overbudget for a dress (I love one that costs $600, but will probably get one around $100 if I can. I mean, come on. It's one dress. It's not made of gold, and I'll hopefully be wearing Galveston anyways), get a ballpark of how much flowers, cake, food should cost for the wedding, PLUS include the cost of bridesmaid dresses and groomsman tuxes (since most of 'em are family anyway), tack on a honeymoon, and appear at my parents respective houses armed with this information. With this, I will present my case for a budget, and hopefully walk away with most of what I'm arguing for, which should be just what I need.

ALL I WANT TO DO RIGHT NOW IS SPIN. But Galveston MUST be finished soon. We're getting hitched on February 29th, Leap Day, and I will wear this shawl if it kills me.

Which, you know, probably it will.

For shits and giggles, let us determine how far along I am. Let us assume that I will finish the end of Chart E by new years, shall we? Let us do so. That leaves us with approximately 65% (the schematic does not include the edging) of the shawl to finish in (taking off a week for the inevitable "oh crap I forgot something" moments) 53 days. So, that's 1.2% per day, but I like some kind of safety net, plus I hate fractions, so let's make it an even 2% per day. Now what exactly is 2% of a six foot shawl? As of right now there are:

62,016 sts in what's left of the body
17,994 sts in edging
80,010 sts total

So if we disregard those last 10 sts (because really, I don't care that much about decimal points), that's 80k stitches in 53 days. That means it's 1510 sts per day going at a regular pace, or 1600 stitches per day if I do 2% a day. That's surprisingly enough less than I was thinking I would have to do back when I thought I could finish Galveston Prime in time enough for the Yarn Harlot, and I loves you Yarn Harlot, but I love my Sweetie more and if there's anything I learned during her talk, it's the value of knitting during a wedding. So, yeah. Let's round that up to 2k stitches a day as ever I can, to give me a little more wiggle room (you can see that I'm liking the wiggle room, yes?).

2000 stitches a day.

Shit, I'd better get knitting.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Grease Monkey Is You

Bike repair is FUN.


Bike repair!

Why didn't anyone tell me as a kid that fixing machinery is this much fun?!

So, as you might have guessed, I've been fixing up Sheila. Today she got a simple tube replacement, with liners so maybe she won't get flats so often in the future, plus I de-rusted her handlebars, the front wheel, and the chain (dear god, the chain), and then I realized I don't have a screwdriver so I had to run and get one so I can install the new brakes. The fenders and chain cover are pretty dinged up and rusted, so I may be looking into either replacing them, or even better, getting them all rust-free and then maybe reshaping them a little (to fix the dings) and maybe redoing the paint job, if I can learn to do pin striping really well. Her current paint job is (ironically enough)a lovely metallic Aggie maroon, with stripes of a light burnt orange. Part of me wants to go with that as a theme, part of me just wants to touch up the current paint job or recreate it. And then, of course, you need the rack in front and back, the headlights, tail lights, and a little bell that goes ching ching!

And maybe streamers.

In other news, check out this site: Fast Boy Fenders Isn't that just fabulous?

But yeah, getting back to this whole why did I not know that fixing things is fun bit, it did make me think a lot about the gender stereotypes that I was exposed to growing up. Luckily, I didn't have really really strict parents in this respect - no hair covering or you-must-play-with-dolls-and-be-bad-at-math stuff. I had honestly never heard the whole 'girls are bad at math' thing until it came up in a discussion on feminism and what we teach our girls. I tended to live under a cultural rock, though - I never knew of Barbie's infamous 'Math is hard!' bullshit, because I didn't play much with them. We had a doll house, true, and we did own a few barbie knock-offs (being poor and all), but mostly to entertain myself I read, so my dolls had their hair cut short, new clothes made, tiny weapons forged, and hey presto! Free Amazon's from Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novels (and yes, I did do this, and no, I don't have any of them any more. I have considered taking this up again). For some reason, my dolls were usually in survivalist situations - stranded in mighty jungles, on desert islands, in snowy forests, and had to fight to survive. It was good times.

I specifically recall TwinSister and I having a pair of twin barbies and some male doll from the dollhouse set - hers went out and smoked and partied, mine cured her lung cancer. By turning her lungs inside out, and scraping out the tar. I could not understand why people were not doing this in real life.

But anyway, the thing is, is that we were exposed as children to people doing mechanic-y type things. We were friends with another family with a persian father and american mother, more than friends, it was like we were one very large extended family. We saw each other almost every day, the children slept over at either one house or the other, and so long as they were all accounted for at the end of the night all was well. And the father there, let's call him MechanicUncle, he was always working on cars with the oldest of his two sons. There were two fixer cars in the garage, one fixer car in the courtyard of the house, and two fixer cars in the driveway, along with the one working van. MechanicUncle was in no rush about these things, he'd go to the junkyards and get parts when they were available, and do without if they were not. For years, my entire childhood, I was around him and his kids as they worked on fixing up, selling, stripping down, and otherwise tinkering around with old cars.

Looking back now, I think it was the often gruff demeanor of MechanicUncle that kept me from asking what he was doing with all those cars, and could he show me. He worked long hours, and was in an unhappy marriage but didn't want to get a divorce, because the children were so young, and then of course they kept having more and more. They ended up with six children, two from CraftyAunt's previous marriage, and four together. CraftyAunt later on did end up divorcing MechanicUncle, and we've lost track of her, though my dad keeps in touch with MechanicUncle, and we visit him and his restaurant (best damn gyros in town!) every time we go into Houston and it's not just a hit-and-run kind of visit. But yeah, it never occurred to any of us to see if the girl children would be interested in fixing up the cars with their dad, and I think that's a shame. The youngest girl was always a tomboy, wanted to do everything her brothers were doing, and I don't know if she kept up with that as she was growing up - I don't think I've seen the kids since Mom and Dad divorced, and that was about ten years ago.

I should call him up, and see if any of his kids needs a bike.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Can Has Bike?

So we went to the semi-annual Bike Sale here on campus - all of the bikes that are left in places for a long time are scooped up by the Surplus people, and if they're not claimed in a year, into the sale they go. Any bike, $20. So, of course, considering that my last two bikes have been stolen, I'm perfectly down with getting a cheap-o bike when the situation presents itself.

I ended up getting a vintage AMF Roadmaster Nimble, a lady's bike from the 60s or 70s. She is pretty and maroon, possibly older than my mom. I will call her Sheila.

While I was there, I picked up a newer mountain bike for PrimaryBrother, 'cause, you know, his truck is dead, and he lives in a big city now on his own. Plus, christmas present for $20, plus a little fixing up. I know he'll appreciate it.

I am totally enamoured of this bike I got - I went and looked up all the different things I'm going to need to do to fix her up - tube replacement, wheel centering, fixing the very old brakes that don't work at all, polishing the chrome up all nice and pretty. She's sooooo nice. I walked her home, since the front wheel needs a new tube, and the urge to start riding was crazy. I haven't had a bike in about a year and a half now, and I think that's the longest I've ever gone since I started riding. I'm thinking once I get Sheila up and running, and with a good lock, I'm going to start biking to and from work in the mornings. God knows I could use the exercise, both for my physical and mental health. Plus, fun and good times!

And now I leave you for a bit, to go back to my brushes and my rags, and my big happy soon-to-be-clean new bike.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I just won nanowrimo! I just won nanowrimo! I just won nanowrimo!

It feels good. And you know what else would feel good? Sleep.