Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Do Actors and Models Do It?

Constantly putting themselves in front of a camera and appearing before lots of people...and most importantly...still look good.

Strand Sweater Photo Shoot
I was able to finish up the last parts of the stranded knitting pullover, including the last inch of ribbing, weaving in ends and blocking.

Here are some pictures, in no specific order.

I'd like to believe it's just bad photography skills, but I have to be's largely bad modeling skills. Even Franklin couldn't make me look good in photos.

American Knitters Only

Kyle has been an indefatigable proponent of guys who knit, and he's now asking for help from any American Knitters that have a minute or two.

Please Take the Survey
Please take Kyle's survey. He's just begun gathering massive amounts of data for a book that's been kicking around in his head for a while now:

Kyle's Survey for American Knitters

Thanks to anyone who takes the time.

Current Knitting
I plan on working on my second secret project for the rest of this week. I've got a lot of work that needs to get done on it and I've devoted not time to it at all in the last few weeks.

Current Reading
I just noticed a new book/cd on weight loss through hypnosis, and got excited about it, because I think I'm very open to hypnotic suggestion. The book is I Can Make You Thin (Book and CD) by Paul McKenna.

When I mentioned it to some of my coworkers, one of them said she had the book/cd with her, so I got to sample it before buying. Suffice it to say, I now own it.
I even went out last night and bought a small MP3 player so I can lull myself to sleep with Paul McKenna's voice each night.

Monday, February 23, 2009

So Close

I worked like hell trying to get my latest sweater completed this weekend, and didn't quite make it.

Current Knitting
I finished the entire last sleeve except for about 1 inch of ribbing.

One crappy inch...well, suffice it to say that I will finish it tonight and post finished pictures of the sweater and me wearing it in the next blog post.

HBO Must See
There's a great new special on HBO called "Right America, Feeling Wronged" by Alexandra Pelosi (Nancy's daughter, in case you were wondering).

I have to say it is still shocking to me the amount of ignorance, bigotry and hatred in this country, and this special seems to condense a lot of it. I honestly wished that the movie had been a little be less one-sided in its viewpoint, but even as skewed as it seemed to be, it was still a big warning that this country still has some scary places in it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Stimulus Package

I'm shocked that no one has come up with a gay porn title called "The Stimulus Package."

My Favorite Part
One of the things I love most about the recent passing and signing of the expenditure of billions of dollars, is I get to hear the Republican naysayers telling us how awful it is to leave this debt on our children and grandchildren.

Uh...hate to tell you, but they were already in hock up to their freakin' ears because of your mighty redumblican who sat in the White House for 8 years and spent more than any Democrat in that same position.

It just amazes me that for 8 years, the Republicans approved spending measure after spending measure with more pork than a Hatfield factory, and only now do they come out claiming Obama won't be bi-partisan.

I give our current president enormous credit for being able to hold back a big Dick Cheney "Fuck You." Obama has a lot more composure than I would given the same circumstances.

Perhaps if we tell the naysayers that this stimulus package is the only possible way they're be able to leave their millions to their children and still be able to lead a privileged life, despite the burden of a ridiculous national debt.

Current Knitting
I am happy to say that I have kept up the same pace of my knitting for the latest sleeve and it is well over halfway finished.

This shows me up to the 8th diamond of 13 on the sleeve pattern. And the sleeve will have fewer and fewer stitches as I progress toward the cuff. Looks like I may even be finished with this sweater by the weekend.

Readers' Comments/Questions
First of all, thanks everyone for the wonderful comments on both the 1,000th blog post and Thaddeus' birthday. It never ceases to surprise me when there's such an expression of support from y'all. Thanks.

Formerly No-Blog Rachel writes, "I was kind of hoping you'd list the asshats and nutjobs."

I couldn't have possibly remembered them all, and it would have taken a VERY long post to list even the ones I did remember.

Jelly Donut asks, "A question about the photos you posted today--did you make the sweaters you are wearing?"

Yes. The top one was a mitered square design I did using Noro Silk Garden. I knit it before I started writing the blog, but mentioned it in the third blog entry. The bottom photo I'm wearing the red pullover vest I completed in July of last year.

Amy R. writes, "...pretty please could you post a link to a former picture?"

Look at the first couple of posts in November of last'll see what he (and I) looked like when we first met and at our 25th anniversary. There's another one with Carol S. from April of last year.

Rachel writes, "Ass-hats? I have never heard this term before. I have heard and used plenty of others, maybe an east coast thing?"

My boss used to use this term a lot, and I don't really even know what it means...but it can't be good, so I like it...oh's a good definition.

Finally, Sue asks, "Have you considered a hotel that is designed for long-term stays, such as a Residence Inn, or one of the "suite" hotels?"

Yes, I've stayed in a few of them, but since I usually only stay 3 nights in a hotel each week, it's more expensive to rent it for the entire month. Besides, most full service hotels allow me to store things with the bell captain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

QueerJoe's 1,000th

Who knew I had it in me to be such a gas-bag? This post is my 1,000th post since starting

Thinking Back
A little over six years ago, I decided to bring my on-line moniker into the Blogosphere, and created QueerJoe, the blog. I had been reading WendyKnits and the KnittingCurmudgeon, and enjoyed them so much, I thought I might try my hand at it.

I needed to figure out how this new-fangled software worked, and it required a significant amount of knowledge about HTML, FTP, photography and graphics software...none of which I had when I started...some of which I still don't.

Here was the first self-picture that appeared on the blog:

And here is one taken today:

Just like the presidency, blogging can truly age a man in a short period of time!

Over the years, I have truly enjoyed writing this blog...mostly because of the amazing people I have been fortunate to meet along the way. Don't get me wrong, the on-line knitting community is chock full of ass-hats and nut-jobs, but it's also got its fair share of truly wonderful people. I considered listing some of the folks, but I was afraid if I didn't mention your name specifically, you'd think you were in the ass-hat/nut-job category.

Thanks mostly to the wonderful and not-so-wonderful readers who have stopped by and contributed in some way to this space. I set out to create a place that was first and foremost interesting, and in many ways, this site has attracted some of the most interesting and creative folks I could have hoped for.

Happy Birthday/Valentine's Day to Thaddeus
Thaddeus has a Valentine's Day birthday, so we celebrated a very nice weekend.

My birthday present to him is not making him suffer through having me post another picture of him to the blog...he's quite handsome, but he hate's pictures of himself.

Current Knitting
I made a lot of progress on two projects this weekend...I only have one or two more weekends left on the secret project, and I'm hopeful I have only one left on the stranded knitting pullover.

You can see I've gotten up to the fifth full diamond on the sleeve pattern...out of about 13, so I'm moving right along. I've tried the sweater on a couple of times, and I really like how it looks. Can't wait to show final pictures of it on me.

Readers' Comments/Questions
First of all, thank you for all the comments on hotel etiquette and bathroom handwashing. Despite the somewhat graphic descriptions, I am still convinced that there is no more reason for women to wash their hands after using a bathroom than many of you mentioned, everyone should.

Zoe writes, "I tried a Neibling cause of you. LOVED IT."

This is one of my favorite types of comments. Lacefreak Jane introduced me to Niebling...I am glad I could pass it on.

JRumbles writes (via e-mail), "Why do you spend so much time in hotels? Half your time? Why? And in the same room?"

I work as a management consulting project manager, and most of my projects are for extended periods of time. My current project has been going on for about 2 years and will last until the end of this year. The project before that was for 3 and a half years. Since I need to be where my client is, I travel up on Mondays, stay till Thursday or Friday and go home for the weekends. It's pretty common for folks that do my kind of work. Sometimes when you stay at a hotel long enough, the hotel will always reserve the same room for you each week, although it's also leased out during the weekend to someone else, so I can't leave things there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hotel Etiquette

It seems that even folks that stay in hotels often seem to have no idea how to behave in rooms that are far less than soundproof.

A Little Consideration Please
For the last 12 years, I have spent approximately half my life in a hotel room. Typically the least classy accommodations I book are the level of Spring Hill Suites or Hilton Garden Inn, but on average, my stays are usually at full service, chain hotels, like a Marriott or a Hilton.

Since I've been staying at my current hotel for a few years now, they give me the same room each week when I check in. It makes it a little bit convenient that I don't have to remember my room number on a week-to-week basis. The one lousy part is that it has a door connecting me to the room next to mine, and the sound from one room travels easily into the next when theirs an adjoining door. And even worse, for the last two weeks, there have been two different women staying in the room next to me who stay up later than me and talk loudly until well after I like to be asleep.

This week's neighbor has shared way too much about her and her significant other's personal finances in phone calls that are easy to hear.

Suffice it to say, earplugs have become a necessity.

But in case you find yourself being an amateur hotel stayer, or you're one of those thoughtless people that sometimes stay in the room next to me, these might be some of the things you'd want to consider:

- Moderate the volume on your television after 9:00 pm and before 7:00 am to the lowest level that allows you to still hear it.
- When you talk on your cell phone, it doesn't require you to yell (there are still those who think you do)
- Having a cell phone conversation while walking up and down the halls annoys everyone on the floor.
- The wall between your room and the one next to you makes louder noises on the other side when you throw things like your purse or luggage against it.

Current Knitting
I've been doing a lot of knitting least for non-weekend time and I'm happy with my progress.

This shows that in addition to finishing the cuff of the first sleeve, I also picked up stitches for the second sleeve and I've actually gotten up to the end of the first full diamond (of 13).

Next Project
I really need to get back to some lace knitting. I have some great laceweight from Briar Rose Fibers, in dark colors that I'm thinking would make a great scarf/shawl/wrap for me. And I'd like to do something in a Niebling design. I'm considering even bastardizing one of my existing Niebling patterns to make a rectangular knitted piece.

I need to give this more thought.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Teresa writes, "If you think its bad when a man doesn't wash his hands after going to the potty, it's even worse when a woman doesn't wash hers...Yuck!"

I have heard a few women say this, and I never understood. From a biological standpoint, women don't even have to touch any part of their body while going to the bathroom, while most men have do. Am I missing something?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Automatic Hand Soap Dispensers

With all the hands-free options in public bathrooms these days, I'm surprised their aren't any urinal attachments that shake it for you after you're finished.

But Then Again
If they worked as well as the hands-free soap dispensers, it would be more like a handjob than a shake.

My current client workplace has soap dispensers that are set at such a high sensitivity level that they practically squirt soap whenever a shadow moves through the bathroom. They must go through an amazing amount of hand soap in a day, because during a standard hand wash in the men's room where I wash my hands, the soap dispenser squirts at least four times during the rinse cycle alone. Add to that the one squirt I get on purpose and multiply times two hand washings a day, that's 10 soap squirts just for me. A ridiculous waste.

Personally, I blame it on the germophobes, who have taken over public restrooms. Hands-free flushing, hands-free faucets, hands-free soap, hands-free paper towels, and then grab the door handle covered in fecal matter from the the jerk who just left after poo-ing without washing his hands.

Current Knitting
Just have to do one or two more quick measurements of the sleeve length before binding off the ribbing stitches on the first sleeve of the stranded pullover.

I was honestly hoping to have already started on the second sleeve, but I had a little mishap with the secret project that required me to frog back almost half of the work I had done. Within the next couple of weeks I'll be able to post about that project.

New Yarn Acquisition
I noticed that Kenny got some new yarn at Beaverslide Dry Goods, so I decided to order some of their organic wool.

Leanne at the farm was very helpful and described the wool exactly right. It's a mixture of different breeds from a local farm. I'd call it a dense worsted weight yarn. I'm not sure what I'll be doing with it yet, but I did swatch it to see how it handled ribbing and stockinette stitch.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Men's Knitting Retreat

The plans are set and things are moving along swimmingly for the second annual Men's Spring Knitting Retreat.

Compare This Year To Last Year
Last year, Ted and I were completely unprepared for the number of guys who registered for the first MSKR. I found myself constantly under constant stress to come to agreements with the retreat center, to answer policy questions from the guys, to pull together give-away bags, to get volunteers to lead workshops, to create an agenda, to come up with a get-to-know-you exercise, etc., etc., etc.

I can't tell you how many nights I lost sleep worrying that the whole thing was going to be awful and that half the guys would cancel at the last minute.

Fortunately, none of that happened and it turned out to be an amazing event.

This year is a completely different experience.

I hate to put a kanahara on it, but everything seems to be going extremely smoothly. We have about 40 guys registered for the event, we are getting offers from some very generous supporters of the event who donate yarn or books or other special things to us in exchange for promotion...or in some cases just to support us, the guys are starting to volunteer to lead workshops and we have most of the materials we'll be giving to the guys when they get there. I've even been able to come up with interesting activities to put on the schedule.

This year, I've only lost sleep on one night, and it was mostly because of the excited anticipation I was feeling...and it's only February!

Current Knitting
I'm on the last few inches of the first sleeve of the stranded knitting pullover. Because of a question about the lighter yarn bleeding through on the mostly black sleeves, I thought I'd show a picture of the sleeve inside out today.

Basically, I just alternate when I start picking up the float, and always pick up the float on every third stitch. This creates a pattern that even when the color bleeds through some, basically just mixes in with the color in a way that some woven fabrics do.

It's kind of a pain tracking the floats, but it seems like it's definitely worth the effort.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Expat on the Go asks, "Why is the secret project 'secret'?"

I actually have two secret projects. The first one I can't even tell you why it's secret because the reason is a secret as well. The second one, I'm allowed to write about after it's finished and delivered, but the organizer of the project has asked us not to blog about it until then.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Is It Spring?

This Winter seems to be endless, and we just started what is typically the coldest month of all. Thank dog it's a short month.

Aging and Winter
As I get older, I find my body has less and less tolerance for stresses, like cold. I've always believed that stress...physical or the largest contributing factor to people being sick, so it's no wonder to me that many folks get sick as the weather gets colder.

And it's strange how the way my body is affected by cold is changing as well. It used to be that my extremities got cold, but my core body heat and legs weren't very much affected. Now I find I have to wear scarves and sweaters to keep my upper body warm and warmer pants for my legs.

Fortunately, knitting has allowed me to amass a collection of warmer garments.

Current Knitting
Speaking of which, I was working on two different projects this week. Both of them for warming the upper body. The one I worked on most is a secret project...for now...which I should be able to show you in a few weeks. It's coming out better than I could have possibly hoped.

The second one, was the stranded sweater.

I was hoping to have finished the first sleeve this past weekend, but I ended up spending more time on the secret project because it was much more satisfying. Just to give you a sense of where I am on the sleeve, if you count the full diamonds running down the sleeve, there are currently 8...I need to have about 12 or 13 before I start doing cuff ribbing.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Regarding the stranded knitting on the sleeve, Richard asks, "Don't you find that the light color "bleeds" through the black?"

I was concerned it might...especially in the all-black sections of the sleeve. I've alternated where I weave in the yarn on the back in an even pattern (I'll try to get a picture of the inside sleeve to show you what I mean), and it seems to have worked to not let the white bleed through.

Richard also writes, "I don't feel that I am particularly morbidly curious but could you provide some background/context for the picture."

I really don't have any. I found it doing a Google search on "knitting with her feet" and it was part of someone's Flickr account...looked like travel photos.