Karie Bookish Dot Net

Category Archives: Humour

Important Letter

I have the best mother-in-law. Technically she is not my mother-in-law because D. and I are not married, but she is awesome. To wit, I just got the following through the post today because “it had your name on it”.

June 2014 126

I Saw the Best Minds of the Rebellion Eaten by Sarlacc…

Who on earth likes both Star Wars and 20thC poetry? ME! And this is one of the funniest things I have seen on the internet this week:

so much depends

a scarred young

stitched with cyber

beneath the black

Or how about

For I have ordered them, ordered them all—
Have crewed the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have crewed my life with storm-troop goons;
I know clones dying with a dying fall,
And Alderaan, beneath the Death Star’s doom
The soundless, vacuum-muted boom.

Or indeed

There died Hunter Fugitive.
And the best of them, among them
For old Boba gone in the teeth
For a botched storyline.

There is just a smattering of Shakespeare in the linked post, which is fine by me, but I do think this cries out for some rock’n’roll 17th C poetry. A bit of Andrew Marvell – but sadly filking is beyond my abilities. I can but dream.

Background Details

It’s been that kind of morning.

“So, which textile degree did you do?”

“No textile degree, I’m afraid. I have a degree in English with a specialisation in print culture from a Danish university.”

“Okaaaay, why did you move there to do your degree?”

“I’m .. Danish?”


I posted this exchange on a certain social networking site and some good friends tried to reframe things for me.

Can’t you just invent an explanation? “Well, I was really going to study in Rwanda, but then the plane crashed and …”

“and after fighting of the packs of lions and the rabid wildebeests, I thought I’d…”

“… I thought I’d knit myself a fishing net so I could get some food. And then my clothes had got all tattered, so I knit myself some new ones, and that inspired me to go into designing.”

“That’s why most of my garnments are green. Jungle-inspiration.”

Yeah, it has been that kind of morning: quite odd but very funny.

Hang on. Most of my days are quite odd but very funny. Hmm.

Day Five: Song

august09 014Hello FLS, my old friend,
I’ve come to knit you again,
Because pretty yarn came softly creeping,
And I can knit you while sleeping,
And the shawl that was frogged yesterday
Still remains
Within the knitting basket of doom.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Wondered if I should knit Cobblestone,
‘neath the halo of a second-hand lamp,
I turned my eyes to the weather cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
bright light
That split the night
And touched the knitting basket of doom.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand possible projects, maybe more.
Projects without assigned yarns,
Projects with scary-looking charts,
Projects that look fabulous – but not on me
And not one made me
Disturb the knitting basket of doom.

Head said you do know
Your yarn stash like a cancer grows.
Find some sweater amount for Hey Teach*,
Take these patterns and an FO this month you may reach.
But my hands like idle raindrops fell,
And rested
By the knitting basket of doom.

And so to the great knitting goddess I prayed
I looked at items I had previously made.
And the signs were flashing,
By the sweater amounts I had been stashing.
And the signs said, top-down it shall be
It’ll be easy garter-stitch and fancy-free
And suit that lovely wool-alpaca yarn you
have kept in the knitting basket of doom..

(apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)

*no longer in my queue as per April 2011

Alas, I have suddenly fallen ill and I am currently resting in my bed. I hope you enjoy this little filk which I originally wrote in August 2009. I have updated the links though :)

I hope to be fully recovered in time for tomorrow’s blog post. Until then you can find more blogs participating in the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week by googling 2KCBWDAY5.

Day Two: Skilled Up

If you have ever played any role-playing game such as Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft, you will be familiar with a system assigning numbers (your “stats”) to indicate how good you are at something. Using D&D as an example, if you are very nimble and agile you will have a Dexterity of “15” (or higher) and if you are extremely clumsy, your Dexterity may be a “7”.Your skill levels are modified accordingly, so a person scoring high in Dexterity will receive a bonus when performing acrobatics.

Now my personal stats run fairly average but I do get a hefty modifier to my knitting skills rolls. If only life were like a role-playing game and all the tasks revolved about figuring out knitting patterns..

.. but it is not and the last year has actually been quite odd from a knitting perspective. I can knit pretty much anything nowadays but I have been suffering from a lack of knitting mojo. It is odd: I have a beautiful stash, I’m blessed with fabulous knitting groups and friends, and I have allocated crafting time .. but somehow Mr Mojo just went out the door for a very long time. It felt as though all my knitting was pligtstrik, or ‘i-have-to-knit-this’ rather than ‘i-want-to-knit-this’.

Technically I have not changed much from the knitter I was last year. I have not learned any new cast-ons or improved my entrelac – but I have become much more mindful about my knitting and what I choose to do with my knitting time. I have learned to disregard much of the Ravelry hype, avoid local knitting drama and not be distracted by what others think. Instead I have begun discovering who I am as a knitter and as a crafter. I can do so many different things but what do I want to do with them?

Like others, I am rediscovering plain knitting and I am a huge believer in ‘less is more’. I am knitting for myself, to my own taste and in my own time.

To go back to the roleplaying terminology, it is as if my massive knitting modifier is now working in synergy with my WIS modifier. I suspect that means I’ve levelled up over the past year although I hadn’t realised this. Maybe life is like a role-playing game and all the tasks do revolve about figuring out knitting patterns..

Topic: Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Find more blogs participating in the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week by googling 2KCBWDAY2.

The Skies, Now Undisturbed

The wise elders would explain that inside the aircraft, passengers, who had only paid the price of a few books for the privilege, would impatiently and ungratefully shut their window blinds to the views, would sit in silence next to strangers while watching films about love and friendship – and would complain that the food in miniature plastic beakers before them was not quite as tasty as the sort they could prepare in their own kitchens.

The elders would add that the skies, now undisturbed except by the meandering progress of bees and sparrows, had once thundered to the sound of airborne leviathans, that entire swathes of Britain’s cities had been disturbed by their progress

Alain de Botton – A World Without Planes (from the BBC)

Alain de Botton wrote his piece in reaction to the last few days’ “travel chaos” (i.e. man is not greater than nature). I am reminded of Ben Marcus’ The Age of Wire & String, a strange little book which I struggled to understand. I think it is the ritualised language both de Botton and Marcus use.

Completely unrelated: Death Metal Lyric OR William Blake Quote? Go on ..

Meanwhile I am still torn on whether to use a particular yarn for a particular cardigan pattern. When I look at the yarn I think “texture! cables! I have 1700 yrds!” but the cardigan is rather plain and takes 1050 yrds. Woe.

Shall I Compare Thee to the Great Pele?

After the years of Andrew Motion being poet laureate, him whining about it and his “official” poems going “Better stand back / Here’s an age attack, / But the second in line / Is dealing with it fine”, it is a relief to have Carol Ann Duffy in the seat. Somehow she seems to understand the job better and is able to find poetry in the small things that fill our everyday lives (which, I would argue, is what poetry is all about) and the news story flickering on our screens.

Recently she wrote a poem about David Beckham’s injury which sees him out of the England World Cup squad.

Achilles (for David Beckham)

Myth’s river- where his mother dipped him, fished him, a slippery golden boyflowed on, his name on its lips. Without him, it was prophesised,
they would not take Troy.

Women hid him, concealed him in girls’ sarongs; days of sweetmeats, spices, silver songs…
but when Odysseus came,

with an athlete’s build, a sword and a shield, he followed him to the battlefield, the crowd’s roar,
and it was sport, not war,
his charmed foot on the ball…

but then his heel, his heel, his heel…

The poem was originally published in The Daily Mirror, a tabloid, which employs Duffy as a regular columnist. Meanwhile, The Guardian, my newspaper of choice, looks at the poem approvingly but the comments section is where I found the biggest thrills. I particularly enjoyed FinneyontheWing, IantovonScranto and tw*tbeak but I strongly recommend the entire section. It is filled with limp poetry, bizarre imagery and iambic pentameter.

Mad, Bad & Orange To Know

nov09 057Being ill has its benefits. Last time I was stuck in bed for more than two days in a row, I ploughed through Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I had previously failed to get into (the plot starts unfolding one-third through the novel). This time around I am knitting whilst listening to podcasts on John Milton (interesting) and Ezra Pound (dull and I even mouthed ‘WRONG’ at my ipod at one point).

I’m knitting with my bright orange 2-ply baby alpaca (yes, the colour is accurate in the photo). It is underspun, rather fragile and almost angora-like soft. And I’m knitting Percy, a pattern which I have previously attempted to knit. I’m now halfway through my second repeat of the dastardly Chart B and I might add in another repeat before doing the edging chart, just to make the shawl a bit bigger. It almost seems a shame to knit an intricate pattern in fuzzy yarn, but the process knitter in me actually Does Not Care. It’ll be a mad, colourful and warm shawl – and I will have conquered Chart B. That is all that matters.

I am still ill, alas, but I think today I will actually get dressed!

And here’s a little news story which may cheer you up:

Rumors of a city of 25,000 lesbians have led hordes of men to contact Swedish tourist authorities and swamp the nation’s Internet providers. Chinese media especially have spread the tale of “Chako Paul City,” supposedly founded in 1820 in northern Sweden by a man-hating widow who banned males, reports Australia’s Daily Telegraph. Inhabitants then turned to lesbianism “because they could not suppress their sexual needs,” goes one recent account in China’s Harbin News service. Swedish tourist authorities are baffled. “I’ve no idea where this came from, but it’s not true,” said a spokesman. “At 25,000 residents, the town would be one of the largest in northern Sweden, and I find it hard to believe that you could keep something like that a secret for more than 150 years.”

(I cannot remember how I came across it – if it’s via you, please let me know so I can credit)

Two Steps Ahead

The Guardian is running a series of semi-humourous columns called This Column Will Change Your Life and I hit upon It’s Not Easy Always Being Right the other night. I don’t think I’m always right – I live in  shades of grey – but I know that I often feel like I’m outsmarting people (mostly myself) which is a bastardised form of Always Being Right, of course.

Unfortunately this “outsmarting people” is not particularly useful. I am not outsmarting bankers in order to make hefty profits, for instance. My brain is far more useless than that: I’m always two steps ahead of whatever I am supposed to be doing. A typical example of a telephone conversation would be: “Yes, you have misspelled my name, but I would like to address the legal issues surrounding .. okay, it’s K. A. .. can we just look at section 7 befo .. yes, K.A. R…” and when I type I miss out words because my brain is always three or four sentences ahead of whatever I’m typing.

Now imagine how I read. I read very fast and can wolf down a book in a couple of hours. About ten years ago I decided that I needed to start poetry because you cannot wolf down poetry. You have to work at making meaning. You have to be patient with a quiet mind or the poem will not open up. I spent years working with poetry before I felt ready to go back to reading prose. And I still wolf down prose instead of savouring every little punctuation mark. I cannot remember characters’ names nor minor details, but I can tell you if I enjoyed the read or not in very fancy terms.

I am not a New Agey person but I do wish I could live more in the present and focus on what is Right Now. Instead I’m always two steps ahead and outsmarting myself while I’m at it.

A few links that have grabbed me over the last few days:
+ Madeleine Albright: Read My Pins. When costume jewellery went political.
+ The $3,000 Scarf – or why crafting isn’t necessarily a cheap hobby.
+ Cross-dressing in the 20th Century – a series of photos. Thanks, Alex.
+ The Ultimate Bauhaus Dog House – or how to produce a quintessential Ms Bookish link.
+ Take A Weird Break – some very odd headlines from a British women’s magazine. “Spirit Mum Sends Me Elastic Bands” sums it all up.
+ Lady Gaga – Bad Romance (youtube). I love her forthcoming single – it’s exquisitely poptastic in a super-cheesy Eurovision-goes-gay-bar-circa-1986 way. I could see Sweden offering this in a perfect Eurovision world. Other Half hates the song. Pffft.

Wednesday Linkage

An assortment of various links for your pleasure.

  • Dicey knitting – for the ones among us who like to throw dice when we need to make a decision. “Start with the Ivory Cube — it will tell if you you knit, purl, slip, increase, decrease, or cable/twist. This is where you Impose Chaos“. Thanks, L.
  • Golden silk from golden orb spiders: “A unique piece of golden yellow silk brocade cloth, woven from spiderwebs, is on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York. To harvest enough silk to make the cloth, more than a million female golden orb spiders were collected in Madagascar, “milked” for silk, and released back into the wild.” The links are not for the faint-hearted, but they are incredibly interesting. I say this as a arachnophobe.
  • This has been mentioned a lot on various literary blogs, but it bears repeating: An Open Letter to the Federal Trade Comission. There is a difference between being a lit blogger receiving freebies which may/may not be reviewed and a corporate shrill. The FTC has apparently not noticed the difference.
  • Most of my adult life I have been looking for the perfect Bauhaus teapot. I now know why it’ll never be mine.
  • Glasgow Guerilla Gardening. What it says on the tin. Sometimes they include knitting.
  • The house of my nightmares. And probably also of the assigned estate agent..
  • The 56 Geeks. Which one are you? And yes, you will be one because you are reading a blog. Brownie points for guessing which one I am. (thanks, Emme)
  • The continuing saga of Amazon, their Kindle and the concept of “Fail”.
  • Hilary Mantel won this year’s Man Booker. I can’t even pretend to be mildly interested. Sorry.
  • One of Dave’s online buddies have started a parenting blog. Normally the words “parenting blog” strikes fear into my heart, but when it’s called When Should They See Die Hard and the first post made my day: “The first stage is what I’ll call “The Minion Stage”. Essentially having a little tiny henchman who does as their told and will make Manhattans for you.”