Saturday, December 23, 2006

How about for the next week, you catch up?

I think I'm gonna take the week off of the blogging and come back after the new year (maybe with some exceptions).

In the meantime, though, might I suggest you take this chance to go back and catch up on any past entries you might've missed? Or, re-read some of your favorites? Why not? You're just trying to make it through the hole-idays, aren't you? Well then.

(I think this kind of entry might be called a "link dump" in the blogging world, but doesn't that usually entail links to other places? Argh. Kids these days!)

Here are a couple of small suggestions for looking around Magathersville, USA (but don't be limited by these):

If you're interested in the saga of my queen-sized quilt named Quiltie, here are the entries: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. In the interest of full disclosure, there is quite a bit of the "foul" language (i.e., the subject of Quiltie can provoke my inner sailor). So, if you don't like the f-bomb or me calling myself a "b," then maybe you should try a different review tour.

How about a tiny walking tour of my Los Angeles? Start at the carwash. End at the local corporate coffee spot. Like I said, it's a tiny tour. (Not because there isn't more to "my" Los Angeles, but because I've only been blogging for three and a half seconds.)

Or, if you want some gift ideas, I've got several posts on the topic. But I don't think any of them will help you if you're looking for something pronto, since I think they might mostly involve making things: t-shirts, coasters, stuffed animals, and stitch markers. Oh, but there are some other list-type entries that might help you here and here. Do your best. That's all you can do.

Wishing you and yours a lovely December's end,

Dr. B.

P.S. "December's end" could be dirty, right? (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Really cute (and free) gift tags

I heart the world wide web and the unbelievably talented and kind people who share their awesome things with others. And not just with any others. With The World! That includes You!

These gift tags? Teeth-hurtingly cute! Print them out on your handy-dandy color printer, cut 'em apart, stick 'em on your last-minute wrap jobs, and guess what? You're the king of the castle. Or the queen of the world. Or whatever! At a minimum, you've made something really cute, thanks to Camilla Engman.

Thank you, Camilla Engman, genius and sharer of beautiful and cute things (GASOBACT)!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Let's talk about socks

Well. For starters, one sock is lovely but not sufficient.

Second. When you knit a sock starting at the cuff and working your way toward the heel and toe in a tube-like formation ("top-down", as opposed to "toe-up"), you (I) just don't ever know how long to make the tube part. It's always a gamble. Am I going to run out of yarn before I get to the toes? Will the tube part be too short if I go conservative? I tend to err on the side of "no one wants a sock that's too short." Hence:

Oh. You can't see it? Let me help you.

Look. It's all well and good. We can call that one little stripe in the midst of all the big stripes a design feature. Who cares?

Well. Here's who cares: Me. Why?

Ostensibly, when you buy your run-of-the-mill sock yarn, you get one sock per ball. (Oh, it's been a long time since there's been something that could be dirty. But there you go!) So, Dr. B. buys 2 balls to make 2 socks. (You see where this is going.)

La la la, I'm knitting the first sock, I'm knitting, I'm knitting, I'm running out of yarn, but still knitting, hoping for some Chanukah-style miracle where -- despite the hard science to the contrary -- there's enough yarn to make it to the toes. La la. Fuck.

Well. I'd best dive into the second ball. (You're welcome.)

It doesn't take a genius to realize that if I was already short a set-of-toes'-worth of yarn on the first sock, the second sock will be short two sets-of-toes'-worth, turning what was a sock into a gauntlet for the foot, a.k.a. a useless tube.

"Just go buy another ball."

Yeah. You just go buy another ball.

Third. My throat still hurts. Unrelated to socks completely, but it's always good to have a set of items here on the old blog.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sore throat? Join the club.

It's not often that Dr. B. is reduced to tears because of physical pain. Really. There were probably two times when my back went out. And there was the time four years ago (right before I had to defend my dissertation) when my throat and ears started a revolution against my head and tried to burn it to ashes from the inside out. I'm pretty sure I cried then too. (In fact, I'm positive I cried just on principle: the ingratitude from the throat and ears! Revolt against me? Harumph. Had they not always been treated with the utmost respect? The betrayal!)

And then there was yesterday. And the day before that. Oh, and earlier today. Yes, that's right. I almost forgot. Earlier today.

"Boo hoo hoo. It hurts! Boo hoo hoooo." That's what it's like over here every 4-6 hours when the ibuprofen wears off. Wanna come over?

There was a tiny respite last night, thanks to the magical powers of Ambien, but other than that, the throat's running the show over here.

When the painkillaz are doing their job, I can do a little holiday crafting. Here's a little taste of one of the projects. (Ow! Taste? Thinking about tasting makes my throat hurt.)

Ignore the red threads. They're just the basting stitches - they'll get pulled out soon enough.

Oh. And be kind, won't you? Mama's throat is killing her.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Overheard between the socks-in-progress

Sock "Cuff"(on right) : You said what?
Sock Tube: What. EVER.
SC: No. No. Really. What did you say?
ST: Nothing.
SC: No. It wasn't nothing. I believe you called me a stubbit.
ST: That was days ago, man. Get over it.
SC: Um... No.
ST: Ugh. Dude. Really.
SC: I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that, not only am I not a stubbit, but I -- unlike some sock tubes I know -- do not have a nubbin right in the middle of my tube-part because my yarn was tied in a knot straight off the skein. Ha, ha. Right there. Right the middle of your tube--
ST: How did this become about me? You're the one who's too skinny and made of poo.
ST: Elephant poo.
SC: Oh my god, are you kidding me?
ST: Yep. Everyone knows you're made of poo.
SC: Just because your nubbin is hideous and you can no longer call me a "stubbit" with any veracity doesn't mean you get to now say I'm made of poo.
ST: Huh, really? Stubbit of poo.
SC: I give up.
ST: Poo stubbit.
SC: Jesus.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hours of LA-style, nonsense-based entertainment

Yesterday, my wasband and I went to lunch, like we do every Friday.

Who cares?!

Well. We went to lunch at a place where we've sometimes seen random famous people. It's not a fancy place or anything. It's just food, for crying out loud. But we've seen "news anchor" Anderson Cooper (who is short), Curb Your Enthusiasm's Cheryl Hines (tiny), Macaulay Culkin (shorter and tinier than anyone ever), and others. It's never really that big of a deal. Really.

Yesterday, however, Matthew Perry - star of the very popular situation comedy Friends and the not-so-popular hour-long television program Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - was having lunch there too. Huh! Looky there! It's Matthew Perry. A good actor. A rich man. A guy just having some lunch like all the rest of us.

But seeing him there in person got me wondering in a new way about just how wealthy that guy is. I also wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship with someone that rich. My wasband speculated that you'd never know where you stood with that guy. "You'd always be asking him, 'So, what's going on with us?'" he said. I thought this was a strong point. My wasband is a genius.

Anyway, I got stuck on this idea of wealth and not understanding just how rich people in the entertainment business are. And I started wondering about relative wealth, as in:

"Who do you think is richer - Matthew Perry or Ted Danson?"

"Matthew Perry."

"But Ted Danson was the highest paid actor on television for a long time, and that show Cheers was in syndication forever."

"Yeah, but Ted Danson is old school. That was back in the day. It was different then. All the Friends were making a million dollars an episode there at the end."

"Good point. So, Matthew Perry or Jennifer Aniston? Aniston's got the movie career plus Friends."

"Mmm. Yes. Jennifer Aniston. She also kept herself in the papers for quite a while, what with the Brad Pitt thing."

"Right. So, Matthew Perry or Lisa Kudrow?"

It went on like this for a little bit, but then it just became who's richer - this TV star or this other TV star. (TV is where the big money is, people.)

We factored in whether someone was a producer of their show, if it ran in syndication, if they also had a movie career. (If you're a producer/writer or an actor, chances are you're still getting paid if your show is still alive somewhere.) It included speculation about Mark Harmon vs. the guy from Walker, Texas Ranger (also, strangely, the highest paid actor on TV at some point), Jerry Seinfeld vs. Larry David, George Clooney vs. Jerry Seinfeld.

I think we ultimately decided Jerry Seinfeld had to be the richest guy there is. I'm sure we're dead wrong, but we didn't do a real thorough-going analysis. And I'm sure there's an actual list somewhere like in some Entertainment Weekly-style publication that ranks these people. And I'm sure some of you could reach out with your left hand and grab that information.

But I just thought I'd share my celebrity sighting and our subsequent musings. Feel free to play my fancy "who's richer" game at home. Do it with your friends! It's a blast. It will provide you with plenty of entertainment while you're, I don't know, waiting in line to buy a Nintendo Wii or some such ridiculous thing.

Ladies and gentleman, I am a geek of massive proportions. That is all.

Edited to add: I've now added links to information about said "stars" or "shows". Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


SOCK TUBE #1: Ha ha. You're a stubbit.
SOCK CUFF: I'm more of an extended cuff.
ST: Stubbit.
SC: Look, I know what happened to you back at the airport last month. So, I'll forgive you for being mean.
ST: What happened to me at the airport?
SC: You know what happened.
ST: It wasn't my fault.
SC: Sure. Never is.
ST: Wasn't!
SC: Whatever. I haven't had to be ripped back about 30 rows like some tubes I know. I'd be upset too if I were you.
ST: Yeah, well. You're too skinny. You should eat a sandwich.
SC: You're not even my partner here, buddy.
ST: You so won't be done in time for Christmas.
SC: What gives, dude? Why are you all up in my business?
ST: You're a stubbit and you're not gonna be done, and I'll always be bigger than you, and... and... you're poking me in the side!
SC: Jeez. Sorry.
ST: (pause) Who am I kidding? I'm not gonna be done either.

There are worse things than the problems I've got going here with the socks-in-progress and their in-fighting. Sure. But, if you'd like, feel free to take a little pleasure in the socks' and my suffering. Someone's gotta win here. It might as well be you.

Hooray for holidays!

Monday, December 11, 2006


So sorry for the delay between posts. That's not how we like to do things over here at B. Magather, your friendly neighborhood crafting hole.

But, ever since we switched internet providers (and, let's be clear, it was more that our provider switched itself... we took no active part in this), we've been lucky if we have service for any stretch of time at all.

I don't want to name names exactly, but I will say our new provider rhymes with Slime Corner.

More crafty goodness ASAP. A-SAP, really. (Does anyone every say A-SAHP? You know, inserting "humanly" in there? I think the world would be a better place if people would just remember to insert the humanly.)

Insert the humanly, everyone!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You used to be bi!

That's all she said to me, and I knew instantly what she meant.

I was hanging out with the WWNSMW (aka B-SNAK) last weekend, and at some point in the evening she looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and blurted out, "You used to be bi! I read your blog all the time, and it's always 'knitting this' and 'sewing that' and I don't even know what else because I don't understand ANY OF IT! WHERE'S THE STAMPING?!"

Did I ever mention I have a giant collection of rubber stamps? Oh. I think I did, once in passing.

Yes, well, B-SNAK and I have a long-standing relationship with stamping that I think you should know about. So: The Story of B-SNAK and the Stamps. (This will also be the title of the blockbuster sequel to Akeelah and the Bee that I'm gonna write. Betcha! I'm gonna do it next. Right after this.)

Taking it back to 1998 {oodly oodly oodly oodly}:

She's having a little get-together, she says. Do I want to come? I won't have to buy anything, but it could be fun if I like rubber stamping. I think to myself, "I do like rubber stamping! I have a stamp of some old-timey shoes, and a bowler hat, and a pocket watch. I could take those with me! And I won't have to buy anything!"

I won't have to buy anything, the first one's free, and trail mix is good for me.

These are ways of thinking that are so, so dangerous. Case in point (and I think this is important): the Trader Joe's Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix. "It's healthy! It's a Trek Mix! It's got nuts!" Sure. Nutty! Ok. What they mean by "Nutty" is "Peanut Brittle". The nuts are, in some good proportion, housed in rocks and rocks of sugary brittle. (It should tell you something when its form is rock. Nothing good ever comes in the form of rock, in my humble opinion. Not music, not cocaine, not an oversized diamond that makes everyone at least a little uncomfortable -- if not downright small -- when near it.)

Point is: I shoulda known.

I'll never forget the moment that that Stampin' Up demonstrator stamped a teddy bear onto some cardstock, stuck it onto another piece of cardstock, folded it up, and... "OOOOOH!" We were floored that she'd made a greeting card - just like that! "We're gonna save hundreds and hundreds of dollars never having to buy a birthday card again!" "This is the greatest thing we've ever seen!" "How can I do this too?!" Suckers, all.

Present day: Between me, B-SNAK, and another couple of very good friends with very serious problems, we have thousands of stamps. Thousands. That would be bad enough. But, what's worse are the Inks. Papers. Stickers. Postage stamps. Tags. Collage sheets. Brads. Scissors. Eyelets. Markers. Pencils. Watercolor pencils. Adhesives. Ribbons. Rub-ons. Sponges. I could go on. I really could.

I used to be bi. She's right. Now? I'm a polygamous crafter. Straight up. My stamping may've taken a back seat to knitting and quilting, but it'll be making a comeback here pretty soon. You'll see.

I did have to buy some stuff, some of it was free, and for the most part it's all been quite good for me. Being a polygamous crafter may stretch you thin. But that mutherfuckin' Trek Mix? Now, that shit'll kill you.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

'Tis the season to [help yourself to a feeling]

Live consciously. Buy wisely. Make a difference.

That's the way they rock over at New American Dream.

These good folks have put together a brochure called Simplify the Holidays. And who wouldn't be interested in that? Just people who despise simplicity, I suppose. (Only tiny downside -- if you want to think of it that way -- is that you'll need to sign up with them to view that particular brochure.)

Below are links to specific, short articles of theirs that you can read without having to register or anything. These are sure to put you in the holiday spirit -- only you may not recognize it as that, because it will be a spirit where you aren't collapsing under the weight of your own chest pains and panic.

Holiday Tips and Resources

Good gifting: Spending time instead of money

Inexpensive, Creative and Eco-friendly Gift Ideas

Ho ho ho, it's the holidays!
(How come it's not pronounced hole-idays? Or is it?)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Who wants to see part of a thing that could be great but could also go very badly?

I can't show you the whole thing at this juncture since it is still in progress. But I can tell you that this will absolutely go one of two ways:
  • Way Number 1: "This is the cutest thing you ever made!"
  • Way Number 2: "Oh! Looky there! You made this? Huh! Yeah. Wow. (Awkward pause.) Well! What do you know!"
This undertaking is going to involve both techniques and materials that are new to me. I am, therefore, preparing for the rigorous wincing, face-scrunching, and on-the-fly (yet somehow still tedious) decision-making ahead.

But there's a win-win here: If it goes well, it goes well. Duh. If it goes badly -- and it may very well go quite badly-- you've got yourself an old-fashioned opportunity for hilarity (OOFH!)! Win and win.

Oh, and for the record, I've kept my grumbled word. While I had the iron out for the cutest thing/biggest mess project, I took my P-I-C's advice and blocked the hat. She advised that I use the damp towel method (I'm quite confident that's not what it's called): Hat - flat on ironing board. Damp towel - on hat. Iron - on towel.

The hat in question - before:

And - after:

Please turn to the side, sir.

How about that? Are you impressed?

Now. What if I told you it smelled quite like a wet animal during the damp towel process? How much would you pay then? Yup. Wettish. Kinda gross.

Not to worry - the odor is completely gone now. (Oh, does that change things for you? Well then. I don't know what to tell you. I suppose you can't please everyone.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Just short of a real finish

Crocheted edge?


Little extra doo-dad?


Blocking to make sure everything is all flat?

Ah, you kid. You're a kidder! You're hilarious if you thought this would be any different from this.

Nah. Just teasing. It's a gift, for the love of Pete. I'll finish it.

I'll finish it, I said! (grumble, grumble, christmas, grumble)