In which I see a harlot

There aren’t a lot of famous knitters, or at least not a lot of people who are famous for knitting (yes, I am aware that any celebrity who has ever held a pair of needles has been photographed with said needles and plastered all over the Internet). So paying to go see a knitter is certainly not something that a lot of people do, and something that I probably never thought I would do. However, that’s precisely what Sara and I did over Thanksgiving weekend, when we went to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, otherwise known as The Yarn Harlot.

Technically I am in this picture!

Sara is an avid reader of her blog, and it turns out that she happened to be in Fort Wayne while we were there. I was a little skeptical at first, suspicious that I wouldn’t fit in, but actually it was a pretty good time and an excellent date night! I struggled mightily before hand to get my current knitting project into a shape where it could be seen by others. However, I did manage it, and it was pretty fun to sit and knit with a ballroom full of people. It was predictably female-dominated, but there were more than a few other men in the room (although some of them were not actually knitting). I’d say we represented.

The talk itself was more of an inspirational knitting speech about why knitting is great, why it should be more respected, and most importantly, why knitters should respect themselves and their crafts. It was funny and it was perfectly fine, however, I felt Mrs. Pearl-McPhee really shown during the Q&A section. The “Bacon Powder” story and the one about getting locked out of her hotel room were absolutely hysterical, and worth the price of admission.

If I’m being totally honest, I was more interested in her as a story teller and blogger than as a knitter. She definitely has a gift for storytelling (which is not as easy as it might sound!), and I think that is what sets her apart. A lot of people are excellent knitters, but not all of them are cut out to be Yarn Harlots. If I’m being totally, totally, TOTALLY honest, I think it would be pretty damn cool if I could stand in front of people some day and tell stories, even if they’re stories about dumb things I’ve done. And Stephanie made it seem possible. She’s just a regular person who started a blog about something she loves (and, you know, wrote 9 books). On the other hand, the travel schedule sounds pretty brutal, so I’m sure it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Anyway, I’m really glad that I went, and I got a LOT of knitting done over the weekend!

Fort Wayne, a rapper’s delight

Fort Wayne does not have a very good track record lately, being named one of the dumbest, fattest, and most artery clogged, cities in the United States, to say nothing of the infamous “Harry Baals” incident. However, there are some in the city who feel like perhaps they haven’t been portrayed fairly, or at least that being dumb, fat, and unhealthy aren’t all the city has to offer. For instance, there’s also rap.

I am reluctant to admit, it’s not actually that bad. Believe me, I was all set to hate on it.

I don’t know if it made me feel civic pride, per say, but it wasn’t as ridiculous, cheesy, and laughable as most of these things tend to be (I will refer you to “We Built Sioux City“). The music wasn’t even half bad.

My only problem is that I don’t recognize most of the “recognizable” places of Fort Wayne. Maybe I’m not the foremost expert on Fort Wayne, or maybe Fort Wayne just isn’t really that recognizable. I do appreciate the Tin Caps apparel and stadium, the downtown rooftop shots, and Coney Island, but the rest of the neighborhoods in the video just kind of look like neighborhoods. Granted, it has been a long time since I lived in Fort Wayne, but I was expecting something more iconic.

Hmm, what are the iconic places of Fort Wayne though? You have the fort, of course,

 and the Roller Dome,

maybe the zoo? But I guess none of that stuff is going to play very well in a rap video. I still think there are a few things that are maybe a little more urban, but would make a good background.

The “Endless Bread” sign,

Cindy’s Diner,

Or Headwaters Park.

Fort Wayne people, did you like the video? Were the landmarks recognizable to you? What other landmarks did they miss?

Link via Nathan.

Harry Baals Memorial Building looking like a long shot

Well folks, it looks like it’s not going to happen.

Fort Wayne’s new government center is NOT going to be named after one of the most prominent, important, and longest-tenured government officials the city has ever known. I’m speaking, of course, of 4 term mayor Harry Baals.

First off, don’t open your Internet poll to write-ins if you don’t intend to honor the winner. The Harry Baals Government Center has more than 3 times as many votes as its nearest competitor. And it’s not like people were writing in Superman or something, Harry Baals is a legitimate, historical, government figure in Fort Wayne. I think the city should have to honor the poll. The man died in office, can’t you give him one building?

City officials said the name is embarrassing, and they “probably” won’t use it. So you’re saying there’s a chance!

I like how it mentions his descendants changed the pronunciation of the name from “Balls” to “Bales”. They all got together and decided, “We must make sure nobody can ever name their kid Harry Baals again!”

Link via Nate “Bacon” Halbach.

Even Jimmy Kimmel weighed in on this important issue:

I am #2,465,143 on the Chain of Command

…And thus am at risk for assassination.

I thought I had blogged about this before, but I couldn’t find it.  There was a comment over on BaconBach about Fort Wayne being “on Hitlers list of cities to bomb during WWII.”

This is a particular pet peeve of mine, which goes to show you how many times I’ve heard such silliness.  First off, I’d imagine Hitler probably would have been happy to bomb any U.S. city, so maybe his list included every city in the entire country. The commentor doesn’t mention how far down the list Fort Wayne was. But, Hitler never bombed ANY U.S. city, so whether it was on the list or not is sort of irrelevant. What I’d really like to know is how this mysterious commenter got his hands on such an amazing piece of WWII memorabilia as a list of cities to bomb, scrawled in Hitler himself’s handwriting I’m sure.

I’ve heard this rumor about Fort Wayne before of course and, although I don’t doubt the psychological damage that could be inflicted on the U.S. by the destruction of the fighting Tin Caps or the military implications of Old Fort Wayne, when I questioned why it would be a target the best answer I ever got was that Raytheon has a location there.  Well guess what, by my unofficial count there are 114 Raytheon locations in the United States (as well as others in other countries).

The odd part is that everywhere I have ever lived, I have heard the same story. At Purdue they said it was due to a large ROTC program and a defunct nuclear reactor buried under the engineering campus (why would that even be a target, even if it wasn’t really just a particle accelerator?) In Philadelphia it was more based on the size of the city, it’s naval yards and the psychological blow that could be caused but blowing up the liberty bell and the nation’s first capitol. That last one actually has some merit. Assuming someone destroyed every military base, the 5 cities larger than Philly and Washington D.C. and the U.S. still hadn’t retaliated, I could imagine someone taking a shot at Philly. I haven’t specifically heard the same in Chicago, but I’m sure I will sooner or later.

So why does everybody spread this bit of urban legend? I think it’s because they want to feel important and because it is kind of like telling a ghost story; just enough danger to give you a thrill. Even the most cursory examination reveals how asinine the stories are though.

And even though Fort Wayne has the most self inflated image of its importance, let’s not forget that it lies in the state that lists a popcorn factory on it’s Terror Target List.

Hipsters

Wikipedia gives us a few definitions for a Hipster:

“The term became a blanket description for middle class young people associated with alternative culture, particularly alternative music, independent rock, independent film and a lifestyle revolving around thrift store shopping, eating organic, locally grown, vegetarian, and/or vegan food, drinking local beer (or even brewing their own), listening to public radio, riding fixed-gear bicycles…”

Alternately, Hipsters can be defined as young people with:

“… mop-top haircuts, swinging retro pocketbooks, talking on cell phones, smoking European cigarettes,… strutting in platform shoes with a biography of Che Guevara sticking out of their bags.”

And if you are interested in becoming a Hipster yourself, it only takes 5 easy steps. Finally, you can check out the Hipster Olympics:

Okay, so now that we are all on the same page as to what exactly a Hipster is, we can discuss the mystery that brought up Hipsters in the first place…where are the Hipsters in Fort Wayne? And more specifically, where do they eat breakfast?

Allow me to explain.  We had recently gone to a couple of really awesome breakfast places including Over Easy , a place in Philly, and another place in Grand Rapids whose names I can no longer remember (Sara and Anna? Can you comment?). These places were awesome and had really interesting unique items, for example basil omelets and blue berry pancakes with granola to make them crunchy, egg and bacon breakfast sandwiches on spicy focaccia bread, etc. I was sure that there must be a unique breakfast place in Fort Wayne with the same kind of vibe, but I didn’t know how to describe that exactly, other than to say that Hipsters would eat there.

After much discussion over the course of the weekend, we determined that not only were there no Hipster breakfast places in Fort Wayne, but the Hipsters seemed to be missing altogether. Chris was especially bothered by the fact that Grand Rapids had Hipsters and at least one Hipster breakfast spot, meaning that Hipsters are not confined to large cities. I even asked someone at the local health food store, and they didn’t know where to get a good Hipster breakfast.

So, Fort Wayne, where are your Hipsters? Are they there but hiding, longing for a breakfast spot? Do they leave and go else where? Is there anywhere to get breakfast that is a little more unique than your standard bacon / eggs / pancakes?

I should say for the record that we ended up getting breakfast at Flatop Grill, and it was really good. I didn’t know they had breakfast, but they do and in particular my toffee-butterscotch chip-almond pancakes were sooo good.