Friday, May 14, 2010

My Plants Will Protect Me From the Zombies!

I decided many years ago that I just don't like horror movies. I remember sitting in the movie theatre wondering why I had paid money for an experience I was clearly not enjoying. Other people, like my best friend, can go and enjoy them, but I will stay at home and knit watching six hours of Pride and Prejudice.

Zombie movies, however, are my exception. I really enjoy zombie movies. I don't know why I have this dichotomy. I think part of it has to do with the fact that serial killers and torture are part of the real world and that zombies are so fictitious. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed my latest zombie movie experience Zombie Land. The gore is a bit much at times, but I'll power through it to get my zombie fix.

When my girlfriend got the game Plants vs. Zombies for her birthday I was, therefore, intrigued. It seemed to be a confluence of three things I enjoy: video games, zombies, and gardening. From the first time I played the game I was hooked. The basic tenet is that you are in your house and have to keep the zombies from getting across your lawn to your house or they will eat your brains. You protect your lawn by growing sunflowers to give you sun and planting various offensive and defensive plants. In the main game there are a series of levels to pass and then there are side minigames to play to earn more money as well.

The first night I had it I stayed up all night playing because I was mildly addicted. It was like eating chocolate with bits of ginger in it, I can't just have one piece, I usually end up eating the whole bar because it's that good. And just like the chocolate, the game isn't that bad for you, but too much can make you a little ill.

The game has won a fair amount of attention as many people enjoy the gameplay. It is a smart game and has many variables from which to alter gameplay. It requires you to come up with your own strategies and allows you to experiment with using different offensive and defensive styles. I think the variety and freedom of the game are one of its strongest points.

The only downside to playing this game, or any other video game, is that I can't do it and knit. I wish I could play Plants vs. Zombies using voice commands:
"Plant sunflower in A1"
"Harvest sun"
"Plant potato mine in D4"
It would be awesome! Because I could knit! It would mean that I could justify playing PvZ as knitting time!

Alas, until the advent of affordable voice activated video games I will still have to label video game time as "relaxation" time.


Friday, May 7, 2010

In Relationship with Books

I will soon be moving to a new home. I am very excited as my girlfriend and I will be moving in together and I get to decorate! Whee! I don't actually mind most of the process of moving house, packing and unpacking are kind of fun. But I'm not a fan of lifting heavy boxes of books. Nor of my girlfriend throwing out her back and then I am left to carry everything myself... one handed... up hill both ways.

When the whim strikes me I will go through my collection of books and weed, attempting to make the size manageable. This whim comes especially before I am about to move. I have books that I would like to read at some point and I consider if I actually will get to that point. If I have read the book I consider whether I would read it again. I consider if it has the old book smell and if I donate it to the library they would actually use it.

Mostly, however, I consider the relationship I have with them. When I became interested in origami when I was eleven my aunt gave me a book of origami that she had when she was my age. Even though I rarely do any folding these days I keep it because I do fold once in a while, and it reminds me of my aunt's kindness. There is my copy of Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver that I have read and reread and still love. Practical books on gardening and vegetarian cooking alongside antique stuffed animal Steiff price guides and the first six Harry Potter books. There is Kafka from high school and Maus and Hemingway from college.

However, if I could only keep a few books I would choose my knitting books and a volume or two of poetry. The relationship I have with my knitting books is an indispensable part of my practice of knitting. The inspire, teach, and encourage me to keep going. I know that the authors of these books share with me a love of craft and I feel as if we share the secret to a happy life, one dedicated to doing the things we love. It is like having tea and playing a game of chess with an old friend, stimulating and relaxing, joyful and contemplative.

I cannot comprehend my life without poetry. The pull and thrust of words, the way they slide on my tongue as I read Whitman aloud, how they give me back to myself, is worth carrying the box up three more flights of stairs. Every poem contains the possibility to shape my life each time I read it. I need these books with me, to revel in the sound of words. I need these courageous poets, who put so much of their own lives on the page that others might taste life in a different way.

My relationship with my books is one of the most important relationships in my life. Through sickness and in health, til death do us part, I will be reading.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Somewhere in the Knitting

There are two weeks left in my semester plus finals week and all I want to do is knit. My cat, Sweetie, has no problem with this whatsoever. She wants to eat the yarn. Or lay on the wool vest I laid out on the bed before I could even get my tape measure out. Or sit on my head so that her curly tail is in front of my eyes so I can't knit and must pet her instead.

However, this propensity to knit instead of do things like make sure my electricity doesn't get shut off when my roommate moves out has got me struggling to even remember what time management is.

I will start the day with good intentions. Plans. Ideas. Things To Do. All with the idea that I will pick up the needles after I've done them. And I find myself sitting down in front of my computer eating breakfast and before I'm done with my morning Ravelry I realize I've got knitting in my hands and an episode of the Lime and Violet podcast playing.

I think this trend is a culmination of many things going on in my life. I am stressed out beyond comprehension. My roommate moved out quite to my surprise and I am now paying a month of rent on my own. School is rapidly coming to a close and all of my classes have things due either right now or in the next few seconds. A friend I thought I could trust has shared with other people things I told her in confidence.

All things considered, I'm not really surprised I keep turning to my knitting. It seems to be the calm in the storm, a way to be in my life, to be here, and yet escape from the mess around me. Somewhere in the knitting, I am finding a much needed sense of quiet.