Happy Halloween!

Oh my… more spiders, in the form of spidery Cake Wrecks! And then – even more spidery Cake Wrecks!

Janet’s giving away a gorgeous skein of Colinette Jitterbug and a mix cd – simply leave a comment by midnight, October 31 (aka today), for your chance to win.

Author Barbara Bretton is giving away the complete Knitting Daily DVD first season collection or 20 skeins of “muted hot pink” Elann Callista if you send her an email (details in post) by early evening today (aka October 31).

If you’d like to win a copy of Meljean Brook’s forthcoming book Demon Bound, try out your lol captioning skills on a picture of the author herself. Contest closes midnight, November 3.

Yesterday I turned my heat off, as the high temperature was 70F…

I’m a bit behind in my blog reading – usually I read throughout the day at work, while I wait for queries to run and files to process. This week?! I even forgot to eat lunch Wednesday because things were non-stop crazy.

Hmm. I wonder if the broomstick bike will help you hone your quidditch skills?

Happy Halloween, lolcat style.

Hmm… a couple of these shots look like Chaos, don’t they?

The Yellow Stereo has a fun Halloween music mix up today.

Thanks to Limedragon for alerting me to this extremely cool black cat laptop skin!

I thought that this was a particularly fine Halloween decoration (although it definitely should have had more dental kitty treats…):

“What do you mean, it’s cheating to dress up as a black kitty for Halloween?! What else would I bother to be?” -Mayhem

In which our secret knitting project is revealed

Jeanne and I have been working on a lapghan to keep my neighbor Carol warm as she goes through her chemo treatments. I wove in the last end Tuesday night (yup, this was the source of the 70 ends I was whining about – I’m glad Jeanne took pity on me and wove in some!). Yesterday (after taking a few pictures…) I washed the lapghan and presented it to Carol. I think she liked it. 🙂

Vital stats: Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in charcoal, medium blue (horrifically misnamed violet), stone, and azalea (would you guess this is actually a dark pinky red?). The strips are approximately 4″ wide.

“Huh. I don’t remember the floor looking like this. I wonder when this happened?” -Mayhem

“Our new stripey floor is pretty comfy.” -Mayhem

“Do you like the new stripey floor, big kitty?” -Mayhem

“Mmmm… warm toes.” -Chaos

“I can’t believe how shallow you are, big kitty!” -Mayhem

“Mmmmm… warm tummy.” -Chaos

“Hmph.” -Mayhem

“Mmmm… stripes…” -Chaos

They were a bit disgruntled to be shooed off the lapghan so I could wash it!

Ok, I finally broke down and turned on the heat yesterday

I was trying to see if I could make it to November 1… Maybe next year!

Check out the huge’n’scary’n’black’n’purple spider in Sydney’s neighborhood! Eeek!

Author Kim Harrison is having a Halloween costume contest. You have until November 17 to submit your photo entry for a chance to win assorted goodies, such as a copy of Harrison’s forthcoming Rachel Morgan novel.

Only a few days left to participate in Obsidian Kitten’s contest!

Black kitties. Gotta keep an eye on them is all I’m saying…

Love Natalie Dee’s “Why you should learn how to knit” cartoon. Heh.

Hmm. Definitely a unique take on bookmarks

Reading Update
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kenner. A pretty amazing cast (Simon R. Green, Donna Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, and more) writing stories about werewolves and Christmas.
My Immortal (Seven Deadly Sins, Book 1) by Erin McCarthy. I enjoy McCarthy’s humorous works, such as her tales of the Vegas Vampires, but had a lukewarm reaction to this book about temptation, demons, and lust, set in New Orleans. (It was completely vampire free, however.)
A Curious Affair by Melanie Jackson. Although it’s categorized as paranormal romance, it’s pretty light on the paranormal (the protagonist can talk to cats) and heavy on the mystery and sleuthing. (Also completely vampire free!)
Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. I received this as an Early Reviewers copy via LibraryThing, so you get a bit more of a review than usual. 🙂 Free-Range Knitter is a collection of essays, split into seven parts as if it were a knitting project: casting on, knitting two together, yarn overs, left-leaning decreases, making one, continuing to knit even, and casting off. Each part begins with an essay about how a friend or family member knits, which then leads to deeper insights. Pearl-McPhee’s trademark knitting humour is evident throughout the book, and some of the essays will be familiar to regular readers of Pearl-McPhee’s blog, Yarn Harlot, but rest assured that the book includes plenty of extremely readable and thought-provoking new material. I found myself repeatedly setting this book aside, taking short breaks so I could savor it and look forward to the next part. I also kept trying to figure out what blend of essayists I could use to describe the feel of the book – I think Elizabeth Zimmermann meets Aldo Leopold, with a dash of Bill Bryson is probably the best I can do! (Even more vampire free than A Curious Affair!)
Knit Two: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel by Kate Jacobs. I received this as an advance copy from the publisher – according to Amazon.com, it’ll be available November 25. So yes, you get more of a review for this book, too. This is set five years after The Friday Night Knitting Club. I didn’t enjoy the first several chapters, which seemed chaotic, what with reintroducing the characters and updating us on the intervening five years. I had a related complaint about the beginning of Jacobs’ novel Comfort Food and its similar chaotic flurry at the beginning. But, as with Comfort Food, once I got past the somewhat rough start, the story quickly drew me in and immersed me. At times, the narrative style felt choppy and seemed to interfere with the flow. And I found myself annoyed with various characters off and on. I also thought I had the ending all figured out… and I didn’t. If you enjoyed The Friday Night Knitting Club, you’ll definitely want to read the sequel. (No vampires in this one, either!)

For those of you who were curious about what yesterday’s tissue paper snack might’ve been wrapped around, it was a wrist strap from splityarn for my camera.

“Wasn’t that strap thingy wrapped in more tissue paper? No?! Hmph. Too bad – it was tasty stuff.” -Chaos

In which Chaos loses his mind

My goodness, what could get the Chaos Kitty all worked up like this?! (Please ignore how weird his eyes look – in the original shot, it looked like he had severe cataracts and it was freaking me out.)

*want want want want* -Chaos

May has to see what’s going on, but is easily distracted.

“Oh, look, the bottom of the table.” -Mayhem

*want want want want* -Chaos

Chaos? Not so easily distracted.

*want want want want* -Chaos


“At last! I love you, tissue paper.” *nom nom nom* -Chaos

Friday should come more than once a week

No spiders today!

La’s having a celebratory contest – stop by to get the details, caption a photo, and maybe win some of her gorgeous sock yarn. Contest ends 5 pm PST, November 7.

Cheryl was one of the winners in Chaos’ birthday contest. One of the “goodies” she received was a “make your very own black cat” kit. Here’s what she emailed me about opening the kit: “It was amazing! Except for the big pom-poms and ears, almost everything else was in a little tiny package (about 1″ by 2″) that must have been vacuum-compressed – it practically exploded kitty parts when I opened it.” She has more details (and pictures) of what happened after that.

Speaking of contests, I recently won over at Nicole’s and at Tink’s! (Hmm, maybe I also have the Random Number Generator Fairy?) Nicole sent a copy of Moongazer (the Amazon.com review describes it as a combination of The Matrix, Snow Crash, and Blade Runner), black kitty socks (how did she know??), and a bar of dark chocolate with espresso beans. Thank you, Nicole! Tink sent really cool SkullCandy ear buds, which I am eager to start using with my mp3 player. Thanks, Tink! (Now I’ll probably have to fight off Amy, who’s sure to notice that the packaging and ear buds are very Day of the Deadesque and will thus covet them something fierce.)

“What the heck is this?! So many swirly lines swirling and swirling… Whoa. I’m getting dizzy.” -Chaos

“I am Mayhem’s Tail, and I approve this message.” -Mayhem’s Tail

Here’s an unobstructed picture:

Happy weekend! Is it next Friday yet?

In which autumn progresses (and surprises no one)

See the wee kittens at itty bitty kitty committee battle a spider bigger than themselves! Go, kittens, go!

It was so dreary and rainy and chilly while I was writing this post… I clung (somewhat desperately) to the memory that only this past weekend it was warm and sunny as I checked autumn’s progress while walking around Lake of the Isles.

Ahh…. That’s more like it…

“I still can’t believe May offered me up to the giant spiders like that. That’s cold.” -Chaos


Guess I’ll add Excelsior to my list of places to avoid until they get that nasty spider infestation under control… (Get out while you can, Deb!) (Really, I had no idea it was going to turn into Spider Week here at SoC.)

Anyone want to bet that they have very few parking violations? Or even museum guests?! 😉

“On second thought, those giant spiders look more like something the big kitty would enjoy. I’ll just hide under the covers until they’re done with him and go away… I mean, until he’s got them under control.” -Mayhem

Rebecca is having surgery today. Please keep her in your thoughts and send her lots of healing vibes! Thanks.

Sure to be at least one link that intrigues you

Stephania’s having a contest – leave her a comment about the etsy/Ravelry/elsewhere crafter who particularly inspires you, and you could win a skein of her hand-painted sock yarn. Contest closes midnight, November 7, PDT.

Hee hee – have you seen the “Ye Olde Google Charts” sailing directions for Columbus?

In the future, will your plants be wandering around, competing with your kitties for the sunny spots? (I’m sure Mayhem won’t take any crap from the plants – I can hear the *crunch crunch crunch, nom nom nom* now.)

Hmm… here’s a nice IKEA hack that creates a cat friendly charging station.

If you haven’t switched to Google Reader from Bloglines, maybe this article about Bloglines’ failure to update and further failure to communicate what’s up will inspire you. The article includes information on how to export your blogs from Bloglines and import them into another feed reader – very easy. I ran Google Reader and Bloglines in parallel for a month or so earlier this year, and Google Reader was definitely more reliable. (Interestingly, it appears Bloglines fixed the update issue and communicated about it not long after Lifehacker posted about the problem.)

Megabus is coming to Minneapolis – a ticket to Chicago starting for less than $11? Same amount of time as the train or driving? And free wi-fi? Hmm…

Have paranormal romances killed off the contemporary romance? The folks over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books weigh in.

If you’re a fan of Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series, Caine’s agent has a Weather Warden short story posted on her blog.

I only found out about Saturday’s Readathon on Friday (from Nicole), so I didn’t participate this time. But there’s another one coming up in April. Cursingmama and I are already in training!

Reading Update
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr. This is the tattoo-focused sequel to Wicked Lovely – much of it won’t make sense unless you read that book first. It was good, but it bothered me – not quite the same squinky feeling that, say, reading the Twilight novels gave me – but definite discomfort. And the ending was odd – it felt as if there was a chapter or two missing before the final two chapters.
Hot Spell by Emma Holly, Lora Leigh, Shiloh Walker, and Meljean Brook. I picked this up for “Falling for Anthony,” which is the first tale of the Guardians. I also read the stories by Leigh and Walker – the stories were ok, but I’m not inspired to check out anything else they wrote. Speaking of Meljean Brook, she’s having daily contests until November 4, when the seventh Guardian novel, Demon Bound, is released.

Cockatiels at Seven (A Meg Langslow Mystery) by Donna Andrews. Yet another madcap installment in the Meg Langslow series, featuring a borrowed toddler, a boa constrictor, dancing poodles, wayward sheep, and missing Gouldian finches. My only complaint was the book’s abrupt ending – things were definitely left hanging.
Blood Drive and The Watcher (The Anna Strong Chronicles, Book 2-3) by Jeanne C. Stein. Being the further adventures of newly turned and reluctant vampire, bounty hunter Anna Strong.
A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix. A very dark and suspenseful first novel – I’ll definitely read the next book when it comes out later this year. (Note that I kept reading even though I am not a fan of novels with serial killers in them.) (Sorry, CarrieK, there are vampires in this one, too.)

“Why do you think I’d be a good spokescat for Caribou Coffee’s Obsidian blend, Mom? Are there spiders in it?” -Mayhem

Click the picture to discover the answer to the spokescat question…