Sunday, October 18, 2009

Potpourri on a Sunday

Mrs Twisted gave me the option to pick what I wanted for my birthday this year and here is what I picked. The Kindle 2 from Amazon. It arrived Saturday and it looks like we will become good Friends. I know we will still go to the library and even buy books, but I can see a lot of time reading what I already have loaded on this amazing piece of wireless technology.

No the hand didn't come with it but Amazon took a better picture than I did.

I've tried most of the features and the screen is so clear it seems like you are reading from a page in a book. The Whispernet works everywhere you can get a cell signal. I downloaded a book while we were at the beach this afternoon in less than 30 seconds. Most of the classics are free or near free because of being public domain. I've tried some of the other e-book sites and some 3rd party software to format it so it's Kindle compatible. I was happy to find a Kindle group on Ravelry along with an E-book group where lots of info is shared.

Saturday morning I participated in a charity ride for fallen Police officers. A guy I work with mentioned it a month or so ago and I thought why not... The proceeds of the ride went to the families of two officers killed in the line of duty. The station is in East L.A where there is a lot of gang activity. We started in Fullerton and rode West towards Los Angeles in a pack of 500 plus motorcycles. Some of the officers who participated in the ride just came off duty and the crowd looked a little rough but they were all here to support the families.

Since the police were in charge of the ride we had the best traffic control. The Fullerton fire department blocked the intersections and we queued up the on-ramp until we were all ready to go and the CHP had the traffic block in place on the 91 East. For those of you who have traveled on the freeways in Los Angeles you know about how much traffic was have. This was like the freeway was closed and we had a police escort. The 30 miles on the two freeways were amazing since we had every on-ramp blocked and the interchange controlled. When we arrived in East LA, the streets were blocked and the residents came out and waved like it was a parade. Towards the end of the ride we paused for a few minutes while some dignitary spoke and thanked us for giving to the officers that protect their neighborhoods. The local businesses provided some raffle prizes for the riders and we even had a local newscaster who gave it some publicity by riding with one of the station captains.
We ended the ride at a local steak house for a free lunch and live band. I'm planning on next year already.

I did some fiber dying a week or so ago and plan to do some more, maybe later this week. Some of my friends are getting project amounts of Cormo to spin when I finish the dye work.

This is the first batch that turned out pretty good. The next will be a little darker and less vibrant per the recipients request.
Hope you all have a great week

Life is Good

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spinning and the birth of the French Dip

A little spinning was happening this weekend.

Some BFL that I purchased a few months ago.
I'm spinning it woolen so it may look a little uneven but it's just extra soft.
Here is what it looked like in roving form.

Last Friday I joined a plurk post card swap because it's working out better for me than the other swaps or I guess I should say most of the other swaps. I did have a few really good swaps but a few real stinkers too.

Saturday we went to Philippe's in downtown Los Angeles for the first time. I know a native of Southern California should have eaten here before but I hadn't. The hype was all true. This was where the French Dip sandwich was born. We saw the segment on Huell Houser and decided on the visit. If you get the chance, try the roast lamb, mmmmmm good.

I hope you all have a great week.

Life is Good

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I've never done " "

I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Today's entry was inspired by a show I sort of have on in the background each morning before I go to work. They were talking about things they have never done but most people their age had. It was surprising to hear that someone had never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or never had a cup of coffee. Some of these things I just took for granted, like driving a stick shift car and riding a bicycle. Yes those are things that some of the people on this show had never done.

So it made me think of the things I've never done in my life. Let me qualify this by saying just because I haven't done the things on this list doesn't mean I want to.

  • I've never gone skiing. Most people in this area learn to ski in their teens when they go to the mountains during High School breaks. By the time I was old enough to go skiing, my feet were too large to easily get ski rental boots.

  • I've never smoked a cigarette. Coming from a non-smoking house I was quite against it because it was so foreign to me.

  • Never went to a bar and had a shot. Never uttered the words "bartender, I'll have shot of (insert any hard liqueur) As most of my friends know I'm not a drinker of alcoholic beverages because of taste really. The whole "I'll have a martini" or so many drinks that sounded to cool to order in movies are better in theory.

  • Never sang Karaoke probably because of the previous statement. I'm sure many of you also have never sang Karaoke either but probably because of other reasons.

    Do you have anything like this in your life history? Something you just never did?
Earlier today I rode the bike over to a Monthly event that I just found about a few weeks ago. While looking at musical instruments on Craigslist I saw an advert for a monthly musicians swap meet for Los Angeles and Orange County. Not knowing what to expect but hoping for the best I was pleasently surprised. I didn't buy anything but it was fun to look around at all the equipment.

One last note, our quaint little town just opened the new Library and to replace the original one that was outgrown. I know we will be going there a lot in the future just because of the open space and increased facilities at our disposal.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm back after a long break from the blog

I know I've been gone for a little while and many of you have sent me e-mails. Thanks for the wishes and I really appreciate the good thoughts. Everything is good here at Casa De Twisted.

I'll try to keep the updates brief and go forward from here.

A few weeks ago my son came to visit on his own and took his first flight. I know you are all thinking what's the big deal but normally I have to go see them and now he is growing up and now he is coming here. My oldest Brother hosted a little BBQ in his back yard and for once in 5 years we were all together(my dad & the 3 brothers and my Son). I know the family should get together more often but it's easier said than done. I talked to my oldest brother and mentioned he was coming and in a few days it went from just us to a whole full blown family get together.

I thought I would share this one too because it reminded us of the cell phone advertisement with the bars in line. This is my oldest brother and his wife. Just for a frame of reference, my brother is six feet tall. My Brother and I have connected again and it was so nice to see him open up and bond with My son. I won't bore you with rest of the family pictures that are meaningless to everyone outside our little family.
One of the places he wanted to visit while he was here was Amoeba in Hollywood. Some of you may be familiar but for those of you not it's a wonderful place to find used CDs of any genre. Between the three of us we came home with 23 new to us CDs. Another surprise was how he has grown in his taste for a wide variety of music. He made his music loving Dad proud.

We had a wonderful time while he was here and already planning for the next visit.

Yesterday at lunch I finished another book that had me on the fence until the end. My lunch hour is like my mini escape from work where I lose myself into the book of choice and sometimes with my MP3 player drowning out the noise surrounding me at the lunch place du jour. I know a lot of you are carnivorous readers including Mrs Twisted but I tend to read a little less than most and I've just resolved that my 'lunch" is one of those reserved blocks of time. The book was called "Black Olives" and it reminded me of the movies they used to put on "Lifetime" where the woman was betrayed by her long time man and she didn't get over him like it appeared he got over her. They cross paths 9 months later and she takes you on a sometimes creepy journey where she tells the back story. While I was reading it I would have given it a 3 of 10 but after finishing it it was a 6 of 10. No she didn't button it all up nice and tidy but it sure changed my opinion of the lady in the story. It was a nice change of pace for me and more than once I caught myself talking to the book "No don't go there you silly woman!"

On a fibery note.....
I received two very large boxes in the last month and I will not have to purchase any spinning fiber anytime soon. Seven more fleeces arrived from Morro Fleece Works. Yes that was 7 more Cormo fleeces pin drafted and ready to spin. I just barely put a dent in last years fleeces but now I have plenty spin for sweater quantities. I haven't taken pictures of the fiber because I'm leaving it in the boxes so it won't take over the room. Those of you who buy a bump worth at a time know what I'm talking about. Since we last talked I also bought more dye in various colors to broaden my color pallet so I should have some dye pictures soon.

Another break ended recently . After more than a year, I felt inspired to play guitar again. Even if it's just small steps it feels good to be in a good place with my hobby.

That's enough for now.

Life Is Good

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Lady in Red

Hi there...

I've been in a little fiber funk lately but I think it's only temporary.

The fiber purchases have stopped since I'm not really spinning it right now and the room is full of yarn/fiber and music already but that hasn't stopped us in the past.

A week ago I ended the research and searching for the perfect motorcycle. It's not perfect but I think it was a good find. It's a 2004 Honda VTX 1300. The original owner bought this new in March 2005 and only put 2,477 miles on the bike. We came to find out that he bought this for his wife and they had many many bikes. This wasn't used much so they decided to thin the heard. The price was way way under blue book and less than half the price of a new bike. If you know Honda products, you know they just run forever and this really isn't even broken in yet. It's been about 20 years since owning a bike and it took a little while to get used to the size of this beast. I'm used to a light nimble bike and this thing weighs 700 lbs but the saying "Just like riding a bike" really hold true because I feel quite comfortable now.

For those of you wondering, I'm already enrolled in a state sanctioned motorcycle safety course. I found out the insurance companies really appreciate the fact that you took the class and lower the rates. The class happens over one weekend, classroom work and on the bike training. They provide the bike, helmet and all you need is a pair of boots. I have all the gear but you still ride their bike for the class. the weekend of the 18th is booked and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Many of you know we name everything and so even the bike has a name, Wendie Jo. You may ask why that name. The name is inspired by the late Wendie Jo Sperber, beautiful, strong, confident and sure of herself. Sadly she passed away in November 2005 from a long fight with breast cancer.

We made a little video (with sound) for your enjoyment. Well, I had fun too..

Life is good

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Something Fiber this way comes

Doing lots of fiber buying and not much spinning or knitting lately.

I'll talk about the fiber in a few minutes.

I've been looking at some alternative modes of transportation. I know most of you would be opposed to this but I really miss the way it feels to ride.

I was looking at one of these
The problem is I'm 6'5" and my feet feel like they would drag and the feeling of my feet forward of my hips and shoulders just feels wrong to me. I used to ride motocross when I was younger and I prefer the feeling of my feet below me and not the Barcalounger position that most cruisers put you in.

Next was the research and the realization that buying an Italian sportbike is not a great idea for a daily commuter. The Ducati was hard to pass on but it's the opposite of the barcalounger and close to the head first luge. A few weeks ago I took a little roadtrip and looked at lots of bikes and think I've settled on this.
This is a Buell, the engine has it roots in the Harley but the rest is sport bike. I think it's a lot like buying a spinning wheel or even a car. You need to feel comfortable and it needs to fit you. This fits me and it very comfortable with my body size. I know what you are thinking, they're so dangerous and if this was a BB gun it would be "you'll shoot your eye out".

ok on to safer things. LOL

We attended the hand weavers conference in Riverside this last weekend. A lot of fiber vendors were there so it was like going to Stitches West for fiber with out having to go to Santa Clara.

This came before last weekend but it's been a while since my last post. I also have 28 ounces of black merino and 20 ounces of merino seacel and some merino silk that I won't bore you with the endless pictures. oh on to the endless pictures of what I just bought lol
I'll go in reverse this time. The family shot.
This is softer than I can share with you in pictures. It's 80/20 merino silk. Not my normal colors but I really reaching out of the box. The fiber came from a local source "Susan's Kitchen.
Here are some Batts from the same source.

Here is something that looked just like the name. One of my freinds had a booth with her hand dyed fiber and soaps Lisa. The fiber is merino tensel colorway Pearl
Some more fiber from yet another friend Lori Lawson. This is way out of her box for color selection. Merino tussah and so soft.

and last but not least some dyed fiber from Margie who was in the Capistrano Fiber Arts booth.
ok so I didn't completely go out of the box with color.
Now I need to start spinning it.

Oh my annual Cormo fleece(s) are heading to Morro Bay till June or so. more on that later. So much more to say but I need to head to bed soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

back from a long absence

Hi there everyone. sorry for the long delay between post but life sort of gets in the way sometimes.

I started a new job recently and the hours are a bit earlier than I'm used to but I'm getting used to the 4:00 AM alarm. Sleep is overrated anyway but the weekend has become a most treasured time.

The spinning has been sporadic with some good results lately. I finished the project for the Ravelry group "Ply-by-night". The group is a spin/knit along where we all spin the same roving and then knit the same pattern.

The pictures show the progression of the project. It was spun long draw woolen style about 18 WPI. The pattern is the Morning Surf Scarf but it was knit long ways to show off the color change.

I'm currently spinning some 70/30 merino silk that I purchased from a wonderful lady I met on Plurk. Moonlight Baker has an Etsy shop with some really special fiber that I just couldn't resist.

Next on the queue is some other new fiber I just bought that is not what I would normally buy. Hey, I'm trying to step out of the box a little. Mrs. Twisted loved the colors when I showed her so she will most likely knit something for herself with it.

5.4 ounces of BFL, colorway Eowyn from Dicentra Designs. VERY soft and I think it will be pretty once it's spun.

The doorway should have some more boxes including one from knitpicks in the next week or so. I contacted the farm where my Cormo fleece come from and the shearing is in the next month or so. I'm very happy to have the knowledge that more fiber is coming my way so I can feel free to spin what I have. I know that sounds funny but I didn't want to spin it all if I couldn't get more of the same quality.

So much more to talk about but I'll do it another day.

OK that's enough for now, I'll try to blog a little more often.

Life Is Good

Friday, January 16, 2009

Do you have a nickname?

What Ho everyone. Just a little greeting ala Jeeves & Wooster. We've been loving the British series and it's a little sad because we only have three more episodes till it's over.

One of the fun quirks in the show is how most of the men have a nickname. Do you have a nickname? Most of you who know me don't realize that you know me by my nickname. I don't really care for my given name, but you don't have a choice in the matter.

One of the blogs I read (mostly lurk) has a lot of amusing nicknames and it's like you are enjoying the daily interactions with each of the characters. Trainman, Brother Tightly Wound and Silver Fox are just a few that get mentioned. I know she does this to give some anonymity to them and herself with good reason.

We also have nicknames for some of the people we interact with, usually because we don't know them personally and when we mention them by nickname we know who we are referring to. A lot of this started when we lived in our old apartment. Smokerguy, Tattooguy, Weebles, Skank, Skank's Mom, Matress, Screech, Plumberguy, THEBEASTetc. They all had back stories and reasons for the names, some not so nice but well chosen based on the back story. Since moving to a nicer place, their are fewer "charaters" but we still have "Noseybody", Guido, and a few others.

There are some changes in my life. I have a new job starting soon after months of repeated interviews. I worked in the Aerospace industry off and on for years but with the recent strike at Boeing and other issues it was a good time to look elsewhere. More info to come when I have more to share....

Some of my handspun yarn has made it to a finished object. Mrs. Twisted made a beret recently from some of the 3 ply merino I spun a few months ago. You can see the whole story here and on her blog.

The first bobbin is complete of the previously mentioned superwash for the ply-by-night group. I had a chance to meet with the Tuesday night spinning group and took the operatunity to focus on finishing the first single. I know I have 6 weeks to finish spinning the fiber and knitting the scarf plus I think the Mrs will do some of the knitting on the scarf.

The lace skirt is at 30% complete and slowly moving in the right direction.

This week Mrs Twisted's sister called from the cold mountains of Vermont and asked to come visit. They're having -20 nights and single digit daytime highs while we're having unseasonably warm 80 deg temps. This is her first trip to So Ca from what I understand and all she wants is some warm weather. She hopes to be here in a couple weeks, needless to say, the wife is thrilled to have some family coming to visit. She went back there a little over a year ago for her niece's wedding but it's nice when they come this direction to visit.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy Monday

Hope you are all having a good 2009 so far. I know it's only day five but it seems to be flying by already.

One little picture before I move forward. Last week we had some time after Christmas and spent a day of antiquing in old town Orange. Not like we were going to buy anything but it's fun to look at all the neat stuff and maybe find some purple transferware as a mate to our plate. We had our knitting with us so we took some time to enjoy the afternoon sun and knit in the park located in the circle.

Last Thursday was my Mom's birthday and we go visit her grave with some flowers and do some reflecting. She passed 27 years ago but she lives in my heart everyday. For those of you who are familiar with Southern Ca, it's at Rose Hills. A beautiful serene place sit and think. We've seen a whole herd of deer there in the late evening in past visits and their are signs warning of mountain lions. I guess one attracts the other, I just hope we never see the cats.

We always bring our knitting and a blanket to enjoy the sun and spend some time reminiscing about our Moms. No, we didn't have someone take the picture. I was a little creative with what we had with us.

Behold the size 15 tripod. I guess that would be a bipod.

The grounds are huge and the decorations people leave are incredible. We took a drive past the main entrance and the rose gardens are trimmed back in the main garden but their are still hundred of plants in full bloom on the first day of January.

The time people took to decorate must be cathartic for them. We saw where people brought in six foot trees with glass ornaments and battery operated lights.

I think my mom would have loved it but she would have insisted that it come down promptly on the 26th because that's how it was in our home.

OK on to other news and activities.

The Ply-By-Night group in Ravelry has taken a lot of my attention lately. I won't re-hash too much but we all are starting with this fiber and the same pattern to knit.

From the beginning I wanted to make a few changes and add some creativity. I wasn't thrilled with the colorway but saw it as a challenge to make it work. Some of the other people in the group were talking about pooling or barber poling when they ply and what to do about. I wanted to control the colors as they were being spun and thought I would try two methods of carding to see what happens. I have some Bamboo that was carded in one of the methods and have seen the resultant yarn and it looked pretty good. There is a second method that I think will work as well but since the minimum order was 8oz I split the roving and made two batts of each method. I will spin all 8oz and swatch the pattern in each to make my choice for the final selection. You never know what it will look like until you actually knit it up to see what you got. Here is the end result if you don't want to watch the video ferther down in the post.

The following video is my first try using Microsoft Movie Maker and it was quite fun adding the little transitions and the scrolling disclaimer. This was shot using my Fuji point and shoot digital in movie mode so the quality is not the greatest and the transfer to Youtube doesn't help the quality either. I want to thank Melissa for the use of her drum carder and letting us invade her kitchen to make this video.

You can watch the video in higher quality here if you click the high quality option. Oh there is some sound too.

I can't tell how good it felt to envision something in my head and be able to execute the process so it turned out how I saw it in my mind. I was doing the happy dance for some time after we left. Being too happy to resist we stopped for some Popeye's chicken dinner as a treat. I know we fell of the wagon a little but it sure was good. The Red beans and rice is like nirvana in my mouth.

One last thing before I go. Do you enjoy House MD? The TV show with Hugh Laurie in it. We started watching Jeeves & Wooster recently and were thrilled with the show. This was a four season British show based on the novels by P.G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse. What a great show! If you enjoy British TV I would recommend this for your Netflix queue

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you and I hope this year brings you good health and prosperity in all aspects of your life.

For me I give you a lose guide to the future, a look backward and my personal scorecard for 2008.

If you are a new reader then you can see where this is coming from.
  1. I planned to return to school but my plans were thwarted. I'm looking at this as temporary setback. If my plans stay on course I'll go back mid term Spring or Summer semester at the latest.
    Score - 1 of 5

  2. Vacation plans... I think we're settling on a few places that were already on the short list. This was not slated until 2009 anyway so things are good.
    Score - 3 of 5

  3. The yarn diet... It was not intended to be a diet, but a change in lifestyle. We have changed our buying habits and are purchasing for projects or at least the general idea of what's in our queues. Since I started spinning my fiber buying is taking over the bulk of my interest. Fifty pounds of assorted fiber and four fleeces already planned for many handspun projects. This has gone very well this year.
    Score - 4 of 5

  4. Take steps to personalize my fiber... I think this has gone further than I had expected. Our dying has grown and developed so I can obtain what we had envisioned at least with a few tries. My spinning is almost acceptable to the point I generate my own yarn in the configuration or our choice. I know this may sound confusing to most of you but I'm hard on myself and when I want a certain weight in a certain ply configuration for a project, nothing else will do.
    Score - 4 of 5

  5. Improve my body... I did forgo the soda for almost 3 months. The wagon swerved a few times, I fell off and it almost ran me over but I'm back in control now. Most of my liquid consumption is still iced tea with an occasional soda as a treat instead of the norm. The biggest change came from the home cooked meals and the reduction of fast foods. I'm lighter by a few pounds and the BP is lower. There are many more things I want to do and hopefully I will this year.
    Score - 3 of 5

  6. Return to my guitar... I've really failed here. I sold two of the three to reduce the life clutter, Natalie Wood is gone, Woody is gone. Betty Paige is the only one left in the family but she was the only real keeper in the herd. the biggest disappointment is that I haven't had the time or drive to play. A few days ago I pulled out our boom box to listen to a book on tape and found the cassette of my first teacher and the beginning lessens that brought back so many memories. I have located and downloaded some back up tracks of my favorite songs that I can play along with. They've removed the lead or rhythm guitar parts so you can accompany the band. A few new web sites have started this year that dissect the guitar parts note by note some in split screen to show both hands in close up. I'm not playing but still absorbing in small ways.
    Score - 1 of 5

  7. Read For Pleasure... This used to be limited to lunch time reading but we started using the public library and the world of books seemed to open up. You probably read my list fiasco a few months back and I'm using various book list as a guide to give this the structure I seem to crave. Thirteen books may not be a lot to some of you marathon readers but it's the most I've ever read in one year. I've queued some books and began reading a couple that actually had some preparation. My wife thinks it's crazy to do so much research and prep to read a book but I felt it necessary in my case. I've never seen a field study for a novel before but it's interesting because it's like the author is explaining the subtle nuances that I would not fully understand otherwise. Some of our friends know our love for the Gilmore Girls and the book was referenced multiple times in the show. This just fueled my interest to learn about the author and even read his biography. My goal this year is to read at least first two of the seven books in "Remembrance of Things Past" by Marcel Proust. Along with this is the march through some of the "classics" written by Falkner, Mann, and so many others listed on my sidebar. The goal of my general reading is to double my last years total to 26 books.
    Score - 5 of 5

    My cumulative score as far as meeting my last years goals is 21 out of 35 or 60%. That's failing in most grading scales. Last year was far from a failure but I know their is a lot of room for improvement. I'm hardest on myself because I know I should do better and it really eats at me for not living up to my own expectations.
Some reflection;
My knitting has improved from last year. The fear of lace is gone and I'm much more selective in the whole scope of projects. I try to look at how can I make this my own, what can I do to add my spin on the project. Either handspun, hand dyed or modification of the pattern to fit my vision. The two main projects should be off the needles in the next month and a half or so.

My spinning is a constant learning process that I hope to take to higher levels in the near future. I joined a group on Ravelry that is short term spin to knit.
Not my favorite color combo but it's a group thing. The pattern as I mentioned in the last post is the Morning surf scarf. I'll be doing some creative drum carding the roving on Sunday to add just a little of myself to the process.The batts will have the coloring layered in one batt and positioned vertically in the other. I'll take pics and some video to document the process for my own future reference. I'm not positive that it will create the effect I have in my mind but I think so.

I want to offer a few words to all of the friends who read and occasionally comment on this blog. You know who you are. Many of you are listed on the sidebar and some are blogless but just as important to me. Each one of you adds a little something very special to my life. A smile when I need it, encouragement to push myself harder, honesty, pointed words and a kick in the pants when others are worried about being diplomatic. Thank you to each and everyone of you. I learned a long time ago to enjoy the best in people and the ones who are full of spite and anger also have a glimpse of brightness if you look for it. My Pollyannaish optimism would even make Eleanor Porter smile but I see it as my balance in life.

One parting thought that I found inside a Dove Promise chocolate. "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow"

I hope I can live so fully.

Life is Good