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Posts from February 2008

With "friends" like these...

There is a private member's bill on the Federal docket that's making me and a lot of other people nervous.

The Unborn Victims of Crime bill would amend the criminal code so that separate charges can be laid if a fetus is injured or dies as the result of harm against a pregnant woman. 

(As an aside, when I put in the link to the bill that I pulled from a  pro-choice site, it goes to an anti-choice site that I won't link t0 called LifeSite news through some sort of internet trickery--ick.  I wrote to the Abortion Rights Coalition to let them know).

Apparently the bill was drafted in response to demands from the families of pregnant women who were killed in acts of domestic violence, which often starts or escalates during pregnancy.  However, instead of enforcing laws that already exist and actually doing something to prevent domestic violence, Conservative MP Ken Epp comes up with this bill which looks a whole lot like a thinly veiled anti-abortion law.

(Just so you know the abortion law was struck down 20 years ago so it's essentially legal, though access is not uniform/unproblematic across the country).

There is a good critique of the bill here and I urge you to read it.  The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada also has a sample letter opposing the bill that you can send to your MP.  Private member's bills seldom pass, but the anti-woman stance of this government (even in a minority parliament position) makes me less optimistic.

I would like to  add that I am fed up with this exaltation of "breeders".  That being pregnant adds some other saintly dimension to a woman's personhood that makes crimes against HER more heinous than crimes against women who are older, younger, infertile or not currently gestating. 

Violence against women is WRONG regardless of the current state of a woman's uterus. 

Obay Revealed

The Torontoist was right, Obay is an ad campaign launched by Colleges Ontario which represents what are generally known as "community colleges" in the province.  We Canadians do not call universities college like American's do and while the differences between the two are blurring for a whole bunch of reasons, they remain distinct entities.  The Obay campaign is designed to tell kids to dis-Obay their parents and examine colleges more fully when considering post-secondary education.

I must admit I was hoping for something more satirical (maybe a Stepford Teens movie), but that's just me.

I'm pleased to see my "alma-mater" twisting the message for their campaign on fees. 

I have nothing against college education, it serves a useful role in society, training people in a range of fields.  That's a good thing.  It is different from university which may train people for particular jobs, but which really teaches a range of critical thinking skills that would be useful in a range of professions i.e. it's less applied in it's focus.  The reason why these options exist is because university isn't for everyone (and having been in university in some way or another for 20 years I strongly believe this).

But it does seem like an odd message: "Rebel against your parents: Go to college." 

And it's telling parents that they might not know what's best for their kids--that's never a good sell. 

Lastly, as a university person, there's an interesting undercurrent to the press-release that colleges are the better place to go.  I don't recall seeing such a direct message in the past.  Will a new ad campaign by universities follow?

Viral marketing is an interesting tactic.  The success of this one will depend on the follow-through.  Their next message will need to be as compelling as the Obay ads.  Time will tell.

Roam(ing) Around the Earth (Stripe Wrap)

My predictions of having Roam to wear by the weekend went awry.  I love the look of attached i-cord, but I don't seem to be so good at attaching it.  One the first attempt one side was longer than the other, so I tried a new stitch picking up tactic (ie paying more attention to the stitches I pick up) and now they look the same. 


I'm giving them a wet block just to set everything right and then I'll be joining Emily (also making Roam) and Keri (Central Park Hoodie) in a little zipper sewing party later in the week.  Coincidentally, we all used Briar Rose yarns, so we all have very pretty sweaters too.

I believe this is the first time either of them has sewn in a zipper and I surprised myself when I went into the cedar chest and found five sweaters with zippers.  In fact, I don't own a cardigan with buttons.  I've made some, but haven't kept any.  Weird, especially since I hate to sew.

I'm not spending this waiting time idly.  Earth Stripe Wrap is back in production and I'm trapped in that gorgeous halo of Kid Silk Haze again.


The only thing better than knitting socks...

Is receiving hand-knit socks from a friend.


These lovely ones came in the mail from my pal Laura who unfortunately for her (but fortunately for me) made them too big for herself.

They fit me perfectly and sport a nifty stitch pattern (and my favourite garter stitch heels and toes).  I believe they were a Socks that Rock sock of the month club pattern.

Thanks Laura!  They're a great pick-me up and with the weather continuing to be cold, my warm feet thank you too.

Roam-ing through the weekend

Long weekends are good for the soul.  Long weekends in February are also good for the sanity.

Even this long weekend which ushered in a 7 day stint of single-parenting was a good thing--especially when you have a pile of DVDs to placate the kids and a sweater to work on.

Roam is almost done.

Even though I haven't blogged about it much (or really anything much--work is rather busy right now), I've had a lovely case of knitting monogamy and I'm in that "gotta-get-it-done" space with this sweater.  I finished the last front piece, the hood and the seaming this weekend.  The ends are woven in and I'm on the last bit--the i-cord fronts.

I  want to give a big nod to Laura for designing a beautiful sweater and for writing a great pattern.  The little details really show on this sweater.  I was planning to skip the icord fronts, partly because my attached icord sucks (I'm doing better this time, but it's still not as nice as I would like) and partly because I'm lazy.  I planned the fronts so the yarn switching happened on the seam edge meaning I would have nice facings for the zipper, but once it was all done I see how the firm vertical line of the i-cords really ads to the design.  And will be really slimming  They also look nifty in hand-painted yarn.  So they stay. 


Consider the heap o'Roam sweater a teaser--I want to do a proper reveal (you see I'm also watching too much HGTV).  I also need to find the right zipper and put it in.  I'm not sure if a coloured one will work so I'll probably go with brass which is easily found at my local Fabric Land (must remember to pack my swatch tomorrow so I can get the zipper on my way home).  I'm hoping to have it done for the weekend because I'm also feeling the desire to finish my Earth Stripe Wrap and I don't want the fiddly parts of finishing Roam to languish while I work on something else. 

Two Tales from the TTC

It's still winter.  Seventy (70!) cm of snow have fallen on me and my city since the beginning of February and my whole rant about how I wanted the weather to decide between Spring and Winter and not switch rapidly between the two has given me what I wanted.  Damned fates.


(This is before the snow we got on Monday, that snow bank would be  higher than the van's license plate now).

I will say that it is very pretty (even though it's hard to walk) and the kids love it and are playing outside every night (even though someone "accidentally" took home Emma's snowpants from daycare and have not returned them and it is IMPOSSIBLE to find snowpants in Canada in February) and it is still sweater weather (though I never have time to knit).


Prettiness at U of T (Brainy and I had lunch on those benches this summer)

The bad part about Winter is that I don't ride my bike to work (I don't care what you tell me, I'm not riding on snowy roads with cars) and I have to suffer my commute on the Toronto Transit Commission subways. 

I'm a huge advocate for public transit.  It keeps some of the cars off the roads and out of the way when I ride my bike, it's good for the environment and it is economical compared to car ownership and parking.  However, in the last year I've noticed that either ridership has gone up and/or service frequency has gone down and the subway cars (and buses and streetcars) are always jammed packed with people.  Packed with annoying people who think they deserve personal space or who don't actually move into the middle of the car, but clog up the doors and don't take kindly to me forcing my way in by using my training as a rugby player and generally pushy broad. 

Forgive me, but I NEED to say this.

Walk into the middle of the fucking car for fuck's sake so those of use who get on after you have some fucking room to get in.  Don't hang out in the door.  Don't tell me I'm a bitch for pushing you in further or pushing past you to get into the middle.  Don't think you can do a sudoko or your mascara and that your fare provides you with a meter wide perimeter around your body.  Shove in and suck it up and share the fucking car with the rest of us on the platform.

Now that I have that off my chest, I should start with tale two: a funny thing I saw on this morning's commute to work.  It looked like a run of the mill subway ad, until I read the copy.


When Amy started thinking for herself, we had to nip it in the bud with Obay

From the makers of WhyBecauseISaidYouShould

There was no website, no company name, nothing.  Funny.

With my curiousity in all things popular culture piqued, I did some googling when I got to work and found very little.  Here's another ad:

From the few things I found, it appears that these ads are on public transit spaces only in Canada and there is no web presence for the campaign.



For background/context, in Canada it is illegal to advertise prescription drugs in any way including media ads, free mugs and pencils and prescription pads, inducements for physicians etc.  This is VERY different from the US where it seems like every second there is a new drug ad in your face.  There is a collection of academic research which shows that advertising does change both patient requests and doctors' behaviours in the prescribing of drugs so the ban on advertising makes some sense (I should also note that Canada and the US have different perspectives on the notions of "free speech" within which this advertising ban, while challenged by big pharma, is not a violation of Canadian laws). 

However, there have been a number of ads popping up which mention a drug but do not make any reference to what the drug is for or make any health claims.  They say things like: "Ask your doctor about Celebrex" or "This girl is Flalesse" and bank on consumer awareness that you'll know the first is for arthritis and the second is the Pill.  They are trying to work around the ban and my understanding is that they're succeeding.   And people are complaining.

This Canadian context makes "Obay" much more interesting.  Is it a comment on the "pill for every ill" society we live in?  The idea that we feel that certain social behaviours require a medical behaviour (social anxiety disorder anyone?)  Or is it a test of the advertising laws?  Or a flashy way for an ad company to show off its talents?

I'm not sure, but I decided to add to the very small web discussion and essentially play the game I think the ad is asking me to join. They want to create some sort of buzz (and since transit ads aren't cheap, this is not a minor investment) and I want to see where it goes. 

If you're out and about and see any of these ads, feel free to pass them along.  I probably wouldn't have played if they weren't so clever.  They remind me of this "campaign" (be warned there is music on the site) which is part satire and part "give me money", but is also a great culture jam.

Looking Ahead to Spring

The convergence of two things have led me to think of Spring knitting. 

1. I started blocking the pieces of Roam (I have the raglan shaping on the last piece to go, but everything else will be dry by then so I can start seaming!).  When it's done I can start a Spring sweater. 

2. It was -30C with the windchill this morning and I need something to make me feel like winter will end at some point.

Last year I bought a bag of Rowan Calmer in Refresh (a turquoise blue) with every intention of making Maris from Rowan 41.  My first Spring sweater will use this yarn, but for what?

A trip through Ravelry provided some ideas.

1. Loll


2. Maris, it looks heavier than I want due to the rib pattern and I'm not so sure about the neck line, so it's down the list all the sudden.


3. Granite (the gauge is the same and I think it would be a good bamboo substitute)


4. Cece

5. A run of the mill but very useful top down raglan cardi.

6. Erin


Not sure about the peplum though.

7. Clover (or my version of it because I don't want to buy a Kim Hargreaves kit).  Shoot, now that I'm looking around the site, maybe I do want a kit. 


Really, this is exactly what I want--round neck, raglan, work-appropriate.  I wonder if she'll sub Calmer because I don't want to knit it in 100% cotton.  It isn't an exact sub though.  I could just make it up right?

I really like this one too--wool cotton is a nice  yarn:


Votes and suggestions are welcome.  A worsted weight cardi-jacket is what I want for my Calmer..

Granite and Bamboo

Michelle brought her copy of Rowan 43 to the Bohus class (it was so new I swear I could smell the ink) and I affirmed my love of this sweater:


I see myself in some dressy wide legged khaki pants and that sweater looking fresh and breezy (run with this okay?  I like thinking of Spring and me as "breezy") (Craig: tread lightly in the comments).  It's also an easy knit.


I hear that bamboo yarn isn't so great.  That it grows until that slit in the front is something like the opening to a tent where you walk in and out of your sweater if you're not careful (or worse, a camisoled boob pops out while your talking with your boss' boss who has letters like V and P in his title). 

So, any comments on Rowan Bamboo Tape or other Bamboo yarns are welcome  I like the idea of bamboo--drape, coolness, anti-bacterial properties and sustainable fibre production, but I don't want to buy 16 balls of knitting disaster.  I also think even a big swatch will not give me the answers I need.  Substitution suggestions are also welcome.