Week Thirty-Eight: How I Met the Doctor

Recently, Facebook was trying to enhance the quality of its content by finding out every movie, TV show, and book I have enjoyed over the past <<cough cough>> years of my life. The exercise in cyber-feedback progressed from ‘mildly invasive’ to ‘there IS such a thing as a stupid question’ when I came across this screen (click on the image to make it come up, bigger, on its own page):


Have I watched this? Have I WATCHED this? Seriously, how does Mark Zuckerberg not personally know whether or not I have watched this?

I can tell you exactly when and why I started watched New Who. My ex husband said, “Oh look, they’re starting up ‘Doctor Who’ again. Didn’t you used to watch that? Christopher Eccleston is going to be playing The Doctor. You know, the guy who was in ‘Shallow Grave’ with Ewan McGregor.” We watched the series reboot on BBC America and LOVED Eccleston’s Doctor. His leftover rage, his manic energy… perfect! Then, at the end of the season, he regenerated into David Tennant. I was so upset I stopped watching for a year. (If you know me through Ravelry, you’ll know I eventually got over this.)

These days I’m not only all caught up, but I’m re-watching all of New Who with my teenage son. We are almost done with Tennant’s first season (yes, I will have a carton of tissues ready for “Doomsday”) but will swing right into Martha’s year and beyond.

What I can’t tell you is how I met the Doctor in the first place. Ironically, that meeting has been lost to time.

I do know that I’d met him — Tom Baker’s Doctor, the only one most Americans knew back then — by the fall of 1985 when I went off to college. My winter coat was a long black wool coat which I usually wore unbuttoned, accompanied by some sort of ridiculously long scarf. (No, I didn’t have a hat.) And with me I took my beloved 1940s Underwood manual typewriter AND an electronic Smith-Corona typewriter that I probably received after my high school graduation. It was a grey slab of a thing, all angles and no warmth. (I have no idea where it is now, or what might have happened to it over the years. It probably ran away from home after I got my first Macintosh in 1988.)

I named it K9.

How did I know?

Editing with K9 in 1987.

Editing with K9 in 1987.

I did have a little black and white television in my bedroom. There must have been an awesome sale at Sun TV, because all my friends had identical black and white TVs that year. I was allowed to watch it as long as my grades didn’t suffer. (ha!) I watched “Cosmos” on it, and British shows aired by PBS. I remember watching someone’s performance of “The Importance of Being Ernest.” I remember watching “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” But I don’t remember seeing The Doctor there, and they probably would have shown Doctor Who on midnight Saturday night anyway. I never stayed up that late (I think I watched a grand total of TWO episodes of “Saturday Night Live” during my high school years, and making it to the ball-drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve was a big deal).

I suspect that I met the Doctor via…comic books. I personally remember buying only copies of Daredevil, the Amazing Spider-Man, and Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man (otherwise known as PPTSS). But my BROTHER, now there’s a guy who knew how to accumulate comic books, and I read everything he had as soon as he was done with it. I suspect that somehow, somewhere, the Doctor and K9 snuck into the house in comic book form amidst copies of The Unknown Soldier, Marvel What-If, Sgt. Rock, The X-Men, G.I. Combat (“featuring The Haunted Tank!”), and Warlord.

Ah, Warlord. An Air Force pilot loses his way near the North Pole and flies to not Russia but the primitive inner-Earth land of Skartaris.... ahem.

Ah, Warlord. An Air Force pilot loses his way near the North Pole and flies to not Russia but the primitive inner-Earth land of Skartaris…. ahem.

But, I was talking about the Doctor. Somehow I found him, and somehow I just thought he was cool. And many many years later, when I was learning how to knit, the first item I made was a ridiculously long scarf that I called my “fake Doctor Who scarf.” I didn’t look to see if there was a specific scarf to copy, certain colors, or any type of pattern at all. To me it was Plato’s scarf. I knew it had to be very long, and have lots of colors and fringe, and that was all. Ta-daah!

Not the Doctor's.

Not the Doctor’s.

(Later, of course, I found out there was a pattern. There were very specific colors, and stitch counts, and row counts. So far I’ve made four and have a fifth one on the needles.)

That's better.

That’s better.

Judging from the comic books my eyes devoured, I liked adventure, history, and good winning over evil. The big coat, the crazy scarf, and the tin dog just made it even more fun.


Not enough hours in the day

I feel like I have to sprint to get this post in tonight, so I’ll have at least two posts for May. (I’m still feeling guilty about having no posts in April.) Last year at this time I was probably posting 2-3 times a week. Nowadays — well, I guess I’m doing more Mom work.

Yes, there’s Ravelry, too. I recently passed 5000 posts there. That’s nothing compared to some people. (They know who they are.) But it is a lot compared to many. I have started two groups, and am a moderator on one other group, and if I don’t check in at least a few times a day the backlog starts to build up.

Anyway. Everyone here is reasonably healthy (last night’s needless ER trip with Jack notwithstanding) and the knitting is slowly proceeding.

I was getting a little bit frustrated with the knitting a few days ago, then I realized that I simply am dealing with a bunch of larger projects all jostling for my time. In addition, three of them are completely in garter stitch, which frankly isn’t very compelling to look forward to. They’ll be immensely rewarding after they’re done.

Two of the other projects are stalled sock projects. One of them (Retro Rib) is boring, and the other (Noro) is frustrating. Yes, there’s a difference!

So I’ve been spending most of my time with turning two skeins of vintage yarn into a lacy summer scarf. I may be the only person on the planet making a scarf out of DuPont Radiance acrylic. Hooray for individualism!

No spinning yet — I got the new parts for my wheel but I still need to sand, stain, and put the hooks on the new multi-speed flyer. I don’t know when that’s going to happen since I’m not in a rush about it. Right now the knitting is more important.

The Yarn-a-Latte group is well started and already has some regulars in place (shout out to Bonnie AKA Jeeplady). It’s really nice to have a Tuesday night knit that’s close by, and it’s made the last couple of Sowless Fridays easier to bear.

Knitwise, what have I finished? Well, I got a cell phone for Mother’s Day and promptly abandoned every other project to make two cell phone cozies. Out of alpaca and a friend’s handspun, thankyouverymuch. It’s hard to beat an alpaca cell phone cozy for luxury! And they are Doctor Who-themed to boot. I’m trying to figure out a cozy design for each Doctor. Starting with Ten. But I have picked up some yarn to make one for Nine (I hope).

In the television-watching department, both Chuck and Castle got renewed. And there was much rejoicing! If you haven’t watched these shows there’s plenty of time to catch up. They are both worth it. And they both feature actors from Firefly — Adam Baldwin (Jayne) and Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal) respectively. Dollhouse, with Alan Tudyk (Wash), also got renewed — I haven’t seen it but will start catching up. Unfortunately, The Sarah Connor Chronicles with Summer Glau (River Tam) was cancelled after this season. But since a friend’s viewing of that show got me directly into Firefly, I am mourning the loss of it even though I didn’t watch.

What do we watch? I don’t think I watch a lot of television (again, compared to some), but chronologically it includes Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency, Chuck, Castle, Top Gear, My Boys, Better Off Ted, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, and Doctor Who/Torchwood/Sarah Jane Adventures when I can get them. Top Chef and Next Food Network TV Star when they’re “in season.” Flight of the Conchords. Anything by Anthony Bourdain when I can catch it.

When I see it all written out like that, I realize it’s more TV than I have ever regularly watched. I don’t know why. Are shows getting better? I’m not sure about that, but they are getting quirkier. I’m also watching lots of Netflix stuff, so I don’t know how I have so much time for TV. I can tell you that ever since we got the DVR we’ve been snagging more shows that we liked, just because it was easier to do so.

Remember, just after the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the earth, when we’d put in a tape to catch a show, and we’d watch it days later? Or, actually, never get around to watching it at all? Well, when you get a message on your DVR screen that says “83 percent full” you start watching your shows to free up the space. I mean, you just have to. Otherwise you can’t record any more stuff!

When I’m not watching all this television, I’m exercising and catching up on some podcasts. I’m years to months behind on all of them, but I’m plugging away.

Back to the knitting!

Karma enhanced

Whew! I just finished that weaving-in project I took on from a Ravelry member in Illinois. I took longer to get it done than I had anticipated, and I hope she’s not too inconvenienced.

It’s very impressive, though, and when I took it to the coffee shop yesterday to work on ends it got manhandled by every knitter in the place trying to figure out the pattern.

Here is the front:

And here is the back:

And here is a close-up of the center back:

Whew! 48 ends woven in. And this afternoon I’ll be able to get it to the P.O. and send it back to her. She’s the lucky one who gets to block it. For a couple of minutes there, I thought that was going to be my job. Shudders at thought!

That means I can get back to Logan’s Blanket, and the Noro socks. I finally did cast on for them as toe-ups, but promptly botched the short rows for the toe. Tink, tink, tink, tink…….

Also: to all those concerned, I’m all caught up on Torchwood now.

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 10:52 am  Comments (4)  


I wasn’t planning to write a post tonight, but I’m overdue, and besides, everyone is asleep. I might as well strike while the kids are sleeping. Who knows when one of them will have a nightmare and come running down the stairs? (I never know; without my glasses I can’t read the bedside clock. My daughter swears I lift the covers for her without even waking up.)

After the Marquette scarf got done and the first sock of the pair got done, not much knitting has been taking place. I started plugging away again on the Season 16 Doctor Who Scarf, but I haven’t cast on for the second sock yet. I was going to do that tonight, but then this German wine kind of got in the way of doing a good job of it. (Then I was going to watch two episodes of Torchwood, then one episode of Torchwood, but then it took forever to get caught up on Ravelry, so here I am.)

I did, however, cast on for a new project. That’s not as terrible as it sounds. It’s really something I promised as a Christmas present, so actually it’s about time I cast on for it. It’s a simple scarf, but I considered several stitch patterns before I found something I liked. And once I did, I loved it. I think I may have finally found a scarf that knits itself. I’m using the Baby Cable Ribbing pattern from the first Barbara Walker book. It’s an easily memorized four-row pattern that you could knit in the dark if you had to. I started the scarf two days ago, haven’t put in much time on it really, and it’s fairly galloping along. I don’t think it hurts that the yarn is 100 percent Merino either.

So. I have the Scarf, the Second Sock, and the New Scarf all going right now. (As soon as I get the Second Sock going, that is.) There’s another pair of socks lined up one the Retro Rib pair are done, but I promise that as soon as one of the Scarves is done I will start working on a WIP.

And you can vote on which one it is! Shall it be:

Tyrone, the striped bottom-up sweater stuck at the raglan decreases? Since October 2007?

The Irish Hiking Scarf in cursèd yarn from Mystical Creations? Three skeins (at least) to go!

The Gullwing Lace stole in silk yarn I bought for myself last Mother’s Day?

Or, the Denim Sweater I started in November for NaKnitSweMo and didn’t even finish the crew neck? I might have enough yarn for the whole sweater, but I’m not sure.

Every vote counts. Each commenter can cast as many as ten votes — all for one project, or split them up however you like. Clearly, my own inclinations toward the next project cannot be trusted.


In other news, I have registered for a spinning retreat being taught by Judith MacKenzie McCuin. Naturally, I am preparing for this by spinning up fiber that I am dealing with by the seat of my pants. This works fine for the Wookie fiber, which I would love to spin up and ply so I can clear off all my bobbins, but a few nights ago I decided to card and spin up some huacaya alpaca fiber samples. I got the majority of it spun, but then something happened with the take-up and the twist was just not getting into the fiber to make it strong enough to be singles. After a half dozen tries at dragging it back through the orifice to try to draft more fiber on it, I decided to leave it alone and finish when I was calmer. So now, I just hope to finish the huacaya, and prep and spin the suri samples, and possibly do the rest of the current bag of Wookie-wool before it’s time to hoist Maggie into the van and head to Columbus (Wisc.) for the retreat.

Is anything else going on? Well, Leah went home on Top Chef. About time. I am really getting to enjoy Fabio’s screen time, and Stefan’s skills.

Doctor Who is done airing the 4th season for the American audience, and true to form, they absolutely sliced and diced the season finale so they could promote Ashes To Ashes. Which even the Brits didn’t like. So if you watched the finale last weekend and wondered what all the fuss was about, ask me and I’ll give you links to where you can see what aired in the UK.

But Torchwood is coming back on soon, so I’m trying to catching up by watching Season 2 on Netflix. Trying and not succeeding tonight. Maybe tomorrow….

Stuck in Stashville

It all started out innocently enough. There I was, on Ravelry (you can probably already see where this is going), and lo and behold some genius has come up with the Ravelympics. It made perfect sense to join Team TARDIS and sign up for the Scarf event.

Yeah, I’ll have no problem knitting a Doctor Who Scarf during the span of the Summer Olympics. I just have to locate the precise colors of discontinued yarn before the Opening Ceremonies, knit a little more than a foot of scarf a day for 17 consecutive days, and cast off before the Closing Ceremonies. No problem at all.

So I was trying to set up a swap for some of the yarn I needed, with a Ravelrer who recently finished her scarf and had leftovers of everything, when I had a brilliant idea. Since I needed to update my Rav stash listing anyway, I’d just take pictures of everything tonight and PM her tomorrow with a list of what she could pick from.


I just now took 39 pictures of yarn and projects in progress (okay, one was completed), and I have three plastic bins of yarn I haven’t even opened up yet. Then there’s getting the pictures from the camera to the computer, annotating them, getting them to Flickr, getting them into Ravelry, and making sure all the stats match up. Then marking appropriate listings with swap/sell.

I have a feeling it’s going to take a little bit longer than my initial estimate of, oh, tomorrow.

But I do have some very nice things in the stash now. If only I could knit faster!

Current projects:

  • Triangle garter stitch shawl, Classic Elite alpaca Inca Print in browns, more than 50 percent done. So you’ll recognize me at WI Sheep and Wool.
  • Panda Cotton socks, both socks poised on the brink of heel flaps.
  • Heelflap scarf, mystery pastel acrylic, stalled because it’s terribly boring. I joined on the next skein, which is super saver size, and looks absolutely endless. Funny though, while I was at the thrift store a few weeks ago I found a small ball of the exact same yarn for 10 cents. Of course, I bought it. Who else would need it?
  • Gull wing lace stole, Plymouth Shire Silk, stalled for six weeks. Remind me before I start again that I finished the first row of the 4 row repeat.
  • Hufflepuff Mittens from Charmed Knits, was going great until I had to frog the second thumb back. Then I remembered, I had the same problem with the first mitten.
  • IHS from doomed yarn, still stalled. Lots of other items due first. See what a lack of a deadline for a personal item can do to you? I did wind up the rest of the yarn into centerpull balls, though. Yay me!
  • Tyrone is still stalled too. That one needs an intervention.

I’m also making an Adipose for the legend-in-Doctor-Who-knitting-circles Mazzmatazz. So are 100 other Ravelry knitters. I want to get that done and sent in ASAP after this weekend.

However, I did finish a couple of items. A zigzag scarf for Mazzmatazz, a secret project, and a batch of 4 inch squares for a Doctor Who afghan to be auctioned off for charity. I sent those out this morning (along with Molly Bee’s and Crafty Peach’s) so that case is closed.

Huh. All these early morning storms have me wiped out. Couldn’t have anything to do with getting up already being up at 4am to watch Doctor Who, or wrestling three little kids 5 and under by myself this weekend (due to a curragh regatta in Columbus OH, thanks for asking), or this teensy glass of wine sitting next to the computer.

Let’s hope red wine goes well with Torchwood.

Podding along

First of all, my immense gratitude goes out to everyone who sent me knitting podcast suggestions. I just (really, JUST) finished listening to ‘casts 2 and 3 of Sticks and String, and am about to transfer ‘casts 2 and 3 of Cast On to the iPod. I thought they were there, but they weren’t. Still figuring out this iTunes business. Maybe it’s just too uncomplicated.

But anyway, I love both these ‘casts, and after some false starts with Doctor Who podcast selection (i.e., if I’m not ready to watch series 3, I probably shouldn’t be listening to current news about current episodes, here at the end of series 4) I found some Doctor Who audio tales that might be just right for those long nights when The Husband is busy making a magazine, or in Canada, or traveling for business, or wherever. My only half-complaint is that the headphone we now have make my ears hurt. That shouldn’t be hard to fix.

The podcasts were a real bit of cheer in a rough night. Because Mr. Beth is out of the country and I have to actually Be The Mom to four kids, I couldn’t go to Late Night Knitting at the Sow. Can’t go to the next one, either, or to a Saturday meeting of the local spinning guild. Darn schedule conflicts. So I can now use these barren nights to listen to podcasts. I learn about knitting, I hear new music I otherwise wouldn’t, and I am entertained.

I need some entertaining — while I was trying to get my Ravelry fix this evening, my kids were in the process of breaking my ball winder. The handle was snapped off flush at the base, and the tension wire (for lack of a better term) was bent out of shape. The wire arm I could have fixed, but I’ve used enough cyanoacrylate to know I wouldn’t be able to fix the handle.

The little tube that you wind the yarn onto didn’t get broken, because it was elsewhere holding the ball of my first handspun on it. So now, when I buy a replacement winder, I will have extra yarn storage. Kind of like having an extra mixing bowl for your stand mixer. But it does mean I’ll need to buy the same style of ball winder so this tube will fit.

Knitting updates:

I went to Open Knitting at Gosh Yarn It (Lake Mills) on Wednesday evening, and spent a lovely time with the store owner, Patty Dehnert. I was the only one there! To give you an idea of how much we chatted, Open Knitting was from 6 to 8 and the first time I looked at the clock, it was 8:10. I showed Patty my handspun, bought another skein of yarn so I can start my second Hufflepuff mitten, did one repeat of the test knitting I’m doing for Mazzmatazz, and exactly one row of a four-row repeat of the lace. Honest to God, I thought I would have to rip it all out. I counted that row at least three times to make sure I hadn’t screwed anything up. Now I know that what I will screw up is starting it again and managing to forget that I knitted one row of the pattern already.

She seemed impressed with the ridiculous number of projects I brought, and she didn’t even charge me the Open Knitting fee. Kudos to Patty! I would link to her store site, but I don’t think she has one yet. She is still getting her feet wet with Ravelry ventures and commenting on blogs, so say hey if you come across her. She’s very nice and a little shy.

I meant to spin tonight, but instead I picked up Bamboo Sock Two and have gotten it almost to the heel flap portion of our show. I’ll do those few more rows after I get done uploading this. (I would go to Ravelry, but the Software Update icon is bouncing like a hyperactive beach ball on the Dock [I SEE you!], and it’s getting very distracting. Besides, perhaps I ought to allow time for sleep.)

I did get through three wonderful episodes of Torchwood last night: Ghost Machine, Cyberwoman, and Small World. Can’t wait for more. But I can’t do anything but plain vanilla sock while I watch, since there’s so much going on.

Quote of the Day from Jack (my Jack, not Captain Jack Harkness): “If you’re on the wrong way, go out. If you’re on the right way, go in!”


Published in: on June 6, 2008 at 9:40 pm  Comments (4)  

Indiana Jones 4, no spoilers

Can’t tell you anything because I didn’t get to go. The babysitter called to tell us she was getting a late start coming over, so DH changed the prebought tickets to the next showing. Then she called to say her little girl had gotten sick in the car on the way over. End of date night.

DH ended up taking eldest so the ticket money didn’t go to waste, and I stayed home with the other three kids and watched Ratatouille.

Maybe next time.

Knitting on a Debbie Bliss square right now. I have enough to finish this one and then do one more, then it’s time to crank out some more for the Doctor Who afghan.

Oh — and I may go visit Babe’s Fiber Garden this afternoon, if I can get out. I talked with the owner this morning and he also told me about a local spinning guild that meets in Whitewater. I missed the May meeting, but I might be able to hook up with them in June. This is the same group I e-mailed without success last September or so, so I’m trying to keep my expectations low. But I need to find some knitters & spinners & fiberfolk that are closer to me.

Watched the first episode of Torchwood last night and hope to knock off episode two tonight. Bring it on, Netflix!

Oh, and Michelle? I’ll get to that meme soon, I promise. Everyone else: wait to be tagged.

Published in: on May 24, 2008 at 10:24 am  Comments (1)  

Good news!

This is a temporary post because my “connectivity” is spotty this afternoon, but I just wanted to let everyone know the colonoscopy went OK, all is well, and everyone liked all the knitting projects I took to the hospital to work on. Hey, I only took 3 projects and I worked on all of them.

I also snagged the first podcasts of Sticks and String and Cast-On, but the third cast I got (They Might Be Giants) loaded first, so I’m listening to that first. I’ll get the hang of this technology thing someday, I swear to God I will.

And the first disc of Torchwood came in the mail today, so I hope to get started on that tonight. You Torchwood fans, zip your lips please, I’m trying to catch up.

Part II

My oh my, I have before me an illustration of why you need to go to your children’s school concerts.

Tonight was the spring Fine Arts Festival. The evening included a concert from the 5th-8th grade band, singing from everyone from PreK-3 and PreK-4’s to 8th graders, and an exhibition of K-8 artwork (drawing, painting, sculpture) in the school gym… and an ice cream social at $1 a scoop.

Everything was cute (yes, I cried), some groups were strikingly good, and the whole evening was priceless.

Especially the part where the principal came out and told the assembled parents and grandparents how well the kids did when the school was in Real Live Lockdown in the morning. Yes, not only did they have a successful lockdown practice on Monday, but this morning (it’s still Thursday as I write) someone tried to break into the school. He was caught by the police, he was unarmed, no one was hurt, all the kids did perfectly what kids these days are expected to do. In fact, almost all of them were in the church, practicing for the concert, when the incident occurred.

(This may or may not ever show up in the news. It wasn’t in the local afternoon paper today and was not on their web site tonight, and it hasn’t yet been covered in the Milwaukee paper. A Google search won’t turn it up. It might show up in tomorrow’s paper as a police log report, who knows. If no one calls the paper, it might never show up at all.)

Now perhaps I was a teensy bit preoccupied with this colonoscopy “thang” today, but I did wonder why I was finding out about this incident at the concert. After the whole thing was over, my 9-year-old sidled up to me and said, “Did [the principal] make the special announcement?” When I finally figured out he was talking about the lockdown, I did ask him why he hadn’t told me about it when he got home.

“I didn’t know if you wanted to know.” And he shrugged. Kids these days.

Anyway, by now I’ve forgotten whatever I promised to give the details of. It doesn’t seem to matter any more, really. Go hug your brave little kids for me, willya?

Knitting update: I did take knitting to the kids’ concert. I got no dirty looks (that I noticed, anyway) or interested looks as I worked on the Heelflap scarf. But I was really glad I took the knitting along when Colleen got super bored waiting for the whole thing to be over. Here, a pair of size 6 needles and a little ball of leftover Laurenspun. Go to it, girl! It kept her interested for just long enough. Thank you, knitting! I got an inch or so done on the scarf while waiting for different portions of the show to be ready.

No Torchwood tonight, I’m afraid; it’s past 11pm now and maybe it will happen Saturday.

Why Saturday? Because Mr. Chocolatesheep has arranged for a babysitter for tomorrow night. That’s right, we’re planning to take in dinner and a talkie. Might even get popcorn. Shall it be Baby Mama? Prince Caspian? or Indiana Jones on opening night?

P.S. I am so sorry about the pr0n sp@m that’s been showing up lately in the comments. Akismet must be having a bad week because I don’t know how some of that stuff is getting through. I’m deleting it as soon as I find it, I promise. This blog is not about the yuck factor.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm  Comments (4)