FO: Sport Spice Man Socks

Sport Spice Man socks

Sport Spice Man Socks, started June 12, 2016, finished July 20, 2016.Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Spice Man – Basic toe-up, all sizes Ravelry Pattern Page
Size: US 6.5/UK 4/EUR 36
Yarn: This is some clearance yarn I bought years ago. It had a simple label indicating that it was Needful Yarns Perform Sock Yarn – 50% wool and 50% CoolMax – a wicking fibre. No other info on gauge, washing, or yardage.
Needles: US1/2.25mm 40″/100cm circulars. My standard sock needles.

Sport Spice Man socks

Modifications & Notes: Since this is a basic sock pattern, modifications are necessary and encouraged. I wanted to learn this heel for the first time.

  • Using my standard 2.25mm for sock knitting; with this yarn, it results in a tighter gauge about 40sts over 10cm rather than the 32sts/10cm in the pattern – prefer tighter gauge sock yarn especially for my sport socks
  • 2AAT on long circular, but this did not work out as I had to do heels and heel flap separately
  • Really like the heel flap and the gusset; would definitely use the techniques again except I’d have to do it separately when I got to the heels
  • Knit leg for about 3” and cuff for about 1”

Lessons Learned: Another heel flap and gusset technique for toe-up
Cost of Project: $2 for the yarn!
Would I knit it again? Sure.

FO: Lace Legs

This is the first of four knitting posts. Two of which I finished months ago so the commentary will be short on some of them.

I recently started a new job which is great. However, is the most strenuous one I’ve had in awhile. As a result, I have less time and energy for reading, but knitting is more manageable. I have tended to knitting when work or school was occupying. I am aiming to stashdown as well. Hopefully more knitting posts to continue in 2017.

Lace Legs

A number of years ago, I made my first pair of legwarmers. I never wore legwarmers before that, but they are became very useful. I wear skirts and dresses through the winter and legwarmers are invaluable for that since I live in Canada. I use my legwarmers at least once a week if not more in the winter and I only had the one pair. When I read that other knitters had issues with this yarn felting, I knew the alpaca would make great legwarmers.

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League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

The final book in the Temeraire series. I started this series late last year or earlier this year. Luckily enough, the author chose to finish it this year.

This novel was similar to some previous ones. It was slow to start, not a bad middle, and then I zoned out during the battles. The ending was fine.

I would say that the world building in this novel has been fun. I love dragons. Temeraire is a good character and I loved the various settings. Laurence is a character as well. I do think the series has been dragged on slightly. To be honest, there was not a lot of difference between the last two books. The emphasis on the battles bored me. The series even used the amnesia trope at one point. Romance was practically nonexistent in these books which is actually fine. At the times when the books did touch on it for the humans, it felt forced. The dragon romance Temeraire with the Chinese dragon was more interesting but not well explored.

In conclusion, I recommend this series to fantasy and history fans. They are easy and fun to read. I enjoyed going through the series and have not completed a series like this in a long time. I do wonder if Novik will continue another story in this universe.

Read October 25, 2016

Skin Care Routine Autumn 2016

Over the years, I’ve tried to take care of my skin. I stay out of the sun and I moisturize. I do no wear any makeup except lipstick. A couple months ago, I began a journey to delve into better skin care. This is both for health and as a hobby. I have followed and tried Asian beauty products in the past, but this was the first time when I really researched and took it to the next level.

This is a new series in posts as I explore this beauty and health regime and hobby. Warning: this is a long post with mini reviews of several products.

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Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley

This is a long overdue review. The blog being down and me being generally busy with life and other things means that I cobbled this review from notes and other postings.

This was an eagerly anticipated sequel to The Rook. I read Stiletto without rereading The Rook so I forgot a lot, but you can really read it as a standalone.

All in all, I liked it and found it almost as addictive as the first. I liked the new characters and the new arc featuring the merger. This novel has a ton of world building which is fun and as a fatansy/sci-fi series should. There’s a little of side stories and tidbits. My favourite was Marcel’s story which read like a mini WWII novel (and there are many of those on the market). I found The Roock was not British or English enough; the editing and writing for that part of the world and those characters were lacking. This one was better that way. I believed the characters were British and European.

There was not enough Myfanwy. She continues to grow and I missed her POV in this novel. I do like that this series seems focused on interesting and distinct female protagonists and characters. All three central characters come from different backgrounds and experiences.

Finally, this book is squickier than the last book and in general compared to many other books I read. I’m generally fine these kind of details in books (less so in movies and TV), but this will bother more readers.

To avoid spoiling the book, I will say that there is a villain in this series and Myfawny has a true nemesis. Personally, they are one of the creepiest and darkest villains in a series I’ve read in awhile. I kinda wish the author would introduce a new nemesis for Myfanwny. Hopefully when the take down happens, it will be sweet and worthwhile.

Read September 6-8, 2016.

This was my 42nd book of the year. In 2015, I only managed 42 books. While I will read more books for the rest of the year; the autumn is much busier than I anticipated. As I get older, I still read as fast and love books. They are one of my constant pleasures and hobbies; however, life does get in the way. I have more responsibilities in all areas of my life. Most days, I wish I could forget it all and read and read.

Short Book Reviews of Summer 2016

The following are three books I read in the summer which warranted some mini reviews.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Love KonMari’s philosophy about tidiness and stuff. I find it spiritual and from a good place not of judgment or feeding into consumerism.

Living Alone & Loving It by Barbara Feldon

I love to live alone. This book has avice which i already apply to my life which is to create a space for myself. I am lucky to have my family near by, but I love my own space. This book has practical advice for those who want to love their single and solo life more.

A Beginner’s Guide to Paradise by Alex Sheshunoff

A funny memoirs about time in the South and West Pacific Islands. Made me laugh out loud a couple of times and really captured the early aughts.

The New Yorker: August 2016

For awhile now, I have wanted a subscription to Thew New Yorker. I’ve read books from the regular contributors, often find these articles I like from the Best American Travel Writing series, and love New York. I like a couple of periodicals and wish I could find the time and money to read them. When I passed my PMP in August, I rewarded myself with a trial subscription of $12 for 12 weeks of the magazine so I will have this subscription until November 7, 2016.

I read about 75% each magazine; it varies because sometimes I will have at long articles which I don’t even want to skim read for whatever reason. I skip all the local New York arts news and what’s happening. I thoroughly read or skim-read most of the long features. I skim read most of the pop culture reviews depending on the subject matter.

Considering this magazine is low on advertisements, it’s a lot of reading. Each magazine is basically a small non-fiction book in length and breadth. One of the things that I like about The New Yorker is how high brow it is both in vocabulary, topics, and its comics allusions. I love when I see something in this magazine then have to really think about the meaning of a cartoon. I also really appreciate high diction in the media.

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Monthly Movies – Summer 2016

JUNE 2016

The Decoy Bride (09 06 2016) – In attempt to watch something after Jessica Jones where David Tennant is not a psycho, I had this in the queue. Tennant and Kelly Macdonald in Scotland can’t go wrong? Well, the script is not great. This is he kind of romantic comedy that could have made more money ten or twenty years ago, but is very much out of favour. There were trite and cliche situations. I really like the actors, but my mind wandered. My favourite moment was when an older deaf couple dance. That made me tear up. At least Tennant did use his soft romance eyes rather than his psycho ones.

JULY 2016

I can’t remember if I watched any movies. It was the summer of sports with Euros and the Olympics.

AUGUST 2016

Sophie’s Choice – I can’t remember when I watched this, but it was one of the most depressing movies I have seen in a long time. It took me two days to finish because I was bored during most of it. I did know the ending, but it took forever to get to that point. All the while, you have to watch some very unhealthy relationships. It was miserable. I like Meryl Streep and she was great in it, but I also get the criticisms of the book and the movie.

The Martian (30 08 2016) – Reviewed here.

Captain America: Civil War (30 08 2016) – When this movie first came out, I thoroughly spoiled myself. Usually this does not bother me, but it did feel like I had already watched the movie when I saw this one. Entertaining enough. Villain was largely forgettable again. Looking forward to Black Panther, Spider Man and Infinity Wars.

Back Online!

Hello! If you visited this blog and website for the last month, you may have found it unreachable. Now, I have returned and my posts are still here! Yay!

I am generously hosted by a friend of mine who has a reseller account for an web host called A Small Orange. We’ve been with this host for over a decade. I was unable to use FTP or my CPanel and had NO access to my domain at all. A Small Orange did not reply to our emails, twitter, etc. It was acquired by another company not too long ago and since then, it’s gone downhill. As a result, I lost access to all my original files which is sad since some of my files on the domain go back to 2001 including my teenage blog! I may have those files saved elsewhere, but I am generally not that maudlin anymore.

In any case, I did have a couple of backup plugins and one of them did save most of my WordPress files including the SQL data file with all my 900+ posts. We moved to a new webhost, but it was NOT a smooth journey to reinstall everything. In the end, with some help from someone on WordPress Support forums, I am back!

September has been a busy month for me and I did not read as many books as I would have liked. I am continuing to read the New Yorker. I have drafted some posts on it and skin care while this domain was offline. New posts will be coming soon and I hope to have better news to share with you all in October.

All the best! Happy autumn!

The Martian by Andy Weir

This was a fun and exciting page turner. There is something about this novel that does feel different to recent novels I’ve read. Part of it was the focus on space and the excitement from the extreme plot of being stranded on Mars.

The book has urgency and suspense. It pulls the reader in even though after disaster and bad news #4566, it gets a little tiresome watching everyone be able to make it through. There is no way this book could be popular without a happy ending. There were too many catastrophes along the way for that to happen. It had to have somewhat of a good ending.

Mark is likeable though sometimes a little too snarky to be true. I liked almost all the characters, but few of them got thorough development. There were many notable characters. I liked the dialogue in the book. I wish we more on the characters. It does feel more like a plot book rather than a character book which is alright in some ways.

Read August 29-30, 2016.

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Dog on it by Spencer Quinn

I read this for a book club. We have not met for it yet.

This is a mystery novel narrated by a dog. I did not realize this until I started the novel. It’s rather cute actually. There are lots of moments of silliness and adorableness especially if you love dog. I even laughed out lout whenever Chet the dog would narrate how he barked to another dog: “I barked. She barked. I barked. She barked.”

Other than the Chet’s narration, the rest of the novel is not particularly noteworthy. Bernie the private detective is a nice enough guy, but there does not seem to be a lot of depth to all these characters. Part of it is probably because it is narrated by a non-human. However, it does limit things for character development.

The plot was very predictable even for a mystery reader as myself. I was a bit disappointed how basic it was. I think this is a small quibble because this book is a light read. It’s easy writing and if you like desert settings, even better. I will not read on this series. It’s not for me, but I did not dislike the experience.

Read August 21-23, 2016.