Monday, June 25, 2007

Grammar Geek

I just joined SPOGG--the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.

And found out that I am a semi-colon (which does, in fact, happen to be my favorite punctuation mark. The fact that I have a favorite punctuation mark isn't something we need to talk about.).

Your Score: Semicolon

You scored 30% Sociability and 76% Sophistication!

Congratulations! You are the semicolon! You are the highest expression of punctuation; no one has more of a right to be proud. In the hands of a master, you will purr, sneering at commas, dismissing periods as beneath your contempt. You separate and connect at the same time, and no one does it better. The novice will find you difficult to come to terms with, but you need no one. You are secure in your elegance, knowing that you, and only you, have the power to mark the skill or incompetence of the craftsman.

You have no natural enemies; all fear you.

And never, NEVER let anyone tell you that you cannot appear in dialogue!

Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Many Melons

Melon scarf, from Victorian Lace Today. The yarn is Valley Yarn Alpaca/Silk, hand-dyed by the Kangaroo Dyer, in Camilla Pink. Cast on over the weekend, so I'd have some car knitting. The pattern is pretty easy--a 6-row repeat that's easy-peasy to remember. I've done about 45 out of 70 repeats so far.

I've also finished the center panel for the Stripes and Torchon lace scarf that will be my SIL's Christmas present, and made some progress on the Monkey socks.

The main impediment to knitting seems to be Ravelry--I'm spending way too much time there! I've volunteered to edit several books, in part so I feel like I'm at least doing something vaguely productive, rather than simply drooling over other people's projects.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gratuitous Shawl Photos

The Posh yarn is so yummy I couldn't resist!

Friday, June 15, 2007

95% pure nerd

Your Score: Pure Nerd

95 % Nerd, 21% Geek, 30% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Do I set my Monkey free?*

I was visiting the fam and got rolling on my Sockapalooza socks:

The yarn (Lorna's Laces in Icehouse) is knitting up beautifully--no pooling or spiraling to speak of.

Monkey #1: done to the toe. I didn't have my pal's measurements with me, and wanted to double check before I started on the toe, to make sure the foot is the right length.

Monkey #2: cast on and the ribbing is started. I (with the rest of the blogosphere!) really, really, really like this pattern.

But that leads me to my dilemma: my pal has, it seems, also gotten bitten by the Monkey bug, a fact that I didn't learn until I was pretty committed to the pattern. I'm wondering if I shouldn't make a different pair of socks for my pal, and keep the Monkeys for me (which has nothing-what-so-ever to do with the fact that I love love love these socks.)

What would you do? I'm going to finish the socks, but should I
  • A. send them to my pal when I know that she's made a pair of Monkeys already and pat myself on the back for anticipating her tastes so well, or
  • B. keep them for myself (or maybe as a "hurray! one Christmas present done! kind of a thing) and make an entirely new pair for her?

*I have George Michaels stuck in my head every time I pick these socks up!

110 down, 10 to go

120 diamonds in the center panel of the Stripes and Torchon scarf I'm making for my SIL for Christmas.

110 down.

10 more to go.

Plus the border, of course, but I'm ignoring that for the moment.

ETA: the knitting maths, they kill me every time. 110+10=120, not 130. *sigh*

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Sign of the Times

Or maybe just a sign that I'm behind the times:

BB4N, is, I think "bye-bye for now."


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

a writing meme

The Paper Chase has this done on her website, altered from a fiction writer’s meme to one for academic writers. I thought it might be interesting to do, as I’m making little-to-no progress on my dissertation revisions at the moment. It has, in fact, made me look at my own process and come up with some strategies for improving it.

1. Do you outline? Some, although it rarely looks like a typical outline—I tend to use bubble charts. I do like to outline once I've got a draft done--it gives me a good snapshot of the project and organization. Even in grade school, I was terrible at outlines. I used to get "A"s on my outlines, because I'd write the paper first, outline it, and then be told I'd done an excellent job following my outline.

2. Do you write straight through a article/project, or do you sometimes tackle the chapters out of order? Out of order—I rarely write the intro until I’m almost done with the rest of it.

3. Do you know how a project is going to end when you start it? Not precisely, although I have a general idea.

4. Where do you write? At the library, at my desk, at my dining room table, at Panera. Actually, I get more grading than writing done at Panera. A library (any library—what I need is the quiet & the sense that someone will see me if I start goofing off, even if it’s not true) is the most productive.

5. What do you do when you get writer's block? Play minesweeper? (Lately, this has been "Play on Ravelry" instead.) I try to move to a different part of the piece—if I’m stuck on the intro, I work on the conclusion, etc.

6. What size increments do you write in (either in terms of wordcount, or as a percentage of the project as a whole)? I never really thought about it in those terms. I tend to spend chunks of time working; this question is making me wonder if I’d be better off to set word goals, instead of spending x amount of time. I can spend a lot of time working on the same sentence or paragraph; in draft stage, particularly, setting a word goal might help me stop obsessing on a micro level.

7. How many different drafts did you write for your last project? I revise recursively as I write. So by the time I send a draft in it’s at a reasonable stage, although I generally write and rewrite that draft multiple times in the process of arriving at the end.

8. Do you let anyone read your project while you're working on it, or do you wait until you've completed a draft before letting someone else see it? I discuss it with my husband, who is also an academic, albeit in a different field. I also talk to one of my close friends from grad school, who’s terrific for bouncing ideas. G sometimes reads things, but he's not in my field, so it's hard for him to be really critical. Plus, he loves me and thinks I'm great. :)

9. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft? Watch bad television. Knit. Have a glass of wine.

10. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once? Generally, one or two.

11. Do your projects grow or shrink in revision? Both. Add some, take some out. Add some, take some out. And then, just for variety, take some out, add some. Grow more than shrink, on the whole.

12. Do you have any writing or critique partners? Critiquing, yes—my friend from grad school. The DH is also willing to read & offer comments, but as our areas are so different, his comments are not always what I need.

13 Do you prefer drafting or revising? Drafting, when the ideas are new and fresh and love is in the air.

14. What are your favorite writing books? Strunk & White. I also like books like Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, which I find highly entertaining.

15. Morning writer, evening writer, or doesn't matter? I am better off if I get started first thing in the morning—if I wait until the afternoon to get started, I tend to keep finding other things to do.

16. How do you handle reviews? Open 'em up and brave 'em, or wait? I open them. The worst thing they can do is reject me. . .

17. How do you handle rejection? And I can handle that. I prefer it when they don’t, or, if they do, if they at least tell me why they’re rejecting it—concrete feedback makes rejection easier to deal with. Wine and chocolate help, too.

18. Do you prefer to work on writing by yourself? Or do you prefer collaborating? I’ve never tried collaborating with anyone, so I can’t really comment. I do like working with students on their writing, though.

19. Able to work on airplanes? No, not really. Hotels are good, though.

20. Have you ever abandoned a book or an article that you had finished? When? Why? Not yet. But it’s still early days.

21. What writing advice do you really believe in? Ernest Hemingway’s “First drafts are sh*t.” Unfortunately, the advice—or at least bon mot—that I seem to follow the most closely is Oscar Wilde’s “I have spent all morning putting in a comma, and all afternoon taking it out.”

Friday, June 1, 2007

Standing in an Ocean, Waving a Stick*

When G & I first started dating, he did a lot of trout fishing. We started dating in September, and one of his annual traditions was to catch his first fish of the year on the first day of the year.

When I went and stood in a stream (not waving a stick--he was using a spinning rod, and I didn't have a license) that January with him, my mom said she knew it must be love.

Since then, we've been on lots of fishing trips, and I have tons of good fish stories (including one about how he asked me to marry him). For our most recent, we went fly fishing for strippers on Cape Cod on what is now yesterday morning--loads of fun, and I like fishing enough that I have my own waders, boots, and other equipment, but I still haven't quite gotten used to the unreasonable hours.

We left Friday morning at 12:30 a.m.

Drove three hours.

Put the waders on.

And got in the water. At 3:30 a.m. To go fly fishing.

Which we did for six hours.

G was, as usual, more successful than I was, but I managed to catch a reasonable number of fish--eight or nine. For my second-ever fly-fishing trip, I think I did a decent job. My casts certainly got better as the morning wore on.

I even took them off the hook all by myself.

We got back to the car at around 10:30, found some breakfast, and then drove back with the radio on loudly, to keep ourselves awake.

And then we collapsed, having not slept since Thursday (I did nap in the car, but since I wasn't driving, it worked out ok).

G's fish were bigger than mine. Also more numerous. The guide we went with was excellent, which absolutely makes-or-breaks the trip. Knowledgeable, generous with that knowledge, and he worked hard to makes sure we got to catch some fish.

That's me in the background. And the sun rising behind me. Pretty, but very early!

All the fish we caught we released--we didn't catch any keepers, but wouldn't have kept them even if we had. Right now, our freezer is too full of cod for anything else!

And besides, G's heading out for more stripers tomorrow--same guide, but different fishing partner. We're waiting for his buddy right now, which is the reason I'm still up at 12:30 a.m. (That, and the 6 hour nap I took when we got back.) Thank goodness, because there's no way I could manage that two days in a row.

*with apologies to John Geirach