Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Life Accellerated

Last Week in Albany is Very Hectic

Final Days
Critical presentations to executive management, tight deadlines for system updates, finalizing outstanding documentation and finalizing ongoing contracts are keeping me extremely busy at work.

Add to that, saying goodbye to good friends, packing up critical papers in my desk and getting sick yesterday with some sinus, chest cough, respiratory thing...I am a bit overwhelmed.

But that doesn't affect you...I just wanted to whine.

Current Knitting
I finished the front of the Faux Rib sweater and started on the first sleeve.

I wasn't looking forward to working the first sleeve because it meant that I had to do all the calculations for length and increases, but it really didn't take that much work. Sleeves can be some of the most boring part of a sweater project.

Other Fiber Stuff
When I start getting toward the end of a project, I look for any possible distraction or new project. So I started a little test project.

This is a crochet pattern known as Corner to Corner that Thaddeus' grandmother used to crochet afghans for many of her family, and Thaddeus has one that she knit for him. I've always wanted to try out this pattern stitch, so I thought I'd make a rather large swatch from leftover baby blanket yarn.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Liza notes, "Regarding your light placement issues: Why don't you stop before you're parked under the light?"

It seems unnatural to stop 10 feet behind the stop line at a light. I almost feel as thought drivers behind me would honk if I stopped back that far.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Enigma Wrapped In A Mystery

I am a big observer of how folks drive in various areas of the country, and I have to say that New York state has some of the best drivers.

Traffic Lights
New Yorkers seem to be very aware drivers. If they cut you off in traffic, it's usually intentional, and often for a good reason. Like most of the country, New Yorkers are also very selfish drivers, but they don't seem to go to as great lengths to beat out other drivers as New Jersey or Pennsylvania drivers (or me, for that matter).

One thing that has kept me in constant amazement in my three years of driving around upstate New York are their traffic lights.

Most states position traffic lights at two places. One is right over the place where you are supposed to stop, and another is on the far side of the intersection so that you can see it from where you're stopped. Many of the traffic lights up here only have a light positioned directly over where you're supposed to stop. So when you do stop, it's very difficult to see the light almost directly above your car. I've needed significant chiropractic care to make up for the strange contortions I have had to put myself in to monitor light changes.

But the enigma about it all is this. In my empirical experience, New Yorkers seem to almost always go immediately when the light turns green. I almost never see drivers who don't notice that the light has turned green, or notice it at the last minute and by the time they get their car into gear and start moving, the light is almost yellow again. These kinds of things happen significantly more (in my experience) in other states.

Current Knitting
I'm almost finished with the front of the sweater with one side of the top complete and the second one on the last 20 or 30 rows.

I would have completed it last night if I hadn't made a boneheaded move. When I re-attached the yarn on the left side of the collar, I figured it would be easiest if I started on the side where I could do all knitting across the row. Unfortunately, that doesn't work too well when the stitch is like garter stitch. It gave me one row of stockinette stitch which looked very stupid. Of course I didn't notice until I was about ten rows up. Having to go back and re-knit those rows prevented me from finishing last night.

Oh well, there's always tonight.

The Benefits Of Being "Out" As A Knitter
When everyone who knows you, knows that you knit, people are always picking up little things that they see at yard sales or flea markets and giving them to me.

These two little items were picked up by two different people who just thought I might like them.

I did.

The needles are a vibrant red, aluminum US10.5 needles and the little kids knitting design booklet is very cute. I particularly like the drawings on the cover and throughout the booklet.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the spun Romney, Marilyn suggests, "I would have Carol dye your yarn."

That is exactly my plan. Dyeing is a messy pain in the neck, and I would much rather pay to have someone with talent do it, than experiment with it myself.

Carol asks, "How did your mom get Thomas Jefferson to sign the book?"

I told her you said that, and she's no longer reading your blog. You sure do have a way of pissing off maternal members of bloggers families, dontcha?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More Live Music

I got the opportunity to see another live performance this past Monday night and there's nothing like it.

Good Fortune
While in Albany, I've had the good fortune to be friends of the host of a gay-themed radio show, who was also asked to be a judge in the Out-Music Awards this year.

He has a network of friends who know the national GLBT music scene, and as a result, I always feel like I'm getting insider information when he tells me about a local performance of someone who is up and coming in the music world.

Namoli Brennet is one of those performers.

She performed in an intimate coffee house in Troy, NY and her voice conveyed either a mournful sadness, or a bold protest or a soft sweetness, depending on the song, and I walked out of the coffee house that night feeling joy for having had the opportunity to hear her.

Having been plugged into the live music scene in upstate New York, it's made me realize I need to start searching it out more in my hometown area.

For those of you in the Capital District area of New York who are interested in checking out live music, the Progressions Music Series is a good place to start. Incredibly friendly and appreciative of innovative, great music, the organizers of these mini-concerts make all feel welcome.

Current Knitting
I was able to finish the right side of the front of the Faux Rib sweater and started work on the left side.

Moving right along on schedule, perhaps I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Current Reading
I just finished an inspirational book of compiled quotes by Thomas Jefferson called Light and Liberty.

I was given a signed copy of the book by my brother-out-of-law this past Christmas, and I was finally able to insert it into my limited reading schedule. The book is set up in short chapters by category, and the editor, Eric Petersen, culled through thousands of letters of this great statesmen and included small excerpts that detail an extremely wise and pragmatic man, one who I'm very glad was involved in shaping our country. It's not an easy read, as the writing style is from the period and required a lot of my concentration. But I found reading it highly worthwhile and come away with a stronger desire to have our country head back in the direction intended by our forebearers.

Readers' Comment/Questions
Valerie notes, "Global warming is one of the issues that leaves us feeling most helpless, I think."

I thought the same thing until I saw the movie (An Inconvenient Truth) and now I feel as though I have some impact. Read Eunice's comments from the other day for some very reasonable things we can start to do.

Valerie also asks, "The Romney is lovely. Are you going to dye it or use it in its natural color?"

I have enough to do both, but right now I'm thinking about dyeing it (or, more specifically, having it dyed).

Concerning my interpretation of his comments, Mel writes, "I don't know that my viewpoint could be properly characterized as "fuck 'em". I decided it was a bit much to put in comments, so I posted in more detail here."

I did completely misinterpret Mel's comments, and I'm very grateful that he has taken the time to clarify. I'm also quite impressed with his viewpoint on this issue.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A QueerJoe Prediction

I predict that Al Gore will be elected President of the United States in 2008.

My Theory...(which is mine)
Carol noted in comments that,
" People who have already been brainwashed into believing there's no global warming won't go see it because it's supposedly a creation of the fictitious liberal media and those who already take the issue seriously aren't the ones most in need of learning about it."

I think she's wrong. Before seeing this movie, I had no idea how critical this issue was. I'm now in Kate's camp, that this issue is worthy of losing sleep over. Although, sometimes I waffle over into Mel's camp and think, "fuck 'em...if they want to break the planet, it'll be their children suffering, not mine." But I figure if Al Gore convinces just a few additional folks of the urgency of this issue, he'll be swept into the White House.

But I definitely don't agree with Mel when he writes,
"I kind of feel like Al can probably do more and have greater impact by bringing pressure to bear from outside the White House than he could within, much as Jimmy Carter has been more effective as an elder statesman than he was during his presidency."
I think only President Gore could spearhead this critical issue through the tangled bureaucratic mess of our government, and while he couldn't do it as Senator, electing him to the presidency will give him the mandate he needs to accomplish the saving of the planet.

Afraid of getting your fingers snapped in a three-ring binder? If you haven't seen the movie, go see it. Then you'll have something truly valid to be afraid of.

Current Knitting
I've made some additional progress on the Faux Rib sweater. I'll probably be able to post a progress picture later in the week.

Other Fiber-Related Activity
Not only did I finish another whole bobbin of singles with the white Romney this weekend...

...but I also plied two full bobbins of yarn.

Yes, I now have over 20 ounces of this stuff spun up, which is less than one quarter of what I was originally given.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Jenni says, "Sadly, Al Gore has stated that he has no desire to run for president again."

A groundswell of support would change his mind. I have no question he would be willing if the people demanded it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Required Viewing

I always thought I kept up with things pretty well, and then I went to see An Inconvenient Truth this past weekend...you know, the Al Gore movie on global warming.

I had no idea how bad things were, nor how close this moron of a president has brought us to his version of the rapture as we seem to be right now.

I don't usually assign homework for blog readers, but anyone that reads this blog that was as unaware of the imminent dangers of global warming should go see Gore's movie as soon as possible. There will be a quiz.

I walked out of the movie thinking that while issues like gay marriage and tapping phone lines and hitting the 2,500 dead soldier milestone are important, they pale in comparison to the danger of our current situation. The other thing I kept thinking is that we need to get Al Gore elected as president of this country. If for no other reason, than to provide some leadership on this critical issue.

Please go see the movie.

Current Knitting
I've made it up to the neck shaping and I'm almost to the shoulder shaping on the front/right shoulder.

I should be able to easily finish the front of this sweater this week and start on the sleeves.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding crying at work, Angie comes up with P.M.T. (is that the same as our PMS?) as a valid reason for crying.

I didn't say don't cry at work...go ahead and have at it. Express your feelings as fully as you need to. Just don't expect folks to take you seriously as a professional. I work with a lot of woman, and I have never worked with even one who cried because of stress or PMS who made it to the executive level...coincidence?...I think not.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Karl Rove

The "Independent" counsel has cleared Rove on possible charges that he leaked the name of a CIA operative during a time of war.

How could this be? Karl Rove leaked Valerie Plames' name as a CIA operative. Then, he lied about it to a grand jury. These are a known facts. The leak is an illegal act. How independent is this counsel if they can't see this clearly as a crime? Lewis "Scooter" Libby did the same thing, and he's been indicted for his crime.

Thank God for Howard Dean Charles Schumer who were two of the few to express the appropriate outrage about this.

The so-called Independent Counsel hasn't said he didn't do any of these things, they have just notified Rove's lawyers that they won't be seeking an indictment.

Righteous man, New Gingrich weighed in with, "The president is looking a little better, a little stronger. Certainly for the White House and for Karl Rove this is a very important morning and a very positive one." No Newt, this is travesty and a flouting of justice, and I can only imagine the outrage will even further weaken this poor excuse for a president.

This is downright sinful, in the true sense of the word, and both conservatives and liberals should be outraged by this injustice. Where's the moral outrage from the righteous Christians? Isn't this worse than a blow-job in the Oval Office?

Current Knitting
Yeah, I know, these abrupt topic changes will make a reader dizzy...from White House oral sex to knitting. I'll try to work on my seques.

The Faux Rib sweater has another inch or two added on, and soon I'll be starting the neck shaping.

I'll be glad to start on the sleeves for this sweater.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the Faux Rib sweater, Linda asks, "Could you tell us how you do the reversible seaming once you get it done?"

Yes, if it works out, I'll detail how I did it, with pictures and everything.

Erica, in a daze of moving asks a number of questions, "I must have missed it somewhere in the last couple weeks where you said you were leaving (I was in the middle of a move from Sacramento to Seattle, so I've been missing my daily blog reading a lot). Where are you moving to? Did you say that somewhere? Did you get a new job? Is this permanent?"

I live in Pennsylvania and I have been working in Albany, NY on a long-term project for the last three years or so (I commute up every week and go home on weekends). My on-site project time is finishing up at the end of this month. For the following three months (July - September), I will be working for the same client, but I'll be working from home. I won't know who my next client is until a few weeks before the beginning of October.

Kathyhm writes, "Hi QJ: its a terrible thing to anticipate a new post by your fave blogger and then... no new post. Hope you're doing scandalously shrewd things you'll tell us about later."

This is my third day in a row with a blog entry, so I'm not quite sure what you expect in terms of frequency. I typically post 3 or 4 entries per week, and rarely on the weekends.

Linda B asks, "Re. reversible sweater shoulder seams. Can you graft those seams?" and then follows up with "The sleeve seam still defeats me, although if you have figured out the side seams, won't the same method apply to the sleeves?"

Grafting might be the way to go on the shoulders, so I'll probably try that first. The side seam might be similar to the long seam to close the sleeve, but not for sewing the sleeve into the sleeve opening. I'm going to have to experiment with that.

Christina offers the following advice, "Hey Joe, regarding crying at work: sometimes it just happens because of hormones, or stress, or a tramatic event, or any combination thereof. It is not because the person is extremely unprofessional, it is because they are emotionally overwhelmed (like someone they care about leaving). Try to be empathic."

I actually don't mind when folks cry at work, but I do think that it makes them look less professional. In this country, crying in the workplace usually makes the crier look weak or manipulative, and there are other ways to express hormonal surges, stress or trauma that are more professionally acceptable. That being said, I will have a big box of Kleenex with me when I say goodbye.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Saying Goodbye

This is my last month in Albany, and after over 3 years, it is going to be hard to say goodbye to the folks up here.

Expressing Sadness
I'm not overly good at, nor fond of public displays of sadness. This evening, a group of guys I've gotten friendly with in Albany are having a going away dinner at one of the local restaurants. Now I really have to face how much I've grown to be good friends with some of them, and how painful it will be to leave. The best I can hope is that I can express myself sincerely and make sure they know how much they mean to me.

At the end of the month, my coworkers will be having another going away dinner on my behalf, which will be equally as difficult to deal with from an emotional perspective. I usually consider it extremely unprofessional when folks cry at work, but I think this can be considered an exception to that rule.

Current Knitting
Made some incremental progress on the Faux Rib sweater. I've also come up with a way of sewing this garment up that might make it reversible. At least I've come up with a way to do the side seams and the neck. Now I just have to think through the shoulders and sleeve seams.

Other Weekend Fiber Activity
I felt like Rumplestiltskin this past weekend. Despite a full day spent with Thaddeus' family on Saturday, I was still able to spin up a full bobbin of singles using the white Romney.

If I stick to this pace, it will take me a little over 14 weeks to finish spinning up the rest of this fiber.

Readers' Comment/Questions
Thanks for all your comments on the Knitting Day Out events. I'm glad to hear that they are a lot less sinister in motive than I thought. And knitting at the Opera House in Sydney sounds so wonderfully gay. While I probably won't ever participate in one of these events, your comments have allowed me a change in sentiment about these events. Thanks.

Reader "x" notes, "YOU ATE and liked a green colored dessert made with pistacio flavored instant pudding and teeny tiny marshmallows called Watergate Salad? FEH!
Next you will tell us you enjoy NASCAR."

NASCAR??? Is that a new sex act I've never heard of?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Knitting In Public

I have never had an issue knitting in public. Why does this act require a special day?

I guess a coordinated day of knitting in public could attract more folks to the craft, but my guess is that this day is kind of like the Mother's Day of knitting. It's a made up holiday so that yarn stores and vendors can promote their wares.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with promoting the sales of things. I think you should go right now to buy a t-shirt from Franklin's CafePress shop (the WWDD is my favorite in case you need to buy a gift). I think you should order a bunch of yarn from Carol's Etsy shop (her laceweight is gorgeous). I think you should buy and download a boatload of patterns from The Knitting Vault (anything by Lucy Neatby will good).

Perhaps there's some other valid reason for a day of knitting in public. Perhaps it allows knitters with low self-esteem to feel better about themselves? I guess that's a good thing too.

Current Knitting
Thanks to a two hour trip to Scranton, PA on Saturday, I was able to get past the sleeve shaping on the front of the Faux Rib sweater.

We went to visit Thaddeus' Aunt and Uncle who live in the area where Thaddeus' family comes from. Thaddeus' sister and her family were also ther. It was a wonderful time of getting to see some of the most pleasant people on the planet and eating amazing food. I even ate a green colored dessert salad called Watergate Salad, which looked repulsive, but tasted incredibly good.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the hate-mongering Congress and the so-called "Defense of Marriage" amendment, Carol S. writes, "This really pisses me off, Joe. Let's do an auction where we donate all the proceeds to a group that is devoted solely to the purpose of fighting this bullshit amendment."

I love this idea. I will have to find a worthy way of supporting the end of hateful pandering to the right-wing, conservatives. I love having a cause-du-jour.

Carol also asks, "Hey, Joe, what's with the new screaming headers on your blog? Playing with font size whilst on a boring conference call?"

No, I always thought just bolding the heading made it hardly show up, so I've been trying out different header tags in my blog entries.

Gryphon asks, "Your Thaddeus isn't by any chance also known as Gaffer, is he?"

Not that I'm aware of, and he reads my blog, so I doubt it. Unless it's a shameful nickname, I think he would have told me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Defense of Marriage

First of all, most folks agree, Marriage might need defending, but not against expanding it to include all people.

My Ideas on Gay Marriage
Marriage in this country is a civil action that binds two people legally in lots of different ways. Some beneficial, some not so much. Marriage also can have a community or religious significance.

I've said this before, but I think that this country ought to eliminate marriage as a civil activity altogether, and replace it with some form of domestic partnership for anyone wanting the bonds of legality, currently bestowed on legally married couples.

Let religion or community organizers have marriage all to themselves. Make marriage a religious or social committment that allows each group or religion to define it as they will. I'd be interested to see how strong the spiritual bond would be without a corresponding threat of legal divorce attached to it.

I understand how church and state have been combined on the idea of marriage, but like any other combinations of those two areas, they should be divorced of each other, so to speak. That way, all the ruckus about sanctity and morality of two men marrying will be only between the religions that allow it and the religions that don't.

Marriage Benefits
There is something to be said for the community pressure to help married couples stay together. Maybe not as much in this country as in countries like China, or India. But there are significant practical incentives that married couples have for staying together as well. I just wanted to list a few areas where married couples gain benefits that aren't allowed to folks like me and Thaddeus:

1. Medical power of attorney.
If I were to be hit by a drunk driver and go into a coma, Thaddeus would have no legal rights to dictate how my medical care would proceed. In fact, my family could dissallow him from even visiting me in the hospital if I couldn't speak for myself (or hadn't already done so in legal documents).

2. Funereal Arrangements
If I were to progress from coma to death, Thaddeus could be denied any determination in how my funeral arrangements are carried out.

3. Survivor Benefits - Social Security
If the bread-winner in a marriage dies, the spouse is granted survivor benefits. If I were to die, Thaddeus would get nothing.

4. Survivor Benefits - Defined Pension Plans
Most old-style pension plans will pay out a pension to a surviving spouse of the plan participant. I am eligible to receive a pretty decent pension starting as early as age 55 from my last company, but if I die two days before my 55th birthday, Thaddeus would get nothing from the plan, as opposed to a wife who would receive pension benefits for the rest of her life.

5. Inheritance tax
All that I own, or that Thaddeus and I own jointly is subject to inheritance tax, including our house and everything in it. A legal spouse doesn't have to worry about any of the same tax.

Don't get me wrong, there are some negative burdens associated with legal marriage...mostly if things don't go well in the relationship, but I feel significantly cheated by not being about to legally bind ourselves as a couple.

Current Knitting
Moving along, but if I post one more picture of a block of knitting, I think folks will fall instantly asleep from massive boredom. Next picture will be next week probably and hopefully have some arm hole shaping. Now won't that be riveting?

Books & Magazines
I was at Barnes & Noble recently and picked up a couple of fiber-related items.

The first thing I found was the English translation of Knitting Out Of Africa, by Marianne Isager.

I already have the Danish version of it, but this is one of the few books where I might actually knit someone else's design, and I wanted to be able to read the pattern in English.

I also picked up Crochet! Magazine.

I'm not sure why, but the Knitting Magazines were dreadful, and I've had a yen to try out some crochet designs. There were a couple of decent designs ideas in the magazine, but nothing really worth making as shown.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Lucia notes, "You may want to read Dale Carpenter's posts at The Volokh Conspiracy also. That's where you'll find the right wing arguments against the amendment.

Thanks for the link. Very interesting discussions with incredibly well-thought out arguments.

Marilyn states, "That Romney is absolutely the epitome of creamy, yarny, handspun goodness...I'd love to design a gansey for that stuff! And you're planning what with it?"

First of all, if the words "creamy, yarny, handspun goodness" appear in your book, I will either not buy it, or return it for a refund or burn it, depending on how I feel. Second, I'm not sure what I'll do with the yarn, but I'm thinking about having it dyed and knitting sweaters out of it. I will definitely have enough to give away to an Aran designer, if she's really interested. It would make a nice "fisherman's sweater", but I'd fear the gauge of the yarn wouldn't be useful if the design was going to be published or sold.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Opera Queen

No, I'm not talking about Franklin (this time).

One Of My Favorite CD's
Duffy's comment about Freddy Mercury made me remember one of my favorite activities when I'm mourning his way-to-early demise.

I listen to a CD of his called Barcelona.

Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballé join forces on one of the most amazing opera/pop artist combinations that I've ever heard. That being said, I have no understanding of opera whatsoever. I have to admit, when I first heard of this CD, I was afraid it was going to be like when Pavarotti started singing with pop stars and the pop stars' voices sounded tinny and flat next to his. It was embarrassing for both of them. But despite huge differences in singing styles between Mercury and Caballé, the voices are magical together.

Current Knitting
I made a small amount of progress on the Faux rib sweater. I'm up to about 13 inches now. Only a couple more until I start the arm hole shaping.

Other Fiber Activity
I got in quite a bit of spinning this past weekend.

First, I finished the second bobbin of singles on the white Romney.

Then I double-plied two bobbins full of what will probably be a light-worsted weight yarn.

I'm very glad I was able to spin this yarn with very little twist, because it made the finished yarn surprisingly soft for a Romney.

The scary part is that I've spun less than 10 ounces of the over 80 ounces of fiber I got. I've found the fastest and most efficient way of spinning these singles is by using a long-draw drafting technique. Regardless, this fiber will keep me busy for quite a while.

Readers' Comments/Questions
It never ceases to amaze me of the diversity of readership on this blog. Thank you for all your comments on the Age of AIDS comments I had in yesterday's blog entry. Mostly, I felt heard and understood, and that you all got the impact of what I have been feeling. I'm currently reading a book of excerpts of Thomas Jefferson's life at the moment (which I'll review when I'm finished), and how we got from his ideas of a patriotic, truly moralistic, secular government that serves the people, to the morass of shit we have today, is completely unbelievable to me.

I'll post more comments about the "Defense of Marriage" movement to amend our constitution in my next blog entry, but I wanted to pass along a link to AmericaBlog and their effort to clarify and enforce defending the sanctity of marriage. Funny and sad at the same time. Thanks Liza for passing it along.

Pray For A Secular Government

I just watched the PBS Frontline special on the history of AIDS, called "Age of AIDS."

Having lived through this time more intimately than it could ever be portrayed in a documentary, I was enraged again at the cold-hearted bastard that we had in the White House, and his lack of response to the plague of the century. I still refuse to call the Washington DC airport anything except National Airport. I continue to be pissed off when the current White House is more concerned about bringing Democracy to Iraq than working to end this plague. Perhaps there's something in the bible that says a "proper" government in Iraq is more important than the decimation of millions of Africans.

I guess they figure once the entire African continent has died off from tribal hatred or AIDS, we can go in and take their petroleum for free.

The Frontline special was extremely well-done, and allowed me a tearful walk through that awful time in my life. I don't think most folks quite grasp exactly what we lost during the eighties, because I truly believe that this country lost a part of its soul when so many of our young, creative gay men were being killed by this awful disease.

Current Knitting
Sorry for the abrupt transition, but there really is no approprate segue from AIDS to knitting.

I got a lot of work done on the front of the Faux Rib sweater.

Other Blogs
Many of you know that Franklin is on vacation, but he has left his blog in the hands of a very dangerous crowd. I can take no credit for the newest cartoon character in The Panopticon, but I find it very funny.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding my description of programming the totals page for the survey, Lucia asks, 'Persnickety'? Does that translate to 'cursing was involved'?"

Actually, no, although I did get frustrated a couple of times. I've since copied the survey pages and database, and I've added a few more technical pieces that I will need for the blog awards that were even more...uh...shall we say, persnickety. That did involve a bit of cussing.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Final Geek Installment

I won't torture the less geeky among my readers with any more talk of PHP coding and all the excitement that surrounds it after today.

Survey Results
The results page was by far the most challenging of all my PHP coding. Writing SQL against the results database and displaying it in PHP turned out to be a very persnickety exercise.

Check it out here, if you care about the results.

A couple other things about it. First, I cut off some of the "Other" comments, which I'll have to remember for future PHP pages. Second, you can still vote (or vote again) and the results page will refresh with the new data.

I do have a few more exercises I need to work on to be ready to program the ballot for the Knit Blog awards, but I won't be discussing it on the blog.

Current Knitting
I'm not sure why, but progress at this point on the Faux Rib sweater doesn't look impressive, despite how much I've gotten done on the front.

This is actually over eight inches of knitting, but it looks just like the picture of about five inches.

Mushroom Quilt
I've modified my template so that the top and bottom of the mushroom are both four inches tall. This will allow me to be a little more flexible in the layout of the blocks on the quilt.

I tested out the template with a quick cut, sew and iron, and I'm pleased with the result.

When I take my time and sew up the pieces carefully, it will look even better. Now I just have to come up with a layout that I'm pleased with and go fabric shopping at Liza's (always the best part).

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the link from the survey confirmation page back to my blog, Corster noted, "You've gotta check your hyperlink (or redirect code) and change the link from "http://queerjoe.com/" to "http://queerjoe.blogspot.com" if you want the reader to return to your blog."

I honestly thought queerjoe.com would route folks automatically to queerjoe.blogspot.com. I'd be interested to hear about folks where this isn't working correctly.