Thursday, January 31, 2008

Overwhelmed and understated

February's just around the corner and I'm really starting to get excited for my trip!

Lizz: I just hope we have good weather. If we have one rainy day, I'll be really bummed out.

me: That can be our yucky hangover day.

Lizz: I don't plan to be sober enough to have a hangover.

The funny thing is she really means it.

My arms really hurt from playing Nintendo Wii

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I guess it's only fair that after a very productive and reassuring week, I have a week like this one. So much to do, so little time!

This afternoon is my second discussion group, and I'm expecting a larger turnout because the midterm is coming up. I'm kinda unprepared... my prof sent me her lecture notes, but my dad has the worst printer EVER so I can't print them (it requires you to feed it pages of pager, one at a time, or it jams. You can't just leave a stack for it to feed. That, and it is incredibly slow)

I also have a stack of T.A. assignments to correct (remember those?) plus the ever-present thesis.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I really like Bladerunner.

It's funny; it's supposed to be set in like, 2019 which is not too distant in the future, but there are flying cars and the architecture is totally different yet still looks old somehow, etc. Funny. Funnier still that Pris is seen wearing leg warmers which have been in and out of style twice since the movie came out.

Today I work the store until 4 and then I have a brief T.A. meeting for marking. I did a lot of good work on that chapter yesterday. I think that if I give it a good polishing tonight/tomorrow morning, I can fire it off to a couple of colleagues to proofread right away. I had hoped to get it to my supervisor by the end of the month and now that's starting to look possible.

I finally made guage for the sandworm mittens last night; I needed to go down TWO needle sizes!! I have to say, I really do hate swatching. Part of my love for knitting involves patience, and I really do have a lot of patience. But I don't like wasting my time, and spending as little as half an hour working up a teeny rectangle to measure and then promptly rip out and do again with another needle size is wasting my time.

I guess the fact that I found guage at 2 sizes smaller is a testament to the importance of swatching. For those of who you don't knit or just don't know what I'm talking about, you have to use trial and error to make sure your stitches are coming out the same size as the pattern designer's stitches. If they don't, the dimensions of your final product will be skewed (a way bigger waste of time).

I'd like to have these mittens done by the end of January too. Last night when I was freezing coming home I thought of Jen's fingers!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Goddamn you, thesis. I hate you so much.

In other news,


No wait, that's not true. I'm going to see the latest director's cut of Bladerunner in an actual movie theatre tomorrow night! Well it's the Bytowne, but it's mostly a real-life theatre. I think it's actually better than a modern-day cinema... but I might be confusing the interior with the Mayfair. I sure do love the Mayfair.

Then off to Collective Seen, maybe, or to Barrymore's for some 80s action.

Speaking of Collective Seen, I've been making various social connections of behalf of undeadclothingco lately. Earlier this month I met a potential leather tool/findings contributor who has offered me all this stuff that I desperately need. Then yesterday I met a dude who puts on these events showcasing local artisans. Collective Seen is another such event, and it's run by a friend of mine. It sucks to have these connections made and to not be able to really make use of them because of your stinking thesis and your stupid annoying life situation etc etc. I just hope these guys remember my name in the spring.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

sandworm mittens

So when my friend Jen lost her cute shark-mittens, she commissioned me (or undeadclothingco) to make her a pair of sandworm mittens! I was almost kicking myself that I hadn't thought of it first! Yesterday we went to a movie and she supplied me with a diagram of the color scheme, which is kickass amazing awesome.

There have been only a handful of occasions in which I've custom made something for someone to their tastes. I made a wallet for my friend Andre. He gave me "ideas" and "themes", but left a lot up to me. While I find it really cool that he had that much faith in me, my "seller's anxiety" was through the roof! I worried that a) he wouldn't like it, b) he wouldn't want to say so because we're friends, and c)that I'm overcharging him, even though it was pretty tricky to paint.

I don't have this anxiety with Jen because her specs are pretty straightforward (I wish I could scan in the diagram she drew, it's hilarious) and at this point in the winter, I'm sure she wants warm hands!

If they turn out (and why wouldn't they) I think they'd make a good undeadclothingco original product. There was a it of a boom in animal mittens over the past 2 or 3 years (coinciding slightly with a knitting boom... interesting) but I've only ever seen the pretty straightforward animals. Bears, alligators, snakes, etc. Jen's sharks were pretty original, but not like sandworms! Hmmm, I could sell 'em in a set with matching socks...

Monday, January 21, 2008

back to the grind

Having taken the week off to celebrate my birthday and the weekend off to hang out with my parents before they leave for Thailand, my mini-vacation is over and I have to get back to work.

I'd like to email around a draft of a chapter on cultural materialism by the end of this week, and hopefully get it to my supervisor the week after.
I'm not looking forward to tangling with him again... a couple of colleagues of mine have speculated that maybe he was having an off day or something. If he's pulling a 'tough love' thing, I'm going to have to remind him that he's not my parent. All I know is I'm not letting him speak to me like that again. He had the element of surprise to his advantage, and the fact that I was emotionally fragile at the time. If he gets out of line again, I'm going to have my say and find a new supervisor if I have to.

Discussion groups start for me Wednesday which should be interesting. These discussion groups are not mandatory; they're just an opportunity for students to discuss what the class is covering with one another in a forum-like setting. I used to love shit like that when I was an undergrad, but not when I was in first-year. I have no idea what the turnout demographics will be.

I do have some fun times lined up for this week. Sweeney Todd with Jen tomorrow, shopping with Lizz on Thursday and a costume party on Friday night! The theme is "The age of aquarius" wherein you're free to dress up as anything you can relate to aquarius; ie- a Greek astronomer, a fish/marine animal, or a hippie. Due to lack of time and resources, I'll probably wear the same hippie costume I wore for the Volcom bowling party last summer. Skin-tight jeans with huge flared bottoms and a brown poncho.

Huh. Guess this week won't be so bad after all?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Birthday shenanigans

My birthday was the 17th, last Thursday. The living dead girl is now 26 years of age.

Having celebrated on my birthday for the past 26 years of my life, I've come to know certain "truths" about the 17th of January. One is that it's cold; not just regular Ottawa winter cold, either. The 17th is usually among the coldest days of the winter. The kind of cold that would make any rational person want to stay home that night rather than party.

Which brings me to the next "truth" of Jan 17th. Being right after the holidays, people are generally broke-ass. As such, going out for drinks and paying for a cab home (because it's so fucking cold; see above) are not terribly convenient.

Due to these "truths", I've become very blaze about the whole birthday-party thing. Not that I don't expect friends to remember my birthday and wish me well, but I don't expect all my near and dear to be able to come out that night. As such, I framed this year's festivities as a "notification of Andrea's general whereabouts" and not an "invitation" per se. I simply planned where I'd be and when, and let people work with that as they may.

It worked beautifully. Some came for dinner, some came to Whisper's house, some came to Barrymore's. Some did all 3, some just 1 or 2. Some called and said they were staying in for x reason. I didn't care. I had a marvellous time.

Noteworthy happenings, in no particular order:
- Anna's car getting dented and scratched by a drunken shithead getting kicked out of Barrymore's ("What a great parking spot!" "I know, eh?")
- Lizz and I accidentally french-kissing
- Throwing myself at a couple making out on the dancefloor, resulting in their teeth smashing together (That'll teach 'em)
- Being asked by L.J. to stamp hands at the door for a little while (still waiting on my paycheck, guys)
- Being told by Jody that he doesn't want to hear my "sob stories" after I told him I just turned 26
- Justin bitching about something and Lizz telling him to "write a song about it"
- Going home from the bar sober at 2:30am.

Thanks to everyone who came out, especially miss Whisper for hosting my raucous ass!

xoxo to infinity

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Well this is interesting,

I sign up my blog to be on this huge blog list and here's what they send me:

"Hello living dead girl,

Your blog has not been added to the Blog Flux Directory. Due to the amount of submissions, we cannot explain the reasons for each. Most likely it is due to one of the following:
- blog is listed more than once in the directory
- site is not a blog
- blog is offline
- blog is new (must contain 5 posts and be at least 7 days old due to excessive spammers submitting).
- site contains nudity
- site is a shill site intended to simply promote products/affiliates
- site construes something illegal

If you believe your blog should be added, please contact us (be sure to mention what your blog URL is).

-Blog Flux Team"

Whatever the reason, that's just fine with me. According to google analytics, people can simply search the terms "fuck dead girls" and find my site. Who needs blogflux?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Taken from

"Decisions are based on the information we presently have. We do not know the future, nor do we know how and what we will feel six months or six years from now. So, the decision we make today, may not fit six months or six years down the road.

Always go within and ask what is in your highest good at this time. Let go of an attitude that says, “I can only be happy if such and such happens”. Then listen with your heart and be ready to receive an answer. Know that what you decide today is probably what is best, but when you ask again six months or a year later when you and your world are different and you have more informations, the answer may be different. Stay in the moment and do the best you can right now."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

cut me off when I get here

I have a reprehensible habit when I'm drinking; ok, I have a few (see a prior entry for what happens when I drink rye at zaphods).

I tend to brag about my "own clothing line", or my "small business"; blah blah bullshit, and give out the url to my shit-sandwich/unfinished page which contains a couple of old photos and a whole lot of nothing. I'm only grateful that I didn't bring my business cards, because god knows I would have plastered them all over the place. Leggo my ego!

Maybe I should try to cook up some half assed "under construction" sign... but that's not really the case, is it? How about "on sabbatical"? That makes more sense. Look it up.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

a little bit of nostalgia...

I've been staying at my parents house since xmas. They have lived in the same house I grew up in, and there are a lot of memories here.

Today I was working diligently on my thesis when I started smelling the delicious aroma of my mother's fantatic homemade meat sauce. She starts making it early in the afternoon, and the house smells like delicious all evening long.

As a child, I would follow my nose to the kitchen and start pestering my mom to give me a snack. She'd stick a meatball on a fork and give it to me to get me out of the kitchen and out of her way. I ran downstaris a half hour ago, unable to resist the smell... guess what I'm snacking on right now? A meatball-on-a-fork.

Back to the grind...

I guess it's official. I spend all afternoon yesterday reading Raymond Williams, and I will be spending the next couple of months on him as well. Behold the winter doldrums; where every day bleeds into the next and your life is defined by the random speckling of fun that happens in between.

I sound glum, but I do have several things to look forward to. Tonight I'm going to a birthday party! Sunday night my family is celebrating my birthday and then I'm going to a hockey game with Tom. Next Thursday, my actual birthday, involves dinner at Chez Lucien and then dancing/drinking 'till I drop/get carried out.

I'm also looking forward to my Spring break trip down south!! We've been talking about it for so long that I'd almost forgotten, but when I saw bikinis at Winner's I got all excited again. I've booked off the dates, and I'm ready for sun!

It might sound cheesy, or even downright pathetic but I'm also looking forward to my life. I am really excited to defend this thesis and venture out into the world of non-studenthood. I used to tell people that I loved staying in school because it keeps me feeling young from lack of a "grown-up job". I still don't want a "grown-up job", but I'm feeling OK about just becoming a grown-up. No more school, no thank-you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Frig, man. I sure wish I could post photos of FOs on ravelry, but they only allow Flickr access and I'm a photobucket girl. I'm not about to transfer all my photos for them. Geez!

Projects on the go!
- working steadily on my zebra-print hoodie...
- there are a pair of cabled knee socks in a book I got for xmas that I'd like to make... a charcoal grey pair would look awesome with my rubber boots and a skirt in the spring
- sandworm mittens for Jen! What a great idea!
- misc slippers and shit for undeadclothingco

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Knitting books - a rant

I collect knitting books. By knitting books, I mean books containing patterns; for technique, I have the Stitch n Bitch series by my hero Debbie Stoller as well as Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I collect them for purposes of inspiration as well as actually making the projects from the book. I was happy to get a gift certificate for Chapters for xmas; I couldn't wait to scour the store for a new book of fun and exciting knitting projects. After spending about 45 minutes perusing the tiny section I wound up leaving, frustrated and empty-handed. Why? Read on...

First of all, I don't like it when knitting patterns give the brand of the yarn used and that's it. Stitch N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker was the first knitting pattern book I've ever seen to include the yarn's weight number as well as the yarn actually used in the pattern. This is tremendously useful when you're substituting, and since most of my knitting books are American and use yarn available only in the US, I have to substitute. When the patterns don't give the general yarn weight information, I have to look the yarn up online and hope to find the info on it. I don't think I should have to do that.

My second and more serious gripe was brought to my attention by a certain Maggie Righetti, author of Knitting in Plain English. In her famously funny and no-nonsense style, Righetti drew my attention to a problem with the photos of the projects in contemporary knitting pattern books. She stresses that if you're going to invest X amount of dollars on yarn and XY hours of your precious time working on a project, you need to be really sure that you want what you're making. The only info you have toward that is the photo. However, Righetti points out that often, the photos are taken by professional photographers, NOT knitters. As such, their job is to make the photo look good. This might mean putting the model in a really stupid pose where you can't really see the construction of the garment, or even pinning the garment if it doesn't fall right!

Having read Righetti's warning against evil pro-photos, I took a critical eye to some of my favorite knitting pattern books. Lo and behold, I found some serious transgressions. One violator was Pretty in Punk by Alyce Benevides and Jacqueline Milles. The photos are beautiful, which is likely what attracted me to the book in the first place. Unfortunately, beautiful photos and useful informative photos are not always the same thing; in the photo for the "nautical vest", the adorable model is making a navy salute. Cute, to be sure, but her pose obscures the fit of the garment. Also, the pattern makes mention of adding an anchor to the vest, but it's nowhere to be seen.

Another reprehensible example nearly broke my heart; Stich N Bitch Nation by my precious Debbie Stoller! There's a turquoise sweater the wraps around, kimono-style and ties shut just below the bust. I was looking at it one day and wondered if the loose-edged panel at the bottom tends to flap open. Sure enough, on close inspection I saw that the garment was pinned shut at the bottom. I can only imagine the rage of some ambitious knitter who slaves over that sweater just to have it look nothing like the well-fitting sweater in the photo!

This isn't to say that a beautiful photo can't be a functional one, and vice-versa. An excellent example of good, functional photos is Jennifer Stafford's Domiknitrix book. The patterns in that book are pretty challenging, and I have to read over a given pattern several times before I could really make sense of the construction (she uses a lot of angular shaping and short-rows to create very shapely garments, which I love). She gets props because as complex as her patterns are, the photos are straightforward and she even includes thumbnails of certain details of the project throughout the pattern. Bravo, Miss Stafford!

I'm not sure how much control designers have over the photography of their garments, so I direct my complaints to the blogosphere rather than the authors of the offending books. My intention is not to bash either of these books, or even to give them a negative review. I've made several successful patterns from both these books, and other books with even worse photos (I saw one in Chapters yesterday that didn't even have photos; it had hand-drawn illustrations!). My words are meant as an extension of Righetti's warning to knitters; beware the lovely, glossy photos!

Take advantage of online forums like and where you can search for projects and contact other people who have made them. Ask them questions, and be patient and grateful for replies. I find these knitters to be almost as valuable resources for pattern information than the pattern itself!

Monday, January 7, 2008 I was saying

When I visited profs at various universities out of town, they all made a point of reminding me that a PhD is years and years of my life and that you have to really want to do it and that most scholars persue this avenue because they can't (or don't want to) do anything else. I disregarded most of these statements as attempts to psych me out; to weed out applicants who are faint of heart. Then I gave these statements more thought.

Not only could I do something else, I could do everything else. Not to toot my own horn, but I have more marketable skills than I can shake a stick at; many of which are crafts and talents that I find personally rewarding. School will always be there, but ambition and passion may not be... I'm turning 26 in a matter of weeks and I don't want my life to fly by the way it has been.

The outcome of this personal enlightenment/life-plan revolution is that I'm desperate to get this thesis (and it's supervisor) out of my face so I can get on with things. Undeadclothingco is a sad work-in-progress for me. All I want to do is work toward it, but I feel guilt and shame every time I fire up my sewing machine; guilt that I should be working on schoolwork, shame that I don't want to be. I'm suddenly obsessed with the idea of doing what I want without guilt or shame over my shoulder. I'd like to give undeadclothingco my focus for awhile and see where it takes me.

I'm nowhere near done my thesis, so any hopes and dreams for undeadclothingco will have to wait for now. I suspect that the ultimate goal of working for myself toward something that means a lot to me will keep me working diligently on my thesis, and will keep my chin up as well.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Thesis pieces

This masters has become a canker in my life. Obviously, there is a lot of other stuff going on that irritates me as well, but lately I'm desperate to wrap this up and get on with my life.

"On with my life". Now what does that mean? Having discovered that research work and thesis writing sucks ass and makes me miserable, what to do now? In a way, I'm almost grateful to my supervisor for pointing out how much I'm hating this. I love learning, that much is true. I love classes and seminars and discussions and conferences. I even love writing essays. But months of solo research with minimal interaction is simply not working out. And what is a PhD but years and years of the same?

Stream of consciousness interrupted. To be continued...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Belated xmas

Wrapping Christmas gifts while swigging Heineken. A perfect polaroid snapshot of my holidays this year. Cheers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008; reflections and resolutions

In the past year, I've learned a lot about what happens when you adhere too stodgily to commitments and arrangements that aren't necessarily in my best interest.
Learn to comunicate effectively and honestly with myself, especially with regard to things that make me happy, sad or angry.

Thesis work/depression has cost me much in the way of activity, both physical and social. Both these things have a way of perpetuating themselves... eg- the less you go the the gym, the less you feel like going.
Force myself to get out there. Go to the gym even if I'm lazy, go to the party even if I feel introverted/uninteresting.

The way you project yourself and the way others see you are one and the same; Kurt Vonnegut wrote "be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be."
Resolution: Practice transparency. If I don't think people like/respect me, it's probably because I'm not showing them a likeable and respectable person, which I know I am inside.

Less abstract/more concrete resolutions;
- exnay on the okingsmay
- ensure that I laugh every single day
- ensure that I do something creative every single day
- dance on a regular (perhaps weekly) basis
- stretch when I'm feeling overwhelmed/sad/stressed out
- investigate careers
- reach out to old friends I've lost touch with
- take walks for no reason
- do not repeat 2007