They Won’t Let Me Take My Knitting on the Plane (I’m Not Happy)

When I told my good friend and resident knitter, Sam, that I wanted her to teach me how to knit, her eyes lit up. She had just taken on a knitting mission to make all of her closest friends scarves (a mission that, while very sweet and admirable, will probably take her forever due to her perfectionism… but that’s Sam for ya.) This meant she was knitting a lot – in the class we had together, in the lounge, while watching TV, when procrastinating from homework… basically, she was knitting everywhere, a lot of the time.

And it also meant that she was knitting a lot around me… and I was, for the first time, fully convinced of its value as hobby therapy.

So, excited to teach me what she knew, she and another friend of ours hopped into my car one weekend and drove off to JoAnn Fabrics.

The first task of the day was to help me find needles. We stopped in front of the section full of needles of all colors, materials, and sizes. My eyes were drawn to a particular pair immediately – they were metal, fairly large and thick, and – best of all – bright magenta. Like, I’m talking Libby Lu purple, here. I had to have them.

I immediately picked them up. “What about these?” I said, hoping there was something vaguely beginner-friendly about them.

Sam inspected them. “Actually, those would work perfectly. They’re a good size.”

Victorious, I took my needles and followed Sam to the yarn. She swore to me that she wasn’t going to buy any, as she had plenty and needed to save her money, but she quickly located a ball of yarn just perfect for her current project, and when I found a huge ball of nice, light yellow yarn for a great price, she bought herself a ball of it too.

Anyway, we both walked out with two balls of yarn, and I got my pretty needles, and everything was wonderful. Sam taught me to knit on the floor of her dorm room while we watched Avatar: The Last Airbender. It was actually not the first time I had learned, as a few years before my good friend Marie taught me as well.

But, for whatever reason (probably because I now had my own materials and a lot of pent-up anxiety to release) this time it stuck. I definitely wasn’t an expert right off the bat, and since the first yarn I used particularly wanted to fray, my stitches weren’t always the most even, but I grew to really like the task.

I’m not the first to try (and probably fail) to explain what exactly is it about knitting that makes it so calming, but I think it has something to do with the rhythm of it. Once you learn how to do it, it isn’t particularly hard and doesn’t require your full attention, but it’s also a nice, rhythmic movement that simultaneously brings about a product that looks neat and pretty and soft.

Anyway, I’m very into knitting now. It’s one of the things I like to turn to at the end of the day, when my homework is finished and I just want to watch some TV and keep my hands busy. But now… well…

You see, by the time this is posted, I’ll be almost ready to hop on a plane bound for Florida with my scholarship group. There, we’re gonna learn all about journalism and also maybe sometimes do some other stuff. I was looking forward to the calming, completely wifi-less activity of knitting to accompany me through the two flights we’ll be taking there but then I thought… wait, are they gonna be cool with me bringing two notably dagger-sized metal needles onto a plane?

A few google searches later and… uh, yeah. They’re generally not cool with that. They’re usually okay with wooden or plastic needles, but metal? Yeah, the TSA doesn’t go for that. So my pretty, Libby Lu magenta needles that make such a nice clicking sound when I knit… cannot come with me to Florida. Tragedy. Now what am I going to do with my free time when I’m there?? Interact with others?? Preposterous.

More on this horrible situation next week. (Maybe.)

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Blogging is Hard, Man, It’s Hard

I initially had a far different post in mind for this week and I probably will just push that one off to next week, because I’ll take all the content I can get for this blog. But I didn’t feel like I was in the right headspace to be writing the post I had in mind, it was a little too mean, too low-hanging fruit-y for my current tastes.

(I’ll probably still do it, though, it’s kind of a funny idea.)

But instead I decided that I wanted to do another short post this week, a little roundup of all the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having about this blog lately. I have, unfortunately, done a lot of short posts lately, posts I haven’t been incredibly proud of. I think that’s just the season, hopefully. I’ve been busy with finals and now even off of school I’m busy… catching up with friends, preparing for the holidays, you know how it is.

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Crying and Watching Dogs 101: A Primer on Finals Week

Finals week is upon us, you guys! And I’m already suffering, even though it’s supposed to be dead week. But let’s be honest, dead week is becoming more and more like an extension of finals week every year. (What happened to giving us this week off to study, professors? Huh? I had two essays due.) 

Anyway. This time of year means I’m… not at my most productive when it comes to anything other than the numerous assignments that are being simultaneously dumped on my head. But I felt like it might be a good time to share some finals week knowledge from me to you. I’ve done this twice before, so I may not be the expert yet, but if you’re new to college life or you just feel like you need some tips to keep you hanging on during this the most wild of weeks, I’ve got you covered. I’ve got 3, in fact (it was all I had time for, preparing for my own finals and doing a bunch of holiday prep and… you know how busy it gets this time of year).

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Musical Purgatory – “Mamma Mia!”

I want to begin this post with a disclaimer. In all my many hours of YouTube binging, I often find myself returning to the same channels over and over again. One of those channels has been “Musical Hell,” a truly charming YouTube channel that, among other things, places subpar musicals in the titular “Musical Hell,” presided over by Diva, the demon judge, jury, and executioner.

This series is not only incredibly funny, it’s also informative and full of interesting tidbits and factoids about how musical theater works. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s fun to laugh at duds every once and a while. However, there was one episode of this series that just… rubbed me the wrong way.

By writing this post, I don’t intend to imply that I dislike what Diva does on this channel. This episode is only the third in what is now an over 70-episode series full to the brim with entertaining analysis and humorous takes on musicals. I also think Diva has learned a lot about delivery, video editing, audio editing, script writing… etc since then. Don’t judge her based on this video.

What I do want to do, though, is defend a musical I think is unfairly misunderstood in this video. You don’t have to like “Mamma Mia!”, but this review comes too close to Cinema Sins stupidity as far as being weirdly nitpicky about a movie just because it happens to be a movie that follows some movie genres and conventions. This is partly because I just rewatched the sequel and it’s incredible, and partly because my boyfriend watched this video and was convinced it was right and so I must state my long-winded and over-complicated point here and prove him wrong, obviously. 

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Musical Month Week 4: A Lovely Tribute

MS FLEMING: “Veronica? Jason Dean told me you just committed suicide!”
VERONICA: “Yeah? Well, he’s wrong about a lot of things.”
MS FLEMING: “Oh… I threw together a lovely tribute, especially on such short notice…”
“Dead Girl Walking (Reprise)”

After writing a post a while ago on how media consistently screws up its depictions of mental illness and suicide, I got to thinking – are there any examples of media that does the depictions right?

And ruminating on it a bit, I came to the conclusion that a great piece of media that does discuss both of these topics in a way that is constructive without glorifying either is the musical “Heathers.” And since it’s musical month, what better time is there to talk about it?

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