Tuesday, July 01, 2008

With Both Feet

"I'n fly...I'ma pilot..." - Russell T. Case, Independence Day

My love for this movie knows few bounds. I've seen it probably fifty time since I last wrote about it, because all of the movie channels are rotating through it right now. Yes, I know it's not a good movie, and that the characters are all horrible stereotypes, and that, as Daisy points out every time she sees me watching it, the female characters all end up dying or being weak and subservient to the men. I mean, c'mon. The president's wife shows some backbone and stays in L.A., and gets rewarded by being knocked out of the sky and buried under rubble, and then she's rescued by the stripper with a heart of gold, who gets to live and marry the man of her dreams as long as she puts on a dress to cover her shameful feminine wares. Then Connie spends almost the entire movie following around the menfolk with the lovingly obedient look of a champion Irish setter.

Then, there's the crime against language committed every time the president has something poignant to say. Poor Pullman. "Today, we celebrate our INDEPENDENCE DAY!" It would have been so easy to rewrite that so that it'd make sense. "Today, we celebrate our freedom. Today is our Independence Day!" Would that have been so hard? That speech has more clunks in it than my old Pontiac J2000.

So, no, I have no illusions about it. I love it anyway.

I especially love Randy Quaid's character, Russell Case. He's a messy drunk, inattentive on his job, and widely regarded as a wacko due to his rantings on alien abduction. There's a longer version of the movie that shows up on the Fox Movie Channel. His character gets fleshed out a little, you learn more about why he's fallen apart and why the older boy hates him, and why the younger boy looks so sweaty and sickly, but seeing it is totally unnecessary. In fact, it actually makes the movie worse, throwing off the pacing and adding fifteen minutes of clumsy dialog. No, all you need to know about Russell is that he bumbles around a lot, but when the chips are down, he jumps in with both feet and gets the job done.

You know what I like about that? It's what I do, too.

Here at the ol' workplace, things are a bit chaotic. Mortgage company, credit crisis, uncertain future and all that. Not everyone is childless and married to the securely employed and highly compensated Accountant Boy. Not everyone can risk staying on to see the ship right itself. Last week, another of my team members jumped to safety.

Sitting in my manager's office, half in the bag on cough medicine and Sudafed, I asked what we were going to do about filling her spot.

"You wanna do it?" he asked.

"Yeah, what the hell. I'll take it. I like doing new...stuff," I said. ("I'n fly...I'ma pilot...")

Now, several days later and exactly twenty-four hours since the announcement went out, I'm fielding calls from users about a system in which I have no experience. Zero. Zip. None. The only guy who can help me, departed co-worker's husband as it turns out, is working from home today, so I keep sending him frantic e-mails with questions, and he sends back single-line replies like "Look at the video I sent you." Only there's no e-mail with a video file attached. I'm lost.

Further complicating matters, I've also volunteered to be on a committee geared toward improving our diminishing employee base's morale. Turns out that the committee wanted me because they felt like they needed someone technical. Oh, dear. Apparently, they think I know something about network security, firewalls, and e-mail servers. I'm a database programmer. I don't know nothin' 'bout no networks. I don't have the heart to tell them, so I'm taking on the role anyway, dragging network and server guys into my cube every time I hear them coming down the corridor.

I might not know what I'm doing, but I'm going to get the job done, by God. When I jump into the shit, I do it with both feet.

What does that have to do with this finished project? Not a damn thing.



Not a pattern so much as an experiment in sculpture. The neat thing about crochet is that you can see what it's going to do in three dimensions as you're working on it. I figured I should be able to look at this after every row and see if it was still on the right track, molding it as I went along. I based the shape and the length loosely on a fitted woven shirt I have from Banana Republic. I picked triple-crochet because I liked how it looked with my yarn.


Six balls of Trendsetter Dolcino in various colors, two skeins of Tartelette left over from the doomed fisherman's rib tank. The Dolcino was a dream to crochet, so elastic and soft. The Tartelette, well, let's say it was easier to crochet than to knit and leave it at that. Both were from the stash.

I used hook-and-eye coat fasteners. They're covered in black cloth, which seemed to be a good match for the project, and they're huge, which seemed to be a good match for the size and bulk of my stitches.


Boye aluminum crochet hooks. I cast on with the K-hook, used the H-hook for most of the body, and dropped down to the G-hook when working with the Tartelette, which worked up to a different gauge than the Dolcino.


Three weeks, although it would have been much, much less if I hadn't had a nasty cold for half of it. It went really quickly.

Modifications/Design Thoughts

I chained roughly enough loops to go around my hips at a certain point, then started moving up. After a few inches, I decreased twelve stitches in from each front and from each edge of the back, creating darts. After a couple of rows of triple-crochet, I increased a couple of times along the same dart line. When I tried it on right before separating for the armholes, I saw that the bust was huge. Took out three rows of TC, redid them without the increases. It was that simple. No frogging, no tinking, no wondering if I'd done it right the second time. I just redid the rows and wrapped it around myself again.

Like the big Limari sweater, I was working under a yardage restraint. I only had six balls of the Dulcino, and I didn't realize that the black clashed with the Tartelette until well up into the bodice shaping. It became a challenge to figure out how to use the grey and the scraps of the other colors to separate the two, and not run out of any of them.

That's really what took the longest, all of that second guessing and redoing. If this had been a pattern and I hadn't had to worry about the colors of the yarns, it would have taken maybe three nights.


It was fun. I like the little top that came out of it. Of all of the ribbon yarns I've misguidedly tried to use, Dolcino is far and away the best to work with. I'll use it again, once I get back to a point where I can buy yarn.

Why aren't there any really good pictures of it, and why have I purposely cut my head out of all of them? We've spent the last week under a blanket of smoke. The lighting's all weird as a result. Buddy the Cat is pissed, because his warm, sunny spot on the chaise is neither warm nor sunny. Also, my hair looked horrible.

Here's the picture from above, without any color correction.

1 comment:

turtlegirl76 said...

First off - congratulations and good luck in your new position(s) at work. You can do it! And you can do it well!

Ok, now I love this little cardigan! It's too cute! The cap sleeves are so sweet and the fit is definitely taylored. Crochet is easy to "wing" isn't it? Love it.