Saturday December 31, 2005

Last year, while working on Hopkins, I posted some advice on colorwork. I think it’s still good advice, but I have an update. Instead of the magnet arrangement, use Mavalus Tape. You can take a little strip and put it directly onto the chart. When you finish the row, lift it and move it to the next line. It will not damage or stain your book. This is the absolute perfect solution for chart-following.

Pictured here is Erin, or the first few inches of her. Since I am working over 336 stitches, it will be a long time before there is enough to make a proper portrait of, so I am going with artistic curves. You can see the nice colors, at least.

This is Erin, from Alice Starmore’s Celtic Collection, being knitted up in Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool on … hmm… I will have to check, but I think these are #3 needles. I know that I always want to see this information when I zoom through knitting blogs, so I try to put it in occasionally for zooming knitters.

I also have an update on the mathematical question: is it reasonable to use statistics to estimate the odds of finding a suitable mate? I realize that most of you have not yet had an opportunity to weigh in on this question, but I have to speak up here, because both Pokey and Sighkey have brought up a paltry objection: namely, nobody actually does this.

Well, granted. As I recall, when I was Pokey’s age, my major criteria for choosing a date were dancing ability and good cheekbones. (I will take the opportunity here to point out that all my kids have great cheekbones.) Was this reasonable? No. This is why married ladies such as The Empress and I have to tease unmarried girls like Pokey mercilessly — um, I meant, give excellent advice to them about their dating habits.

In real life, people either believe that there is One Certain Mr. or Ms. Right for them (the Cinderella hypothesis) and go around with the equivalent of a glass slipper in hand, trying it on one after another and discarding each in disappointment, or just randomly flit from one person to another with no plan whatsoever. Some of them are reproductively successful and some are not. What does this have to do with statistical analysis? Nothing. This is because math and real life have nothing in common.

I still think that the calculations are fairly trustworthy, or could be made so if we didn’t just use 1/2 whenever seeking a proportion. I think that Pokey has probably found that 2% of the guys she has seen during her vacation have been suitable — though it is possible that she has only seen four single guys in her age range, so that 2% of them equals a small fraction of a person. This does not invalidate my hypothesis. She will not admit this, of course.

Yesterday, I spent four hours cleaning my house, while my husband watched kung fu movies. I make no further comment. The connection between this event and my having chosen dates by their cheekbones is too obvious to require comment.

Then #2 daughter and #1 son came home from work and we had lunch, and she and I set off to the library for some more fact-checking. I was working on a senator. It turned out that — while this was not mentioned in the encyclopedia article I am checking — he had murdered a guy in his law office. There was a fight, he and the other guy both pulled their guns, both were shot, and the other guy died. The newspaper said rather demurely that the coroner’s jury could not establish who had fired the fatal shot. Hmm. A public fight, two guys with guns, one dies. Doesn’t seem that hard, does it? Are you beginning to wonder, though, whether there are any politicians from my state who did not have public gunfights?

We got home in the mid-afternoon and settled in with our knitting and a Gene Kelly marathon on TV. Gene Kelly — dancing ability, good cheekbones. He was never in my dating community, of course, but #2 daughter and I both enjoy looking at him. She had a soft spot for the young Frank Sinatra, too, but he was snapped up by a lady cabdriver.

Here’s a nice song for New Year’s — “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” — from someone who figures that his or her invitee has received a thousand invitations. Their math is probably less realistic than mine. I have not received any, myself. My children are all at the age where what they have is multiple invitations involving last-minute cell-phone calls — dates, that is, to call one another and see whether they want to do stuff. So they may all be out roaming in packs, and I might be home with my husband watching Dick Clark (who must have a portrait in his attic, like Dorian Grey) celebrate in Times Square. Since we live in the central time zone, this allows us to toast the new year without staying up so late. He won’t dance any more, my husband, but he still has excellent cheekbones.

By the way, if you have never read The Picture of Dorian Grey, go click on that link and read it, for the whole text is there. You will start the new year with a serious flaw in your education corrected.


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8 responses to “Saturday December 31, 2005”

  1. Leonidas Avatar

    have a great new year…

  2. chanthaboune Avatar

    You should know by now that my life is an extended movie filled with strong product placement. It would only be more grand if I had my own theme music.

  3. sighkey Avatar

    Happy New Year! It’s 9:17, Jan 1, 2006, where I am.

    I object – I didn’t actually say that nobody did the calculations, in fact I did mention that at Pokey’s age I did – once (see, I was more scientific than you – you who checked out cheekbones. Of course who is it that married with a quartet of kids – not the one doing the calculations :-)I got tired of hearing everyone oohing and aahing whenever the solution to my calculations and I went out – ‘Oooh, don’t they make a lovely couple…’ Some things are not reducible to numbers, maybe to cheekbones though…

  4. sighkey Avatar

    RYC: My, who is on form today 🙂 Ok, so yes I do live on an island in the South Pacific – no waving palm trees ‘though and we have to get our coconuts from the supermarket not off trees. Just how do you ‘interact’ with a video? Is one of the activities doing a Maori haka, or perhaps eating a piece of toast with peanut butter and pretending the peanut butter is marmite? Eager minds wish to know (see, now you’ve started me off being silly…) Oh, I also spent last night watching Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. Kelly is my alltime favourite dancer.

  5. Elephantgirl66 Avatar

    I love my husbands eyebrows. See eyebrows are important to me…

  6. sighkey Avatar

    RYC Singin in the Rain. You bet! Just as funny here as there. Did you know that Jean Hagen was putting on that accent and that Debbie Reynolds was 18 when she started doing the film? She had never danced before, only done gym, and Gene Kelly was so hard a taskmaster that she went home every night crying? If I could have one time travel based wish it would be that I could go back into time (and shift hemisphere from South to North) to the years when the Kelly dance school was across the US, and I could have been taught to dance by Gene Kelly. An awful lot of our modern jazz dance syllabus is based on Kelly’s dancing. And I suspect that it is now Jan 1st where you are now so whizz bang and welcome to 2006. You’re late!

  7. Ethesis Avatar

    I’d bet that once you’ve finished the math, and compared it to reality, the actual numbers are likely to be better.

    On the other hand, she may want to date people she would not want to marry for the experience and the perspective.

  8. selphiras Avatar

    Would you mind telling me where you live? I thought you were in New England. Then something was written that made me think Midwest (which to me means between South Dakota and WI, not including Illinois but including Iowa and Nebraska). But then I thought I found New England again. But in this post you way you are Central time zone, which of course menas you can’t possibly live in New England and gives a pretty decent chance of the Midwest since you live where it snows. Anyway, I live in WI and love MN and grew up in SD.