Sunday, November 11, 2007

Swelling Skull

It's a fitting name for my current knitting project using the Swell hat pattern from Knitty. I plan on eliminating the waves pattern and incorporating a single skull logo instead. The reason this one is causing my own skull to swell is because it is my first taste of 2 color knitting and I thought at first it would teach me the new skills of stranded knitting.

If I went with the original waves then yes, this is strictly stranded knitting project but as it turns out as, it's more of an intarsia technique. What makes this even harder for me right now is the fact that I am knitting intarsia in the round so I literally need to section off my skull pattern so that the strands carried on the wrong side are no more than an inch long. Another added obstacle is the fact that this yarn from Knit Picks while soft for wool at this price, with the amount I am handling and sweating on it out of frustration, it is already fuzzing and pilling so much it makes it all the more harder to look at my stitches.

Due to all these factors, I am procrastinating on it and diverting to my new Singer Esteem 1732. I just finished a pair of stretch terry pajama pants for bf today. It was pretty frustrating due to the auto-tension mechanism constantly screwing up on me, having to rip the damn thing out of the machine, rethreading, etc. It's taught me that the machine can do well and it is punching through about 5-6 layers of material easily but I definitely need to set a few good habits, no matter how lazy I want to be. In the end, it will mean less work, smoother sewing and just more peace of mind as I pursue this hobby alongside my knitting.

Imagine all the things I can make with these 2 crafts at hand.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Review: Northern Digital Expo (NDEX 2007)

I heard about this event on the radio last Thursday on the way home from work and I became so excited. The instant I walked in the door, I started looking up information about it. The website made it sound awesome, possibly better than the World Series of Video Games that happened a few months ago. I never had a chance to go to that either but I thought the NDEX would make up for it. Boy, were we sorely disappointed...

The website said admission is $12.50. I must've failed to read the fine print because it is actually $15. After being soured by the slightly higher cost than expected, I had hope to be sweetened once I walked through the front doors to see all the glory of video-gaming & larger-than-life demos. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that you can take in the entire expo area in one sweep of the eyes and the collective heart of me, roommate & bf just sank. I'm not saying it was just 10 guys, 10 booths in a 50' X 50' room. There were some good-looking displays, flashing lights, a main stage, game demos, etc. BUT...Of the big 3 consoles out there right now, only 2 were represented: Wii & Xbox 360. There's something wrong with that!

There was a lot of "coverage" for Guitar Hero 3 & Halo 3 as they are the higher profile games right now. Halo & Gears of War were the featured games for the MLG Pro competitions. The MLG stadium (which was pretty nice) & tournament areas took up a good half of the show floor. The Nintendo booth had 6 Wiis on demo but all the games were at least 2 months old, nothing I haven't seen. I like video games but I'm not so avid a gamer that I know everything that's coming out in the next 6 months. For me to have seen and even played all the games on demo? Wow! LAAAAME! They had a few DS's on demo too, I didn't even bother with those. That booth's saving grace was the fact that they were handing out free iron-on Nintendo character t-shirts or customized Mii t-shirts. But even that, the iron-ons were kind of ugly because the clear parts were not pre-trimmed so you end up with this dirty-white misshapen rectangle with a colorful character in the middle on an office-A4-paper-white tee . Whatever, it was free.

A large part of the expo floor was taken up by 2 Ford cars on display. Ford is the title sponsor so sure, give them their space but it was pretty unrelated to video games. One of the cars had a video system built in so guys were always sitting in there playing racing games but that is so 2002, we need a bit more innovation than that. The cooler looking car, a retro-racing blue white & orange painted Ford GT was locked, so you couldn't even sit in it or anything. I would say the 360 booth was the most appealing. It took up almost a sixth of the entire expo floor. They had a mini-stage built, 2 consoles for GH3, 2 more arcade-style consoles in front of those for more GH3. Then off to one side they had about 20-25 arcade demo consoles for various games, new & old. Zellers had a stupid mini store set up with cheap MLG shirts, console accessories, batteries? and others . It was the ugliest thing I've ever seen next to an actual Zellers store. It was a shameful display, truly. What else was there now?

Oh I know...NOT MUCH! I agree that the delay in us heading down to the CNE resulting in us missing the latter rounds of the GH3 competition and the slight detour we ended up taking when trying to look for parking added to this negative review. Bf was so bitter & disappointed, he was just in a mood to blame me for wasting our money and for dragging us down to this "thing". It made me kind of annoyed but I kept my mouth shut and we ended up not participating much. I missed the open free play on the main stage for GH3 because of us dicking around NOT playing any demos so they set up the stage for a live band performance. I ended up just playing with roommate at the 360 stage, but we didn't even "go on stage". That would've been a good rush, to play a stranger and totally rock them or both of us killing the song!

So all in all NDEX 2007 was a waste of time & money. When we left, we snuck into the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair next door as they were shutting down for the night. For the 20 minutes that we roamed about, things were actually way more interesting. There were giant mutant vegetables and cattle of all shapes & sizes: fuzzy ones, lean ones, tall ones, you name it! We missed the Eukanuba Superdogs show but saw a lot of nice doggies as they were heading home. Even though the entire place stank of cow shit it was refreshing! (The sights, not the shit.)

Next year, I am definitely going to Fan Expo & WSVG instead of this. OR, if they were smarter, MLG would just amalgamate with WSVG. We don't need 2 different circuits for video gaming, yet. Maybe in another 10 years.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Aftermath

So...there isn't much of an aftermath. All I know is I bought 2 boxes of candy (I know it isn't a lot) and we were out completely after only an hour. I went straight home yesterday to carve the other pumpkin and it's a shame the jack-o-lantern was only in use for about 2 hours. It looks nice, traditional but well made. I'm pretty proud of it. I just hafta figure out something with the seeds now. Definitely will roast but how and what flavours?

While handing out candy last night I decided to put my costume on for the latter 45 minutes just so my bloody pilgrim get-up would see the light of day (dark of night). We didn't end up going to the costume party last Saturday. It's a long story and one I don't care to repeat but I did finish the costumes mostly. The turkey could've been more finished but as is, it is passable as a turkey. I'm not 100% satisfied with my pilgrim costume either just because my craftsmanship is super shoddy on it but practice makes perfect and once I get my b-day present from roommate & bf (Singer Esteem 1732) I can practice and sew all sorts of crazy stuff on this apparently heavy-duty home sewing monster. I was skeptical about its abilities because online it only costs between $99-$130 US. I just figured how good or powerful can a $150 and under machine be? Anyways, when it arrives it will be put to the test.

Knitting update: Been procrastinating on bf's skull hat. Started to knit a dinky little sweater with cheap Sean Sheep yarn from Walmart for my bf's sister's new puppy (a pomeranian & chihuahua mutt). I figured it would take 1 maybe 2 nights, the thing is under 3 lbs! It's been longer because I've never worked with such bulky novelty yarn. However once finished it'll be neat because the texture will be like blue cotton candy.

Finally been invited to Ravelry-beta. Looked around, it's pretty neat. It takes more time and dedication to keep up-to-date. Also I don't really want to start a profile on Flickr just to get photos up but then my Ravelry profile has no pictures and sans pictures, the whole Ravelry thing is kind of useless. Well, just my 2 cents.