Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Knitting is a Knotty Activity

(Macrame is even worse)

I wanted to share... thanks to the generosity of someone I'd pretty much just met, I know have a fresh load of yarn to work with.

It was a usual church Wednesday, I was crocheting and feeling a little self-conscious about it because we had someone new at the service and she was sitting right behind me.  A ways into the service, I turn around and notice that she's crocheting too.  I guess I didn't need to be worried.

Anyways, we got to talking about yarn and she confessed to being a yarn hoarder, saying she had several bags of yarn she hadn't touched in years, if I wanted them.

Of course I wanted them!  Not that I need yarn, but I'm a yarn hoarder myself and looking forward to some fun projects which basically require me to have a lot of random scraps of yarn (read: rugs), so getting some fresh yarn injected into my supplies will help a lot.

Anyways, here's my new wealth of yarn.

Three grocery bags full.  The bag in the back has shoes in it..

The extremely tangled bit, post untangling.  Lots of little scraps.
Also, the blue in the background is "Quick and Easy Chunky" yarn.  :)

The full collection of new yarn, plus some new crochet hooks!

Stay posted for a host of new, exciting projects!  I'm about to finish a narwhal... and once school ends, I'll be in rugs, weird pillow creatures and maybe a scarf.  Oh, and yarnbombing Grant's house.

Sometime in the future, when I have spare money to spend on new yarn, I'll have to find myself a college student with a love for knitting and crocheting and pay it forward with a nice supply.  Random acts of yarn for all!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Great News for (environmentally minded) Whiskey Drinkers!

Okay, so I suppose I'm basically stealing this article, title and all.  But it's an interesting bit of green news for the over-21 set, and a reminder of the importance of voting with your wallet.

To summarize, it turns out that whiskey (and other spirits) are on the less-green end of the spectrum of alcohol, especially when you want quality whiskey.  The biggest problem is that the production of whiskey produces a lot of byproduct that are acidic and contain traces of copper and therefore cannot be disposed of nicely.  However, one company, Celtic Renewables, has developed a method for turning this byproduct into a biofuel, animal feed and acetone - all three are substances which are important and very useful, being created out of a substance that we would otherwise have trouble throwing away.

A final point in the article, made by the company's founder, is my favorite: "'You don't need to plant virgin crops to make biodiesel,' Tangney told me. 'There's plenty of stuff just lying around that you can use.'"  One of the big arguments against biofuels is that they take away valuable land resources from food production (or wilderness areas).  However, there's still plenty of possibilities for making energy out of things we currently throw away.  Yesterday it was french fry grease.  Today whiskey.  What's in store for tomorrow?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Belated Review: The Lorax

I went to see The Lorax over spring break (so... 2 weeks ago?  3?  I'm only counting forward right now).  I'll admit, I was doubtful at first.  I really wanted to see it, but the reviews were... mediocre at best.  As would be expected with any book-turned-movie, the main complaint was that the movie didn't fit well with the "spirit of the book".  As is frequently the case with negative reviews of movies I want to see, I didn't agree.

For one thing, the movie was amazing.  It was cute, with a good message, and just enough "adult" humor to keep the older audience (most of us in the theater were college students, actually) from being bored.  The best part is, the adult humor wasn't sexual in the way that most sly adult humor in kids movies is.  Instead, it was intelligent humor that any adult who's been in touch with current events would understand.  A few things that were funny in the way that the best Onion articles are funny - not because they are humorous, but because they're so close to home that they almost hurt.  For instance, the business which ultimately destroys the Truffula trees is described as "too big to fail", and the founder asks "How bad can I be?  A portion of my profits goes to charity!" ...

Second, I'm not sure what to think of those people who felt the movie didn't fit with the spirit of the original book.  Yes, more background was added - instead of just a story, told by the Once-ler about his life and interaction with the Lorax, we get the background of the boy listening to the story, and life in a society without trees.  Sure, there's a love story and a happy ending thrown in, but what's the harm in that?  The spirit of the book, as I see it, is a message of conservationism, a message summarized by the quote at the end: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

The film was designed to make us care.  Maybe it was the hike I took that morning that made the idea of living in a consumerism-driven, nature-less society so horrific, but I think the movie did a good job of showing us the consequences of letting companies rule our world.

Too bad we're not doing a good job of listening.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Unexpected feeling of freedom

I dropped a class this semester for the first time.

Okay, second time (not counting rearranging my schedule before classes start).  But the other time I'd only attended the first class, and I found a replacement later that day.  This semester, I dropped a class a couple hours before the drop deadline, after a conversation with my mom which made me realize that not only had I not liked the class all semester, it a) wasn't going to change and b) wasn't necessary.  It was a class I was taking completely by choice, only because I wanted to.  It just didn't end up being what I'd expected.

Somehow, as I suppose will happen, that time on Tuesday evenings I got back quickly got filled with homework.  Not that my homework load is any worse... I've just had a much harder time getting anything (important) done since my grandma passed away.  (I say important because I've done a surprising amount of crocheting and hanging out with friends...)

That's where I realize how glad I am I dropped that class.  No more dreading Tuesdays, like I did for 8 weeks.  No more sitting through two and a half hours (if he doesn't go over) of detailed explanation on HVAC systems, while everything I want to learn about gets pushed aside.  No more projects for a professor who truly doesn't understand that we have other classes, who thinks we can do the same amount of work in less time than his summer interns and new hires.  It was freedom!

Enough ranting, though.  I'd wanted to learn something in that class.  My disappointment in the stuff he wasn't teaching made me realize how much I want to learn about green building and the kind of tradeoffs that need to be made when seeking sustainability.  I want to know about renewable energy, and low to no VOC carpeting and paints.  So, with what should be my small amount of extra free time after dropping this class, I want to focus on doing just that.

Since I have problems motivating myself to research for the point of researching (when I could be crocheting or making rugs out of old t-shirts), I'm going to try to focus this blog a bit towards green technology.  I worked as a green tech/news blogger for a bit and then the group updating the website stopped, so I'm back on my own.  I have some interesting articles and thoughts lined up already, but if any of you see anything I might be interested in, let me know.

I hope you all enjoy!