Knit! Dive!

I knit. And I scuba dive. So... Yeah.

31 October 2005

Trick or Treat!

Not a single trick-or-treater! That's a bonus to living in not-the-best-neighborhood. But soon, very soon, we will be in our brand new house. Looky - they are almost ready to poor the slab. Only 3 more months of rent to those idiots that call themselves landlords.

I've been busy on Christmas presents. Charlotte's socks are done. I used the garter rib pattern from Sensational knitted socks. I don't remember what kind of yarn it was. I picked it up at Village Wools. It was something German.

And I finished my dad's convertible mittens. This was also from the Paton's pattern that I used for Shane's gloves. On these I did a centered double decrease - slip two, knit, pass two. I think it looks a lot better. I also sewed the tops together, instead of the 3-needle bindoff. These are made with a wool - Smart was the brand name. It was really great to knit with. Nice and soft, and good quality. And only $5/skein. I bought it in Delaware at Stitches with Style.

For Gwyndylyn, it's always Halloween.

On the needles next... Socks for Shane, gloves for me. Then more Christmas presents. This weekend is a yarn swap and then camping and diving in Santa Rosa. We're going to do a couple of day dives in Perch Lake, then a night dive at the hole.
More later...

29 October 2005

Weekend Update

Talked to manager this week about P and S, again. Supposedly, they are just friends... That's fine. But guess who I saw at Target tonight. Yep. Shopping, on a Saturday night. Interesting.
In other news, I bought more yarn. It's called Wave, and it's 25% silk, 75% wool. Very soft. I'm going to use it for my convertible mittens.
I'm almost finished with the one's for my dad. I just have to do the mitten cap part.
In DE, I picked up a hank of Barefoot (or bearfoot, I don't remember) Mountain colors. I'm using this for my socks. It's very nice. It's knitting up very well. The colorway is mostly deep reds. I'm doing the woven stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks.
We went shopping for a new chair today. It will work great in the new house. It's a little big for the current house, but we'll only be here a few more months. It'll be arriving early in December.
The cat stinks. Gwyndylyn has some serious issues. We tried switching them to only wet food, which works for Gwyndylyn, but then it got Philip all screwed up, so now it's half wet food and half dry food. It's not nearly as bad as it was. So how do you put a cat on a diet anyway? She wasn't exactly the runt. When we picked her up, she had all these scabs on the back of her hind legs and tail. I think it was because she was hogging all of the food. Now she eats all of her food, and then eats Philip's. Which is bad, because Philip is a pretty good self feeder. He likes to eat all day, a little at a time. But if he doesn't finish his food, she will.
Daylight Saving Time is stupid. Yes, I said Saving time, not Savings time. That's what it is. Anyway, they need to pick one and stick with it. I just got un-jetlagged, and now there's the time change. And it was getting nice and dark in the mornings too. Back to staring into the sun. I'll try to post pics tomorrow. After we take a pic of what will be our house.
Its late. I'm going to bed.

23 October 2005

I'm home!

Yes, I got home yesterday, but I slept most of the day. Except for when we went to Betty's for massage and salt glow, etc. I love how you get to drink liqour on the airplane. I almost missed the flight from Dallas to Albuquerque. The flight from Philadelphia was 20 mins late, and I still had to get to the next gate. I finished the seater. it just needs to be blocked. It's a little tight, but I think I can make it work. I finished one of Charlotte's Christmas present socks, and I'm about halfway through with the second.
The courses were good. There was one guy who apparently didn't take the basic class, and read some old equipment manuals. And by old, I mean, at least 3 generations of equipment ago. And he kept asking all these questions that he prefaced with "I read in some of the old manuals..." Or "but with the Perkin-Elmer..." And he wanted to see the rheology equipment. So why didn't you take the rheology hands-on class? It was really annoying. But I think I got a lot out of it.
When I get back to work on Tuesday, I'll be checking the calibration on all of our equipment. I am so glad that I decided to take Monday off. I'm seriously going to need it to recover.
Thursday night, I went to Stitches with Style in Newark, DE. It was a really great shop. The LYSO invited me to stay for the weekly knitting group, so I did. I also bought $100 worth of yarn for socks and gloves for Christmas presents.

17 October 2005

Monday in Delaware

The flights yesterday were good,. We had some rough crosswinds on the landing in Philadelphia, but not terrible. Chicago is another one of those non-smoking airports, and I didn't have time to leave and get back through security. I got a good bit of knitting done on the planes and while waiting. In the Albuquerque airport, there was an add for LASC. That would be the name of the UC/Bechtel partnership. It talked about air tight security and good management. Because they are doing such a good job now.
Hertz was slow, as usual, but I got a Mustang. SWEET! I got lost on the way to the hotel. I only missed it by a couple of exits, so it wasn't too bad. The hotel is nice, although people keep asking me if I'm staying in NJ by choice. This hotel is closer to TA than any of the other hotels. There is a $3 toll to get across the bridge to Delaware. I managed to get to sleep at a reasonable hour last night, so that helped with the jet lag. I did have Benadryl, just in case.
Class was good today. Not really boring at all. And the catering is great. Way better than Sandia, anyway. I'm almost done with the sweater, only one seam to go. I'll probably finish tonight.
That's it from the Hampton Inn in Pennsville, NJ.

15 October 2005

Chaco Stripes, Knitter's, Issue K97, Summer 2005

This morning, I finally completed this afghan. It is a nice, easy, slip-stitch rib pattern. It is knit in five panels, which makes it much easier for carrying around. I used US9 needles, and the recommended Lion Brand yarns.
This is the first pattern where I have used the recommended yarn in the recommended colors. The yardage estimate is accurate and the instructions are clear. The colors used work well together. This issue of Knitter's was inspired by New Mexico, my new home state.
The only thing I would change about this pattern is the seaming I used. I used mattress stitch, and I don't really like the resulting seam on the back.
Other than that, I really liked the pattern, even though it quickly became a never-ending project. But, then all afghans end that way. The color work looks harder than it is, because you only actually work one color per row, and only two rows per color.

13 October 2005

Bloggerific Thursday!

And not in a good way. The day started out alright. S and P (from previous posts) were both going out of town, so tomorrow, I would have the day to actually work without trying to stifle the urge to kill. Then another coworker, G, said isn't it weird that they are going out of town at exactly the same time? I said, it's just a coincidence, I mean, S is going to see her brother, and P is going to visit his parents. G is as frustrated w/ S and P as I am. We had a pretty decent bitch session, and then back to work. This afternoon, though, G came by my office and said that S2 (another coworker) had said that P and S were indeed together, on their way to visit P's family. Now, I don't really care who's fucking who after work. What I care about is when P's little whore S starts acting like she is somehow more important than me. Now, we all have the same title.
What gets me, is that, according to a few people who would know, they are not "together." They spend a larger than average time together after work. Supposedly P is "helping" S. S apparently has had some issues - addictions, money problems, etc. I don't know how suddenly giving her more responsibility than she has ever had is going to help her, but whatever. She just needs to leave me the fuck alone.
After this most recent development, I went and talked to manager about the whole thing. I apologized for venting, and bringing up rumor mill stuff, but there is sometimes truth in the rumor mill. I felt that he should at least know how people feel. It seems that P has made some decisions about S, that are generally not bad. The problem is that P and S are psychic and think that the rest of us should be as well. There is an amazing lack of communication. A lot of the problems in our group could be solved by a simple meeting in which P and S shut the hell up long enough for the rest of us to get a word in.
It doesn't help that P is kind of immature, and some other members of the group fear retaliation. I'm the only one with the balls to say anything. The way I see it, I won't be working on P's project much longer, and if he tries anything, I'll sue his ass so fast he won't know what happened.
As mentioned before, P hired an OAA intern, we'll call her L. OAAs are not supposed to do anything technical. Well, P seems confused on that fact. L has threatened to quit, and P has said things to the effect of "I don't care." Now all of this is bad, but what's worse is that they are all covered by a union. This is just going to end badly. Hopefully, it will happen when I'm gone next week.
Now, I will knit.

12 October 2005

Convertibles, Patons 1159BB

I finished husband's convertible mittens today. I think they came out well. The yarn is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash in Onyx. I used Inox needles in sizes US3 and US6. There are some issues with them that probably only bother me - holes in the thumb gusset, and the top of the mitten flap. This wasn't the best pattern I've ever read. The concept and overall design are good, but the execution, well, it wasn't exactly flawless. This is basically a fingerless glove with a flap. The flap is held back with velcro.

The sizes listed are "Lady's" and "Man's", but there aren't any dimensions given. The designer uses ribbing to take up the slack between the sizes, and the only difference is the length of certain parts of the glove. The needle sizes are incorrect. They say to use 3.25 mm needles, but have US7 listed. The answer is... US3, which is a 3.25 mm needle. When making the fingers, the directions say to cast-on X stitches, but the cast-on type is not described. I used the cable cast on, and it seems acceptable.

I made it through the pattern, but there are some things I would change:
1. The pattern is written for four dpns. I used five, and it was much easier.
2. I would pick up more stitches for the thumb and fingers. Only picking up two for each finger left some holes. I would pick up extras then decrease on the next round. For the thumb gusset, I would use stitch markers to mark the edges, rather than using purl stitches.
3. The US6 needles are only used to make loose stitches to be picked up for the flap, and I don't think they are necessary. I would probably double up on 3s instead. But now that I have 6s...
4. The stitches that are the "hinge" for the flap are not centered on the back of the hand. I'm not sure how I would fix this.
5. The paired decreases make the mitt flap look like the toe of a sock. I would do a centered doubled decrease instead.
6. Instead of casting off at the top of the flap and sewing together, I chose to do a three needle bindoff. It did make it look less like a sock, but I think sewing would have been better, especially with number 5 above.


So work sucks. We have this really annoying bitch. To protect the, um, well, we'll just call her S. S was hired this summer as a technologist, basically, the same as me. This was the second time in a year that someone has been hired to do a job that I could do. S has two master's degrees. Impressive? Well, the reason she doesn't have a Ph.D. is that she flunked out. She comes in and all of the sudden, she's in charge of everything. I've been on this project for almost a year now. I'm not saying that I know everything about the project. I'm just saying that she doesn't either. She has managed to piss off everyone who works in the lab. And of course, it's our fault that we don't get along with her. She doesn't listen, and she talks to me like I'm an idiot. And you know those people who think that you are psychic? Well she's the queen bitch. She goes around changing her mind about how things should be done, without consulting P (I'll get to him shortly) and without telling me. Then, when I ask, apparently I'm stupid. Today, she kept harping on how something hadn't gotten done. When I explained that I had been ill, and hadn't had a chance to, she just kept going on about it. Then, when I said I would have it done by Friday, she apparently missed that like three times, and she says, "Could you PLEASE update the plan this week?" It took every bit of will power not to reach down her throat and pull her intestines out her nose. This is only the latest thing she has done. The thing that gets me most is that she doesn't do a good job at what she is supposed to be doing. She regularly deletes data, which means tests have to be redone, and she isn't shy about fudging, well, anything.

So, P, who I mentioned earlier is the lead on this project. I've been handling the documentation for this project, and updating the Microsoft Project file. I'll admit, I'm a little overqualified for this sort of thing. So what does he do? He hires someone underqualified. He has brought in an OAA student. For those of you who don't know, OAA stands for office administrative assistant. Yes, we have student secretaries. When this came up, I told P that he should have her take a course in MS Project. They are offered regularly offsite. It's a day, and they teach you the basics. It's a difficult program to learn, and the file we have is 11,000+ lines. He says that Project is part of their curriculum. I took this to mean that he would hire someone who had already taken this course. Of course not. So now, I have to teach this new person MS Project. I'm sure that she is capable. It's not my job, though. I'm not good at this sort of thing. Wait, no, I suck! So I asked him about it, and he effectively blew it off. I am so sick of being passed over, treated like crap, and in general, being regarded as an idiot by the people on this project.

Thankfully, I am not the only one having problems with P and S. I am being shifted off of this project and into another area of our group. I will be running all of the thermal analysis for our group. Next week, I'll be in Delaware being trained on the equipment, and taking some theory short courses.

But the day wasn't all bad. This afternoon, we had a pre-construction meeting for our new house. We signed the purchase agreement in August. We are building a home in Los Lunas, NM. Our builder is Centex, and the community is Sundance at Huning Ranch. They have dug out the footings and run the plumbing through the foundation area. The projected finish date is 16 Feb 06. Of course, we are entering the rainy season, and that could be changed. Also, thanks to Katrina and Rita, there is apparently a shingle shortage. But we'll worry about that later.

Oh and Philip says hi!

11 October 2005

Sensational Knitted Socks, Charlene Schurch

I recently finished a pair of socks from the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I made these using the beaded rib pattern, in the five stitch rib patterns section. I used the toe-up method. They fit very well. I wear a US size 8.5 shoe, and my foot is 9 inches long. The cuff is one inch of 2X2 rib. The leg is 3 inches long. The pattern doesn't exactly show up well in the photos, due to the nature of the yarn. I think that the pattern was well written. The yarn is Fantomas by Lang Yarns. I used US0 Inox needles.
This is a great book if you are just learning to knit socks. She explains the parts of the sock very well, as well as options in construction. The division of stitch patterns by the number of stitches, ribbing, cabling, and color patterns is another great feature. The "class sock" is a nice concept, in that it shows the construction of a sock, and uses large needles and worsted weight yarn to make it easy to see the stitches. I also like the sizing guides for men's, women's, and children's socks. It's nice to have an easy reference for these things.
Overall, I think this is an excellent book. However, there are, as always, things that could be improved. The toe-up directions are only given for the 5-stitch rib patterns. It would be beneficial to have these directions available for all of the patterns. She only shows one way of making the short row toe and heel, and it involves P3 tog tbl. This is not the easiest double decrease to perform. Also, there are other ways of making short rows, such as Japanese short rows and yarn-over short rows.

Countdown to the X-Prize Cup - 9 Oct 05

Technically, this was the countdown to the X-Prize Cup, as there weren't any prizes or anything this year. It was very fun.

Saturday, we drove down to Los Lunas from Albuquerque. It was a nice drive. I got in a good bit of knitting, even finished a sock. We checked in to the Hilton. A nice hotel, free wireless. The AC could have been better, but that's only a minor gripe. For dinner, we tried eating in the hotel, but our options were a bar, or some fancy place, so we went across the street to Farleys. It was alright. The drinks were mediocre, and the food was decent.

For breakfast Sunday morning, we went to IHOP. Quite tasty. Good service, food prepared properly. Then to the show.
We took the airport exit, and at the top of the ramp was a sign directing us to get back on the Interstate. It would have been nice to have a similar sign on the interstate so we could have just kept going. We ended up parking at the fairgrounds, where we were shuttled to the Las Cruces Airport. We got there around 10:45. They opened the gates at 11:00, and things moved smoothly. We saved $2 each on our tickets by purchasing online.

Once inside the gates, we were greeted by the m&ms, who have a long history with the space program. That's Shane (husband) on the left.

There were also not to scale representations of Earth and Mars

We were also interviewed by a Japanese reporter from NBC Universal. That was interesting.

Almost all of the big names in space travel were there, with two notable exceptions: Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos of and Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, although there was a mock up of SpaceShip One. There was also one notable inclusion - NASA. Apparently, they have changed their tune. Here's some photos:
Canadian Arrow: DaVinci Project:


Armadillo Aerospace:


Space Adventures:


And of course, the SpaceShip One mock up:

Apparently, the day was meant to get off the ground, so to speak, with a parachute stunt. Shortly after the planned appearance, the host announced that the team had landed at Wal-Mart, and there was a sale on laundry detergent. The next big event was a Stealth fighter fly-over:

Dr. Diamandis officially announced the creation of the Rocket Racing League. This will be similar to the pod racing scenes in Phantom Menace. It will be like NASCAR times 100. There was a demo of the prototype racer, the EZRocket. The main body is similar to the EZ design by Burt Rutan, with two 400 lb thrust rockets strapped to it. It was flown by an astronaut, who later passed out autographs. This was the first time the plane was flown twice in one day. Here's a photos of the plane:

Armadillo Aerospace tested their vehicle, a vertical take-off and landing rocket. The first test was a 25-ft hop, which went well, until the end, when it fell over. They intended to perform a second hop, to 100-ft, but discovered a leak, and so it was scrubbed.

The grand finale was provided by Project. They were performing a static test, when the rocket blew up. The team lead said he wanted to provide us with some fireworks, at their own expense. And he wanted to give the fire crews something to do, after sitting there all day waiting on something to blow up. The standard "We meant to do that." Actually, the rocket was close to the end of it's life cycle. Thankfully, there were no injuries. Here's a photo:

There were a lot of people there, I read 20,000 somewhere.

So we rode the shuttle back to the fairgrounds. Here is my one and only real complaint. We arrived early and got to park in a paved lot, however, they didn't drop us off where they picked us up, so we had to find our car. That wouldn't have been so bad except for the dust storm. I thought I had seen dust storms, but I was wrong. It's hard to explain, but it wasn't fun. I had dirt in places I didn't know I had places.

So, to end...

08 October 2005

Socky Goodness

Finished my socks today on the way to Las Cruces. And I didn't get carsick, either. I'll try to post pics when I get home. I think they turned out great.
I exchanged needles today to get the sizes called for in the pattern for husband's convertible mittens. Tonight I casted on for them, and I got to the first gusset increase. I ordered some sock yarn from knitpicks. 4 balls of essential in dusk - 2 for the broadstreet mittens, and 2 for socks. I also got enough for a pair of socks in the cocoa color.
I also got my broken nail fixed. Much better now.

07 October 2005

About that diving thing...

We went diving today. We left Albuquerque at 9:30 this morning, after a stop at Einsteins (yum). We got there, and the only other vehicle was an RV. Not another diver in sight. First dive, we went straight to the bottom - 81 ft. Vis was awesome! On the way back up, we noticed a couple of additions to the hole. The first was a snow globe with a bride and groom. very cute, and at 60 ft, completely intact. impressive. The other was a Mrs. Potato head doll. It was sitting on a ledge. I moved it to a nook in some nearby rocks. Did I mention the awesome vis? We could see the trees and other stuff on the surface around 50 ft. From outside the water, it was about 30 ft.
We made the 1 hour surface interval. This is important becuase when we first started diving, we didn't think it was possible without assistance. Today, no hurrying, and back in the water in an hour.
There were lots of tourists coming through, on there way home from Balloon Fiesta.
Second dive was nitrox, to around 50 ft. A nice leisurely dive around the wall. Someone had tied a chain with a Saint Christopher, patron saint of divers, to a cow skull. The skull has been there for a long time, but the chain was a new addition.
We stopped at Pizza Hut, which is the best Pizza Hut ever. Finally back home.
My new REI chair is awesome. Super comfy. It will be very nice to have at XPrize Cup on Sunday. I broke a nail, so I'll have to get that fixed tomorrow.

06 October 2005

I made it!

I made it to the weekend. Gotta love the 9/80!
Tomorrow, we dive. We hadd a SWE (society of women engineers) officers meeting tonight. I'm the section vice president. It was a good meeting, and only took an hour.
Since I gave in to husband on going to the X-Prize Cup, I got to get a chair from REI. It's called the Lounge Lizard. It's basically a recliner. It is awesome. I forsee many naps in my future. I also got a sun hat.
Then dinner, and a visit to Petsmart. As usual, they had the rodents close to the front. There was a hamster on a wheel, and of course, he was going like he had somewhere to be. Then, he would stop, walk to the front of the wheel, and look around. Then, back to the wheel, running like there was no tomorrow. He did this several times while we were watching. It was one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.
Now, I must get ready to dive tomorrow.

05 October 2005

And you thought Tulula was bad...

Yes it's already all over the web, but we have another celebrity baby naming mishap - That's right, Nicolas Cage (a presentable name) has named his child Kal-El Coppola Cage. Now, it's important that the child's middle name is Coppola. Why? Because Francis Ford Coppola was nuts, and that's what this child will be with a name like that. Unless he sues his parents to rename him, say Clark Kent Cage. Wouldn't that be lovely. Now, I don't have children, but I know how hard it can be to come up with a name. But Smallville? I love the show, and naming a kid Clark, Lois, Lana, or Chloe, or even Lex isn't that bad. But Kal-El? That's just child abuse or something.
In other news, today was the three year wedding anniversary. We went to Seasons, here in Albuquerque. It was great, as usual. Of course, it's a special treat. Budget-wise, and weight-wise, we can't exactly afford to make this a regular occurance.
A weight loss update - I have now lost 35 pounds since January!
I was watching the news last night, when they started talking about the Smolensky family from Waveland. I thought, I know someone with that last name. And she's from Waveland. Now, I have never met her parents, but as soon as I saw her mother I knew who it was. So I went online, and there she is, with a blog on MSDN. Thankfully, her family is safe and sound, although the town of Waveland was destroyed.
The whole Katrina/Rita news coverage pisses me off. New Orleans this, Houston that, but when you look at it, you realize that they didn't get it as bad as some other towns. Yes, it was bad, and I don't begrudge that, but it was bad in Waveland, Pass Christian, and other small towns along the coast. My grandparents live all the way in Pascagoula, and they lost their house. That area barely got mentioned.
That's it for now from New Mexico

03 October 2005

Monday's over!

All in all, not too bad of a day. I got a little knitting in tonight. Swatched for Shane's convertible mittens, and worked on Chaco Stripes. I'm pretty close on gauge, but I think I'll go down to 3s, like the pattern says. Well, the pattern says 7s, but it also says 3.25 mm. The maids come tomorrow, so we had to pick up and fold laundry. I don't think we would ever fold laundry if it weren't for the maids. I got some stuff to actually work on tomorrow, so that's good.
X-Prize cup is next week. I gave in to Shane and so we will be heading to Las Cruces. We'll probably at least stay in Las Cruces Saturday night, and maybe Sunday.
Tomorrow is Stitch'n'Bitch. I think I'll take sock 2.

01 October 2005

A new list

So some people got tired of all the bitching and moaning about people chit-chatting on the knitlist. The new group is knittalk, on yahoo groups. I think it will be much more interesting to read than "so how do you measure gauge again?" It's yarn shopping day, and husband gets to come along, maybe, since I'm picking out yarn for his convertible gloves. If he doesn't want to, I'll just pick up sock yarn for me.