sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 14, 2012


ten on tuesday: favorite childhood tv shows
posted by soe 10:08 pm

Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic is:

10 Favorite TV Shows from my Childhood

This was harder than I thought it was going to be, because I kept thinking of shows I liked. Interestingly, I also thought of shows my brother really liked. Ultimately, I picked ten shows that I watched first-run and that aired before I turned ten, since that age seemed to herald a different type of tv watching for me.

  1. Sesame Street: I am an old-school Sesame Street aficionado. No Elmo for me, and Mr. Hooper’s store belongs to Mr. Hooper and is run by David when Mr. Hooper’s not around. Oh, and grown ups can’t see Mr. Snuffleupagus. (Incidentally, I have photos of myself with Gordon and with Susan as a kid. I also have a picture taken with the woman who plays Maria, but we’re both adults in it. At the moment, I can’t put my hands on any of them.)
  2. The Muppet Show: This was the first nighttime show I ever watched. So many songs from the 1960s and 1970s are set to animal puppets in my head. Plus, “Pigs in Space” and the animal hospital sketches.
  3. Davey and Goliath: This was a religiously themed, claymation, stop-motion tv show that aired on Sunday mornings featuring a boy named Davey and his faithful and wise dog, Goliath. “Oh, Davey!”
  4. Super Friends: My favorite Saturday morning cartoon show growing up. I was particularly fond of the Wonder Twins and their purple monkey, Gleek. “Form of an ice dam!” “Shape of a mountain lion!”
  5. Fame: I loved it from the very beginning with Doris, Danny, and Bruno through Nia and Jesse to Carrie and Reggie. I used to record the songs off the tv onto a tape, and I can still sing a lot of them.
  6. Little House on the Prairie: I loved the books and then I loved the tv show. I started watching it in the afternoon during syndication and then kept watching all the way through the made-for-tv movies when Albert died and when they blew up the buildings. I liked best the shows where they’re back in Walnut Grove and Laura and Albert are teenagers, but I also particularly like the Christmas special where they’re grown and reminiscing about their favorite holiday memories. I think Pa Ingalls was the 1980s version of Judge Hardy or Jim Anderson.
  7. CHiPs: Ponch and Jon. Motorcycles. Spectacular crashes where no one ever really got hurt. Lessons learned. The beach. So much fun.
  8. The Dukes of Hazzard: Uncle Jesse, cousins Luke, Bo, and Daisy, and nemesis Boss Hogg. It’s so easy to forget in the fun of watching the General Lee fly over an embankment and land safely on the other side, that really the Dukes were breaking the law, delivering moonshine. I’m unclear now as to why they were doing that in modern times, but whatever. All you really knew was that Boss Hogg was corrupt and Roscoe was corrupt and the other two deputies were inept and clearly the Dukes were always in the right because they were against all that corruption. Plus they had the cool car and got all the girls, so obviously they were the good guys.
  9. and The A Team: Another fight the man show. This time our protagonists were ex-soldiers who’d been set up as war criminals and they had to find a way to clear their names, evade the authorities, and fight for the good of the American people (in a more individual sense now than when they were in uniform). A clear predecessor to one of my favorite current shows, Leverage, each person had their own role: Hannibal was the brains, Face set the con, Murdoch flew the helicopter and drove the van, and did a number of crazy things that suggested his undercover role as a mental hospital patient might not be such a challenge, and B.A. was the muscle (who was afraid of flying).
  10. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: He had his very own Land of Make Believe, people! And miniature sculptures of them. And Trolley. And a stop light in his living room. And Picture Picture. And Mr. McFeeley (with whom I also have a photo) stopping by for a speedy delivery. And it seems like in real life he really was that good of a guy. I stopped watching the show for a long time, thinking I had outgrown it. But then when I graduated from college and started working, I’d watch him in the morning before going to work because he just set the right tone for the day.

If I weren’t sticking with shows I watched first-run, M*A*S*H would definitely have made the list, since I’m pretty sure I have seen every episode of every season it was ever on, but I’ve seen the entire series in syndication.

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surprise ravellenic games success
posted by soe 2:45 am

I wrote yesterday about how I had failed to finish my Color Affection shawl in time to qualify for the Ravellenic Games. What I failed to mention was that the knitting I did during the Olympic Games was not without its fruits.

Last year I began a Lace Rims shawl for Mum’s Christmas present, but I ran out of time before I ran out of yarn, which meant that she received a three-quarters-finished shawl under the tree. I brought it back home with me intending to finish it quickly. We all know how these things go, and, while I knit a row or two on it sometime over the winter, basically I let it sit in favor of new projects.

Fast forward to the first week of the Olympics. Color Affection had run into some issues and I thought I needed a 4.5mm needle to fix one of them. The only needle I had in that size was holding Lace Rims, and I thought it made the most sense to polish it off before I got to work on my own shawl.

First, there was the mishap of figuring out where I was in the pattern. Forgetting each row ends with an additional knit stitch caused a few hiccups, resulting in some ripping.

The yarn is Wolle’s Yarn Creations Color Changing Cotton 6-Ply (in, I believe, Misty Lagoon). It consists of six unplied strands of cotton that change from light to medium to dark over the course of 320 yards. Only one strand changes at a time, but when it does, it’s knotted to the next color.

I knew I was short on yarn and that I did not have quite enough to complete the pattern repeats as written. However, when I reached the end of the last full repeat I knew I could fit in before the border, one strand was still in the medium green, and I still had a bunch of yarn left.

I really wanted the border to be all one color.

So I did what any dedicated knitter would have done. I unwound the remaining yarn in the ball, measured off the yardage the pattern said I needed for the border, and looked at what I had left. There was still quite a bit of yarn left — enough, I thought, for two more rows, which would get me past the final knot and into the dark green on all six strands.

You can already see where this is going, right?

This was not my first knitting project, so I could see the potential for disaster, too, and so I decided to hedge my bet by putting in a lifeline (essentially, a long piece of yarn run through a row of stitches, particularly in lace work) before those two final rows.

Thank goodness I did, because this is how close I got to the end of the bind-off before I ran out of yarn:

Lace Rims Border Fail

So, back I ripped to the lifeline. I put it back on a (smaller) needle and began the bind-off from there (eight rows shorter than the pattern calls for).

Let me pause here to mention again that this yarn is unplied. When knitting with it, it was fine. Occasionally I’d bisect the strands instead of going through the stitch, but really not a significant amount more than when normal.

Crocheting with the yarn, however, is another ballgame entirely, particularly when I reached the part in each scallop where you had to pull the stitch through four loops at once. Not fun. Not an enjoyable process.

But eventually I did succeed:

Lace Rims

A completed shawlette:

Lace Rims Shawlette

It does look pretty, particularly with the beads in the border. I opted for two colors, a dark green that matched the yarn at the end of the skein and a lighter, sparkly one that matched the beginning of the skein.

Lace Rims Edging

The shawl qualified for the Ravellenic Games knitalong in the WIPs (works in progress) wrestling category.

Lace Rims, Sideways View

But, more importantly, Mum finally got her Christmas present back:

Lace Rims, Modeled by Mum


(Thanks to Mum, who took several of these photos for me and emailed them this afternoon, when I realized I didn’t have any of the shawl as a whole.)

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August 13, 2012


ravellenic affection status: fail
posted by soe 2:22 am

Ten Olympic Nails

The Olympic Games ended earlier this evening with a fun, music-filled closing ceremony. I have spent way more time in the past two weeks parked in front of the tv than I should have. I watched a lot of sports, from swimming to track & field, from volleyball to basketball, from rhythmic gymnastics to water polo. And I did a lot of knitting on my Ravellenic Games project.

The evidence:

Color Affection at the Close of the Olympics

That would be my Color Affection Shawl.

I’ll be ripping out quite a bit of it starting tomorrow.

Bunchy Edge

See that bunchy edge? It’s not supposed to look like that.

The culprit would be the yarn I’m carrying up the side for the color changes. Even though I was trying really hard not to make it too tight, clearly I did.

The Problem

I had deluded myself this was something I might be able to solve during the blocking process, but early this morning I realized that what was more likely to happen is that I’d catch the edge of the finished shawl on something and it would snap, leaving me with a big problem.

So, I’m sucking it up and ripping it back to at least the beginning of the three-color section. The two-color section is also tighter than I’d like it to be, but I still feel like that part might be remedied by blocking.

I’ll get my shawl yet, just not today.

Category: knitting,sports. There is/are 6 Comments.

August 10, 2012


assistance, sky, and tea
posted by soe 12:27 am

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to look back on three beautiful things from my past week:

1. I messed up and missed my flight. The customer service people at the Southwest ticket counter quickly and cheerfully came to my rescue and got me on the next flight.

2. A storm cleared out the humidity, resulting in lovely flying conditions. Little planes cross below us, towns and forests resemble the tilt-shift effect of the opening montage of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and puffy clouds offer the appearance of a sky glacier.

3. Julia and I meet for tea. It looks stormy to our north, but the weather clears without rain, offering a cool, dry evening to sit outside and chat.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world this week?

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August 9, 2012


npr’s top 100 teen books
posted by soe 2:17 am

As I mentioned last week, NPR recently polled its audience for their favorite YA books. This week they released their final list. As always when the public is allowed to vote on a list like this, publication proximity tends to bump up a bunch of books that will fade down or off the list in a few years’ time.

I have bolded those novels I’ve read (I’m bolding series, even if I’ve only finished one book of it):

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

2. The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins

3. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

4. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

7. The Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien

8. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

9. Looking for Alaska, by John Green

10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

(more…)

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August 8, 2012


into the stacks: the true confessions of charlotte doyle
posted by soe 2:42 am

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi

From the jacket: “The Seahawk looms against a darkening sky, black and sinister. Manned by an angry, motley crew at the mercy of a ruthless captain, the rat-infested ship reeks of squalor, despair … and mutiny! It is no place for the lone passenger, thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle, yet for her there is no turning back. At first a trapped and powerless young girl, Charlotte dares to become the center of a daring and deadly voyage that will challenge her courage, her loyalties, and her very will to survive!”

My take: As you might guess from all! the! exclamation points! on the book jacket, this book is aimed at kids. And I suspect that younger readers, particularly those old enough to have watched Pirates of the Caribbean or The Pirates! Band of Misfits, will enjoy the book quite a bit.

It’s the story of 13-year-old Charlotte, who is following her family’s return from England to Providence, Rhode Island, during the summer of 1832. Her parents deemed it best that she not interrupt her school year for the boat crossing, so she was told to remain at school and she would be escorted home on one of her father’s company’s boats by two families of similar stature. Only, when Charlotte arrives at the boat, the other families aren’t there, the very name of the ship’s captain causes porters to disappear, and no one seems particularly eager to see her. In fact, a crew member arrives at her cabin door to suggest she ought to postpone her trip and another, Zachariah, provides her with a knife to defend herself, should it be necessary.

When Charlotte’s sheltered upbringing results in her inadvertently causing the death of a man, she must find a way to atone and to put to right as many of her missteps as possible.

I suggest that a younger audience is probably the right one for this book in part because when you, as an adult, read that a young woman finds herself alone on a boat with rough sailors and that she might be in need of a knife, I suspect your mind might make a leap as to why she might need it. Author Avi does not make that leap with you. Charlotte’s life might be imperiled, but her “virtue” never is.

Younger readers also will have fewer troubles with some of the other plot points that stress the fictional aspect of historical fiction and with the rushed end to the book.

Yet despite all that, Charlotte does have some rollicking adventures. Kids who have enjoyed the Little House books will probably find Charlotte a compelling and empowering heroine. And while I was never a Treasure Island fan, this would seem to be a good companion novel for someone reading that title. Captain Jaggery is no Long John Silver, but he’s no Jack Sparrow either.

All in all a decent, quick read.

Pages: 229

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