Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Why does technology hate me?

So I have some statistics homework, involving a seemingly innocuous 10x2 matrix. But surprise! When you try to do some exponential operations on it (ah, exponential distribution, why must you decay so fast?), you get the overflow error in both Matlab and Excel. Damn! If Matlab can invert a gazillion entry matrix, why can't it deal with my puny one? The answer: this problem was never meant to see the light of day. At least, not the light of my day.

I have a new hobby, as if I have the time...

Tsk, Beth. You of all people should have recognized the Goulet reference in yesterday's post. Shame! :)

These are examples of my new thing, t-shirt stenciling. It's horribly addictive.

PIKAAAA!!! (*Hands raised above head a la Asian Awareness gesture*):

This one was for Mike:

Imagine the "Be a Man" song going with this one:

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pattern: Braided Cable Fingerless Gloves

These are an easy one I worked up last week.
Yarn: 1 skein Knitpicks Merino Style www.knitpicks.com
Needles: US 5 dpns (set of four)
Notions: Yarn needle, waste yarn or stitch holder, cable needle, stitch marker

Gauge: 6 stitches and 9 rows per inch in stocking stitch (row gauge is less important)

Left Hand Glove:
CO 44 stitches over three dpns. Join, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a marker at the beginning of the round. Work five rounds in k2p2 rib.

At the beginning of the next round, switch to st stitch for 14 stitches. P3, K9, P3. Finish the round in st stitch. Repeat this round one or two more times.

In the next round, when you reach the 9 separated knit stitches, begin the braided cable. Move the first three knit stitches to a cable needle, and hold to front. Work the next three knit stitches, then the three from the cable needle. Work the next three knit stitches, then p3, then finish the round in st stitch.

On the next round, work all stitches as they lie (purl the purls, knit the knits).

On the next round, begin the other part of the braided cable when you reach the 9 separated knit stitches. Work the first three in knit. Then slip the next three to the cable needle and hold to back. Work the next three in knit, then the three off of the cable needle. P3, then finish the round in st stitch.

On the next round, work all stitches as they lie.

These four rounds form the cable repeats. So you are actually cabling every other round. Continue in this manner until there are about two inches of work (counting the ribbing).

Next round: Work six stitches, then M1, K1, M1. Continue in established cable pattern.

Next round: work all stitches as they lie. The increases should be knit.

Next round: Work six stitches, then M1, K3, M1. Continue.

Continue in this manner until you have increased 8 times. (That is, when you get to the beginning of the gusset on an increase round, M1, knit the previous increase stitches, M1, continue.) In the next round, when you get to the beginning of the gusset increases, transfer the next 16 stitches to a holder or waste yarn. Continue in the established pattern. In the next round, knit over the gap created by the gusset, leaving a hole for the thumb.

Continue in the established pattern until the work measures 5 inches total. Then switch to k2p2 ribbing (stopping the cable) for about 5 rounds. Bind off somewhat loosely.

Pick up the 16 stitches in the thumb, join and work in st stitch for about 1/2 inch. Switch to k2p2 rib for about 3 rounds. Bind off somewhat loosely.

Weave in ends and sew up the hole at the base of the thumb.

Right Glove:
Work as for left, but begin thumb increases 7 stitches AFTER the 3 purls from the end of the cable sequence. That way the thumb will be on the correct side! :)

ER makes me cry

TNT just showed the end of season 9 of ER. Single tear. Or maybe tear one.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sweater Round-Up

A few of you may remember the infamous "I am afraid to finish a sweater, so I will just let this half-finished one sit around for two years" episode. Well, look at me now! I am a sweater machine!!!!

Pattern: Vogue Fall 2004, Michael Kors cardigan
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky, 19 balls
Tine to knit: about two months, during the last semester and the summer
Needles: US 9

Book Review: Ah, I am such a sucker for Jane Austen mysteries...

A Few Book Reviews:

Pride and Prescience, or A Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris--6
First in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series

Although suffering from a cutesy title, this book was surprisingly good for a debut. The characterization was particularly strong in the opening chapters, with many endearing explorations of the Lizzie/Darcy relationship. Bebris also included a great running joke about Jane and Bingley’s talent for attracting inept servants (building on Mr. Bennett’s comment in P and P about how the overly-generous newlyweds would be easily swindled). That’s not to say that it didn’t have its issues. The mystery was weak, a problem which plagues many new (and even some experienced) authors. The plot involves the engagement and marriage of Caroline Bingley to an American gentleman. After the wedding, Caroline begins to act very strangely, and the Darcy’s must look for an explanation. There were some decent red herrings thrown in (though I had already narrowed the suspects down to the actual culprit halfway through), but the plot ended with an unfortunate appeal to the supernatural that feels out of place in Austen’s world of financial practicality. I am not the hardened skeptic that Darcy is in this novel, but I do feel that there are places where magic is less appropriate. Also, the fine characterization of the early chapters faded as the mystery heightened, dimming the book’s chief strength. Nevertheless, I look forward to future installments in this series, despite the fact that the newest is to be titled North By Northanger (which may have the great distinction of having both Alfred Hitchcock and Jane Austen simultaneously rolling in their graves).

Suspense and Sensibility, or First Impressions Revisited by Carrie Bebris--5.5
Second in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series

Although this book contains another hearty dose of excellent characterization, including the addition of the Dashwoods from Sense and Sense, this installment lacks direction. We don’t really get a mystery in the conventional sense (there is no murder which precipitates the conflict). Instead, we are treated to some more supernatural intrigue which is resolved rather abruptly. It seems that Kitty’s finance, Harry Dashwood, falls prey to some sinister spell. These sinister goings on are only hinted at for the first section of the novel, but then rush forward to the conclusion too swiftly for my “I like to savor the clues” tastes. Nevertheless, the development of Kitty as a sympathetic character is welcome, as I have always feared that she would never truly outgrow the frivolity instilled in her by Lydia. That the Darcys should meet the Dashwoods seems somewhat reasonable, but this device will wear thin if the Darcys wander into all of Austen’s famed families. I am also curious to see what Bebris will do when she has run out of Austen novels to serve as bases for her books, as there is a sadly limited supply. Not to mention what other crazy titles we have in store.

Jane and the Unpleasantness of Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron--7
First in the Jane Austen mystery series

A few of my dear readers may remember that I reviewed the second installment of this series several years ago. Most of you probably don’t. Regardless, spurred on by the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries, I decided to revisit this series and finally start from the beginning. I wasn’t disappointed. Barron has written a tight opener, with an interesting cast and a compelling mystery. The books are presented in the guise of edited editions of “long-lost Austen journals,” complete with those annoying footnotes that academics, myself included, adore. But the annotations soon take a backseat to the story. Jane Austen is visiting a friend, the Countess Scargrave when the Earl of Scargrave dies in suspicious circumstances. The Countess is accused of the crime, and it is up to Jane to clear her name. The book swiftly introduces a number of compelling suspects, though the actual culprit will probably be obvious to seasoned mystery readers. Plus there are hints of a juicy romantic relationship for Jane, which will undoubtedly be explored in later installments. I have already borrowed the third entry in the series from the library, which I heartily look forward to.

New to the neighborhood

Yes friends, I have finally decided to move out of It's a Dog's World over on geocities. I have had that site since high school, so I guess it was time for a change.

So what is going to happen in the new digs? To be honest, I can't rightly say. I will transfer some of the content from the old site here, and then probably add in new ramblings about my grad school days (and nights). It's a good bet that this will involve book reviews, updates on my knitting, and late-night problem set venting.

If you've made it this far, welcome!