I’m Getting Back Into Knitting

I was a very heavy knitter back in the day. I used to knit in front of the television, I’d knit while talking to friends. I’ve even brought my knitting to the movies. I have probably dozens of knitting books. 28. I just counted them.* I also subscribed to Vogue Knitting for years** and I used to pore over women’s magazines in the checkout line looking for knitting patterns and if I liked the pattern I’d buy the magazine, cut out the pattern and put them in one of those sticky photo album pages. Then there were the patterns I downloaded from places like the Berroco and Lion Brand yarn companies’ website.

I’m not sure why I stopped knitting. Moving to Texas didn’t help. I need a severely limited number of warm sweaters down here. I have so much yarn that would make beautiful sweaters and no sweaters to make.

Years ago I found Project Linus, a charity where people make blankets to be given to preemies or to children who have suffered losses or trauma, and so I started knitting blankets for them. I kept knitting blankets for several more years, even though I no longer knew how to get them to the charity.

Then. Hm. I think I decided that I wanted to make sweaters for Mila and all of her foster sisters, but I couldn’t get motivated.

I know one of the things that happened to stop me knitting. Well, first, I stopped watching TV. So there’s that. Also my dad stopped parachuting. I used to knit all the way to and from the jump site.

Well, on Christmas, my dad and I were watching It’s a Wonderful Life and I decided to dig out the Project Linus blankets I was working on. Turns out I was almost done with one of them — a pink, blue, and purple one that was a larger version of a blue, yellow, and green one I did a few years back and that looked almost like a plaid. It doesn’t look so plaid-y when it’s larger, but the blanket is still pretty.

Then I found one that I was working on based on the trapped-bar pattern scarves from the Harry Potter movies (the ones that they unveiled in Prisoner of Azkaban). I couldn’t find the rest of the yarn for it, though, so I unraveled it and will start it over on a slightly smaller scale.

I also saw a commercial for a knit weighted blanket and I was playing around with ideas for that for a while. I weigh about 125, which means that the standard adult weighted blankets, at 15 pounds, are way too heavy for me. Since cotton yarn feels pretty heavy, I dug out some Lion Brand CottonEase and am now playing around with it. I’m working a strand of yellow and a strand of, like, turquoise and will see how that works out. If it’s too light or too small, maybe I’ll put it in my container for Project Linus.

Recently I’ve gotten pretty heavily into several YouTube channels and also some Amazon Prime series, so I figured it’s not television, but it’s pretty close, so I’ve been knitting in front of them. Speaking of YouTube channels, I need to see where I am in my Content Creators series.

I went through my yarns years ago and sorted them by color, but that was undone ages ago and so I think I need to go through them again.

For today’s Germane Amazon Link, I bring you the source of some of my favorite patterns, as well as the book that had me take my first stab at knitting sweaters all in one piece, which is now how I knit, well, pretty much everything I can knit in one piece: Fishermen’s Sweaters: Twenty Exclusive Knitwear Designs for All Generations, by Alice Starmore.

*29. I forgot the dog knitting pattern book I have in Kindle format.

**I was considering seeing if I could make Vogue Knitting magazine my Germane Amazon Link, but apparently Vogue Knitting is not available for Kindle. Hm.***

***Oh! Vogue Knitting has its own app! Would it let me access back issues? I’d love to be able to access back issues. I love my old magazines, but they’re awfully dusty.

The Wheel of Time Episode 8: The Eye of the World

Wow. I’m not sure what to say. I actually procrastinated on watching the episode because I know it’ll be another year or so for Season 2. This is why I never would have binged it. I was hoping to stretch out my viewings so that I will only have 43 weeks* to wait until the next season.

And then once I watched it, I had a bunch of “What even was that?” to unpack.

I’ve read some critical reviews of the episode and some less-critical ones and now I think I’m ready to tackle this task. Probably.

Empire State Building, August 16, 1988, 5:00 p.m.
The view from the Empire State Building at around 5:00 p.m. on, near as I can figure August 16, 1988.

We start the episode with a flashback to the tail end of the Age of Legends, with Lews Therin Telamon trying to convince Latra Posae Decume, the leader of the female Aes Sedai, to help him seal the Bore on the Dark One’s prison. She is afraid of what could go wrong and refuses to help him. He ends with a line that if the women will help, they won’t fail.

There’s a line in this scene in which Latra calls Lews Therin “the Dragon Reborn.” Is this an error, or has Judkins come up with a way to shorthand a plot point by having Lews Therin have also been the reincarnation of the soul known as the Dragon?

I’m leaning towards error, myself.

After the opening titles (and why is the Brown sister shown at such an odd angle? That’ll make it really hard for me to make it an icon), we pick up with Rand and Moiraine in the Blight. They had to create the Blight in a studio because they had a real-world location chosen, but COVID put an end to that.

We get a scene with Egwene and Perrin fretting over Rand. Now, at this point, it’s been hinted that Perrin had a thing for Egwene and maybe he still does. And when Egwene turns to him for comfort, he wraps his arm around her.

Now, someone (don’t know who! sorry!) on the WoT subreddit opined that. . . . Okay. I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the books, The Shadow Rising specifically, the ruler of the tiny city-state of Mayene, Berelain, starts to pursue Perrin romantically. Perrin is in love with Faile, though. So, when Perrin finds out that the Whitecloaks are in Emond’s Field, expecting that he will die, and knowing that he cannot bear to watch Faile watch him die, tries to make Faile stay behind by telling her that he prefers Berelain.

This gives Berelain hope that he will choose her and she becomes a real pain in the ass from there onwards.

Anyway, my fellow Redditor suggested that as part of the streamlining, maybe they were going to jettison Berelain and make Egwene the woman he tells Faile that he prefers. And since Perrin is certainly attracted to Egwene, there will definitely be more truth to the lie he tells Faile to try to drive her away than with Berelain.

Nynaeve sends Lan after Rand and Moiraine and they say a tearful goodbye, particularly since Lan has given up on them ever being together.

Rand and “the Dark One” have a confrontation in a dream in the Blight. Afterwards, Moiraine gives Rand a sa’angreal, which will make Rand much more powerful than he would be alone. Her big plan is for Rand to “put him (the Dark One) back where he belongs.” Wow. Thanks for that well-thought-out plan there, Rainey.

Meanwhile, Trollocs are approaching Fal Dara. They evacuate the foreigners who want to leave, which includes Min. I have to admit that I was wondering how the foreigners would get out of Shienar but when I looked at the map, I realized that the Trollocs are coming from the north and the foreigners are fleeing to the south.

Of course, while Min gets the heck out of Dodge, Egwene, Loial, Nynaeve, and Perrin are staying. What follows in this storyline is a battle scene and as I’m usually “meh” about battle scenes, I’ll try to sum up the interesting parts.

Since the Fal Darans believe that this is Tarmon Gai’don, they dig The Horn of Valere out from under Agelmar’s chair, assisted by Perrin and Loial. Meanwhile, Amalisa leads a circle of channelers to stop the Trollocs once they get through the first defense of the city. I assume that Amalisa was in charge because she is the only one who has been to Tar Valon. She may also be the only one who’s ever used the Power in battle.

Of course, the channelers defeat all 10,000 trollocs in a scene that either presages or maybe will even replace, the little Roto-tiller trick the Asha’man will use at Dumai’s Wells, if we ever get there. The difference, however, is that where the Asha’man use earth and fire, the channelers here use lightning.

The channeling is so strong that most of the women involved end up not just burned out, but burned up. The only apparent survivor is Egwene, who somehow manages to heal Nynaeve’s death. I hope Nynaeve wasn’t completely dead, just mostly dead.

Meanwhile, after they unearth the Horn of Valere, Padan Fain and a bunch of Trollocs show up and start stabbing people. Fain says that the world needs the balance of the Light and Dark and Fain is, I guess, just doing his best for his side. We get hints that perhaps Mat will fall to the Dark at some point in the series, and boy will the Mat fankids be up in arms about that! Fain stabs Loial with the Shadar Logoth dagger and takes off with the Horn of Valere.

In the books, they need to get the Horn of Valere back because Horn of Valere and they need to get the dagger back to heal Mat, since they can’t break his connection to the dagger without it. I suspect that the urgency for the dagger will be to heal Loial.

Then we get to the big battle at the Eye of the World. Unlike in the books, where the Eye of the World is a big pool of untainted Saidin, here it is some kind of underground chamber. Rand remembers being there as Lews Therin and he reaches down to touch the “ancient symbol of Aes Sedai” in the floor, only to find himself back in the Two Rivers, now married to Egwene. They have a daughter, named Joiya, and seem to be very happily married.

Rand is suspicious of this, and tests Egwene. She remembers a shared childhood memory, but shows no interest in being either a Wisdom or an Aes Sedai.

“The Dark One” turns up and tells Rand that through the Power, he can make this dream a reality. He teaches Rand the achieving the void trick that we didn’t have time for Tam to have taught Rand, and Rand begins to channel.

Outside of that dream world, “The Dark One” is talking to Moiraine and taunting her about the possibility that Rand will turn to the Dark, at which point, Moiraine pulls out a knife and holds it to Rand’s throat. You see, Moiraine would rather there be no Dragon Reborn than an evil one. I can respect that.

Eventually, Rand denies “The Dark One’s” plans and fights him. You see, the Egwene that Rand loves would never just walk away from becoming an Aes Sedai and Rand would never do that to her.

I loved that part.

Happy New Year, by the way. I just finished that paragraph above before midnight and am picking up here on the night of January 1, 2022.

After Rand finishes blowing “The Dark One” away with the Power in the sa’angreal, he tells Moiraine that he’s done and that she should tell everyone else that he’s dead. He could feel the madness taking hold of him while he was channeling and since the madness causes men to kill everyone they love, he is leaving and he doesn’t want anyone to find him again.

After Rand leaves, Lan shows up and Moiraine tells him that Rand is “gone.” Then she tells him that she cannot unmask the bond because “The Dark One. He. I can’t touch the Source.”

This is going to give Moiraine something to do next season. She doesn’t have much to do in The Great Hunt, so while Egwene and Nynaeve are going to Tar Valon, and Perrin heads off to find the Horn of Valere with whoever is left of the Shienaran army, Moiraine will probably be looking for the solution to her shielding/stilling.

Later, Moiraine is holding a piece of something white, which is cuendillar and unbreakable, even by the Power. It seems that the penny drops there and she realizes what The Eye of the World is. Because it certainly seems to me to be the Bore, the place where the Aes Sedai of the Age of Legends opened up The Dark One’s tomb and tried to destroy him/it. The “ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai” is the seal. In the books, there are seven seals all in that shape, all made of cuendillar. I guess we have one large one here.

Moiraine says that this wasn’t the Last Battle, it was the first.

The season ends on a tag in which a flotilla of ships is approaching the western coast of Randland and women in gray dresses with kinky-looking ball gag things in their mouths channel the water into forming a tidal wave. And the season ends.

I put “The Dark One” in quotes throughout, by the way, because we don’t know if we’re going the same way as in the books, but in the books, that character turns out to be the Foresaken Ishamael.

*An interview with someone behind the scenes said something about The Wheel of Time being a holiday thing, so my guess is that it’ll start eight weeks out from Christmas 2022, which somehow ends up being October 30, 2022.

Wheel of Time, Season 1 Episode 7: the Dark Along the Ways

Today I will probably spend entirely too much time worrying about how one of my favorite Lan/Nynaeve scenes from the book will play out in the series, and wonder if they’ll just skip it. I will also wonder what Mat would have done in this episode if Barney Harris had returned after the COVID shutdown.

Lillies on the north side of the main building of Ellis Island
A bed of lilies on the north side of the main building of Ellis Island.

We start out where we ended last episode — with them calling for Mat to join them. After the Waygate closes, they demand that Moiraine open it back up. Moiraine tells them that she cannot because channeling in the Ways is dangerous and that Mat has made his decision.

In service to the medium, Judkins made changes to the way the Ways work. In the books, it is pitch black inside the Ways, but here there’s constant thunder and lightning. This allows the audience to see something of the bridges and islands.

Machin Shin is also different in the series. In the books, it mutters about blood and screams and will rip your soul out if it catches up to you. Here, the voices are individualized — Machin Shin picks up your doubts and fears and tells you that they are true.

They encounter a Trolloc and reflexively Egwene channels and pushes it off the bridge into the void below. This attracts Machin Shin, but fortunately they’re at the Fal Dara Waygate by then. Nynaeve does another amazingly strong bit of channeling and pushes Machin Shin away.

They arrive in Fal Dara and a lot of the things that Machin Shin said to them bear fruit while they wait for the morning so they can head to the Eye of the World.

We meet Min, finally. I mean, we couldn’t’ve met her earlier, because she can see who the Dragon Reborn is. She works in a pub and Moiraine takes the Emond’s Field Four to the pub so Min can read them. She sees stuff that we know is coming, like Perrin as Wolfbrother and Egwene and Nynaeve going to the White Tower. The scene of the darkness trying to swallow up the sparks was more understated than I’d hoped it would be, but you can’t have everything.

One of the things that Perrin heard from Machin Shin was that he killed Laila to be free of her because he was in love with another woman. That woman turns out to be Egwene. Now, if you’ve read The Eye of the World, you may remember that Perrin gets very jealous of Egwene once Aram starts paying attention to her. So, yeah. I don’t think that Judkins made that up out of whole cloth.

Lan and Nynaeve’s romance progresses. She stalks him when he goes to dinner with a family in Fal Dara. He knows she’s there, though, and catches her. Then he invites her to join them for dinner. After they return to the keep, they go to bed together. I was kind of disappointed by this development. I liked the kind of slow burn thing that book Lan and Nynaeve get, but I also acknowledge that Judkins thought that he might only get one season, so I can accept that he’d want Lan and Nynaeve to get together by the end of the season.

Now, for my concern about one of my favorite scenes. That’s when Lan calls Nynaeve “Mashiara.” The book explains “Mashiara” as “Beloved of heart and soul, . . . but a love lost, too. Lost beyond regaining.” And everyone here who’s read the books knows that Lan is counting his Mashiaras before they hatch, because Nynaeve isn’t going to give up that easily, dammit. And I just love that whole thing.

The problem is that we’ve established that Nynaeve in the series doesn’t speak the Old Tongue. I mean, the “Mashiara” scene will kind of lose its punch if she has to go to someone else for a translation. I’m hoping that since she had the conversation about not being able to speak the Old Tongue with Lan, she has been taking lessons offscreen. Then we can get our translation not from someone explaining it to Nynaeve, but from someone (maybe Nynaeve, maybe someone who overheard the conversation) explaining it to another of the Emond’s Fielders.

While Lan and Nynaeve are .. . doing whatever they’re doing, Rand cannot sleep. He gets out of the bed he’s sharing with Egwene* and goes back to the pub where Min works. Turns out that one of the things that Machin Shin told Rand was that he is the Dragon Reborn. We see the scene where a delirious Tam says that Rand is a baby he found. We also see that he channeled to break down the door in Breen’s Spring and that he pushed the Trolloc off the bridge. Or maybe he and Egwene both pushed the Trolloc off the bridge.

Min tells him her first viewing, in Tar Valon. She saw a man who was going to help a woman give birth on the slopes of Dragonmount and take the baby home and raise him in a small village between two rivers and that that baby was something impossible. We watch Tigraine give birth to Rand as Min tells the story.

After this, he asks Min what she sees now and she says that she sees rainbows, carnivals, and three beautiful women. I like this line because if the series had ended there, the three beautiful women would have been Egwene, Moiraine, and Nynaeve. As the series will be continuing, the three beautiful women are going to be Aviendha, Elayne, and Min herself. Well played, Mr. Judkins.

Egwene, Nynaeve, and Perrin join up in Nynaeve’s certainly unslept-in room and decide that they all want to go to the Eye of the World. Meanwhile, Rand has already told Moiraine that he’s the Dragon Reborn and they’ve already headed off for the Blight.

Now, had the series ended after one season, I think that Rand would have won and, since we haven’t introduced the “the blood of the Dragon on the stones of Shayol Ghul” bit, or even the “she’s not for you, nor you for her, at least, not in the way you both want” part yet, Moiraine would have died and Rand would have survived. There’d be some kind of series tag implying, or stating outright, that Egwene and Nynaeve would have gone to Tar Valon and eventually that Rand and Lan would have been their husbands and Warders.

Now, the million-dollar question. Did they completely rework this episode when Barney Harris didn’t come back or what? Because the way it stands, I cannot see how he’d fit in. I guess that maybe he could be off establishing the uncanny luck that Mat has after he’s separated from the Shadar Logoth dagger, maybe? Like, when they’re at the pub he’d head off to a dicing game and when they meet in Nynaeve’s room he’d’ve spent all night dicing and be in a hurry to head to the Eye of the World because the people he’d beaten certainly wouldn’t’ve followed him into the Blight? I guess?

We also see Padan Fain come out of the Waygate and Loial disappears entirely at21:07. Maybe Loial is enjoying Fal Dara’s library. I bet Fal Dara has a great library.

* Several people on the Wheel of Time subreddit are upset about Egwene and Rand having sex together. I’m currently reading The Shadow Rising and when Berelain throws herself at Rand, Rand refers to her as wanting to act as though they’re betrothed. And Egwene and Rand have been promised to each other since they were children.

I’ve Been Reading and Reading and Not Finishing Anything

I mean it. It’s been just. I’m almost done with my reread of Steelheart* by Brandon Sanderson and I’m about 3/4 done with A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane and I only have two hours left on my audiobook of The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan and I’m half done with my reread of Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi Jones and I’m not sure how far along I am in The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Maybe I’m in the middle of too many books.

Well, it kind of makes sense. The only two I’m reading in hard copy right now are A Wizard of Mars and Professional Troublemaker. Steelheart is the ebook on my main phone. The Deceivers is the ebook on my backup phone. The Dragon Reborn is what I’m listening to when I’m driving.

Yes. I have two phones. I got my backup phone in 2014 just before we went to Italy. My previous phone was a Palm Treo and Palm Treo didn’t allow me to make phone calls in Europe. I knew that I’d need to be able to call 113 just in case (I never did, but it pays to be prepared), so I bought a Samsung Galaxy S5. It worked wonderfully for the next two and a half years and I nursed it along for another two and a half (by the end of this period the only way I could upgrade Pokemon Go was to uninstall and reinstall the game). In 2019, I got a new phone, a Galaxy S8. I got a good price on it because the S10 was about to come out.

My account was with Sprint, which is now T-Mobile, and T-Mobile is shutting down the network that my S8 worked on, so looks like I’ll have two backup phones in a bit.

I’m off tomorrow, so I guess I’ll be working on finishing up some of these books. I have plans in the morning and afternoon and might be going out with Alex tomorrow night, but if he isn’t able to make it, I can go for a long walk and maybe finish The Dragon Reborn. I might even finish Steelheart before bed tonight. That’d be nice. Then I’d go on to Firefight, the second book in the The Reckoners series.

*I thought that having six Germane Amazon Links would be about five too many, so I’m just linking to the first one. I reserve the right to come back and link the others in the future.

So I Took a Career Interest Test

The last time I did one of those was when I first moved to Texas and was unemployed. It took me so long to find a paralegal job that I began to wonder if I was barking up the proverbial wrong tree and by golly, I got mostly the kinds of things I already liked to do, like working as a librarian.

Same this time, frankly.

It started with this YouTube video from Doctor Mike. So I decided to take the Department of Labor interest assessment.

The careers with the brightest futures and the highest pay on my list are poets, lyricists, and creative writers; art therapists; music therapists; interpreters and translators; news analysts, reporters, and journalists; and mental health and substance abuse social workers. All of these are supposed to pay at least $5 more than my current job and it says that creative writing pays $32.70 per hour. Now, I don’t know if blogging is *creative* writing. Maybe it’s more journalism and reporting, which pays $23.70. So where’s my somewhere between $23.70 and $27.99 per hour?

I’m pleased that my post-retirement career of working as a foreign language translator (my real dream is to translate children’s books) is still in line with my interests, though.

So I guess I just keep going with my current plans — continue reading and writing and practicing my languages. Well, at least I’m not heading the wrong direction as fast as I can, right?

Now, where did I leave off on Gratuitous Amazon Links? I think I was on The Throne of Fire, by Rick Riordan. The Throne of Fire is the second book in the Kane Chronicles series and it concerns the search of Carter and Sadie Kane for the god Ra. Ra may be the key to defeating Apophis and the Kane siblings have to find him.

I have read the third Kane Chronicles book, The Serpent’s Shadow, and I have a copy around here somewhere. But damned if I know where. I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have books somewhere other than the four places I know of. So it’ll be a while until The Serpent’s Shadow will be my Gratuitious Amazon Link.

Wheel of Time Episode 6: The Flame of Tar Valon

Wait. What?

Augh!

Okay. You know the drill if you’ve been reading these posts for a while. I’m going to post an old image and below that, all spoilers are fair game, both from the series and from anywhere in the books, and we’re definitely talking about The Shadow Rising here.

The area around Grand Central Station is really congested and has this real “concrete canyon” vibe, so it took me a while to find place where I could get a decent photo.

We start this episode with a flashback to the childhood of Siuan Sanche, who at this point in the series is the Amyrlin Seat. Siuan leaves her home in Tear because the villagers near where she and her father live find out that she can channel. In Tear, it is illegal to channel, and girls who are found to have the ability are sent away immediately. I don’t know what happens to boy channelers who are discovered. I’ll look into it.

We get our first look at the Hall of the Tower, when the Amyrlin Seat calls a meeting of the Hall so that Alanna, Liandrin, and Moiraine can answer for their extrajudicial gentling of Logain. Siuan is very unhappy and tells Alanna and Liandrin that she’ll decide their punishments later. Then she demands to know why Moiraine has been out of pocket for two years, and Moiraine keeps insisting that she cannot tell her. They have a major confrontation over it, and Moiraine still insists that she cannot say.

And I’m, like, “Wait. Siuan knew about Moiraine’s search for the Dragon Reborn in the books. It was a whole plot that they’d cooked up between them. What’s going on here?”

Meanwhile, Moiraine has broken the link between Mat and the Shadar Logoth dagger (Wow! That was a fast subplot — blink and you’ll miss it!). Egwene and Perrin have arrived at the Tower and Moiraine visits them. The head of the Blue Ajah tells Moiraine that she has to remain in the Tower for now, which puts a kink in her Dragon Reborn plans.

We see Moiraine in a dress thing that has man’s dress shirt vibes. Lan complains about Moiraine masking the bond, then wishes Moiraine a good night and ends with “Give her my love.”

It turns out that not only are Moiraine and Siuan in on the search for the Dragon Reborn together, they are lovers. In the books, they were what was known as “pillow-friends,” meaning that they had a sexual relationship during their youth, but it’s kind of implied that it’s over. This is particularly evident in that both end up with men. Well, for varying definitions of “end up with.”

So. Since Moiraine and Siuan definitely seem to me to have a love relationship here, after Siuan gets stilled and is youthened to the point of being unrecognizable. Or, I guess, will she get stilled and youthened to the point of being unrecogizable? I mean, the Gareth Bryne plot is part of that, and I cannot see Siuan being all, “It’s over Moiraine. I’m in love with Queen Morgase’s ex-boyfriend.” It just doesn’t seem to fit the tone of the series. Or, I guess once Moiraine is presumed dead, maybe Siuan and Bryne will have a fling?

We’ll see what happens when it happens, I guess.

Siuan mentions a premonitory dream that she had about the Dark One and the Eye of the World and so after Siuan exiles Moiraine at Moiraine’s request (to get her out of the demand of the head of her Ajah), Moiraine gets the band back together and meets them at a Waygate. She tells them that they have to go to the Eye of the World so that whichever of them is the Dragon can hurry up and get the Last Battle over with.

I guess that if they’d only gotten the one season, they would have gotten the Last Battle over with and that’d be it, but they have had a renewal, so what will happen?

Then Mat says that he is having second thoughts and Moiraine says that there’s no turning back. The rest of them pile into the Waygate and Mat just stands there. They yell for him to hurry up, but he doesn’t come any closer. And then the Waygate closes.

This is the “Wait. What?” moment.

I’ve since done some digging and from what I can gather, this is when Barney Harris left the show. They shut down production for COVID-19 and something happened behind the scenes and they ended up having to recast Mat. I gather that they are going to reintegrate Mat into the show with the new actor sometime in Season 2.

Wheel of Time, Episode 5: Blood Calls Blood

I totally wasn’t sure what to expect from this episode going in. “Blood calls blood” is from Chapter 7 of The Great Hunt*.

I may end up going into more detail in the spoiler zone on exactly the circumstances, but maybe not. We’ll see what we see when we get there.

Original Statue of Liberty Torch
The original torch of the Statue of Liberty, which is now inside Fort Wood. Just underneath the flame, you can see the hinges of the door where people used to emerge from the statue to stand.

I loved New York City and if I ever win the lottery or hit that perfect “will translate for money” spot or whatever, I’m moving to Queens.

Why Queens? Because it’s the most linguistically diverse urban area on Earth. I mean, Papua New Guinea beats Queens by a mile (823 languages versus 138), but I don’t know if I can get my city on in Port Moresby, you know?

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Episode 5. I really am amazed at how much they can cram into a 50-minute episode here. I mean, we see the funeral for the people outside the cave and that Nynaeve couldn’t save. We see Nynaeve, Moirane, and Lan arrive at Tar Valon and get Nynaeve settled into a room in the Warders’ quarters and for Liandrin to track her down and be all friendlythreatening (she was like threatmantic, but less romance and more creepy phony friendship) at her.

We see Mat and Rand arrive at Tar Valon, Rand meet Loial, and Mat and Rand watch Logain being brought into the city. Later, Loial brings Nynaeve to Mat and Rand’s room at the inn, which includes more development of how sick Mat is.

We see Egwene and Perrin approaching Tar Valon with the Tuatha’an, where they are intercepted by Whitecloaks. Valda wants to detain Egwene and Perrin but the Traveling People refuse to let the Whitecloaks have them. The Whitecloaks catch Egwene and Perrin after all, and hold them hostage, insisting that Egwene is an Aes Sedai. Valda tells them that one of them will have to die, which leads Perrin to tell Egwene that he killed Laila. Egwene then channels for the second-ever time (the first being when she made Moiraine’s blue stone light up) and she and Perrin escape.

And there’s still plenty of time for two more death-related rituals. Kerene was one of the Aes Sedai who died when Logain’s followers attacked and her Warder, Stepin, returns her ring to the boiling pool of gold that they apparently make the Aes Sedai’s rings from (I actually wondered if it was going to be a self-immolation ritual).

Alanna has offered to bond Stepin and when Lan asks, Stepin says, “First you lose Moiraine and then you tell me how easy it is to jump from one woman to the next,” which is a nice bit of foreshadowing there.**

Then Stepin does end up committing suicide. Lan is on suicide watch and Stepin drugs him then leaves the room and disembowels himself. We end the episode on Stepin’s funeral.

And we still had time for scenery and emotion and the Whitecloaks to scrub Egwene clean before bringing her to Valda’s tent and for Valda to torture Perrin in a passage that was truly disturbing. All in 50 minutes.

Maybe Judkins et al. really will be able to do justice to the scope of the series.

A few questions remain. Does Moiraine know that the Mat and Rand are in Tar Valon (Nynaeve is at Stepin’s funeral, so there’s reason for Moiraine to know they’ve arrived)? Where are Egwene and Perrin? I mean, they could see the White Tower from where they were stopped by the Whitecloaks, and it sure looks to me like Egwene and Perrin escaped the same night as Stepin’s suicide. Granted, Valda sliced Perrin up pretty good, but the Whitecloak camp was still close to Tar Valon, I’d think. Did they manage to throw together a funeral for Stepin within hours of his death?

*Germane Amazon Link!

**In the books, at least, Moiraine knows that the bond between them will be broken and she also knows that this will happen before Nynaeve can become a full Aes Sedai and take Lan’s bond (because almost all married Aes Sedai are married to their warders). So she arranged for a sister named Myrelle, who is known for saving Warders from the death wish that comes with the end of the bond, to take Lan’s bond without consulting Lan first. I fully expect something like this to happen in the series.

Educated, by Tara Westover

Today’s randomly chosen book is Educated, by Tara Westover. I was going to flip through it to refresh my memory, but I can’t find it anywhere.

There are a lot of books that I can’t find. I’ve been messaging Alex to see if maybe he accidentally took them with him when he moved out, but I know there’s no way he has them. I texted Evelyn and Phoenix and neither have it. I must have books somewhere else in this house. Where, though?

Westover was raised in a strict Mormon family in Idaho and grew up helping her mother create herbal cures and her father at his scrapyard on their property. Since her father distrusted the public education system, her parents considered themselves homeschoolers. The schooling that Tara received was sporadic, at best.

After years of conflict and drama, her elder brother Tyler encourages her to take the ACT (a college entrance exam) and go to Brigham Young University. She gets a good enough score on the ACT to get into Brigham Young, but she feels that she doesn’t fit in.

Despite this, she finally rose above her upbringing and the neglect and abuse she suffered and earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge.

All in all, this is an excellent book and it deserves all of the praise it got.

I just wish I could find my copy.

Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton

Here’s the world’s shortest book blogger entry — my thoughts on a 16-page board book that I bought for Alex when he was a baby.

I love Hippos Go Berserk! I used to sit in the glider rocker with him when he was a baby, reading this to him and I can still recite big chunks of it from memory.

The plot, such as it is, is about, well, hippos. And counting. “One hippo, all alone, calls two hippos on the phone,” it starts. Our “one hippo” is having a party. We collect a total of 45 hippos in groups of, well, two, three, four, etc. Then in the morning, after the party, the hippos return home in groups of nine, eight, seven, etc.

And since it’s a Sandra Boynton book, the illustrations are friendly, lively, and full of details.

Gee, I love this book!

I leave you with Sandra Boynton and Yo-Yo Ma with special guest Weird Al Yankovic: Chanson Profonde

Content Creators: Safiya Nygaard

It’s always fun with these posts to try to figure out which was the first video/blog post/etc. that I saw from a specific creator.

I know the first time I ever saw Safiya Nygaard in a video at all. It was in the video where the Try Guys wore women’s pants for the day. Nygaard came on to talk about the history of women’s pockets and where they went once women changed from foofy dresses to pants.

Now, as for which of her own videos was first, I’m pretty sure it was when she bought counterfeit designer clothing in Hong Kong. I’m hardly a fashion maven or anything, but it sounded like a good time. And it was.

I’m stopping writing to rewatch in hopes of figuring out when I realized that Tyler wasn’t her cameraman but was, in fact, her fiance. I think it might have been when they talked about wearing a couples’ outfit.

I enjoyed that video so much (despite not recognizing half of the referenced brands), that I “sh-mashed that subscribe button” and then went through and watched all of her older videos.

One of the things she does is what she refers to as her “Franken” whatever videos. That’s when she takes as many of whatever as she can find and mixes them together. For example, she went to Sephora and bought every color of lipstick she could, then melted them together into one color of lipstick. The result, called “Berry Me in Lipsticks” in her collab with ColourPop is a nice, well, berry color. I have missed every time she has released the color, so finally I took a picture of it and went to HEB, where the makeup lady helped me pick out something very similar (L’Oreal’s Berry Parisienne). Evelyn, who is a fashion maven, approves, by the way.

Safiya and Tyler had a whole series of videos regarding their wedding, which happened in November 2019 (happy belated second anniversary, guys!) and then they disappeared for about a year. Part of it was COVID, but a lot of it was that having their family and friends visit for their wedding made it clear how lonely they were out in Los Angeles.

So, they moved across the country to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Safiya has returned to making videos. She and Tyler have also started a livestreaming channel where they try out kitchen gadgets, make strange food, and so on. They do their streams on Tuesdays at 5 pm Eastern time, and I’m at work then, so I’ve never actually caught one of their livestreams live.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, we’re starting Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series (though I’ve lost the third book and so I don’t know when I’ll finish it). In The Red Pyramid, Carter and Sadie Kane have been raised apart since their mother’s death. Their father picks Sadie up for their annual visit, and dies in an explosion at the British Museum. This leads to the siblings finally living together under the care of their uncle Amos. And that’s just the beginning.