Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Not Just Better, But Busy

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Knitting — folkcat at 3:54 pm on Friday, March 30, 2007

I am actually going to have to re-think how I spend my days. Since I’m working with Judith now on her next book, I really have to treat that as a regular, at least part-time, job. Which is a discipline I haven’t had to engage in since, oh, a long time now.

Currently, I keep getting to the end of my days and feeling like nothing got the amount of attention that I wanted. And I keep realizing that I should have spent more time on book stuff, and I let it get run over by other things.

So I need to try harder to make the book priority one, but at the same time, to keep good progress going on all my other crafts. I’m thinking of implementing “days” – as in, a Knitting Day, a Stitchery Day, a Quilting Day. Beyond other obligations, like the book, each day has a specific craft that I focus on, and hopefully, feel like I make noteworthy progress at.

Maybe this way, I’ll actually even get back to the spinning again. Or the needlepoint. Or the cross stitch. Or…

So What Was Yesterday?

Clearly, Thursdays need to be a Knitting Day, since that’s the night we go Knitting Around at Panera. True, I can take any portable craft I want to. But mindless knitting works so well for sitting in a group and chatting.

Like last night, for instance. I took along the first sock of Gryphon’s next pair, and made this progress:

WIP: Gryphon's Socks, Pair Two, Sock One
Gryphon’s Socks, Pair Two, Sock One

I made sure Gryphon saw this after he came home from work, and he likes how the Trekking XXL is knitting up. I think there may be more Trekking in our future.

I Didn’t Have Enough To Do, Right?

Look what came in the mail today. A kit for a new-to-me craft, called PixelHobby. The basic idea is that you start with these clear plastic baseplates, with little tiny pegs all over them in a grid pattern. You lay these over a printed pattern that tells you where to place the pixels – tiny pieces of soft plastic, in different colors, which fit over the pegs. As you add more pixels, the image builds, until you finally have a picture.

PIP (Pixels In Progress) - Native American Dream Catcher

Or a piece of one, at least. Each baseplate is 4 x 5 inches, and most designs use multiple baseplates. You work them individually, then you use clear tape on the back to fasten them together and make your picture. Many of the designs are photo-realistic. The particular kit I purchased isn’t, but it’s still a nicely detailed piece.

One of the nice things about this is that Gryphon and I will both be able to work on this project together. The baseplates, as I said, are worked separately, and the charts for each section are separate. So we can each fill in our own share of baseplates, and put the whole together for a truly collaborative project.

For the future, I’m looking to an alternative to buying a pre-made kit. PixelHobby also offers free software that you can download and use to create your own kits from any photographs or artwork you want. They’ll calculate for you how many of the sets of pixel tiles you need, how many baseplates, and offer you a quote. What a great idea! I’ve got my eyes on some photos of the rats, and one or two of Gryphon, and a few of other family members…

Well, that’s all for now. It’s running late, and I need to get to work on stuff for the book. Then I have to decide what “Day” Fridays are, so I know what I’m crafting later…

Have a great weekend!


Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting — folkcat at 12:12 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2007

..a little better, all the time.

Many thanks to all who wished me a speedy recovery from the trip-and-fall I had the other day. My knee still objects if I kneel on it, but it’s not at all painful to walk on, and is clearly improved. The hand seems to be better as well, and yesterday I was even able to swatch for a new project:

WIP: Winter Forest Afghan

That’s the Winter Forest double knit afghan from Herrschners. It’s one of their 2006 Afghan Contest winners – I saw it in the catalog for the first time then, and fell in love with it. I made the decision to buy the kit, including the book with the pattern (and three others, at least two of which I think I might want to knit), and all the yarn needed for the afghan.

Yes, it’s Red Heart yarn, and I could easily have bought it locally – or could I have? The pattern needs five skeins each of two different colors, and if you’ve shopped for SuperSaver Red Heart at a big box store, you know how hit-or-miss it can be finding enough skeins of the color you want if you’re doing a large project.

So I chose to buy the kit, and have it all come at once, all together in one bag, and be ready to start knitting. The only thing that remained was to knit the swatches, both to familiarize myself with the double knitting technique, and to check my gauge.

The pattern calls for size 8 needles, and I didn’t even finish that swatch. I could tell right away it was very loose, and wouldn’t keep the color definition well. I did finish swatches with both size 7 and size 6, and that’s what you see in the picture.

Size 7 initially felt loose to me as well, but size 6 felt tight. I didn’t get any swatches that came out small enough to suit the gauge listed in the pattern (about 16 stitches to 4 inches) – all mine were at least a quarter inch too wide. Which, over the course of the width of an afghan knit in a single piece, would add up.

I decided that the gauge in the pattern, which was probably calculated by the designer who submitted the afghan to the contest, was probably idiosyncratic to the original knitter. Since I couldn’t replicate it without getting down to small enough needles to give me a stiff, board-like fabric, I’d accept a larger gauge, and not worry about it. The kit includes 35 ounces of each color of yarn, and only 32 ounces is called for. Plus, Red Heart is famous for being a “no dye lot” yarn, so if I need to get more, I have a reasonable chance of picking up just the one skein I need locally.

Edited to add: I just realized, I didn’t mention that I’m going to use the size 7 needles for this afghan. Even though it’s a size smaller than the pattern calls for, it gave me a larger swatch than the gauge specified. But as I mentioned, I wasn’t getting gauge without going to a needle size so small the fabric came out like armor.

I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve never done 2-color double knitting before. I found it fascinating watching the pattern build as I knit the swatches, simultaneously in opposite colors on both sides. There is no wrong side to double knitting – both sides are right sides. No floats to worry about – the yarn travels between the layers. Weaving in ends will be a breeze – just secure them, then pull them inside the layers.

It may be at least a day or two before this project begins, however. Tonight is Knitting Around at Panera night, and that calls for mindless knitting. The Winter Forest Afghan is knit to a chart that covers six pages of this booklet. Not something I want to try following while conversing with knitters in a noisy, busy cafe! So it’s the next Gryphon sock on the needles tonight (nothing to show yet, just a partial black toe), and perhaps the Winter Forest Afghan sometime tomorrow!

Oh, yeah – and I have to get that Mystery Knitting WIP done before next week…2 of 6 items done, and now that the hand is better, they need my attention. Too bad I can’t knit them at Panera tonight, but that’d blow the surprise!

That’s all from Chez Folkcat & Gryphon for today. Gotta dash now – it’s errand day, as well as Panera night. Not much time leftover from all that!

It’s a Good Thing I’m a Touch Typist

Filed under: Announcements — folkcat at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

…because my eyes are heavily dilated from an eye exam this morning, and I can’t see anything closer than the television.

As if that weren’t enough, my hand, while better, is still complaining about some grasping motions. Given both factors, then, the eyesight and the hand, it’s safe to say that I won’t be doing any significant crafting today, either.

So hang in there, go read some of the hundreds of thousands of even more fabulous knitblogs out there, and I’ll be back in full form real soon.

I promise!

Advance Notice for Tuesday, and Sidebar Notes

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin,Daily Life — folkcat at 10:28 pm on Monday, March 26, 2007

I may choose to skip posting tomorrow (Tuesday). I had a trip-and-fall today – caught my foot on a network cable in Gryphon’s office, and after some struggle trying not to lose my balance, I went crashing onto my left knee and hand.

The knee is a bit sore to the touch, and not happy when I try to tuck my feet under me in the armchair as I’m accustomed to doing. I’ll almost certainly have a bruise there tomorrow, but no worse than that. I’m walking fine, and I only notice an issue when I actually touch the area.

The hand, though, is a little more troublesome. I wasn’t aware of injuring it at first, but a little while later, when I pushed myself up out of my chair, I felt a snap in the side of the hand below the pinky finger. It felt a little like a rubberband sliding over a bumpy knob. My hand is objecting to a firm pinching motion, and if I try to grasp tightly or close my fist, the knuckles of the pinky and ring fingers (right at the base of the fingers) complain vigorously.

Since nearly every type of craft I do involves pinching and/or grasping motions, that puts me on the sideline for a day or two. Poo!

And now, I’m noticing that typing is tending to make the whole hand tingle a little. So I should probably cut this short as well.

Sidebar Notes

I’ve decided to remove the Calendar of Southern NH Knit Meetings from my sidebar. The truth is, I am still only attending one of those groups – the weekly Thursday night Knitting Around at Panera.

This left me out of touch enough about the other meetings listed that I couldn’t be sure anymore whether the information was accurate. So, rather than provide uncertain data, I thought it best not to post it at all.

In its place, I’ve put up a 105 Things About Folkcat page. This was something I posted back in March 3, 2006, in preparation for the one and only Swap I’ve been involved in – the Pirate Booty Swap. I hope you find it interesting!

The Circle of FOs and WIPs? QIPs? BIPs?

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile,Knitting,Sewing — folkcat at 1:18 pm on Monday, March 26, 2007

It’s the way of the crafter, the endless cycle of projects. When I started this blog, I began using the term WIP – Work In Progress – the way I saw so many knitbloggers do.

So then, if I quilt, is it a QIP? If I bead, is it a BIP? The knitting doesn’t seem to get called KIP – Knitting in Progress – if only because I know that term usually means Knitting In Public among us bloggers.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter, except to the degree that tossing the variant terms around tickles my fancy. Which, I must admit, it does!


The socks, they are done!

FO: Gryphon's Beaded Rib Socks

Yes, Gryphon and I both have incredibly pale legs. Neither of us is an outdoors type. The socks, though, that’s what you’re supposed to be looking at! Aren’t they cool?

The Pattern: Beaded Rib Socks, from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. A toe-up pattern.
The Yarn: Special Blauband, gifted by Claudia, with plain black Scheepjeswolle at the toes and heels to extend the yardage.
The Needles: Brittany dpns, US size 1.5 (2.5mm)

Modifications: None. Well, one – Gryphon’s ankle is smaller than his foot circumference, so I decreased an inch worth of stitches after the heel before continuing as normal up the leg.

Issues: Just one. My gauge seemed to loosen up on the second sock a bit, and it doesn’t fit quite as well as the other. I think it’s a simple matter of me being more comfortable with the process by then, and so I knit faster, and when I knit faster, I knit looser. Knowing that, I’m sure I’ll be able to improve my consistency with more practice.

We already have another ball of yarn in the house for his next socks, and two more on order. So I guess this experiment was a success, since we’ve got plans to repeat it until Gryphon has a reasonably-sized sock wardrobe.

WIPs, BIPs, and QIPs

Let’s see…Mystery BIP didn’t progress over the weekend. See, it’s part of working on Judith’s book, which I am treating as a Monday to Friday job. So I get weekends off from that.

Mystery WIP, for which I showed the yarns on Friday, made good progress. I set out expecting to make a certain number of items from the pattern as written, just in different colors. But, true to form, I quickly saw easy modifications I could make that would differentiate these finished pieces even more. In the end, I think only two will be made as specified in the pattern, and at least four will be made with my mods. Tally thus far: 2 out of 6 completed, 4 to go.

Meanwhile, on the quilting front, I’ve been struggling with the Sawtooth Star pattern for the challenge up at my Most Local Quilt Shop – unsuccessfully. I made the second attempt, and still found things not lining up as they should, pieces coming out to not match the edges they have to be sewn to, etc. Very frustrating, and I’d really like to have gotten it right. But given all the other projects I am working on, and the fact that the Sawtooth Star project has a deadline of the end of the month, I have decided to cut my losses and abandon it. I may decide that the parts and pieces can come together in some other project some day. But I think the Sawtooth Star, with so little instruction given along with it (just the cutting list and a diagram showing which way to press seams, really), may not have been my best choice for a first project.

Still and all, yes, there is officially a QIP now. I had bought the pattern for the Bento Box quilt some time ago. (Okay, it was all of 20 days ago.) The design appeals to me visually, plus the instructions are straightforward and complete. And it’s all straight seams and 90 degree angles, so it should be much easier as a first project.

What officially turned it into a QIP, though, is the fact that this weekend I went to Yet Another Local Quilt Shop (we have more of them than yarn stores), and bought the fabrics to make the wall hanging size of the quilt.

QIP: Bento Box, Fabric Selections

That’s 12 fat quarters, six in darks, and six in lights to go with them. The pairings of light and dark you see here are the pairings I expect to use in the quilt. So far. I may still move them around and try different combinations before starting to cut and sew. We’ll see!

Things to Come, and Things Nearly Done

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile,Craft Shopping,Crafting Miscellany,Knitting — folkcat at 3:28 pm on Friday, March 23, 2007

My energy levels seem to be picking up a little as we get closer to the weekend again. I’m still having trouble getting out of ruts – for instance, if I sit and knit, I’m not likely to ever stop to do anything else unless I force myself. Which I really have to do, because my legs get cramped if I sit in one spot too long. Plus, you know, the food doesn’t bring itself in from the kitchen. That’s how bad the inertia is – it takes extreme effort to make myself spend the energy to get food. Sheesh!

Still, things are managing to progress a little. I had a small influx of cash that’s for my crafting, so there’s been a little crafty purchasing recently. For instance, I picked up this yarn today:

WIP: Mystery Project Yarn

That’s three balls of Plymouth’s aptly-named Oh My! yarn, in colors 13, 54, and 12. What’s it for? That part, I can’t tell you yet, since there are certain readers on this blog who aren’t supposed to know. Suffice it to say it’s soft, Easter-y, and fun, as well as knit from a free pattern online that I’ll link to when the gifting has reached its full course.

Then there are these beads:

BIP: Mystery Project Beads

Silk-finished copper Czech 11/o’s, and assorted Swarovski crystals. These are some of the beads for the mystery beading project I’m working on. I can tell you that it’s a design I’m creating for a book my friend Judith is letting me help her with, and that full details will be forthcoming when we get closer to the publication date.

A few other purchases are on their way via mail-order; a kit for a double knit afghan that I’ve been wanting for some time, another kit that will get me into yet-another-craft, some sock yarn at an incredible bargain from Knit Happens. (Regia Brasil Sock, normally $15.10, for only $6.80! Thanks for the tip, Lynne!)

As for Gryphon’s socks, I did make good progress last night at Panera, though I didn’t quite finish. That’s certain to happen tonight, though, when my friend Bea comes over for our weekly television night. I’ve only got a couple more pattern rows to go, then an inch and a half or so of plain 3×2 ribbing. Hooray!

WIP: Gryphon's Socks, Almost There

So that’s the state-of-the-craft at the end of the week Chez Folkcat & Gryphon. Hope you’re having a great day, and have an even better weekend!

Beadwork Teaser; and, Math Lies

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile,Knitting — folkcat at 3:01 pm on Thursday, March 22, 2007

I did spend time knitting last night. Actually got 3 or 4 inches done on Gryphon’s sock leg! No picture, though there should be photos of a complete pair before too much longer. Possibility I might even finish them tonight, in which case I need the Trekking XXL divided into two balls, ready to start the next pair. More about that later on!

Mystery Project

Thought I’d give you a little teaser regarding the project I’ve been spending so much time on, but can’t really show. Here are a couple of my test samples for the design I’m working on.

Mystery Project Samples

Yup, that’s bead crochet. Can’t reveal all, but there will be more tidbits as time passes. I will tell you that one sample is a failed test, the other a successful one, and neither of them shows the final colors for the project.

Stay tuned for more teasers!

Trekking Math

Okay, everyone sharpen your pencils and take out a piece of paper. We’re going to have a small quiz.

91.81 divided by 2 = ?

The correct answer is 45.905.

So if 91.81 grams is the starting weight of my ball of Trekking XXL yarn, and I want to divide it into two balls of equal size, each one should weigh 45.905 grams. Right?


I placed my Trekking XXL on the scale and began winding it off into my yarn winder, watching the numbers carefully. When I got down to within a few tenths of a gram of 45, I stopped. Without cutting the yarn, I took the ball off the winder and weighed it.

It came out to around 42 grams.

I swapped the balls again. Yup, the first one was about 45 grams. Put the second one back. Only about 42 grams.

So I fiddled the yarn back and forth a little by hand, until I got two balls that claimed about the same weight. Here’s what I wound up with:

Trekking XXL Ball One, 44.32 gms.
44.32 grams

Trekking XXL Ball Two, 44.07 gms.
44.07 grams

Now, by my calculations, 44.32 + 44.07 = 88.39 grams. Did you all get the same answer?

Well, apparently Trekking doesn’t! When I stack the two balls on top of each other, they total up to what the skein weighed before I started dividing – 91.81 grams.

Trekking XXL, Total Weight 91.81 gms.

I’ve done this several times now, weighing them individually and then weighing them together, and I get the same results every time. I know the scale is accurate – it’s the one we used to use to weigh out Delicas and seed beads for the store.

I’m not going to fuss about this. I’ve got two balls that claim to be equal now. I just wish I knew where that extra 3.5 grams vanishes to when they stand apart!

Getting in The Loop

Filed under: Television — folkcat at 2:43 pm on Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Am I hitting a March doldrums? I knit barely a half inch on Gryphon’s second sock yesterday. My energy levels have simply been miserable this week – I can barely gather enough power to change the channels with a remote control! I hope to make more knitting progress today, though, as I’m taking a personal pajama day, and planning to watch the second disc of Season One of Veronica Mars. The NetFlix envelope has only been sitting here for oh, I think two and a half weeks now. Good thing I didn’t bother paying for a level that gets me more than one disc at a time, huh?

The Loop (Fox)

I’ve mentioned a few times in the last week that I was sent a DVD to review. After the delays of having a DVD player die, then rise from the grave to become an undead zombie, I have finally finished watching, and can tell you all about it.

The show in question is The Loop. It’s a sitcom that aired on the Fox network about a year ago. If you’re as confused as I am (I didn’t remember the series at first), it may be because Season One consisted of only seven episodes that aired in March and April of 2006, and we’ve heard little of the show since then. If you blinked, you might have missed it.

Cast of The Loop (Fox)
The Cast of The Loop

The first season has been released now on DVD, and you know what? I wish I hadn’t missed this show! Season Two is currently scheduled to premiere on June 9th, and I plan to have my Tivo ready to catch it.

The show is about the balance of work and play in the lives of 20-somethings. Our main character, Sam Sullivan, is 23 years old, fresh out of college, but working in an important position at a major airline in Chicago. Meanwhile, he’s still sharing a house with his brother and two female friends, all of whom have more casual “jobs” (if any at all), and can afford to take the time and energy to party regularly.

So there’s our primary conflict – Sam wants to do well in his job, but he doesn’t want to leave behind the more carefree lifestyle of his roommates (one of whom is his own jobless slacker brother; and he’s had a crush on one of the women since they met as college freshmen). How Sam handles this juggling act is the basis of every episode, and he does it with luck, bravado, and more than a little bit of ability at spinning a bad situation into a good proposal for the airline.

Oddly enough, I was strongly reminded of another, classic, sitcom as I watched The Loop. Like The Loop, it had a protagonist who was juggling a straightlaced job with a wild home life. Like The Loop, the main character kept getting caught up in the crazy antics of friends and relatives at home, trying to keep them from affecting work, but always getting caught and having to create a clever explanation that saves the day.

The classic series? Bewitched!

Think about it – Darrin worked at an advertising agency, one of the most straightlaced careers one could imagine at the time Bewitched began. His wild homelife was populated by his wife, Samantha, a bona fide, magical witch, and her friends and relations. As crazy things inevitably happen at home, Darrin unwillingly gets caught up in them, all while trying to create an irresistable new ad campaign for the latest client.

In the end, he usually gets caught by Mr. Tate and the client, and having to explain why there’s a donkey in the living room, or a monkey on the roof, or why…you get the idea. With Samantha’s help, the situation almost always winds up spun as a clever advertising concept that completely wins over the client. And once again, the day is saved, and Darrin gets to keep both his job and his wacky home life.

The same thing happens in The Loop, only in this case, our main character, Sam Sullivan, gets to be both Darrin and Samantha. He gets caught up in his roommate’s schemes and games, and winds up in freaky situtations, often dressed oddly. His bosses at the airline catch him looking or doing something weird – and he has to explain how it’s actually his clever presentation of his proposal for whatever project the airline is working on at the moment.

I really enjoyed watching this series, and I look forward to more. The stories are fast-paced, the setting of the executive offices of the airline industry feels fresh. There are several actors in the show that I respect. Bret Harrison (the lovestruck kid next door on Grounded for Life) stars as Sam Sullivan, our main character. Grounded was one of my favorite shows, and I’ve been delighted to see their alumni appearing in several programs this season. Mimi Rogers, who always gives strong performances, is an executive who supported hiring the young college grad, and who frequently, and humorously, skirts the edges (heck, dances on the edges in roller skates, even) of sexual harrassment towards him.

There is a quirky visual style to the show that I enjoy, too. Frequently, instead of expository lumps of dialogue, we are given instead a freezeframe with a small caption. (Reminds me of the captions with genus and species that would appear beneath the Roadrunner and the Coyote.) The captions give us a context for what we’re seeing, and help to move the story along quickly – for instance, the first time we see Sam and roommate Piper in a bar together, captions below each reveal to us that he has a crush on her, and she has no clue. It’s a storytelling shorthand that is used with wit, but fortunately, not overused. Frequently, I’d find myself chortling at the captions before the scenes themselves made me laugh.

Bottom Line?

The Loop, in my opinion, is quite worth watching. No, it won’t appeal to everyone. But I enjoyed the characters, and I liked the storytelling style. And it clearly borrows intelligently and well from the grand tradition of classic sitcoms.

My advice? By all means, pick up the Season One DVD and get caught up on this series if you missed it the first time around. Or watch it again and refresh your enjoyment of it before the Second Season begins on June 9th. Even though I only just discovered it, I just might do that myself!

Wayback Wednesday Comes On Tuesday This Week

Filed under: Knitting,Rats!,Sewing,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 12:44 pm on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh-oh! That means that Jen’s got nothing to show for her Monday, right?

Practically nothing, anyway, and certainly nothing worth photographing. I worked a lot on some things I can’t talk about, I did four more repeats of the edging on the Carnival Glass Shawl (all those bloggers are right – knitted on edgings take forever!). I didn’t get a chance to pick up the socks to work on them.

Remember I was talking about making a quilt square – a sawtooth star for a drawing up at my local quilt shop? What I never reported on was that the first attempt was a disaster. I’m not very familiar with my sewing machine, but I made my best effort. Only it seems that the presser foot I was using for the first try, although I could swear I measured and was getting a 1/4″ out to the edge of the foot, was actually giving me a much smaller seam allowance.

So the entire block got sewn together with seams too small, I wound up trimming things to make them fit together, etc.

Wanda at the shop was nice enough to give me material for a second try, as well as some advice about working with the sewing machine. So yesterday, I gave it another go.

Seam allowances are good this time. But I’m still having an issue with things not matching in size. And I know I was accurate about my cutting, I measured both before and after.

So I’m at a loss on this for the moment. It may be that I shouldn’t have tried something with triangles in it for my first square, because those Flying Geese pieces on the sides of the Sawtooth Square block are what I’m having trouble with. I just can’t seem to get things aligned to make them work.

And I’m sure not going to take a photo of the latest attempt in progress – this is a crafting blog, not a horror one. Trust me, you really don’t want to see it.

Wayback Wednesday

I know, it hardly ever comes on Wednesday any more, does it? But you know how it is – lacking real content to show you, let’s take a trip back to one year ago, and see what was going on then:

Mar. 20, 2006: Unifinished Rat Cage

Obviously, we were getting ready to bring the Rattie Sisters home – which we did about ten days later. This is the cage we built, partly done – we have yet to add the shelves or the door.

Mar. 20, 2006: WIP: Gryphon's Burgundy Sweater Vest

And look at that – I’d begun knitting a second sweater vest for Gryphon. Guess what? This is still a WIP, though it’s much further along now.

Exciting, huh? Well, tune in tomorrow, I’ll try to have something current to show you. Meanwhile, Happy Crafting!

Monday Momentum

Filed under: Knitting,Television — folkcat at 12:34 pm on Monday, March 19, 2007

I’m going to try to regain some, at least. After a weekend much upset by snowstorms, undead DVD players, and more, I’m hoping to get back on track today.

I did have a good round of television yesterday. My friend who normally comes on Friday nights to watch some shows with me came on Sunday afternoon instead, after the roads had been reasonably cleared.


Among the programs we checked out was Raines, the new detective show with Jeff Goldblum. I rather liked what I saw – beautiful, artistic camera shots, a strong nod to the film noir style. The twist comes in Goldblum’s character, Raines’, hallucinations. He has a tendency to “see” the murder victims. They talk to him and all that.

But lest you think we’re looking at a Ghost Whisperer or Medium rip-off – not at all. Raines is pretty clear in understanding that his visitors are hallucinations. Their appearance and behavior change based on what Raines has learned from hard evidence about the victims. They are never able to tell him anything that he doesn’t know himself.

So why do it? Aside from giving the Raines character a quirky attribute – and quirky is so “in” these days – they give us something we can’t get from any other detective show. We, the viewers, get to see Raines’ thought proces. It’s presented visually on the screen for us. We watch his facial expression, and we know he’s realized something – but then, the appearance of the latest victim’s hallucinated form changes, and we know what he’s realized.

We also get to see the biases and assumptions that Raines has to overcome as he learns about the victim. A young woman who he believed to be a simple college student turns out to be a paid escort – and suddenly, his image of her has b00bs two or three sizes larger, her hair is all teased out and overdone, and her make-up stops just short of qualifying her for the clown car. But as the hallucination talks to him, he realizes he’s making unwarranted assumptions – and her appearance returns to the more normal college student again.

I liked Raines. I liked the style. I like the clever writing that shows us not only what he’s learning about the case, but the mental process that gets him there. This has become Must See TV for me.

Into the Home Stretch

I did a modest bit of knitting this weekend. Not as much as I’d have gotten done if I’d felt better or been less distracted by reality. But I can say with a sense of accomplishment that I turned the heel on Sock #2 for Gryphon yesterday, and I’m now in the home stretch. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect that he could wear these next weekend.

WIP: Socks for Gryphon, Home Stretch #2

We’ve already got the yarn for the next pair, but I may interject another project in the meantime. It’s not like I’ve got any shortage of works in progress!

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