24 Dec

A Christmas song for you

In 1991 I was in a band with the very goofy name “NOT!” We recorded a Christmas song, along with another batch of songs for an album. And then we broke up. Immediately. Before the album was completely finished. Yes, it is the story of my life.

Anyway, the Christmas song we did is a goofy little tune (and I mean “goofy” in the best possible way), written and sung by rhythm guitarist Michael Cox, called “Xmas Won’t Be Xmas”. You can download it here. I’m one of the background singers and I might have played a tiny bit of guitar (I think the drummer, Erin Ressler, is the other backup singer). I know I also played jingle bells. 🙂 The other band members were Joel Marquez on bass and Nial McGaughey on guitar.

The recording is a little rough as the tape isn’t in the best of shape, and it was only recorded on a 4-track cassette deck in the first place, but it’s not too bad, considering. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve posted this for you all before, so I hope you enjoy it.

(The picture is NOT!, but it’s from before Michael joined the band. Left to right: Nial, Erin, me, and Joel.)

22 Dec

Taking Christmas away from us

A few days ago in the Stranger Slog, Dan Savage posted an interesting comment on the whole “War on Christmas” thing. The right wing Christmas warriors, he suggests, are making non-right-wing fundamentalists feel awkward about celebrating Christmas, as they’ve already made people feel awkward about celebrating July 4:

“Patriotism is their property—if you’re not a my-country-right-or-wrong, country-music-listening redneck, you’re made to feel like a hypocrite for celebrating the July 4th holiday. So most of us opt out, ignoring July 4th. We’ve ceded patriotism to the right. And now, thanks to the War on Christmas, those of us who aren’t fundies are going to feel awkward about celebrating Christmas.”

Certainly, this “War” has added a subtext to the simple greeting “Merry Christmas” that wasn’t there before. It used to be that I could happily say “Merry Christmas” to someone; now, if I do so, I wonder if they are thinking that I am a fundamentalist.

I don’t feel much Christmas spirit toward you “Christmas warriors,” that is for sure. And I do celebrate Christmas, with great vigor, thank you very much.

14 Dec

Pattern: 1 Day Wristwarmers

Pastaza armwarmer

Here’s another wristwarmers pattern. Why more wristwarmers, you ask? Well, actually, this is the first pair I wrote my own pattern for, but I couldn’t post the pattern because the wristwarmers were supposed to be a gift for someone, so I had to wait until I gave her the gift. In the meantime, I made the cable wristwarmers I posted a few weeks ago. So here is the original pattern. It’s easier, so if the cabled version scared you, try these instead. I can make these in one (8 hour) day of knitting, and if you are not a slow knitter like me, you can probably make them faster. They are great for quick Christmas presents!

The wristwarmers are ribbed, with a vertical thumbhole. They are made of Cascade Pastaza, bulky yarn that is 50% Peruvian Highland Wool/50% Llama wool. (I really like this yarn!) They require US9 double-pointed needles.

You can download the pattern right here. If you like it, please let me know.

Here is another (not so good, sorry) photo:

1-Day wristwarmers

Some people have made these wristwarmers and posted their own pictures! I will link to photos here, so send me your URL if you post pictures of wristwarmers knitted from my pattern:

13 Dec

It’s Gray Tuesday

I forgot that it was AmericanEdit.org: Dean Gray Tuesday already. Here’s the belated link. The Dean Gray American Edit album is a great mashup of Green Day’s American Idiot, which was pulled from the net when Warner records sent the creators a cease and desist. Today, more than 200 protesters are hosting copies of the album that you can download. As the website says:

“Doing so is not intended to be a mass organization of music piracy but, rather, one single display of the consumptive power of the mash-up and home remix community in the hopes of encouraging the labels, publishers and artists who are curious about the mash-up community to consider giving the high quality productions of ‘illegitimate’ music a legitimate consideration as a promotional avenue for all music.”

I managed to get a copy of the album before the C&D, and it really is good stuff. I recommend.

09 Dec

“Random” means I only post this on random Fridays

It’s Friday! And you know what that means? It means I’ll probably forget to post another Random Ten! Oh, wait. I remembered! And it’s only almost 4pm! Here you go:

* “The Cutter” — Echo and the Bunnymen

* “Cleveland Rocks” — Ian Hunter

* “Brick (iTunes Originals Version)” — Ben Folds

* “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” — Billy Joel
You know, my theory is that this song was inspired by Joel’s 10 year high school reunion. The timing is about right. But he dropped out of high school, so did he get to attend?

* “Freakin’ Out” — Graham Coxon

* “Here Today” — Paul McCartney
I guess even iTunes shuffle remembed what December 8 is.

* “Headful of Something/The Devil in Me (Live)” — John Wesley Harding

* “My Ever Changing Moods” — Style Council

* “Definite Door” — Posies

* “Small Talk” — Scritti Politti

A bit retro this time. The Coxon track is the newest one. I have my Christmas songs in the shuffle now too, but none of them popped up this time.

08 Dec

On a lighter note

Today is the first day of the smoking ban in Washington state. Smokers on the Stranger forums were threatening to ignore the law. I hope people really don’t do that. I am looking forward to seeing live music in a club for the first time in several years. It is going to be so cool to be able to do that again! I have missed it a lot. Any good shows coming up?

08 Dec

25 years ago today

(This is a repost of the entry I posted here on 8 December 2005, slightly updated. I can’t really think of anything to add to this.)

25 years ago today, I was on the phone with my friend Dave Wright, talking about god knows what (probably our pirate radio aspirations), when he interrupted the conversation: “Oh my God, I just heard John and Yoko got shot.” I ran in the other room and asked my parents if it were true. They hadn’t heard anything about it yet, but about 30 seconds later, the news flash came through. Dave had gotten a garbled version of it; John was shot. (John Lennon, for you youngsters.)

At first there was still some hope that he might live — all they had said was that he was shot, that’s all. But the news came along pretty quickly that he was dead. I went upstairs to my attic bedroom and flipped the radio dial. “Imagine” was everywhere. If it wasn’t “Imagine,” it was the new single that had just come out to mark John’s return to the pop world, “Starting Over.” And if it wasn’t that, it was the seasonally appropriate yet sadly incongruous ”Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” Every station, up and down the dial. Stations that didn’t normally play pop or rock, stations that didn’t normally play music — programming stopped to pay tribute.

The next day I wore my Beatlemania shirt to school, because it was black. Eric Oberg read the morning news on the school’s closed-circuit tv station, and he was crying. I think those of us in high school then were among the youngest people to really care about the Beatles that much. Remember that in 1980, the Beatles had only been broken up for 10 years — it’s been 11 years now Kurt Cobain died; does that really seem like a long time ago? In 1980, tenth-graders like me had heard the Beatles from birth, if not earlier. Now I have students who were born well after John Lennon died, and the Beatles have been broken up more than twice as long as they were together.

To this day, “Happy Xmas” makes me cry.

07 Dec

Who are these freaks who want to tear down the Monorail?

Since the monorail accident a couple of weeks ago (which so conveniently followed the electoral ass-kicking of the new monorail project), I, like Susan Paynter, have heard a few people saying “just tear the thing down.” Who are these people who think we should tear it down? I imagine they are the people who would tear down all the old Seattle bungalows and box houses, and replace them with 3-story monstrosities that take up every bit of airspace legally allowed to them; they are the people who gripe every July and August about how much Seafair sucks and how boring and lame it is and why don’t we just cancel it anyway; they are the people who cut down 80 year old trees because they block their view; they are the people who would tear down the Space Needle if they thought it would save them five bucks on taxes. They aren’t Seattleites, though. Seattleites love things like the Monorail, the Needle, Ivar’s on the waterfront and Lake Union, Dick’s Drive-In, J.P. Patches, and ferries in Elliott Bay — things that are uniquely Seattle and can’t be found in every strip mall from here to Florida.

If you want to tear down the monorail, please, just move somewhere else and make that place look like Los Angeles. Just let Seattle be.

07 Dec

Back to knitting

The problem with strep throat is that while I had a whole week of enforced leisure in which I could knit, I didn’t feel up to it at all. Not even a little bit. I have a pair of wristwarmers (commissioned — the first time anyone’s paid me to knit, by the way) that are 10 minutes away from completion, and were 10 minutes away from completion all last week. But I just didn’t have the energy. I did a little posting, graded a couple of assignments, and that was about all I could manage all week. (Yes, Christmas is coming and there is a lot to do. Please don’t remind me.)

Today I finally felt up to driving the car, and decided I was going to go out and get some yarn for another pair of wristwarmers (these are also a commission. Shocking!). So I drove to Pacific Fabric’s outlet store, which is technically the nearest yarn store to my house. (If they are an outlet store, how come their yarn is full-price? This is what I would like to know.) They did have the yarn and the color that the customer requested, so I bought it. I will have remnants of 4 different colors of Cascade Pastaza soon; I see something striped in my future.

Anyway, while I was there, I just had this sudden urge to knit socks.
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