Sunday, June 15, 2008

Talkative -- Knitting, Baseball, Literature

Warning -- I'm feeling verbose today.

Baseball Report

Yesterday was the Little League National vs American League intraleague All Star game. Three kids from each team were voted onto the two All Star teams by their teammates, so it was a nice honor. The game was full of Little League pomp and circumstance. The kids were announced by name, and they got to run out onto the field, grab a cool All Star hat, and line up on the baselines. The game itself wasn't too exciting, except for the storm blowing through in the middle. Officials hustled everyone into the parking garage to wait out an anticipated storm. The wind was whipping around, but there was no rain. After about 20 minutes, they called us back out to the field, at which point it started to pour. The kids managed to play one more inning in the rain until lightning shut it down. At the end of five innings, the score was tied at 3. Sr. Jr. was bummed because he was set to be the shut 'em down closing pitcher in the sixth inning.

He will also be on the interleague All Star team. This team is picked by the coaches. I'm not sure how many kids from each team make it, or if they just choose who they want. Sr. Jr. will have practice every day this week, and games start the week after. This is Serious Little League Competition here. He's very proud of himself!


I continue working on the Star of Evening shawl. Even though the rows are getting longer, they go quickly because the pattern is easy to memorize and execute. I've finished almost 4 1/2 chart repeats so far.

Once again, I'm too lazy to straighten this picture out. Sorry.

Right now, I need to have an easy sock to knit. I like to have a plain stockinette or other easy sock going for those times when I'm too tired or don't have the time or energy to focus on something like a lace shawl. Easy socks are also good for bringing along to doctor's appointments and other out-of-the-house knitting occasions. The current STR club sock is too complicated to serve, so I went trolling through the sock yarn to see what I could find.

The question for you, dear readers, is which one will I choose, and why? Here are the contenders:

A slightly closer view:

On the left is Dream in Color Baby in Gothic Rose. Pluses: it's Dream in Color yarn, which I love, and the color is gorgeous. Minuses: It's Baby, and not Smooshy. Baby is their "laceweight," although it seems heavy for laceweight. Also, it's more of a Fall/Winter color. In the middle is Duet Skinny sock yarn in "Sailor Sky." It's pros include being a nice light weight and a more summery colorway. It's con is that I just knit some socks from this yarn very recently. On the right is Schaefer's Anne in an unnamed colorway of dark greys, browns, and black. Pros: I love Anne and haven't knit with it in a while. Cons: Mohair makes for warmer knitting in hot weather, plus colorway is definitely a cold-weather choice.

Here, next to the Anne on the left, we have Fleece Artist Merino in a yellow/green/blue colorway. Pros: Springy, plus I haven't knit with Fleece Artist in a while. Cons: In my limited experience with FA, it tends to fade. Second from the right is Sundara Sock Yarn in Midnight Over Blue. Again -- gorgeous color, beautiful yarn, but I've knit with Sundara recently and it's a darker color. Finally, on the right is another skein of Fleece Artist, with less yellow and more pink and blue. Same pros and cons as the other skein of Fleece Artist.

So, what will I choose, and why? (You must be 18 years or older to participate. Persons who live in my house and have direct knowledge of my actions are forbidden from participating unless they do so before I've made my choice. Other terms and conditions may apply. No purchase necessary. Few will enter, only one will win.)

An Ode to the Short Story

I love to read. My book stash is almost as voluminous as my yarn stash, only not nearly as soft. Readers of this here blog will guess that I prefer fiction to nonfiction, and they'd be correct. But what most people don't know is that one of my favorite forms of literature is the short story. Short stories don't get nearly the same attention or readership as their more long-winded cousins, and that's a real shame. Some of the things that have affected me most deeply over the years have been short stories.

(Warning: strange simile and analysis ahead). Short stories are like soap bubbles -- small, self-contained, and delicate, with a lot of color swirling around if you look closely. Because of their brevity, short stories have to communicate a lot in very few words. Points don't get bludgeoned to death, like in some novels. The very best short stories can cut you to the heart in a single paragraph.

I cried harder at the end of Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" short story than I did at the (also beautiful) movie. Somehow, that image of a man crying over his lost lover's shirt inside a closet was more eloquently captured in a few words than in a 2 hour film.

Ms. Proulx has done it again in the latest Summer Fiction edition of the New Yorker. Again, all it took was one sentence to take my breath away.

It's not always easy to find good short stories. The New Yorker always has one in each issue. There are also a host of smaller literary magazines that print short stories, but they can be hit or miss. Every year I search out the "Best American Short Stories" collection and the Pushcart Prize collections. The Pushcart Prize also has poetry and nonfiction as well. When I note an author whose stories I particulary like, I will keep an eye out for any of their collections as well. Favorites include Alice Munro, the abovementioned E. Annie Proulx, the incomparable but sadly not prolific Lorrie Moore, TC Boyle, Tobias Woolf, and many, many more who practice this overlooked art form.

Coming soon, a birthday!


Scott T. said...

sailor sky is my guess, but I have no clue why -- seems summery

kippi said...

Hey, Scott, the rules say you are forbidden to participate. Sounds like a punishment is in order.

My first choice is the Fleece Artist with the pink highlights in it. Question: If the Fleece Artist yarn fades and you are worried about that, why not get rid of the yarn? Or does it matter if socks fade? My second choice is the Sailor Sky.

I have never read Brokeback Mountain! Did see the movie though and cried at the end. Now I'm going to have to check out the new New Yorker to read the new short story. I have a love/hate relationship with the short story. I love them because they are quick and to the point. I hate them because the good ones are over too soon. It is so much harder to write succinctly than it is to ramble on (like I tend to do). :-)

Sr. Jr. should be very proud of himself! What a great accomplishment. Another week of practice? Then is baseball over until next year or has it turned into a nearly year round sport like basketball?

Scott T. said...

oh, yes, the punishment. I've been naughty, just like in the Castle Anthrax ;-)

Holy Grail reference there in case you missed it

ikkinlala said...

I'll have to keep an eye out for the Pushcart Prize collections - thanks for the suggestion.

I'm going to guess the yellow/green/blue Fleece Artist because spring's almost over so it's time to use it now and because it's a light enough colourway that fading shouldn't make too much of a difference.