Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Chivalry is dead. Or isn't it...?

A very strange phenomenon happened last night - and no, I'm not talking about the earthquake in the UK... No, I spent the evening on a campaign to reinstate a game application on facebook. Much more interesting!
::ATTENTION:: Boring Alert - the following post will be about computer gaming and will probably not be very enthralling for those not interested in the genre!!
 Ok, so I'll give you a synopsis of events:
1: Game application called 'Knighthood' (you can get the general idea of the game from the title) - a huge success on the social networking site with approx 105,735 daily active users, a rough 12% of the total users. Basically a time intense strategy game. No animation - all text.
2: At approximately 22:00 last night facebook disabled the game and removed all references to it from their site without informing the developers or the gamers prior to removal. This was a serious breach of the site's own code of conduct, and one of the main reasons for the uproar. (That, and we players couldn't get our gaming fixes!)
3: Between the hours of 22:10 and 02:40 this morning a huge campaign was built up by the users of the game to re-install it on the networking site (emails to relevant people in charge/phone calls to relevant people in charge/campaign groups started on the site etc) to whit: the game was reinstalled and the players got back into the scrum. Believe me, this game is a sensation!

Okay, so it sounds just a tad sad, bizarre and maybe a complete waste of time, but for me it was a very interesting study of human nature.
But firstly I must explain why I think the game was removed in the first place: spamming. Unfortunately, like many applications on facebook and other social sites, you are 'invited' to request (by email or direct message within the site) your friends to join in before you can play/take a quiz/send a cyber gift, to name 3 examples. No-one likes having inboxes filled with crap at the best of times and this is quite an underhand means of filling up the quantity of required users etc. There is, finally, the beginnings of a crackdown on this problem within facebook itself now. It's all a bit complicated for my poor wee head (I was, after all, up until 02:40 last night!) to understand, but the campaign to get this application back was incredible to watch, notwithstanding the (perhaps understandable) reasons why it might have been withdrawn. To try and put it in a nutshell, the players were annoyed and upset that the app had been withdrawn without warning, but were also annoyed that they, in essence, were being 'punished' for the application's/developer's faults... (It did seem very important at the time...)
many people, like me, returned to play the game only to find all reference to it literally wiped off the site and forum threads were started primarily as a 'wtf' question as to the whereabouts of said application. A couple of groups were started along the same lines and grew at a speedy rate. I was very interested to see the kind of people writing in the threads and was reassured, in a way, that I wasn't the only saddo over college age totally engrossed in building up their own realm. There were some incredibly eloquent posters there and I believe it's more thanks to them that the app was reinstalled than it was to the anarchists who, by the sounds of things, may have been doing some hate-mailing to the powers-that-be. Why are some people predisposed to creating mayhem and inciting lynch mobs? I suspect there were a few trolls there, helping things along, too...
 But, to try to get back to my original anthropological topic and the actual reason for writing this post, although I was horribly intrigued by the potential snowballing of the lynch mobs and hate mailings - the jumping on the bandwagon syndrome, I was mostly impressed with the support system that grew up between the threads and groups. These people had, not a few hours before, been raiding the Capitals, seizing vassals and waging war on their fellow players. Then the game was shut down and we had a outpouring of idea-spreading, hint-sharing and support-giving that was, to be frank, rather comforting to be part of. I, myself, didn't supply much of the idea or hint giving, seeing as I'm not actually a very good player, addict that I am, but the support-giving was a no-brainer, as the Americans say. It may be a game, but its removal created very real emotions in a lot of people.
The upshot, as has already been stated above, was that the game was reinstalled and very quickly people began to disappear off the threads and forums back to the raiding, seizing and war-waging almost as if the game had never been down. It was, if I may use an example of a much, much more serious event, like the Germans and the Allies downing guns on Christmas Day to have a game of football, then resuming the war the day after.
But in this case I have been interested to see that there are people still writing on the threads, still offering advice and support, and I believe new friends are being made. I, for one, have 2 new friends thanks to the forums, and although we may meet 'in the field' as it were, we all really
know it's actually only a game, enthralling as it is...
As I said, it was quite an interesting evening, from many viewpoints!
Today, getting back to the real world, to try and offset the massive amount of internet time I spent last night, I decided to blitz the kitchen, complete with getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing the floor. (Couldn't find my mop - *sigh*) Thanks to that I hurt my back, which means that I can't sit long enough in one place for any length of time before I seize up. (This post has been written over a few hours... talk about dedication!) It also means that my knitting can only be done in 10 minute bursts. Very annoying as Percy's strap is now 12 inches from completion.
There must be a lesson to be learned here... It can only be:

"Internet - GOOD :: housework - BAD"!
That certainly works for me!

 And now I think I'm going to go and lie down.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Cable mayhem

Good Gordon Highlanders. I mean REALLY! There was I thinking that I could make the most divine little cable bag, called 'Coco', for my Mum. *slaps self on forehead* I have the yarn, I have the needles, I have the cable needles (hah - I iz prepared!), I have the pattern, I have time to do it. Sadly, I don't seem to possess the skill. Jeez. Miss Coco has been playing merry hell with my patience, something that is not usually disturbed by much, but those cables are enough to make a saint blaspheme, and believe me, here the air has been BLUE, BLUE, BLUE! Madame Coco is refusing to behave.
Cast on 56 stitches. Check. Do the preparation row. Check. Do the first cable row. Check. Count the stitches on the next row of knits and purls. Check.... Whoa - 55 stitches. Okay, I can make that up - it's only the 2nd row, right? Okay, and continue: 2nd cable row. Check. Row of k and p. Check. Oh bugger that for a game of soldiers. 54 stitches. FROG.
And repeat. And repeat. Oh yes, and repeat...
I did manage to get to row 7 once in the session, though. I felt mighty proud until I counted the stitches and found there were 58. This was around attempt 8, I think. Duchess Coco was thrown down in disgust. Picked up again, frogged and then thrown down
again in disgust. Well, the needles were, as there wasn't any knitting left to chuck.
 But, that was last night. This afternoon I completed one whole (yes indeedy, ladies and gentlemen, one WHOLE) repeat. Eight entire rows. No extra stitches. No dropped stitches. 'Twas indeed a miracle. Or someone came in during the morning and did it for me while I was out picking up my new passport from the post office*. Either way, this evening there sits one demurely subservient cable repeat. Meek and chic Miss Coco is back. Although I'm now too frightened to try any more, like I'm somehow tempting the Fates of Wool to begin their capers anew.
 But silver linings appear in the most hopeless of situations and at least I learned some things...
Firstly, 1 o'clock in the morning is NO time to knit anything more complicated than a 1x1 rib. Percy's strap can testify to that. Secondly, it really helps to keep the yarn out of the way when slipping the stitches on and off the cable needle. Man, that took a while to sort out! A kitten in a basket of loose wool creates less anarchy. Thirdly, cables are possible for the uninitiated, you just have to add a generous handful of calm, a sprinkling of understanding, a splash of daylight and a bucket load of humour.
 *As for the passport. Gads - that was a worry. Don't get me wrong - I'm perfectly eligible for a passport - no girl-on-run, me! No, but this was the first time I've had to re-new it, and seeing as I am in France, I had to go on a bit on a run-a-round to see how I could get it done. Actually, it's quite easy. Fill in the forms, get a French bankers cheque (but my GAWD - how much?!!), a SAE and send all including the old passport to the British Embassy. Actually, it's supposed to be quite easy, but as I'm completely crap at anything that involves paper, money or common sense, I was expecting to have to cancel gigs outside this fair country when my new passport failed to appear. "Ahm zorry, mademoiselle, bit you mist 'ave zent eet to ze wrong addrezz. Eet ees not 'ere." Etc, etc. Being passport-less was a strange and rather disembodying experience, but it is now safely nestled in my bag. I feel legitimate again!
 And now I'm going off to do some more 1x1 rib on Percy's strap. I'm actually looking forward to some banality. Funny how things change!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Engauging mistakes...

I was determined to have Percy finished for the next time I wrote here, but alas, alack, it is not to be... Unless, of course, I leave my scribblings until next century. I have been waylaid in this task primarily due to the strap taking an unconscionable amount of time to get through. Damn that 1x1 rib... Mind you, this strap has temporarily become my bedtime knitting, and it serves very well as a sedative. I would offer a prize to those who manage to spot all the mistakes, but I suspect I wouldn't have enough money, gifts or cake to give out! Thank the stars that the yarn colouring hides them to an extent!! Huzzah!
BUT - I have two FOs for your delectation... Ya see - not been spending all my spare time playing Command and Conquer, you know!
First up is Q's Bear. He (the bear) is such a sweetie and I know he (the best friend) will love him! It takes me a little longer than the 'advertised' amount of time to make, but still, it is rather a quick knit, all things considering. He's so squishy and soft and huggable and cute and snuggly and... mmmm - I want one for myself!

Made with one ball of Phildar Phil Peluche in the Marmotte colourway - brown with some tinges of dark blue - to the 'Loveable Toys' design in 'Last-Minute Knitted Gifts' by Joelle Hoverson. (Such a lovely book.)
Second up is the wire rosebud, which turned into a rose as I the wire I bought just *cough* happened to be the wrong gauge. Yeah, okay, so I thought gauge 24 was smaller than gauge 28... Now I know! And so do my fingers...
So, I used 24 gauge gold-coloured wire (yes, yes, it was supposed to be 28 gauge) to knit the rose itself and emerald green 28 gauge wire for the leaves. The pattern was from 'Wire Knits' by Heather Kingsley-Heath. And now that I've managed to figure out some of the basics, there are quite a few things in there I'd quite fancy turning my needles to...
Percy, ah - dear, sweet, unfinished Percy... He is nearly complete now, though: I have blocked the shell; lined everything that needs lined; added inside pockets to the lining (have sewing-machine - will make pockets) and knitted up the inner yarn pocket/divider. Now just the 's' word to finish and then I can put it all together... Wheee! Maybe by next post...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

D is for...


No, not really. But my fingers hurt a little after my first attempts at wire knitting... There is a *small* possibility that I may be making it harder for myself than it should be, but I've been reliably informed that the knack will kick in soon... Effing well better, or my fingers will be in no shape to tinkle the old ivories. (Yes, I have been practising as well as swearing at wire!) Blood, guts, needles, bobbins and blue words flying this, there and everywhere. Well, not quite, but I'm sure this gives a good general impression of my fumblings.
Anyhoo, this little number pictured below will eventually be a rosebud from the lovely book by Heather Kingsley-Heath entitled 'Wire Knits'. It's a close-up photo because I've only managed to do one leaf and 8 rows of the rose so far! I love my tired, old camera! The wire... well, we'll see...

No, D is really for:

BIG door.

This is a gorgeous example of 17th century carving, found in Tours.

Wandering around this ancient town with a camera is a discovered necessity. You *think* you know a place, then take a side-street short-cut, get lost, (I can only tell what direction I'm facing if the sun is rising or setting...) and stumble across a wee nook or gated courtyard that you never knew existed. I wandered back recently to the building where I found this door and was sorely disappointed to find a huge 'vendu' (sold) sign fixed to one of the windows and the place where the doors used to be were filled in by plywood. AAARRRGGGHHH! How can somebody DO that to an ancient building? I can only hope that when I next get lost and find myself outside that old building again, that the doors will be back in place, looking nicely renovated... Hey-ho - A girl can dream.

Percy bag, on the other hand, is behaving himself very well indeed. I've decided not to post a photo yet (he is shy, you must understand) but soon he shall be fully clothed and presentable to the viewing public. And I'm starting to anthropomorphise my knitting... oh man...

Thursday, 14 February 2008


I love the concept of the Ravelry group 'ABC-along 2008' - the purpose of which is to post a photo which is a "reflection of you and things that are meaningful to you" every fortnight of the year corresponding to a letter of the alphabet (fortnight 1 - A, fortnight 2 - B etc etc). I may be too late to join officially, but I'd like to play along anyhow! Here are my attempts to catch-up...
A is for:
Found on a tomb in Tours Cathedral. I like the play of the shadows.
B is for:
Taken in my parents garden in Scotland.
And C is for:
The stunning frescoed ceiling of the Piccolomini Library in Siena Duomo.

Ah, me! I need a better camera as my one is starting to die and is eating batteries like there's no tomorrow, but the dear wee thing has served me well so far!
But back to the knitting. I *must* try to stay away from the internet for long enough to learn a cable cast-on!
Percy says hello.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Help ma boab!

AARGH!! (Translation - WHEEEEE!)

This is a nightmare. (Trans. - this is fabulous!) I can't keep away. I can't stop fiddling. I can't stop fussing. Maybe this will be the last template incarnation, and I can get on with whatever I'm actually supposed to be getting on with! And I'm supposed to be getting on with learning some Mahler, learning Santuzza's aria (what?!), re-learning the Monteverdi, Luzzaschi and Rossi for the MERG dance performances, getting to grips with some new Mozart arias and finishing the Teddy for my best friend.

And not necessarily in that order.

But as addictive fun goes, I give this blogging lark 10 out of 10. (FYI - I decided to go with the black background as it's environmentally friendlier than a bright screen [less energy/power is used to show a dark screen], and it has nothing to do with my faffing about with what I think looks prettier! At all. Honest.)

So, I shall sign out, make some coffee, rev up the engine (warm-up) and start annoying the neighbours. Mind you, one of them seems to have a deep and intense need to loudly play his recordings of Romantic piano music at random times of the day, so I'm sure my screaming away will cause not an eyelid to bat.

But I might just check my emails first...

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Oh, Percy is ma darlin'

I've finally gotten around to doing some knitting. Praise be! Yeah, yeah, okay, I may have also been foutering* around with the template for a couple of hours, too... *cough* ahem. But it's all worked out nicely (although I think more by co-incidence than anything else) as the colours on this page match the colours of Percy! Okay, that sounds a bit sad, but really, it was a co-incidence - I just happen to like greens and purples! I'll even upload an image to see how sad I really am... Hold on...

Yup, pretty sad! I do LOVE how the yarn goes all 'pointalistic' in the seed stitch, though! It (rather sentimentally) reminds me of the holidays with my family in Perthshire when I was young - colours of the glen, heather and gorse!

*Okay - enough blethering*! At this point, maybe I should explain some of the words around here... Except for the welcome message at the top, which is in Scots Gaelic, (totally pretentious - I don't speak Gaelic at all!) all the headings are in Lallans, which is Lowland Scots, a dialect/language that my grandparents spoke, my parents to an extent, and me, well, I understand them, but after studying in England for 5 years, I pretty much had them beaten out of me!


Aboot - about.
Afore - before.
Am - I'm.
Blethering - to talk, chat or gossip. To say that something is 'blethers' is to say it's nonsense.
Buiks - books.
Craturs - creatures.
Crivens - a word of surprise, or admonishment.
Feenisht - finished.
Freens - friends.
Footering/foutering - to potter, fiddle with or muck around with something.
Hou - How.
Ither - other.
Larach - home (actually a ruined house or foundation, but I like the word!)
Limn - a portrait or picture.
Locus - a place, site or position.
Masel' - myself.
Mony - many.
Nou/noo - now.
O' - of.
Photies - photos.
Smyte - small collection.
Wee - little or small.
Whit - what.

There - that'll keep you going for a while!! Must get back to Q's teddy and I hear Percy calling my name...

Saturday, 9 February 2008

roll your eyes

Why oh why am I wasting so much time searching for the perfect template?

Friday, 8 February 2008

Knitting... at least, writing about it...

Considering I started this journal in response to my invitation to join Ravelry (hoorah!) I haven't mentioned anything about knitting except in passing. Shame on me. Well, not that I'm a fabulous knitter - I've only been doing it since June 1996 - but I am very keen, if very basic, knitter. (As I may have mentioned previously, it's all C's fault!) I'll have to write a list somewhere of all my projects so far. (Hoorah - more widget searching...) This list will be heavily weighted towards scarves and baby blankets (such is the lot of the knitting learner, but my 'L' signs are in st st!), but after a spate of making bears and bunnies for non-God-son, non-God-son's brother, oldest friend's youngest, sister's best friend's brand-new addition and myself (hey - they were too cute to give them all away!) I feel ready to tackle something a little trickier. And - hey presto - we arrive at the bag-making stage of the knitter's development! I've just started the famous 'Percy' bag with the most gorgeous purple and green yarn!

Got to show a piccie of the bears and bunnies, though... hold on while I try to figure out the adding pictures in blogs thingy works... I suspect the picture of the Tudor gown earlier may have been a fluke...

Whee - html embedding, no less! (Thank the stars for Picasa!) And there they are - SBF's newest's pink bunny (can't be arsed writing all that out again!), N-G-S's blue bunny, N-G-S's brother's brown teddy and my own pink squeezy, cuddly bunny. Did another brown bear for my OF's youngest and am currently working on another of the same for my BF's birthday because he loved the other one so much! Bless 'im! All of nearly 33, but a wee boy at heart!
I might actually get around to rubbing two sticks together later. I spent so much of yesterday re-doing this page, adding thingies (oops 'widgets') and changing everything and starting all over again (soooooo much fun, although I was starting to annoy myself with my perfectionist search for aesthetically pleasing layouts by the end) that I could only shuffle, embarrassed, past my knitting basket as I went to put the kettle on between lay-out tweaking, promising that I'd come and visit soon.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


Well, am I? Fickle, that is... I just don't seem to be spending the same amount of time on Facebook any more (bien sûr, it would help if the site wasn't misbehaving...) Of course, that would be a good thing if I was doing something profitable or mind-expanding in its place, but I'm creating addictions to blogging, picture-sharing and widget-searching instead.

And it's fun!! I take back my many scoffings, my doubts and my prejudices. I've been reminded about a marvellous blog called 'The Stitch' on one of my favourite sites 'The Very Merry Seamstress'. This marvellous lady writes very wittily also makes and designs historical costumes. It's the stuff of dreams.

(Princess Elizabeth Tudor court dress)
I've only ordered one thing from her in all my years of slavering over her site, but on reading her jottings, it's good to be reminded of the plus points in all of this scribbling. (Sorry - typing. Oh I lament the rise of the keyboard and the demise of the dip pen - but that's for another day.)

But now I am going to have a game of Command and Conquer Red Alert 2. In that respect I am not fickle. I am slavishly devoted to it and have been since I bought it in 2003. No C and C Generals for me (hmm - do have it somewhere, though...) no C and C Yuri's Revenge, Counterstrike or Tiberium Wars... They tried to make me buy the latest ones, but I said no, no, no... (Wonder if that's copyrighted?!!)

Monday, 4 February 2008


It is now 2.22 in the morning.

It's all C's fault. She introduced me to the joys of knitting when we were playing in a Handel project in Germany. She then introduced me to the joys of the knitting website 'Ravelry'. Through that I have joined 'Librarything' to catalogue my extensive book collection and joined 'Flickr' so could upload my photos of wool and knitting projects. And I have started writing this after reading C's rather lovely and insightful blog. And this is after many an hour already spent on facebook!

And now it's 2.25 in the morning...

So, my books are all catalogued, I've uploaded and categorised my woollen things, I've joined some 'Ravelry' groups and written in response to some threads (boy, am I learning some new language options), played about with the settings and format of this particular site and spent hours with my computer photo studio making headers and footers! And there was I worried about not being able to 'share' on a blog! HAH!!

It is now 2.29 in the morning...

And I say verily again unto thee - it's all C's fault!

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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