Tuesday, June 27, 2006

packing up

Over the weekend I packed most everything that I don't require in the next two weeks so that I can more easily move on July 5 & 6. It turns out that I don't require my yarn, so all of it that was hiding in closets or laying at the foot of my bed and wasn't already in the Big Trunk o' Yarn or the new Little Red Trunk o' Yarn went into boxes.
there's a sweater on the needles in that blue/black bag; there's also some stuff to be felted hanging out in that knitting pile.

I have determined that I have entirely too much yarn for a frugal graduate student. This was further confirmed when I ran across some old receipts from the yarn store for yarn I had forgotten I'd bought... Eeks.

And, with that decided, I pulled out the Nadia yarn, knit up a swatch (because I already have two sweaters and a sock on the needles...the sweaters having been there for nearly a year each...and of course that's not enough projects to have going concurrently...!), and am trying to determine how much more of it I should go buy...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

sights of pittsburgh

Things you might see if you spend a day with me in Pittsburgh...

The unique facade on an apartment building...Al Kaline up to bat at the 1974 All Star game - shown on the big screen at PNC Park during a rain delay...An appropriately licensed Saturn Ion in the parking lot of my workplace...Wild turkeys snooping around the gardens of Phipps Conservatory in Schenley Park, just two miles from my current home...You just never know what you'll need a camera for!

Friday, June 23, 2006

welcome, summer!

Summer is here!!! It sure feels like it, too. We've had a week full of 80+ temperatures, and it's been rather muggy. I can't wait to move into my air-conditioned new apartment (moving occurs in two weeks, by the way!!)

In celebration of the start of summer Because I was getting so hot and my dinner plans for Wednesday fell through, I went and got my hair cut back up to my ears. I still have to figure out a way to style it so it stays how I want it to.While getting the cut, the hair stylist reminded me that it was the summer equinox. So I celebrated with my roommate Michelle by visiting the newly opened Mercurio's Mulberry Creamery in the shopping district of Shadyside. The gelato was good - I had "rum raisin" and sampled lychee - but nothing compared to that purchased from a street vendor on a hot afternoon after walking around Venice (which I have done). Nevertheless, it was good, and I will probably go back but eat a different type of gelato. Mine was also really soft, and that's not right for gelato, either. It certainly wouldn't stand up to the heat of the Italian sun!

Happy summer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

stash enhancement

Since Pittsburgh Knit and Bead is going out of business, I've dropped in every now and then to see what yarn I want to waste my money on. I rationalize in my mind that I'll never find the yarns at a better price than now, since the prices keep falling from 25% off...to 30% off...to 45% off... Deeper discounts as the final days of the store approach.

I have pretty much decided that I need not visit there anymore since I've spent far too much on yarn and, judging from my inability to finish any of the four projects I've got going, I won't be wanting for yarn any time soon. I trust that this little enhancement to my stash (displayed in a vintage train trunk I picked up for cheap at a garage sale and that will go nicely with either my living room or bedroom decor) will last me for quite some time - time enough to refill my bank account! (Click for notes on what's in the trunk.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

football is full of movie stars

I watched the Italy vs. U.S.A. World Cup game on Saturday and noticed that there are many players on the U.S. team who resemble actors from the movies. My friends and I were thinking that the people in Hollywood could easily make a movie about this team with look-alikes. See what you think (and if you don't agree, watch some of the games on t.v. for way better shots of the players.)<
matt damon
brain mcbride
chris rock
damarcus beasley
tom cruise
carlos bocanegra

And I'll leave that discussion about how good-looking people seem to succeed in sports open for comment...

Friday, June 16, 2006

the future of imagination and time wasting

I was pleased to note the other day that my favorite means of completely wasting time will soon be improved by something I've wanted for a long time. The magnificent product that eats up hours upon hours is "The Sims 2," and they supposedly will be adding a pet expansion to the PC software. !!!!! It's the next best thing to having an actual pet. Er...well, I guess there are other next-best things - like caring for living animals at an abandoned/confiscated pet shelter...or pet-sitting...or helping people take care of their pets when they are ill or cannot get around very well... Okay, so silicon-generated pets are simply a total waste of time, but at least they could potentially be a fun waste of time. And it would come close to meeting my desire to have a dog of my own. For the record, I believe I asked for a dog at every birthday and Christmas until I was 18. I never got one. Now...I am never at home/can't have a dog in my living quarters, so I'm still dogless. But at least I'm able to recognize that I am currently not equipped to properly raise and train and interact with a dog.

Anyways, as I was investigating the claim that EA Games has hinted at releasing a Sims 2 Pet expansion pack, I stumbled upon this from the upcoming EA NCAA Football '07. I was simply impressed with the graphics.
go green!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

and the world marches on

There are many things changing in my world right now, and many things that are making me feel old.

I will be moving in a few weeks to a new apartment in a new neighborhood on a new bus route.

I've been visiting a new church, meeting new people, and planning to go to a new Bible study this evening.

I have been trying to get several new techniques working in the lab, and they work and then they don't and then they do - nothing is constant, it's all about doing and redoing and tinkering around.

The "new" (end of second year) students are in the middle of comprehensive examination time, which, aside from defending one's thesis, is probably the least enjoyable period of graduate school because you can potentially be tested during your oral exam on every detail about everything you might have been taught. And, the day has finally arrived when I'm an "old" graduate student and the younger ones are calling upon me to help them prepare by acting like a tough professor. It's an honor and a privilege, and I hope I can meet expectations.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

i finally finished something!

Hooray!! Finally this weekend I finished the edging of the Wave Skirt. I woke up on Saturday and said to myself "I am going to finish this today!" and then plunked down on the couch and knit away while watching "Wild America." It was long after that show ended that I actually finished. But - nevertheless - it's done! Here I am modeling it in our kitchen. Don't mind my pasty white legs or the fact that my shirt totally doesn't match. I also must add that somehow this photo got squished as I edited it down to an acceptable size, so...it looks rather squatty - sorry.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I have been a subscriber to "AWAD" (A Word A Day) for more years than I can remember. It's a service run by a great person named Anu Garg who sends words to the world every weekday. (BTW, my most favorite part of Anu's site is the anagram server. You must check it out!) I started getting this delivered to my email box because of the quotes at the bottom of each email. But I also enjoy the words and their definitions and etymologies.

Today's word is floccinaucinihilipilification. What I appreciate most about this word is that it really is not as complicated as it seems (the fact that it means, in essence, "nothing," is also enjoyable). It's actually just the running together of four Latin words that all mean basically nothing. And being that I was a student of Latin in high school and am still a huge fan, I can remember that.

...One item that troubles me, however, about floccinaucinihilipilification is the first part of the word. "Flocci" (plural, I believe, of "floccus") means "tuft of wool." Hey!! Wool is not nothing. Although, I guess one couldn't make much of anything with simply a tuft. A little bit of thrumming is all, I guess.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

knitting update

The other great thing about going to Europe is I will potentially have the opportunity to purchase some wonderful yarn! ...Can I think of nothing else??? I'm very much interested in scouting out a place in Munich to score some (cheap?) Regia Canadian Color sock yarn, which I've been coveting ever since I saw it over on Alison's blog.

What have I been doing with the yarn I already own...?First, I started making this sock using the Retro Rib pattern from Interweave Knits Winter 2004, which happens to be the first IK I ever laid eyes on. I got pretty far (incidentally, I can't figure out how I got this far...the leg was almost done!) but then realized it was waaaaaaay too small. I'm using Brown Sheep Wildfoote, and it's a lot smaller gauge than what the pattern calls for, so I had to improvise. As usual, because I'm so lazy and don't ever feel like making a proper gauge swatch, the gauge I had minimalistically swatched out before beginning the project was wrong, and I really needed to insert an additional pattern repeat or two in order to make the sock be an appropriate diameter. So I ripped apart my sock, wound up my yarn, and am now back to this (oh, I apologize for the cruddy pictures you'll see below; I forgot to have the flash turned on when I took these pics):Next, the Wave Skirt is a..l..m..o..s..t done. It has this picot edging, and I have never before experienced how heart-wrenching such edging can be. I got to the end of the piece a few weeks ago (...maybe even a month ago!!) and was excited because I was done, and I only had to plunk a little edging on and make a crochet chain for a waist-tie and I'd be done. Only! Yeah - that edging is really taking me a long time. It's 66 repeats of a 8-row pattern. The pattern isn't awful, but the skirt is so big (and, actually, heavy, too!) that I can't drag it with me anywhere, so I have to work on it at home, and I haven't been there a whole lot lately. At any rate, as of today there are only 17 more repeats to do. Hooray!With the closing of my preferred yarn shop imminent, I stopped in the other one by my house. I had heard rumor that they hosted charity knitting on Sunday afternoons, and so I came to see. I was the sole charity knitter, but they hooked me up with a comfy chair and some big yarn and I whipped out a fairly long portion of a scarf. I was amazed. I don't really do big yarn, but I might just have to try it - the quick results are really quite encouraging. By the way, I did NOT knit the scarf up on the needle those stitches are hanging out on. That's a supposedly size 4 (more like a size 2), but the 10.5 interchangeable I was using I needed the cable for to do the edging of the Wave Skirt. More motivation for me to finish that edging...

I think I particularly enjoyed the big, results-quick yarn because I have been working on this guy for so long:Honestly, I love it. It's beautiful. ...But it takes so long, and I can't memorize that 16-row pattern... What I need to do is sit down and work solely on it for a couple weeks, and it will be very much closer to being done. ("It", by the way, is a sweater. That picture is the front or back, I don't remember - I'm working on both at the same time.)

And finally...much to my happiness...It's the finished body of the Starry Night sweater!! It needs some blocking and proper end-weaving-in due to my inability to seek guidance about doing intarsia, but the front and back are done now, and I'm in the middle of the ribbing for the sleeves. THIS is the project I should really devote myself to, not the Aran above, because I have wanted this sweater from the moment I laid eyes on it, and the nights are going to start getting balmy and certainly not sweater-wearing-ish pretty soon around here.

So...that is what I've been doing. Yay, knitting!

Monday, June 05, 2006

i'm going to amsterdam!

Superb news arrived in late May: I received a travel grant to attend the AIDS Vaccine 2006 scientific meeting in Amsterdam, Holland!!

Being a descendent of Dutch people, I have always wanted to visit the Netherlands, and I was hoping to get the opportunity to go to this meeting on a travel grant. Getting a travel grant is always nice for one's curriculum vitae, but it's always wonderful for the professor for whom one works who would otherwise probably pay the way for his or her student to attend the meeting. Thus, I am happy that I have saved Dr. Gupta, my boss, money!

In addition to presenting a poster about my research at this conference and attempting to sneak out and see some of the city and country, I am looking forward to a whirlwind tour of some eastern European countries. My co-worker Lori and I are going to join up with a Cosmos tour in Munich, Germany. We will then motor around with a group of travelers to visit Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. I've heard marvelous things about Prague and Vienna and know absolutely nothing about Budapest, so I'm ready for an informative adventure.

Now, all I've got to do between now and when I leave on August 20 is...
  • pack!
  • learn Dutch
  • find some books about the places I'm going
  • save some money
  • find someone to feed Sheamus while I'm gone...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

a poem for rachelle

Rachelle was born in Alaska,
Which town, I don't know - I'll ask her.
I wonder if my sister ever gave her those Old Navy socks.
If not, I have some at my house in a box.
I can ship them to her via USPS.
They have Eskimos, so they are the best.
I drove Rachelle from Pennsylvania to Michigan,
A 12 hour experience in the snow I don't wish to repeat again.
It wasn't her that made it so bad -
It was the five of us girls and all the stuff that we had.
Rachelle reads my blog and missed my point of view
So I wrote her this poem just to say "Thank you!"

Saturday, June 03, 2006

what am i doing?!?!

Eeks... Yes, it has been a while since I posted something here. Let's just say I've been really busy. Not an adequate excuse, but...well, it's my excuse.

What have I been up to?
  • working a lot doing many experiments
  • planning MVM Day, the day every year where my graduate program (Molecular Virology and Microbiology) gathers for showing off our work and hearing invited speakers and eating food and trying to have a party outside. It went over fairly well on Friday, May 26
  • sort of attempting to start packing my belongings so I can move in July
  • knitting now and again
  • trying out various churches in my area - I'm trying to find one that's closer to my house than the one I have been going to
  • planning a trip (much more in a future post!!)
  • pursing true love...er...not really
Many a thing - plus I went to Ren's bridal shower, taught someone how to drive a manual through the hills of Pittsburgh, met with the head of Young Life in my area, and attended various festivities for Memorial Day. I also managed to do this to my leg thigh:
this is after a week of recovery