29 Feb

Today’s thrift store finds

Jason and I visited Goodwill yesterday to browse for interesting stuff. I found a bag of vintage thread; the green ones are pictured here, but there were a lot more. Almost all of them have old fashioned wooden spools, and many are unused. Some are silk thread, but most are cotton.

I suppose that cutting down trees to make spools is not ideal, but on the other hand, it’s a lot more sound than using petroleum to make plastic ones that will never degrade. And these wooden ones seemed to have more reuse potential, too. When I was very young, my mom had some thread on wooden spools (I don’t know if it was already old even then), but ever since then all I have seen for sale is plastic. These are much nicer. Maybe bamboo could be used for spools somehow, which would be even more environmentally sound, and quite nice-looking too.

I also found some tiki mugs, a dashboard hula girl, a (faux-)vintage tin sign, and a couple of nice salwar kameez suits I am planning to resell since they don’t really fit me but are pretty nice.

Jason got a Casio SK-5 sampling keyboard, one of those late ’80s toy keyboards. I had an SK-1 myself. I got it for Christmas in 1986. They are a lot of fun to goof around with.

21 Dec

PEACP unto all

I was walking down the aisle at Target the other day when I saw this set of Christmas stocking hangers. At first glance, I thought that they were just rearranged by a prankster, but if you look closely, you can see that all the letters are attached to the box by plastic zip ties. I checked, and all of them were quite firmly attached. If there is a prankster, he or she managed to replace the zip ties and fasten that P in there firmly.

Or maybe this is another case of poor quality control.

15 Oct

Where have I been lately? takes an unexpected turn

Just a quick note. I didn’t get around to posting the rest of the European trip stuff yet, because I had an oh-so-exciting trip to the emergency room instead. This was followed by a fascinating guided tour of an operating room, a brief sojourn in a recovery room, and a restful time in a hospital room with a lovely view of the TV towers on Seattle’s First Hill. This place was called “Swedish”, but looked nothing like IKEA. And I didn’t get Swedish pancakes and lingonberry sauce either. But they got my appendix. Bye appendix. We had some great times together.

If necessary, I blame this post on the post-op pain meds.

30 Aug

Now you know why it only costs $3.99

I saw this Halloween decoration on sale at Jo-Ann Crafts in Renton, WA the other day. “Trick or Treak”? The least they could do was have a native English-speaker look over the stuff at some point before the product got sent out to all the stores. They probably made thousands of these cheap, crappy, ugly, and misspelled halloween decorations.

Is “treak” some reference I’m unfamiliar with? Or intended to be some mixture of “trick” and “freak”? (Or “tweak”? Is Dracula a tweaker? It might explain the bug eyes.) I don’t think so. I think this is what happens when a company is so cheap that no one gets paid to do any quality control.

(Sorry the photo’s got some blur. It was a camera phone pic.)

03 May

Sherman wants a belly rub

Sherman likes belly rubs. But he reacts differently when Jason or I rub his belly. When I do it, he purrs and rolls around and is generally all lovey and sweet. When Jason does it, he grabs his hand and starts to chew on it and attack it (playfully, not hostilely).

My theory is that he thinks I’m his mom. And he thinks Jason is a fellow kitten. A very large one.

02 May

Edward Scissorhands: OK, but…

I promised a review of Edward Scissorhands, directed by Matthew Bourne, and currently running at the 5th Avenue Theater. I don’t have time to write a real review, but here’s a quick note about it.

If you go to see it, be aware that it’s basically a modern ballet. There is no dialogue; there are no lyrics. It’s all music and dance. (Here’s a montage of scenes from the production on YouTube, to give you a taste of the show.) This is not necessarily a bad thing. The dancing is quite marvelous. The sets are very cool. The music is pretty good, though I admit my ears perked up whenever I actually heard some of Danny Elfman’s motifs from the film (much of the music in the stage version is original, but the Elfman motifs pop up here and there — and note that they are featured in the montage I linked to above). I thought the pacing was a bit poor in places, causing the show to drag.

My main problem with it, though, is that it did not seem to have the emotional core that the movie has. I’m a big fan of the film, and it chokes me up every time I see it. But there was no time when the stage version elicited that kind of emotional response. One reason was that this adaptation seems to miss some of the basic elements of Edward’s personality. For example, there’s a moment when Edward flips off the bad guy with his scissor finger. Sure, that shows his anger, but it seems terribly out of character; Edward is an innocent.

The circumstances of Edward’s “father’s” death are changed, which seems an odd artistic choice (and rather less tragic than the version in the film), and there’s a strange and useless segment at the beginning in which Edward’s “father” is apparently inspired by a real live child, playing with scissors, who dies.

Certainly some of my disappointment with this version could be due to my familiarity with and affection for the original film. Perhaps I would have felt differently about the production if I had not seen the film, and certainly the audience seemed to enjoy it.

The one moment when the play really did get me was, strangely enough, at the curtain call, when Edward comes out, and there’s a nice surprise.

Having said all of this, I should add that it was an enjoyable evening, and it wasn’t a bad show at all; it just seemed as if it could be better. If you can get discounted tickets, that’s probably the best option.

25 Apr

Kool-aid follow-up and journalistic ethics

The Kool-Aid didn’t do much. I left it on for 3 hours. It added a touch of color to the brown hair, but only the slightest bit to the white hair. That’s OK; it was basically just a goofy experiment since I had the materials on hand. I think the thing is that you have to use heat, and I didn’t.

Regarding the post earlier about Edward Scissorhands — a commenter thought I was being “mean-spirited” somehow in what I said. I am not sure how. First, the tickets clearly come from the promoters working on behalf of the show. Second, they suggested that I promote a ticket code in the blog. This is pretty clearly a marketing effort on behalf of the show. (And not a terrible one, either.) Now, I am grateful for the tickets, and appreciate them very much — but I feel pretty strongly that I should be upfront about whether I am getting freebies before I post reviews or recommendations. Because those will affect how you interpret what I say.

I was a journalist at one point. I have gotten a lot of press passes to various events. Most journalists do. (I sort of miss that about it, actually… I was dead broke back then but always got to go to a lot of great shows.) The publications I worked for then didn’t say up front, “hey, our reviewers are going to all of these shows for free,” possibly because it was assumed that everyone knew that the press always gets in free. (Some publications don’t accept any freebies whatsoever, but I don’t know if that means they don’t let their reviewers get in on “the list” or what. And I imagine the publication pays for anything that must be paid for, so it’s probably free to the reporter either way.)

Now that my only writing is in a blog, if I write about something I enjoy, people probably don’t think of me as “the press”; they probably think of me as an individual writing about things I enjoy (or not). If I say that I went for pizza and it was great, they probably don’t expect that I got the pizza for free with the knowledge that I might write about it. Because, these days, I don’t get those kind of press benefits. (And I don’t write that many reviews, though I’ve considered expanding what I post here.)

I would like to believe that when I read someone’s opinion on a blog, that it is that person’s honest opinion, and not something they posted because they are getting free stuff and want to keep getting more. So that is why I posted as I did. I got a bit of a windfall, and that’s OK and I am grateful, but when I do write about the show, I am going to post honest opinions whether I like the show or not.

24 Apr

Kool-Aid, bronchitis, knitting, Edward Scissorhands

Well, I don’t post often enough in the best of times, but dealing with 3 weeks of bronchitis made me a lot less motivated to post. You know how it is — you do the minimum you have to do, and then your brain just shuts down for a while. And now that I am well, I keep feeling as if nothing I want to post about is important enough to post after such a long posting drought.

So, I decided I’d just post about some random stuff to get back into the posting mode.
Read More

11 Mar

Pattern: Detlef-13 (Felted laptop sleeve for 13-inch laptop)

Photo by litlnemo.

I finished the laptop sleeve this week! It came out quite nice; I think it will do a great job of keeping my Macbook from getting scratched! Here is the pattern.

It takes three skeins of Cascade 220 (two main color, one contrast color), and is knitted in the round, double-stranded. It has a zipper around three sides, so you can open it up all the way instead of having to slide the laptop in and out of a pouch-type bag. It’s a quick knit and lots of fun.

Here are a couple more pics (click on each to see the larger photos at Flickr):
Finished laptop sleeve and kitten paws Unzipped laptop sleeve and kitten

If you make one of these, please send me a picture! I’ll post a link to it here. 🙂

(Wondering why the pattern is “Detlef-13”? Well, the original name turned out to already be taken, by a German maker of laptop sleeves. And Detlef, a German name, is “felted” backwards.)

20 Feb

Laptop sleeve in progress

Back to some knitting content — this is going to be a felted laptop sleeve for my Macbook. Note the repeating apple pattern. 😉 The tension on the apples is pretty bad but the felting should fix it. The swatch worked out pretty well. I might have to cut the strands to get it to even out when it felts, but it should be OK, based on how the swatch behaved. (I had to cut the strands on that as well but it was fine. And I could always line the sleeve.) Current plan is for it to zip on 3 sides. I still need to knit more of the plain red at the top, and I am a bit worried I might run out of yarn.

06 Feb

Mystery book

Today I received a book in the mail, the book pictured on the right: Vanishing Seattle by Clark Humphrey. This is a book I’ve had on my wish list for a while; it’s got a ton of great pictures of Seattle landmarks that have sadly disappeared. I’m old enough now to remember a lot of them. Some of them I didn’t realize had gone. So, anyway, I’m thrilled to have this book. But the thing is — I didn’t order it. I was going to order it but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So it’s a mystery: who sent me the book? Thank you, whomever you are.

And by the way — if you are a Seattleite who has been here for a while, you want this book. Trust me.

31 Dec

10 years ago

This post is delayed because we were out of town all week, but December 27 marked the 10th anniversary of the day Jason and I got married, in a post-blizzard deep-freeze just after Christmas, 1996.

10 years sounds like a long time, but it’s gone by amazingly quickly. It’s been a happy ten years, and I couldn’t wish for a better husband than Jason, who is truly the best guy in the world. I love him very much. Here’s to the start of another great decade together!

05 Dec

What is this?

This is a close-up of the aforementioned “Baby Eleanor” scarf. Here’s a photo that shows the whole thing, so far. I can see why everyone is knitting this. It is easy once you get past the beginning. Not that the beginning is hard, it just takes some getting used to, and the entrelac instructions I used at first were… not so good. I have the Lady Eleanor pattern but haven’t used it yet — I just used online pages to show me how to do entrelac, and then estimated what size I wanted the rectangles to be and how many of them. The rectangles are smaller than in Lady Eleanor and there are fewer of them, so the scarf should be somewhat less than half the width of a real Lady E.

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