A Good Yarn

Saturday, September 29, 2007


As I mentioned last time, I finished up my Tomato:

Project Name: Tomato
Designer: Wendy Bernard
Pattern Source: No Sheep For You
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Cotton
Yarn Source: I can't really remember, but maybe Borealis
Date Started: 8/15/07
Date Completed: 9/23/07

Comments: This was a project I did for the last color grouping in this year's Project Spectrum. I started and finished it within the allotted time! I think this is the quickest I've ever knit a sweater for myself. This pattern was featured in the Interweave Knits Knitting Daily emails for a while, and I used the modifications Sandi talked about in KD. Specifically, I did darts in the bust area and divided the front and back at the bottom for side vents. I'm not sure I like the side vents, since I didn't add back in the extra stitches I decreased for the bust darts. Therefore, the front has fewer stitches than the back, so the side vents aren't really on the side. The darts definitely make the sweater more form fitting and so it's probably more flattering than having all that extra fabric, but it also really makes me look busty. I think it looks better when I have a necklace to draw the eye up a little like this self-portrait:

It's even warm enough these days that I can still wear it a time or two before I have to pack it away for winter. This yarn is one that Mission Falls discontinued for a little while, so I bought up all of the skeins of this purple in some store locally, I think Borealis. It's a nice and soft cotton, but I prefer a smooth mercerized like Cotton Classic.

I saw a couple of movies this weekend, on opposite ends of the spectrum. This one is one I loved:

What a powerful, amazing movie. It's directed by Sean Penn, who I love as an actor. He's always talking about how he wants to give up acting forever and just direct and I'm afraid with this film, he may decide to make that move for good. It's based on a novel by Jon Krakauer, a true story about Christopher McCandless. Chris graduates from college in 1990 and decides to give away all his money (he's from a wealthy family, so it's over $24,000) and hit the road. His goal is to end up in Alaska, just to live in the wilderness and commune with nature. The film goes back and forth between Chris in Alaska and his journey to get there. You may think by that description, that it's a beautiful, fun road movie and part of it is that, but it's so much more. The non-linear structure is wonderful, because you really build up a connection with Chris and things are revealed in a really effective way. At the beginning of the film I really was irritated with Chris and sort of wanted to slap him. But the more you watch the film, the more you learn about who he is, how he came to make these choices and what effect they have on him, his family and the people he meets along the way. It's really something special. Chris is played by a relatively new actor, Emile Hirsch. His performance is pretty amazing and I'll be pretty shocked if he isn't nominated for an Academy Award. He captures so many different layers of Chris - his selfishness, his naivete, his charisma and charm. He also makes a pretty significant transformation over the course of the film. There are loads of great supporting performances throughout the film, too. Sean Penn incorporates all kinds of camera tricks. Sometimes I thought it was a little too much trickery in that it took me out of the film and into the "filmmaking", if you know what I mean. But overall, it obviously worked because I was totally sucked in and believed everything, which is so crucial when filming a true story. All of the scenes were filmed on location, so you get a ton of gorgeous scenery of the southwest, South Dakota, Alaska. The soundtrack includes a number of haunting songs written and performed by Eddie Vedder, that are the perfect accompaniment for what's happening on screen. I can't recommend this film strongly enough, but make sure you're prepared for the emotional impact.

On the other hand, I hated this:

You've probably seen the previews, so you know this movie stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a big time pro football quarterback who suddenly finds out he has a young daughter. It is really awful. It was completely predictable. Everything that happens in the film is telegraphed far in advance and you'd have to have never seen a movie before in your life to not know what was going to happen next. And yet, as impossible as it seems, everything that happens is completely unrealistic. You know what's going to happen, but you also know that that would never happen in real life. I don't even want to say more than that, because it will just make me mad. I will say, however, that The Rock actually can act. He has tremendous charisma and even though the dialog was ridiculous, he kind of sold it. I am hoping he'll be able to work his way into better material than this in the future.

For the record, I didn't choose "The Game Plan." We were going to go mini-golfing at Lava Links in Pavilion Place mall, but they've closed down. So sad. We've had so much fun golfing the volcano there and playing air hockey. We'll really miss it. Since it was closed, we went across the street to the place responsible for closing it down, the huge AMC Theater at Rosedale Mall. Once that theater opened, the theaters at Pavilion Place closed and I guess once the theaters closed, there wasn't enough traffic into the mall to keep Lava Links open. On the plus side, Chipotle is scheduled to open next to the theater later this fall, so I finally have a Chipotle near my office!

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back Again

I had a little involuntary blogging break over the last week. My cable modem quit working so I was without internet until I got it replaced this week. It's amazing how something I lived without for 30 years is now such an integral part of my life. Needless to say, besides being behind in my own blogging, I'm behind in my blog reading. You people are very prolific! :-)

Last time I posted, I was going to the MN Music Fest. It was really fun! When I work the Irish Fair, I always work in the ticket/id booth, usually carding people and giving them the id wristbands. At the Music Fest, I was actually in a beer tent, serving beer. People only get ided once, but they come back for beer over and over, so I felt like I had all these friends coming to see me again! Some of them were funny, some would give me a hard time, some were just nice. I even made a couple of dollars in tips, which was nice, since the food smelled great and I was happy to take a break and have a bite to eat. I was at the beer tent next to the main stage, so I was able to hear and see Soul Asylum really well and we closed down before the show was done, so I was able to catch the end of the show "in the crowd". Dave Pirner seemed to be in great spirits and they sounded really good. They played a great mix of old favorites and a few songs off their latest album. I'm really glad I volunteered for this event and I think I'll do it again next year.

What else have I been up to? I saw this movie:

It was pretty funny. I'd say I liked it, but I didn't love it. It's co-written by Seth Rogen, who was the lead actor in "Knocked Up" and produced by the director of that movie, Judd Apatow. So, it has a very similar sensibility. It's about one day and night in the life of two guys who are best friends. They are graduating from high school in a couple of weeks and going to different colleges, so when they are invited to a party, they decide they better make the most of it. The plan is to get two girls that they have crushes on drunk so that they might agree to sleep with them. Yeah, we're not talking high levels of intellectualism in this film. It starts out very, very vulgar and gradually becomes more sweet and sincere, like the other Apatow films. I liked "Knocked Up" and "40 Year Old Virgin" better, but I still laughed hard in some parts and by the end I was really pulling for these guys.

Sunday of course was football day and the Vikings once again embarrassed themselves in losing to the Chiefs. Enough said about that. At least my fantasy football team won!

Last night I went to Talking Volumes at the Fitzgerald Theater. It's sort of a book club that is co-sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio, the Star Tribune newspaper and The Loft Literary Center. The author this time was Sherman Alexie, a Native American author who is also a poet and screenwriter. You may have seen a film he wrote a few years ago, Smoke Signals. He was there discussing his two latest books, one a Young Adult title called, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and the other a novel called "Flight". He was opinionated, funny and so intelligent and quick-witted. He certainly didn't stick to the topic for any length of time, going off on tangents about politics, race, writing and just about anything else you can think of. It was a highly interesting discussion and I'll definitely be picking up some of his books soon.

Speaking of books, I finished this one:

It's the third in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. If you read this series, I don't need to say more and if you don't read it, I don't want to ruin anything. I'll just say that if you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it. It is much loved and pretty much everyone who picks it up, grows to love it. It's hard to explain what the series is about and sound coherent. The main characters are Claire, a nurse just back from WWII who goes on a second honeymoon with her husband to Scotland and is suddenly transported back 200 years to 18th century Scotland. There she finds her true love, James Fraser. I know it sounds weird, with time travel and romance and historical fiction all rolled up together, but the books are really well written and you get so caught up in the lives of the characters. Especially Claire and Jamie, who are just about ideal. I enjoyed this third book, although there was some really, really weird voodoo stuff toward the end that felt a little out of place to me. Nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to the next episode in this series. The books are all really long and since I'm such a slow reader, it takes me a while to read them, so I won't be picking it up right away. I haven't read a nice mystery for a while, so I'm definitely going to pick up one of those next.

And speaking of WWII, I've been watching The War on PBS. If you haven't been watching, it's a Ken Burns documentary mini-series about WWII, sort of organized around the citizens of 4 towns in America. The Northern town he chose to highlight is Luverne, MN, a small town on the Southwestern border with Iowa and South Dakota, where I just happen to have come from. Both my mother and father graduated from Luverne High School and so both of grandparents lived in Rock County. My parents moved to Sioux Falls shortly after I was born, but until I got a job in 8th grade, I would spend pretty much all of my summers in between my grandparents homes, so I spent lots and lots of time in Luverne. It's been really fun to see the town and its people in such a well-done series. It really makes me miss my grandparents, though. I will have to call my surviving grandfather who now is living near my auntie in Wisconsin and see what he thinks of it. I'm sure he remembers the newspaper editorials they've been featuring in the series and all of the people being interviewed.

I've also been trying to catch some of the new fall shows. This year they seem to have returned to the old style of having a big "fall premiere week". Not every show is premiering this week, but the majority of them are. Last year they tried to spread it out over about 6 weeks. It's kind of nice to have new episodes of your old shows back again.

I've also been knitting a bit - I have one FO and two new projects I haven't posted about yet, but I'll save that for next time.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, September 21, 2007

Music Meme and more yarn

I started a new project, but I'm not very far into it, so I'm going to wait to post about it until I can post a nice picture. I finished the body of the Tomato sweater and I'm very happy with how it came out. I picked up around the neck for the neckband. I had 10 more stitches across the front than the pattern called for, so I decreased some of them in the first row. Hopefully that will draw it in and make it a little less revealing than it has been in my progress photos, without looking all gathered up and weird. Pictures of that after I finish the neckline. Second Pineapple sock has been started, but it looks exactly like the first, so that's boring. So, let's come clean on another yarn purchase. Some of us in one of my knitting groups decided to jump on the bandwagon and go in together on an order of Kauni yarn. It's gorgeous!

You can see some of the darker blue and red peeking through in the middle of the upright skeins. I think I'll make the standard Kauni cardigan, since I love the geometry of it. Those horizontal stripes and the boxy construction aren't going to be super flattering on me, but I still think it'll be a fun knit.

That's about it around here. I'm serving beer tonight at the Minnesota Music Festival. I'm volunteering on behalf of the Irish Faire. If you're there, stop by and say hi to me. One of my favorite bands, Soul Asylum, is playing. I'm hoping I might be able to catch the end of their set when I'm done.

Speaking of favorite bands, since I don't have a lot else, today, I thought I'd post this meme I got from Susan's site. Here's what you do: Copy this list; leave in the bands you’ve seen perform live; delete the ones you haven’t, and add new ones that you have seen until you reach 25. An asterisk means the previous person had it on their list. Two asterisks means the last two people who did this before you had that band on their list.

1. New Order* I saw them in 1989 with Public image Limited and the Sugarcubes with my brother. We were there mostly to see PiL, but I liked New Order pretty well. We left early during the Sugarcubes, show, though. I'm not a huge Bjork fan.

2. Sha Na Na* I can't remember where I saw them, but I remember it was outdoors. Like Susan, I have strong memories of Sha Na Na from my childhood.

3. Public Image Limited* See #1 above.

4. The Violent Femmes* They're from Wisconsin, so I've seen them a few different times - at outdoor festivals, at First Avenue, but my favorite was the time I saw them at Target Center in September, 2005. I posted about it here, so long time readers may remember. It was a fundraiser for Katrina victims that had been put together at the last minute. The Femmes were the headliners and Cowboy Mouth were also supposed to play, so Greg and I decided to go. Cowboy Mouth couldn't make it, so Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum stepped in. There were only a couple of hundred people at the show, so even though it was in this huge arena, it felt like a small, intimate show.

5. Bruce Springsteen - I've seen him a few times, alone and with the E Street Band. I think my favorite is the first time I saw him with the E Street band. They all just seemed so happy to be together and playing again. I had obstructed view seats behind the stage, but it was an open stage, so I could see everything perfectly well. It was November so he sang "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and threw candy canes into the crowd and I got one, which I still have. Bruce and the E Street Band are coming back this fall and I just got tickets this morning - can't wait!!

6. U2 - I'm a little bitter about U2 because on their last tour I just missed getting tickets because I was behind a scalper who was there with his wife and kids and each of them bought 8 tickets. Oh, I was so mad! But, I've seen a few different U2 shows and they're always entertaining and big.

7. Pearl Jam - I've seen them a few times. The first time I saw them was 9 years ago in 1998 at Target Center. I was kind of glad I didn't have fantastic seats because I loved the show and Eddie Vedder so much that I think if I had been close up, I might have quit my job and just followed them around for the rest of the tour.

8. Paul McCartney - I've seen Sir Paul twice now. The first time I just wanted to see him because he's the cute Beatle for goodness sake! I was absolutely blown away by the show, though. That man has written some amazing music. So even though he charges a ton for tickets, I jumped at the chance to see him again.

9. Paul Simon - Speaking of amazing songwriters, I've seen Paul Simon both alone and with Artie Garfunkel. I'm continually amazed at his way with words and the way he explores all facets of music.

10. Green Day - I don't know what took me so long to list Green Day. I've seen them a few times and every time it's fantastic. They rock hard, they care about the country and they're sexy. What else do you want?

11. Fleetwood Mac - I saw them once at the X. It was one of those things where my friend wanted to go, so I thought what the heck. I'm so glad I did. I forgot how much great music they made. And Lindsey Buckingham is one sexy man.

12. Soul Asylum - Duh. That's who I started this thing talking about. They're local, so of course I've seen them quite a few times. I can't help but get happy and sad whenever I hear them play. And even though Dave Pirner needs to brush his hair most of the time and usually looks like he could use a shower, he's always very sexy.

13. Sting - Speaking of sexy. Oh, boy. Most of the times I've seen him in concert, he's wearing a vest with no shirt underneath. Oh, those biceps. As you may recall, I also saw him with The Police.

14. Harry Connick, Jr. - Always charming, always sexy, always fascinating. His piano playing is marvelous, but I could just get lost in his voice.

15. The Smithereens - Some of you may not remember this group who never really hit it big. They had a few big hits in the 80s. I've seen them in concert quite a few times - they used to tour a lot in the 80s and 90s. I just love their music and they always put on a great show. I haven't seen them in a while, so I'd love to see them again.

16. David Bowie - I've seen him a couple of times. The first time was at Metrodome of all places. It was in 86 or 87, so he was still pretty big off of Let's Dance and Tonight. In high school I just worshipped him - in fact one of my senior pictures was me with a David Bowie poster. So shortly after I moved up here to the big city Bowie was in concert and I was thrilled. I saved up my money to go to the show - it was my first time in Metrodome. It was a big spectacle of a show and I loved it.

17. Counting Crows - I've seen them a few times too, and a lot of the time it just hasn't worked out well. Last time I mentioned that they played a weird mix of songs. The time before that was at the Basilica Block Party and it was so crowded, I was just very unhappy about being pushed and shoved. I'm still a huge fan of their music, though and I'll probably pick up the new album.

18. R.E.M. - Another band I always look forward to seeing. They always play a good mix of stuff from throughout their career. The most memorable time I saw them was at Midway Stadium, where our minor league baseball team plays. At the very end of the show, it started raining a torrential downpour. I was so wet by the time we got to the car. It was all worth it, though. The next time they were in town, they mentioned it, so it was memorable for them, too.

19. Tom Petty - I've seen him a couple of times, now, I think only at the X. I wasn't a big fan when he was really popular, but I dated a guy who loved him and you know how you sort of start to catch on to things when you're dating someone? I went to see him the first time because my friend is a big fan and it was such a great show, I'll always make an effort to see him if he's in town.

20. Bonnie Raitt - She's one of the coolest women on the planet. Just love her shows. She usually plays my favorite of her songs, You Can't Make Me Love You" toward the end of her shows. One time we saw her at the fair and this woman next to me took a cell phone call just as Bonnie starts this song. She sings it with so much soul your heart just breaks - I couldn't believe this idiotic woman could talk on the cell during something like that. Good thing I'm not a violent person.

21. Prince - Even though he's the Godfather of Minnesota Music and I love him, I've only seen him once. It was a fantastic show at the X - he played all his old music, some great newer stuff, awesome show.

22. Lyle Lovett - I've seen him a couple of times and it seems like we've had some really good seats for his shows. He's always so dry and funny and his songs are great. My favorite show was probably that show at the State Fair with Bonnie Raitt that I was just talking about.

23. Robert Randolph & The Family Band - I saw these guys opening for Eric Clapton at the X. I'm listing them instead of Clapton because Clapton was ok, but RR was AMAZING. Such an amazing musician, fantastic energy. I would love to see them again.

24. Bob Schneider - Bob is a musician from Texas. He plays sort of straight forward rock n roll, with really smart and funny lyrics. He's pretty good looking and he puts on a good show. I've seen him a few times - I like the vibe of his outdoors summer shows the best. He's been playing at The Fine Line most of the time he's been in town lately and I'm not that fond of that place.

25. Cowboy Mouth - And of course, I had to save the best for last. My favorite live band. I've seen them probably about 6 or 8 times now and every single show is so much fun. The music is great, the band is awesome. I'm hoping they'll play another outdoor free event again so that I can convince some of y'all to come out and see them.

So, that's my 25. There are a bunch more that I've seen once, but I tried to pick shows that I liked so much I'd come back again and again. Just for fun, do the meme yourself and then let me know, so I can see how much overlap we have!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Half Done in Time

The summer of socks is drawing to a close this week and I got one more of my last pair done before it is over:

I do like how it came out and now I think I'll probably keep them after all. Here's the side view:

It's hard to capture red correctly in pictures, and by extension purple, but you get the idea. I really like the subtle color changes. I made the leg 1" shorter than the pattern called for, but I wish I hadn't. As you can see from the side picture, the heel isn't a heel flap type, so it's shallow. I didn't realize that when I started it (because I'm a complete idiot), so I didn't realize how short the legs would be . I like my socks to fall below where my calf starts, but above the ankle - usually about 2" or so above the ankle bone. This sock is more like a true anklet.

I also got my monthly sock club selections. It's the last month of Project Spectrum, so I got the last Project Spectrum Sock Club selection from Sweet Sheep:

I know it's been all purple projects on this blog, but the PS colors for August and September also included brown and orange. This one is called "Milk Chocolate", but for some reason it just screams rootbeer to me.

I also got my Amazing Threads selection for this month and absolutely love it!

This is more of what I was expecting when I joined the club. It's Dream in Color Smooshy in the Cobalt Diablo colorway. It looks more purple in person than it does in that picture, but again, I can't seem to capture red/purple with my camera. This is indeed a smooshy, soft, lovely yarn. Wendy Johnson posted that Smooshy is her favorite sock yarn a few weeks back, which inspired me to buy something very similar to this:

This color is called Visual Purple. It is more purple, but it's very similar to the AT selection. I actually think I like the Cobalt Diablo better. I think I have more purple socks in my future!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend Update

Nothing all that exciting happened this weekend. I had one of my knitting groups on Saturday and almost finished that purple sock. Turns out that it fits just fine - close, but not uncomfortable. I still may not keep it though, because I don't like wearing lacy socks. But I'll definitely finish the pair.

Sunday was of course football Sunday. First I had to do a home visit. Then my brother, nephew and my brother's buddy and I went to a local watering hole to watch the game. What a huge disappointment. I have a feeling this is going to be a long season. Then I went home and watched the Emmys. Not a lot of surprises there. I figured The Sopranos were guaranteed to win for their last season. I thought Ugly Betty might win Best Comedy, but I'm not shocked 30 Rock won. I just don't enjoy that show. I love Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey, but the rest of the cast just isn't that funny. The best moment of the night was when Ricky Gervais won Best Actor in a Comedy and since he wasn't there Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert gave the award to Steve Carell (who is playing an American version of a character created by Ricky Gervais, it's all so connected!) because they all used to work together on The Daily Show. Seeing three men jumping and hugging like teenage girls is hilarious!

So, some knitting went on too. I'm almost done with my Tomato:

The darts turned out really well. I'm so glad that I decided to put them in there. Now I think I'll also add the side vents, so I need to figure out how I want to do it. I think I'm going to stick with ribbing for the bottom, sleeves and neckline, because I want to pull in that neckline a little. So I need to do something to keep the sides of the side vents from rolling too much. Or maybe I just won't make them that long. Hmmmmmmmm.....

I don't think I've posted pictures of my Harry Potter ornaments, either:

Christmas present for my nephew, Michael. Harry, Ron, Fred and George sweaters. The little gold balls are Golden Snitches. I need to pick up a little table top tree and figure out how many more ornaments I need. Maybe one of each is enough.

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thank you!!

The theme of the current round of the Special Swap was a picnic. For some reason, it seems like a lot of us had a harder time coming up with a good selection for this theme, but my partner, Kim, was brilliant! She added a honey/bees theme to the picnic theme and look at the great package she sent me:

From the left, in the back, you can see a beautiful sunflower card. In front of that is some Tupelo honey - yum!! As soon as I finish this post, I'm making some toast to try some of that honey. Next to that is "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. I like the idea of including a good book in the package. The book is on top of the hottest pattern around right now, the Bee Fields shawl by Anne Hanson. It's so pretty and I've definitely been contemplating this knitalong. Next to the book is a set of stone stitch markers called "Little Bit O Honey". Next to that, starting in the front, a lip balm from Burt's Bees, a honey body butter and in the back, a very nice bottle of wine (Kim and I were totally on the same wavelength that you really need to have a nice bottle of wine to make it a decent picnic!) At the right end is a skein of Kim's merino laceweight yarn in a color called "Tupelo Honey" so that I can knit up that Bee Field shawl! It's so soft and lovely - perfect!! Thank you so much, Kim. Once again, it was a great pleasure being your partner.

I saw a couple of movies this week, both of which I'd recommend. First I attended a preview showing of this:

The film is about Marla Olmstead, a 4 year old girl who became the toast of the art world for her abstract paintings. The filmmaker began making a film about Marla and the nature of abstract art. If a 4 year old can create these amazing works, what does it say about abstract art? And what makes a great abstract painting great? But a few months into filming the documentary, 60 Minutes did a story about Marla which questioned whether she really created the paintings, or whether she was helped by her father, himself an amateur painter. The questions arose because no one had really seen Marla create a painting from start to finish. 60 Minutes got permission from the family to install a hidden camera in their basement and have Marla paint a painting down there for the camera. The footage shows her dad coaching her on what colors to use and the painting she did for the camera seems much less accomplished than the rest of her paintings. So the filmmaker sort of starts to insert himself and his own doubts into the film and it becomes not only about the nature of art, but also about the media and storytelling in general, whether through painting, documentary or journalism. It's a fascinating story and the film is really well-done. Besides those big meaty issues, you also have the parenting issues, the draw of fame, the question of art vs. artist - is a painting just as beautiful and worthwhile if it's painted by a 35 year old man or a 4 year old girl?, the value of art. So many questions. This is the perfect movie to go to and then sit around with some friends afterward to discuss. The director was at the screening and answered some questions and it seemed pretty apparent that the audience was divided on the issue of whether Marla was the artist behind the paintings or whether she was being exploited by her father. Everyone agreed that it was a really good film, though, so I highly recommend it. The official release date is in early October, so look for it in an arthouse theather near you in a couple of weeks.

The other film I saw is a little more mainstream:

This one is probably familiar to you, but I'll give a quick overview. Russell Crowe plays Ben Wade, an infamous train robber in the post-Civil War west. After a train robbery, he lingers with a lady friend a bit too long and is captured. The Pinkerton guard and bank employee recruit help to transport Ben Wade to a neighboring town so he can be put on a train to be tried in Yuma. Christian Bale plays Dan Evans, a hard on his luck cattle rancher who desperately needs the reward money to save his land, so he volunteers for the "posse". Ben Wade is the leader of a violent gang who are guaranteed to try to rescue him, so the trip is dangerous. Both Crowe and Bale are masterful actors and their talent is on full display in this film. The film is based on an Elmore Leonard short story. If your familiar with Leonard's work, you know that Ben Wade is a villain who is very attractive. He's charming and smart and Russell Crowe displays both characteristics easily. Dan Evans is a bit of loser - his oldest son has lost respect for him and his wife can barely look at him. Bale's performance very subtly shows his decent core, his immense self-doubts and his determination. The interplay between the two leads is always fascinating to watch. There are a number of other really great supporting performances, too, especially Ben Foster from Six Feet Under as Ben Wade's right hand man, Charlie Prince. Every time he's on screen, he almost steals the show, but not in a distracting or annoying way. I wouldn't be surprised to see several Oscar nominations from this film. I would say that whether you love or hate this movie may depend on your reactions to its ending. I won't give anything away, but I will say it worked for me. On the surface, it seemed improbable (and some things like Bale's character, who has lost a leg in the Civil War jumping from roof to roof, are pretty improbable) but as I thought about it, I thought the choices the characters made were set up well earlier in the film and did seem completely within character. As a Western, the film of course is beautifully shot. The red rocks and canyons are gorgeous. There is definitely violence - people are regularly shot and killed throughout the film. But I didn't think it was overly bloody or hard to watch. I think if you enjoy a good story and amazing acting, this one is worth checking out.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Democracy and Knitting

Tuesday I spent the day as an Election Judge. I'll bet most of you here in Minnesota didn't even know there was voting this week. It was the primary election, so not every city and not even every ward in St. Paul had enough candidates to hold a primary. For those that did, turn out was extremely low. In the precinct that I worked, only about 8.5% of the registered voters showed up. Of course, there was just one race to vote in, so not everyone thought it was worth the trip to the polls. Since the turnout was so low, I had plenty of time to knit. I had started a new sock on Monday night and I finished the leg and got through the heel on Tuesday:

These are my purple socks for the last Project Spectrum go around. Also Summer of Socks socks, even though it doesn't feel like summer any more. I don't think I'll be able to finish them by the end of September, but who knows. The yarn is Jojoland and I love it. It's as dark as night in my house right now because we're having a little hailstorm, so the photography conditions aren't perfect. But it is a lovely yarn with very subtle variegation. The pattern is a Jojoland leaflet, Pineapple. I'm not crazy about it - it's called Bramble Stitch - it's a textured stitch that is a little bit lacy. I put it on a string last night and tried it on and it's really tight on my legs, so these will probably be donated or maybe I'll see if they fit my sister.

I did finish my last pair of socks:

Bad lighting again, since I took the picture inside. Sorry :-(

Project Name: Drops Socks with Cable Pattern
Pattern Source: Garnstudio
Yarn: Sweet Socks
Yarn Source: The Sweet Sheep
Date Started: 7/4/07
Date Completed: 9/5/07

Comments: These socks were knit as part of several knitalongs: Project Spectrum, Summer of Socks, and the Sweet Sheep Knitalong. I followed the pattern as written except for making the legs a little shorter, as is my preference. I used the Sweet Socks yarn that I got in the Project Spectrum Sock Club from Sweet Sheep. It's the Vampire colorway, but it wasn't quite as dark as I wanted, so my very kind friend over-dyed them a darker, beautiful red. I love how they came out. They fit really well, even though they look small when they're off my feet. I have quite a bit of yarn leftover, enough for a third sock or a pair of children's socks.

Labels: ,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend Update

Ahhh, fall has begun. It was still really hot and humid last week, but towards the end of the week, the temperatures started falling and now it's a brisk 61 degrees mid-day. I love it! Except that I caught a bit of a cold, so I was just miserable with sneezing and body aches yesterday.

I spent most of Friday and Saturday at the Mall of America for Archiver's annual Scrapfest. I took three classes and spent the rest of my time there on the free make and takes. Every year this event gets bigger and bigger, so the lines for the make and takes were so long. Friday I ran out of the house because I had an early class, so I was a bit unprepared. Luckily I met a very nice woman in one of the early lines and we started chatting and hit it off, so we just hung around together the rest of the day. Saturday I was smart enough to bring a tote bag and a bit of knitting. I finished up another bib, that I had started at the Irish Fair last month:

The Scrapfest was lots of fun and I do enjoy papercraft a lot, but knitting is definitely my first love. Here are some of the make and takes I made over the weekend:

As you can see, there was a frame, a scrapbook page, a trick or treat bag, some cards and some litle picture books. I took one card class and two scrapbook classes. I wasn't able to finish my scrapbook projects in class, so I'll have some fun things to work on when I get around to it.

Friday night, I went out to see my favorite band to watch live:

Cowboy Mouth! I've mentioned on this blog many times before how much fun it is to go to a Cowboy Mouth show, but let me say it again. This is a fantastic band to see live. They play pretty much straight up rock. They are incredibly upbeat and the hallmark of their shows is their interaction with the audience. And not in a dumb or annoying way. I challenge anyone who sees them to leave without a smile on their face. There were a couple of new people in the band, but they still didn't disappoint. I was dead tired when I arrived, but left feeling happy and energized.

Sunday was of course Game Day!

Oh my gosh!! How much do I love Adrian Peterson? He's so fast and so strong, it's just a pleasure watching him carry the ball. And his beautiful touchdown? We havne't seen that kind of excitement in quite a while. Even though I was sneezing and blowing my nose every other minute, it was a really fun day. I can't wait for more!
I joined the Football along (link on the sidebar), so I'm looking forward to a little knitting and watching football next Sunday when the Vikings travel to Detroit.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Last week I was nominated for three bloggie awards on the same day. How exciting!!

Knittymama nominated me for the Nice Matters and Power of Schmooze awards.

The Nice Matters Award was started by Bella Enchanted and is explained thusly:

This award will be awarded to those that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!

Awww, that's exactly what I try to be, so I'm really honored by the nomination from Knittymama. The other award is similar, and a big part of being nice, I think:

It is given to reward bloggers who not only blog but also participate in a conversation with other bloggers, creating new communities.

That's the main reason that I blog - to be part of this great community of people who share at least one of my passions.

I was also nominated by Ms. Labradorable for the Rockin' Girl Blogger award.

Thank you both for the nominations - I am tickled!!! Both of you were well deserving of the awards originally - you're both amazing knitters, interesting bloggers and supportive, kind human beings. I am lucky to be part of this blogging community that is chock full of people who also fit those descriptions, so it's hard to pass on the nominations. I was really excited to get the awards and to pass them along, until I had to sit down and do the nominations. There are too many good choices!!!

A lot of people have already won the Rockin' Girl Blogger award, so I'm going to try to nominate people who haven't already gotten it, just to limit my choices. For instance, Chaos' mom is commenter and blog community member extraordinaire - she always has great advice and a kind word not only for me but I see her comments all over blogland. But she's been nominated already, so I'm not doing it again! :-) So, I came up with a list and looked on people's blogs to see if they aleady had the award on there.

You're supposed to nominate 7 other bloggers, so, here are my nominations:

Furballs - Knitting and yarn buying partner in crime. If I need someone to convince me I really do deserve that skein of cashmere, this is where to turn.

Cashmere Dreams - Another enabler extraordinaire. She's always tempting me into picking up the nicest, most beautiful yarns around. She's generous with her extensive knitting knowledge and offers of a little dog cuddle time until I get my next furbaby, too!

Chicken-Knits - My first Swap partner. I got hooked on swaps after such a wonderful experience. No one was easier to buy for because we're so similar! And all these years later, I'm still enjoying her supportive and kind friendship.

I Was Knit Together in my Mother's Womb - Speaking of swaps, she's created an amazing, talented, generous community with the Special Swap group. Every knitter I've met through the swaps has been incredible and I am so happy to be part of that group.

Froggie Meanie - I'm trying not to use names because I'm not sure if everyone uses their name on their blogs, but I have to with Ms. Froggie Meanie. I found Renee pretty early in my blogging life and was so excited to find someone with my name! And it was meant to be, because she's been so fun to get to know and created one of my all time favorite gifts - my Wallace & Gromit stitch markers. So creative this girl is!!

K3Tog - Since this is a shared blog, I'll also single out Jeanne by name. Blue-ribbon sock knitter, amazing yarn-dyer and supportive friend. She also introduced me to one of the best bakeries in the State of Minnesota, so for that alone, she deserves an award!

Wound Too Tight - One of the nicest, most enthusiastic, most fun people to be around. She's taken her blogging to a new level this summer and I for one have loved it!!

So, there you have it. My list of nominees. I could have easily nominated another 20 - 30 bloggers who have supported me through difficult times, like when my doggies died, or cheered me on through boring projects or just helped me feel a little less isolated and lonely. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and leaves a comment and for everyone whose blogs I read and enjoy and feel like I've made a connection with.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Weekend Update

I know I say this all the time, but I'm continually amazed by how fast time is whizzing by. The past week looked to be nice and relaxed and turned very very busy. A lot of it was work related, but I had a lot of fun, too. I saw this awesome movie:

One of my favorite movies of the year! It's a documentary about two men competing for the champion high score in the arcade video game "Donkey Kong". The reigning champion is Billy Mitchell. He set the high mark back in the mid-80s and is part of the gaming establishment. He was named "Gamer of the Century" in 1999. The challenger is Steve Wiebe, a hard luck guy who gets laid off and decides to pass the time by trying to beat the "Donkey Kong" high score. You may be thinking, "Gee, that sounds really stupid and boring, I don't think I'd waste my time on that movie." Well, like all really good documentaries, this one goes beyond the subject matter of the film. Sure, if you spent some time at the arcade or the roller rink playing videogames in the 80s, you may be nostalgic about the competition. But this film is hardly about the game itself at all. It's about the nature of competition itself, about how we define ourselves, how we find a passion in life pursue it, forming a community and becoming in part defined by it. These guys are Gamers, they don't just play games. Sound familiar? I'm a knitter, I don't just knit. I absolutely love seeing people passionate about something. I also got completely caught up in competition and cared really deeply about these people and what was happening. I felt the same elation and indignation during some of the tournament scenes that I do when I watch the Vikings play, which you know I'm plenty passionate about. Give this film a watch if you care about people, about passions and love competition, even if you don't give a lick about videogames.

Speaking of passion and competition, Thursday night I went to the last Vikings pre-season game. Normally I don't go to the pre-season games because there isn't much passion and competition. The best players either don't play or see limited time. The game plans are very simple and limited. It's just boring. But I'm not alone - the market was flooded with tickets and Greg didn't want to go either, so I took Bill's step-son, Ben. And we stayed until every second had ticked off that clock. It was really fun to see the game through Ben's eyes. He's become really obsessed about sports and especially football over the last year. This year is his first year playing, so now he's really excited, seeing it from another angle. Neither Bill or Beth are that into football, so it's something that Ben and I talk about all the time and it was his first time going to an NFL game. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to share that with him. I also had my fantasy football draft this weekend, so I'm all geeked up about football starting for real, now!

Saturday night I saw The Counting Crows at Midway Stadium. It was a gorgeous late summer night, so it was really fun to sit outside and enjoy some live music. I'd say the concert itself was a mixed bag. I've seen Counting Crows in concert a few times and this show was really different. They didn't play many of their older, established songs. Half of the show were songs from their forthcoming album. I tend to like to listen to a new album a few times before I see the songs performed live, just so I have some familiarity. Some of the new songs immediately worked for me, some didn't. Maybe I'll like them better after I've heard them a few times. This was the last show of their tour and the lead singer, Adam Duritz, seemed to be in a very contemplative mood.

Labor Day was a nice, relaxing day for me. I met a friend for brunch at Highland Cafe & Bakery in the old Village Bistro spot in Highland Park. The baked goods are incredible! We shared a caramel roll that was pretty much perfect. I had a Monte Cristo sandwich - the bread was homemade, thick, rich slices. The cafe is definitely worth checking out if you're in the area. I hope it does better than the other restaurants that have been in that space.

I also did some knitting over the last week, but I'll save that for another post.

Labels: , , ,