December 11th, 2011

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Political Phone Calls

As a Democrat in a GOP-controlled state--in a Congressional district with an entrenched GOP-idiot Congressman--I get political calls from both parties.  It's annoying enough that the party I support calls me with the attitude that if I contributed $5 to a campaign two months ago, I can now contribute more than that every month...but at least these callers are real people, not tape recordings, and even if they sound intent, they don't sound hysterical.

The GOP calls are recordings (mostly including a message from my Congressman) and the callers *always* sound hysterical.  Including my Congressman, whom you would think was fighting off an invasion of king cobras slithering under his desk, from his tone of voice.  Hysterical fear, is what he sounds like, and that's not something I want in my so-called representative.  It's been obvious for years the man can't think, can't do anything but mouth the party line in defiance of both facts and logic, and maybe he really is that terrified of reality, but does he have to sound like someone with a snake up his pants leg?

Yesterday evening's call was just as hysterical as usual, though I'm not sure it was him (I had the volume turned down on the answering machine, so missed the first part of the spiel; it sounded like him, but then terrified people sound more alike than their normal voices.)  The cause of the fear as "Obama" and "Obamacare" which the hysterical male voice wanted me to call my Senators about right away so they'd vote to repeal it.  My Senators are just as braindead GOP as the caller could have wished for, and what they get from me has no effect on them at all...I point out the factual errors and lies in their position, with references, and they send me bland "responses" (not responding to any of the points I made) reiterating their love for America and their clear intention to pay no mind to anyone who disagrees.  So no, I wasn't going to call them.

But the real kicker was what came next, past the point where I usually hang up the phone.  A female voice came on, not as hysterical as the male voice but speaking very rapidly, giving instructions for how to "authorize" the call center to put my name on a petition by just punching one of two numbers.  In other words, the GOP are a) determined to get names by any means possible--if I hadn't listened closely, I would not have realized that *either* number would put my name on that petition--and b) so terrified of talking to real people that the whole damn thing was a recording.  This goes along with their policy on meetings: GOP candidates hold "meetings" that are stuffed with their people and anyone who attends and expresses a contrary opinion is an intruder (in one case was arrested for attending a supposedly public meeting and asking an awkward question...the only time a "dissident" has a chance of speaking directly to a GOP politician, apparently.)  It leads up to the disgusting displays of viciousness by the audience at the GOP candidates' "debates" where it's clear GOP supporters will cheer for deaths of sick and injured, and boo-hiss serving military personnel with whom they disagree.

I'm sick of the fear-mongering the GOP does, that preys on any latent racism, homophobia, paranoia and increases it.  I'm sick of the ranting, hysterical tones of voice that make grown men sound like screaming toddlers faced with something scary to a toddler.  I'm sick of the plain damn lies they tell, too.  And most of all I'm sick of the meanness, the viciousness, the willingness to harm fellow citizens, the hatred of everybody but themselves.

So while the recorded female voice was going on about how EASY it was to push the button, I said "Go to hell" very distinctly and hung up.  It was unnecessary, of course.  They're already in the hell they made and they like it so much they want to drag the rest of us in there with them.

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Photographing Knitting

As with everything else at all technical around here, I'm trying to document my return to knitting, especially for things I'm making up as I go along, or where I want to check stitches against a pattern. 

Yesterday's knitting was relearning ribbing--not a hard thing, but something I hadn't done since at least 1971 and more likely '69 or 70.   I wanted pictures of this yarn (worsted weight, recommended needle size 7)  made up into 2x2 ribbing on size 10 needles (the size 10 needles making it easy to check my stitches while working and making a "looser" knit.   I could see and feel the ribs forming, but the first pictures came out like this:

I had the swatch positioned near the window to get some shadows, but also had the top room light on.  It's cloudy outside.  Even though the image was clear--and even in closer-in images--it was hard to see the ribs as the flash washed out the shadows between them.   I  turned off the flash and the texture showed much more clearly in this one:

As with any other subject, there are tricks to getting the photograph you want, for the purpose you want.

The yarn is Berroco's "Blackstone Tweed" color 2608.   Not the kind of color I normally choose, but I want a wool vest to wear when out on the land in dank weather, and it shouldn't show dirt too easily.   Not for this winter (I'm slow) but maybe by next winter.   I actually kind of like it done on the size 10s.  We rarely get the kind of cold where I need dense knitted things, and the looser knit would give better air circulation if I wore a light jacket over it.    I'll do a swatch on the size 8s, just to see which I prefer.  I know the 8s would show the ribbing more "sharply" but here the point isn't looks but utility for my (not average) uses.  Clearly, I've relearned how to do ribbing (though there's a mistake in this swatch...lucky it's just a swatch.    I can keep using this yarn for trying out other things where I might use a different color...of course if I use this ball up I'll have to go get another one (oh, pity, pity, pity...)

The nice people at the friendly yarn shop told me more than one thing I didn't know, one of them being that lace knitting isn't necessarily done with teeny-tiny needles and thin-as-spiderweb yarn, but with needles that are larger for the yarn's diameter.   That any yarn (though the mind boggles at doing it with a super-bulky) can be made into "lace"; it just makes bigger patterns.   I had sworn never to try lace because both hands and eyes rebel at teeny-tiny needles and teeny-tiny stitches...but they showed me a shawl someone had done with 7s that was lovely.   My mother never did lace knitting (that I know of; she made warm sweaters and socks) so this was a whole new concept, and (though I will try to repress the urge to experiment with the really big needles and this workaday tweed yarn)  I already know I'll have to try some more lace-looking patterns at some point.