Losing Respect for the Olympic Committee

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For years, the Olympics has been a gathering of people all around the world, celebrating their crafts in the sports community through friendly competition. It dates back to ancient Greece and the various areas in Greece, but now is a way of globally extending the hand of friendship from country to country. Numerous sports are places for friendly competition in both the summer and winter Olympic games and the world rallies to support their countries as everyone competes. It is a place for friendship, celebration, and acknowledging the work that people put into their craft.

However, as time goes on, it feels as though the Olympic Committee is forgetting what the Olympics is supposed to be about.

Through out the internet are various locations in which people from around the world come together and interact with each other. Most notably are the social networks of Facebook and MySpace. However, various other social networks have cropped up as well. There are networks for those the Ren Faire community, Sports communities, crafting communities, media groups, etc. You name it, it exists. Including an ever popular social network known as Ravelry.

Ravelry is an online community for those who knit and crochet. It is a place for people to come together and organize their stash in an easy to understand way. It gives a place to celebrate finished projects and keep track of ongoing projects. It allows members to look up patterns in their vast library of patterns and start the projects themselves, even providing a way to pay for the pattern if it is one that needs to be bought (and ravelry does not make money off the sale, it goes directly to the pattern owner). On top of this, there are numerous forums and groups in which people can interact with each other. They can share questions and tips about their craft or talk everyday life and just get to know each other.

You may have noticed that even I have linked to the site on my page here. I am a huge fan of the community. I am a member of 8 groups on the site. I use it to keep track of the 43 skeins of yarn I have, the current projects I am working on, and to find patterns for new projects. It has encouraged me to better my skills in my craft and provided me with a great supportive community as well.

Every two years, during the Olympic games, Ravelry holds the Ravelympics. It is a time when the knitters of this community (from around the world) gather together and knit as a group to celebrate our craft and knit. There are even some prizes for those that start and complete projects during the games. All the while watching the actual Olympics and celebrating the crafts of those competing in the games.

Actual Olympics – People from around the world coming together to celebrate their craft (in this case, athleticism and sports) through friendly competition.

Ravelympics – People from around the world coming together to celebrate their craft (in this case, knitting and crocheting) through friendly competition.

They sound pretty much the same to me and both seem to celebrate the spirit of what the Olympics actually are. Not to mention, the number of people on the site who actually do crafts related to the actual Olympic games in honor of their competing country or favorite sport or what have you.

Despite their similarities and despite how this crafting community has decided to celebrate the Olympics, the USOC has sent Ravelry a cease and desist order. In their letter to the site owners, they claim that “We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

How does knitting a project fail to recognize or appreciate the hard work of the athlete?

I am an athlete. I have my black belt in Tang Soo Do. I am working on becoming a stronger runner and fighter. I shoot archery on a regular basis. I ski. I snowboard. I know just how much work goes into sports and just how much dedication is needed. I know for a fact that my skills are no where near Olympic worthy, but I never have once doubted the amount of work that Olympians put into their craft and I am always impressed by the work they do.

That being said, I am also a knitter, a sewer, and an amateur costumer. I have made numerous knitting projects (of which, 23 have been posted to Ravelry since I became a member just over a year ago). I have made many sewing projects, including full Renaissance outfits and corsets. I am regularly helping friends design and create costumes. Again, while I am far from the best, I know how much work goes into my craft and am constantly impressed by the works of those who craft for a living.

If anything knowing the meticulous work that I put into both my sports gives me the determination to not give up on my crafting as well as the persevearance to know that sometimes good things take a long time to develop. The work I put into my crafting reminds me that every little detail counts and something as simple as the angle of my block in a martial arts form could mean the difference between winning or losing in my division.

So, how does my knitting during the Olympics (especially if I chose to knit something that is Olympic themed) disrespect the athletes and fails to recognize their hard work? If anything, my knowledge of crafting has given me a stronger appreciation for the dedication of the Olympians that are competing and the future Olympians who are training for their chance at the gold medal.

It seems to me that the USOC has lost all site on what the Olympic games mean. This petty act has definitely cause the USOC to lose any ounce of respect that I may have had for them, because that is all their actions show: Petty, Egotistical, Elitest, and Judgemental people who are not respectful of the work of any craft other than sports. Seems to me that those who run the Olympics need a crash course in what it means to be an Olympian.

LARP Weaponry

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When it comes to LARPing, many people recognize that part of it involves combat. Sterotypically, you end up with the poorly made boffers. These are created from pvc pipe, pool noodles, and duct tape and rarely get more creative then just a sword. You all know the type that I am talking about.

These are some of the most commonly seen boffer weapons around. You have the basic sword. It is easy to make and since most LARPs are fantasy anyway, everyone has a sword to begin with. Besides, they are all nerds to begin with, so why does it really matter if they have anything more complex than that. It’s not like they have the money for it. They all live in their parent’s basements anyway.

Okay, sarcasm aside, using even the simple method of pipe, foam, and duct tape, there is actually quite a bit that you can do. In my own game alone, using this standard method, we have everything from very complex swords, axes, shovels, guitars (yes, we have two characters who fight with electric guitars), chainsaws, etc. There isĀ  a huge variety in the kinds of weapons that you can build from this method. It helps that there are far more colors of duct tape than the commonly known silver. You have red, green, blue, pink, brown, white, silver, grey, zebra print, camo, peace signs, etc. There is such a wide variety of duct tape that you are limited to only what you’re mind can think of. Not to mention that you can use a soft open cell foam for variety. Even my own boffer creating experience (which is limited) has more variety than this due to the axe that I created.

However, then there are those who realize that creating the boffer with duct tape and foam can only reach a certain level of realism before it is stopped by the fact that it is still created out of duct tape. So, then you have those that go to websites like Dark Knight Armoury to buy weapons made with foam and latex. Not gonna lie, some of these are really cool and I do have some (specifically a staff called Rajin, the Magic Staff made by Calimacil). But they get expensive. Some run up to $100 plus for a single weapon. Right now, I don’t have that kind of money.

However, it isn’t that hard to make them. My boyfriend and I actually started making one last night. Little bit of foam. Some stuff called Plasti-dip. I can’t wait to finish it because it is looking awesome! Too bad I don’t have pics of any good latex weapons nor any pics of the weapon I started building last night. However, I will post pics when it is finished. But wow is it awesome!

Wedding Gifts

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Is it just me, or is it incredibly difficult to figure out what to do as a wedding gift?

My boyfriend and I were just invited to the second wedding among our circle of friends. Each time, we have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do as a wedding gift. We have scoured the internet and the advice we find is not always helpful or fun to read.

How much should the gift cost? Internet says somewhere around $100. My mom says enough to cover what they paid for to have you as a guest. $100 is something my boyfriend and I cannot afford. Between the two of us he works a part time job and that’s it. I teach a piano lesson once a week, usually. In other words. We don’t have that kind of money. We just don’t. As for what my mom says, it makes sense. I actually like that idea. But on the other hand, how do we figure out that number? Outright asking seems rude and unnecessary, but guessing could make my gift completely unreasonable.

Then a lot of things say “Get his/her items.” Personally? I don’t like his/her items. I also refuse to get something for someone that I wouldn’t use myself. Unless I am 100% certain it is what they want, I think it is a horrible idea.

A lot of places say “Get items for them to use in their new home.” That makes a lot of sense, but so many things for the home are so expensive. Again, I don’t have that kind of money.

So, what do I do?

The first wedding we went to, we bought them a stained glass window hanging. It was simple and it had the celtic three pointed knot. The two of them love this knot and have it everywhere in their home. Luckily, they liked the item a lot. Then again, they were easy.

My upcoming friends and their wedding is a lot more tough. Though my current idea seems to be one that a few people have felt was an excellent idea. A hand knit afghan. Firstly, the bride is someone who loves fiber crafts. She knits. She sews. She even spins her own yarn. So, on that front, she’d love it. Not to mention the fact that I usually go to her when I have knitting questions and she helps me through my knitting difficulties. So, that is a great idea for her. I don’t know so much about him. But it would fit the “Get an item for the home” thing since many people have Afghans on their couches or love seats or what have you. Plus, it sort of fits the his/her thing because they can share it as they watch tv or cuddle in the evening together. So, on that hand, it seems to be a good idea.

Plus, a few other friends who I have run it by said it would be a good gift because of the amount of love and work that goes into making one. So, having a few other couples agree that it is a good gift, made me feel a lot better. So, now I just have to pick out a pattern and get to work.

Though, I must say, I really wish that weddings were so much easier to prepare for. And right now, I’m just the guest. Dear lord, what will my own wedding prep be like!