Friday, March 28, 2008



It's me, Winston J. Schmidt. I had a great day yesterday, and Suzanne took a lot of pictures. She said I should tell everyone about it, since she doesn't have anything knitting-related to talk about. Buddy says I should get my own blog so that I'll stop hogging this one. When I asked him how to do that, he said that maybe I could find one out on Taylor Boulevard, and that I should stand in the middle of the road so I'd be sure not to miss it. I think he's mixing 'blog' up with 'car', but I don't want to hurt his feelings by correcting him.

This is my friend Nova. Back when I was in the Hall, Nova's friend Sarah used to play with me. She took me home for a few nights, and that's where I met Nova. She's so pretty.

Nova and I drank more than a gallon of water so that we could have a good peeing contest. We started as soon as she came through the gate. Suzanne didn't take any pictures of us peeing, though.

We wrestled and ran around the yard for the first hour.

Nova likes to win, and I like Nova, so I was always the one to roll over.

I got a little tired, so I took a break on the grass.

Just when I thought that it couldn't get any better, Sarah pulled some treats from her bag and we got to eat them. Here we are, waiting like two good dogs for our snacks.

I couldn't figure out why Suzanne and Sarah were laughing. I didn't know I was making that face. It doesn't matter, because I still got the treat, but I feel awfully silly.

I thought, "Well, now I KNOW it can't get any better," but then Nova found one of my tennis balls at the other end of the yard, and we started playing again. We figured out how we could both have the ball in our mouths at the same time.

I got the ball, and I carried it in my mouth as we ran back and forth across the yard for a few more minutes.

I dropped the ball, because I don't know how to hold it and drink water at the same time, so Nova picked it up. I tried to slap it out of her mouth.

We sort of accidentally kind of came up with a more fun version of the game, where Nova throws the ball through the fence and Suzanne has to climb down after it while wearing boots with a three-inch heel. It turns out that I had three tennis balls in the yard, and Nova and I had a great time taking turns throwing them through the fence. When Suzanne wouldn't chase them anymore, we got more careful with our last ball.

We showed off our best down-stays. Nova cheats a little by coming up off her elbows, and I usually do that, too. I was really tired, though, so I figured being all the way on the ground was just fine.

After a couple of hours, we'd turned the ball into a foamy mess. Right after this, we knocked it under the deck and neither of us could get it out. The people said that they wouldn't touch it, because now it was covered in frothy, spit-moistened dirt.

Sarah and Nova had to go, because it was getting late. I was sad to see them leave.

Suzanne says that Sarah's leaving on a long research project, so I won't see Nova for a while. They'll be back in October. I'm not too good with the calendar yet, so I don't know how far off that is. I'm hoping that October is the day after Saturday.

Anyway, thanks for letting me share my great day.


Winston J. 'Bug' Schmidt

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Monday, March 24, 2008

We All Float On

So close. So very close to having a picture of the completed Fluffy Angora Menace. I have the arms done, and most of the ends woven in. I don't love the waist bind-off, but I could have lived with it. In my haste to just get it finished so that I could work on something more colorful and less allergenic, I made a calculation error on the neckline. I crocheted into every stitch along the v-neck, not every three out of four. It's way too loose. I know I'll be able to redo it tonight in about half an hour, and I could redo the waist pretty easily as well, but now I'm mad at it. And I feel too soft in the middle to wear it, anyway. And it's 77 degrees outside right now. Dammit.

In brighter news, I won a contest! This contest! I'm so excited! I've already got the perfect pair of jeans to go with it.

In light of my winning a contest for a close-fitting knit vest, and of the aforementioned state of middle softness, I thought it'd be a good idea to go ahead and register for Bay to Breakers. We did it last year, and we pledged to start training for this year as soon as we'd recovered, and then...well, just read the entries between then and now. There were disfigurements, both sports-related and clerical. There were huge changes at home and at work. There was very real sadness and loss. Everything went sideways. We're recovering, but we now have a little less than two months to train, and we're not in nearly the same condition that we were in at this time last year. Ah, well. Now that I've gone through the experience of losing a toenail, I know it's not something to dread. That's pretty much my new motto. "Now that I've gone through (x), I'm not dreading it anymore."

Finally, another missive from the strange world in which I wander. There's always something a little off in my world, something going on just beyond the corner of my eye. I like living in this world, because it's an endless source of entertainment. Sometimes, it's about hauntings. Sometimes, it's about corporeal things that are not quite right. Usually, as is the case today, it's about my cat.

Buddy may have learned to command Winston using our hand signals. Last night, I watched as he raised up his paw and wagged it around a little bit in what I thought was a precursor to a slap across the nose. Winston threw himself to the ground and rolled over repeatedly, as though Buddy were giving him the signal to do so. Now, maybe it was a coincidence, the paw gesture and the response. Maybe Win was trying to use every trick that he knew to ingratiate himself with the tiny king, and I happened to read too much meaning in his playful maneuverings. Maybe. But I know what I saw. Even if nobody else ever sees it, even if he never does it again, I'll never be convinced that it was anything less than Buddy commanding the dog and the dog obeying.

Friday, March 21, 2008

(A) Good Friday

Interlacements RickRack II - nothing to do with anything, just pretty.

What a couple of weeks, huh? Yeah, so my boss got laid off, and my boss' boss became my boss. Thing is, my boss wasn't supposed to find out about being laid off until the end of this month, so now we're all thinking that there'll be more layoffs, but my boss' boss, now my boss, wouldn't confirm anything. And then my boss' boss, now my boss, got laid off on Tuesday. With me so far? Two bosses and their boss gone, still a possibility that more of us will be let go, but the likelihood is decreased because losing those three big salaries may have saved the lower people. For now.

In the middle of all of this, Accountant Boy's boss was laid off, and A.B. took over his job responsibilities, but not his salary and not his title.

Oh, and my mom's house is now haunted, apparently by my dad. Lights turn on and off in the bedroom where he died, the TV remote control disappears and is then found in the back of the pencil drawer and, most tellingly, the adding machine turns itself on and starts feeding paper through its printer. We think he's either angry that we didn't have a big party at the forty-day anniversary of his death, or confused and believing that he needs to finish some tax returns.

Am I getting any knitting done during this stressful time? Well, no. Although it would probably soothe me to do it, I can't pull my knitting out of the bag, because it drives Winston mad with longing. I don't know what this is going to mean for the future of Fluffy Angora Menace and my ability to wear it around him. All I know is that I can't work on it in the evenings. I'm trying to figure out how to slip out of the house for three hours and get it done.

Jodi asked about the Arosa pullover in the comments of this post. Man, that seems like such a long time ago. I 'temporarily' abandoned Arosa soon after that, intending to get back to it after I cooled off and stopped hating it. I haven't picked it up since then, but I have had some thoughts about how to finish it and actually like it.

Jodi, the thing about the front panel being kind of weird just worked itself out. It looks completely weird when you're working on it, but just follow the directions. It looks like the sweater's got kind of a wrap/crossover thing going, but that's a trick of the pattern photo. The second, weirdly shaped piece gets stitched right to the edge of the main piece. It makes sense when the pieces are laid next to each other. It also makes sense when you see how the fabric drapes if you're using the Arosa yarn. If you had two layers of fabric across the front, it'd look sloppy.

What am I going to do to mine to make it work? I'm going to take it apart and reknit the neck edges so that it's less droopy, maybe fewer stitches and a slightly smaller needle. And then, much as it pains me to do so, I'm going to knit the sleeves as they're supposed to be knit. The solid sleeve just wasn't working.

I'll get right on that, just as soon as I get my Last Winter...uh...First Day of Spring...umm...Easter sweater done.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

el diablo en el ojo

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Monday Entry

Oh, hello! Winston, here. It looks like I'm giving the update today, so let's get right to it.

- Suzanne is still working on the sweater that she's named Fluffy Angora Menace, but which I call Delicious Chew Fleece. She has the body done. I wait and hope for her to leave it within reach, but no luck yet. She keeps it up on the bar when she's not holding it. Buddy says that I could probably make it up there if I jumped perfectly onto the barstool, but I'm trying not to take too much advice from him. I'm not sure he means well.

- The other, more colorful yarn from a couple of posts ago, which she calls Interlacements Santa Barbara and I call Nubby Chew Ball, is going to be some type of pullover. Last night during TV time, she kept saying, "This yarn is going to be almost impossible to work with. I can't even wind it." Then she yelled, "Son of a BITCH!" I thought that meant that she was calling to me, so I tried to help her by hauling some of the yarn away from her in my mouth. Guess that wasn't the right call.

- I'm almost certain that Buddy hates me. I keep trying to play with him, but he hisses and punches me in the face with his paws. Loud punches. Suzanne says that she can hear them from across the room. Yesterday evening, he scratched my nose and drew blood, and just when the cut under my eye had finally healed, too. I tell you, I think he baits me into getting too close to him so that he can attack me.

No, no. Not true at all. I'm merely trying to train the blunderbuss. What do we do when the cat runs past us in an enticing manner? We lay on the ground as though we were poisoned by curare. Note to self: find reliable source for curare. - Buddy the Cat

- We all went outside yesterday, and...

Not all of us went outside, you insensitive beast. Some of us stared out from the other side of a glass door. Some of us wept behind our transparent prison walls - BtC

...and we played on the terraces. It was fantastic! I learned that I can get down to the terraced part of the yard and the culvert by squeezing through the patio railing. Peter climbed down after me, and he said, "Son of a bitch!", and again, I figured he was calling to me. He looked peeved. I decided to perk him up by pretending to listen, and then running right past him. I did this several times, until I finally got tired and climbed back up onto the deck. They say that today I might get to play with the neighborhood dogs, something about wearing me the Hell out so that they can watch television in peace. At any rate, hooray! Other dogs! I love to play. I know that I always look relaxed and easygoing in my pictures, but I'm actually very active. The only time they can get a camera in front of me is when I'm nearly asleep.

I guess that's about it for today. Thanks for letting me give the update.


Winston J. 'Bug' Schmidt

Friday, March 07, 2008


I often wonder if I'm in the wrong line of work. I'm a database programmer by trade. In theory, I spend all day thinking about entity relationships and parameter tables. In theory, I go to meetings where people say, "It'd be great if we had a button on this screen that did (x) when we pressed it," and I'm alert enough to ask them why they want (x), maybe tell them how feasible (x) will be, how long it might take me to make it happen. I like this work, and I'm paid well for doing it. In theory.

In practice, I spend almost all of my time daydreaming about color, light and shape. I drift off topic while musing about how that rolled skein of yarn looks like a brass helmet glimmering in an undersea grotto. I reflect on all of the little objets d'art in my front room, and how to properly position them so that they look like art and not dust-collecting tchotchke. I think about how the grids in my windows cast shadows across my cat's fur, lining up with his stripes.

This is not an occasional thing. I do this every day, losing productive time and falling behind in conversations because I am deep in reverie. I do not know how to stop.

My father was an accountant. I remember sitting in his office when I was about eighteen, just about to go off to college and major in journalism. "I always thought I should have done something else," he said, wistfully. "But you know, there's some creativity in what I do, with how I choose to structure a return. I guess that's enough." Looking back, I wish I'd asked him more about it. I wish I knew what he would have done if someone had encouraged him to follow whatever it was that was in his heart. Then again, it didn't really matter. He might have wanted to be someone else, but he'd made his choices long before that afternoon when he sat across from me in his office, both of us surrounded by ledgers and yards of adding machine tape. I think he was excited for me that I had so many possiblities in front of me.

I didn't become a writer. Two years into school, Cal Poly eliminated my major and I came home. I decided that I wanted to be a photographer. One term in a studio photo class at UCSB convinced me that everything in my head was clich├ęd and trite. I switched over to Art History so that I'd have a chance at graduating in fewer than ten years. I ended up in my career by accident, in a story too convoluted for today. I didn't follow my dream, either. Obviously, I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

People often ask me if I write professionally, and then proceed to tell me that I should. These opinions are always unsolicited. I don't want people to tell me that I should be a writer, because that would mean having to work purposefully at something while exposing myself to the possibility of failing. Maybe I'd rather have people tell me that I should be a photographer. It's easier to explain why I don't think I'd be successful - that everyone can take as many digital pictures as they want now, and given enough shots, anyone can produce work as aesthetically pleasing as I find mine - and why I don't try. I write beautiful code, indented and spaced and commented in such a way that it actually looks like poetry. I guess that's enough.

Work on the fluffy angora menace continues. I'm only a couple of rows away from binding off the body. This picture is a few days old, but it's better than anything I'm going to take while sitting at my desk this afternoon. Look at the way the light plays off of the slight ripples in the fabric. I'm going to spend all afternoon dreaming about it.