Anansi Boys

I just finished Anansi Boys even though it arrived on my door step months ago.  I’ll be honest with you, my job has broken something in me, ruined my love of reading like a fingernail in my chicken salad wrap ruined Arbys for me.

I have a hard time reading for pleasure any more, of seeing someone else’s words as something to be enjoyed instead of problems to be solved.

Today, it was wet and cold and rainy and I had already spent my last five dollars buying dinner for the Butcher the evening before, and so I was sitting at the computer, feeling something, a kind of old urge, and it took me a long time to recognize it.  So, I played on the computer some and I crocheted some and I did some dishes and scratched the dog’s belly and still…

And then I realized, I wanted to read a book.

It was the kind of day you could devote to reading a book and not feel like there was something else you should be doing and so I read a book.

And the part of me trained to ask “What can I do to fix this?” was mostly too lazy to get in the way of my reading.

I talked to the recalcitrant brother today.  He just called to shoot the shit and I was glad to hear from him.  We talked a long time about how few folks are calling electricians and how many houses are sitting empty and about how high his blood pressue is but he can’t afford the medicines the doctor thinks he should take.

I told him that I was eating crackers for breakfast after having spent… well, I told him what I told you.  He laughed at me long and hard, asked if I was kidding, and then laughed again.

We had a similar conversation before I went up to my dad’s, when he remarked about how bad he felt that he was too broke to get up there for the surgery.

I was telling the Professor about it because I said that I couldn’t tell if he wanted me to commiserate or if he was hinting.

Same thing with the conversation today.

I love my brother a great deal, but I don’t trust him.  I don’t trust these easy conversations between us, his laughter, his just calling to chat.

Maybe that’s not fair.

I was thinking about that in terms of Anansi Boys because, in reading it, I kept thinking how sometimes you wish that you could stumble across a witch who knew routes to other places, even as you’re lighting the candles on your altar and sticking your nose in the jar full of herbs and resins and other plant parts that to you smells so much like magic it makes your head spin just to smell it, even in broad daylight, and you feel this world letting go just a little bit, enough to make it hard for you to walk without feeling dizzy, and you drop things because you lose track of what your body is doing here because part of you is shifting over there.

This isn’t really a book review, I guess.

But what I mean is that I’m so regularly looking to meet folks that make that shift, but it’s me.

I have a friend who appreciates altered states and so I keep trying to convince him to try to slip over with me, but he’s always turning me down.

I am the weird person I wish I knew.

I guess that doesn’t tell you much about the book, does it?

I liked it and I cried when Fat Charlie’s dad danced into the cancer ward to heal his mom.  And it pleased me that he gave him his hat.

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Make Your Own Crochet Cooter!

After having perused the internet, I see that no one has bothered to post a pattern for crochetting your own girly bits. I, dear readers, having done it myself once, now share with you how to do it yourselves.

There are a few things it’s helpful to keep in mind. 1. When crocheting in the round, crocheting the same number of stitches round after round will make a tube. 2. In order to make a flat circle, you need to increase. 3. When crocheting a tube, the part of the stitch facing you becomes the interior of the tube.

p3130006.jpgTo do this, you’ll need a skein of yarn (or two, if you want the exterior to look different than the interior), a hook (I used a K), some scissors, the ability to single crochet, increase, decrease, and… and I think that’s it.

Okay, let’s get started. We’ll begin with the vagina and work our way outwards.

Chain three and make a loop (kind of like when you’re starting a granny square). Then, remember that we’re only doing single crochet stitches, and do eight stitches for your first row and join the loop with a slip stitch.p3130007.jpg

p3130011.jpgSecond row, also eight stitches, and you’ll see that it already wants to pull into a tube. That’s what we want. Keep going!

You’ll have to decide for yourself how long you want your vagina to be. I made this one eight rows, just for the sake of time.p3130013.jpg

Row 9 (or whatever): Put two stitches in each stitch so that you have 16 when you are done. See how it flairs out? Okay, now you have to start thinking about how a cooter is shaped, kind of like a tear drop. We need to start working on that shape.

Row 10: First stitch, crochet twice into it. Crochet once into the next four stitches. Crochet twice into the next stitch. Crochet once into the next five stitches. Crochet five times into the next stitch (like you’re making an afghan corner). Then crochet once into the last five stitches. Join with a slip stitch.p3130016.jpg

p3130017.jpgRow 11: Crochet twice into the first stitch. Crochet once in the next six stitches. Crochet twice in the next stitch. Crochet once in the next seven stitches. Crochet five times in the next stitch. Crochet once into the next seven stitches to bring you back to the beginning. Join.

Row 12: Now, we don’t want this getting too triangle-y, so in this round, single stitch in the next four stitches and then put three crochets in the next stitch. Then singles stitches in the next fourteen stitches. Stitch five in the next stitch. Ten lone crochets in the next ten stitches to bring us back around to the start. Join with a slip stitch.p3130018.jpg

p3130020.jpgRow 13: This is the trickiest part of the whole thing. We’re going to make the inner labia, so, instead of crocheting in the round like we’ve been doing, we’re going to turn around and go back in the stitches we just made, BUT, because we’re going to come back this way again, we only want to go in the front part of the loop (which, when we turn around, will be the back part of the loop). Hopefully, the picture makes sense of what I’m telling you to do.p3130019.jpg

p3130021.jpgYou’re going to make 26 stitches, and end up with something that should bend towards you.

p3130025.jpg

Row 14: Come back 26 stitches. You’re done with the inner labia. Make your next stitch back down on the top of row twelve. Then come around in single stitches to the bottom of the other side of the labia. When you get to the stitch before your last stitch before your inner labia, take a look up and see the edge of that stitch up there. You’re going to probably want to grab it and work it into this stitchp3130026.jpg.

Okay, here’s another tricky part. Remember how we left half the loop hanging back in the last row? We’re going to crochet into those. So, just fold over your inner labia and catch the rest of that old stitch. We’re going to just single crochet into those and come back around to the other end of the labia, where row 12 started, once upon a time. p3130027.jpgAnd, new row!

Row 15: One crochet in each stitch.

Row 16: Same thing.

Row 17: Same thing.

p3130028.jpgTIME OUT: It’s time to make the clit. (And also time to change colors, which is fortunate, because we’re going to have to cut the pink yarn). Just chain three just like you started, hook them together and tie off. At the top of the inner labia, underneath, you’re going to see a big hole. I feed one string through the hole on one side of that and one string through the hole on the other side and tie them in the back. Use your hook to help.p3130029.jpg

Row 18: Go around as normal with your new color.

p3130030.jpgRow 19: Turn around and go the other way (remember, the tube comes towards you and we now want to make the tube cover the back of everything we did).

Row 20: Go around again. You can see the stitches already kind of roll towards you.

Row 21. Stitch five, skip one, repeat.

Row 22: Stitch four, skip one, repeat.

p3130031.jpgBy now, it should be rolling over like it should. You’ll do another ten or fifteen rows without any decrease, until the vagina is covered, then do a row of stitch three, skip one, a row of stitch two, skip one, and then some rows of stitch one, skip one until the whole thing is covered and you’re done, tada.

p3130032.jpg

This one seems a little deeper than the one I made Rachel and I think you could adjust subsequent cooters by having a few more increases in the area below the vaginal opening so that it was wider and therefore shallower. But once you get the idea, I think you can see there’s a ton of variations you could do.

Okay, I’m Not Done

Shoot, I just can’t let this go.  Okay, I’ll say this and then I’m done.

This:

I’m just a dumpy broad with a computer and some random stuff to say.  What I enjoy about blogging and what makes it for me more than just an exercise in being a writer too cowardly to really write is the stuff I learn from the other amazing folks out here on the internet, who comment here or post at their own places, who put it out there.

I find this to be incredibly important.  It makes me feel intellectually engaged in the world and makes me feel like I have a real stake in things.  Maybe a tiny stake, but a stake.

The thing about WKRN under the old vision, with Brittney and Kleinheider, was that the leadership really got that–that blogging gave people a way to really be engaged in our community in ways that traditional media just doesn’t.

Even if we all watch the news or read the paper, it’s passive.  You just sit there and let information flow into you.

It’s not that way with blogging.  With blogging, if information comes in and doesn’t come back out in some way–either by spurring you to comment or blog yourself or act in some other way–it’s a failure.

To grasp the difference, imagine if I went to the Scene and said to Liz Garrigan, “Damn, Liz, I so love what you’ve done with the Scene.  I love the stuff you make me think about and I love learning about places and so, yeah, I’m going to start my own alternative newspaper.”

But people all the time start blogs because of a blog they’ve read.

So, yeah, Kleinheider, and Brittney, gave me a kind of legitimacy that was a hybrid of the blogger/old media thing.  I was just talking to a bunch of other ordinary folks who also had computers, but folks who got paid to blog by a television station thought what I said mattered.

That was nice.

And I’m sorry to see the end of that.

Is That a Cellphone in Your Pocket or are You Just Happy to See Me?

Kleinheider (aka Tiny Pasture, aka Carter) is out of Volunteer Voters.  In a perfect world, we’d all go down to the bar, lay him out on the pool table and send him out McNulty-style.

Alas, this is not that perfect world.

I wanted to say something mushy and heartfelt about Kleinheider’s job over at Volunteer Voters, but I just keep thinking of watching Brittney hand him that basket with that doll in it and the look on his face, when he thought, just for a second, that someone had handed him a real baby and then, then how he looked under the basket, as if the culprit might leap out from there and reveal him or herself.

That will be a memory I always cherish.

And he could have–and if he’d been almost any other of the conservative bloggers around here, he would have–be pissed off and felt played for a fool.

But he thought it was funny.

Anyway, I like him–even if that’s probably a dubious honor coming from me–and I’m sorry to see him go from WKRN, but their loss.