Day Jobs and Debates

Today was my first day at my new day job. I’m not really supposed to say where it is, or what I’ll be doing. But it is in the same place where I had my last oh-so-brief day job, so I know how to get there, and the layout of the building. I also knew a couple of people that I saw this morning. I told one of them what had happened and came very close to breaking down in front of a large group of people. She was sweet, encouraging and understanding. Hopefully things will go better this time, and I can work quite a bit longer.

Last week, the week I was supposed to have started this job, was the time of the first Presidential debates. Anna from Mochimochiland offered two free patterns for tiny Presidential nominees.

Yep. There they are, Tiny Sec. Clinton and Tiny M. CheetoDumpsterFireTrump. Right next to the tissue box, as I haven’t had a chance to make the tiny debate stage. Even if you’ve never made tiny knitted figurines before, it’s pretty easy and a lot of fun. Also highly addictive.

Tomorrow is the Vice Presidential debates. Fortunately, I have to go to bed early so I’ll have to miss them (dang). Let me know below if I miss anything.

Tonight is also the first day of Spinzilla. I’m looking forward to doing some spinning to get the day out of my head.


The Circus is Back (Thank Goodness it’s not Here)

This is the week of the Republican Party’s National Convention in the US. When I was younger, politics was like a game. A weird, sometimes hilariously funny, mysterious game where the winner and loser didn’t really matter, because the world still went on.

Then Donald Trump decided he was going to run. For President. Now it’s not so much of a game anymore.

8 years ago, Barack Obama, the junior Senator from Illinois, won the election for President of the US. Some people said it was the end of racism in our country, because we finally had a Black President. As it turned out, not so much. There were questions about where he was born, because if he had a Kenyan father, he couldn’t possibly be One of Us. There were questions about whether or not he was a Socialist. (On a personal note, it is a dream of your blogmistress to actually have a socialist president. But I don’t think our country is ready for that today.) He had more threats to his person and his family than any president in my living memory who hadn’t actually been assassinated. But he kept going, no matter what horrific racist garbage was tossed his way. The Democratic National Convention was held not far from us and it was amazing. Even with police roughing up protestors and keeping the press at arm’s length whenever possible, it was amazing. I don’t remember where the Republican convention was that year, but it was pretty entertaining.

And 8 years later, we’re getting political party conventions again. The Republican convention is, from my personal perspective, a horror show. I cannot describe it in any other way. It was so bad that the Colorado delegation walked off the convention floor em masse on the first day.

Let me say that a little slower. A. Delegation of elected delegates. Walked. Off. The convention. Floor.

The cover story was that “they were going to dinner”. At 4 in the afternoon. Of course.

The next day, when the official verbal vote count went out, the results told the true story. Out of Colorado’s 37 electoral votes, 31 votes went to Ted Cruz, later amended to 33. 2 delegates abstained. The other 4 voted for Trump, now the official Republican party nominee for President.

That’s not even mentioning the blatant racism, sexism, and homophobia proudly on display over the past few days. Like the dinosaurs howling their last after the cataclysmic event that brought their demise, the vast majority of party speakers can’t seem to stop being the party of Proud White People.

As of today, I’ve spent the entire RNConvention writing this post. Last night was the big speech in front of the Reichstagacceptance speech for the Republican nomination. Apparently, clocking in at 74+ minutes, the longest speech in the history of nominee acceptance speeches. I was busy recovering from our trip to the Fancy Amusement Park with Baby Goth and her BFF and wasn’t in the proper frame of mind to watch last night. This morning, between Twitter and our local news, I’ve managed to make up for that. My goodness, that looks truly frightening.

So, now that the convention is over, register to vote in November. Do it today. If you live in a state that offers mail-in ballots, please please take advantage of that. I can assure you it’s worth whatever hoops you have to jump through, especially if you live in a state where the weather is unpredictable in November. Register today. This is no longer a joke. This is our new reality. If we don’t want it to be our reality for the next 4 years, please vote in November. If you’re not bothered by that, I’m not certain you’re reading the right blog for you.

I’ll write more spinning-related posts this weekend. Promise.

You Don’t Need Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby, for those of you who have never seen one (and in certain parts of the US, they are scarce), is a large chain of crafting supplies. They are run by a couple who are evangelical Christians. Their religion has a bearing in every aspect of their business: they carry Christian homeschooling textbooks and other supplies, they have a Wall-o-Crosses, their stores are closed on Sundays and religious holidays. Thanks to the US Supreme Court, they also use their religion to determine what benefits they will offer their employees. Lots of people, on many different blogs, have written about the recent Supreme Court decision allowing private businesses to allow their religion to dictate what benefits their employees have available to them. Specifically benefits that relate to women’s reproductive health; birth control pills and other hormonal birth control methods. At least five SCoTUS judges did. We won’t mention the name I have for them based on this decision alone. This isn’t about that.

This is to help out those of us who would like an alternative to shopping there. If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, you probably have one of these stores nearby as well:

  • Michaels Arts and Crafts. This is the “largest arts, crafts, hobby, framing and seasonal goods stores in North America”. It would be hard to have a Hobby Lobby without at least one Michaels nearby. Helpful hint: it’s a great place if you know exactly what you want and aren’t afraid to look around.
  • JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. They have fabric. Lots of fabric. But they have other things too. At least at the ones near us, they have everything from cake decorating supplies to 31 count linen and lots of other things in between. Again, it’s great if you know exactly what you want.
  • Buy Local. If you live in a medium sized town, there are some other alternatives. Yarn stores. Hell, in our area there’s at least one every 5 miles. Fabric stores. Quilting shops. Embroidery shops. Crafting stores and art supply stores. Look around you. It’s a good way of getting to know your area and meeting new people.*

I cannot speak for the Big Box Stores listed above. They may treat their employees similarly to HL or not. There is also the good old Internet; Etsy and ArtFire are two that immediately come to mind. I know there are others.

As with other stores similar to them, there are real people who will be hurt by a boycott. I do feel for them. I understand firsthand what it’s like to find out what your employer (or your spouse’s employer) really thinks of you. Make no mistake, that is a part of what this was about, even though it wasn’t stated outright.

So Today, This Happened

In the latest edition of David vs. Goliath, Casey F of Ravelry received a Cease and Desist order from the legal department of the United States Olympic Committee. They were ordering Ravelry to stop using the term Ravelympics for their semi-annual fiber-y marathon. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

While we’re on the subject of denigrating our fine and noble athletes (and I mean the term “fine and noble athletes” sincerely – it takes a hell of a lot of talent and hard work to make it to the Olympics), shall we mention the rank hypocrisy of having McDonald’s and Coca-Cola as official team sponsors? Really, USOC?

In the letter (link goes to a Ravelry account page), there is not a satisfactory explanation as to how the Ravelympics denigrates the hard work of the athletes being cheered on by, frankly, a bunch of knitters. Or how the Olympic athletes are honored by being represented by General Electric and Dow Chemical (other official Olympic sponsors).

Am I a little pissed off? Hell yes. Will I boycott viewing the Olympics, as several of my fellow knitters have suggested? I don’t know yet. There is the temptation of spinning some specially dyed roving while watching the reintroduction of rugby as an official sport. Don’t get me started about some of the events that qualify as sport by decree of the International Olympic Committee…

Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

I’m pretty certain I’ve talked about this before, so it should be as no surprise to anybody. I am an agnostic atheist, meaning “I have no idea if God exists, but all signs point to no.” This is harder than I thought it would be. Even my “QueerKnits” blogroll membership is easier than this.

That is one of the projects I made several years ago, while this blog was temporily dormant. Now that my other blog is gone, well…

If you hit the fancy shiny button on the right over there, you can find lots of other blogs like this one. Go look. I’ll wait.

Hi again. Not all of the blogs center on atheism, but they all have one thing in common… I promise I will write as many posts dealing with my atheism as I do about adoptive porenting. At least for the past month or so. Some, but not much. Meanwhile I need to put up a post about some FOs.

You might notice that I put this in the “political” category. As we have seen from the events of yesterday in NC and CO, well…you seem like a mighty smart bunch. I’ll let you figure it out.

Oh Death

For the past week or so, I’ve been struggling with whether or not to write this post. I’m a little reluctant to put a very political post into a knitblog. Which is to say this will be a little more than What I Worked On This Week.

In the past week there have been 3 executions here in the US. In my state there is a discussion going on in at least one high-profile murder trial as to whether or not the death penalty will be imposed. In one case, Lawrence Brewer in Texas, there was no doubt at all as to the defendant’s guilt. In fact, he confessed to the crime several times. Up until the moment of his execution he apparently showed no remorse. Even after all that, members of his victim’s family asked for life without parole for Brewer instead of execution.

In another case, there was considerable doubt as to Troy Davis’ guilt in the 1993 murder of a Georgia police officer. Seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis recanted their testimonies and claimed police intimidation. Even after that, even after a huge, celebrity-filled campaign asking for a new trial and a commutation of his sentence, Troy Davis was executed on the same day as Lawrence Brewer; September 21, 2011. Until his death by lethal injection, Davis maintained his innocence.

Two days later, Alabama executed someone else. This week, 3 people were taken off of death row; 2 in North Carolina were exonerated, and 1 man was sentenced to 131 years in prison for second-degree murder (also in North Carolina).

There was also this lead editorial in Monday’s New York Times, calling for the abolition of the death penalty in the US.

When the Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty 35 years ago, it did so provisionally. Since then, it has sought to articulate legal standards for states to follow that would ensure the fair administration of capital punishment and avoid the arbitrariness and discrimination that had led it to strike down all state death penalty statutes in 1972.

As the unconscionable execution of Troy Davis in Georgia last week underscores, the court has failed because it is impossible to succeed at this task. The death penalty is grotesque and immoral and should be repealed.

I was pleased to see this from the Times. I feel that way myself. The death penalty, in my personal opinion, is nothing short of state-sponsored murder.

There are a lot of arguments in favor of the death penalty. It provides “closure” for a victim’s family. Personally, I couldn’t have closure until my murdered loved one leaped out of their grave, but that’s just me. It’s a deterrent. Can’t argue that one – an executed person will never kill again. As for its deterring anyone else…Some say it does (at least in Texas), some say it does not. It certainly stops the executed person from killing again…

The most frequent argument is that it “provides justice”. A certain kind of justice. Like the kind in Exodus 21:24. Google it.

To my fellow citizens who believe that the death penalty is the only form of justice befitting a capital crime, I have questions for you. To my religious neighbors: it is said that your God is the only and ultimate dispenser of justice. How can you set yourself and your state above your God? To my fellow nonbelievers: why are you so eager to embrace Bronze Age revenge as your “ultimate justice”? If you discount any holy book as being the only truth, why hold onto that part of a specific book?

The death penalty puts us in a select group of countries in the world. China, Yemen, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, among only a few others. I’ll leave it at that.

This concludes our rant for today, kids. See you tomorrow.

An FO and one in progress

This week, I finally finished something else. Meet Diva Squid, my Diva Cup’s new buddy.

The Elder God who keeps your menstrual cup warm and cozy

Double knitting is something I’m new at, and it went relatively well. The increases were a little tricky – I had to rip it back and restart it 5 times before I got them right – but it turned out okay. There might even be another one for my iPod in the near future.

The other thing I worked on today was my spinning.

That’s part of the second bobbin of singles I’m using for a beaded yarn. I even knitted up a sample skein…

The beads look pretty on their own, but I think I might use a different color on that white. Um, yes.

As for my other 2 UFOs that I’m still actively working on:

Margaret is still patiently waiting for me to figure out what the hell I’m going to write on her.

Bat Shawl is still slogging toward completion. I’m almost up to the point where I started ripping 3 months ago.

And that’s pretty much it for knitting.

In other news, I’m still stunned that Keith Olbermann left Countdown this evening. I had thought that MSNBC would be off the air when Comcast took over, but I had no idea it would be piece by piece this way. Very weird. Rumors as to the exact reason and all are still flying, so…

Olbermann could be a sexist wad at times, but his heart was usually in the right place. I’ll miss his passion for left-leaning causes.