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January 13, 2007

Sock yarn outrage!
Posted by Teresa at 09:57 PM * 201 comments

I got a note in the mail from Laura Mixon, breathlessly asking whether I’d seen this story in Majikthise:

The Yarn Harlot has opened my eyes to a great injustice: Blue Moon Fiber Arts woman-owned small business of great renown in the among the knitting cognoscenti has been retroactively refused credit card order processing for its Rockin’ Socks Club. (It’s like the fruit of the month club for people who crave enough hand-painted yarn to knit a pair socks.)
I’m not a sock knitter myself, but I know that someday I will be. It’s inevitable—a sort of virus all knitters catch, only I haven’t caught it yet.

Here’s the deal with the yarn: Sock knitters passionately adore what’s called self-striping or self-patterning sock yarn. It changes color frequently, so that they don’t have to. What’s even yummier is hand-painted sock yarn. You can make your own, which is tough but interesting, or you can buy someone else’s. It isn’t cheap, and sock knitters buy a lot of it. Blue Moon Fibers’ hand-painted sock yarn is good stuff, and highly esteemed.

Want to check the solidity of the Sock Club business plan? Go here and scroll down the post until you get to the pictures, then start reading. When you put out an “emergency stash” keychain that’s a miniature skein of your yarn, and your customers not only grok this, but think it’s too cute for words, you’re doing real business.

Back to Majikthise:

That means Blue Moon’s (erstwhile) bank not only refused to process new credit card orders, but also unilaterally refunded the money of the last several hundred Sock Club customers—because a Sock Club must be some kind of scam.

The Yarn Harlot [Stephanie Pearl-McPhee] explains:

What has happened, and I confirmed all of this in a phone call with Tina [of Blue Moon], is unbelievable. Blue Moon needs a bank to accept their credit card orders. (Be warned that when I run the world, banks will be in charge of far less…but I digress.) When Blue Moon started accepting orders for the Sock Club recently, the bank flinched.

They contacted the Blue Moon and questioned the possibility of this being an actual business thing. Blue Moon explained to them the concept of a sock club, and the bank held a meeting.

What the bank did not do: type “sock yarn” into Google. I can only conclude that they’re too stupid to breathe without a cheat sheet.
Now, I was not a fly on the wall at that meeting, but oh, how I wish I had been. Over the course of said meeting, the bank decided, with the business information of Blue Moon in front of them and the concept (and CASH) of a “Sock Club” laid out, that … and here is the incredible thing … (Perhaps you should take a deep breath or sit down or put down your cup of tea.)

They decided that it was not possible that this many people could be this interested in sock yarn (I know…I know) and that therefore, considering the complete impossibility of this being a legitimate business concept (can’t you hear them? “This many people just can’t want sock yarn!”) that Blue Moon must be running a SCAM, and (holy moths I can scarcely type it) Shut. It. Down.

They rescinded Blue Moon’s ability to take credit card money (that’s right, a bank turned down money…) and (breath deeply) REFUNDED to customers all of the money that they had received for the Sock Club.

You ok?

A necessary question. Yarn Harlot’s readers all know very well what happens if you type “sock yarn” into Google, and they have serious emotional relationships with the search results.
I will assume, since I know that you are not stupid, my lovely readers, that I do not have to spell out for you what the emotional and financial consequences of a bank deciding to refund money to your last several hundred customers would mean to a business. Let’s just have a moment of respect for the fact that Blue Moon is still coherent at all.

… [M]y sister Erin, owner of a small business and the lucky recipient of several inexplicable bank decisions herself, would like to take this opportunity to ask you if a bank would have done this to a group of men?

For the record, Stephanie, Erin, Lindsey: No. I don’t think they’d have done it to a group of men. Imagine, ludicrously, a bunch of female bankers deciding to cancel the credit card charges and refund the money of hundreds of men who’d subscribed to the Fishing Lure of the Month Club, on the grounds that there can’t possibly be that many people out fishing on a regular basis. Personally, I can’t imagine it at all. Why not? Because stupid women don’t wind up running banks! You have to be male and have the right social background to be entrusted with a job like that when you’re too stupid to pour piss out of a boot that has the instructions printed on the bottom.

But back to Yarn Harlot, who reports that the ladies at Blue Moon Fiber Arts have matters in hand. They have a new bank. They’ve sent out a letter to all their customers (and are asking bloggers to help spread the word: lo me), saying that they should make sure they got their refund from the old bank, and come to their site to sign up again for the Sock Club:

Here are the details. Within the next ten days, all of you who signed up for the Sock Club by paying either $210.00 (domestic) or $240.00 (international) between December 31 and January 5, will be getting a credit back onto your Mastercard or Visa. It is the Sock Club only, all other yarn orders placed will go through and you will be receiving your yarn soon.

Do not panic!

Everyone affected by this incredible situation is guaranteed their spot through the end of January, including those on the wait list. (Emphases mine.)

Note how much they’re getting paid per person. Elsewhere, they remind their regulars that there are a lot of people in the Sock Club, so please expect some processing time. And now, they casually mention that the club is oversubscribed to the point where it has a waiting list.

Nah, a business plan like that couldn’t possibly be real.

Blue Moon ends their letter by addressing their customers as “Knitting comrades”, and saying:

[T]he Rockin’ Sock Club 2007 will prevail! We will have a blast and knit awesome socks that will be the envy of all nonbelievers!
They will, too. And that’s all very well for them; but Yarn Harlot and I are dissatisfied with one aspect of this imbroglio:
The ladies at Blue Moon also (and this demonstrates to me the depths of their class) have declined my offer to provide each and every one of you with the address of the bank and the Bank managers email address, so that you (ALL of you) could provide him with an expansive email detailing your feelings about sock yarn, his behaviour and the relationship between the two.

I would not have had that amount of class.

I wouldn’t have it either; and I wouldn’t call it class. Not in that sense, at any rate.

I want to know those bankers’ names. I need to know their names. I need to heap mockery and abuse on their own personal heads. I also need to never, ever trust them with a single penny of my money, and spread the word to other people so they won’t make that mistake either.

(Is anyone else here wondering about the annual salaries of the people who made this decision? Shouldn’t their masters be asking them to refund the money they’ve already received? Because paying these buffoons to run a bank is far more obviously a scam than anything you can do with sock yarn.)

If you’re reading this, and you’re one of the knitters whose credit card charges were refunded, do please have a look at your statement, or perhaps call your credit card company, and see whether you can find out the name of the bank that did this. If you can, I’ll either promise to refrain from mentioning your name, or promise to give you full credit and glory for revealing the information. I’m good either way, just as long as these guys are held up to public scorn: Speak the truth, and shame the devil.

Comments on Sock yarn outrage!:
#1 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:02 AM:

They decided that it was not possible that this many people could be this interested in sock yarn and that therefore, considering the complete impossibility of this being a legitimate business concept that Blue Moon must be running a SCAM, and Shut. It. Down.

Someone went to all the trouble of having a bank meeting, turn down the business, and refund everyone's credit card charges, and no one fricken bothered to google the thing?

#2 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:09 AM:

I'm right there with you on all of it. I'm not a knitter, but I am a spinner, weaver and dyer, and I am well aware of how much sock knitters love their sock yarn (I used to take my spindle and wool to Knit Night at the local Borders, where the ladies graciously let me join in their fun).
BTW, it's not all that tough to paint variegated yarn. I haven't done any since I moved to Seattle (just silks, here), but I used to do yarn back in Tallahassee, a few years ago. It's an awful lot of fun.

#3 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:21 AM:

I do some work with credit card companies, and as such, have somehting of an idea how their systems work. I'm guessing that something like this happened. I have no inside knowledge of the situation, other than what I've read on the web.

Blue Moon probably has an ordinary retail merchant account. As such, they can capture funds when they ship product. They can pre-auth if they want to hold funds in reserve, but that really only works for short periods of time. (a week or so).

So they run this really successful club thing, getting a ton of orders from all over the world that are higher than their usual charges. (guessing here, normal average is probably 30-50, clubs are 200+) The Central Scrutinizer comes through and says: this is odd. Flags it.

Bank calls Blue Moon, and asks what's up. They say, we're running a yarn club. Membership, we ship yarn through the year.

Bank goes back and looks at the agreement, decides that membership clubs don't fall under a retail agreement, then charges everything back and hits the merchant for a bunch of fees. Then looks and says "Oh. Your volume is 1/2 chargebacks. That's far too risky for us. You're cut off."

And most likely this bank is not going to be a retail bank, but a processor that specializes in credit cards. I can't find the names of these in my email records, but I think there's 5 or 6 that account for some startlingly large percentage of the cc transactions in this country.

#4 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Here in the UK, they have a part-work, one of those week-by-week expensive collections, about knitting. Including yarn. Somewhere around $25 a month. There are knitting magazines. This is a specialised market, but it's hardly improbable, when you factor in the population differences.

Maybe we should see if we can sign these guys up for a banknote of the month club? Get a crisp, new, $1 bill every month. Only $240 per annum including sales & handling, Local taxes may apply.

And Publish America is still in business...

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Glad to hear the story had a happy ending. Coming soon, a movie ripped from the yarnlines, The Joy Sock Club.

#6 ::: Katie ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:55 AM:

Much like a mother who has to go check on her sleeping children after reading about a kidnapping or something, this blog has sent me scurrying off to browse for fabric online. It's not the same, but it's a good excuse.

#7 ::: Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:56 AM:

The Invisible Hand of the Market strikes again.

#8 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:14 AM:

Sheesh. As someone who works in the credit card industry, yes, a bunch of larger than normal transactions would tweak the "money laundering" flag. However, real money launderers try to be as nondescript as possible -- i.e., "used furniture". "Sock yarn" would grab my attention, which is not what a genuine launderer would want.

Note the bank probably filed a SAR with the IRS if they really thought it was money laundering. Assuming someone at the Treasury can Google "sock yarn", nothing may come of it.

#9 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Eric I can see how this sock club might not fall under a standard retail agreement. That would need sorting out.

The way it was sorted out: that doesn't look competent.

#10 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:25 AM:

If it is one of only 5-6 companies in its line, we need to know which one even more. The odds are good that we might accidentally give those fools business.

#11 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:31 AM:

Alan, that SAR stuff seems to come in at a pretty low level. A business acquaintance, here in England, used to go to the USA to buy agricultural machinery (this was maybe 20 years ago) and the hassles of the US banking system in those days, persuading the auctioneer that your cheques were good, meant that he paid cash money.

Hopefully, there's more to an SAR than depositing more than $2000 cash. Or the IRS will waste a lot of time on the fast food industry.

#12 ::: otherdeb ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:28 AM:

Good Gods! Thank you for spreading this. I am a sock knitter, and have even taught sock making online. Sock knitters are deadly serious about yarn. I got started doing socks because I am on a fairly tight budget and like using the good stuff. I may not be able to afford the good yarn for a sweater or shawl, but the yarn for a pair of socks is definitely within my reach.

BTW, since I think we both live in Brooklyn, Teresa, when you are ready to succumb to the siren song of socks, let me know and I will be happy to teach you both socks and the greatness that is magic loop.

#13 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 05:24 AM:

I love yarn. I sell yarn. I do not knit socks - it's the dp needles.(long story) I love to knit - but this kind of thing just causes nothing but problems. A Bank should be receptive to their customers. This guys clearly have thier thumbs up thier butts - turning down legitimate businesses - while people like Booster Entertainment get away with cancelling a media con and stiffing people for thousands. (paypal and some credit card companies are refusing the chargebacks.)

#14 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 06:13 AM:

okay look, I have been all over the google looking for help and all you do is make fun of me. Here I am with the boot full of piss and nobody wants to help me get it out, sure it might not have been smart of me to put it in there in the first place but lets not argue semantics.
what I'm saying is, if the instructions are printed on the bottom of how to get the piss out that doesn't help me much because I am obviously at THE TOP OF THE BOOT!!! Why?!? Because I had to be at the top to put the damn piss in the BOOT!!!

Has nobody given any thought to how a normal person is going to have to use this extremely complicated piece of technology?

Why am I the only person who sees this basic point? I don't know, just lucky to be living in a world of idiots.

Anyway, that's enough ranting, back to processing loan applications. Maybe later I will call an expensive bootist and they will fix what should be easy to fix in any boot anyhow. Thanks a lot for nothing!

#16 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:24 AM:

Eric, #3: $30-$50 is probably on the low side of normal for a BMFA web charge. Each skein runs from $20-$30, depending on the weight. If you're a true sock yarn addict* one skein isn't going to suffice.

Kate, #13: DPNs aren't the only way to go. As otherdeb mentioned, Magic Loop is good--you only need one gigantic circ for that, and you can do 2 socks at once. I like 2 16" circs, myself--and you can also do 2 socks at once that way.

Unfortunately I didn't get around to paying for my sock club until after the brouhaha. But I'm here to tell you, that yarn is worth every penny. Superwash merino, people! Once you've knit with it, there's no going back. I did the math before joining last year: you get the sock yarn at the regular price, with no s&h, plus you get the patterns for free, and they're good, brainful, and complicated.

*Why is everybody looking at me?

#17 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:25 AM:

Sorry, my early-morning brain missed an implication of all this: Teresa, do you seriously mean to tell us that you don't read the Yarn Harlot?!

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:31 AM:

TexAnne @ 16... If you're a true sock yarn addict one skein isn't going to suffice.

The Hell that is yarn addiction. Every day, you barely hang on by the skein of your teeth.

#19 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:34 AM:

So true, Serge. And the necessity for needles is too obvious to comment on.

#20 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Q: What is the collective noun for a group of bankers?

A: A Wunch.

(All hail, Rev. Spooner!)

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 09:01 AM:

Kate @ 13

Try bamboo DPNs. They don't slide out as easily as metal ones. Also, after a couple or rounds, there's enough fabric to stabilize the work. (I'm working on the second sleeve of a seamless jacket. Another 5 or 6 increases, and it will fit on a 16" circular. Oh yeah, it's also in a random cable pattern, just to make life interesting.)

#22 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 09:46 AM:

Corporate stupidity comes in only one size: extra-large.

#23 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 09:56 AM:

Something I just remembered from the Harlot's comment thread: it's possible that BMFA isn't telling which bank it was because they have other entanglements with it, such as mortgages, which aren't so easily gotten rid of.

#24 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Bryan at 14:

Maybe later I will call an expensive bootist and they will fix what should be easy to fix in any boot anyhow.

I think you mean a bootique.

#25 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Towards the end of the 500+ posts in the comments thread at The Yarn Harlot, there were several from knowledgeable sounding folks who work in or with banks (or have relatives who do), saying that this situation was probably due to post-9/11 changes in the federal banking laws, Patriot Act type stuff, requiring banks to be much more stringent about types of transactions that might fit the pattern for money-laundering by drug-dealers or Terrist organizations.

Sigh.

#26 ::: Bacchus ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:02 AM:

A couple of days ago, I read about Sony, locked into, and perhaps losing, yet another format war (this time over a new hi-def DVD format), but refusing to allow its format to be used for releasing high definition porn. And I thought to myself "Self," I thought, "that is the stupidest business decision in modern history."

Ah, but then I didn't know about sock clubs, or understand that to a banker, they might look like a threat to der homelandisch security.

#27 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:04 AM:

Oh, and some posts suggesting that this year's Rockin' Socks Club payments were more likely to have hit the bank in a sudden torrent of charges (which would trigger the bank's "suspicious" alarms) because this year Blue Moon had a new online payment option coupled with the fact that last year's RSC sold out, so that knitters would be rushing to join as soon as the announcement went up, before the new club maxed out (I note that they're now showing a link to join the waiting list for this year's club).

I myself won't be joining any Sock Clubs this year, as I already have one or two years' worth of sock yarn in my stash. Though I have finished the pair of kneesocks I was working on at FarthingParty, all but Kitchener-stitching the toes, and I have hopes of finding the missing ball of Koigu yarn so I can finally complete the pair of socks that I started at the last Chicago Worldcon.

#28 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Oh, God, is this going to turn to discussion of post-Patriot Act banking regulations? Considering that I was a teller (nasty job) FAR TOO RECENTLY, the prospect makes me queasy.

#29 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 12:17 PM:

I can't believe they did this. Well, OK, I can, but....

Actually, what I really hate is how easy it is to believe they did this.

Argh.

*goes off to be incoherent some more*

#30 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 12:32 PM:

The fact that it set off Bank Alarms is reasonable. The bank's unilaterally cancelling and refunding the money is very strange. They didn't contact the customer? They thought this was money-laundering or terrorism and so GAVE IT BACK?

Were I a Yarn Harlot, I'd be looking around for a consultation with a lawyer.

#31 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Another sock knitter here - did I have the money I would be tempted to go join a sock club after hearing about this incident, despite the closet behind me full up with yarn and fiber. Kudos to Blue Moon though for weathering what could easily have been a business-blowing disaster.

#32 ::: Cynthia Gonsalves ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 12:55 PM:

otherdeb at #13

Teresa, take her up on the offer, give into the allure of handknitted socks! I started making socks a few months ago, and it's not only fun, it's wonderfully portable. I haven't learned magic loop yet.

#33 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:08 PM:
They thought this was money-laundering or terrorism and so GAVE IT BACK?

I'm guessing that they thought that it was fraud (somewhere, maybe on the part of the merchant, maybe a bunch of accessed card numbers), and gave it back. In pretty much all cases of fraud, it's the merchant who gets screwed with chargebacks. The card companies certainly don't eat that cost.

Card companies exist for basically one population, those people who keep a balance on their cards and can pay the fees. Merchants are unimportant, since the merchants _need_ the card companies. People who pay their bills on time are unimportant, since they don't generate enough revenue, unless of course, they can be converted to people who carry a balance.

#34 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:23 PM:

when I get my desktop fabricator working, I'll fabricate the parts to build a sock knitting machine. That's probably as close as I could possibly get to actually being able to knit something.

#35 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:31 PM:

I've only done a sock and a half, and I can't imagine trying to do the DPN portion (I do everything but the toe on circulars) with steel needles; it was hard enough to keep those stitches in place with bamboo, and I'm sure any slippier material would have had me in tears and dropped stitches three rows in.

That being said, I now need to convince myself that with my rate of sock knitting (glacial), I really don't need to join a sock yarn club. Honest. Really. I can go...work on an afghan instead. That's the ticket.

(I'm doomed, aren't I?)

#36 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:33 PM:

This whole thing makes me so made I want to spit. Do let us know if you find out who the bozos were, T.

#37 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:33 PM:

(oops -- make that "mad.")

#38 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:50 PM:

I don't darn, yarn, knit, weave, dye, or sew -- but I do write nasty letters to bankers. I would love to write a nasty letter to these bankers. Please, Tina or someone, tell us the name of the bank. It does me (or anyone else) no good to write letters to President Bush telling him not to attack Iran, but maybe a kluge of letters to Bank X suggesting that they do their research before they make stupid decisions (to avoid making stupid decisions that result in them receiving letters like mine) might have an effect...

#39 ::: miss violet ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 01:55 PM:

Hey, I've been talking to Kaci (from BMFA) about all of this, and it IS pretty damned ridiculous.

However, even if you DO find out the name of the bank, pleasepleaseplease, do NOT publish it, email them, write them, or send letter bombs.

Yet.

BMFA is handling it. Or rather, the lawyers are handling it. Big fat lawyers with big fat salaries and lots of moral outrage and media coverage, in fact. Any kind of public shaming right now could seriously be a detriment to their case.

So yes, spread the word about the resignup being necessary, but wait until the lawyers litigate the crap out of the bank before we start getting the people with the pointy sticks after them.

#40 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Bryan @ 14:

It's quite easy. Just reboot.

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Have you no shame, A.J.?

#42 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:39 PM:

Update:

Well the boot is starting to smell pretty bad and I am no closer to a resolution to my problem. I also guess I went sort of off the handle earlier but it is very frustrating. You know what, it just hit me, the instructions on how to get the bottom of the boot are probably inside the boot! WHAT A BRILLIANT PIECE OF ENGINEERING!!!! This thing is totally friggin' useless!


#43 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:40 PM:

Thanks A.J, that sounds like it just might work. I'll try it and report back to you how it works.

#44 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:45 PM:

(lost my previous response)

Love BMFA. Love the sock club and was able to resend the money by Friday.

My minivan and laptop sport the bumpersticker: Don't Come Knockin If Your Socks Ain't Rockin! During synagogue board meetings I occasionally get confused glances. Of course, last June I ordered a t shirt for Knit in Public Day from a wonderful online knit blogger, Franklin. Instead of bearing the name of the town I am in, it bore the name of the synagogue. I tied-dyed it hot pink and ever since I have managed to decrease the number of glares I get for sock knitting during board meetings. Or maybe the other board members are just scared...

Theresa: My recent offer of a skein of STR stands. You don't have to knit socks with it...

#45 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:48 PM:

I'm guessing that they thought that it was fraud (somewhere, maybe on the part of the merchant, maybe a bunch of accessed card numbers), and gave it back.

Nonetheless, in a world of non-stupidity you think they'd at least attempt to confirm that it was fraud. "Sock Yarn" is not exactly on the red-flag list with "online poker" or "discount erectile-function drugs".

Though you are quite right about the interests of the card companies.

#46 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:51 PM:

Well, I have to say that A.J's solution only got me halfway there and also my feet smell badly now.
still it was an honest effort and I guess half a solution is better than none.

And also I'd like to say to Serge: hey put up or shut up smart guy, A.J at least had some ideas all you can do is sit around and complain! You better not ever come to me for a mortgage refinancing is all I can say.

Well hell, At least I got the boots back on in time, if I had to go like some barefoot hippie I'd be a laughing stock.

Thanks again A.J. Still working on a full resolution of the problem, if I get a fix I'll report back.

#47 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:51 PM:

I don't knit but I do crochet. I have one skein of Blue Moon yarn that is waiting to become a Mobius strip (to be worn sort of like a necklace)... yeah, Blue Moon yarn is something special.

Just a thought (and IANAL): Blue Moon's lawyers could concerned that if the knitting/yarn community got after the bank before they had a settlement, the bank would file a SLAPP suit.

#48 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Bryan,

You may have to upgrade your socks. Fortunately, for you there appear to be a lot of sock experts here.

#49 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:11 PM:

bryan, I'd help you with your boot problem, but I'm in a conundrum trying to figure out how to "drink by date on bottom of can". There's noting to drink out of on bottom of can, so how can I drink by that? Do I drill a hole? Won't I get metal shavings in my drink? But as soon as I get this sorted out, I'll come over and help.

#50 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:24 PM:

OK, so can they start a serious relationship with PayPal? There has to be some way that bypasses morons.

#51 ::: Rasselas ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:31 PM:

Is it conceivable that this might be a consequence of what people used to call "an honest mistake," rather than the sort of dog-kicking wickedness that deserves a blog-swarming?

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Fade, I knit a Christmas stocking on DPNs (bamboo US9), Turkish style, from the toe up, and with the braided edge (twice). In five colors of worsted-weight acrylic, because it was going on the front door. It's large, it's gaudy, and it has toes (or hands) toasty in about two minutes, since there's two strands on every round. As it's decorative, I didn't weave in the ends, I just tied nice square knots.

#53 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:38 PM:

don't get me started on drinking out of the bottom of cans. if I'd never done that in the first place I wouldn't have needed to piss so bad, and there I was with a boot the nearest thing to hand. I think the bottom of cans increase the flow of hydrocarbons, which makes sense because it is going downhill in a way, I guess. Physics isn't my strong suite. So anyway, if you drink from the bottom of a can just because of some stupid rule saying you should I suppose you will get your comeuppance.

#54 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:44 PM:

'Is it conceivable that this might be a consequence of what people used to call "an honest mistake," rather than the sort of dog-kicking wickedness that deserves a blog-swarming?'

I'm sure not, incontinence of this order is pretty high to come by.

Let's go over it one more time:

1. first of all they put the instructions on the bottom of the boot when any idiot would know people needed them at the top.

2. secondly they probably put the instructions on how to get from the top to the bottom inside the boot, that is ridiculously bad designs virging on the criminal.

3. Why are we even discussing this?!?! I DON'T WANT TO ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITY i WANT IT FIXED DAMMIT!!!

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:45 PM:

mythago @ 45... "Sock Yarn" and "discount erectile-function drugs"?

Must not make joke. Must control self.

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:52 PM:

bryan @ 46... Serge: hey put up or shut up smart guy, A.J at least had some ideas all you can do is sit around and complain! You better not ever come to me for a mortgage refinancing is all I can say.

Oh, after having spent two years on the Programming Project from Hell, I'd welcome working on something that involves a boot filled with piss. I could probably find a solution if this project were actually assigned to me. But it's not assigned to me so I'll just enjoy wayching from the sidelines. Anyway, if I did come to you for a mortgage, you'd probably give me the boot.

#57 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 03:59 PM:

bryan, I'd help you with your boot problem, but I'm in a conundrum trying to figure out how to "drink by date on bottom of can". There's noting to drink out of on bottom of can, so how can I drink by that? Do I drill a hole? Won't I get metal shavings in my drink? But as soon as I get this sorted out, I'll come over and help.

No, fool! You're not supposed to drink it yourself. Your date is supposed to drink it. And it's ON the bottom of the can, not OUT OF...you're supposed to pour the the soda onto the little dish on the bottom of the can, and your date slurps it.

RTFM! Geez.

#58 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:04 PM:

I have heard other stories about the credit card operations, including Paypal. Over the last year or so, they've gotten nasty about some types of business. Obviously, no bank wants to support criminal activity (which has become one of the big problems for the online casino business), but this tendency to get awkward, and charge extra fees, seems to have extended into areas of merely disputed morality.

For instance, they're really putting pressure on the online porn industry, and that's filtered through into the CGI model business. Oddly, for those who recall the net censorship cases of the mid-Nineties, one of the biggest sources for pornographic CGI models is based in Tennessee.

Now, some of the reasons I can understand. The pron business is notorious for customers having second thoughts when their wife sees the credit-card statement, and claiming fraud. But there's still a reek of daddy knows best to it.

As I've said, Publish America are still in business. Daddy needs his eyes testing.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:05 PM:

OK, I rise to your challenge, bryan... How about this solution? Get a glass tube long enough to get to the bottom of the boot. If it's too dark to read, point a flashlight into the liquid, just below the surface, but not soo deep that the light might short out.

#60 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:09 PM:

Xopher at #57: 'No, fool!'

Do you work at tech support? Did I talk to you yesterday about this problem?!?

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:10 PM:

I mean, bryan, use a thin-walled glass tube, of a wide diameter, but not so wide that, as you push it down the boot, the displaced liquid will overflow since the top end of the tube will be covered with your hand.

#62 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:12 PM:

"How about this solution? Get a glass tube long enough to get to the bottom of the boot. If it's too dark to read, point a flashlight into the liquid, just below the surface, but not soo deep that the light might short out."

I believe that would get me to the inside of the boot, which is good because I figure this is where the GENIUSES that designed this thing put the instructions on how to get to the bottom of the boot.

#63 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:14 PM:

I can't believe that at this day and age we will be arguing about what is the inside of a boot and what is its bottom. Have we really not revolved at all from the cavemen?

#64 ::: Mary R ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:23 PM:

Confession: I went to go see Zhang Yimou's
Curse of the Golden Lotus last night and thoughts of "ooh, that would be a great colorway" went through my head. I enjoy dyeing and handpainted yarns, but horizontal stripes and I are not on speaking terms.

A great introduction to sock knitting is Knitty's Fuzzyfeet. It uses all the techniques of sock knitting, but with worsted weight yarn. You then felt it, so sizing and stitch neatness don't really count. Also - if you hold eyelash yarn together with the wool for the cuff, it looks like monster fur!

#65 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Anyhow I found a temporary solution to the problem of my feet stinking from half a boot of piss now. I filled the other half of the boot up with Polo by Ralph Lauren. Now of course when I rebooted (yet AGAIN!) that half came right back out but it seemed to make things smell better.

Luckily I had thought about that and realized it would come out so I first put the boot inside of a bucket, so that the half a boot full of Polo by Ralph Lauren was not totally wasted (this is one time when I WILL DEFINITELY be Recylcing!!)

But unfortunately I hadn't considered that the size of the bucket was sort of small in comparison to the size of the boot and the later got caught in the former.

So then I had to wait in the office until the cleaning lady came in and she helped me get it off. I personally don't think its nice to laugh at the misfortunes of others that aren't on TV or anything. But she helped me get the boot out of the bucket, said she didn't know about anything else I was doing but she needed that bucket. I managed to get the Polo and save it a big decorative ashtray my boss has before she walked off with the bucket! That was lucky thinking on my part!!

So I guess the score is: +1 traditional service industry, + 1/2 internet (giving A.J half a point for his help earlier).

I will try Serge's suggestion later but right now I am sort of worn out just getting my feet smelling nice again and need to rest.

#66 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:30 PM:

bryan @ 65... I will try Serge's suggestion later

You might want to coat the rim of the tube's bottom end with putty. That way, a minimum quantity of liquid will seep in.

#67 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Rasselas #51: Is it conceivable that this might be a consequence of what people used to call "an honest mistake," rather than the sort of dog-kicking wickedness that deserves a blog-swarming?

"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice." - Vernon Schryver

#68 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 04:48 PM:

TexAnne @16 & 17: That'd be an "ameh, sistah" for you, right there.

Teresa, based on TexAnne @17: next time you have an hour or two to read for pleasure, hasten over to the harlot's site and read the archive. She's writing in the tradition of Stephen Leacock and Jerome K. Jerome. Right from the beginning, where her daughters call each other "wool pig!" and her hubbie puts the cups back in the cabinet THE WRONG WAY. I particularly recommend Septmber in her first year, when she was knitting Latvian mittens. And when she came up with a universal driving map to any airport (here: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2004/09/13/party_animal.html - where you'll find out why the cop thinks she is a crazy lady in a stolen pick-up truck full of wine and yarn).

Greg @34: sock-knitting machines are really nifty, but not nearly as much fun (or as portable) as two Addi Turbos (say, 3s or 5s) and a skein of something exciting. I wouldn't recommend self-striping, though - it gets in the way of the cables and lace patterns and (oooh, I'd better go knit a bit on my two-socks-via-the-magic loop, just to get the edge off).

PurpleGirl @47: It is possible to knit a moebious strip, as well as crochet one. When done right, you cast on from the middle, and every round goes twice around the current row - once purl, once knit. All the purls rows go on one side, all the knits on the other. It is the single freakiest knitting experience I have ever had.

#69 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Dena #68: thanks for confirming this non-knitter's theory that knitting is an exercise in advanced topology. My head hurts just visualizing that surface, given the instructions.

#70 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 05:14 PM:

I can understand an investigation when transaction patterns change, but the findings of their investigation seem off. A more reasonable response might be, "Damn, people spend a lot on yarn. How do we make money on that?"

There ought to be a Yarn Rewards credit card. A free skein with your first purchase and one point for every dollar spent, good on yarn, needles, and accessories. Get a card with your own custom pattern. Apply today!

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 05:59 PM:

joann @ 69

It's not as hard as it sounds (having made several moebius scarves myself).
You do a half-hitch cast-on, and when you join, you knit (through the back, thus untwisting it) the bottom of the cast-on loop. I will admit to having to use a DPN to get the stitch from the left point to the right for a round or so, because the circular needle is - well, think of a figure-8 folded in the middle, so the two loops are one on top of the other, or the way circulars come coiled in their envelopes. (It opens up as you work around and add more rows.) It's a really nice non-escaping scarf, with no long ends trailing or tangling.

#72 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 06:31 PM:

PJ @71: there's another way of doing it, involving an extra long circular, a provisional cast-on, and a half-twist in the needle.

Cat Bordhi (www.catbordhi.com) invented it, and has two books about it. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to twist their brain into a pretzel.

#73 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 06:41 PM:

I'm not sure I want to deal with a half-twist in one of my circulars. I'm not at all sure how you can put a half twist in one, anyway. It's weird enough knitting something where the two sides are the knit/purl faces and the space between them. (I try to avoid thinking about the topology of knitting. The more conventional math involved is plenty.)

#74 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 06:51 PM:

PJ @73: I highly recommend Bordhi's books. You don't have to do the arithmetic (or the topology). How easy is it? She demonstrates doing her cast-on behind her back; on one foot; while turning around and around, HOPPING.

That said, I'll admit to having a huge soft-spot for topology in any form. After set-throry, topology was what caught my heart and stopped my breath back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth and math was new-to-me. All of knitting is a sort of fourth-dimensional exercise in drawing a Peano line. (Crochet, too).

#75 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 07:32 PM:

@#74

All of knitting is a sort of fourth-dimensional exercise in drawing a Peano line. (Crochet, too).

And here I thought both arts were just ways of tying a bunch of holes together.

(Don't look at me that way. I am a victim of Second Sock Syndrome, it does strange things to a person. I shall go make granny squares now, I understand that.)

#76 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Dena Shunra @ 68: I've tried knitting a number of times. I can cast on and work across rows but I lose tension completely at the edges. My rows are also very uneven. I find it hard to work with two needles. On the other hand, I can crochet evenly and quickly, tension is no problem. I just handle a hook better.

#77 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 07:50 PM:

This makes me want to learn to knit, as a political statement.

#78 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 07:52 PM:

Re: Knitting and Crochet as topology. So far this "winter" season I've crocheted several of those flouncing scarves, where you keep doubling the previous row. When I'm asked about them, after explaining about doubling of the stitches each row, I call them hyperplanes and some people look at me funny. On my cubicle wall at work, I have a printout of a photo of the crocheted construction of "chaos" the mathematician did in England. (I think Teresa had a link last year to an article about it.)

#79 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:48 PM:

PurpleGirl#76 -- Be of extremely good cheer. Circular knitting is traditional, easiest, has no sides, lets you work ALWAYS on the outside and generally rises above all (see previous posts involving apotheosis.) Any book by Elizabeth Zimmermann, who had a quarter-page obit in the NYTimes, will make the principles clear, and it's a slippery slope with good company from there.

Teresa (et al) I don't know why I seem to be standing alone out here, ringed by magic-loopers and toe-uppers and bamboo slivers, but the easiest way to knit socks is simply an 11 or 12 inch circular needle. Just like double-points without the corners. Always on the right side, round and round -- mantra knitting.

And Teresa, Dena is, as so often, absolutely right about the Harlot's writing. Anyone with a digital camera, a cat and some yarn can have a knitting blog. Stephanie's posts, however, are humerous essays, hugely funny and smart, so carefully honed they look spontaneous (but as writer and author you'd see through that.) The archives are the best pick-me up when January and the universe get you down. Enjoy.

#80 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:51 PM:

The internet porn business depends on credit cards. The internet fake medication business depends on credit cards. The internet gambling business depends on credit cards. The world would probably be a better place if any or all of these businesses were shut down by their credit service providers. But no, its a sock yarn club. The mind boggles - well, mine does anyway. The next question is, how many other legitimate but fairly small businesses have been screwed by these practices?

As for it being a response to suspected money laundering, well, having too many years of experience in banking, the first thing you don't do if you suspect money laudering is alert those doing the laundering by returning their money.

I suspect a systems snafu and can only wish the BMFA every success in suing the bastards - and hope the business survives to prosper.

Where would we be without socks? Australia, probably, or the south of France.

#81 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 08:54 PM:

The internet porn business depends on credit cards. The internet fake medication business depends on credit cards. The internet gambling business depends on credit cards. The world would probably be a better place if any or all of these businesses were shut down by their credit service providers.

Wait, what have you got against the internet porn business? (I agree on the other two.)

#82 ::: Emily Cartier ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 09:09 PM:

*whispers* I like dpns. Metal ones. Really tiny ones.

I don't like doing socks on wood needles because once you take wood or bamboo down below size 2, they get Very Fragile and it gets very nervewracking for me. I'd rather have my metal 1s, 0s and 00s because they bend and don't break.

...and this article makes me want to go to my LYS and fondle the Socks That Rock. I think I'll content myself with fondling the skein I already have.

#83 ::: Mags ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Oh, NOW you've done it.

*madly Googles "crochet sock patterns"*

I am not a yarn stasher, but my doily thread collection is getting completely out of hand. Tatting thread collection also approaching critical mass. Fortunately the little tiny balls of thread don't take up that much room.

#84 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 10:23 PM:

#82: It's ok, you're amoung friends. Although I must say that while I am with you on the dpns and the tiny sizes, I prefer bamboo (it's much less slippery). That said, I am making the fair isle STR socks with the bobbles and bobbling with size 0 bamboo dpns is a little disconcerting, although I haven't broken any yet.

#85 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:05 PM:

As long as it isn't plastic needles. I hate plastic needles. I like bamboo. I like metal (and I have some Addi DPNs: those nickel-plated ones that make aluminum seem sticky). I have more projects going than anyone really needs, and at least a couple of them involve the second sock of a pair, although they're in a box (or two or three). And the sleeve is now up to the 8th increase of 16, or halfway to the elbow, and on the 16-inch circular.

#86 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:18 PM:

So am I the only one here who thinks the topology of this reply string is beginning to resemble that of the wearable Moebius strip mentioned upthread? If it were made from the inside out with the purls and knits magically sorting themselves out and changing color and occasionally fetching a singularity in from that alternate universe where socks go via the wormhole under the washing machine agitator?

I suggest a Texas catheter to prevent further recurrence of the boot problem. Think of it as a geography cure.

#87 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:36 PM:

There are at least two problems with the "honest mistake" defense.

First, a corporation exists largely outside the idea of individual accountability. A corporation doesn't act toward me as a human does. A corporation has policies that it implements, more or less intelligently. Those policies may have a built-in decency factor, but you'd be a fool to count on it. The mistakes a corporation makes may be perfectly "honest" -- consistent, made without malice -- but any feeling of empathy that the word "honesty" stirs in us doesn't apply to a corporation. It has no feeling. You don't thank a corporation, or forgive it.

Second, "honest mistake" shifts the focus to motive, about which we can only speculate. The results are in front of us. At best, "honest mistake" would be an ameliorating factor for a wrongdoer who admitted wrong and made restitution. Since nothing of the kind has occurred here, the only thing that remains is the mistake: a mistake that could have been devastating to an outfit with fewer resources, and is still obviously a huge hassle.

In any case, the day that a blog-swarming can even impinge upon the consciousness of a bank, let alone affect their business, will be a day to drink to. Honestly, I never thought I would see a suggestion that people might be unfairly dogpiling on a bank.

#88 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:49 PM:

This whole thing reminds me of a friend's brother, who was fired by a small-town bank for which he was doing tech support. The reasons given were that he wasted time doing things which did not fix the problem, and he always waited for last to do the thing that worked.

(It also reminds me that I need to find someone near here to trade pruning for sock-knitting).

#89 ::: Vito Excalibur ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Bacchus:

It's true, Sony's decision to not allow its proprietary Blu-Ray format to be used for porn is probably the stupidest business decision in modern history.

But it only beats out Sony's earlier decision not to allow its proprietary Betamax format to be used for porn because in the 80s Sony at least had the excuse that they hadn't made that exact same stupid decision before.

#90 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:33 AM:

One of my friends made some remarkably trippy socks by hand-painting her own yarn. They make my brain hurt.

#91 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:38 AM:

I think sock yarns are like beads. ADDICTIVE. I found I could knit a sock on the tiny bamboo dpn's - and I was working on such a pair at VP 6.

I lost the pattern though and I have 1/2 a sock in a ziplock witht he ball of little lola fron Shaefer yarns just waiting for me to either send for the pattern or find it.

I keep wanting to knit socks - but I need the gratification produced by one of my triple stranded afghans knit on size 17 needles. I gave one to Teresa and Patrick as a gift one year and they can attest to it's warm and cozy qualities. You can also knit one in less than 3 days if you push.

#92 ::: Bacchus ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:46 AM:

Vito, thank you. I'm actually just a couple of years too young to know the history of the VHS / Betamax wars -- first time I saw a Beta tape it was already a dead format -- but I had a niggling memory of hearing that Sony had made this very same mistake before.

And Xopher, I'm with you in wondering what Martyn has got against the internet porn business. (No surprise that I'm with you, considering that I'm in the internet porn business.)

#93 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:56 AM:

Y'know, I don't have a problem with a bank flagging something that looks odd for a review. What I do have a problem with is that, given the number of "X-of-the-month" clubs out there, where X ranges from books to steaks to soap to beads to tea (and probably things far stranger than any of those!), ALL of which can be paid for by credit card online if the subscriber chooses, that a Yarn-of-the-Month Club would be assumed to be a scam.

My bank once called me after I'd been to the Intergem Show, because there were a number of charges of $50-$400 on my card over the course of one weekend, from companies based in a lot of different states, and this was unusual. All they wanted was to read off the names of the companies invoved and have me verify that yes, I did make that charge, and that one, and that one, and... I love my bank, and I make sure they know when I'm happy with their service!

#94 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Rasselas (51):

"Is it conceivable that this might be a consequence of what people used to call "an honest mistake," rather than the sort of dog-kicking wickedness that deserves a blog-swarming?"
Scraps (87):
There are at least two problems with the "honest mistake" defense.

First, a corporation exists largely outside the idea of individual accountability. A corporation doesn't act toward me as a human does. A corporation has policies that it implements, more or less intelligently. Those policies may have a built-in decency factor, but you'd be a fool to count on it. The mistakes a corporation makes may be perfectly "honest" -- consistent, made without malice -- but any feeling of empathy that the word "honesty" stirs in us doesn't apply to a corporation. It has no feeling. You don't thank a corporation, or forgive it.

Second, "honest mistake" shifts the focus to motive, about which we can only speculate. The results are in front of us. At best, "honest mistake" would be an ameliorating factor for a wrongdoer who admitted wrong and made restitution. Since nothing of the kind has occurred here, the only thing that remains is the mistake: a mistake that could have been devastating to an outfit with fewer resources, and is still obviously a huge hassle."

Three problems. The third concerns individual liability, and it goes like this: unless you want to pull out all the stops and run the kind of investigation of someone's actions that was run on Enron's former officers, it's darn near impossible to distinguish willful malfeasance from plain old incompetence.

I'm with Scraps on this one. The question of intent is between the bankers and God. What we are concerned with is not the state of their souls, but rather their job performance. Bankers are in a position of trust. This lot let us down.

#95 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 01:57 AM:

kate @ 91: Yes, yarn is as additive as beads. I'm building a yarn stash again and it will rival my collection of beads. (I also make beaded jewelry.) Yarn - color, texture, softness. Beads - color, light, texture/finish. So much nice stuff to look at, touch, want...

#96 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:04 AM:

#87 Honestly, I never thought I would see a suggestion that people might be unfairly dogpiling on a bank.

I think the important part of the warning was that dogpiling on the bank might be Extremely Strategically Unhelpful to the good guys just now, particularly if large lawyers are involved on the side of the good guys already.

#97 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:07 AM:

Kate @ #91, PurpleGirl @ 95: yeah, yarn and beads definitely have similar addictive properties.

Signed,
has a yarn stash growing at an alarming rate -- and I don't even knit or crochet! Yikes!

#98 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:19 AM:

Martyn, Xopher, Bacchus, there are aspects of the porn business which I despise. There's a rather blatant streak of humiliation of women in the images presented, not just kink-specific elements, and some of the language used to label the sites and pictures turns fairly ordinary nudity into something distinctly anti-feminist.

These people can string together a series of photogaphs of an attractive woman getting naked, not even using any of the usual crotch-shot poses, and present them in a context of her being weak-willed, feeble-minded, morally-deficient, and only existing to be a sex-toy. And, when you get to the hard-core stuff, the men who get to use her are generally in the first stages of a pot-belly.

Anyway, I prefer my porn to have at least a hint of a story, and one which doesn't involve the woman being an idiot who can be manipulated into sexual excess. Maybe I have an intelligence kink, amongst all the others I have. But I'm not fool enough to want legislators to try to define the good and bad.

Or bankers.

#99 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:58 AM:

Alan Hamilton (#70) Yarn Miles?

#100 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 03:10 AM:

TomB @ 99: if only there were Yarn Miles, many people on this thread (skein?) would have already knitted themselves halfway to Narita for the Worldcon.

#101 ::: Greta Christina ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 03:27 AM:

Re the Moebius knitting: If you haven't already, y'all absolutely must check out the crocheted hyperbolic planes:

http://www.theiff.org/oexhibits/05b.html

Cabinet magazine has a great article about it:

http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/16/crocheting.php

And I'm not even going to get into origami Klein bottles...

#102 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 03:33 AM:

Bill @100: If Yarn Miles were run the way frequent-flyer programs are, it'd be tougher than you think. The fluorospheric equivalent would be going to Worldcon and buying books from only one dealer.

#103 ::: astronautgo ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:14 AM:

I would just like to state, as a person who works a service job that caters to the reasonably affluent, that I cherish the phrase "wunch of bankers."

#104 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 05:13 AM:

Xopher: No, fool! You're not supposed to drink it yourself. Your date is supposed to drink it. And it's ON the bottom of the can, not OUT OF...you're supposed to pour the the soda onto the little dish on the bottom of the can, and your date slurps it.

Classy. I am bookmarking this quote so that, the next time Xopher complains about his love life or absence thereof, I will know why.

#105 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 05:54 AM:

I think Ive mentioned before having done a Moebius scarf last winter just to see how it worked (my technique seems to be the same as P J Evans describes at #71*), using chenille yarn and plain old garter stitch.

I made four more last month, for Christmas presents for my sisters, all on the same circular needles but with different yarns. (Well, technically two were basically the same yarn -- thick chenille with silvery strands** -- but different colors.) It was interesting to see how they worked up in the different yarns, and the chenille feels *so* good both to knit and to wear! And they worked up fast, too: two in a weekend.

Never tried socks. I sort of swore off complicated patterns after doing a 6-foot Aran-style scarf and hat set (and promptly losing the hat). Cable stitching was fun, once my mom showed me how, but following the pattern took the relaxingness out of the knitting, which I tend to do to keep my hands busy while watching TV.

But darn if those yarns don't look tempting! I love the "patterns" variegated yarns make. (That may be hereditary: if my mom were still alive, she'd be wanting to make afghans with them.)

*P J says, "I will admit to having to use a DPN to get the stitch from the left point to the right for a round or so" -- I think this is the same sort of thing I've taken to using crochet hooks for, because if you don't knit/purl rather loosely on the casting-on-from-the-bottom part, the next row is very hard to work around the circular needle, much less move your needle into.

** Bought at half-price from the sale bin at Wal*Mart. I'd just spent $2000 on a furnace the week before, so inexpensive was the order of the day, but the yarn didn't feel at all "cheap".

#106 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 06:12 AM:

Update:

Well the boots were smelling bad again this morning but I found that I can continue to replicate my halfways success of yesterday (filling boot halfway with Polo by Ralph Lauren) to decrease smellage. Therefore I have done this temporary hack.

But how long will it continue to work for me? I don't know.

situation in progress....

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:17 AM:

#98: I haven't noticed any of that, Dave. Maybe because the internet porn I look at doesn't have women in it at all, and all the rules are different. The closest thing would be the stupid/drunk/drugged "straight guys" who are "tricked into sex" (that is, raped) by predatory porn producers. That offends me, but it would be more offensive if it weren't so obviously fake.

Mostly it's just guys getting naked and having sex. Bribery is used from time to time, but most often they're at least pretending to be into each other. And since everyone there is a lust object (as opposed to straight porn where the guys are identification-objects), pot bellies are rare, except on sites where they're considered sexy (don't get me started).

I have seen an ad for a local sex-toy shop on cable; a bunch of straight porn stars were "endorsing" it. All the women were pretty (if somewhat...plasticized); all the men were repulsive in the extreme. So I guess I see what you mean, even if I don't see the porn itself.

#104 ajay: Um...you do realize I was riffing on the whole "piss from a boot" subthread, right? But actually, lately the kind of guys who've been hitting on me want me to make them eat out of a dog dish, which has left me somewhat bemused.

#108 ::: Bacchus ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:49 AM:

Dave Bell, there are aspects of the porn business which any right-thinking person would probably despise. But that's not the same as the claim (not made by you, but by Martyn) that the world would probably be a better place if the whole industry were killed by turning off its credit card processing.

Which makes about as much sense, and would remove about as much value from people's lives, as killing all dogs because some of them are dangerous.

I'd make the point (and I'd make it with copious links, if I didn't fear our hosts might rightly take umbrage) that there's a lot of good, a lot that's artistic, a lot that's uplifting, a lot that's art in the world of porn. Indeed, I've made myself a permanent and very decent living as a sex blogger by sifting through Sturgeon's 90% to find and point to the goodies.

(Of course, my own standards and aesthetics are open to challenge, and I get plenty of abuse from folks who think my window on sexuality is insufficiently feminist as they understand the word. But near as I can tell, the majority of my regular readers are women, so go figure.)

#109 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:50 AM:

#79 - the easiest way to knit socks is simply an 11 or 12 inch circular needle. Just like double-points without the corners. Always on the right side, round and round -- mantra knitting.

But how do you do the toe? I use circulars all the way up until the toe, but then it's off to DPNs to seam it up properly. (And, yes, I use the pathetically easy seam that simply does smaller and smaller rounds until it's about eight stitches drawn shut with a bit of thread; not as smooth as a "real" seam, but suitable for my purposes, and not requiring a lot of hand-holding for me to accomplish.) I'm fairly incompetent at patterns, so I use self-patterning yarn and go round in circles forever with just a nice knit past the cuff, but darned if I know how to make a toe on circulars.

Um. No pun intended.

#110 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Xopher #107 wrote: "Mostly it's just guys getting naked and having sex. Bribery is used from time to time, but most often they're at least pretending to be into each other. And since everyone there is a lust object (as opposed to straight porn where the guys are identification-objects), pot bellies are rare, except on sites where they're considered sexy (don't get me started)."


Do you mean that straight women viewing porn identify with the male actors and see the female ones as lust objects?

#111 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:28 PM:

Sock yarn... porn... uh...

(reeling)

(staggering away)

#112 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:35 PM:

Tube socks, Greg.

#113 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Bryan, you are a genus.

I took the liberties of excerpting a "good parts" version of this thread (recognizing that the knitting stuff is also a "good parts" part, but not for me) on my livejournal.

#114 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:53 PM:

I think there's a lot of misogyny running around in the porn industry, but honestly it doesn't seem to me to be any worse than in, say, Hollywood. Possibly even better--I can name more female directors, self-managed female stars, outspoken (even published!) female stars, etc., in porn than I can in mainstream movies. Hollywood definitely doesn't have an equivalent to Jenna Jameson. And think of it this way: in Hollywood, interesting parts for women are almost impossible to come by. In porn? Not the case.

Of course, I'm not talking specifically about the internet side of the industry, but I'm pretty much only familiar with gay porn on the internet. If I had to guess, though, I'd imagine it's pretty similar there.

I'm not saying misogyny doesn't exist--far from it--but just pointing out that it's not specifically a problem of porn, and that the very female-centered nature of (straight) pornography has at times made it easier for women to "get ahead" (yuk yuk) in the industry.

#115 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 12:58 PM:

#112: Hey and to swing this back to Blue Moon Fiber Arts, they've got a great "retro" tube sock kit.

Oh and I currently have nearly six miles of unknit sock yarn. I thought this was scary, but Miss Violet, further up this thread, has far, far more it appears as do many sock knitters out there.

#116 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 01:01 PM:

Fade @109, you might want to try the magic loop for that - it should work (it basically involves knitting very small pieces on longish circulars. Here's a place that shows you how to do it, with pictures http://www.az.com/~andrade/knit/mloop.html ).

I wouldn't know for sure if this works because I am staunchly in the toe-up and loose cast-off camp.

#117 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:02 PM:

Reading the critiques on my micro-essay on porn, yes, I can see where you're all coming from. I've seen enough that I'm aware of the differences Xopher mentions. I know about the women who work as producers and directors and photographers.

And I know the vile little stories are stories.

But the fakery doesn't make the misogyny any less bad.


#118 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:23 PM:

Tom Scudder #113: Not merely a species?

#119 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Xopher and ethan, no, the gay porn industry is not exactly like the straight porn industry but with less innies.

That said, Dave's comments are a little odd in that he lumps "internet porn" all together, as though there's some kind of misogyny filter than prevents anyone from putting woman-friendly, non-hateful, non-sexist porn into the tubes. The Internet is probably the best place to find 'intellectual porn', because small producers don't have to deal with the distribution network or production costs in the same way; they aren't competing for shelf space with the usual suspects.

#120 ::: Tom Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Fregano #118: It's possible he's an entire kingdom unto himself.

#121 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Bryan, Xopher, everyone else:

Duh. Open-Toed Boots.

#122 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:04 PM:

Tom Scudder #120: Or even an empire.

#123 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Fragano @122

But not, under any circumstances, an island.

#124 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:13 PM:

"Bryan, Xopher, everyone else:

Duh. Open-Toed Boots."

That is a good idea and so I guess it is okay if you are a little bit snide about having thought of it, but I have looked in the Tony Lama catalog http://www.tonylama.com/default.asp and I guess they don't have any open toed versions.

#125 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:29 PM:

Anyway I guess this is the conclusion of the saga, if I may call it that, after work today when I got home and took the boots off my feet, which were slippery from having soaked in a rich combination of three day old urine and Polo by Ralph Lauren, they were sort of slippery and they slipped out from under me and I fell on the floor, knocking the boots over. When I saw this I was naturally excited, and crawled around the other side of the knocked over boots expecting to finally be able to read these mysterious "instructions" of which I had heard so much.

Know what I found. Nada, zilch, nothingeroonie.

I guess most people would be pretty cheesed off about finding this out, but this has been a tremendous learning experience for me, and I suppose for others - Abi, Serge (I never got the time to try out his ideas), the nice cleaning lady, even Xopher laughing his ass off down there in technical support probably got something from the experience.

I know that if this had never happened I would not have learned that Polo by Ralph Lauren will make your feet smell nice even if they have soaked in piss. I bet not even a lot of professional perfumists know that!

So while I think it is a shame that an otherwise great brand of boot like Tony Lama's does not put the instructions at the bottom of the boot, or even on the inside or anywhere as far as I can figure - unless maybe as some sort of cryptic code in the lightblue knotwork I got on the side of mine - well I'm not complaining.

p.s. By the way, if anyone has this problem in the future, If you fall down and kick the boots as you're going down there is a real good chance that the collision will forcibly cause the boot to autoeject all its piss. That's a good thing I guess, although the downside is that all the Polo by Ralph Lauren ejected as well.

#126 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:31 PM:

bryan,

I did some Googling, and it appears that there are clear, explicit instructions printed on the indside of each and every Tony Lama boot.

Unfortunately, the ink is highly soluble in uric acid.

These things happen.

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:36 PM:

bryan @ 125... About foot odor, the MythBusters found out a few months ago that dipping your feet in a vodka-filled basin will do wonders.

#128 ::: Larry Lennhoff ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Bryan

Thought I'd pass the following along from metaquotes:


Earlier I went out..& my shoes were foaming. They do that sometimes when they get oversoaked; the soap remnants come out. A girl saw me as I waited to cross the street & said, "Your shoes are foaming." I said, "I know. They're my lucky rabid feet."

#129 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:49 PM:

why would they write the instructions on how to empty piss out of a boot on the inside in an ink that dissolves in uric acid? This is so mind-bobbling that I'm not even upset about, just very, very disappointed.

#130 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 05:25 PM:

#119: Hahaha, you said less innies.

#131 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Scorpio @ #50 (and other similar) OK, so can they start a serious relationship with PayPal? There has to be some way that bypasses morons.

If you want to avoid morons, Paypal is not the solution. I would sooner invest my money with that nice man from Lagos who keeps emailing me than them. The worst I have personally seen of their behaviour is detailed here but you can find a lot more at Paypal Sucks. After the Katrina incident I vowed never to deal with them again.

#132 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 06:20 PM:

Thanks, I've had this stuck in my head all day

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhTxRssxfuI

#133 ::: Jerey Lassen ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Banks, particularly ones that handle Merchant accounts are terribly, and usually onerous to their customer, because of the massive amount of fraud they deal with. I speak from experience. Customer service departments are usually like customer interrogation departments, and their main goal seems to be to cause you as much hassle as possible.

My Merchant account bank randomly refunded and refused to re-run our recent "lifetime subscription" offer sales, because it was a promise for "future Goods or services" as opposed to a good or service that was being shipped immediately. I asked about things like Magazine subscriptions, and they claimed that that too would be a violation of their terms of usage.

So they refunded the money to the customers, KEPT their percentage transaction fee (not insignificant for a $2000 item), and to add insult to injury, charged a few extra points for having had to refund the money.

And they held up the rest of our transactions for two weeks that were processed the same day as the held up subscription transcation... For no reason other then "Its sort of like a pipe... and when the one transaction blocks the pipe, nothing can get through,")

And this all seemed perfectly reasonable to them.

The real clincher was when they only did it to HALF of the lifetime transactions, and just didn't notice the other half, thereby confirming my suspicion that it all simply is a discresionary bullshit made up on the fly "policy" that they implement haphazardly, whenever their computer says "here's a transaction that doesn't look like the other thousands of transactions that ran through this account"

Credit card processors are a Necessary evil, I know. But I've got enough problems as a small businessman. I don't like being screwed by my own bank. Call me crazy.

#134 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 07:06 PM:

Yet another example of why I shouldn't even open the comment threads here! It's all just too damned good!

@131: I keep hearing this, but I've billed nearly all my customers through PayPal for five years (I'm a technical translator in the US and my customers are mostly in Germany) with no ill effect. Where I get into trouble is with the customers who prefer SWIFT transfers through my bank. Those get screwed up occasionally. I've also used Moneybookers for one customer for a few months. They're OK, once you get things set up correctly.

Eh. Banking. They're a wunch of bankers anyway. (Charlie Stross you're my hero).

#135 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 07:54 PM:

the MythBusters found out a few months ago that dipping your feet in a vodka-filled basin

Ah, an excuse for keeping large quantities of vodka on hand!

#136 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 09:14 PM:

No, no, Mythago. On foot.

#137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:04 AM:

Do you mean that straight women viewing porn identify with the male actors and see the female ones as lust objects?

Porn is not marketed to straight women. At all, last I heard. Some and perhaps many straight women may enjoy it, but the industry really hasn't paid attention yet AFAIK. But then I might not notice.

#138 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:46 AM:

I think it's very brave to admit how much yarn you have. It's even braver to count it all up.

#139 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:49 AM:

Porn is not marketed to straight women

We have slash for that. :)

There is some porn marketed to straight couples, FWIW. I don't think I've ever seen any of it.

#140 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:56 AM:

As far as I can tell, credit card companies do NOT want to do business with small merchants.

I say this with the experience of: what my ren fest emploiyers have to do/pay for credit card transactions (becoming better I hope because they now have a shop in Winter Park, CO), my attempts to get a credit card account for my very minimal bead fabrication business AND the KC in 2009 Paypal apppears to provide the best option for me and the bid. My employers probably are making their case better with the credit card companies by their ownership of a regular business.

For the bid to get a credit card machine/account, it would take something like a $75/month fee for a machine and a similar monthly fee to maintain an account. Paypal is our friend.

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 08:23 AM:

Good point, Jen (139). In general (pace anyone who doesn't fit this generalization; I know there are variations, and I'm not denying you exist or anything), men's fantasies are more visual than women's, and visual stimulation plays a larger role in sexual arousal for men than it does for women.

Also, romance plays a larger role. I guess soap operas could be classed as porn for women! They don't need to actually see tab A enter slot B to be excited. A man going to extravagant lengths to win back his lady after behaving egregiously (as men always do, sooner or later*) would be more like it, if the way my women friends talk to me is evidence.

*don't take this too seriously. I just broke up (yesterday) with a guy who'd been lying to me for months, and I'm feeling pretty bitter about my whole gender. It will pass. I hope.

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 08:25 AM:

*sigh* I meant romance plays a larger role for women.

#143 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 08:42 AM:

Xopher,

I just broke up (yesterday) with a guy who'd been lying to me for months

I am sorry to hear that - both the breakup and the reason.

I'm feeling pretty bitter about my whole gender. It will pass. I hope.

I hope so, too, seeing as you're one of 'em.

I'm afraid I can't resist pretending to be more British than I am, purely to say. "Keep your pecker up."

But I mean it sincerely.

#144 ::: G ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Fragano @110: Do you mean that straight women viewing porn identify with the male actors and see the female ones as lust objects?

From experience, that's often the case.

#145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 09:11 AM:

Xopher... Sorry to hear about the breakup.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 10:09 AM:

One more thing, Xopher... I am glad you are here with us.

#147 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Xopher #137: As I understand it about a third of the purchasers of porn videos are straight women. I just wonder with whom they identify.

#148 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Xopher #141: You have my sympathy. There are few things more emotionally painful than the end of a relationship. I hope you find a better partner soon.

#149 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 10:56 AM:

G #144: It sounds analogous to prisoners identifying with the heroes on cop shows.

#150 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 10:56 AM:

*whispers* I like dpns. Metal ones. Really tiny ones.

I loves me my 2.5mm metal dpns from KnitPicks. I like dpns a lot in general, but something about this particular set just makes my hands happy. Hooray for small metal dpns!

A lot of people don't like the brand, though, because they're fairly heavy.

#151 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 11:16 AM:

Shall we discuss why porn designed for straight males includes mandatory lesbian scenes?

I think that the reason for those inclusions are four-fold:

1) They're there for the peace of mind of the guys who are secretly afraid that they're getting turned on by watching guys,

2) They support the worldview that women in general are so ... eager ... that they'd screw doorknobs if nothing else was available,

3) They provide twice as much T&A to look at, and

4) They underscore the idea that women are so desirable that no one can resist them.

#152 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 11:21 AM:

Also 5) There are twice as many women for the viwer to imagine screwing.

#153 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 11:31 AM:

Re: Carrie S. at #152 "Also 5) There are twice as many women for the viwer to imagine screwing."

Which is why so much slash fanfic is written by and for straight women. Twice as many men to play with.

#154 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 11:33 AM:

#151 and 152, or to paraphrase Paul Reiser in a Mad About You episode, "It's naked, it's fun, I agree with both of them."

#155 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Can anybody name one porno movie that Bjo Trimble worked on? (Behind the camera.) I'll give you a hint. Character actor John Hoyt was in it too. No peeking on imDB.com.

#156 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Flesh Gordon.

(Saw it in its theatrical release.)

#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Correct, James. I think she also had a brief non-speaking part. Fully dressed.

#158 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Anyone other than me see "Curse of the Queerwolf" with 4E Ackerman?

#159 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:42 PM:

Xopher, sorry to hear about that. If you need any punches to be thrown or brawls to be had, I will happily take part. Not really, but still.

And if it's not tacky to move from personal sentiments to porn theory in one post...

All the talk about identification and lust objects is interesting, and I'd just like to add that it's not really straightforward at all. For a real-life example, a friend of mine who lovingly curated the porn section at a video store she worked at years ago told me that white men obsessively renting movies with white women and black men is a huge phenomenon. I'm not really sure what to make of that, but it sure is interesting.

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 12:44 PM:

Not me, James, but I did see Ackerman in Schlock.

#161 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 01:22 PM:

Xopher, you have mail.

#162 ::: G ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 01:31 PM:

James @151: I'd go for 3 and especially 5 -- it's like a threesome without the "ugly lucky bastard" in the middle.

#163 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Xopher, I'm sorry, and I hope your life gets better soon. I think there'll be a lot of other people who'd like to express the same sentiment.

As for the porn discussion, there is a thriving small press market in "it's like slash, only it's with original characters" novels aimed at women. Now if we can only persuade Borders to file it with the rest of the romance instead of in gay and lesbian studies, there will be a whole lot of very happy authors. And readers. Remember folks, if one man is good, two are better, and three are wonderful...

#164 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 01:59 PM:

Thanks, everyone, for the expressions of sympathy. I think that partnerwise I just need to be alone for a while (kind of still in "him or nobody" mode about this guy...and it can't be him, so for now it's nobody). Yesterday was the second-worst day of my life (after 9/11); I'm not expecting to get over it soon.

#165 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Xopher - I'm expressing the same sentiment (see Julia @ #163), and believe that someone who is as spiffy as you are will find happiness.

My best friend is a serious* fan of slash, and she's a straight girl. We have a standing agreement that if anything catastrophic happens I'm supposed to go to her apartment and clean out the "things you don't want your mother to find" drawer and shelf.


*I really wanted to say "hardcore", but in this connotation, it just didn't seem right . . .

#166 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 02:11 PM:

Xopher, 164: "Him or nobody, and it can't be him"--oh, how often have I been there! You have my every sympathy.

#167 ::: Donna Barr ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Go around the bank: ccnow.com

I've used it securely for years at www.stinz.com

Screw the bank.

#168 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 02:53 PM:

From porn to another aspect of sex...

I think one of the hottest and sexiest scene in a movie was the dream sequence in An American in Paris, specifically the scene wher eGene Kelly and Leslie Caron are slowly dancing right by that stylized fountain.

But that's just me.

#170 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 03:08 PM:

If this were a thread about porn, would we now be talking about socks? Just curious. :)

#171 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 03:36 PM:

Mary Aileen #170: It's not quite the same thing, but we could see where the conversation on the British sex scandals thread goes. I'm sure knitting will come up one way or another.

#172 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Has anyone seen James Whales's 1931 Waterloo Bridge? I just saw this recently, and it seems apropos to the general tenor of the thread here. Waterloo Bridge is a controversial pre-Code film that was under a de facto ban for decades, because the main character is a prostitute.

Anyway, as I watched it, I was constantly reminded of the fluorosphere, because two of the major plot points concern sock-knitting and Zeppelins.

(Avoid the 1940s remake, which, AFAICT, not only bowdlerizes the heroine's occupation, but also eliminates all references to knitting patterns and Zeppelin raids.)

In conclusion, if you're looking for a movie about sex workers, sock-knitting, and Zeppelins, look no further than James Whale's Waterloo Bridge.

#173 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 05:17 PM:

stefan:

no! donna barr is a real person, & a very talented comics veteran.

she is talking about her experience with her own online retail business.

& her comics are kinda on topic even, she is a straight (as far as i know) woman who wites/draws a cult hit series about a gay ss officer.....

donna,

hi! great to see you! are you doing any cons this year?

#174 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 05:52 PM:

#173:

Sorry, I thought we were getting spammed.

#175 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 06:07 PM:

#170 ::: Mary Aileen wondered:
If this were a thread about porn, would we now be talking about socks? Just curious. :)

If I didn't feel too unwell to handle search engines, I'd find the penis-cosy links for you...

#176 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 06:09 PM:

& her comics are kinda on topic even, she is a straight (as far as i know) woman who wites/draws a cult hit series about a gay ss officer...

I thought that name sounded familiar!!!! Is that the one about Rommel's gay brother?

#177 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 07:33 PM:

Yep. "The Desert Peach", which is a great comic. And a series of puns. And a musical. Among other things.

#178 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Oh, and Xopher. I'm sorry to hear it.

#179 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 07:35 PM:

yep! desert peach, which i am really hoping will come out in trade paperback(s) soon.

#180 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 07:53 PM:

Xopher, I'm sorry to hear about the relationship. There is porn pitched to single women, though. We used to have late night commercials for a porn video store.

#181 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Xopher, sympathies.

Serge: oh yes! That whole movie is seduction on feet, minus the orchestra dream sequence, which is a light-hearted interlude.

#182 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 10:19 PM:

Thanks again all. I'm hanging in there for now. Still can't quite believe it'll be true when I wake up in the morning.

#183 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2007, 11:39 PM:

James@151: my read (aka UUSWAG) is that the makers figure some part of their audience is men who have done so poorly with women (for whatever reasons) that they will be turned on by the thought of women so heated they'll do each other when men aren't available.

I'd also point to a variant of #3: gynecological shots with fewer obstacles.

No, I don't think "subtle" is in the average pron-maker's vocabulary. Yes, I understand that you all know cases where this isn't so; I'm guessing averages, and I'll admit most of my viewing experience is ~20 years old.

#184 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:30 AM:

Getting back to yarn for a moment (mainly because I can now bring dinosaurs into the mix!), I just received a fabulous present from Down Under: a "Red World" painted rock by Marilyn Price -- small but wonderfully convoluted river rock turned into "Yarn Basket with Playful House Saurian". The artist explains, "The 'Red World' is a dimension where humans, dinos + other creatures live in uneasy harmony. Many of the dinosaurs are genetically enhanced for intelligence, although they're not generally kept as pets or companions; but this one may have been an orphan needing care. It's a deinonychid, which will be dangerous when it grows to full size, so the yarn basket may eventually stay tidy."

I love it!

#185 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 09:36 AM:

JennR @ 181... That whole movie is seduction on feet

A very apt description of An American in Paris, JennR.

#186 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 12:11 PM:

James D. Macdonald: Shall we discuss why porn designed for straight males includes mandatory lesbian scenes?

5) It makes women even more interchangeable. You do not desire a woman in particular, it's women you have to desire, and through them society (this I might use to explain your first point too, men are generally relegated to the margins of the screen, except for the anonymous close-shots, in which they're generally ripped of their individuality/humanity to hold other values).

I think it's Deleuze who had that beautiful and somewhat cold definition of the person you love as "la focale des fuyantes de nos désirs".

One thing I find interesting with porn is that it seems women generally stand for the body of society. As I like to put it, men are prophets/performers, women are mediums.
Men may come in mainstream porn, but they're not here for that: they're here to satisfy the woman, and leave their mark.


Damn, now I feel like translating my old "Sémiologie de l'éjac-faciale"...


@Xopher: Sorry to hear that. As far as I can see you deserve better. I Hope things will get there, eventually.

#187 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 05:39 PM:

MD-little-2: "Sémiologie de l'éjac-faciale" sounds pretty damn interesting...

#188 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 08:46 PM:

@ ethan:

My, thanks. Sadly the best part happens to be the title, I fear (as those "what, is he on LSD ?" lines of mine up there can attest).


Sigh.
It's in time like these I resent my english for being so mediocre.

#189 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 10:06 PM:

James @151
Yep to #3 - when I asked a young guy what the deal was with guys and lesbian scenes he simply said "Four breasts instead of two." Oh. Silly me.

#190 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2007, 12:48 AM:

MD^2: In my experience it's usually Italians who apologize too much for their supposedly poor written English. So, since you aren't Italian, you have no excuse. Ain't nothing wrong with your English.

Besides, it's miles better than my written French, which pretty much doesn't exist despite years of schooling.

#191 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 12:09 PM:

Thanks. It's just that I can in French think in ten lines run-on sentences, with a half a dozen cascading relative propositions (take that Chomsky), some pun via homonymy, a clever use of polysemy allowing me to say both what I meant and its contrary at the same time, and the main verb at the very end, so my English feels pretty limited.

Okay, I'm lying through my teeth, I can do the above but it takes "quite a bit" (hum) of work (still lying).

What irks me is I can't do anything close to it in english.

In other words, my English may (?) be miles better than your French, but the field's still too vast.

Anyway, thanks again, really, it's good to see people think I'm getting better (even though I'm still missing loads of nuances, it seems).

rams (#189): Yep to #3 - when I asked a young guy what the deal was with guys and lesbian scenes he simply said "Four breasts instead of two." Oh. Silly me.

Does it mean he would rather deal with a woman with four breast rather than a woman with two ?

What about three ?

#192 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 05:11 PM:

My impression was that he has trouble dealing with any women at all -- hence the voyeurism -- but I'll check.

And you're certainly right about the frustrations of a second/third/subsequent language. The loss of most humor and almost all nuance is maddening, and they are so slow in arriving. (Though it was listening to four-year-olds chat which really reduced me to despair.)

#193 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 04:47 AM:

It might be small consolation, but I've found that people who are coming at English from another language often come up with constructions & word uses that no native speaker would ever think of. I had a Ukrainian friend who called stray strands of hair "tendrils," which I always loved. ABBA said "When you're gone, though I try, how can I carry on?" which is beautiful to me. I have trouble believing a native English speaker could have come up with Kleenex/LiLiPUT's absofrigginlutely joyous "Yesterday there was a party! Yesterday the drinks were strong!"

#194 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:58 PM:

Ethan #193:

They're tendrils to me, too, and I'm about as native as you get, linguistically speaking. Now if your friend had called them "tentacles" ...

#195 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 06:30 PM:

Aw, Teresa! You posted Cat Bordhi's knit-yourself-a-treehouse pattern. Have you read the (fantasy) novel that goes with it? My family (all four of us) found it more than just a little enchanting - from Rose (who was seven when she read it) through the-kid-who-doesn't-want-to-be-named (15) and Daniel & me (nearly 40 at the time of reading).

And Rams & Ethan, there's apparently only one way to really get another language with all of its cultural and social nuances - immersion in early life. I've had that with one other language (Hebrew) and Daniel has it with the three languages he learned before 11. His fourth is English, and he certainly uses it well and can translate into it and hold his own in any discussion in it, but the piece that eludes him? Poetry. He doesn't *get* it. He does for German, Dutch, and Hebrew poetry, though. English - not.

This is somewhat disappointing for me, as I'd always envisioned having my husband as a first audience.
He makes it up by being mostly wonderful in all other ways, though... (It's our 10 year anniversary tomorow. Before I met him I'd have said that loving poetry was a prerequisite...)

#196 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 04:45 AM:

joann #194: Tentacles? Bwa! That's funny. I'm surprised that you call them tendrils, though, there's something very non-native about that to me. Guess I was mistaken. I still stand by my general point, though.

Dena Shunra #195: That makes me depressed. Too late for me.

#197 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 08:43 AM:

ethan, 196: Don't despair. I didn't start really learning French until college, and I get French poetry just fine. What's more, I did my master's on troubadour poetry, which is in a dead language that I'd been studying for all of a year. Just dive into the language of your choice; it'll be hard, but it'll also be the most fun you ever had. After all, if you didn't think words were the bestest toys ever, you wouldn't be here.

#198 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 09:35 AM:

I have to say, my first reaction when I read of this (on the knitflame list) was not "what an outrage!" but "$35 for a pair of socks?" I actually am a sock knitter, and sock yarn is always more expensive than, well, any commercial socks I've ever bought. (We console ourselves with the idea that they're better quality, fit better, and are Made With Twoo Wuv - which given the effort and eyestrain to knit a pair of socks is in fact twoo. Thgouh obviously it's fun, also.) That price seems extremely high to me.

On the other hand, that shouldn't lessen the outrage against the bank. People who want to spend that much for socks, or to support a small yarn company, certainly ought to be allowed to do so - and I agree both that the bankers are idiots who need to learn the acronym JFGI and that it would probably not happen to a male-dominated business.

#199 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Another reason I've always suspected for lesbian scenes in porn aimed at straight men: the women are getting each other warmed up so that Himself doesn't have to bother with foreplay.

#200 ::: karen marie ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 08:03 PM:

now, whooda figgered? sock yarn? i never heard of such a thing until today! i'm in love with the concept! i crochet blankets with cotton yard but this post and thread are making me think maybe i should branch out ...

going to look at some blue moon sock yarn now!

#201 ::: Krapsnart ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2007, 12:55 PM:

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