(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I've p-lurked around a few of the Parasites blogs (a more or less full list can be seen here: http://nanotexts.blogspot.com/), and I'm liking what I'm seeing. Ideas are flowing. There isn't quite as much feedback as any of us would like, but I think that's a continual problem in a class like this. But I wanted to share something with the parasites.
Watch this video:
Blogging as a way of disseminating information opens possibilities because you are not limited in the way that a hard copy paper is limited, which is one reason I really enjoy that Tony utilizes it as a main format for writing.
embedded videos and pictures all offer the possibility of a greater, and here I mean that in the sense of greater as larger, experience for the reader. I'm not saying it's necessary to include these things, but I think it would be foolish to neglect them as available tools to work with. You wouldn't use the heel of your shoe on a nail if you have a hammer within reach, would you?
So post, play and explore the possibilities of this medium known as blogging. Especially if you're feeling stuck on what to say next.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
AAAAHHHH!!! *takes a few deep breathes* okay, i'm doing great. Everything will be fine.
Good news though, i found out i got an RA interview. Assuming i can find the time to fit that in.
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The final update, months if not years old,
it corrodes in the neverending
cached and saved on the servers of our Search overlords
zombies still standing
perhaps to come back and bite us when we least expect it
content builds character
context puts us in our place
But relevance forever holds them irrational
What becomes of the blog untouched?
Monday, January 25, 2010
And it's made me think.
Love is a parasite.
That interrupts your thoughts.
"'Oh, Chiara - my Chiara!' he cried out in the most painful grief. " Abraham is infected as he debates with Madame Benzon, and his love cries out, interrupting his statements against the frailty of the woman's heart.
We find examples of this same kind of interruption as we explore more of the happenings surrounding Julia and Princess Hedwiga, even our dear Tomcat Murr as each is interrupted by thoughts of Kreisler or Herr Hector or Kitty respectively.
Like the earworms I discussed in an earlier blog post, this love wriggles its way in and replicates itself, replacing what thoughts you would otherwise have. It is virus. It is an infective agent.
In parallels to the blood parasite of Shivers, it overrides rational thought.
So I now wonder, what is the parasite we're dealing with in Tomcat Murr? Why would Tony choose this as a text? Merely to bring up Toxoplasma Gondii seems a great deal of work for a rather small reference.
I can't shake the thought that there is a parasite hiding in this text that I'm missing. Something bigger among the ideas and tropes presented. Perhaps I'm infected with it already.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This is an instructional blog post dedicated to Redspool. May your needles never bend or break.
I take no credit for this design, it's a simplified version of a project I read about in the book Knitting With Balls by Michael del Vecchio.
- a set of size 8 (7? I can never remember, I've had them so long) double pointed needles (so 4 of them)
- yarn in your choice of color (I realize I could be more technical here, but as a poor college student only now beginning to explore the world of handspun and local yarn, I've been limited to your basic, mass produced, acrylic or acrylic blends which usually have about the same worsted weight no matter which kind you buy.) For a pair of ittens, you need probably about one skein or an ounce each. Again, I've never really paid attention to that part.
- a piece of scrap yarn in a different color from your project at least 5 inches long
- Yarn needle (optional though recommended)
Cast on 40 stitches. Using the Long-Tail method.
Distribute the stitches amongst your needles so you have 10 on one needle, 20 on the next needle and 10 on the last needle.
You will be knitting on the round. To start, circle the last stitch, where the yarn connects needles to ball, to the first stitch you cast on. Knit 1. Purl 1. Repeat. Continue with this basic rib all the way around until the itten is about an inch long. This will be the cuff.
From here, knit through the back loop in a basic stockinette stitch until the itten measures 4.5 to 5 inches long depending on your preference.
When your itten is long enough, it's time to set up for the thumb hole.
On the next row, knit two stitches, then switch to the scrap yarn and knit for 7 stitches.
Swap the seven stitches back onto the original needle and continue knitting in the stockinette for 9 more rows or until the project measures about 5.5 to 6 inches long.
Remove the scrap yarn so you have 14 loose loops.
Pick up these 14 loose loops with two of your empty needles.
Using your spare needle, pick up 2 stitches out of the finished itten. Knit these.
You should have reached the next row of 7. Knit 3 then switch to your open needle. Knit 4 and when you reach the end of the row of 7, pick up 2 more stitches out of the fabric.
You should have 18 working stitches. Knit in the round like you did for the rest of the project for 9 rows (which is long enough for the thumb to be as long as the palm).
Cast off. Here you can either tie off or as I like to do, use whatever extra yarn there is and weave it back into the itten before tying it off.
You've finished one half of a pair of ittens, gauntlets, fingerless mittens, whatever the hell you feel like calling them. Don't succumb to second sock syndrome, finish the second one and you'll be golden.
When making the thumb hole of the second one, I wait until I'm at the end of the row (so the needle with 10 stitches that comes after the needle with 20) before I make the thumb hole. While this isn't necessary as I've described the project, if you do any kind of cable work or fair-isle designs, this step keeps you from making two left or two right ittens.
One thing I like to do with this as a variation is to add some cables at the beginning and end of the itten. So after knitting for stockinette for 5 rows, the next time I reach the 20 stitch needle, I knit 1 and make a leftward cable of 8 stitches (so 4 over 4) knit 2 then a rightward cable of 8. Knit 1 to finish off the needle, then continue in stockinette until 2 rows after the thumb hole. Then repeat the cable process (only do the rightward before leftward) so you end with a kind of x shape pattern on the finished project.
Friday, January 15, 2010
If you're familiar at all with Doctor Who, you did indeed hear that in your head in the voice of David Tennant's tenth incarnation of the Doctor.
The power of suggestion in these sorts of situations is strong. Words and images are agents of infection.
William S. Burroughs says it very succinctly here: Word is virus.
And the virus is the infection of thoughts and ideas.
It's not quite so sinister as
but, what if I were to post something like this:
I'm guessing you saw the title and had some sort of visceral reaction of "No way in hell am I clicking on that." Whether you watched the video or not, you've just been Rickroll'd. The power of suggestion.
I started exploring this idea earlier in a plurk: http://www.plurk.com/p/3cle13 and you can see from Betzi's reaction exactly how powerful that kind of suggestion is.
All it take is the small seed, the idea of an idea to make you think.
Now, you ask, how does this relate to parasites? That is, after all, why I'm blogging about this.
It has to do with two trees and two serpents.
The first pair shared a parasitic relationship. Nidhogg lays at the base of the world-tree Yggdrasil, gnawing at the roots, sucking the life out of the very world he inhabits.
The second serpent roosted not at the base of the tree, but dwelt amongst the branches. Revelations called him Satan and the Devil, but so far as I know, no name was officially given in the stories of Genesis. He -- and I use this pronoun loosely -- offered us the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He infected us with ideas.
And though these two serpents are reflections of each other from very different mythologies, it is their parallels that lead me to believe that within certain contexts, they can represent much the same thing. Namely, the serpent-parasite as knowledge. If they can be taken as the same serpent, one attains knowledge directly from the tree. He is parasite to the tree, but the tree reacts. He becomes infected with this pathogen of words. And as is his imperative then, he spreads it, furthering the contamination of the tree itself.
And perhaps the tree as a source of ideas by "God" is meant as a warning, which is why it would be made forbidden, which is why as the world tree it would encompass anything and everything.
We live such internal lives, creating false realities of the mind, much like this blog or plurk. Each timeline could then represent the internal reality of the plurker, specifically the internal reality as formed by their ideas.
This brings me, finally, to earworms.
Earworm: a song that gets stuck in your head. The earworm wriggles its way in and aggressively holds its place against any and all challenges. They feed on our thoughts, replacing them with lyrics and melodies. And sometimes the mere suggestion of a song is enough to implant the worm in your mind.
They are parasites upon the parasite of our thoughts.
Earworms are contagious. But as Betzi said in the above linked plurk, "It does beg the question, though: why share an earworm?"
Perhaps it is not the decision of the host, those afflicted by the song in question, but the earworm itself, wishing to replicate itself as ideas are wont to do. All I had to do was post a link to the Rick Astley song, make you see the title and it was enough to put the entire song in your head (assuming of course that you know the song or internet meme). Music is never a "mere suggestion" after all, if you know the tune it is almost instantly playing in your head.
Earworms are our modern snakes.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
"In addition to feline features, the species was redesigned to look more like humans so audiences could relate to them better. Cameron said that Avatar was more "science fantasy" than true science fiction and said that he would explain in the novel for the film why in the fictional universe the Na'vi look like humans."