Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Moviethon

Once or twice a year I have enough time to knit on the couch and watch endless movies. I rarely go to the movie theatre. It's not much of a bargain if you think about it and you can't pause the movie to go to the bathroom (or to fix a dropped stitch). Funny how just 5 years ago I would watch this many movies on a thrice weekly basis.

So here's what we've caught up on so far:

Tristram Shandy A Cock and Bull Story

Art School Confidential
A Scanner Darkly
Little Miss Sunshine
Talladega Nights
Pirates of the Carribean 2 Dead Man's Chest
Clerks 2
The Family Stone

Tristram Shandy: It was just ok. Seems to prove that the film industry is full of wankers. However, it did reawaken my desire to write a master's thesis on the period genre*, using this film as an example of how one can skewer the genre in a comedic way (which also reminds me of Singing in the Rain -it too has a period film skewering comedic scene).

*note: I've decided that pursuing a master's thesis in the period genre would be rather wanky of me -it seems rather self indulgent and not too valuable to the rest of the world.

Art School Confidential: I love Daniel Clowes. His previous film Ghost World changed my life and introduced me to Mr. G, but Ghost World is 100 times better than Art School Confidential. Unfortunately the main character in Art School Confidential changes dramatically for not any particular good reason. The film tries to go dark, but without sacrificing it's light touch and it doesn't work. I actually stopped the movie at the point I lost interest and fast forwarded to the end. (another good reason to watch movies at home). I liked the ideas presented, especially about plagiarism and about the reasons why young men want to be great artists, however the follow through was lacking.

A Scanner Darkly: Better than the two abovementioned films. It's nice to see Winona Ryder back in the movies. I'm desperately awaiting her comeback. Even if the film's a bit slow, it's a familiar reflection upon the other side of suburban life. Despite that the film is set 7 years in the future, it seems that the film could be about the present especially with oxycontin and crystal meth taking the suburbs by storm. And Keanu Reeve's laid back acting style works for him this time. One of my favorite films of the year.

Little Miss Sunshine: There was a lot of hype around this film and everyone pushed me to see it. That's the silly thing about hype is that it hightens your expectations. And while LMS was funny with some remarkable moments and fantastic acting, the ending just fizzled out. Making it a good film, not the great one everyone was talking about. Still it's rent-worthy.

Talladega Nights: It was funny, but it poked fun at the south. And that's it. Considering how few portrayals there are of Southern America in our cinema it seems a shame that they couldn't balance it a bit with a little poke here and there at liberals*. It gives Hollywood a bad name.
*note I am a liberal democrat and as such I don't like to see any one region singled out for ridicule. The film needed some balance, and it's lack of one showed why Hollywood has such a bad reputation in this regard.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Dead Man's Chest: Too long. Too slow. Sequal. That said I'll still eventually rent the 3rd one.

Clerks 2: Glad I didn't see this one in the theatre. It was still funny with some touching moments -loved Rosario Dawson. And the progression of the characters made sense. Wow this movie, despite it's interspecies erotic comedy was better than Art School Confidential. Didn't see that coming.

The Family Stone: As far as all of these films go, this one had the best screenplay out of all of them. The familial conflicts were interesting and realistic. And it's the only film out of the bunch that made me feel good, which I suppose makes me a sentimentalist. Cute, funny and I was interested in all of the characters. And the story makes them come together in an engaging way.

And on this holiday week I've managed to read 2 books: Knitting Under the Influence and A Good Yarn, both books are worthy breaks from my knitting projects. I wasn't sure I was going to like them...


Friday, December 29, 2006

With No Further Adieu

Christmas came early this year, but I was so busy that I didn't get a chance to properly post anything about this fabulous secret pal package.

The most awesome thing about this secret pal package is that it's based upon one of my favorite movies: The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

It included the dvd, some beautiful custom-dyed sock yarn, some scissors with a gingerbread man, a beautiful handmade card with knitted motifs, a little knitting reference book, and a sock pattern -as well as some gorgeous stitch markers.

I can't help myself. I'm going straight to my favorite part of the package. The custom dyed yarn. When I first opened it, there was something familiar about the colors in the yarn, but I couldn't put my finger on it, but then it occured to me that they are the same colors that Clementine dyes her hair in the Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That's some one of a kind, original yarn. I can't wait to make socks with it.

Have a closer look:

I also love love love the mini knitting reference book. It's permanently stashed in my knitting bag. And I might buy some of the knitting books recommended inside!

Let us not forget the cute miniskein keyring and the adorable stitch markers.
Look closeley -you'll see that they're mittens and snowballs!

And the cute gingerbread scissors. Secret Pal, how did you know I needed another pair?

And last but not least, the wonderful handmade card. Makes me so happy to be a knitter...

Again SP, you were super thoughtful and imaginative in creating this package. It was absolutely wonderful and I can't wait to start the socks. I can't wait until you're revealed and I can thank you properly!

Since my houseguests are gone I'll finally have time to write decent posts. I've been off work all week and I've been catching up with movies. It's pathetic for this film school graduate but I've only gone to a few movies for the last year so I had a lot of catching up to do. Since yesterday I've watched: A Scanner Darkly, Tristram Shandy a Cock and Bull Story, Little Miss Sunshine and Art School Confidential.
Reviews on those later.


Saturday, December 02, 2006


ok i look like the wrath of god, but the shawl looks pretty good.

Apparently I have a thing for hats.

thanks mom


Apologies to my Secret Pal

I feel very sorry for the lovely secret pal spoiler I have because I haven't written much here in a while, and she has been so sweet emailing little greetings here and there. I hope she knows how much I'm looking forward to her next package and I hope she has an awesome weekend this week!

Honestly though, this has been a busy couple of weeks.

My brother got married in Los Angeles the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Here's the lovely couple. I'm so proud of my bro. I have a new sister in law and she's so sweet and her family's absolutely wonderful.

I knitted a shawl special for the occasion, you may remember it as the never ending shawl, countless rows of stockinete and 500+ stitches to be picked up and increased.

Unfortunately no one took a picture of me in the shawl so you'll have to settle for a photo of me in my beret.

The truth is that the shawl didn't get 100% finished. I was supposed to pick up stitches on each side of the long stockinette rectangle, but I only had enough time to do one side. And since I've been knitting Christmas presents like there's no tomorrow I haven't really been too keen on returning to it. But eventually I will and the shawl will hopefully be finished sometime in 2007, hopefully in time for next fall.

On the Christmas present front, I've already knitting two scarves and I'm almost done with a flower shaped washcloth. However I won't get much knitting done today because I'm going to the Dickens Fair. I'm going with my mother in law who's in town from Australia to experience the American holidays. We'll be meeting my mom there. Hopefully we'll be able to get in for a Devonshire tea.

Thanksgiving itself was fabulous. We had our first organic free range turkey. And it was unbelievably delicious. I think it may have even shown my mom how much better organic products are. Who knew that turkeys were actually quite succulent? That organic turkey is proof that it's all about the bird. Mom didn't do anything special, she just roasted it with stuffing. But it was the most flavorful bit of turkey I've ever had. Top that off with interesting family, guests and good scotch and you have a festive holiday.

Hopefully Christmas will be the same.

Oh and tomorrow there's Alex Marshall's Studio Sale in Mill Valley. She has the most unique line of tableware, linens, lamps and candles, with lucious colors and glazes. Get there early because she has a big following in these parts and she'll be sold out in a minute.

happy knitting