Archive for July, 2008

My blind love for NYC is tested.

July 31, 2008

I guess I can always thank NYPD for shaking my faith in humanity and for testing my seemingly undying love for New York City.

It seems they like to arrest people for invented crimes. Yet they forget that they are in one of the most documented cities in the world, where there are countless tourists and residents with cameras oozing out of their pores. For instance, from an article in today’s NY Times:

Hundreds of cases against people arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention collapsed under an avalanche of videotaped evidence that either completely contradicted police accounts, or raised significant questions about their reliability. The videotapes were made by people involved in the protests, bystanders, tourists and police officers.

At the New York Public Library, a small group holding a banner against one of the stone lions was arrested and charged with blocking traffic in the middle of 42nd Street, although video showed they were on the steps, and nowhere near the street.

In another case at the library, a police officer testified that he and three other officers had to carry one protester, Dennis Kyne, by his hands and feet down the library steps. Videotape showed that Mr. Kyne walked down the steps under his own power, and that the officer who testified against him had no role in his arrest. The charges were dismissed; the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to bring perjury charges against the officer who gave the testimony.

Bill Clinton is impeached for lying about a blow job and these cops lie about the law with no consequence?? They broke the law and abused their power. It’s the definition of corruption.

But it gets worse.

And this is where I become incredulous at the absolute maliciousness of some NYPD cops.

They hate cyclists and will break the law to prove it.

Officer Pogan of the NYPD stated that in a recent Critical Mass ride through Manhattan, cyclist Christopher Long deliberately attacked him with his bike, that he was knocked down by Mr. Long, and that Mr. Long was “weaving” in and out of traffic, “thereby forcing multiple vehicles to stop abruptly or change their direction in order to avoid hitting” Mr. Long.

But wait.

Why, what’s this? It’s a video! Shot by a tourist. Since they were in Times Square. Where I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Officer Pogan, but there are all sorts of deer-in-headlights tourists, with cameras permanently affixed to their faces. It seems you should have been a brain surgeon!

If you can identify just one truth to Officer Pogan’s statements, I’ll give you something. Like a big loving push off your bike. Better yet, I’ll hold you for 26 hours on charges of attempted assault and disorderly conduct.

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The flu makes everything funny.

July 30, 2008

In my feverish haze I will now veer off-topic of anything I claim to blog about.

I wish to talk to you about cricket.  The favorite sport of my people (and many other people’s people).

As some of you may know, a cricket match takes about as long as an Indian wedding.  Which, let me tell you, is a LONG LONG time.  And while we’re on the subject of Indian weddings I’d like to get off my chest the fact that unless you’re not in the family–they’re not really fun.  They’re exhausting.  and LONG.  Like 5 days.

For Americans (and an increasingly Americanizing world), the idea of a 5-day, slow-moving sporting event is laughable…or actually just ignorable.  So they’ve created this thing called Twenty20 Cricket.  It’s a 3-hour match with cheerleaders, rock music and everything great about commercial America.

I actually don’t care about cricket.  I’m generally a traditionalist with things like this, but ruining the game with American details just doesn’t affect me.

What does catch my eye are some of the team names in the Indian Premier League, which are clearly just copying common team names in the States.

One match was between the Delhi Daredevils and….the Mumbai Indians.

They’re the Mumbai Indians.  Kind of like the Cleveland Indians.  But just slightly different…

Maybe it’s a good thing — finally an inoffensive usage of the team name.

An explanation

July 29, 2008

I’ve been absent lately, which I feel requires some level of explanation. Especially since I was really good about posting before…sometimes 1 (or even 2!) a day. But now…now it’s summer. And I have new toys. So I’ll take this “opportunity” of being one of the few people who can manage to catch a really bad case of the flu in the middle of July to write something for once…

Before I reveal the new obsession of late, I also want to note that this time of year marks the one year anniversary of me and knitting. It’s been a beautiful year and our marriage was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

But exclusivity was never in the vows. So I’m seeing someone else on the side.

The Bernina Activa 230. We’re pretty much in love. My parents actually set us up. A graduate school graduation gift (a year late, but this is a pretty amazing gift, so I’ll let that slide).

I don’t think my knitting stash knows what’s going on yet, but they may have noticed that I play with them a little less since my new acquisition. And so, I’ve had the great opportunity to revisit some fabric I’ve been waiting (years!) to do something with.

Like this paper-like silk I bought in India in 2006.

And this newer splurge: a yard of Liberty of London cotton lawn.

While I’ll never divorce knitting — or even get a separation, I think a year of monogamy is generally all I can handle with an activity/profession/etc. (NOTE: Luckily “etc” doesn’t seem to apply to personal/romantic relationships with me. For me an open relationship would only work between me and my hobbies…). So, though I don’t think I’m ever done with the things I start doing seriously, like knitting, I’ve come to realize a pattern: I pick things up with intense enthusiasm, continue obsessively for about a year, and then as would be expected, I burn out.

Ultimately the result is positive. I let go for a while, but then resume my interest at a more healthy, non-obsessive level. But this eventual indecisiveness also leaves me with constantly wondering what I’m going to be when I grow up…which with this line of thinking I’ll never be. In the summer of 2006 I was working in India for a local consultancy and my boss asked me what I was going to do when I graduated (from grad school). I told him all the different options and that while I had narrowed it down I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to be doing. He expressed surprise that at my age (never a nice phrase to use with anyone ever) I could still be wondering. I know things are different in India and that these decisions are made quite early, but it still hit a sore spot.

I’ve accepted this part of my character to some degree and know that my life will just always be full of change — which is just the way I like it.

So onto a new chapter of sewing with a fancy machine (which I’ve never done before). I now have the task of finding “green” fabric now, which doesn’t seem too easy to come by. I’m sure it will just require some fun discoveries.

Remember the emergency bolero?

July 12, 2008

It got done — in time even.

Last weekend I went to what I knew would be a stylish and lovely wedding in Tribeca, at the Tribeca Rooftop. I bought an interesting dress that I was relatively excited to wear given the fact that I had literally not bought a formal-ish dress since 1999 and had not worn one since 2004. In between then and now there have been a few saris and one bridesmaid dress. This was an occasion.

After I bought the dress I immediately realized I would need some sort of a cover-up since it was at night and was supposed to be outside (though it rained and it was moved inside). Given the color of the dress and some lovely silver shoes, I wanted something armor-like, quick to make since I only had about 10 days, and very lightweight since it is July afterall.

I found the Shetland Shorty from this summer’s new Knitty. With some modifications, I think it all turned out pretty top-notch.

I used Habu Textiles bamboo XS-45 in charcoal and silk stainless steel in gray for the body and the bamboo and wool stainless steel in wine for the neckline and part of the right front..
I ran out of the silk stainless with about 10 rows to go, so there’s an awkward/artistic stripe at the right shoulder…but I think it was fine. I actually wish I had had the foresight to know that would look nice so I could’ve done it on the other side for some symmetry.

Given the threadlike weight of the yarn I used, the net-like shetland lace pattern wasn’t really going to work, so I went with classic stockinette, which produced the chainmaille effect I was going for (especially with the incorporation of the stainless steel).

The fabric the yarn produced was absolutely perfect for what I wanted and was really just beautiful. The bamboo was shiny and the silvery steel gave it more dimension and an airiness. The garter stitch border using the steel was also three-dimensional in a way that “came alive” when the whole piece was done. I say that because it kind of looked ugly when I first started.

My only complaint with the whole project was picking up stitches with this yarn, weight and needle size used. It was messy. I will definitely be making other things with this yarn combination again — but I will be knitting neckbands separately and sewing them on. Thank you Phildar for letting me know that’s perfectly acceptable.

For the record, I decided as alternative fibers (steel and bamboo) they still met my “green” criteria for the year — (the wool was used sparingly and I don’t have much of an issue with silk at this point). This is despite my issues with the production of alternative fibers. I think there are better green choices, but the Habu yarns are not a bad once-in-a-while choice. Habu also has quite a few choices using vegetable and other natural dyes. Though I have not seen anything organic from them, which is more important to me.

Mona goes to the movies, take 2.

July 11, 2008

Go see this movie.

Seriously.

In fact, here’s a trailer:

I spend much of my life lamenting the impending doom of life on earth because of the environmental disrespect done by humankind as a whole.  

While this movie shows the darkest side of what is possible given our current trajectory (climate change, obesity, diabetes, the proliferation of cheap plastic crap), it also injects some hope into even those of us that can be perceived as impenetrable.

I remember when I was a child I would roll my eyes at that whole “children are our future” crap.  Now that I’m *a little* older, I can only see the promise in knowing that the world’s children will grow up with the messages in this movie — ultimately, that humans can do (and are doing) a lot of damage, but that we are powerful creatures that also have the capacity to turn things around.

It happens to be a powerful and nuanced message for adults as well. 

Lastly, it’s visually beautiful, witty, and charming…and I’m being told that there are even some 2001 references (which I kind of missed).

So here’s another of the few trailers and featurettes: