Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

A trip to south India

Of course, had we actually gone to south India, we would be much warmer. The high tomorrow is expected to be ten degrees fahrenheit, which I don't think happens too much in Mumbai.

Anyway. Bob took me to dinner at Udipi tonight, because I was sad and depressed and angry that my mother and my daughters were celebrating younger daughter's birthday without me. I was not invited. Bob was off today but had to get a root canal, which is a heck of a way to spend a rare Monday off for him but what has to be done, has to be done. And it's very close to us, just down the road, which is a big bonus.

Udipi is all vegetarian. The protein is found in the beans, lentils, chickpeas, and paneer. I have never left there hungry and I'm a pretty dedicated carnivore. So don't let the lack of meat dissuade you.

We started off with the assorted appetizer platter which was delicious and gone in record time. I even ate one of the chili peppers, which I don't usually but I needed something spicy to drive away the coldness in my heart today. We also got a puffy bread, batura, without the chickpea dip because we were already loading the table up pretty good.

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Honestly get some powdered sugar on there and you'd have the next big taste sensation at local fairs. It's fabulous.

Bob got a paneer curry, I can't remember what it was called and neither can he, but it was delicious.

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The rice is cooked to perfection. Just salty enough. The curry was sweet and spicy and contained delicious fresh paneer in big chunks, vegetables, and sultanas.

I caved to habit in my time of crisis and got paneer dosa, my favorite thing there.

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The sauces were all very good, as usual. My favorite is the tamarind curry sauce that came with the appetizer, and the pachada raita, a yogurt dish with vegetables that you can get as a side dish. It comes with some foods, like Bob's curry.

Honestly I can't recommend this place enough. The food is sensational. The decor is basic, as is the service, but they're working on improving things there. Even if you just swing by for takeout, it's totally worth finding it.

Udipi is currently closed on Tuesdays, and using a credit card has a $15 minimum.

Udipi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Insomnia mittens

We are not having the best week here at Chez Buttercup. My pain levels have been off the charts. I'm having trouble sleeping. Bob found out they are ending his job and starting a new one with a lower rate of pay, that he will have to apply for along with everyone else, then he broke a crown, then broke a rivet on his new jeans. At least the jeans can be exchanged. I woke up at 530 this morning, just after my normal "get up for work" time and could not go back to sleep, so I got the wheel and a bag of batts out and did some spinning.

Remember these batts?
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I got them from the Indie Knit and Spin show back in November. I thought they'd be a nice relaxing chunky funky project and I was right. Once I figured out how to spin chunky on my wheel again, that is. That was a departure for me. I had to put the big whorl on and adjust stuff over and over until I got it working but once I did, that five ounces went through like water.

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I ended up with about 130 yards of a squishy two ply. And of course, me being me, I had to knit it up right away into mittens.

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I had hoped to get mittens and a hat out of it but I think I'm going to have to finish the hat with a different yarn. I have it started but there's enough left for a largish brim and that's about it. It'll be fine though, I have a couple of yarns in mind that will make a nice main hat body.

Mittens are a great project for using fun funky chunky handspun. This is the third time I've made this type of mitten and I love them all. In fact I am sad I lost one of my psychedelic clown barf mittens because those were my favorites. I'm still hoping it'll turn up. That might be a good project for next year's holiday gifting though, chunky hat and mitten sets from some of these cool batts and mix and match fiber I have around here.

I didn't really use a pattern for the mittens, just cast on 18 and knitted 1x1 rib in the round for about an inch and a half on size eleven circulars, then increased 4 and knitted to where the thumb goes, knitted two, cast off three, knitted around and when I got back to where I cast off, I cast on three using the backward loop, then continued. After finishing the mitten (decrease to five stitches on each side then grafted), I picked up eight stitches on the thumbhole and knitted the thumb. The whole project took less than two hours.

This is definitely the fastest I've gone from fiber to finished object-about eight hours in all including a break to cook breakfast.

I also spun this, last weekend in fact but didn't blog about it yet.

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It was a roving from Tintagel Farms, merino, alpaca, mohair blend with a wee bit of sparkle. I did a three ply worsted and had close to twelve ounces, but only got about 430 yards out of it. Disappointing, I was hoping to make enough to get a short sleeved sweater. Had I known I would have gone for fingering weight because that would have been produced enough yardage. You live and learn, I guess.

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The yarn is quite pretty, I think.

My daughter's sweater is moving along. It's in the endless stockinette phase now so there's really nothing new to show. I don't think I'll have any trouble getting it finished in time for her birthday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Trouble With Tony: a latecomer's thoughts on a classic show

I am the last person in the world to see "The Sopranos", HBO's six year mega multi award winning mob series. I have an app on my phone that shows HBO movies and series and it helps me stay out of the internet rabbit hole at work if I have a distraction, so I decided to find out what all the fuss is about.

There's a lot to like. The basic premise is compelling. A mob boss seeks therapy to deal with anxiety. His family is just like any affluent American family, but with extortion, drug dealing, and murder mixed in. His kids are smart asses. He cheats on his wife. He has barbecues and presides over the grill with a smile and a chain of hot sausage ready to go. Much of the writing is amazing and some of the scenes are unforgettable in humor and heartbreak, sometimes at the same time.



Christopher's intervention, one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV.



Uncle Junior breaks Tony's heart. I literally had tears rolling down my face after this.

You kind of have to know the characters to appreciate these to the fullest but the thought is there even if you've never seen the show. There were some very talented people working on this, but despite that there are some huge problems with the show.

I grew up in a relatively close-knit Italian family, so I was prepared for the racism, the misogyny, the homophobia. From the characters. And it's there, no mistake. The kind of thing I grew up with. Things you can blame on ignorance or upbringing. Things you can kinda understand. But that's not all. The underlying racism is appalling. Racism written into the script. Not the characters. All the black characters being hood types, drug dealers, thieves, stupid, vain, crack whores. There are maybe one or two non-hoodlum stereotype black characters on the first five and a half seasons. And those are thin attractive women. There is a black preacher who is running a scam ripping off his own neighborhood. A community organizer ripping off HUD and the people he is supposed to be serving. And countless junkies, thieves, and the like, talking in cliches, dressing in stereotypes, and behaving like the worst nightmares of white america. I understand the gangsters see black america this way but the writers make a conscious choice to portray this as reality within the show, and it's really not OK.

It got to the point for me that I got seriously pissed off and it's only my own stubborn streak that has me willing to finish the show. I'm almost to the end and I want to see how it ends now.

Most of the female characters are not especially nuanced either. There is a general lack of diversity and quite a bit of tokenism. (Ginny Sack? Check.) The homophobia is frightening and sad but the gay characters on the show are likewise heavily stereotyped.

So I'm going to finish it because I've come too far, but it's really sad that something so insulting to African Americans, women, and GLBT folks goes down in history as one of the all time great shows.

Just to finish on a good note, Dominic Chianese singing, in another beautiful scene.




Translation- Core 'Ngrato
Ungrateful Heart

Caterina, Caterina, why do you say those bitter words?
Why do you speak and torment my heart, Caterina?
Don't forget, I gave you my heart, Caterina,
don't forget.

Caterina, Caterina, why do you come and say those words that hurt me so much?
You don't think of my pain,
you don't think, you don't care.

Ungrateful heart,
you have stolen my life.
Everything is finished
and you don't care any more!

CatarĂ­', CatarĂ­'
you do not know that even in church
I bring my prayers to God, Catari.
And I recount my confession to the priest: "I am suffering
from such a great love."

I'm suffering,
I'm suffering from not knowing your love,
I'm suffering a sorrow that tortures my soul.
And I confess, that the Holy Mother
spoke to me: "My son, let it be, let it be."

Friday, January 11, 2013

I don't understand people

This has been an interesting week. I am one of a team of moderators for the feminist group on Ravelry and we had a disturbance. A long-time member of the group was proven to be using two sock puppets (fake accounts) to weave a long, convoluted drama about all sorts of horrible things happening to one of the fake accounts. The whole sordid tale got a lot of attention and sympathy on another group and when the perpetrator was finally shut down there, she tried to take it to the feminist group, who were alerted to possible shenanigans. The shenanigans were then proven to have taken place by the tech admins of the site who confirmed all three accounts were coming from the same computer. This is a person who has been on the site over five years. She spun this story over a couple of years in a way that even though the details started to get very strange and the whole thing started to smell, a lot of folks were loath to believe it was all made up because they had so much invested emotionally. It's pretty sick. I don't understand what makes a person do such things. She plead mental illness of course, citing "depression or DID" but that's bullshit. It was attention whoring at its worst, no doubt some form of mental issue but that is no excuse for hurting people to the degree she did.

Sunday we celebrated birthdays.
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I made lasagna and we had a good cake. I felt bad though because I kinda got sucky presents for both my mom and Bob because I was broke.

I'm knitting.
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That's another Warriston sweater, this one for my elder daughter.

And a pair of socks.
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For me, an improvised pattern of double eyelet rib and 1x1 ribbing. It's been slow going this week though because my hands have been really bad. I am not sure if it's the weather, the stress, the neuropathy, or something else entirely but I have been so sleepy and freezing cold-my hands especially. I feel like I can't get enough rest but when I lay down, I can't get comfortable. Add to that I've had terrible stomach trouble all week due to stupidly letting myself run out of probiotics and you have a recipe for fun.

I'm also having somewhat of a problem communicating with my younger daughter. I hope we can work it out. It's not been going very well lately.

Anyway, here's a kitten, and I'll update again when I can type more comfortably.
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I love the way he lets his tongue stick out a little.