Malted milk shake and Cheese

Posted by me on Sunday, the 10th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 2:30 AM, local time.

Do you like…. Malted milk shakes? Yes…

Do you like…. Cheese? Yes…

Do you like them… together? Ewww!!!!

Anyway, my daily post today (ignore the time, this is still saturday in my book), is a bit late, but it was much busier day today then I anticipated it being. Anyway, this morning I went to the farmer's market again, to see if they had some pepper plants, and they had some that I got, even though they weren't exactly what I wanted. I also go some local home made mozzerella cheese. Looks really good, I may try to make a pizza with it. I also tried to find fresh basil there, but no one had anything. Apparently it is not quite the time for basil. I had to buy that at the store instead. How embarrassing!

On the way home from that, I got a strange craving for a malted milk shake, and thus went to Target and got some Malted Milk, some all natural vanilla bean ice cream, (and some basil), and went home and mixed it all (not the basil) up with some milk with my immersion blender and had one of the best malted milk shakes I've had in a long while. And I can make them whenever I want! It's like, perfect!

But yes, a busy day. Early in the afternoon, there was a free concert from the Rochester Community Band in central park, so a bunch of us went there to support our friends in that band (yay Jim and Pam, and Zane if you would just go and practice everyonce in a while…). It was a really great day to be outside in the park (with the shade and all). I could have really just sat there for a while. It was very relaxing. While listening to the music, I took the opportunity to knit in public. Just trying to test out some sock yarn and needles I just got and check out my gauge. I've not dealt with such small needles (or such small wool yarn) before, but it went pretty well.

After they made me leave the park, I went to the book store to get the book club book, and ended up getting some Prokofiev CDs and some wild strawberry cheesecake. Man that was pretty good tasting stuff! Also went to a neat little downtown corner grocery store and meat shop, and found that they have a pretty nice selection of meats behind their meat counter, and a quite awesome selection of cheeses. Next time there is a cheese party, I know where I am going. That's right, I'm talking about Just Rite Foodstore on 2nd street and 6th avenue. Very cool. Never knew that was there before.

Later in the day, some of us went to Red Lobster for some dinner, and it was ok. The clam chowder (New England, of course) was quite good, and the lobster tasted really good, too. The steak, while properly medium rare inside, was somehow pretty not cool on the outside, tough and crunchy, and it just didn't make me as happy as it could have. After that, I learned that I am still as horrible at mini-golf as I am at regular golf, but I enjoy them both quite a bit. Mini-golf does have the nice distinction of being cheaper to play though.

Finally, a few of us sat down and talked about how we will certainly all be rich once we retire, and won't it be awesome when we buy castles overlooking our own villages when we do retire, because that's likely what will happen, right? Also, how to make Rochester a thriving and growing city, and how its not going to happen, but wouldn't it be cool if it did? And then it was 1:30am. That's how these conversations go sometimes. It can get tiring.

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Gauge Invariance

Posted by me on Friday, the 8th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 2:35 PM, local time.

or, How I Acquired Two New Hobbies at the Expense of some Free Time

This post is about knitting and crocheting. For you poor theoretical physicists worried about the fact that $A_{\mu}(x)\rightarrow A_{\mu}(x)-\nabla_{\mu}\alpha(x)$, this might help, although you might learn useful things about differential geometry if you stay here for a bit. Probably not though. And for the few engineers who stumbled here trying to figure out why your extruded metals are not the right size, I can’t really help you at all, though you really should fix that in case I need some 1’s to make a sock or something.

But seriously, I digress. On to the real point of this post: Learning to knit (and crochet). After learning both things, I am really convinced that they are one and the same. That is, Knitting Theory can be expressed using Crochet Theory, though I grant that it could be quite difficult keeping that many loops on your hook at once, and I don’t really know that you’d want to anyway. But, even though I am pretty sure knitting is a degenerate form of crocheting, and crocheting (in its simpler, most commonly practice forms) is much easier to do, I think knitting is probably more generally useful, and certainly is more often practiced. It is surely for these combined reasons that shortcuts from using crochet hooks for knitting were developed, known as knitting needles (Surely this is how it came about.) Anyway, I digress again.

This may be boring to some of you, but I thought I would talk about the why and how I learned to knit (and crochet… that’s getting old. From now on, I’ll just assume you know what I mean). When I was a young lad, maybe 5 or 6 or so, my grandmother taught me to crochet. I assume it was mostly to keep me busy and out of her hair. Anyway, I don’t remember crocheting much, but I think I still have the hook she gave me somewhere in my room back home. More recently, as in, mere months ago, I saw some websites online where they talk about crocheting and knitting complex mathematical surfaces to get a better feel for how they look and work. I mentioned this before. Also really awesome: this Lorentz attractor!. As a mathematician at heart, I was intrigued, for there were lots of really cool complex shapes that have really simple equations, but its really hard to get a feel for how they look, even when its just in normal euclidean three-space. Let alone hyperbolic space, or higher dimensional spaces. So at that point, I kinda wanted to learn how to do this stuff.

Luckily, my good friends Jim and Pam, also known as the spectacular husband and wife knitting and crocheting team, were kind enough to teach me how to do this amazing things. Jim taught me to crochet, and that went really quick, and I seemed to get the hang of it pretty easily. Pam, not willing to let another go to die Dunkelseite, taught me to knit. Knitting was much more difficult to master, and I still have a few issues now and again, but it is also enjoyable, and there are definitely benefits.

So, I started making some swatches, and started making an afghan with crochet, and it was good, but slow going (also, it will take a lot of yarn). Its easy enough to figure out what to do with crochet (everybody likes afghans, and everybody needs potholders), but I was having some trouble figuring out useful things to make with knitting. Luckily, my main failing is that I like to buy books.

Enter, Knitting with Balls. A manly set of knitting projects that were useful and interesting (everybody needs beer cozies, and a simple but warm hat and scarf set is always useful. Also: a very interesting cabled laptop case. Haven’t started that yet. Need more practice!). So, I’ve started a few projects there, and now I got another book about making socks, cause that always looked interesting to do, and takes far less yarn than making afghans.

I am just starting to make socks though, and am working through some initial issues. First of all, when knitting on the round, I have trouble with the gauge and tension in the neighborhood of the initial join. I almost need to just practice that a few times, with only a couple rows of actually knitting afterwards before ripping it out and doing it again. That leads into another general problem I have with all sorts of knitting (and thus leading to the title of this post): Gauge Invariance. I don’t know if I’m holding the yarn wrong, or pulling too much after each stitch, or what is going on, but my gauge does not appear to be constant throughout my fabric. Especially when going back and forth between knitting and purling a lot (as in the ribbing for the hat I am working on), and when joining rounds (like the socks), and even sometimes just on the edges of the fabric when I turn around. I suppose with practice I will get better, but still, its a little frustrating.

Well, a longish post, but I’d been typing it for a while. At least I now have something to do while I am watching television. I always felt bad before, because whenever I watched TV, it seemed like I wasn’t doing anything useful, and wasting so much time. Problem solved!

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Finally, something worth Knitting about?

Posted by me on Sunday, the 28th day of January, anno domini 2007 at 9:18 PM, local time.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve bothered Jim about teaching me to knit. However, in my usual meanderings through wikipedia, I happened upon the knitting entry, which in turn led me another site, where I found Something Worth Knitting. I then began to look a bit further into such things, and discovered some other very interesting things.

So anyway, uh, Jim? About that ‘knitting’ thing?

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