Best thing that happened to me last week was: The sun was out EVERY DAY in Seattle
Why i let someone knit me a scarf with hardly any say in how it would look: Kj is a trend setter. I'm just hoppin' on the bandwagon early.
Kj's inspiration: Nathan was the first to notice that my Facebook status said "Kj is ready to knit something for you" and thus, was the next in line after my first Mars Hill Man Scarf (to be posted soon). Nathan's winter wear is a black carhart jacket, (though you can tell by the pictures that scarf weather in Seattle is pretty much over) and my first thought was orange, because that's just how I am these days. Nathan's eyes widened and he said "I Hate Orange" so instead, I noticed the red and blue cowboy plaid shirt he was wearing, and the thinking went from there. I would never consciously think red, blue, and grey, but it kind of emerged. I wanted to do a tilting stripe, but it proved too problematic at this point (though Kim has some ideas for the future). So instead, it's a pretty simple scarf, with some diminishing blue stripes. Es todo.
Also, I found out after the scarf was in progress, that Nathan is somewhat of a postmodern patriot himself (he can feel free to comment) so in the end, it all worked out.
You have no idea how good these are. I saw them in the grocery store and said out loud at quite a high volume "Dried Freaking Pear Slices??!!" And I thought they'd be like dried apples- satisfyingly rubbery, but No! They're like dried pineapple- succulent and sugary and there's no point in me explaining it. These are the most delicious things I've ever eaten in my life. Buy them. Buy them for me!
So I'm on a kick right now- knitting for the men of Mars Hill. It started when I got the urge to knit something and couldn't think of anything and one lucky guy walked up and basically asked if I'd knit a scarf for him. I was only too eager to comply. It's given me an excuse to check out the yarn store on 1st near Belltown Bistro, and has helped me innovate new ways to multi-task: knitting while reading articles on Midrashic interpretations on the book of Ruth.
I've given myself limitations (always freeing) in that I'm only using Cascade brand yarn (good but cheap), am knitting lengthwise instead of widthwise (how most scarves are knit) and am working with a basic neutral color with one or two punch colors: Ex. grey and lime green.
So here's the first (though actually the third) of my scarves/friends. Meet one of my roomates: The "WWII Army Pilot Goes to Oxford" Scarf for: Name: Clinton Campbell
Job: MACP Student/Computer hacking guru of sorts (Masters in Counseling Psychology)
Age: 27 or so
What I Want to be When I Grow Up: A kid.
Best Thing That Happened to Me Last Week Was: Aside from receiving a frickin' awesome scarf ;), I decided to buy painting supplies ... yippee!
Why I Let Someone Knit Me a Scarf With Hardly Any Say in How it Would Look: Well now that you say it like that!?!? j/k. Surprises are cool, and the Kj knows what's hip. Kj's Inspiration: both of Clinton's primary jacket/hoodie options are camouflage green and always make me think of bomber jackets. I wanted something to make his eyes sparkle (i have a sound effect to go with this) but also felt it should look a little scholarly. So I chose a mottled brownish/red/black as the background, a dark turquoise for the eyeball thing, and an orange for the punch color. Why orange? Because I've been wanting to use orange since I started this obsession and Nathan said No. (His info coming soon).
(eye sparkle not captured digitally- recommend viewing in person)
Last week, some classmates and I headed down to Tacoma to have dinner at a professor's house then hear a lecture at a nearby university. We ended up arriving about 45 minutes head of time, and, not wanting to show up almost an hour early for dinner, we drove back to a building we had passed on the drive in, which one of us (not me) had identified as the high school where "10 Things I Hate About You" was filmed. This may be the only Heath Ledger film that I actually turned off before it was over. I had caught it on TV, years after "Monster's Ball", and really had no interest in the teen flick film that Heath Ledger himself had tried to distance himself from so as not to be pigeonholed. I found the film pretty painful (as I do with all Shakespeare-goes-to-High-School movies, especially if they feature Julia Stiles). Nevertheless, since it was only three weeks since we lost Heath Ledger, it seemed appropriate to take a few steps around the place that solidified his place in popular culture.
Tacoma, in general, surprised me as quite a lovely shorefront town. I had pictured suburban sprawl, but instead, it reminded me much more of the northern coast of England, near the Scottish border. It helped that the building we were wandering around looked like a castle. Stadium High School was originally planned as a luxury hotel late in the 19th century, but economic crashes and building fires left the building unfinished until the city of Tacoma purchased it as the new high school building back around 1910. This building, meant to house visiting millionaires during the Gilded Age, has instead, been occupied by teenagers for almost a century. Needless to say, I was incredibly jealous of the high-schoolers that get to wander these halls and look out bay windows at the breathtaking views. It was about as close to Hogwarts as I've ever felt.
But even though I'd barely watched the movie filmed on this location, I was surprised how much memory I had of the visuals. The school was completely empty, and we just wandered around the stadium at sunset, being buffeted by a freezing cold wind. Honestly, it felt rather holy. It felt like my experiences visiting castles and cathedrals. This place had immense cultural memory, both for the generations of Tacoma residents who have gone here, and for all the people who love this movie and it's star. And here we were, practically in silence, walking around, remembering images and scenes that took place right where we were standing.
I found out that counsellors were brought on campus the day Heath Ledger died, to help students cope with the shock. Like the small towns in Texas that lay claim to having housed James Dean during the filming of "Giant", this high school has embraced a very close relationship to the movie that made it famous, and the actors who wandered the same halls they do. In some ways, it must have been like their mascot died. And i think that's really lovely. I confess, I felt very moved wandering around the castle-like building, doing the "He probably stood right here in that scene" thing in my head. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I'm glad for the chance to take seriously what a sad and tragic loss it is to no longer have Heath Ledger. And for all the love this high school community has for him, I hope he will be remembered as more than a teen idol.
So I spent the weekend on my first business trip: sort of. Mars Hll Graduate School is sponsoring Brian McClaren's "Everthing Must Change" Tour, which is basically the progressive Christians' call to arms (or call to paradigm shifts) regarding Global Warming, Capitalist Imperialism, Poverty, and all those other things that the Evangelical Church has pretty much ducked their heads in the sand about.
I, and another student went along as MHGS faces to stand at a table, hand out Hot Tamale candy and answer questions. It was fun.
I stayed here: Ate here: Learned a lot about this: And listened to this guy: As a sponsoring presence, MHGS got to show a video about who we are. A classmate of mine made the video, and friends of mine are in it. It's funny, because in my experience, so much of who we are at Mars Hill has to do with our relationships outside the Christian community, so it was strange to watch this video, which was made for Christian audiences. The joke around school was "Wow, this video is so Christian!" But, so are we I guess. I think it's a nice portrait, depsite its audience specificity. "what if..." an mhgs short film from blainehogan on Vimeo.
It was a great weekend. I highly recommend Nampa, Idaho to anyone who likes snow, foothills, chain restaurants and air that smells pervasively of peanut butter.
Knitting again, after almost a year of knitting nothing. It feels good. Especially when part of the process is working out the knots in this guy: I'm still amazed that knitting is just a matter of manipulating one long piece of string into holding a shape. And I love the meditative nature of knitting- your mind wanders. Even if I'm watching a movie, or in the case of this weekend, the Superbowl, there's an inner shift when picking up the needles that feels akin to turning on a favorite movie or hearing the intro to a favorite song. You settle in because you know what you're in for, and you're glad to feel in unfolding. Knitting for me is a lot of memories of late night sofa time with year round christmas lights on the wall above me, Malcom in the Middle on TV and Kim, and sometimes Niegel, sometimes Garth, sometimes Anne, sometimes crazy New York knitting ladies in Soho, sometime Sarah Jessica Parker, sometimes the Subway with Kim on the way to church with my ball of yarn bouncing around a Bumble and Bumble bag, and sometimes Starbucks in Union Square during the denim yarn phase and sometimes it's 3am and we're knitting a wedding gift or a massive amount of dog sweaters for swanky publications or maybe it's me at my desk here, watching Robert Altman's "Nashville" and finishing a tea cozy for my sister in law, attempting my first bobble without anybody's help. Knitting feels so familiar and always a new adventure too. Come knit with me sometime.