Category Archives: Tunes

Now I have a song from Cloud Cult stuck in my head…

…since I’m pretty sure most of you haven’t ever heard of Cloud Cult (a local Minneapolis band), you’re completely safe. Unless, of course, you want to go listen to the song (“Take Your Medicine”) and see if you can get it stuck in your heads… Since some of you actually clicked on links to notorious earworms last week, I know you like to live dangerously. 🙂

Anne in New Zealand would like to send some goodies to whoever leaves the 300th comment on her blog.

Sorry my posts haven’t been very energetic lately. I’ll fill y’all in on why in a few days. Hopefully you can hang in there for a while!

Reading Update
Witch Hunt: An Ophelia and Abby Mystery by Shirley Damsgaard. Sweet and fluffy paranormal mysteries set in small-town Iowa, about a librarian who’s a witch – I’ll keep reading these (and not just because there’s a black cat in the books).
Electric Blue by Nancy Bush. It was harder for me to get into the second Jane Kelly mystery than it was to get into the first (Candy Apple Red), but once I did, I enjoyed this light read.
Touch of Darkness: Darkness Chosen, Book 2 by Christina Dodd. I’m enjoying this series – I know it will be at least four books (based on the premise outlined in the first book) and I’m already waiting to find out when the next one will be published!
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. I’d read this before, but I was looking for a light and fun read and Jennifer Crusie rarely disappoints.

Dyeing Update
On Saturday, Jeanne, Miss T, and I converged on Deb’s house for a lovely day of conversation, dyeing, knitting, eating, drinking, and laughter. Here’s what we dyed – I didn’t use any black and only minimal purple! Hopefully none of you hit your heads falling off your chairs in shock. 😉

“This isn’t as hard as you all think it is. Go try it right now! I’ll wait.” -Mayhem

Furry distractions and Project Spectrum mix cd contest

Thanks so much to everyone for your words of comfort and support in the wake of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapse. I, like many other Minnesotans, am still in shock over the whole thing. And as additional information comes out suggesting that this was preventable, I suspect our shock is going to turn to anger and outrage…

But I need to think about other things for a while, you know? To that end, I continue to listen to Harry Potter Book 5 (I’m moving up the library list for Book 7 at a shocking pace!) and frantically knitting my Serpentine socks, trying to finish both. I think I’m about to start the final ribbing on both cuffs of the Serpentines.

And guess what? It’s time to give away some Project Spectrum mix cds for August – September. The colors are orange-brown-purple, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the mix is weighted toward purples. Some artists on the mix include Neko Case, the Moutain Goats, Greg Brown, Los Lobos, the Okra All-Stars, and the Vitamin String Quartet. I will give away copies of the mix to three randomly selected people who send email to my contest line by 6 pm CDT, Wednesday, August 8.

Chaos hops into his my chair each time I set down ipod and knitting to get up and use the facilities or get a drink of water.

“Maybe if I look cute and asleep, she won’t roust me out of my chair.” -Chaos

You can always hope, Chaos!

“Try the extremely cute upside-down-kitty pose, big kitty. It works for me.” -Mayhem

I hope you all have a good, safe weekend.

Now with even more thank yous!

I knew I had more thank yous to do! Here’s the previously mentioned cute stationery from Elspeth (thanks again, E!), although I’m not sure I’ll actually ever get to use it – Ms. Mayhem seems a bit proprietary about it, doesn’t she?

“Hey, I have a lot of letters to write if Mom ever gets out from under my feet and works from the office again.” -Mayhem

I won a prize over at Diva Knitting. Thanks, StitchDiva!

“Mmmmm… yarny yarn.” -Mayhem

KitKatKnit sent me some fun goodies. I haven’t tried A Piece of Vermont yarn before. She also sent me some cute stitchmarkers that she made (Chaos is apparently trying to steal the one with his name on it) and a very cute black kitty necklace. Thank you so much, KitKatKnit! How did you know that I was looking at those necklaces on vacation, but never found one that I liked?!

“Mmm… stitchmarkers.” -Chaos

“Mmm… glow sheep!” -Mayhem

Glow sheep? Yes indeed.

“It isn’t as flat as that other sheep, but it isn’t very lively, either. Do you think maybe it’s just too scared to move? I am scary.” -Mayhem

Finally, I participated in the Sound Swap that Jennie organized. I sent music and treats to Clare in the UK, and received music and treats from Raches in Australia. Raches sent me a great mix cd, some tea, a journal, self-patterning sock yarn, and incredibly lovely merino-cashmere sock yarn. YUM! Thank you, Raches!

“Hmm, I wonder if I should start keeping a diary? I wouldn’t want Mom or the big kitty to peek at it…” -Mayhem

“The kitchen table is not a kitty superhighway!”

For some mysterious reason, my comments aren’t being mailed to me in a timely fashion today. I will reply to them as they show up, but don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me as quickly as usual!

Amanda of bookwormknits is looking for recommendations for good tv series to get from NetFlix. Leave her a comment by July 14 and you could win some yarn and goodies.

Carole is having a contest – guess how many ounces of fiber she’ll spin during the Tour de Fleece and you could win a fibery prize. Leave a comment with your guess by July 29.

Thank you all so much for your well wishes. Probably I will be having surgery, but I’ll know more after I actually meet with the doctor in a few weeks. At this point, surgery sounds like a very good thing to me. But! We’ll worry more about that later. Onward.

Reading Update
Unscrewed by Lois Greiman. Definitely worth the $0.69+tax from the thrift store, but I don’t know that I’ll bother reading any of the other books in this series about an LA waitress turned therapist. Heck, this book spent so much time covering what was in the previous books that I don’t feel the need to actually read them.
About Face: A Bill Damen Mystery by James Calder. I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as Knockout Mouse (which I read last week). Knockout Mouse seemed to balance the mystery and Damen’s personal life much better than did About Face, which focused much more on the case.
Spanish Dagger by Susan Wittig Albert. The latest China Bayles mystery was an enjoyable read. China owns an herb and tea shop in small town Texas and just can’t seem to avoid solving mysteries.
Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy. What can I say – I’m a sucker for well-written urban fantasy. This book features Joanne Walker, who, besides being a mechanic and an unwilling cop, discovers that she’s also a shaman coming into her power.

Belated Thanks
Yikes, I’ve been meaning to post thank yous for a while, but I didn’t realize how long it had been… Apologies! At the end of May, I won a contest over at Moonfrog and Becky sent me a lovely skein of purple Cherry Tree Hill (this picture does not do justice to its lush purpleness), a cute keychain sock blocker, some coffee, and a really neat card that you can’t see behind May’s noggin. Thanks, Becky!

“I wonder if this is grape?” -Mayhem

Elspeth and I share a powerful love of music and we regularly exchange mix cds. Elspeth sent me a very cute sheep pencil bag and notebook, along with a cat mix and a Project Spectrum black/red/metallic mix. (With a more recent bird mix, she included some great yarn-themed stationery, tragically not pictured here.) Thank you, Elspeth! May was quite taken with the pencil bag.

“It has a me-sized sheep on it!” -Mayhem

“What do sheep taste like?” -Mayhem

“It isn’t a very lively sheep, is it? Do you think I squished it?” -Mayhem

Iced java jacket pattern and Project Spectrum mix cd contest!

Project Spectrum
Last year, Anjo the Crafty Modster made and gave away awesome mix cds for each month/color combination of Project Spectrum. Alas, Anjo hasn’t posted since October (I hope she’s ok!), so Heather made the first two PS mixes this year and I will be making the second two.

The colors for June-July are red, black, and metallics – each song or artist will have one of these colors in title or name. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the cd, please send email to my contest email address by 6 pm CDT, June 1. Three winners will be randomly selected. Only entries sent to my contest email address will be included in the drawing! You will not receive a confirmation email back. You do not need to be participating in Project Spectrum to win a cd.

Curious about what music will be on the cd? Some of the artists include Okkervil River, the Builders & the Butchers, the Mountain Goats, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, Joseph Arthur, the Sad Little Stars, Pete Yorn, Joseph Plunkett & the Weight, Thin White Rope, and Radiohead. Hey, I have notoriously eclectic and obscure taste. 🙂

Knitting: Java Jacket Pattern
To avoid having cold, soggy fingers when drinking iced coffee drinks in the summer, I knitted some java jackets from leftover Cascade Fixation. I have one at home, one in the car, one in my purse – you get the idea!

It’s a quick pattern for those of you who drink iced coffee or 20-ounce bottles of soda. For cans of soda or beer bottles, I would recommend casting on fewer stitches.


  • Cascade Fixation or Elann Esprit
  • US size 4 dpns/long circular/two circulars, depending on your preferred method (or size to get an approximate gauge of 5 st/in)
  • Beginning of round (BoR) marker
  • Darning needle

Cast on 36 stitches for seed stitch border or 37 stitches for ribbing. Join by knitting the first and last stitch together and place BoR marker before this stitch: 35 stitches (seed stitch) or 36 stitches (ribbing) remain.

Knit 6 rounds of seed stitch or 2×2 ribbing. Knit 20 rounds plain. Knit 6 rounds of seed stitch or 2×2 ribbing. Bind off and weave in ends. My bind off edge is a bit tighter than my cast off edge, which works well with a tapered cup. If you are planning to use these on cans or other non-tapered beverage containers, make sure you bind off loosely.

For a change, the cats were completely uninterested in all of this.

“Birds!” -Mayhem

“Darned screen. We could so get those birds… although since we are on the third floor, maybe the screen is a good thing.” -Chaos

“Oh, it’s just a harmless little bunny, isn’t it?”

Diane is having a rant contest. Share a good rant with her before May 31, and you could win some sock yarn!

An Aquarium Drunkard is giving away copies of the forthcoming Soul Sides Vol 2: The Covers cd. To win, answer the trivia question in an email before midnight PDT, May 19.

Anyone in the Twin Cities interested in going to see the National at the 400 Bar on Friday, June 8? Let me know!!

Reading Update
Setting up a new computer has really cut into my knitting and reading time! Hopefully things are mostly set up by now so life can go back to normal around here.
A Finer End and And Justice, There Is None by Deborah Crombie. Continuing on with the Kincaid and James mysteries – only a few more left!
High Profile by Robert B. Parker. Another combined Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall mystery. I’m actually getting frustrated with both characters at this point! Why bother continuing either series if these characters are just going to stay stuck??
The Accidental Florist by Jill Churchill. This most recent Jane Jeffrey mystery didn’t feel very mysterious at all. Actually, I’m really not sure why I kept reading the book. Not a series I plan to continue reading anymore…

Today’s Shepherd’s Harvest Cute Animal Photo
The sign on the cage reads “For your safety, no fingers in cages!” Oh no! Run away! Break out the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! 😉

“If you think that bunny is fierce, check this out! Rawrrrrgh! Are you running away yet? It’s hard to see with my eyes all squished up like this.” -Mayhem

First ever wireless blog post!

Yay! I finally got all that geeky stuff configured so that I have a wireless network at home! In honor of that, I’m just going to blog with found photos in my unused photos directory, along with a few random thoughts from the week. You have been warned. 🙂

Dotty’s having a contest – guess how much she’ll spend at FibreFest today and you could win a mysterious prize (probably fibery). Remember that your guesses will be in Canadian dollars and guess before 11:59 PDT today, May 11.

I just discovered, over at Minneapolis F*ing Rocks, that today is the anniversary of the day that Minnesota became the 32nd state in 1858. MFR has a fun Minnesota playlist to download to celebrate, if you’re into music.

So quite the buzz about Ravelry, eh? Last week, when I caught up after getting behind on bloglines, it seemed like every other blog I read was talking about Ravelry. I started to feel like I hadn’t been picked to play kickball during recess. In fact, I left a whiney little comment about that at Jennie’s and Elinor took pity on me and sent me an invite. Thanks, Elinor!

Right now Ravelry’s in beta testing and is by invitation only (although you can sign up to be on the waiting list). I don’t have any invites to hand out, alas… But if you’re starting to feel left out, here’s an interesting article to read and think about – Ravelry’s a social networking site. So are MySpace, Facebook, and others. How well do these social networks connect? Are we building bridges between our social networks, or erecting self-contained silos? After the beta testing is over and Ravelry is free and open, will it be inclusionary or exclusionary? Inquiring minds want to know…

Anyway, since last weekend, I’ve been poking around Ravelry and checking things out. I like the integregation with our blogs, which are, with interactive commenting, a type of social network. I don’t like entering all of my project and stash and needles and such, when I already have all of that information on my own computer at home. Hopefully they add some sort of import/export facility for that, because I personally am unlikely to replicate my effort. I also am not as likely to include pictures, since Ravelry just uses Flickr as an image source. If they incorporate other image hosting services, sounds like it will be services like Photobucket. Doesn’t sound like those of us who host our own images and are happy doing so will be able to have images on Ravelry unless we start using Flickr, etc.

Ok, on to lighter things… Who’s going to Shepherd’s Harvest on Saturday? If it’s nice out, Jeanne and I will be there, probably late morning to noonish. If it’s raining, I’ll be there at around the same time. 😉 After my unsuccessful attempt last year, I’m not going to try coordinating a blogger meetup. Who’s good at that sort of thing?

Here’s a picture from 1996 that struck my fancy when I was scanning yesterday’s Colorado pictures:

I used to see that Starry, Starry Night VW everywhere! I loved that car – it made me happy just to see it.

And of course, we must end the week with a cat picture… *sound of rummaging*

“What? I didn’t do it! I swea… Oh, that’s not what you wanted? Never mind. No, I don’t have anything profound to say. Can I get back to watching the bunnies now?” -Mayhem

“When the villagers come to my door, I will hide underneath the table in the dining room.”

Reading update: Slow week reading here! Dead Wrong by J.A. Jance. In the latest Sheriff Joanna Brady mystery (Arizona), she’s coping with a staff shortage, murder, and being 9.5 months pregnant.

Last night I went to the Triple Rock Social Club to see one of my very favorite bands, the Mountain Goats. (This post’s cryptic title is from their song “If You See Light.”) It was very, very traumatic for me, staying up that late and being out and about! Fortunately, I had good parking “carma” and then snagged a prime spot to watch the show when I got inside. They basically played their new album Get Lonely in order, with a few detours (Heart’s “Barracuda” was the best!), then played some of their older stuff. (And Leah, the new stuff was mostly excellent live – it had a lot more zing than on the cd.) It was a great show, especially considering it was the first stop of their tour! But damn, did I feel old – I was probably one of the 10 oldest people there… This was the first time I’ve been to a show at a bar since the Minneapolis smoking ban went into effect last year – I know it’s been controversial, but it was amazing to not need a shower after a show and also not to wake up with a “hangover” from second-hand smoke.

Largehearted Boy is having a Get Lonely contest! Could the timing be more perfect?! 🙂

Time for a decent picture of Mayhem – she’s purring and making happy paws because I’m looking at her, the sweetie. She definitely has the stealth tabby thing going, as well as maybe being a “smoke” (check out section 2 in that link). Her eyes are actually a sort of gold amber, not the green that they’ve appeared in photos.


I think Chaos and May are playing now. I’m hoping that’s what it is! Either that, or she’s running for her life much of the time. I caught Chaos giving her a bath this morning. Awwwww… (No, there isn’t a picture – it was 5:30 am…)

“Ha ha! I got Mom’s spot and that big kitty isn’t anywhere around!”

“But why am I feeling so nervous? It’s as if someone’s watching me…

M is for…

Mixes. (Heh, did you think it would be my beloved Minneapolis?! Or mammal for Chaos?)

Got your tape and it changed my mind
Heard your voice in between the lines
Now I’m falling in love too fast
With you or the songs you chose
I can hear you singing to me in my sleep
I can hear you singing to me in my sleep

I’ve been living in your cassette
It’s the modern equivalent
Singing up to a Capulet
On a balcony in your mind

– Semisonic, Singing in My Sleep

I love making and receiving mixes. It used to be mix tapes, but these days it’s mix cds. For me, mixes are incredibly evocative – they can instantly transport me back in time. I’m not alone in that. In the book Liner Notes, author Emily Franklin says of protagonist Laney that “each mix tape brings her back to a specific time in her life” and that she herself “use[s] music as a kind of time-travel device whereby I choose songs sometimes just to think about the times that go with them.”

Here are some mix tapes from 10 years ago. I made the the top one so I had something fun to listen to in the car. Probably the most memorable song on it is “I’m Ugly and I Don’t Know Why” by Butt Trumpet. 🙂 The next two tapes were from a guy I dated. The first one was named after two of his fish, while the second one was named after his musical influences during that later part of the mix tape making process! The final tape was a friend for my birthday in (I think) 1992. I remember two songs particularly from this tape – “Pretty as You Feel” by Jefferson Airplane and “I Wanna Be an Engineer” by Pete Seeger.

Onto mix cds. The most interesting thing about mix cds is that, although I had made mix cds for people, until I started blogging I had never received a mix cd from anyone! Boy, has that ever changed and I am very happy about it because mixes also serve as musical cross-pollination for me – not only can I share what I’m listening to with others, I get to hear music new to me.

From the top left, the Project Spectrum May Mix from the Crafty Modster, the Soul Gardening Mix from soul gardener TB, the Meow Mix from MrsPao, and Cats in the Garden from TB.

Again from the top left, the B-List Compilation Mix: Songs to Blog By (compiled by TB, but featuring favorites from an assortment of bloggers), Needle Tunes from Just a Knit Wit, and Eileen’s Mix/Just Silly Stuff from Eileen.

Notice anything missing from these pictures? No Chaos! He was completely disinterested in the mixes and chose to lie on top of his litterbox instead. He had this message for y’all:

“Yeah, baby, you look look totally scrumptious.”