Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Variation of the Devil's Horns Hat

A friend of a friend decided he NEEDED his own devil's horns hat. So what can I say...I made him one, this time it's a beanie.

It's a variation of my Jack Skellington hat from November. I figured if anyone was interested, I'd post this pattern here as well. My friend Nicole supplied the yarn, so I'm listing that as she gave it to me.

G sized hook
H sized hook
Yarn needle
Small amount of Fiber Fill
1 skein Caron One Pounder 100% Acrylic in black (#503)--you won't need anywhere close to 1 pound of yarn; in this case, the color was more important than the type of yarn.
1 skein Lion Brand Suede in Rose (#140)

With the H hook and working with the black yarn, ch 4, join with sl st to first ch to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2(counts as first dc),9 dc in ring. Join with sl st to top of beginning dc (10 dc).
Rnd 2: Ch 2, hdc in same st, (2 hdc in next st) around. Join (20 hdc).
Rnd 3: Ch 2, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (30 hdc).
Rnd 4: Ch 2, hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 2 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (40 hdc).
Rnd 5: Ch 2, hdc in next 2 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 3 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (50 hdc).
Rnd 6: Ch 2, hdc in next 3 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 4 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (60 hdc).
Rnd 7: Ch 2, hdc in each st around. Join (60 hdc).
Rnd 8: Ch 2, hdc in next 4 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 5 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join.
Rnd 9-10: Repeat round 7.
Rnd 11: Ch 2, hdc in next 5 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 6 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join.
Rnd 12: Repeat round 7.
Rnd 13-17: Ch 2, hdc in back loop of next st, (hdc in front loop of next st, hdc in back loop of next st, hdc in both loops) around. Join.
Rnd 18: Ch 2, hdc in each st around. Join.
Rnd 19: Switch to the rose suede and ch 1, hdc in same st as join and in each st around for the trim. Join. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Devil's Horns
Leave a length of several inches of the black before starting (this will be what you use to attach the horn to the hat). With the G hook, chain 12 and form loop with a slip stitch with second chain from hook end. Ch 1. Do not turn.

Row 1-2: Chain 1 SC in each stitch and connect at the end with a slip stitch. Ch 2. Do not turn.

Rows 3-4: Switch to the rose suede. 1 HDC in the front loop of each SC of previous row. Connect at the end with a slip stitch. Ch 2. Do not turn.

Rows 5-8: Repeat the previous row but decrease by 2 HDC (one at the beginning and one at the end). Connect at the end with a slip stitch. Ch 2. Do not turn.

Row 9: Finish off the horn with 2-3 slip stitches (your choice) so the horn is closed at the top point. Finish off yarn. Make 2. Since you’re ending at the tips, use the yarn needle to weave in the loose ends. Any extra yarn doesn’t need to trimmed off: just stuff it back up inside the horn.

Fill each horn with stuffing. To make the horns stand up, pack them tight. You can use the wrong end of a crochet hook to pack it into the tip of the horn. Make them as firm as you want. Using extra black yarn and the needle, attach the horns to the top of the hat.

I realize this isn't the greatest picture in the world, but I was feeling lazy tonight and took this picture with my cell phone instead of dragging out my camera and card reader. I'm still goofing with the horns. If I had made this hat for myself, I probably would have put them closer together, but Nicole told me her friend wanted a hat more like what I had made for her. (They really don't look like small bunny ears in real life!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Have a Confession To Make

I have to admit something...I'm 35 years old and this is still my favorite Sesame Street video of all time.

It's really kind of dumb, but for some odd reason, this one has always stuck with me. I don't know why. I was always more of an Ernie fan than Bert, but for some odd reason, this one still cracks me up!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best CD I've Heard in a Long Time

About a year ago, I bought a CD at the Book Exchange in Norfolk. I've always been a Blues Traveler fan, so when I saw The John Popper Project featuring DJ Logic, I knew I had to get it.

I'm so glad I did. It's fucking awesome! I bought it used and wore it out in about 1 1/2 years.

I couldn't find it anywhere to download, so I wanted it again, it's just that damn good. So I let my husband know I wanted it for Christmas. My honey came through and got me a new copy of it this year. To be on the safe side, I'm going use Audio Grabber tomorrow night to save it to my computer as a back up so I can also have it for my MP3 player.

It came out in 2006 and has 13 tracks on it. This CD speaks to me in a way like almost nothing else has, save Billy Joel and the Barenaked Ladies.

You'd think that as the lead singer of Blues Traveler, that any release by John Popper would sound just like a Blues Traveler CD. Not so. This has an original groove all it's own.

The product description at its Amazon page doesn't do it justice:"Relix Records presents the sophomore release for John Popper as a solo artist, most famous for being the rotund frontman, creator, and mastermind of the jam band favorites Blues Traveler. Popper, a singer/harpist, experienced astounding success with his original band, earning a fervent grass-roots following during the early 1990s on the basis of their relentless touring schedule and a sprawling blues-rock sound. Aligned alongside other neo-hippie outfits including Phish, Widespread Panic and the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler went on to become one of the most successful annual tour packages of the decade. The group's momentum was derailed in the fall of 1992, however, when Popper was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. After taking much of what was necessary time away from the stage, Popper completed his 1999 debut solo effort Zygote, which has scanned over 39,000 units to date. After taking time off to get back on his feet following some health problems, Popper has returned to the lifestyle he knows best; rock and roll! And who would’ve thought that after all that time away the man would’ve been able to pick up right where he left off?! Well, actually, we did…"

Amazon's description makes it sound like a break off from Popper's work with Blues Traveler (who are still together, BTW). And on top of that, there's only six customer reviews.

But it's almost not enough to call it a groove. It sounds like something bluesy and soulful without being depressing. It's got an amazing song called Louisiana Sky about the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, that talks about their strength and solidarity without being preachy or even ballad-like. You feel their plight from the words and they become your people.

Are we supposed to be strong?
Are we supposed to be equal?
All I heard or observed
Are we disposable people?
Louisiana sky
Don't hide the sun from me
Don't make it rain on me
Don't make it run from me
Some say the city below sea level is vanishing
We lost our homes but we're hungry and managing
I can't find my Moms
Can't locate my kids
I don't know where my dog or my tabby is
Above clouds Louisiana's loud and overflowing
U know the rest and the weedz keeps growing

Comes the sun to Louisiana skies
The storm has passed and the bayou cries
Washed away lives and sins
From out and under it begins
We struggle underneath the Louisiana sky
It's slim pickings but we take a slice of humble pie
Beneath the yellow sky our spirits is strong
Louisiana let's rock on

Nowhere to go
Nothing to prove
All that remains a single groove
From Mardi Gras to Congo Square
A pulse to shuffle and it's all still there
In the early hours
In the morning haze
From the oldest dance to the latest craze
Hold your head up to Louisiana sky
Big Easy children, build your levee high

Combining history with chicory and hickory sauce
The battle's on between soldiers but the victory's lost
9th Ward as it was, love of transition and all
After the rain our position was off
Our tradition scoffed, man makin' plantation swampland
Travel into a hidden world of girls
I can remember love of this Louisiana odyssey
Of mysticism, magicians and magical commodities
After rain when we heard that the storm's comin'
Mammals and birds let us know that the storm's comin'
Move, stop, move 'em off rooftops, relieve us
Slow molasses these asses from FEMA

Comes the sun to Louisiana sky
Storm has passed and the bayou cries
Washed away lives and sins
From out and under it begins

The CD even starts out strong with Lapdance, which is about a stripper. Between the lyrics and music, you can almost see a dark, seedy, smoke-filled bar, a single woman on a stage, stripping. She looks worn out and tired of that life, but a single man sits before her, tossing dollar bills her way. "Go on and break me, the way you bump and sway, you won't take long." This sounds like a man who might be over his life, looking for some kind of love or redemption from the dancer. It's got kind of a late 70's beat to it.

This CD is most definitely the best one I've heard since Billy Joel's River of Dreams in 1998. This most definitely needs to be checked out!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Practical Idea for NASA

What the holy hell is glitter made out of? I bought some glitter for a project I'm working on (photos to come later) from A.C. Moore. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO WASH OFF YOUR HANDS!

"Glitter is primarily composed of very tiny flecks of glass, stone, paper or plastic, although polyester is perhaps the most common material used in modern glitter production. Coated paper can also be formed into glitter, and some have even used commercial grade diamond dust as a form of glitter."

Well, that's just fabulous, but it still doesn't get it washed off my hands! :) So here's my practical idea for NASA: to avoid any future problems with heat tiles coming off the shuttles, just coat the entire outside of the shuttles, rockets and boosters with glitter from the Glitterex Corporation. I guarantee, you'll never have to worry about a shuttle coming apart in flight again!

I think the glitter I bought is plastic or foil. At least, that's what it feels like. So if it's that great, then my finished project should last forever!

I...Am...IRON MAN!!!!!!!!!!!

Can I just say three things about this trailer?

I love Robert Downey Jr. as an actor. I will watch anything he's in, but he ROCKS the Tony Stark/Iron Man character. He owns it, like Christopher Reeve was Superman, like William Shatner is Captain Kirk.

After seeing The Wrestler last year, I am a believer in Mickey Rourke. I want to see more of him.

The very last image in this trailer, of Iron Man and War Machine together, made me squeal like a school girl!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting Ready for Christmas!

Was Animal the original grunge rock drummer? He's wearing a little flannel shirt and he's in chains. "The grunge aesthetic is stripped-down compared to other forms of rock music, and many grunge musicians were noted for their unkempt appearances and rejection of theatrics."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Power of a Sewing Machine

I have a scooter: a Yamaha Vino 125 that I bought in October 2008. Compared to my husband and other motorcycle owners, I think I've been slow to get any kind of accessories for it. There hasn't been a whole lot that I want for it.

The only thing I discovered that I wanted was a seat cover. Those black pleather seats get hot in the summer and cold in the fall and winter (not that I do much riding when it gets to be about 30-40 degrees outside).

You'd think it would be easy to find a scooter seat cover, with the scooter industry booming like it was. But, it hasn't been easy. A woman up in Vermont had a scooter seat cover business online, where she custom made covers because she had just about every scooter seat known to man. She had a waiting list for covers. In March of this year, she decided to go on hiatus so redesign her business. Unfortunately, she closed the business.

I tried making a pattern here to make my own, but I couldn't get the cover to fit correctly around the front of the seat, but I was working kind of blind as I didn't have an actual cover yet.

The only other person I've found that was making covers was a seller on Etsy. It wasn't a custom made cover, as I had to basically pick from a few that were already made. So, I ordered a hot pink leopard print cover.

The best thing was that it came so quickly. So I've got a happy hiney now. But shortly after it arrived, I thought, I can do this now for myself. I can use the new cover as a guide and make up a couple more.

My mom picked out some good polar fleece for me, since she knows more about fabric than I do. Hell, she bought me the two sewing machines that I've had (I wore out first one). I got some flames, Justice League, and two Spider-Man prints. I already had plenty of thread, so I picked up a couple packages of elastic. I decided to use the Justice League fleece as my pattern pieces.

After a minimum amount of swearing (actually, I was amazed I didn't so more), I actually had a good feeling about this. I was being careful about my measuring and cutting of the pattern. My finished covers aren't quite as loose as the leopard print cover, because I'm not a professional seamstress and I was creating my own pattern as I went. But overall, I'm pretty happy with them. They are definitely usable.

My favorite is obviously the large print Spidey cover. I think these should last me for quite some time. And if they wear out, then I still have the Justice League pattern tucked away so I can make another one (but maybe a little more roomier).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Outrage of the Day

This outrage of the day comes to you courtesy of "Online posting of women's abortion information challenged in Oklahoma."

WTF??? Are you kidding me that this is even a feasible, viable thing to consider doing???

And I want to get this out right now: I am pro-choice. You wouldn't consider having a website where you listed the names of women who had Botox or plastic surgery, or a list of men who have sought treatment for ED. How would this invasion of privacy of a medical procedure be any different?

"A judge in Oklahoma extended on Friday a temporary restraining order on a law that would post information online about women who get abortions in the state. In extending the restraining order, Oklahoma County District Judge Daniel Owens denied the state's motion to dismiss the case, putting the measure on hold until a February 19 hearing."

There is no merit in having this kind of information being made public. It would open the women up to ridicule and threats. And possibly even the doctors too that perform the abortions. To me, this sounds like a way for the Kansas-based anti-abortion group Operation Rescue to shame women into having unwanted babies. Or at the very least, bore them into leaving the clinic.

"The law, passed in May, requires doctors to fill out a 10-page questionnaire for every abortion performed, including asking the woman about her age, marital status, race and years of education. In all, there are 37 questions the women are to answer...The Center for Reproductive Rights argues that the measure is unconstitutional and in violation of the state's "single subject rule" because it covers different aspects of abortion."

This part just kills me: "State Sen. Todd Lamb helped draft the abortion legislation and describes it as "a common sense measure with bipartisan support." He said the left has tried to skew the law's intent through a campaign of misinformation. We're not trying to embarrass anybody, hurt anybody or make anybody's identities known. That's not the purpose of the legislation," the Republican lawmaker said...Lamb, who is running for lieutenant governor, rejects that notion. How can it violate women's privacy, Lamb said, if their identity is kept confidential? The measure specifies women's identities will be protected. "Nothing in the Individual Abortion Form shall contain the name, address or information specifically identifying any patient," it says."

Oh, come off it, Sen. know that at some point, private information about the women will be made public online. Some anti-abortionist will go undercover, get a job at some clinic, collect info and then post it online. Are you prepared to provide for the safety of the women and the clinic once that happens? PETA has employees that work undercover to uncover animal abuses. Do you think Operation Rescue wouldn't try that? That is, if they haven't already.

This is just disgusting. Women shouldn't be treated as just birthing vessels. We are able to think for ourselves, whether or not we want to be pregnant or even continue a pregnancy. Abortions are not dangerous to society as a whole, so it doesn't need to be treated in this kind of manner. If the lists are allowed, this will become a modern day version of The Scarlet Letter. We as the American society of both men and women should sit back and allow ourselves to de-evolve (I know that's not a word, but work with me) in this way.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just About Done With My Christmas Crocheting!

So since there's a baby on the way and money is a little tighter than before, my sister and I aren't exchanging Christmas gifts this year. No biggie, but there are somethings I'll be sending home for the baby for Christmas.

My sister asked me to make a Christmas stocking for the baby. I've just about got it done, using this free pattern from Coats and Clark. I left the holly off the cuff and am putting some Christmas themed patches there instead.

One important thing to know about this pattern: it calls for using a larger hook on the cuff than on the stocking itself. Make sure you do this, as it makes it fit easier. It's a super easy pattern to follow, and once you make one, you'll be able to see where you could alter it to make fatter, shorter, thinner, etc. stockings if you had a bunch to make for a family and wanted them all to have a similar look. For Baby's stocking, I'll be heading out this week to buy some needed items to put in it before mailing it off.

And since she's having a girl, I decided it was time to make the first truly girly thing so far: this angel shell dress from HeartFelt Angels. The pattern was created and posted for those that crochet to make and donate to that organization. "HeartFelt Angels is a non-profit organization of volunteers that make handmade baby items for area hospitals to give to parents in need. Whether it be from a loss of a child resulting from miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, to an illness of a child or even parents who are financially challenged and may not have an afghan or a handmade outfit to take their baby home in." I think this is an adorable dress, and it's also so easy to whip one little dress out. I've used this pattern a few times before and you can make one of these in one sitting.

I used a G sized hook with Lion Brand Jiffy (mohair look) yarn, and some fun purple eyelash yarn for the edging. This used about 1 1/2 skeins of the Jiffy yarn (3 oz./135 yds. per skein). The three buttons on the back and one on the front were extras I had here. It's made by working from the neck down and the top part of the pattern is quite similar to some other baby patterns.

I actually added two rows in the chest area to make it a little longer. I really don't know HOW this is supposed to fit an actual newborn baby. It's so TINY! It's craziness...I think I'd loose something that small here in the house!

And I know, it's a little shady to use that pattern for my own uses like this without making one for the organization in exchange. I can live with that.

And even though they won't fit for a while, I used up the last of my pink and some white to make some booties that I pretty much just winged as I made them (didn't write down the pattern though). Maybe something for the baby to grow into will be a welcome thing so my sister and her husband aren't getting everything in newborn size.

My last Christmas crochet project will actually be for my cat.

My little sweetheart is getting a new crocheted catnip mousie for Christmas. I actually made one for her for her anniversary here with us earlier this year and she went bonkers over it! At that time, I used some leftover navy blue boucle type yarn. For Christmas, I think I'll try that ugly ass yarn from my friend, Jan. It will hold up better than the boucle and I think it would be appropriate. Jan had two cats she loved: Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Outrage of the Day

Let me just give you a taste of the article from Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier from Dec. 6, 2009. I think you'll realize what the outrage is.

"A split-second decision was the difference between life and death.

"Glen Fortsch had to choose: Shoot an attacking grizzly bear or die. The Hudson hunter didn't want his wife to be a widow or his children not to have a father.

"Kill it or be a statistic," Fortsch said..."It was more reaction than anything," Fortsch recalled. "The (investigating) agent said ‘you had about 2 seconds to die.'"...The good news is Fortsch lived to tell the exciting, yet heart-pounding tale. The bad news is grizzly bears were re-listed on the federal endangered species list a day before he shot the omnivore. Fortsch could be charged with an endangered species violation. Wildlife officials estimate there are 600 grizzlies in Wyoming."

So let me get this straight...because an animal is on the federal endangered species list, that animal's safety is more important than that of the man that animal would have killed? Because Glen Fortsch rightfully decided to defend himself, he could be looking at a $25,000 fine and/or 6 months in PRISON.

Oh yeah, he'll learn his lesson from that!

Seriously, six months in prison??? Yeah, let's waste time and money on that trial. According to the New York Times, "The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners." I mean, it's bad enough to waste taxpayers' money on frivolous lawsuits, like burning yourself on hot coffee or mental suffering because your favorite suit didn't come back from the dry cleaners, but this is going too far.

Even the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C. is backing that up. "The amount of money that American taxpayers spend on prisons has never been greater, and the fraction of the American population held in prison has tripled during the last 15 years, as has national prison capacity."

I obviously don't have a problem with hunting. And I'll go so far as to say it's a shame that an endangered animal died, but to punish Glen Fortsch for saving his own life is outrageous. The federal government or whoever is going to try and bring suit against Glen needs to drop it and leave him be. Fining him or putting him in prison WILL NOT bring the bear back to life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Virginia Veteran Wins Battle to Keep His Flagpole in Yard

After reading about Col. Van T. Barfoot's fight with his home owners' association in Henrico County over the height of his flagpole, I was thrilled to read that he had won his fight!

For anyone outside Henrico County, here's the quick breakdown for you, courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dec 4, 2009: "In a five-paragraph letter to Barfoot that he received yesterday, Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard. The decorated veteran of three wars, now 90 years old, raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk each day in a three-corner military fashion...In a priority mail letter, the Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond is ordering Barfoot to remove the pole by 5 p.m. Friday or face "legal action being brought to enforce the Covenants and Restrictions against you." The letter states that Barfoot will be subject to paying all legal fees and costs in any successful legal proceeding pursued by the homeowner association's board...There is no provision in the community's rules expressly forbidding flagpoles, Barfoot's daughter said. But she said the board ruled against her father's fixture and ordered it removed in July, deciding that free-standing flag poles are not aesthetically appropriate. Short flag stands attached to porches dot the community."

My immediate thought was, wow, what a bunch of douches! This man is a 90 year old veteran, a Medal of Honor recipient from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. My next thought is, damn, he's 90 years old...he might not be around for much longer. He's not hurting anyone, leave him and his flagpole be. I actually thought Col. Barfoot would be ordered to remove his pole.

But as Fox News reported earlier today: "[Barfoot] can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner's association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday...The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines." I'm guessing the HOA realized they wouldn't make any headway by forcing him to remove the flagpole, just because it didn't match the rest of the neighborhood. According to the Virginian-Pilot article, "It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines."

Guidelines??? Col. Burfoot took all that shit over GUIDELINES? They weren't even actual HOA RULES!

Virginia is thick with a military population, both active duty and retired. Do you really want to alienate that type of homeowner out here? I think not.

I've never lived in an HOA. In fact, when we started looking at houses, we purposely avoided any that fell into that category, just for that reason. I don't what someone else telling me what I "can" and "can't" do with a house and property that I own and maintain. According to Association Times, "A homeowners association is an organization established to govern a private community. Typically it owns and manages some common property for owners of private houses or condominium/townhome units. By buying a lot and/or home, an owner automatically becomes a member of the homeowners association of which it is a part. Most homeowners associations are corporations established under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law. A homeowners association is similar to other corporations – it is governed by a board of directors elected by the members and a set of rules called by-laws. Books and records of financial transactions must be kept, taxes paid, and certain services provided to members in accordance with the governing documents. Usually the board has an annual budget prepared to estimate expenses, and then assesses each member a share of the costs."

Meh, I don't see a need for all that, especially considering you have to pay more to live in those neighborhoods.

And let me give a little shout out to Sen. Mark Warner for getting involved with that. I was glad to hear about his support and the support of Jim Webb.

But Col. Burfoot also had loads more support. A Facebook page was started to show the local support for this man to keep his flagpole. I joined it tonight. It has more than 33,000 fans.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Crochet Monsters

In the last two weeks or so, I've become very interested in the amigurumi style of crochet. I don't even remember where I first discovered it, but I knew that I had to try it.

According to Wikipedia, "The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically cute animals (such as bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, etc.), but can include artistic renderings, and inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features. Amigurumi can be either knitted or crocheted. In recent years crocheted amigurumi are more popular and more commonly seen. Amigurumi are usually crocheted or knitted out of yarn. The simplest designs are worked in spirals. In contrast to typical Western crochet the rounds are not usually joined." So there is a difference as to how the pieces are made. So here's my first go at it.

A fellow crocheter named Amber runs a blog called Cthulu Crochet and Cousins and she had a free pattern for a baby cthulu. I couldn't resist trying this pattern, because a friend of mine (who desperately wants me to make her a Jack Skellington hat) happens to love cthulu's (cthuli? what would the plural be?). Since I haven't gotten around to making a hat for her yet and probably won't for some time, I figured a baby cthulu would be a good peace offering.

But you might be asking, so what the hell is a cthulu? "Cthulhu is a fictional cosmic entity created by horror author H. P. Lovecraft in 1926, first appearing in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu" when it was published in Weird Tales in 1928." They are normally green in color, but I decided mine (probably inspired by Amber's color on her blog) would be a baby girl cthulu, so it needed to be pink.

My front picture is a little blurry, but you get the idea. I changed the pattern slightly, because God knows I've got to change something in each pattern I work from anymore! :) I used an H sized hook and some unknown lightweight yarns. In the head and body each, I added a row. In the head, I added another row of slightly longer tentacles, and in the body, I added the row to even out the size of the head. I also added little stubby legs to my cthulu, just by crocheting another set of arms so the proportions stayed the same. I also used buttons for the eyes because I haven't gotten around to ordering any glass eyes yet. I may have to check A.C. Moore pretty soon to see if they sell them there. If I want to make anything more in amigurumi, then I'll need some good eyes.

I also had the chance and the reason to finish a hat for my sister's yet-unborn baby. I had started a small white stocking hat that matches my base Jack hat, but hadn't put any edging on it yet. I was waiting for my sister's sonogram so I knew what color would be good for it. She and her husband are having a girl, so I finished off the hat with some fun purple eyelash yarn. It was leftover from a previous project and I had enough to go around the hat twice.

All in all, it was a good crochet night here! Tomorrow night, I'll be starting on a Lion Brand Yarn pattern for the baby, of a Christmas stocking. It won't get used until next year, but I can get it done in time to send off with the Christmas things I'm sending home.

Happy crocheting to all of you!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This Just Made Me Smile

Other than making me smile and making me say a little mental, "Hell ya," there's no deep meaning behind this posting. I saw it the other day on LOL Celebs and I liked it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Performances at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I'm not much of a parade fan, but I do check out the beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when I'm getting my turkey ready each year. I just about always watch on it on NBC too for some reason.

Anyway, is there any way at all, here it is almost the year 2010 (and this was the 83rd annual parade), that Macy's can find a way to make live singing performances on the floats a reality? I know people don't necessarily go to that parade to see the singers, but it kind of almost ruins a nice performance, from a TV stand point, to realize the person is actually just lip syncing.

In all actuality, some of those floats are huge! There has to be a way to make a workable sound system in them. And myabe, I'm right, because Entertainment Weekly had a little something online about it too.

For me, the highlight of the singing performances was definitely Alan Cumming. While I am most definitely a fan of Alan's, I thought he had the best and most believably LIVE performance of them all. He performed "That's Life" on the M&M Broadway float. I hadn't even heard that song before but I was HOOKED! I knew he could sing but my God, Alan was just BELTING it out like nobody's business!

Unfortunately, I couldn't find video of Alan's performance. Bummer!

And since I don't want to look like a parade grinch, I will mention that I really liked the beginning with all the cheersquads performing to various patriotic numbers. That was strangely moving to me for some reason. It didn't feel like a forced performance, and it didn't feel overly patriotic to tie in with world events.

The Headline Sounds Worse Than the Story

From, here's the headline: "Energizer Bunnies: Turning Rabbits into Green Fuel." That sounds a little grim, right? It doesn't until you get into the story, because what it's really about is irresponsible pet owners who were too lazy to care for their animals, and the ecological problems it can cause.

"The rabbit population there [Stockholm, Sweden] has exploded over the past few years thanks to owners setting free their pets. Last year the eradication squad killed 6,000 of the furry critters, which are not native to Sweden. When the city started killing the rabbits in 2006, officials realized they would have to dispose of their carcasses. At around the same time, the European Union passed a law that makes it illegal to dispose of raw meat or carcasses in landfills. Solution: use the bunnies as fuel to heat Swedish homes."

Even as an animal lover, I know something has to be done and you can't force people to be responsible with their animals. I do feel the Swedish rabbit hunters are actually doing the best thing for the rabbits by hunting them. Think of the rabbits in terms of a herd of deer: overpopulation and overcrowding in a herd can lead to disease, malnutrition and the like. The herds have to be thinned out for their own good. If not, then what diseases could be spread elsewhere? However, not everyone feels the same way. And nope, it's not PETA that's complaining (yet).

"It feels like they're trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem," says Anna Johannesson of the Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits. Johannesson and other wildlife campaigners recommend spraying the park with a chemical that makes shrubs and plants unappetizing to the animals. Tuvuynger, though, has little sympathy for that argument. "If you do that you only move the problem 100 meters away. Overpopulation is not good for the animals' well-being because they use up limited natural resources for survival, so shooting them is the only answer."

If in one year, the hunters have killed 6,000 rabbits, that's too many for any group (or groups, plural) to consider trapping and rehoming them.

And in a sad way that does mean the remains are being disposed of, at least people will have heat for their homes from it all. According to the article, "One hundred thousand tons of raw material can generate enough heat for 11,000 homes a year...Not only does that help Europe meet its ambitious green energy targets, it also aids in the E.U's bid to reduce landfill waste levels by 35% by 2020."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not Really Happy with Casey Cycle City

On June 11, 2008, I placed an order with Casey Cycle City in Newport News, VA for a red (raspberry metallic, but whatever) Yamaha Vino 125. I was told I'd be able to pick it up in the fall, as the '09s weren't available yet.

I'd spent a few days beforehand, researching the 125 cc scooters, and realized all scooters out here were selling like hotcakes at the height of the gas price hike. I thought I was doing good, and I felt good about what I was getting from Casey. I had been getting excellent service, even though I was buying the scooter two cities away and would have to bring it home in the back of my husband's pick up truck across the interstate.

So everything goes as expected. I picked up the scooter on Oct. 4, 2008. So far, I've got about 1,800 miles on it, and the guys at Casey had still be good. Even though I don't take it back there for service, they are good about answering questions for me.

At least, I thought everything had been good.

Two days ago, I decided to go online to get my free yearly credit reports. I checked with all three companies. Everything looked fine on all three, except there was a credit card listed on them that I didn't have. It was a credit card listed as being with HSBC Yamaha (or HSBC Retail Services, depending on where you check).

I apparently had a credit card with this company that I knew NOTHING about, and never even received mail from them. Hell, I never even received a card from them. And mind you, I financed my scooter through my own bank, not through the dealer.

So I called HSBC that same night to get some info from them about my "account." Apparently, someone opened that account for me on June 11, 2008...the same day I ordered the scooter. I assume it was my salesman there at Casey. I don't remember his name off hand, but I'm sure I have his business card upstairs in my filing cabinet. Obviously, I closed that account the very same night. Luckily, the woman I talked to was very nice and was surprised about my lack of knowledge of this account.

I was so pissed off about this that I called Casey the next day. As luck would have it, they were busy and their voice mail picked up. I left a message for Carolyn in Customer Service to call me back because I wanted to know how a credit card account was opened in my name without my knowledge. Of course, no one has called me back.

Aside from the risk of identity theft, according to FinAid, "Avoid opening new accounts that you do not need. Opening too many accounts and the time since you last opened an account can affect your credit score." We have only three other cards, and they do not have balances on them.

I suppose the responsible thing for me to do now would be to call the three credit report companies and try to report this card account, even thought closed, as fraud. But really, a more than a year later, will it matter?

You know, the more I think about it, the more I know that I have to call those companies. I'll call them on Friday and make sure they are aware, that even though the account had nothing bad it in, it wasn't really mine. If Casey won't call me back, they are still not getting off the hook with me.

Two things are for certain now: I will no longer recommend Casey Cycle City to anyone, and I will not return there for any other purchases.

10 Habits of Happy Couples

Oh man, do I really want to do how my husband and I rank as a happy couple to the "10 Habits of Happy Couples" list? The list itself came out just last week.

"Happy couples have different habits than unhappy couples. A habit is a discrete behavior that you do automatically and that takes little effort to maintain. It takes 21 days of daily repetition of a new a behavior to become a habit. So select one of the behaviors in the list above to do for 21 days and voila, it will become a habit…and make you happier as a couple. And if you fall off the wagon, don’t despair, just apologize to your partner, ask their forgiveness and recommit yourself to getting back in the habit."

Hopefully, Dr. Mark Goulston, the author of the list, knows what he's talking about and this list won't be a bunch of bullshit! I don't want to "out" ourselves with an unhappy marriage here on the Internet. His bio at Psychology Today doesn't mention if he's married or not...that omission might be warning sign.

Oh wait, I spoke too soon: according to Dr. Goulston's website, he is married. Good sign, then he can give relationship advice.

"Nothing against relationship "experts", but I have a little problem with experts that give advice but aren't in a successful relationship of their own. Dr. John Gray. He's the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus." He's also been married twice, which is nothing bad, but it does make me wonder. Shoot, his first wife was a fellow self-help author. How messed up was that relationship?!

So anyway, onward!

1. Go to bed at the same time. This is pretty random for us, if it ever happens. I tend to stay up later during the week, and on the weekends, I usually go to bed first. But then again, my husband has to get up much earlier for work than I do.

2. Cultivate common interests. We do have some common interests that we've always had, right from the get-go. As we get older, I think our cultivated interests have become more individual. Neither of us think we need to be joined at the hip all the time.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side. We don't typically hold hands, but we do walk side by side. I think it would just be rude to not do that.

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode. Maybe this should be "Let it go" or "Don't sweat the small stuff." But sometimes, if you've a really, particularly intense fight, isn't it hard to let go and forgive? That's not to say that I don't trust my husband, because I do. I'd trust him with my life. Although, learning to "fight" effectively without being a bitch or holding it all in until it spills over a thte wrong time is a hard thing to do, especially if you grew up never having seen it done by both parties correctly.

5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. I think this is just nicer. Why be so pessimistic? I think we both do this.

6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work. Oh yeah, we go that down pat.

7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. I don't effectively function first thing in the morning, but most days, I am aware of my husband leaving for work, even if I'm still in bed because he comes in to say goodbye to me. On the rare occasions when he gets to sleep in when I'm leaving, I do the same for him. Call me weird, but for me (and maybe for my husband), I do it just because you don't know what your day will hold.

8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. Yep, we got this one too.

9. Do a “weather” check during the day. It's harder for me to get a hold of my husband during the day by phone, so when I do call him, it's usually me leaving a message for him. Sometimes, he'll call me at work. I think it's nice.

10. Be proud to be seen with your partner. I think this is the case for us too.

You know, all in all, we're doing good. As a pessimist (sometimes), I was really expecting this list to be something different, where we'd come out looking like a couple of flakes headed for a divorce or something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cate Blanchet=Crochet Blanket?

There are few people I know that can rock a crocheted or knitted piece of clothing. My friend Jan was one of them, and my friend Nicole is one of them. I, of course, do wear my own crocheted goodies, but I don't know that I rock them. Well, there is the insanely long purple scarf from a few years back, made with about four different kinds of yarn. I do rock that pretty hard, or maybe it rocks me. But I digress...

So anyway, I'm online a few weeks ago and I stumble across this site: It's an Australian crafting site. It has a free crochet pattern section so that's what drew me in...until I read this article: "Cate’s Bringing The Blanket Back."

"Cate Blanchett caused a stir last night when she turned up to the opening of Screen Worlds at ACMI wearing a traditional granny square blanket fashioned into a dress." There is a kick ass picture of her in said granny square dress. She's rockin' it, alright. And as a side note, I just have to say, that Jan would totally be digging this. I know damn well she would have started to make her own!

"The jury is still out on whether the style queen made an unusual red carpet fashion faux pas when she braved the cold wearing the doily-inspired shock frock by Australian label Romance Was Born." Oh no no no no NO. This rules! It's such a fun and retro take on something a lot of us grew up with having in our houses and never thought twice about, until it was time to curl up in front of the (big old console, sitting on the floor in a wooden body) TV during the winter.

Hey, remember, there was one of those blankets, almost the same color as Cate's dress, draped over the couch on Roseanne!

A dress like that (but made with two sleeves) would be so original. If I could pull it off, don't think I wouldn't try it, but I don't think I could do it justice.

My other most recent Internet crochet find is a blog by a guy who calls himself 8 Wit Bit. Unfortunately, it looks like he hasn't posted anything since May, but he's pretty damn good at amigurumi crochet. 8 Wit had posted a free crochet pattern he created of Brian Griffin, the dog from Family Guy. Since I had just finished Stewie's outfit for my sister, I thought an accompanying Brian would be the pièce de résistance.

But it was not meant to be. I swore and cussed and fretted over that little white dork four times and I just couldn't get the damn thing right! I don't know what the deal is...I think maybe the text pattern is not quite the same as the finished project. Brian's arms and legs don't seem to come out the same for me. Oh well, at least I tried.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Lack of Protesters?

I'm not going to jump on any kind of execution soapbox here, but I caught something kind of interesting as I listened to Larry King Live the other night, when John Allen Muhammad was going to be executed.

Larry had a reporter on the scene at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, VA, and she was explaining the physical layout of where the reporters where outside the facility, compared to the building where the execution took place. Apparently, there was a section cordoned off for death penalty protesters.

According to (and almost every other article you read before hand), "At the appointed hour, Muhammad will be strapped to a gurney. By then, as with every Virginia execution, protesters will have gathered in a field outside the prison -- people opposed to the death penalty no matter how terrible the crime."

I wish I had the wording here, but basically, Larry asked the reporter if there were very many protesters there that night. She said basically, no, there were none to speak of.

But according to the Baltimore Sun, "A large contingent of news media assembled outside the prison hours before the execution time. More than a dozen television satellite trucks parked outside the main gate and razor-wire fence. A few hundred yards away, a handful of protesters held anti-death penalty signs. One read: "We remember the victims...but not with more killing.

"Capital punishment supporters also were present. Pam Clarke, who came with her 13-year-old daughter, Emma Jo, said: "What he did just terrorized so many people...An eye for an eye."

If that's the case, then that's amazingly interesting to me, that what Muhammad did was so incredibly heinous, that even death penalty protesters felt the need to stand up for him. According to the Christian Science Monitor the night before Muhammad's execution, "It has been almost six years since Mr. Muhammad was sentenced to death for the murder of Dean Meyers, one of the 10 people killed during apparently random sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C., area in September and October 2002."

"Muhammad was executed by lethal injection on November 10, 2009, at 9:06 PM EST at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia, and was pronounced dead at 9:11 PM EST. Muhammad declined to make a final statement."

An Interesting Combination of Events

So on Thursday, our office closed at noon because of the nor'easter. No big deal. I went home, did come cleaning, some laundry, even some cooking. My husband was at work all day so I had the house to myself.

Note, between 5:45-6:05 PM, the power has gone out about seven times now. Thank God for a good computer battery. My dog is hating this: the constant off and on. He's trying to cram himself to the smallest corner next to me that he can, poor guy.

So I used the evening to get caught up on my backload of stuff on the DVR. One of the things I had on there was the original Night of the Living Dead by George Romero.

I may just have to light some candles and call it done on the computer. Time to break out the crochet instead of this, I think. The dog is now under the kitchen big brave German Shepherd!

So anyway, I hadn't seen the original Night. I had recorded it from Halloween on AMC. It's a great movie. George Romero has some really incredible use of sound and camera angles. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend it, my love for zombie movies aside. (Interesting fact: the zombies are never referred to as such. They are "the ghouls.")

A family, a couple, a young man and young woman, all trapped together inside a house. They've boarded the windows and doors against the marauding, murdering ghouls outside. Leave the safety of the house, and face certain death. With the remnants of Ida and our nor'easter raging outside, I thought it was an interesting way to watch a zombie movie.

Odd howls of wind; old, original windows in a 1942 house, knocking back and forth, sheets of rain battering down the streets and against the siding...shit, if this were right before Halloween, it would be a fabulous backdrop for the night! Mother Nature can out on one hell of a display when she wants!

span style="font-family: georgia;">I can't complain about flickering power...our house and yard are still intact. The truck and scooter are tucked away inside a sturdy garage. No limbs have come down on our house. I didn't get stuck on the way home from work anywhere. The power is back on (for the time being). It makes me almost wish I don't have to go to work tomorrow. I've already got some candles going here at the house. It makes it kind of cozy (even with a mass of quivering fur at my feet).

Although I do have to give mad props to the United States Postal Service and UPS. We got our usual mail delivery and a quick stop off from UPS this afternoon. Having those guys out and about today struck me as above and beyond the call of duty. Way to go, guys!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Going to Give Myself Arthritis or Something

So my younger sister is pregnant, about 4-5 months now. When I was unemployed over the summer, my mom started sending me a bunch of yarn; all different brands, colors and types, so it was a way to keep myself busy. After my sister made the announcement, I started to crochet for the baby. And because I'm a giant arts and crafts nerd, I've been taking photos of the finished projects, just to be able to post them here. My hands are fairly sore after finishing a project now. (I crocheted a quick pair of fun baby booties for a friend of a friend just last night.)

According to the doctor she's seeing, she's not far enough long yet to get a good clear sonogram, so we don't know what the baby is just yet. So until then, I'm trying to keep everything gender-neutral for clothes. However, I know those blue/green/white variegated jacket and hat sets (with matching booties) are seeming more boyish than neutral. But I couldn't resist...that yarn was too pretty to leave sitting.

And again, because I'm a giant nerd, I decided the kid needs (maybe for Halloween next year) a yellow shirt/red overalls set like what Stewie Griffin wears on Family Guy. Yeah, I know...I watch too much TV, but my sister and her husband are "Family Guy" fans too, I think they will think it's funny. And I just finished the little blue booties earlier tonight.

I've got a few more little projects I'm hoping to get done before they arrive here in a week to visit. They're going to be taking a bag of stuff back with them, and maybe then I can get started on a project for myself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maine a harsh loss to gay-marriage drive

Well, so much for equal marital rights. The conservative voters of Maine made sure gay marriage wasn't going to take place there.

"The stars seemed aligned for supporters of gay marriage. They had Maine's governor, legislative leaders and major newspapers on their side, plus a huge edge in campaign funding. So losing a landmark referendum was a devastating blow, for activists in Maine and nationwide.

"In an election that had been billed for weeks as too close to call, Maine's often unpredictable voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed. Gay marriage has now lost in all 31 states in which it has been put to a popular vote — a trend that the gay-rights movement had believed it could end in Maine."

Because God forbid we let just anyone get married these days! Seriously, another state that won't allow gay marriage? I'd like one educated, reasonable reason WHY.

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group that steered substantial funds to fight gay marriage in both California and Maine, was elated by Tuesday's result, saying it shows that "that even in a New England state, if the voters have a chance to have their say, they're going to protect and defend the commonsense definition of marriage."

That's not what I meant.

I can't believe that some people are so closed minded. I guess if it's something different from their norm, it just can't be right.

Richard Socarides, who was an adviser on gay-rights issues in the Clinton administration, said the loss in Maine should prompt gay-rights leaders to reconsider their state-by-state strategy on marriage and shift instead to lobbying for changes on the federal level that expand recognition of same-sex couples." Actually, I don't agree taking it to the federal level yet. I think you need to work it from the ground up at the state levels like they have been doing. Once a majority of the states allow gay marriage, then I think the federal government will have to take a long, hard look at it.

According to Wikipedia: "New York and the District of Columbia do not grant but recognize legal out-of-state same-sex marriages. In California, same-sex marriage was legal from June to November 2008, after the California Supreme Court held the statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the state constitution; but the California electorate then approved a voter initiative that reinstated the ban on same-sex marriage as part of the constitution. Marriages performed during the period remain legally valid."

But this is what I find the saddest: "The movement to obtain marriages rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the early 1970s. The issue became prominent in U.S. politics in the 1990s, with New England being the center of same-sex marriage legalization in the United States." SINCE THE 1970s, THIS FIGHT HAS BEEN GOING ON. There have been people in the United States that will never get to have a wedding and call themselves married. That's so wrong. I know that not every moment of a marriage is fabulous and like a Lifetime movie, but when it's good, it's worth it. It's just not fair.

I will always be for gay marriage. I'm no better than anyone else and I got to get married. I have a husband to call my own. Gay couples should have that as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Results Are Coming In

Well damn it all to hell, Bob McDonnell is our new governor. I kind of figured that would happen but I'm still bummed out about it.

"Robert F. "Bob" McDonnell has steamrolled R. Creigh Deeds in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, in a race quickly called by the Associated Press just after polls closed across Virginia at 7 p.m...Democrats throughout the campaign accused McDonnell of adopting a moderate image to cloak his true beliefs.

"Exhibit A in that argument was the governor-elect’s 1989 graduate thesis advocating a conservative social agenda in government. Polls showed that message gained some traction after the thesis came to light in late August, but the momentum was short-lived. "

If Bob McDonnell tries to turn Virginia into his own personal little conservative haven, I won't be surprised. I've heard him say he no longer feels the same way that he did when he wrote that college dissertation, but a leopard can't change his spots. Maybe McDonnell doesn't feel as strongly now about abortion, equal pay for women, birth control and the like, but I believe those same opinions are still there. Only time will tell if he acts on them.

"In his paper, he advocated a conservative social agenda and took the position that women who work outside the home are harmful to society.

From the Va Pilot (just one of any various updates as the night went on): "McDonnell this year disavowed some of the thesis, and it didn't become a major issue with voters." It was actually a major issue with me, but I'm just one working female voter. What do I know?

"It is a blessing for the school to be able to show others in the community at large that the grads we are turning out are very capable, very qualified and they are well-rounded," said Bobby Maddox, an El Paso, Texas, attorney and 2001 Regent law school graduate."...Alumni said McDonnell's election also affirms Regent's goal to offer education "in pivotal professions to equip Christian leaders to change the world," as described on its Web site." All hail Jeebus, the bible-thumpers are out to change the world. So what, only professionals that are Christian leaders can change the world? Can we PLEASE leave religion out of politics for one evening?

"McDonnell and Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster and Regent's founder, have a warm relationship. McDonnell has said Regent taught him "the real importance of being a Christian elected official... acting in a degree of civility and trying to build bridges to get things done without compromising principle." This will come up again during McDonnell's term, just you wait and see.

And damn it again...Bill Bolling has been elected Lieutenant Governor over Jody Wagner. Shoot, I can't pick them for anything, can I? (I know technically I picked the Governor's election correctly even though I voted for Deeds but I didn't want to be right about that.

Well, I did pick Ken Cuccinelli for Va Attorney General, and Matthew James for the 80th District. Even Paula Miller was re-elected to the 87th district.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Elections in Virginia, Part II

Tonight's a brief overview of the district elections for tomorrow in Hampton Roads.

For the 21st House District, I'd go with R.W. 'Bobby’ Mathieson (Democrat). I've seen Ron A. Villanueva's commercials on TV, and he's coming across poorly. He created 14,000 jobs? Wow, I'd LOVE to know where! I have the feeling that Mathieson would have some fresh outlooks on things and could bring a lot to the table. But unfortunately, Villanueva's been in the Va Beach City Council since 2002, so he's got the name recognition (as well as the backing of the Filipino community out here) that Mathieson doesn't. I think Ron's going to get this one.

For the 64th House District, I can't even call that one. There are three men up for it, and aside from what the Va Pilot has about them, I haven't heard of any of them.

Ditto on the the 82nd House District, I can't even call that one. There are three more unknown men up for that one as well..

For the the 85th House District, I haven't heard of either of the candidates. That doesn't bother me too much, considering these districts aren't mine to vote for anyway.

And ditto again for the the 100th House District, I haven't heard of either of the candidates.

For the 80th House District, I'd go with Matthew James (Democrat). He's got loads more experience than Jennifer Lee, who seems to have more work in a variety of fields, whereas James seems a little more focused.

For the 83rd House District, I wouldn't go with either Chris P. Stolle (Republican) or Joe F. Bouchard (Democrat) I don't feel like either of them have anything to offer.

For the 87th House District, I'd go with Paula Miller (Democrat). I don't know where John N. Amiral has come from for this election. He just doesn't have the experience yet.

For the 89th House District, I'd go with Anthony J. 'Trip’ Triplin (Independent). I dig the fact that Triplin is a college student at (poly-sci) at Norfolk State. He's young (24) and probably has loads of ideas, as well as the rest of his life ahead of him to work for what should become his district.

For the 90th House District, I'd go with Algie T. Howell Jr. (Democrat). It seems like Howell has been around the area for some time, as I remember seeing his signs from years past. Like Villanueva, Howell's got the local name recognition.

So get out an vote tomorrow! As long as you make informed decisions on who you want to vote for, your vote will count!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Little Love Note to Halloween

I'd be greatly amiss if I didn't mention my love for Halloween. I decorate inside and outside for this fun holiday...the bathroom, living room, dining room and even the kitchen. I love a little gore and creepiness, and some outright fun (especially this Hoobastank cover of "Ghostbusters"). I like seeing the costumes, especially the creative homemade ones. I like making kids wonder, as they come up our sidewalk, "Ummmm, should I actually be here right now?" And I like it when they enjoy our yard. Hell, I even order Halloween-themed rubber duckies from Oriental Trading to mix in with the candy for the little kids.

But I have just one complaint to get off my chest...WHERE THE HELL WERE THE KIDS AT THIS YEAR??? Come on people... it was a beautiful Saturday night. What's happening to the kids in our neighborhood? We probably had about 15-20 kids come by, and we were giving out handfuls of candy, while sitting outside in our front yard with lights on. There was no wondering if we were really "open for business," so to speak.

My God people, work with me here...I've got plans for Halloween usually 6-8 months out. If the turnout is going to continue to be even more lame in 2010, then what am I getting so excited about? Ah, sigh...I guess this gives me time to plan for next year, and whether or not I should do my cannibal-themed dinner party.

Election Time Again

It's almost election day here in Virginia. The elections we are looking at are as follows: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Va House for 10 different districts, Sheriff for 5 different cities, plus Va Beach Commonwealth's Attorney and the Norfolk Commissioner of Revenue. Even though I will be voting, I'll be glad when this is all done and over with for the time being

For Virginia governor, I'll be voting for Creigh Deeds (Democrat). Transportation is not such a hot button topic for me, but I do have to admit, Bob McDonnell's stance on transportation throughout the state is much more specific and concise than Deeds' platform. Deeds comes across too vague on transportation issues and projects. McDonnell is also more concise and better spoken on jobs and the economy.

As far as their stances on education go, I think both men are about equal, in my opinion. According to the Va Pilot, "He [Deeds] is not proposing any specific tax increases but said a new source of money has to be found to pay for billions of dollars in transportation projects. He wants to pass a plan in 2010. If a bipartisan road plan that includes tax, fee or toll increases is approved by the General Assembly, Deeds said, he will sign it. He wants to change the way the state budget is crafted to use zero-based budgeting. Instead of drafting the budget based on the past year's document, he wants to build it from scratch, forcing state officials to justify almost every item." I think this all sounds good and he's being up-front about taxes.

So if McDonnell is looking like the better contender (and I think he will win the election), why am I voting for Deeds? "The clamor surrounding his graduate dissertation from 1989, in which he disparaged working women, homosexuals, "fornicators" and others of whom he disapproved, has tended to obscure rather than illuminate fair questions about the sort of governor he would make." As a working woman myself, I shudder at the thought of what life in Virginia might be like if he were left to lead it. Maybe I'm a little closed minded on his thesis, but as a voter, I'm within my rights to consider every aspect of those elected officials.

For Virginia lieutenant governor, I'll be voting for Jody Wagner (Democrat). She understands the plight of the small business owner (co-owner of Jody’s, an Oceanfront popcorn and confections shop). She was the Virginia secretary of finance under Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, 2006-2008; state treasurer under Gov. Mark Warner, 2002-06; and formerly an attorney with Kaufman & Canoles in Norfolk.

If Jody Wagner's commercials are true (about Bill Bolling's attendance at meetings), then I think it's time for a change. We need someone who is actively working for our state. I'm just not sure who will win this election. I feel like it could go either way.

For Virginia attorney general, I'll be voting for Ken Cuccinelli (Republican). "As a senator, I have pushed legislation to create one strike and you’re out for violent sex offenders, crack down on drunk drivers, get tough on gangs, and cut down on burdensome regulations on businesses." Steve Shannon doesn't even mention drunk drivers in why you should vote for him. Virginia is too lax on drunk drivers, and I'm hoping that if Cuccinelli is elected, he will keep up his interest in drunk driving legislation, making it harder for Va drunk drivers to continue driving.

For Norfolk sheriff, I'll be voting for Robert J. McCabe (Democrat). What my decision boils down to is this: I just don't think Sean Jones has enough experience to be sheriff. Sure, McCabe is older than him so of course McCabe will have more experience. But Sean Jones "More than three years as sheriff’s deputy." That's just not enough experience for me to have enough confidence in him as the sheriff.

For Virginia Beach sheriff, I would choose John L. Bell Jr. (Democrat). He seems to have more experience and pertinent education over Ken Stolle. Interestingly enough, I didn't even know John Bell was running against Ken Stolle. Stolle seems to have more going on in terms of signs and ads, but Bell could be a great kept secret in this election.

For Chesapeake sheriff, I would choose John R. Newhart. He's been the Chesapeake sheriff since 1970. Obviously, he's doing something right to continue to be elected over and over again.

For Portsmouth sheriff, I would choose W.O. “Bill” Watson (Democrat). He's been the Portsmouth sheriff since 2006, and David Lee Cherry Sr. seems more like a full-time business man and part-time (axillary) officer. Portsmouth needs a full-time sheriff who will devote himself totally to the position.

For Suffolk sheriff, I would choose Raleigh H. Isaacs Sr. (Independent). He addresses right away the economy and how it could continue to impact local crime. "With the current economic situation facing our country and the potential for budget cutbacks from the State, I am afraid we will see an increase in the number of criminal offenses and civil court actions. This could dramatically impact the workload of my staff by increasing the number of persons entering the courts building, the daily inmate population and the volume of warrants served." This shows he's thinking long term.

Jay A. Clason said, "The greatest challenge for the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department is legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens. Currently, the department is viewed as a second home for retired police officers with minimal responsibilities." Ummmmm, really? I've never heard anyone say that before, so where is he getting this info? And how is the current roster of officers going to feel about him for saying that?

More to come tomorrow on the district elections we have coming up. Trying to fit them all in tonight would turn into a snooze-fest!