Monday, October 31, 2005

Keith's Soap Box #001: Blog of Dreams

i will admit it; one of my favorite movies is "field of dreams" staring kevin costner. david can't stand kevin costner. he refers to him as "dull as dishwater". sure some of his roles leave a lot to be desired. but i am a sucker for sappy, sentimental stories.

for those of you that don't know the movie the basic plot is that kevin costner's character ray is an iowan corn farmer who one day hears a voice tell him to plow down his field and build a baseball diamond. the voice says in a burning-bush-from-the-ten-commandments-kinda-way, "if you build it they will come!" i won't give away anymore of the movie just in case you haven't seen it. rent it, put it in your netflix's a fun watch.

so why am i writing about "field of dreams"? i'll tell you. i started this blog on a whim. "k" at work writes this fantastically funny blog. i wanted to leave a comment on one of her entries. i figured that while i was at it i may as well register and start my own blog.

i was a bit shy at first about writing on the internet about stuff that i saw or about my personal life. but i quickly found myself wanting to write more; writing to an imaginary audience is so much fun. i finally got up the courage to announce the site to my friends and family in hopes that they would read it and maybe join in on the fun and leave comments. some have and some haven't.

if you blog it will they come?

so i thought i would start my "Keith's Soap Box" series with this entry. don't be shy. click on the pencil icon or the "comments" link and leave a note. i would love to read what you think (of course be kind). lurkers should still feel free to lurk all you want. maybe some day i'll write something that will compel you to write a comment that will lead to you starting your own blog.

keith (stepping off soap box #001)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween

i just had to post a picture of trixie with her new daisy harness. it's kind of has a halloween/fall feel to it.

Halloween Trixie

isn't she the cutest?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Baby Gifts Are Fun

i've been knitting a lot of baby gifts lately. there's nothing like a fun quick project. i finished these newborn booties and hat a few days ago for my co-worker kerrie who is expecting her 2nd child in a month.

Hat & Booties

the hat is from an ann norling hat pattern series called kid's caps iv using a combination of stockinet and double moss stitch. i modified the pattern slightly by adding the i-cord at the top for an added cute factor. the newborn size was much easier to knit on double-points than circular needles.

i went crazy trying to find a bootie pattern. my first attempt was a pattern "cute-as-can-be baby booties" from knitting pretty by kris percival. the pattern basically has you knit the bootie part separately from the sole. i had to sew the back seam and then the sole to the booty. what a pain in the, well, booty! the end result wasn't so bad but i honestly thought they were lacking something. and frankly the second bootie didn't come out as nicely as the first.

see for yourself
ugly booty

i apologize for the slightly blurry photos. i haven't quite mastered close-ups with the digital camera.

the winning booties came from Beth's Easy Knit Baby Booties pattern.


they look a little weird when flat but are instantly transformed into cute when standing up. the cuffs add more interest plus i think they will stay on better than the other design. they knit up in about an hour and only require one seam. the good thing with both bootie patterns was that i was able to try yarn overs for the first time. yarn overs are what create the eyelets for the ribbon to weave through.

the hat and the booties were knit using andean silk, leaf 23779 from knit picks. i really liked the feel of the hat and booties. they were definitely soft enough for a baby.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Dangers of Changing Routines

the construction and the idiotic drivers are causing the most abysmal traffic on the bay bridge lately. i reached the end of my rope and decided to give public transit one more try this morning. my first attempt at taking a local bus to the BART station, the train and then a shuttle bus to work took me close to 2 hours .. and i had to stand the entire trip.

i took a slightly different route this morning. i eliminated the local bus, drove to the BART station, and took a train and the shuttle bus. i had to be at the BART station no later by 7:19 a.m. with the hopes that i would find a free parking space. doing this meant changing my evening and morning routines.

the good news:

  1. there was plenty of free parking when i arrived at the BART station at 7:00 a.m.
  2. the commute took a little more than an hour and was relatively stress free
  3. i didn't have to deal with the moronic drivers
  4. i sat the whole way and was able to knit (my second time knitting in public) and worked on my new project, fingerless gloves for moi, yes for me. here's where i am so far:

    Fingerless Gloves

    i started out this morning with only the cuff and it is knit in the round.

the bad news:

  1. one must be careful when changing one's routine. i thought i would save time by ironing my shirt at night instead of the morning. so i decided to get up at 6:00 a.m., which is my usual time. who was i fooling. it takes me a little while before i'm fully awake. i found myself quickly running behind schedule. so i picked up the pace and while shaving did this (warning a little graphic):

    Nose Wound

    photo credit: christine pun (thanks christine)

    i know that you are saying, 'you stupid idiot keith, you're not supposed to shave your nose!' and, 'that's not such a bad cut.' you'd be surprised at how even the smallest nick hurts and bleeds like hell.
  2. i thought that everyone was staring at and talking to the wound on my face
  3. lastly, and i can't even believe i'm going to admit this to the blogging world, my routine was so messed up that i realized that i totally left the house without brushing my teeth. so not only was i self conscious of the gaping hole on my nose (i know i'm a drama queen) but i was mortified that i may have had bad breath. i chewed the hell out of the 2 pieces of gum i thankfully had.

lessons learned:

  1. be careful when changing routines
  2. get up earlier
  3. have a spare toothbrush and toothpaste at work just in case
  4. don't shave my nose

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My First Socks

i've been knitting a few gifts that i would love to show but since they haven't been given yet i thought i would post a sorta recent project that i'm proud of... my first pair of socks.


and here is david modeling them:

they were a bit of a challenge. the heels came out a bit weird and the toes a bit pointy because i knit a little on the tight side (go figure). but hey, i don't think i did too poorly for my first pair of socks.

the unfortunate thing is that they were knit with a wool that is a little on the itchy side. so i'm not sure how often i'll wear them.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My First Sweater

i can finally write about a recent knitting project, and the first i'm featuring on my blog.

My First Sweater

isn't it cute? it's a baby sweater that i just gave to our neighbors paula and roger to celebrate the birth of their son matthew.

christina, the owner of article pract, my favorite local yarn store, wisely convinced me to knit a sweater for a baby before i tackled an adult-sized sweater. i think it came out pretty good for my first sweater.

the pattern comes from a collection called "knitting pure & simple". theoretically this sweater should have been easy since it was knit in the round. for those of you that don't knit, sweaters can be either knit in pieces and then sewn together or knit in the round on circular needles avoiding sewing and seams.

it was pretty easy up until the point of joining the arms to the body of the sweater. i know i said that the theory is that knitting a sweater in the round is easy. well it may be easier but there is an art to "joining the sleeves" to the body. the knitting technical term is picking up stitches. i won’t bore you with all the details. i, as most of you that know me, am a perfectionist (a quality of the obsessive type). suffice it to say i had to rip out the sleeves (ripping means unraveling the knitted stitches) at least 5 times for each sleeve before i was pretty satisfied with how it looked.

the end result was good even with a few mistakes. all that matters is that paul and roger loved the sweater.

for me hand-knitting is not only a fun hobby but it's also a way for me to learn to let go of my perfectionist tendencies.

Instant Gratification

i like immediacy. there is nothing like having to wait a long time to see something completed.

i studied art with a concentration in photography and printmaking. like a lot of people out there i am not using those exact skills that i spent 4 1/2 very long years perfecting. working as a sr. producer for a web retailer has some creative aspects though. so at least i can parlay some of what i learned to my job.

but i digress. back to immediacy and the reason why i mentioned photography.

my father was a very good amateur photographer and frankly a very good artist. he took pride in his cameras. after i graduated with my art degree he gave me one of his old nikons. it was fully manual and built like a tank. it went with me and got banged up in my backpack on a 3-month tour of europe, was left out in the rain in our backyard in brooklyn and was with me for a good 15 years before it died. you see tanks can still get blown up. my nikon open and closed its shutter for last time on a trip to bermuda. david and i were walking along the beach when the leather strap broke and the camera fell into a shallow tidal pool. salt water was the final demise of my camera. like gollum i was beside myself…’NOT_MY_PRECIOUS!!!’

when we returned to ny i had to break down and buy a new camera. of course, being a nikon snob, i bought a brand new n70. this time my camera had all the bells and whistles of a 35mm SLR; our favorite function being automatic. with automatic our photo world was quickly widened. david will be the first to admit that he's a technophobe. so having a camera that he could easily use was a plus. and we could take pictures pretty quickly without having to worry about the shutter speed or f-stop. but we still had to wait to send our film out to be processed to see the fruits of our labor. how many times have you been disappointed when that special moment was ruined by being over or under exposed or by closed-eyes or blurred focus?

i was very resistant at first to buying a digital camera. i thought that i couldn't succumb to a 'toy'... only 35mm, SLRs were real cameras. i thought i would be giving up 'my craft'. we finally took the plunge once the prices dropped and bought a cannon powershot...yes a cannon. how wonderful was this new toy? it was fabulous! we could take hundreds of pictures without having to change film. we could retake a lot of shots that came out poorly (no more pictures of david with his eyes shut). the camera weighed half as much as the nikon. and the biggest perk was that the images were digital and could be enjoyed immediately.

i give you all this history for a purpose and i thank you for putting up with a long story (if you are still reading). i promise you that i am finally getting to the point of this post.

with all the added perks of owning and using a digital camera ... the biggest being instant gratification … comes one of my biggest pet peeves with digital cameras, the &*&(*#@ delay between hitting the shutter release and the capturing of the image. how many times have we lost that special moment by that *&%$# delay??? too many to count.

last week david, eugene, ken and i took our dogs trixie and haley on a play date to mill valley for a fun hike (i know, how gay). the dogs were so cute bounding up and down hills chasing each other. the trail was very narrow and due to lots of trees the lighting was a bit dark.

so a dark environment + fast moving objects + narrow trails + cannon powershot =

Darn digital cameras!


Trixie blurred #2

i think that we might be dusting off the nikon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Art of Multi-Tasking

i believe in multi-tasking. it's inevitable that in the fast-paced world that we live in that we have to fill every moment with doing some task with a means to an end. it often boggles my mind to see some of the things people do as they multi-task.

just yesterday as i was sitting in traffic, after getting through the bay bridge toll plaza and while merging lanes just before the metering lights, i saw the most amazing thing. now before i get to the details you all have seen what other people do while in their car. i'm also sure that some of you may also partake in some of the same things. hopefully you are doing the more involved tasks while at a red light or in stopped traffic; tasks like, singing at the top of your lungs to your favorite tune, putting on make-up, tying a tie, shaving (electric razor), smiling at that cute guy or gal in the car next to you, talking on the cell phone (my personal favorite, not), waving at long lost friends on bridges (inside joke) and even picking your nose (come on i know that you don't want to admit to that).

so there i was aggravated by the traffic and the idiotic california drivers (more on that in another post) when in the corner of my right eye i saw a woman in her pristine white volvo polishing her shoes. you're eyes are not playing tricks on you. she was polishing her shoes. i swear to you that i'm reporting the truth. she had her left hand in her nicely tied shoe and with her right hand was polishing it with that liquid-type shoe polish that has a sponge brush on the end. she wasn't doing this quickly. she was very methodic. AND (i couldn't help hitting the shift key here but the caps were needed for emphasis) she was doing this while merging into my lane, 'look everyone, no hands!'

i started to carry on this conversation in my head, 'i wish i had my camera with me! is she wearing any shoes? nah, she seems like the type of woman that as she was leaving her house planned to polish her shoes as she merged on to the bay bridge.' then i saw her stop for a few seconds and then i really believe she picked up the second shoe and began to resume her task.

my conversation continued as follows, 'i can't fucking believe her. this is why there is soooo much traffic on the bridge! those shoes are so ugly. she should just give up and throw them out the fucking window.'

but then i found myself laughing because this woman truly mastered the fine art of multi-tasking.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thank You Chris

i know that that many feel that christopher columbus wreaked havoc on the indigenous people when he 'discovered america' .. and i tend to agree. but i must thank him for one thing though, a much better commute today. crossing the bay bridge was practically a breeze.

thank you chris!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mechanically Inclined

i found another good use for yarn...fixing a "running toilet".

i came up with this brilliant idea after finally giving in to the fact that even though i can follow a semi-complicated knitting pattern i can't seem to figure out how to fix the filler valve in the toilet tank.

all we have to do is follow these 3 easy steps:
1. flush toilet
2. wait until we hear that annoying running toilet sound
3. pull on yarn

so until we figure out how to fix the toilet (i'm not spending $75/hr to have a plumber come and make what would probably be a simple fix) this handy method will have to do.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Men Do Knit

one of my passions (passions = obsessions) is knitting. yes, i am a man who knits. and yes i'm a gay man who knits. men have been knitting for centuries -- straight and gay. i don't know what the current statistics are but there are many sites and blogs dedicated to the men who are into the fine craft.

VogueKnitting , well known for their technique books and magazines, has a sister magazine called Knit.1. the fall/winter issue, hitting the stands in november, will be dedicated to men.

here's a sneak peak at the cover

so even though the upper right-hand corner clearly states "the men's issue" who are they targeting? i mean look at those needles .. phallic wouldn't you say? mabye it should read, "the gay men and straight women's issue"?