Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Cheat Sheet

If you haven't yet, read Thursday's post.  Back now? Good. I could link you to Wikipedia pages for the folks I feel are worth knowing, that wouldn't help you understand why I like them. Instead, I think a better approach is to share some of their work with you.

First up:
This is Octavia E Butler, one of my favorite  Sci-Fi authors. I was an adolescent when I first encountered her work. It is not hard Sci-Fi, but not insufferably whiny like much of the so-called psychological science fiction writers out there.

Not much of her work is online, of course, but I did find two archived stories. "Amnesty" is the more science fiction-y one:

The stranger-Community, globular, easily twelve feet high and wide glided down into the vast, dimly lit food production hall of Translator Noah Cannon's employer. The stranger was incongruously quick and graceful, keeping to the paths, never once brushing against the raised beds of fragile, edible fungi. It looked, Noah thought, a little like a great, black, moss-enshrouded bush with such a canopy of irregularly-shaped leaves, shaggy mosses, and twisted vines that no light showed through it. It had a few thick, naked branches growing out, away from the main body, breaking the symmetry and making the Community look in serious need of pruning.

The moment Noah saw it and saw her employer, a somewhat smaller, better-maintained-looking dense, black bush, back away from her, she knew she would be offered the new job assignment she had been asking for.

The stranger-Community settled, flattening itself at bottom, allowing its organisms of mobility to migrate upward and take their rest. The stranger-Community focused its attention on Noah, electricity flaring and zigzagging, making a visible display within the dark vastness of its body. She knew that the electrical display was speech, although she could not read what was said. The Communities spoke in this way between themselves and within themselves, but the light they produced moved far too quickly for her to even begin to learn the language. The fact that she saw the display, though, meant that the communications entities of the stranger-Community were addressing her. Communities used their momentarily inactive organisms to shield communication from anyone outside themselves who was not being addressed.

 This is Ray Wylie Hubbard. He is one of the godfathers of Texas country music, up there with Joe Ely, Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P Nunn, etc.  He's done oh-so-many great songs, including my kids' favorites "Screw You, We're From Texas" and "Snake Farm."

And those are good songs, but I go a bit against the grain when it comes to my favorite Hubbard song.  This is it:
The Beauty Way

Ah, that's what MySpace gives me when I copy & paste their "embed" code.  No idea yet if it's going to work but if it doesn't, go here.  The song is "The Beauty Way," off his 2010 album Delirium Tremolos.  It's a rather contemplative song for a guy who once sang cheerfully about murdering a cheating woman & the guy she was dancing with, and it is fantastic.  Oh, and apparently MySpace thinks it's folk music, which is just laughable.

Last of the three:
 This is Elizabeth Zimmerman, author of Knitting Without Tears, The Knitter's Workshop, The Knitter's Almanac, & so much more.  As you might guess by the first title, her thing was to demystify knitting and give crafters guidelines by which they could create their own garments, sans patterns.

Such a thing no longer exists.  So alien is her mission to the bulk of today's knitters that her books are considered, at best, the purview of experienced needle-wielders.  Beginners are warned away.

And that's a goddamned shame, because this woman's work demystifies everything.  Complex-appearing color work is as simple as switching between two yarns every other stitch, purling is avoided at all costs, and cables are made without the assistance of a special needle.  I have every faith that, had I stumbled across Mrs Zimmermann earlier in my attempts at knitting, I would not be the slowpoke I now am.

I've done a lot of talking here because, unlike the other two, there's not really anything of hers to show online.  She died in something like 1999, so she never blogged.  However, she is still such an influential person that thousands of projects made from her guidelines have made their way onto the internet.  Flickr has 6500+ photos of what's perhaps her best-known pattern, the Baby Surprise Jacket.  Here's a pic:

Baby Surprise Jacket 1

This pattern, mind, is more than 40 years old. Somehow I doubt that anyone's going to be knitting something from Stitch & Bitch in 2044.

No comments: