March 28, 2007

Wii-demption

A few months ago, I may have written a post on this site about how I wanted a Nintendo Wii. About how I wanted the Wii so much that it made my belly hurt. In retrospect, maybe the post came off a little whiny.

If you're expecting a retraction, you'll have to wait a little longer. Because I got one.

"But Matty, was it really worth all of your molly-coddling, lilly-livered whinery in that other blog entry?"

Oh, yeah.

First off, I want to note in the interest of full disclosure that I actually got the Wii in late December. I'd also like to say that the reason that I haven't posted about it before now is that I've been too busy playing Wii games. But in reality, I don't have a good reason other than a full-blown time-consuming procrastination hobby.

So let me bring you up to speed, gentle reader. The Wii was released in November. Due to demand, they were selling out everywhere as soon as they were released. Actually, several months (and six million units) later, this is still the case.

While I should have been resting on my Christmas laurels, I stalked my prey on the internet like a crazy ex-girlfriend. I received up to-the-minute status updates from a variety of fanboy forums and info sites.

Late one Friday night, rumors starting wafting down the e-pike that a small shipment of Wiis was going to be delivered to many Target stores. A quick call to beleaguered switchboard operators at several Target stores confirmed that several stores in our area would be receiving between 10-20 of the elusive gaming systems each. My long-suffering wife and I hatched a plan.

Our plan was... that we would get up really early and wait in a line. I realize that this wasn't the most complex plan ever conceived, but the genius was in the simplicity.

It was right before Christmas, and we knew that we would have to compete against parents looking to buy a Wii as a gift for their kids. Our simple plan was maybe a little too simple. I didn't really want to camp out overnight in a Target parking lot just to get a video game system. Doing stuff like that when you're thirty-something is hard to justify.

That's when we came up with the other part of the plan. You see, instead of just going to the Target a few blocks away, we would travel far away from Suburbia with its greedy, Wii-grabbing brats kids. Instead we would go to a Target that was nestled in an area that was mostly office buildings and restaurants.

We woke up at 4 the next morning, and pulled into the Target parking lot at 4:30. As we walked to the door a chipper Target employee (chipper at 4:30 a.m.?) asked us how many Wiis we wanted, and gave us the golden ticket. Well, not so much a golden ticket, as a little piece of paper with the number 17 on it. This little piece of paper guaranteed us the next to last Wii that the store had. And, in just four short hours, they would sell it to us.

We joined the line and had some interesting conversations with some of the other folks waiting in the Wii line. Not suprisingly, most were parents that were trying to get that special Christmas gift. Common topics of discussion included: the best Wii-stalking sites on the internet, what games we hoped would be fun to play, and other video game systems. We also talked about many other topics, but the Wii would always come up.

Most everyone there seemed to be buying the Wiis for themselves or as gifts. At least no one admitted that they were going home to sell the Wii on eBay for three times the price.

At the predetermined time, we all got in a single file line, and were led through the store. I had elementary school field trip flashbacks. Within 30 minutes, I was holding my Wii. I wish I could say that the first thing that I did when I got home was to hook it up and play for hours. The mind was willing but the body was weak. We had to sleep. After a short nap, we spent the rest of the wiikend playing games. It was wiidiculously fun.

For more on the fun-ness, check out the Wii-diculous amount of pix on the right. I have more info in there on the gameplay n such. Wiiiii!!!!!!

Posted by Matty at 10:41 PM | Comments (6)

March 27, 2007

Deep inside the intercom

I hope the title doesn't make you think that this post is about some kind of weird electronic pr0n or something.

or...

Maybe it is. There's really only one way to find out. Ickclay the inklay.

Electronic pr0n pics are on the right. Yep... wires, circuit boards, and transistors. All posed tastefully, of course.

For some reason, a pretty common feature in houses around here is the intercom system. They must've been all the rage in 1980. Intercom systems, Rubik's Cubes, and "Baby on Board" signs. There's probably a link there somewhere, but I can't figure it out.

Anyhow, there are intercom boxes in the bedrooms. They connect to a central unit in the kitchen, and another unit at the front door. You can listen to the radio and talk between the units. I even made it play nice with my iPod.

Sometimes I wonder if the intercom remembers bygone days wistfully when Pat Benetar songs play on the iPod. Ahh the melancholy memories of carefree intercom youth.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling the need to fix things. I went to work on the intercom. The doorbell (also controlled by the all-powerful intercom) had recently stopped working and I was determined to find out why. I grabbed a screwdriver and pulled the main unit from the wall.

While inside the old M&S Model 338 (made right here in Dallas, natch), I noticed something kind of cool. On the circuit board, there were people's initials by the soldered components.

I think it's pretty interesting. Now a days circuit boards and electronics are made by robots, and I doubt that you would discover someone's signature if you took apart your camera or laptop. --But you should do it anyway. Taking apart stuff is fun!

Then I started thinking ... how often does one physically sign their own work? I'm a technical writer and you'd think that I'd credit myself all the time on documents and manuals. But in all the years that I've been writing, I think I've signed my name to something only once or twice.

How about you? Do you sign your work and what do you do? Please comment. I'm curious.

Posted by Matty at 10:46 PM | Comments (6)

Wee!

Sock that is. Tiny and cute and such a happy lilí thing. I made mine and sent it. (Although I admit, a little belatedly.)

I knit up a wee-tiny sock as part of Yarn Miracle's Wee Sock Swap. I followed a basic sock pattern, but sized down to 18 stitches to accommodate the K2, P1 ribbing I like. But no cheats -- this sock is made like itís full-sized cousin, just wee.

I used the leftovers from my Life Saver Socks, aka the TX State Fair 2nd place ribbon winning socks: Cherry Tree Hill. Iíve misplaced the ball band and have really no idea what colorway this is. (Nothing similar on their site.)

And guess what?! I recieved a wee sock in the mail this Saturday from my pal!

This wee sock made it's way down from cold Canada to my warmer climes. My pal is Mariza of Knit Picking and she sent it along with a beautiful card.

Even better for you folks playing at home? You can go take a gander at a goodly amount of wee socks in the Flikr wee sock pool! Some knitters even did lace and cabled socks. Ain't that a wee kicker?

Posted by Nanc at 10:11 AM | Comments (6)

March 19, 2007

Slap Stitch was AWESOME!

No, really. We (knitters) had a decent turn out in our section, the Stars won, and I saw a lot of knitting going on. Well, at least a fair amount of yarn and needles; who knows how many stitches got made. Keep reading for more of my account.

What a screaming good time! And I mean that literally. There was cheering and jeering, laughing and crying (from too much/too hard laughter), and a whole lot Ďo fun going on. The game itself was mighty exciting with the sudden death overtime and the bit of blood that was shed. (Not enough for some fans.)

We rode down on the DART in two groups and amazingly found each other in the masses. Nachos and other foods were obtained upon entry, and then it was just a matter of gobbling up our foodstuffs before the game and the knitting started.

A restriction on scissors and metal needles was in place, so I had to take a project that would be small, easy, and on wooden or plastic needles. Well truth be told, I havenít been knitting much lately. (New job + in-town visitors + outdoor yard work = no knitting time.)

My Momís First Socks are on hold since I discovered the two skeins are quite different tones of demin. Mattís sweater vest (hinted about here) is too big for this trip and frankly the yarn is too nice for that crowd. (Ask me about the stains on my t-shirt if you have any questions by what I mean.) So mitered squares it is!

What, I havenít told yíall about my mitered squares blanket? HuhÖ Well, that pretty much explains it all, doesnít it? Iím knitting mitered squares (from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book) from Sirdar Rio/Breeze leftovers (Squid blanket and Diva Baby blanket). Right now, Iím simply knitting the squares. Size and recipient will be figured out on the other end of this project. For now, itís just for fun.

Which brings us back to the hockey game. Very little knitting was accomplished by me as I was busy shouting to the players down on the ice. And laughing with my grrls. And clapping sexily. (Donít ask.)

I expect that there will be more knitting sports events in our future, preferably indoor or cooler events like this. Heck, maybe weíll move on to concert and cultural events, too. Wouldnít that be a hoot?! But for now, I need to get back to my home, quiet-time, relaxing knittingÖ although I may still scream out a few encouragements when called for. Just for the sport of it.

Posted by Nanc at 03:14 PM | Comments (6)

March 06, 2007

Let the birthdays begin!

Nearly half of my knit grrls celebrate their birthdays this month; four of the nine of us. Doesn't that seem a little much? Especially when I happen to be making gifts this year and I've procrastinated for so long.

The first birthday on the calendar is Chris'. Wanna see what I made for her?

Since I painted, organized, and cleaned up my craft/guest bedroom, I've had the desire to get back to sewing. Don't freak out -- I'm still a hardcore knitter, but I was a sewer before I made my first knit.

Not wanting to dive head first into a complex project, I found an object that seemed simple enough and would be fun to wet my sewing whistle. It's the crafty bucket by Caro.

I've had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Caro a couple of times. She's pretty darn crafty (in the good way, not the cunning or evil way -- at least from what I know). And I caught her episode on Uncommon Threads for the crafty bucket. So together with the show and the instructions, I was ready to go.

The instructions are easy to follow, but I enjoyed the extra visual help of having the TV episode recorded. (Thanks, STiVo!) Especially when Caro does some clever tricks and fancy math. (I am more familiar with pie than pi.)

The crafty bucket didn't take a too long to make and I very much enjoy the finished object. But I wasn't done yet.

Since this was going to be a birthday gift, I wanted to jazz it up more. So I went back to Caro for inspiration again and made a matching wallet. (She calls it a coin purse, but I use mine as a blog card holder.)

And I didn't stop there! I also made a cute -imho- covered tape measure and attached a yarn cutter by ribbon. Isn't it all so grand?!

Well, I had better shake the lead out because I have a few more of these to make. Pronto!

Posted by Nanc at 08:52 AM | Comments (10)