Projects…but first, annoyances

Whew, that took a while, didn’t it?

Is there anything more annoying than the way that the iCloud photo stream works (or in this case, doesn’t work) with Windows 7? OK, yeah, there are probably things that are more annoying but at this particular moment, that’s on the top of my list. It just stops updating…photos show up in my photo stream on my iPhone, my iPad, but they sync perfectly to my Photo Stream folder on my Windows PC for a while, and then they just…stop. Usually, I have to reboot, or turn off Photo Stream and then turn it back on, and sometimes one of those things works, although there are some photos that just won’t EVER synch to the PC. Stupidly annoying. There are tons of posts about it on the Apple support boards.

It’s like that mysterious “OTHER” storage usage on my iPad. Turns out, it’s caused by renting movies or shows from iTunes. The Apple video app will download the whole shebang while you’re streaming a movie, and it takes up a ton of storage on the device, which is listed as “Other” when you’re syncing and looking at usage. The problem is, when you’re done, it doesn’t release that storage. It just sits there. The workaround is to install a new app or something like that, then it suddenly frees it up. Tellingly, you can stream from Netflix and Amazon Prime and this problem does not happen, it’s just in Apple’s shitty video app. Here’s an excellent, detailed blog post that explains the whole problem quite clearly.

I don’t consider myself a fanboy fangirl of either Windows or Apple, I mean everything has its place and I’m a consumer of multiple Windows and Apple devices (as well as at least one Android thingamabob). But Apple’s native apps are just such a nightmare lately. Don’t even get me started on the bloated obscenity that iTunes has become. And then there’s that whole thing where the new “Health” app lets you can track your intake or blood content of various obscure chemicals, but doesn’t offer a single option for tracking menstrual cycles, fertility, etc. LAME, APPLE.

So there’s the rant out of the way, let’s get on to the fun stuff: projects! I’m going to try to go back and show you everything I made for Christmas gifts this year. If I can remember them all. I was a busy little bee!

I bought some cotton yarn last summer and made my Dad some coasters, which he really liked. He requested placemats that matched, so I made him four:


I was trying for six, but it was getting close to Christmas. I did promise him I’d make two more and send them on this month or next. It was an easy pattern but it did get boring making the same thing over and over!

I made my sister a “lapghan” to use when she’s watching TV. Since she lost so much weight, she’s always cold!


I used fuzzy yarn (Lion Brand Homespun) in her favorite shades. It came out nice, and it’s quite warm!

I had some funky Red Heart yarn called Stellar, which I thought would make pretty gifts for my nieces. It’s chunky and soft with a little bit of glittery thread woven through it. I made them some hats, here I am modeling one of them:


And I also made Rob a hat, specifically a camo hat for hunting:


This is made out of the absolute most el-cheapo yarn in the world, aka Red Heart Super Saver. Gotta love that it actually comes in a camo pattern! He loved it! Then he asked me to make him a scarf, but he requested OSU colors. I used some chunky yarn I had lying around to make a color-block look. Here he is modeling the result:



Look at that beard. Lordy. One of his friends says Rob is now “lumbersexual.” I just call him Grizzly Adams. HA! I asked him to grow it long enough to braid, then get an undercut so he’ll look just like that guy on Vikings. Double-HA!! (Also, rar!)

I also made a scarf for Veronica’s third-grade teacher, in this case an infinity scarf. The picture doesn’t do it justice, I thought it was gorgeous if I do say so:


For my best friend, The Kimster, I made an afghan that SHE can use while watching TV:


This was also made with chunky yarn in one of my favorite afghan patterns. It’s super easy, basically just a gigantic granny square. You keep going in rounds until it’s as big as you want. I have made two of them previously; one or my niece and one for Veronica, in rainbow shades. On this one I stuck two four colors I knew she’d like and did one or two rows of each until it was the right size, then added a border of 1 row double crochet, then 1 row single crochet.

My manager at work is an old friend of mine. I made her a basket, which I filled with chocolate, lip balm, and a pretty cowl and hat (which I also made):


That basket was kind of a bitch. You use super bulky yarn with only a 10mm hook AND you hold two strands together, in order to get a nice, tight weave so that the basket will stand up on its own. It worked, but it was tough on my hands. I was planning to make another one, maybe bigger, for holding yarn and stuff but my knuckles started crying so I decided eh, maybe not.

And FINALLY, I had to make something for myself, so I made a new afghan for napping. Here’s Chandler modeling it for us:

IMG_1651This is the fantastic Granny Stripe pattern by Lucy at Attic24, one of my favorite crafty blogs. In this case, I made it in bulky yarn so it worked up very quickly. I also have a version in many colors of standard worsted weight that I’ve been working on off and on for months now. Who knows if I’ll ever finish? It’s a nice project to work on while watching TV or having a conversation with someone because it’s so straightforward. At first the edges used to trip me up a bit but I’ve done so many now that I could probably do it in my sleep.

I’ve got plenty of other things on the way. I’m just finishing up a corner to corner throw that I decided to make for my car. Do you have this weird issue in the car with the heating? The foot blowers do a good job keeping my feet warm, and the upper blowers can warm my hands, face, etc. It’s the part in between, my lap actually, like my legs from my knees to my hips, that doesn’t get a blower and is always COLD COLD COLD. So I’m making a lap throw to put on my lap (duh!) in the car. Pictures when I finish.

Have a great weekend!



Ipsy Glam Bag: tried and cancelled

Monthly “box” subscriptions are all the rage now. You pay some relatively moderate fixed price, and every month you get a box of items or samples or whatever related to your interest. I used to subscribe to Birchbox, which was supposed to mostly be makeup/skincare/fragrance, or so I thought. I cancelled when they sent me laundry detergent. LAUNDRY DETERGENT! Listen, Birchbox, I don’t need you to remind me how I spend every damn weekend.

A few months ago I subscribed to Ipsy. It seemed better – the products I got in my first few boxes were pretty cool, and each box came with a (usually) cute makeup bag. However, after opening my Ipsy box today, I cancelled them too. Yet ANOTHER hair conditioning product that I will never use. Yet ANOTHER generic eye liner pencil that I will never use. Yet ANOTHER lip gloss from a brand I’ve never heard of in a boring, bland color. No thanks!

About the only subscriptions I’ve been happy with are Sock Panda and Lootcrate. I heartily recommend them. In fact, I gave a year of Sock Panda to my best friend for Xmas last year, because they’re just that awesome. Subscribe here and tell them groovymarlin “at” gmail “dot” com sent you. (Figure out how to make that into a real email address. You can do it!)

If you want to subscribe to Lootcrate (recommended!), click this link to use my referral code.

Here’s some of the awesome stuff I’ve gotten in past crates:

IMG_1538 IMG_1485 IMG_1487 IMG_1490 IMG_1493

Really? REALLY?

I had to un-friend someone on Facebook today. Then I had to block him. I don’t like having to do stuff like that, but there’s no room for ignorance and hatred in my life, and it all started because this person became a born-again Christian.

I have nothing against Christians, born-again or otherwise. If it makes you happy, brings you comfort, or helps you make sense of the world, then bully for you. Just don’t try to force your religion on me or anyone else (obviously), and we’ll get along fine. So when this friend started posting frequent updates mentioning “Praise Jesus” or whatever, I kind of smiled and didn’t think about them too much. I usually look at religiosity like that as a sort of hobby – some people are into things like knitting, and post lots of updates about their knitting projects, and some people are into their church, and that’s what their updates are usually about. Fine, whatever.

Then today, this dude posts this long diatribe about the “two evils” that are currently vying to “destroy our society.” Can you guess what the two big, scary evils were? I bet you can. They were: Islam, and “the homosexual agenda.” I don’t like to think about it in detail, because it just makes me want to pour some bleach in my ear to wash my brain, but basically the premise was: “Islam is not just a religion, it’s a movement to destroy the world, and also, gays = gross and why are they everywhere in our faces with their icky gayness?”

News flash, religious and non-religious people alike: it’s not OK to hate on a whole group of people because their religion is different from yours, or their sexuality is different from yours, any more than it’s OK to hate on a group of people because their skin color/race/sex/job/hobbies/political affiliation/whatever is different than yours. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

By the way, it is very hard for me to write about this in a calm manner, without using profanity, and that’s why I un-friended and blocked that former friend on Facebook. I have enough stress in my life without dealing with that sort of ignorant, obnoxious hate-mongering. It’s useless to try to argue with a person like that, because he’s made up his mind, and isn’t thinking rationally anyway. I guess that’s the negative side of religion – when it makes people become irrational. I’m not religious now, but I was raised Catholic, and I read plenty of the New Testament growing up. I’m pretty sure Jesus’s whole thing was “love one another,” and he was the guy who was always respecting the folks who didn’t get any respect (prostitutes, lepers, beggars). Why can’t some of these people who claim to love Jesus so much practice what he preached?

Oh, Netflix!

Silly, silly Netflix! I want to love you, but sometimes you make it so difficult. First there was the price-hike. I wasn’t happy about it, but it also wasn’t difficult to simply cancel the DVD portion of my family’s membership. We mostly stream stuff anyway, and DVDs would sit here for weeks and months without being watched. But then you started enforcing your policy (which was news to me, but that’s another rant) of only allowing accounts to stream on one device at a time. Come on! You know that some nights my husband watches something on the TV downstairs, and I want to watch something else on my iPad or PC. What’s wrong with that? I pay you! But no, you gotta make things all complicated.

Then you say you’re going to split off the DVD stuff into Qwikster (seriously – WORST. COMPANY. NAME. EVER.). Then — oh no, wait! You’re not going to do that after all. I went from thinking “oh well, here comes the greedy part as they get ready to sell off the DVD side of the business” to just plain thinking you’re off your meds. Crikey!

But mostly I’m just getting kind of annoyed at you because the streaming selection seems like it’s getting WORSE, not better. You keep touting all these deals for new content, so how come nothing that I want to watch is ever available? Here’s just a sample of the things I’ve searched for, and been disappointed by the lack of, on Netflix Streaming in the past few months:

– The Harvey Girls
– Singin’ in the Rain
– The Black Cat
– Poltergeist
– Night of the Living Dead (1990)
– Alien or Aliens or Alien 3 or Alien: Resurrection
– The Muppet Show
– Vertigo or Rope or North by Northwest or The Birds or The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) or The Trouble with Harry
– Scooby-Doo movies and tv shows (You have ONE currently. My daughter loves these. What happened to the others you used to offer?)
– Fargo
– Return to Oz
– Stephen King’s IT
– The Shawshank Redemption
– The Shining (original OR mini-series remake)
–  The Seventh Seal
– Rashomon
– Kung Fu Hustle
– The Royal Tenenbaums
– Rushmore
– The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
– Any opera or classical music performances or ballet
– The Man Who Laughs

Don’t get me wrong, I do like some of the stuff you’ve made available recently (I love being able to re-watch all those old seasons of “Dark Shadows,” for example), but more and more I can’t find what I want when I want it. And I often end up using Amazon VOD instead. Sometimes even when I have to pay per title! Yes, THANK YOU for making The Big Lebowski continuously available so that I can watch it once a month without digging for my DVD. But come on – no Wes Anderson available at all? And thank you for having Jackie Brown, which I love, but what about Pulp Fiction? Inglorious Basterds? Kill Bill?