firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Finished two projects in my new vacation time! One small, one large:

The rainbow socks were a convenient travel project. They're worked two at a time from opposite ends of the yarn ball, so the stripes are actually reversed between socks, but you don't really notice unless you look closely, and even if you do look closely, you probably don't care.

The blue cable sweater took ALMOST EVERY SCRAP OF YARN that the pattern required. I had to switch to using leftover sock yarn to sew the sleeves in, though I probably should have done that for the whole sewing up instead of using sweater yarn, because it didn't hold up well to being used for sewing. It's a woolen-spun yarn, not worsted-spun, which means that instead of the fibers being mostly parallel, they're kind of jumbly. This makes it loftier and warmer than the corresponding weight of worsted yarn, but it also makes it a lot more fragile.

Off I Go

Oct. 23rd, 2015 09:55 am
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Some of you have already heard this, but I have resigned my position at IS&T at MIT, as of last Monday. I been associated with MIT for all of my adult life, and I have had this particular job for seventeen years, so it's kind of unsettling. Accounts was the perfect job for me, and I was good at it - for a long time I expected to work there forever, or at least until I died. More recently, I have been thinking that I would work there until it killed me, which is a little different. The recent reorg has done an excellent job of destroying all of Support ("Provider and Consumer Partnerships" but I can never remember that) by punting all the managers, crushing all morale in the entire organization, and inflicting I think well over 50% casualties at this point. There wasn't actually an Accounts in the post-reorg world, I had a different official position with a person's worth of work, plus the three people's worth of work that the Accounts queue was. But I was managing, and I had recruited a padawan and started training him up (which would have worked better if they hadn't kept putting him in the Call Center for six hours a day). Friday I was called to a meeting with grandboss and uberboss and HR "to address my unprofessional communications"; highlights included "you shouldn't ever make guesses about the cause of a problem when you're talking to a professor" and "you shouldn't point people to the Sloan help desk when they're the ones who can fix the problem" and "you shouldn't put it in writing to anyone when you think that this bug is breaking MIT's anti-discrimination policies and should be fixed". So I resigned, which seemed to surprise them; it appears that the plan was to use the evidence that I was not suited for a customer-facing role to pressure me into taking a different developer-y job, but they hadn't gotten to that part yet. (Only after I left did I hear some of the worse horror stories; my citations were reasonable by comparison).

So now the Accounts queue is kind of on fire (I hope nobody needs to hire any temps any time soon), and my unfortunate padawan is trying his best to be me, but I had spun up about three timelines on work and he only has the standard one. Okay, there's some mixed metaphor going on there, but I guess my original metaphor is what tripped me up. If he's the padawan, then I was Qui-Gon Jinn, and I was doomed to be taken out by Darth Maul working for Palpatine (and I know who they are!), and you all know where that story ends.

However, despite everything, I will always be grateful to my grandboss for allowing me to use my chosen exit line.

"Can I talk you into changing your mind and staying?"
"In the words of my people... Offer me money. Power too, promise me that. Offer me anything I want.... I WANT MY MANAGERS BACK, YOU SON OF A BITCH."
firstfrost: (knit)
Two entries in the category of "making things that sound cold to make [ profile] mathhobbit grumble", these are Frozen fingerless gloves, for [ profile] harrock to wear when Ingressing in the less-than-deep of winter, and Snow Dancer socks, probably for a Christmas present.

I've slacked off on posting for a while; a lot of my life has been eaten by the recent reorg Agile Transformation at work, which I'm sure those of you standing near me have heard quite a lot about already. A sad comment to Facebook about empty chairs and empty tables (I think we just hit "30% have quit", plus moves) apparently caused a cousin (who I haven't seen in decades) to call my mom in a panic. I like my new co-workers (especially including my padawan), but I miss the ones who have gone, and there are a bunch of Things that I just get bitter about. And it's kicked my workaholic impulses into overdrive, because my Stuff is Never Done. (More sensible people than me keep telling me to stop doing that, because it muddies the "we are falling behind" signal, but I hate hate hate having to be the person who left you waiting for three days while they didn't bother to answer your question...)
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
The green socks have a true double spiral for the heel - this was interesting to do, though it took me until about halfway through the first heel to get it right. After the heel, it was kind of boring, but they knit up fast. They do fall into the Marleigh Sock Type of non-matching, which is fun to do once in a while. This used up the second half of the green yarn, which was used for these socks, also spirals. There seem to be more spiral socks this year than the usual.

The pink socks are called "mystik spirals", but that's only because most people only model them from the front, where it looks like the slantways part is spiraling around the foot. It's actually more like two parallelograms, as is clearly visible in the side view like this. This was more fun to do, both because I really liked the yarn color, and because the slantways bands were just interesting enough without being difficult.

Grey socks

Mar. 25th, 2015 07:58 am
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
I am almost sorry to be done with this yarn - Anzula Squishy - which is indeed squishy, and soft, and just a little thicker than most sock yarn, not enough to mess up the gauge but enough to make the fabric comfortably cushy. Grey for New York City, where it came from. The pattern is Pointelle, from one of Cookie's books, which means it's interesting (asymmetry! lace!) on top of the standard flap-and-gusset, which is generally my favorite construction.
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
I've made several toddler/baby hoodies before, but this is a different pattern, with basketweave stitch instead of colorwork for the border. Bulky yarn, in one of the really saturated Madeline Tosh dark reds. I like basketweave stitch a lot - it has a very striking woven look, and isn't difficult at all. I've finally gotten used to the step of "figure out how large the buttonholes are, then search etsy for good buttons", which is not as convenient as going to Windsor Button is, but I suppose it will do.   (I suspect I've complained about buttons for every sweater that has them for the past couple of years now.   Ten years from now, I will still be mourning Windsor Button, and I would probably give directions with "turn right at where the Johnny's Foodmaster used to be" if one ever gave directions any more.)

firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Yay for vacation knitting! I made the legs for the purple socks a little short because I was worried about having not enough yarn (Sundara has lovely colors, but the length is a little scant, and also there are more slubs than I approve of). I quite like the diagonal pattern; I may do this again, though it's a little tricky for two at a time knitting. The rainbow socks are called "Pessimist's Rainbow", and I love the colors - the rainbow is bright, and the blue between the rainbows is a nice tonal variegation that could be a colorway in its own right. The scan kind of maxed out the yellows by focusing on the blue, oh well. The pattern is a simple toe-up, but it has a heel flap, which I appreciate.

The rainbow socks were my current knitting-at-work project, so now I don't have a project for the all hands meeting today, oops. I guess I'll just have to sit quietly like everyone else.

firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
These were fun to do. I was too cautious to make them two at a time, and by the time I'm making the second sock, I'm kind of in a mood to be done. Happily, I seem to be able to channel this "argh, bored with this" into powering through rather than tossing it aside - second sock, my nemesis, I will defeat you!
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
  • The garage at the new Assembly Square has little lights above each parking space. The full spaces are red, and the empty spaces are green. So clever! I've never seen that before, but it works really well to instantly spot an empty space in a line of cars, without the "small car behind large car" issue.

  • [ profile] harrock and I had Christmas Eve dinner at La Brasa, which is a newish restaurant in East Somerville. The rib roast by the ounce was particularly tasty - good char and seasoning, chimichurri sauce underneath, nom nom nom. The dulce de leche flan was the best dessert in the world, and I am very grateful that they brought us a second dessert when Jerry wanted to split the I-forget-which-fruit mousse. (The mousse was very tasty, as was my fish, but they were not the best thing in the world.) And their conceit of ashes of vegetables, used as a very mild seasoning but very striking decoration, tied things together really interestingly. This may go on the list to drag more people to.

  • I heart Audible for letting me return books because I do not like them. Or because I do not like the narrator. I do not do this often, but the fact that I can is very much appreciated. I was listening to Initiate Brother, because I had read it way back when but hadn't read the sequel, so I was going to listen to both, but the narrator was strangely annoying. Accents are a weird thing when there are multiple actors involved - remember how in Babylon 5, Londo was the only Centauri who had a Centauri accent? Or in Avatar, most of the cast has standard American accents, but Uncle Iroh has a strong Japanese accent. It's weirder when it's one narrator doing all the voices, and a few of them have accents (several Asian or exaggerated Asian, and one New Jersey Mafia).
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
(Soon to be able to read lots of new Xmas books, in case you're wondering why I'm not talking about the new Daniel Abraham or the new NK Jemisin or other things I'm looking forward to)The Moonstone, The Stone Man, Little Fuzzy, Fuzzy Nation, Ticker, The Shadow of What Was Lost, The Seventh Bride, Carpet People, All the Paths of Shadow, House of Silk, Moriarty, the Spiritwalker (Cold X) trilogy )
firstfrost: (knit)
A cheetah disguise for Woofies! Or else a yellow mushroom! Hoods always take more yarn than I expect them to; I ran out before I could make ears. The spots are done with needle felting, which lets them be more random and varied than stitching them in. I think that worked well, though the rest of the costume is not my best stuffed-animal tailoring.

And a pair of socks for Aedlin, who apparently felt left out that she did not get handknit socks for Christmas. I think normally you are supposed to be older than four before socks are the thing you want, but Aedlin has always been surprising.

We had Armistead Family Christmas extra-early instead of extra-late this year; there were a couple of other family-visiting side quests (visited Dad up at Clear Lake, and my Aunt Margee in Marin, who I haven't seen for over a decade), so we didn't manage to visit any of of the other Californians (sorry!). It ended up being extra-rainy - good for the locals, less fun for vacation, and Google Maps was very exciting as it steered us around various semi-flooded sections of 101. Aedlin was particularly enthusiastic about hanging around with and imitating her older cousins, though she was a little more cautious about leaping from the balcony of one floor onto the sofa below than they were.
firstfrost: (knit)
These are Christmas presents, done in reasonably sufficient time. For cold Minnesota winters. Actually, a lot of my Christmas presents for my mother-in-law have been winter knitting. I am apparently still a little traumatized.

Anyway, thrums (twists of unspun wool caught in the knitting at regular intervals, to stuff the mittens with soft warm insulation) were interesting to work with, though the instructions for these particular mittens left quite a lot to be desired, especially given that one bit was "make thrum about the size of the sample" and the kit had no sample. There were two different ways to twist the wool in, one way that made larger bumps and one way that made smaller bumps. The purple mittens demonstrate the larger bumps - they kind of make me think of Daleks. Sadly, I think they may become ratty very quickly once they start being worn. But that shouldn't stop them from being warm.

firstfrost: (knit)

Look, more socks! Also, I have been playing around learning Drupal. "Knitting Project" is a content type. I'm trying to decide whether I actually want to copy all the knitting photos over, or if a proof of concept is enough. Actually maintaining two different parallel constructions is kind of annoying, and the static pages are easier to port somewhere else, but the Drupal Cloud is free storage. Maybe the thing to do is copy enough to be an interesting database, and then play around with more views, so I have incentive to learn more things.


Nov. 28th, 2014 02:02 pm
firstfrost: (sandwich)
Back when I had the non-stressful stress dream about getting married, I started to suspect that the part of my brain that assigns me dreams, and the part of my brain that carries out the dreams, are not really on the same page.

A few nights ago, I had one of those dreams where one gets a kiss from someone inappropriate. Me-in-the-dream said "Huh, that was unexpected, and possibly inappropriate. I wonder what I should do. Oh, wait, I know, this is one of those 'Jenny Kiss'd Me' moments. I shall file it away as a treasure, and not treat it as a plot at all." Then I spent the rest of the dream trying to remember all of the words to the poem, which is harder to do when you are asleep and do not have access to the Internet.

Love plot angst stress - nah, not really doing that so much. Getting old stress - yeah, maybe there's some of that. Not remembering the words - that's something I'll obsess about.

Also, "Time, you thief, who like to get things into your thing, put that in!" still manages to be evocative, in context. :)
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
One of my self-appointed jobs is to go to the new restaurants and then drag other people to them later. So I went to Cafe Artscience this evening after work - I'll admit it was in the hopes of getting to try some Mad Science Food, but instead I got tasty food and some of the awesomest service ever. So I'll talk about that instead, but it gets kind of convoluted.

First, I got seated at an Interesting Table. I had made a reservation for one person, and I kind of imagine that they thought "Hey, this would be a really cute single table, put here on the curve of the banquette." I've never actually had a one-person table before, and in theory, yup, definitely cute. In practice... sitting on the inside of a U curve is more comfy than sitting on the outside of one, and... I felt vaguely like I was not cool enough for the table. You know how some restaurants have the high table in the window, to attract passer-by? I think they probably want to put Fabulous Customers in those tables. [ profile] ilhander would be perfect to sit at that sort of table. He would probably have been perfect at this table too. Anyway, it wasn't *un*-comfortable. It was just vaguely awkward, in a "hmm, am I supposed to be sitting slantways to the table? Or straight on? Which direction am I supposed to be facing? I think I'm doing this table wrong...".

Shortly after they poured the water, the waiter (Rich) came up and said, could I do them a great favor and possibly let them move me to this other table over there? I said oh, of course, and got moved; in the process it became clear that I was being moved to a "more comfortable" table. And it was a more comfortable table - a little two person table, with a normal U-shaped comfy chair.

It took me a while after being moved to realize exactly what had happened, and then I was beyond impressed. First, I don't think I was conveying "I hate this table" or anything like that. I wasn't *thinking* "I hate this table." It had really only impinged on my awareness about as much as "hm, I feel like I'm not doing this right." I certainly wouldn't have complained or asked to be moved. I wouldn't ask to be moved unless perhaps the table is on fire and sinking into the swamp. But they noticed more clearly than I did that I wasn't quite comfortable - and then, asking me to do them a favor and move was masterful. If Rich had asked "Would you like us to move you to a more comfortable table?" I would have said "oh, no, I'm fine". So he didn't ask that. Instead, he asked *me* to do *them* a favor, and it got me moved to a place that I was clearly happier. It was possibly one of the single most impressive fast-social-manipulation I've ever had used on me, and I am in awe. (I told him that later, and he did the little thing with his fingers and said "these are not the droids you're looking for." Yes, just like that.)

Right. So that was the first thing. Then, I was in Travis's section, and while he might not have been a Jedi master (or maybe he was, it just didn't come up), that generated its own set of anecdotes to talk about.

I said before that the food was tasty; I should digress here into what I ordered. (Smallish plates)

* Beef Carpaccio, Canadian Lobster, XO Sauce, Burgundy Truffle
* Artichoke soup with focaccia crouton and some sort of hard sharp cheese and a surprising piece of anchovy. (The cheese was a very nice contrast/complement with the soup.)
* Potato-crusted tautog with lardo and brown butter celeriac
* Oh, also an Eon-ish drink with One Large Ice Cube.

The carpaccio came out first, and Travis came by and said, would it be all right if he brought me a splash of red wine to go with the carpaccio? I said (of course!) sure, and he did, and it really turned the carpaccio (or more accurately, the dabs of ?XO Sauce? up to eleven. I think that was one of the best "this drink makes this food taste better" combinations I've ever had. After that, I told Travis that I would defer to his judgement in All Things, and after the dinner part was over, he picked a coffee (cortado!), and a "little spoon" of deconstructed foamed PB&J, and then one of those many-things-on-a-long plate desserts that I think showed up on the check as "birthday" cake and was fascinatingly delicious, especially with the spicy sweet popcorn.

Oh, right, also, when I was finishing up the soup, and scraping the tag ends out with my spoon, he wandered by and used Expressive Gestures to indicate the bread and the soup bowl, as if to say that if I used the bread on the last of the soup, he wouldn't tell.

Anyway. I like being a regular at restaurants, and bonding with the waitstaff. This was a fascinating example of feeling bonded with and charmed on a first visit - not because I'm so adorable and I assume waiters must love me - but because these waiters were just so perfectly charismatic. I would suspect them of being secretly actors in disguise, if this were somewhere else like Boston or LA. (It felt kind of like meeting M for the first time, which only [ profile] shumashi/[ profile] mjperson/[ profile] harrock will understand).

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