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September 30, 2008


Guess what arrived today? The new Yarn Harlot book!

And.... I feel like there was something else I was going to say, but now I can't remember what it was. Oh well. Time to go read!

Posted by Kat at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)

Yet Another New Holiday Knitting Plan

(Yes, I know that tomorrow is October and I should have figured this all out already, not to mention gotten a lot of it done. Shush. Everyone I know is having babies. I've been busy knitting baby stuff.)

I love knitting gifts. Honestly, I even love SOME of the stress of holiday knitting, up to a certain point. It adds excitement. But I don't like it when it completely takes over the holiday and makes me (and everyone around me) miserable. I had already decided that I was going to only work on a few things at a time this year, rather than buying tons of yarn and starting everything. But instead of picking projects randomly or by what I feel like knitting, I have just decided that I'm going to prioritize by recipient. Immediate family first. Mom, dad, brother. If their gifts get done, THEN I can consider knitting for other people. Way too often, they're the ones who get half-done projects on Christmas. Not anymore. This year they're first.

Of course, since my parents read this blog, I won't be able to post pictures of their gifts until after Christmas. I'll try to post on Flickr and Ravelry and tell you all how to find the pictures.

Posted by Kat at 03:57 PM | Comments (3)

New favorite skirts!

I have a random clothing recommendation for you, especially for those of you who are always looking for comfortable, affordable, cute long skirts. I got two of these long plaid skirts at Kohl's last Saturday, and I'm wearing one (the red one) for the first time today. I LOVE it. It's all pretty and flowy, and the fabric is nice and thick for fall/winter. It's a polyester/rayon/spandex blend, but it feels almost like wool. (But not at all scratchy!) They were $16.99 in store on Saturday, and are $19.99 on the site right now - a good deal either way. I just ordered two more.

Posted by Kat at 11:23 AM | Comments (3)

September 29, 2008

Any thoughts on the bailout issue?

I've been reading everything I can find, but I don't feel like I know enough to really start talking about it. Anyone have opinions? Good links?

Actually, my main conclusion so far is that some form of economics should be a required class in, oh, eighth grade or so. Because a) if I'd had that I might be doing better at understanding what's going on and b) if everyone had to take that class, maybe we wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

Posted by Kat at 05:08 PM | Comments (6)


I just spent my lunch break reading the text of the bailout bill. Not the most fun lunch hour ever, but I'm glad I read it. And it was more readable than I'd expected.

Update: Yeah, apparently I read it just in time for it to maybe be voted down, so far.

Update 2: And it fails. Now what?

Update 3: Chris Cillizza's analysis of it all.

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

Femininity quiz

You Can Hang With the Guys and the Girls
You've struck a good balance between girlie and laid back.
You can keep it casual but when you dress up, you are as girly as the next girl.

Yeah, I guess that's pretty true. Got this from Penelope's Oasis.

Posted by Kat at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

Sudden News + Social Networking Craze

At the end of last week, I noticed that the New York Times had launched TimesPeople, a social networking aspect of their site that looks like it will let you recommend articles to friends. But I don't have any friends on there yet, so you all should sign up! And then come friend me.

And this morning, NPR.org has NPR Community. It looks like it will have a similar purpose as TimesPeople, and will also foster communication between listeners and NPR staff. Here's my profile. Come play!

Posted by Kat at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2008

I've always liked Huckabee.

From NPR/AP:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a McCain supporter, said the Republican made a "huge mistake" by even discussing canceling the debate.

"You can't just say, 'World, stop for a moment. I'm going to cancel everything,'" Huckabee told reporters Thursday night in Alabama before attending a benefit for the University of Mobile. He said it's more important for voters to hear from the presidential candidates than for them to huddle with fellow senators in Washington.

Posted by Kat at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

The debate is on.

From Cillizza's chat:

washingtonpost.com: The debate is on! A statement just in from McCain's campaign: "Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners."

At the moment, I am so freaking irritated by this whole stupid stunt that I cannot come up with anything coherent to say.

Posted by Kat at 11:40 AM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2008

What does McCain mean by "suspending"?

Yglesias asks exactly what I've been wondering. Also, people keep saying McCain is "suspending his campaign," but doesn't that mean something completely different? Isn't that what Romney and Edwards, among others, did? Isn't he "suspending campaigning"?

Posted by Kat at 09:06 AM | Comments (4)

Coping Mechanisms

The more convoluted and ridiculous the current political and economic situation gets, the more I find myself curled up on the couch watching West Wing. Because it seems so much more realistic, and the people are so much more competent, so clearly, that's the real government, right? Lalalala I can't hear you. Bartlet for America!

Posted by Kat at 07:41 AM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2008

Daily Reading (9/23/08)


Google at 10

The Importance of Educating Girls

Interesting profile of Maurice Sendak

Women in Saudi Arabia love Oprah.


In case there wasn't enough to worry about right now, don't forget about Somalia!

McCain and the POW Cover-Up

You know who we really need during this economic crisis? Eliot Spitzer.

Six Brazilian politicians are on the ballot as "Barack Obama."

Something weird is going on with a GOP mailing in Florida, but it's not clear exactly what.

Posted by Kat at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Autumn Meme

I found this at Charming the Birds from the Trees...

When does fall begin for you? Usually in late August or early September, when the air gets a certain crispness.

What is your favorite aspect of fall? That's hard, as I love lots of things about fall, but I guess just the fact that the weather is getting colder, and everything that goes along with that - blankets, tea, etc.

What is your favorite fall memory? Hmmm. I suppose any of many first days of school, with the new books and classes and school supplies and schedules, before things got boring again. :)

What do you like to drink in the fall? Tea! Cocoa! Pumpkin spice lattes! Chai! Hot cider! Cold cider! Coffee! Yeah, I like cold-weather drinks.

What's your favorite fall food? Apples! Soup! Cider doughnuts! Orchard Harvest Salad at Panera! Apple crisp! Pie! Yeah, apparently I like fall food too.

What is fall weather like where you live? Cool weather, frost, brilliantly colored leaves, and the first few snows.

What color is fall? Red, orange, brown, gold.

What does fall smell like? Crisp air, apples, cinnamon.

Holiday shopping in fall: yes or no? I buy materials for gifts I want to make.

If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go? It's pretty great right here in New Hampshire.

What is your favorite fall sport? Football, since my brother plays!

Do you have a favorite fall chore? I kind of like raking, except it sets off my asthma. Does baking count as a chore?

What is your least favorite thing about fall? That sometimes it goes back to summer or ahead to winter without staying nice and autumnal for a while.

What is your favorite fall holiday? Thanksgiving.

What's your favorite kind of pie? For fall? Apple.

Which do you prefer, the Farm or the Fair? Fair!

Do you have a favorite fall book? I always read the Anne of Green Gables series in the fall.

How about a favorite fall poem or quote?

It was October again when Anne was ready to go back to school--a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain--amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through. The Birch Path was a canopy of yellow and the ferns were sear and brown all along it. There was a tang in the very air that inspired the hearts of small maidens tripping, unlike snails, swiftly and willingly to school; and it WAS jolly to be back again at the little brown desk beside Diana, with Ruby Gillis nodding across the aisle and Carrie Sloane sending up notes and Julia Bell passing a "chew" of gum down from the back seat. Anne drew a long breath of happiness as she sharpened her pencil and arranged her picture cards in her desk. Life was certainly very interesting.
(From Anne of Green Gables, of course!)

I'm not going to tag anyone, but come play along! Comment if you do this meme so I can come see your answers.

Posted by Kat at 09:28 AM | Comments (1)

September 22, 2008

WIP Madness

I'm listening to the most recent Lime and Violet in which... someone... (Violet, I think? I get confused)... talks about counting up her projects on the needles, and stopping counting when she gets to 40. Now, I don't think I have that many, but I have more than I'd like. And I'm not sure how to deal with that right now. If you haven't noticed, I haven't exactly finished a lot of projects recently. (Although I do have one or two that are waiting to be given as gifts before I post pictures.) I don't know what's wrong with me. I've been knitting, but just not actually making any progress on anything. Or so it feels. So I kind of want to make some deal with myself to finish a bunch of WIPs, but I don't know how effective that would be. Hmm. Thoughts? Am I alone in this? Anyone have any new and revolutionary strategies for dealing with this?

Posted by Kat at 04:25 PM | Comments (3)

September 21, 2008

The best thing I've read about the election in quite a while.

Obama gets advice from Jed Bartlet. No, really.

Posted by Kat at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2008

Posts I owe you

Maybe if I make a list, I'll actually have time to write them, eh?

Photos from the Biden event
August books
Follow up on summer local eating experiment
Some knitting pictures
My new approach to holiday knitting
And maybe something about my new obsession with The West Wing
Posted by Kat at 04:44 PM | Comments (1)

It's like the economy is affecting my real life or something.

There is apparently a huge round of layoffs going on at my company today - only the second time they've had layoffs in at least the past ten years or so. Wow. The office is in a minor uproar. (Yes, my job is fine, and so far I haven't heard that anyone I know was affected, although I have gotten a few worried e-mails from friends in other departments. "You all okay over there?" "Yeah, we're fine. What about there?" etc.)

Posted by Kat at 04:05 PM | Comments (3)

September 17, 2008

So, Bones fans...

What do we think of the new season so far? Excited for tonight's episode? My reviews so far at The Mystery Shelf: Yanks in the UK and "The Man in the Outhouse". Come on over and discuss!

Posted by Kat at 05:49 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2008

Another Autumnal Milestone

I heard it this morning - they're predicting FROST tonight. Okay, not where I live, exactly, but in the same state. And it's a small state! So it totally counts. I am wearing snowflake earrings in celebration.

I just checked Weather.com and the low in my town tonight is supposed to be 46. I am beside myself with glee.

Posted by Kat at 08:15 PM | Comments (6)

New Knitty!

Fall Knitty is up.

Posted by Kat at 06:38 PM | Comments (2)

September 09, 2008


Got my ticket to see Biden tomorrow! Yay!!

Oh, and if you have a primary today, don't forget to vote!

Posted by Kat at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2008

Quote of the Day

I'm reading Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, and I really like this quote he uses:

"Time is the quality of nature that keeps events from happening all at once. Lately it doesn't seem to be working." - Unknown
Posted by Kat at 08:05 PM | Comments (1)

September 05, 2008

Daily Reading (9/5/08)

Until the election, I'm going to break these posts up into political and non-political sections so that those of you who are sick of politics can skip that easily.


E-books don't furnish a room.

Bookstore Maps


Congressman Westmoreland calls the Obamas "uppity."

Robert Reich on the vetting process.

Parsing 'Community Organizer'

From the Anchorage Daily News: Governor is stonewalling the Troopergate investigation.

The Death of a Taboo

Did James McCain break the law by appearing on stage?

Yglesias on hockey. Hee.

Well-written and well-thought-out blog post: Comparisons are odious.

Palin put the jet up on eBay, but it didn't sell there.

Posted by Kat at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

September 04, 2008

McCain's Speech

Okay, that's what I meant. McCain's speech was moving, and certainly celebrated himself, his party, and his goals, but he also showed respect for the other side. And his tone was kinder and more... decent? honorable? .... than that of most of the other speakers I saw this week. I still disagree with him on the issues, of course, but I respect him as a person and a war hero. That's the distinction I was trying to draw in my previous post, between speeches like this and the sarcasm and nastiness of Giuliani, Palin, and others.

Posted by Kat at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

Daily Reading (9/4/08)

America's Most Dangerous Librarians

History of concert etiquette

Dear Dept. of Homeland Security: Please don't use Wikipedia as evidence in court.

On Palin and the RNC:

Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention. Yay for fact-checking!

The Unusual Challenges Palin Faced in Alaska

Megan Carpentier liveblogs Whitman and Fiorina, Romney, Giuliani, and Palin.

Gloria Steinem: Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message

From the XX Factor:
Cruel and Unusual
I'm Depressed Now (Yes - vicious! That's a word I was trying to think of.)
Mainstreaming the Mean Girl
Sarah Palin's Political Eros

Posted by Kat at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

On Sarah Palin's Speech (and a few others from last night)

So, what did we think?

When she was talking about her family, I was thinking "Hm, she's not so bad. Don't think I'd want her in charge of the country, but she seems like she could be fun to hang out with, or watch on TV." That's pretty much how I feel about Mike Huckabee too, actually. I was feeling fairly positive about it all during that section.

But then she got to the second part of the speech, and all that warm fuzzy feeling went away. My overwhelming feeling was "Wow, she's so mean. And nasty. And disrespectful." Yes, the Democrats said some negative things about the Republicans last week, but I honestly don't think they were as nasty and petty and sarcastic and spiteful about it as the Republicans are being this week. They showed respect for McCain's service and for other accomplishments. The entire Republican strategy seems to be to hurl every random (true or untrue) insult they can think of. Don't they have any better ideas?

Random questions/thoughts: When did "community organizer" become a bad thing? And did she ever actually describe what she did as mayor, after the community organizer laugh line? How many hockey moms are there? It's lucky she was in Minnesota and not somewhere less ice-friendly. Why did they keep passing that poor baby around? The kids? Totally adorable. McCain on stage with the Palins really looked weird generationally - like the slightly dotty old great-uncle who sits in the corner. That effect was much more pronounced than when the Bidens and Obamas were together - maybe because the multitudinous Biden clan evened out the generational stuff. Wait, why don't we ever see McCain's grandkids? Will they be there tonight?

I thought Huckabee was fun to listen to, as always. He at least seems earnest and genuine, and therefore I respect him even when I disagree with him. And he was the only speaker who seemed to have any respect for Obama or his historic accomplishments. Romney and Giuliani both made me want to throw things. They were both whiny, and Giuliani really seems like a bully. Really, it's kind of hilarious that the former governor of Massachusetts hates all the "eastern elites" and the former mayor of New York is all anti-"cosmopolitan" places. Do people actually buy into this? I just don't get it. Oh, and I still don't get what the big deal is about Carly Fiorina - before this, wasn't she primarily known for running HP into the ground? Why is she a good example?

"I just don't get it" might be a good summary of my reaction to all of it, actually. Time after time, I found myself asking myself (and the poor friends receiving my many e-mails and IMs) whether people (not necessarily the speakers, but the intended audience) actually believed that these things they're saying are true. I just... can't conceive of it. A lot of it was like, oh, when I try to read French, even though I never studied it, but based on my knowledge of Latin and Spanish and Italian. I could get the gist, but it just didn't quite make sense. Statements being presented as causal seemed completely unrelated.

Okay, here's an example of something that just seemed absurd. Palin said that one of the things Obama seeks to accomplish is "to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world." If she had said that his other goals would have that effect, then okay, she could make an argument, and I probably wouldn't agree with it, but I could understand it as a point of view. But no. She said that that, in itself, was his goal. As in, he wakes up in the morning and thinks "Now, what can I do to make America weaker today?" Do people really believe this? That's not entirely rhetorical. If any of you do believe this, please say so. I want to understand. It's driving me crazy.

As I said, I just don't get it. I've never really bought into the whole red/blue America, two different countries, blah blah blah thing. I believe things are more mixed, more complicated, more nuanced. But after last night I'm wondering if that was just me being idealistic. Because my Republican friends (friends! people with whom I have a lot in common, in many cases!) found last week's speeches as incomprehensible as I found last night's, maybe the country really is more impossibly - and irreparably - divided than I ever wanted to believe.

Posted by Kat at 12:44 PM | Comments (8)


I see that a lot of people are coming here from TotalFark.com. Since that site is password-protected, I can't see what link is sending you all here, and I'm curious! Please comment and let me know. Thanks!

Posted by Kat at 09:39 AM | Comments (1)

September 03, 2008

Fact-checking Huckabee's Statement on Palin and Biden Vote Totals

Huckabee said: "Palin got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States." (Taken from NPR Politics Twitter feed.)

Palin got 651 votes when she became mayor of Wasilla in 1996. (Warning, that's a PDF.)

Yes, Biden dropped out after Iowa, but he was still on the ballot. He got 638 votes in New Hampshire and 2863 in Delaware. 693 in South Carolina. I stopped looking at that point, because it's clear that Huckabee was just wrong. (Unless, possibly, he's counting each time she ran for mayor. I'll do more checking about that.)

Update: The other time she ran for mayor, she got 909 votes. (PDF.) Still less than Biden in just those three states.

Posted by Kat at 09:52 PM | Comments (3)

Sunny Wednesday Randoms

1. Bones premiere! Yay!!! Of course, it conflicts with the RNC, so I keep pausing to watching the interesting speeches.

2. Congratulations to Crystal and her family on their upcoming addition!

3. I can't believe it's September already. But believe me, I'm happy about it. And the trees are already turning! I was determined not to miss it this year, so I've been inspecting the trees every day. Last week, it was just a few turned leaves here and there, but now they're starting to turn in earnest.

4. Has anyone read Kristin Lavransdatter? Do we have a preferred translation?

5. Anyone tried Google Chrome yet? I've just started playing with it... it looks fine, but I don't quite see what's so exciting yet.

6. I have a very cute kitten curled up on the back of the couch behind me. Awww.

7. I have SO much knitting I'm trying to get done by Christmas. And there are so many things I want to read. Do I really have to go to work? It wastes so much time...

Posted by Kat at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

A quick who's who...

The Palin and McCain families thoughtfully lined up for a picture to help us figure out who's who.

Posted by Kat at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Daily Reading (9/03/08)

The strange resurrection of John Kerry

The incomparable Megan Carpentier liveblogs Lieberman. And Fred Thompson.

Interesting comparison of Obama's and McCain's memoirs

The Washington Post has a nice preview of upcoming fall books.

Is Google Chrome a Web browser or an operating system?

It seems that John Le Carre's son has started writing.

A history of the Booker prize.

In search of Roland Camberton. (No, I hadn't heard of him either, but it's interesting.)

The Henry Ford of literature. (Nope, hadn't heard of him either.)

Palin links:

Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin's boyfriend, is heading to the convention to be with the rest of the family. His mom sounds delightfully normal.

Mayor Palin: A Rough Record

Aides say Palin was vetted on Wednesday. (Yes, a week ago.) Apparently this was one of the questions in the VP interviews:

If Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean announced that he was holding a news conference with a mystery person to reveal damaging information about the candidate, who would they most fear it would be?


If Wright was an issue, then Palin's pastor should be an issue, right? Palin was at church a few weeks ago when her pastor said that terrorist attacks in Israel were God's punishment of the Jewish people who have not converted to Christianity.

A lobbyist Palin hired has ties to Ted Stevens and Jack Abramoff.

It looks like Palin was not a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Her husband was, but I'm not convinced that matters.

How Palin is portrayed in the tabloids.

Posted by Kat at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

Review: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

(I am way behind on book reviews. Sorry! I'm going to try to catch up within the next few weeks and then keep up with them more or less as I read.)

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery (classic)
Pages: 231
Rating: 4.3

I decided to go through and try to read all of Christie, at least in series order if not totally chronological order. I'm starting with Miss Marple, because it's completely ridiculous that I think I'd only ever read one of this series (years ago) before this one, especially as I love most of the TV adaptations. I was delighted to find that my library has a bunch of that black hardcover series of Christie that was coming out (as some sort of book club, maybe?) in the late eighties or early nineties - my mom has them, so in my head that's the way Christie is supposed to be.

Murder at the Vicarage was the first Miss Marple novel that Christie wrote, and it's clear that she hadn't quite decided what she wanted to do with the character yet. Miss Marple isn't as nice or as sympathetic a character in this novel as in the later ones. Her sleuthing abilities are recognized and respected by a few of her neighbors, but she is also sometimes resented as a busybody. I was also surprised to discover that the novel is narrated by a different character, the town vicar, Mr. Clement. I ended up really liking the vicar, and I hope that he shows up in later books. The mystery was intricately and practically perfectly plotted, as you'd expect from Christie, but as a novel, this early one was a bit rough. I did love the setting and atmosphere - a village in England between the wars.

Posted by Kat at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2008

Note to self:

The iron only heats up if you ACTUALLY TURN IT ON rather than just plug it in. Sigh. I do this every single time.

Posted by Kat at 08:41 PM | Comments (1)

Daily Reading (9/2/08)

The more things change... A great Didion essay from 1988 on political conventions.

Sarah Palin on Issues (An archived site from when she ran for governor.) And here are some quotes and sermons from her pastors.

Sarah Palin's mother-in-law may vote for Obama.

John Dickerson's headline says it all: Palin's candidacy is fun to cover but raises serious questions about McCain's judgment.

More on the secessionist party Palin may have joined.

An interesting take on Patty Hearst.

Uh, wow. The City Clerk's office in Wasilla says it has not been asked for any documents concerning Palin's term as mayor. Vetting? What vetting?

Oh, and here's a refreshingly fast-based (if dry) profile of Palin.

Eek! There's going to be a new Madeline book. Not sure how I feel about that.

The Final Days of the Presidency of George W. Bush

Posted by Kat at 05:52 PM | Comments (1)

Four Things Meme

Emma tagged everyone who read her post, so...

Four places I go over and over:
The library

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
My dad
My boss
My cousin
A few friends

Four places I would rather be right now:
A bookstore or yarn store (with a bunch of unexpected money)
Relaxing somewhere with family or friends
The Republican National Convention (would have rather been at the DNC, of course, but it's over)

Four TV shows/programs that I watch over and over:
Like watching the same episodes over and over? Hmmm.
Veronica Mars
Gilmore Girls

Four things I have for breakfast:
bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter
tofu scramble

Four animals I like best:

Four beaches I've been to:
Nahant, MA
Coco Cay, Bahamas
Virginia Beach, VA
Long Island Sound, Stratford, CT

Posted by Kat at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Quick Sarah Palin Catch Up

I was completely out of the news loop over the long weekend, as I suspect many people were. Here's a list of Sarah Palin news that came out over the past few days, for those wanting to catch up.

The first and last thing I will post about Bristol Palin*: everyone should leave her alone, as she didn't choose to have her private life thrust onto the national stage. And I hope she wasn't unduly pressured to make the decisions that would be least harmful to her mother's campaign.

Oh, and I will point out that Mary Cheney is the daughter of the Republican vice president and an unwed mother. But her father's party's platform is actively opposed to letting her get married. So. Just saying.

Edited to add: As far as the various conspiracy theories: Sarah Palin looked pregnant before Trig was born.

* Okay, I lie. I love wedding pictures and baby pictures and will undoubtedly post links to those, if they eventually surface. And... oh, probably other stuff. But this is the only thing I'll say about this "news/issue."

Posted by Kat at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

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