This morning I woke up late to an empty house. The weather outside was classic autumn weather, cool, gray, drizzly. As I made my coffee, even with the windows closed, I could hear the lion at the zoo roaring from about half a mile away. Auuu–auuu–auuur. It was a strange, sad, peculiar sound, coming over the blazing yellow treetops, over the hills and houses and neatly raked leaves. Inside, the infestation of ladybugs continued, and the lion’s roaring was punctuated with the tinny tapping of ladybugs buzzing against the lightbulbs and windows.



It’s been a beautiful weekend so far. On Friday night, we headed out to the High Noon Saloon, where the Halloween concert was one of the best I’ve been to in the past few years, and the costumes made it even more fun.

Here are two of the winners of the costume contest. I love that Beaker outfit.


I started out in the beard hat, but eventually got too hot and put on the kitty hat instead. Rahul wore a ski mask topped with a trucker hat. Here we are with a couple of friends–they are dressed as a witch and what I thought must be some European soccer player but is in fact “a bunch of things I found at Walgreens.”


The lineup (local bands pretending to be other bands):

We arrived around 8:45, during the Low Czars’ set as The Kinks. They did a fantastic job–very tight, lots of energy, and they dressed up nicely. I was impressed with the fake gap the lead singer put between his front teeth to impersonate Ray Davies.

Next up were the appropriately nerdy band The Shabelles as Weezer clones “The Buddy Hollys.” They played lots of my favorites from the blue album, and their pigtailed female lead singer took the place of Rivers Cuomo.

Apparently Nothing played Nirvana. They were a kick! The lead singer had this ridiculous fake-looking shiny blond wig on to play Kurt Cobain, and the classic grunge outfit as well. They played 99% of Nevermind (skipping “Polly”) and their set featured some guest appearances from Courtney Love and a crowdsurfing Zombie Kurt Cobain.

Tangy played as “Manchester United,” covering songs from the Manchester 80s and 90s music scenes: The Stone Roses (I was thrilled by this, they’re one of my favorite bands) and Oasis. They claimed they’d play The Smiths, too, but I don’t remember hearing any Smiths songs. I was a bit distracted, though, because their guitarist thought it would be a great idea to toss soccer balls into the audience, so I ended up mainly paying attention to the rambunctious soccer game in front of the stage so I wouldn’t end up with a ball to the face, or with someone’s drink spilled all over me.

Last up were The Gomers as Spinal Tap. They set it up so their drummer “died” between the songs! I was kind of hoping they would lower themselves onto the stage in big pods, but I guess logistics didn’t allow for this. It was after 2 AM by this time, and I’d started the complaining-nonstop-about-my-feet portion of the evening, so we left partway through their set. Here are the Gomers. (Most of my other concert pictures didn’t come out very well.)



The next day, I was up bright and early (well, at 9 AM; that’s early considering I went to bed at 3) for OMG A FIBER FEST!!!11!!!!1

The Wisconsin Spin-In was nearly 2 hours away. Mary’s Hindi teacher kindly offered to drive, since he wanted to check out the charkha selection–we’d been teaching his daughter to spindle and wheel spin; being Indian, he had spun on a charkha in school, and was thinking of getting her one so she could try it as well. I guess the charkha thing didn’t work out (apparently even the best, top of the line charkhas in India top out around $75, while the cheapest one at the show was the Babe’s Fiber Garden Liten Spindle and cost around $120). They did get some other fun stuff, though, like some sparkly pink roving and lavender soap.

In a curious juxtaposition for a charkha-shopping trip, there was a gun show located next door. I was curious about it, but ultimately didn’t end up going.

Here’s the Spin-In marketplace:


My excellent companions:


Some stressed-out alpacas, who spent the whole show making urgent humming noises, biting each other, and putting their ears back:


And last but not least, an overview of my amazing haul. I thought I’d have kind of a remorseful shopping hangover this morning from buying too much, but when I woke up, I still felt really excited about each and every one of these purchases, and looking forward to using all of them. Click through to the Flickr page to see annotations of the photo listing what the various goodies are.

Particularly exciting finds (well, all of it is exciting, but a couple of things to call your attention to): the Spinner’s Control Card, which I balked a bit at first at paying money for (it’s just a little piece of acrylic, and I found out it’s $1 cheaper from the same vendor online!) but I love it already. It would be easy to make as a DIY project, if you’re willing to put some work into it. Basically, it’s a clear piece of plastic with lines on it corresponding to a wpi measurement. You can just lay your yarn over the card every so often as you’re spinning and compare it to the thickness of the lines to make sure your grist is consistent. It’s faster and easier than doing the WPI “the proper way,” so it’s really good for just checking quickly on your yarn every now and then.

And the Bosworth Mini spindle in the middle of the picture. It’s a lovely piece of work, rim-weighted, with the grain of the dark wood showing through clear and beautiful. It’s made from Morado, and weighs 22 grams/0.77 oz. I love spinning on the wheel, so I wouldn’t have bought this, except that I heard through the grapevine that Jonathan and Sheila Bosworth will be retiring soon, and their spindles (widely considered to be top of the line, the creme de la creme of spindles) will soon be very scarce in supply and high in demand. I told myself that if I ever did become a spindle spinner at some point in the future, I’d really kick myself for having the chance to buy a Bosworth spindle and not doing it–and with the quality and reputation of the product, I shouldn’t have any problems unloading it for retail or near-retail value in the future if I changed my mind.

As it turns out, this spindle may have converted me to spindling (at least for fine yarns). I’m having a great time spinning the lustrous raspberry-colored Corriedale-silk from Handspun by Stefania. Spinning on this spindle is a wonderful, a real pleasure–it spins fast and stabilizes quickly, and it cheers me up just to look at the beautiful wood as I wind on the singles. I wonder if I should have bought more of them. Maybe three of them. (What do you think, Mary?)

Sooo… fiber fest over, I headed home and Rahul and I went out to the Halloween Freakfest party on State Street (infamous for the rioting, mayhem, and tear gas in previous years) but decided to skip the $10 admission fee and just people-watch from the perimeter for a while.

On the way home, just two blocks from our house, we saw a couple of young guys going from car to car, accompanied by the sound of broken glass. “Are those guys breaking into those cars?” I asked and Rahul biked up to see. I looped around and came back–they were still heading up the street and I could see that they were carrying drumsticks and apparently banging on the passenger side of the cars. “Hey! What the hell are you doing?” I yelled.

“Don’t worry about it,” yelled back one of the guys, and fixed me with an intense stare. I got kind of scared and biked away to find Rahul, who had vanished in the meantime. I found him around the corner, calling the police. Unfortunately, by the time he got off the line and we went back around the corner, the two vandals had run away. We went to take a closer look and it seemed like they hadn’t actually broken windows, but had broken or broken off a number of side view mirrors and dented car doors with their stupid drumsticks. I just hope one day those two morons find themselves having to file an insurance claim for property damage. Scratch that, I hope they find themselves having to pay out of pocket for bodywork as many times as the number of cars they thoughtlessly damaged last night for fun. If only I’d had my camera with me!

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