Thursday, April 26, 2007

J'adore Sushi

Sushi Watercolor Art card
Did you know that it's nearing the end of Administrative Professional Week? Well, neither did I. That is, until I got this lovely card with gift certificate from my managers in celebration thereof. I was dashing out of the office to drive Anthony to Vallejo for physical therapy when I was given the card but I didn't open the card when I got home. I know I scared the bejeezus out of Anthony because of all the commotion. All of it over the PERFECT GIFT for me, credit at my favorite LYS: Article Pract. The sushi card is an original watercolor by my immediate supervisor, the VP of a software company in Emeryville. She's wicked smart, respectful *and* artistic. Hard to believe, eh? I had the impression that she might be, but I had never seen a completed piece. And it's a card that she created with Shutterfly.

So, yeah, I was so blown away. It was very generous and the messages inside were so thoughtful. I'm one lucky boy and they've sure got me pegged. It wasn't even 24 hours before my fiber-junkie punk-ass was at Article Pract. I really love the gals that work and teach there. There's Christina, Kate, Tammy, Sarah Jane, and Logan just to name a few that I know. They always hook a brotha up, which frequently gets me into trouble, but it's good to know where the enablers are, you know? While there today I saw the most amazing hand-spun and hand-painted 100% angora from Malabrigo. I did not purchase it because it was $33 a ball (not sure of the yardage, but it was pretty small). I also saw some beautiful mohair locks (yes, whole locks, it's breathtaking) from Pagewood Farms that must be seen in person to truly experience. It made me think of what a satyr or faun's legs must look like. I'll be getting some of this in the future, but I was a little more sensible this visit (i.e. I didn't spend hardly anything beyond the value of the gift certificate). I'll take pics this weekend and post them on my flickr account.

What else? Well, Anthony got the show he applied for at the UC Berkeley radio station, KALX. He'll have the Thursday, 9am-12noon slot and you can listen to him online. Check him out. We hope to set up a blog and podcast site for him in the near future. Stay tuned.

I better get working on someting if I hope to have anything done for Finished Object Fridays.... Remember, it's OBJECT. Singular. That is all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Are You Hypermobile?

Or rather, are your teeth? No? Consider yourself lucky. Two of mine are and they feel like they could fall out at any time. It's so cool... especially when your eating. I keep expecting to discover that I've swallowed them and I have a jack-o-lantern smile left behind. The reason for my dental wanderlust is bruxism. I grind my teeth... like crazy... when I'm sleeping. I used to have a ridiculously expensive nightguard that made my speech sound like Stan's sister on South Park but I didn't mind wearing it. When I began my adventures in orthodontia, I was told that I couldn't wear a night guard because my teeth needed to be able to shift and turn. Makes sense, but I thought my teeth might be doing a bit too much midnight mambo. This past visit to my orthodontist confirmed that I have indeed been creating dentine powder of my molars accelerating the movement of two crucial teeth (an upper molar and a lower canine).

So, today's visit to the orthodontist ended with no connector brackets (which hurt like hell for a day or two) OR rubber bands (which pretty much hurt me all the time). Whoo Hoo!! It's only for 3 weeks, but that's 3 whole weeks pain free (or sans vicodin). Fabulous. It also means that brushing and flossing is a bit easier and quicker. The capper? I got a lovely new soft splint/night guard. I'm not sure if I'll be able to wear it for the entire remainder of my treatment but every little bit contributes to not having little nibs at the end of it all.

On a more creative note, I've been working on a knit piece for my friend Jon. It's not for him personally, but rather a commissioned piece for his artwork. His medium is the action figure or doll and his work is amazing. I'm excited to be working with him and you can see what I've done so far here. If you don't know what a gimpsuit is, don't fret, I didn't either. Jon reminded me that most people's introduction was probably "Pulp Fiction" but I found a bit more info on wikipedia. I really don't get S & M at all, but it's most amusing for a voyeur.

I've admired Jon's work since first I laid eyes on it and I'm excited to see what new surprises he has in store. My partner and I are fortunate to own three of Jon's pieces (Party Girl Barnabee Collins, Poet Leonard Nimoy and Jelly Hunter Zola Pompidoux). You can see my ongoing Flickr photoseries of these dolls all about town starting with a few choice pix here at home with the masterful art of Rene Garcia Jr as a glittery portrait studio backdrop. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007


Well, my promise to blog more often is apparently not as good as my attempt to finish something for every Friday (Finished Object Fridays). I sort of cheated this time around in that I completed something that was close to being finished, Spherey. I really love the simplicity of this little guy (or is Spherey a gal?). My first was completed almost a year ago for a friend's son, Renecito, when I first discovered the designs of Jess Hutchison online. It was quite fun to do and I have since made several for various folks and have several requests in the queue.

I plan to make all the things in her booklet (which, sadly, is not available anymore) and next on my list is the Robot. You might recognize it from the premier issue cover of new quarterly publication, Craft sister mag to Make. In a strange twist of fate, the pattern for the robot was not in the issue (but there was a small interview with Jess). After a bit of back and forth via email, I contacted Jess and was allowed to make a copy of a friends publication. But, as a condition of the allowance, I promised Jess that I would not put it up on a server or sell it.

I just got my third issue of Craft in the mail yesterday but haven't had a chance to read it all the way through. On the back cover, I noticed an announcement for the MakerFaire which is going to be be in San Mateo on May 19 and 20th. I know three who should join me (Rene, Jon and Matty) but I'm extending an invitation to anyone who'd like to come with. Sounds like a blast!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Finished Object Fridays

Anyone who knows how fast I can knit knows that this title is a bit absurd, but I thought it best to set a few goals for my knitting pursuits. I don't knit fast at all and I don't want to set any speed knitting records, but several experienced knitters have told me that my form could be improved. I have also learned from several reputable sources that I knit too far down the needle and I tend to "torture" my stitches. I haven't waterboarded them yet, but you never know with the ever devolving state of my Knitatorship. So, in an effort to introduce some consistency in my craft and the joy of a finished object, I proudly introduce FINISHED OBJECT FRIDAYS. We'll see if this a realistic goal, or if that extra shot in my Peet's soy latte has erased all of my ability to reason.

At the moment, I have many, many things on needles (an EZ EPS raglan sweater, a knitty Nautiloid, a Melanie Falick brioche scarf, a Yarn Harlot pattern scarf, a Charlene Schurch turkish hat, 3 different pairs of socks) and I have lots of new yarns that are itching to be swatched, washed and measured. I recognize this virulent hybridized strain of OCD/Startitis but I am willing to entertain the antidote in the possibility of presenting some form of completed project every Friday.

For my first entry, I present the latest pair of socks for my Sweetpea, Anto (who has size 13 feet, thank you very much). The pattern is the basic Ann Budd Handy Book of Patterns sock. It's got 2x2 ribbing at the top with a short-row heel and wedge toe. The main body of the sock is Trekking Pro Natura #1602 (yummy Superwash wool and bamboo) while the heel and toe are Knit Picks Essential(Superwash wool and nylon) in navy. I got the Pro Natura at Stitches West and I only got 2 skeins, since they were $18 each and I had the rent to pay. Amazingly, I found this killer dutch retailer who sells it for $10 a ball.... oh wait, that's another post. In any case, I really loved this yarn and I'll definitely be knitting some socks for myself.

So, a lovely weekend to all of you. I intend to get a leg up on all my unfinished objects by getting something ready for next Friday. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 2, 2007

100 Things About Me

  1. I was born in Alabama, but spent the formative years in Arkansas and Louisiana. I'm not sure why I don't sound like someone on HeeHaw.
  2. I never met my father. My mother only knew him briefly. I have no idea what his real name is.
  3. I knew I was gay at a very young age.
  4. I don't remember very much about my childhood before the age of 5. Although I have some pretty vivid memories of a beach in Montgomery.
  5. I am deathly afraid of snakes and spiders, but I can watch them on TV (unlike my mother).
  6. I wanted braces all of my life, until I got them.
  7. I never ever think I'm the smartest person in the room.
  8. I wanted to be a drummer when I was a kid. My hero was Roger Taylor from Queen.
  9. I bought a book on breakdancing after seeing some cool video on television. I failed miserably but I never stopped admiring people who could do it.
  10. I lived in the projects until the age of 13.
  11. I attended a predominantly black middle school and was one of 6 white kids.
  12. I never had to study very much in middle and high school. College was a big shock and I thought I would flunk out.
  13. I thought I was going to be a mathematician when I was in grade school. Then I was run over by algebra.
  14. I had a paper route in the 4th grade and delivered them in the afternoon every day after school. When the schedule required that they be delivered in the morning before school, I quit.
  15. I spent all of my paper route earnings on comic books and candy. I never saved a cent.
  16. I was more of a DC than Marvel fan.
  17. I was on the tennis team in High School. I went to state in mixed doubles but lost in the first round. I threw up right before the match. Thus ended my career in athletics.
  18. I secretly hoped my father would show up and take me away from all the poverty and racism of the south.
  19. My mother was raised a pentecostal and I went to church with her exactly one time. There were people crying and speaking in tongues. I never went with her after that.
  20. I went to a baptist church and sunday school with friends from my high school.
  21. I have never thought very much about organized religion. I think it causes more problems than solves. I believe everyone has god in them.
  22. I did, however, pray for the "organizing force" to make me straight.
  23. I had crushes on Grizzly Adams, Charles Ingalls, and Steve Austin. I still do.
  24. I almost learned to play the clarinet. I did choir instead but I can't read music.
  25. I am a very lazy person.
  26. I am a very germ phobic.
  27. Number 25 and 26 are always fighting for dominance.
  28. I LOVE coffee and chocolate. Mochas are my idea of heaven.
  29. I'm much more of an upper person than a downer one.
  30. I thought I was the only person in my town who knew Kraftwerk, Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire.
  31. I wanted to be a New Romantic.
  32. I'm currently obsessed with knitting. Previous obsessions have been succulents, electronic music and typography.
  33. I used to watch a lot of TV. Now I don't own one.
  34. I watch a LOT of DVDs. We have a pretty big library.
  35. I took a lot of drugs as a undergraduate. Not quite as many in grad school. But then I made up for it when I moved to San Francisco.
  36. I used to work for a Global Apparel Manufacturer that is commonly known as an American Icon. I worked in the Publicity department.
  37. I met Lauryn Hill, Air, Basement Jaxx, Esthero, Black Eyed Peas, Jamiroquai, Phantom Planet, Massive Attack, Sasha. Digweed and a host of other DJs and celebutantes.
  38. I've always had a facility for language, but I'm usually too embarrassed to strike up a conversation in another language.
  39. I have an addictive personality.
  40. I have hazel eyes.
  41. I used to lay on our roof and try to get tan. I'm so shocked that I never developed any skin cancers.
  42. I graduated valedictorian of my high school.
  43. I almost flunked college managerial accounting. My mother was an accountant.
  44. I met my partner in a rock and roll bar. He was the bartender and assistant talent booker.
  45. We've been together for 5 years.
  46. I have a list of all the people I've ever slept with.
  47. My first boyfriend was twice my age.
  48. My grandmother taught me to crochet and knit as a child. I picked up the needles again about 2 years ago when my friend Moreno was working on socks and I made him show me how.
  49. I've never been to the Far East.
  50. I studied abroad my Junior year in college. Actually it was the Spring Semester and a portion of the summer. It was in Angers, France.
  51. I would like to live in another country for a while. Maybe France or Northern England, but I'd be happy with Canada or Mexico.
  52. My partner suffered an aneurysm during our 3rd year together. He is now a paraplegic. We are both hopeful that one day he can walk again.
  53. My mother died at the age of 52.
  54. My older brother, my younger sister and I all have different fathers.
  55. My brother lived with my great-grandparents in Arkansas until he was 16. Then he came to live with us in Louisiana.
  56. My very first musical purchase was the 45 rpm single of "Take A Chance" on Me by Abba.
  57. I think a war on anything solves nothing.
  58. I'm still friends with my best friends in college but I don't speak to any of my friends from high school.
  59. I've had LASIK surgery to correct my vision.
  60. The hair on my neck grows very fast and I have to have touch ups in between proper haircuts.
  61. I hate to drive.
  62. I can fall asleep in the back of a moving car in 5 minutes.
  63. I'd prefer to wash the dishes over cooking.
  64. Fresh breath is a priority in my life.
  65. I prefer thrift and vintage to brand new... except when it comes to shoes.
  66. I am quick to anger.
  67. I'm bad at admitting I'm wrong.
  68. I prefer to pee sitting down.
  69. I cannot poo in public stalls. I'm okay with a private room.
  70. My stress dream is usually about missing a final exam or about realizing at the end of the semester that I forgot to drop a class.
  71. I worry that I'm not enjoying my youth.
  72. I worry that I'm not growing up fast enough.
  73. My sister and her husband have two children and a dog. My brother and his wife have 2 donkeys and a goat.
  74. My brother is 6 years older than me and my sister is 6 years younger than me.
  75. I went back to graduate school at the age of 37 and finished my Master's Degree.
  76. We had a Peekapoo named Tigger when I was a teenager. He had epilepsy.
  77. I kept a diary for a brief period in high school and wrote in it backwards. I thought perhaps I would turn into Leonardo Da Vinci if I did this. I don't think it worked.
  78. I have a serious yarn monkey on my back.
  79. I used to think that wool was hideous but I have since learned that it comes in many fabulous forms.
  80. I prefer the knit stitch to the purl. I prefer stocking stitch to garter stitch. I prefer Fair Isle to Intarsia.
  81. I worship at the altar of Elizabeth Zimmerman.
  82. I love dry gardening.
  83. I prefer non-spiny succulents to cactus but I pretty much love them all.
  84. I prefer dry and hot to cold and wet but the worst is hot and humid.
  85. I am afraid of the dark.
  86. I love maple trees in the fall.
  87. I love the smell of peppermint and sandalwood.
  88. I can't eat fresh tomatoes but I could drink salsa. Bloody Mary's make me gag.
  89. I tried to be vegetarian when I lived in Austin. I couldn't do it. I blame the Salt Lick.
  90. I used to collect Swatch Watches. I still have my collection.
  91. My absolute all-time favorite groups are the Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, The Magnetic Fields, Abba, Kraftwerk, New Order and the Smiths.
  92. I love jellyfish, octopus and squid/cuttlefish. If I had an aquarium, It would be filed with only these animals.
  93. If I could have a super power, I'd love to have chromatophores.
  94. I could eat breakfast food for every meal. I adore pancakes.
  95. I could watch Absolutely Fabulous/French & Saunders, Stranger With Candy and the Sopranos on a loop... and I do.
  96. I love a good horror film or thriller.
  97. I hate most action and war films.
  98. My favorite drinks are a lemon drop, closely followed by a filthy martini (3 olives) and finally a cosmopolitan made with a bit more cranberry and a little less Cointreau.
  99. I can't sleep in pajamas nor can I sleep in the nude.
  100. I prefer stout beer and I like it chilled.

Mike Check, One, Two, One, Two

Well, the moment of truth has arrived. I have finally started my very own blog (as opposed to contributing to my friends' blogs) and now I've got to come up with something unique and witty to share, right?

Well, the reasons for this auspicious debut are many, none of which are conceit. Honestly. I have lots of friends who have funnier and more entertaining sites. I also visit several lively and informative blogs every day, most of them knitting but not all of them. I'm hoping that the creation of this digital destination will inspire me to be more introspective about my life and process my feelings about the world around me. I also plan to chart my life (knitting and otherwise) so that when I have early onset alzheimer's, I can look back and enjoy it like a vaguely familiar David Sedaris short story. Who was that mad mikewade character? Why did he never seem to enjoy his good fortune and fabulous friends until it was too late? And why on earth did he buy all that sock yarn?

Which brings me to the title of the blog: Socktopus. The inspiration for this silly portmanteau was a contest that Blue Moon Fiber Arts conducted back in January of 2007. They had a new colorway naming contest and I entered with the entry "Siren Song". I came up with a few and discounted them all because I thought they were too silly. One of them was "socktopus" which I didn't send in. And, one of the winners was, you guessed it, "socktopus". This will be a recurring theme in my life. The road less travelled and all that. I have good instincts... which I hardly ever follow. I'm hoping that the instinct to blog will finally prove that I have started to trust that inner voice. You tell me!

In the next installment, I'll share 50 things about me... maybe 100 if I'm feeling energetic.