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Qualified Perceptions
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One of my self-appointed jobs is to go to the new restaurants and then drag other people to them later. So I went to Cafe Artscience this evening after work - I'll admit it was in the hopes of getting to try some Mad Science Food, but instead I got tasty food and some of the awesomest service ever. So I'll talk about that instead, but it gets kind of convoluted.

First, I got seated at an Interesting Table. I had made a reservation for one person, and I kind of imagine that they thought "Hey, this would be a really cute single table, put here on the curve of the banquette." I've never actually had a one-person table before, and in theory, yup, definitely cute. In practice... sitting on the inside of a U curve is more comfy than sitting on the outside of one, and... I felt vaguely like I was not cool enough for the table. You know how some restaurants have the high table in the window, to attract passer-by? I think they probably want to put Fabulous Customers in those tables. ilhander would be perfect to sit at that sort of table. He would probably have been perfect at this table too. Anyway, it wasn't *un*-comfortable. It was just vaguely awkward, in a "hmm, am I supposed to be sitting slantways to the table? Or straight on? Which direction am I supposed to be facing? I think I'm doing this table wrong...".

Shortly after they poured the water, the waiter (Rich) came up and said, could I do them a great favor and possibly let them move me to this other table over there? I said oh, of course, and got moved; in the process it became clear that I was being moved to a "more comfortable" table. And it was a more comfortable table - a little two person table, with a normal U-shaped comfy chair.

It took me a while after being moved to realize exactly what had happened, and then I was beyond impressed. First, I don't think I was conveying "I hate this table" or anything like that. I wasn't *thinking* "I hate this table." It had really only impinged on my awareness about as much as "hm, I feel like I'm not doing this right." I certainly wouldn't have complained or asked to be moved. I wouldn't ask to be moved unless perhaps the table is on fire and sinking into the swamp. But they noticed more clearly than I did that I wasn't quite comfortable - and then, asking me to do them a favor and move was masterful. If Rich had asked "Would you like us to move you to a more comfortable table?" I would have said "oh, no, I'm fine". So he didn't ask that. Instead, he asked *me* to do *them* a favor, and it got me moved to a place that I was clearly happier. It was possibly one of the single most impressive fast-social-manipulation I've ever had used on me, and I am in awe. (I told him that later, and he did the little thing with his fingers and said "these are not the droids you're looking for." Yes, just like that.)

Right. So that was the first thing. Then, I was in Travis's section, and while he might not have been a Jedi master (or maybe he was, it just didn't come up), that generated its own set of anecdotes to talk about.

I said before that the food was tasty; I should digress here into what I ordered. (Smallish plates)

* Beef Carpaccio, Canadian Lobster, XO Sauce, Burgundy Truffle
* Artichoke soup with focaccia crouton and some sort of hard sharp cheese and a surprising piece of anchovy. (The cheese was a very nice contrast/complement with the soup.)
* Potato-crusted tautog with lardo and brown butter celeriac
* Oh, also an Eon-ish drink with One Large Ice Cube.

The carpaccio came out first, and Travis came by and said, would it be all right if he brought me a splash of red wine to go with the carpaccio? I said (of course!) sure, and he did, and it really turned the carpaccio (or more accurately, the dabs of ?XO Sauce? up to eleven. I think that was one of the best "this drink makes this food taste better" combinations I've ever had. After that, I told Travis that I would defer to his judgement in All Things, and after the dinner part was over, he picked a coffee (cortado!), and a "little spoon" of deconstructed foamed PB&J, and then one of those many-things-on-a-long plate desserts that I think showed up on the check as "birthday" cake and was fascinatingly delicious, especially with the spicy sweet popcorn.

Oh, right, also, when I was finishing up the soup, and scraping the tag ends out with my spoon, he wandered by and used Expressive Gestures to indicate the bread and the soup bowl, as if to say that if I used the bread on the last of the soup, he wouldn't tell.

Anyway. I like being a regular at restaurants, and bonding with the waitstaff. This was a fascinating example of feeling bonded with and charmed on a first visit - not because I'm so adorable and I assume waiters must love me - but because these waiters were just so perfectly charismatic. I would suspect them of being secretly actors in disguise, if this were somewhere else like Boston or LA. (It felt kind of like meeting M for the first time, which only shumashi/mjperson/harrock will understand).

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I bought a book (my first knitting ebook) about intarsia in the round. The trick is very clever, and about halfway through these socks, I came to the realization that it doesn't matter where you think the round marker is. That is, I use two circular needles, and I could start with either one, because instead of being a spiral, it's really eight little sub-spiral pieces, and the last one is tucked under the first one, like a folded-together cardboard box top.

The advertisement was "making intarsia easy", and I have to say that it doesn't really do that. Keeping eight bobbins semi-untangled is not easy, regardless of the clever trick.

Flaw one: I should have used a thicker yarn with size 2 needles. It said fingerweight, but for me, it came out a little flopsy. Flaw two: due to some sortof counting error, one toe is a little longer than the other. This never happens with two-at-a-time, but managing sixteen bobbins would have been even more pesky (and two-at-a-time isn't good for patterns where you have to shift the needle boundaries).

But... they really are cool looking.

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Anyone who is psyched to (some time next year or so) get a medium lightweight gradient sweater going between a color and black? I contributed to a kickstarter for a yarn dyer I like, and get a sweater's worth of yarn out of it. If this sounds like something you would want, let me know and let me know what color you like best (of the nine small colors in the page below, not the "maple" color).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1882887336/fibrofibers-expansion-more-nightfall-for-everyone

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So, last time I went to a yarn store with the nieces, Isabelle wanted a knot necklace, and Amelia really wanted this yarn. I do *totally* understand the joy of having a stash of gorgeous pettable yarn, but we eventually determined that maybe I should make something out of it. I made this hat, which is really cute in the picture, but the lines are kind of muddied by the yarn. Maybe it should have been a floppy hat, but I was worried I wouldn't have enough, and it was pretty close and I included leftovers from the loopy necklace (same yarn!).



So, I was going to say that I look really terrible when I model the hat, because when I tried it on, I did, so I was only going to show you the picture on the newel (which does better at showing the multicolorness anyway). But then when I was writing this, I noticed that the "really cute in the pictures" pictures had a lot of hair showing, and I wear my hair back normally. So I tried it with hair forward, and that was a great improvement. Look, I show you.

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The knot-necklace is for Isabelle, who wanted one, and really liked the speckled-black-like-night yarn. Of course, now I have 99% of a skein that needs a project. I'm thinking it might work well with the Ubiquitous Clapotis Shawl, or something more standard-lace with clear motifs. The hat is cute - it has a fake band and a flipped-up brim and looks very Saucy if worn properly, which I was not quite able to do in my test model.

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Finished a quick project, a Christmas present for Mom. It's an interesting little pattern, a bunch of linked circles that take advantage of the stockinette tendency to roll ("Are you knitting a jellyfish? What is that?"), and the yarn is equally interesting. Neither of these pictures makes the yarn clear - it's a combination of various sorts of multicolor strands, and a nice close-up is here.


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I feel like I've been knitting this (for fredrickegerman) forever. I guess just a year, though. In time for this winter! The duplicate stitch on the flowers wasn't nearly as terrible as I worried it would be, though you can see some underlying white if you peer carefully. Anyway, in general a Success.



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Current Mood: tired tired

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Okay, I think it's time to declare the Tiny Wardrobe done, and send Mantis and Pink Penguin back to their family. The fun thing about these is that any given project didn't take more than a day or so. And I tried a lot of new techniques, some of which were more successful than others.

There are a lot of them, so I'm going to link to the slideshow on Ravelry:

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/boojum/stuffed-animal-clothes/slideshow?fullscreen=1&start=41249650
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