02 March 2007


According to the astrology websites, Mercury is indeed retrograde at the moment, and will be until about 8 March. It will be retrograde again 15 June - 9 July and 11 October - 1 November. That should give us SCA drama in the pre-Pennsic and pre-Crusades windows -- plan your popcorn purchases accordingly.

Curiously, none of my other groups have gone beserk recently, just the SCA ones. But there is still time.

In the spirit of saying things that could set people off, here are a few things that have peeved me lately, in no particular order:

Revivals of the jock/nerd clique wars that I endured in high school. I didn't like them then, I don't like them now. They're especially unappealing in groups of people who are, by and large, supposed to be adults.

'It's your project, do what you want with it, there's no right and wrong in [fill in craft]': On the surface, this phrase is empowering enough, and there's no harm chanting it, mantra-like, from time to time, especially if you are not a completely self-confident crafter. But I just loathe it when someone pulls it out when asked, in all seriousness, for an opinon about the merits (or lack thereof) of a particular design choice. I hold, stiff-necked and white-knuckled, to the idea that there is indeed such a thing as good and bad design, or at least that some design choices are better than others. I don't recommend charging around dispensing advice about good and bad design to any unfortunate who happens to get in the way, but it baffles me how many people will spout opinions when not asked but will suddenly clam up with an indifferent 'it's yours, do what you want' when directly asked for an opinion.

Corollary to above: people who use 'I'll do what I want, there's no right or wrong in [craft]' in defence of bad design decisions. It's one thing to make a decision, realise later it's a suboptimal one, and say 'oops, should have done something else instead.' It's entirely another to make a decision and then be huffy and defensive about it. I'll note that in every case where I've seen this recently, the huff was not provoked by anyone saying 'good god, what did you do that for?'

Corollary to the corollary: your own laziness is not a defensible reason for making bad design decisions. I'm thinking now particularly of knitting, though I've encountered the same thing in SCA costuming, among other places. I am tired of hearing people whine about sewing pieces together to finish a garment. Sometimes a pattern designed for knitting flat can be adapted to in-the-round, but not always, and the bigger and heavier a thing you are trying to make, the more you need those seams. (I'm looking at you, gigantic cabled arans). Plenty of lighter, thinner garments benefit from seams, too -- I seem to recall Land's End marketing their t-shirts as superior to other people's because they bothered to cut and sew the interlock rather than use stuff knit in tube form, and as a result their t-shirts didn't twist, stayed tucked in better, and overall looked better than the tube-knit ones. Regardless of what you think of Land's End (or whether or not you care if your t-shirts stayed neatly tucked into your jeans), they had a point.

At the very least, do not go all swoony over the details of a garment, ignore all instructions and make it your way, and then whine that it didn't come out the way you wanted. 'Dressmaker details' involve lots of pieces and lots of finishing. If you don't like that part of the process, then make something else.

I'm more real than you-ness. I hate this in all kinds of forms, from dress size (REAL women come in all shapes and sizes, and my current bust measurement is not one-way ticket to a pigeonhole, thank you) to musical taste (if you think the country music is somehow more 'real' than the rock or pop, you are delusional. Sorry to be blunt, but really, check out what goes on in the biz in Nashville) to patriotism (the fact that I am sorely troubled by the way the current administration has handled many things, including the current war, is not a sign that I am insufficiently patriotic, don't 'support the troops' (whatever that means), or want the terrorists to win. Dissent is a grand old American tradition). Difference from, or disagreement with, another does not make either party less real. It just makes them different.

There are approximately 10,000 other things which annoy me at the moment, so this is necessarily an incomplete list. Rant away!

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