Wednesday Wisdom and Wondering
Yesterday's Ten on Tuesday was ten movies you want to see in a theater. I couldn't come up with even one — although, once Ruth mentioned it, I realized that I could be persuaded to go see the new Harry Potter. What usually happens, however, is that Grant and Miss B go to see whatever new series movie comes out, and I knit and help Taz hold down the fort and eventually get to see it on DVD and/or cable. Taz is not big on crowds, and I'm finding I'm not either: the older I get the more I seem to have some weird form of agoraclaustrophobia, wherein sitting in a public place hemmed in by strangers, at least one of whom nearby is guaranteed to have some annoying habit (even if it's only sitting in front of me while tall), is not my idea of a good time. I even prefer to watch sporting events on TV, at home, where, if I wander downstairs for a snack, I won't find myself at the back of a line of 14,000 fans in various stages of inebriation.
Anyhow, I was going to come up with some other ToT theme, but I didn't quite get there. Instead I present a random dose of Wednesday wisdom and wondering, the former falling under the heading of "things I've learned over the years, whether I wanted to or not," and the latter being things I still haven't figured out and doubt if I ever will. Without further ado:
- Any time a cookbook says "stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes," it will be at least 15 minutes, even if you sneak half and half into a recipe that calls for milk.
- Anything involving government takes at least three times as long as it needs to.
- There's one in every crowd. Often it's me.
- You've all heard me kvetch about the relentless lengthening and crassifying of the Christmas season. Radio stations start playing wall-to-wall Christmas music before Halloween, retailers tart themselves up in red and green before Columbus Day, nay, before Labor Day, etc., etc., o tempora, o mores. Bah humbug aside, however, there's something I don't get: let's say that along about mid-July, hypnotized by the glitter of tinsel, I pull out my wallet and spend my usual amount on gifts at my favorite retailer. (For the purpose of this example let's assume that the cost of the items I buy doesn't change between July and December.) If I would have spent that same amount on December 23 anyway, how does that help the retailer? OK, axiomatically a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow, and if retailer is thisclose to going belly up, it's certainly better to stay in business today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. They probably also hope that as the days shorten people filled with Christmas spirit, eggnog or whatever, will pick up one extra gift. Of course early decorating doesn't work on knitters: if I get inspired to start working through my Christmas list in July that just gives me more time to knit. But, anyway, have you ever worked in retail? How do these equations get worked out on the other side of the counter?
- Why is crocheting so much faster than knitting? Srsly. I finished my first granite-stitch scarf in two days and my second in one. (It looks just like the first one, except a teeny bit narrower.) Sure, if you triple crochet in bulky yarn, especially if you do a lacy pattern, you'll produce a given amount of fabric in a lot less time than a knitter would, but granite stitch is 1) single crochet 2) perfectly solid. Being no speed demon at either craft, I'm glad to have found a good-looking crochet stitch I can use to crank out some quality Red Scarves, but I'd love to know why it works that way. A single-crochet stitch is three quick movements: hook with loop from previous stitch into stitch/space/whatever, draw up loop, draw through two loops. Likewise a knit stitch for a picker: needle through stitch, pick yarn, needle out, stitch off. I know that sounds like four, but really, needle-out-stitch-off is one motion. Any efficiency engineers out there?
- Why is Callie petrified of every human being on the planet except me? When she sees me she purrs, she rubs, she leaps onto any available railing or furniture so I can easily pet her. She wants to be where I am, helping with whatever I'm doing. (This isn't always a good thing: see picture above.) When she sees anyone else, including Grant and Genevra, she doesn't see much of them since she bolts. No one has ever threatened her in any way, and she and Achilles are littermates, and he likes everyone. Maybe a cat shrink could explain this, but I will admit to harboring doubts.