Sunday, October 22, 2006

Well said!

Quote of the week:

"Bad emo is like going on a date with your sister: It's sort of pointless, everyone makes fun of you, and it requires no emotional energy."

--John Brandon, Relevant Magazine

Saturday, October 21, 2006

How do you say "Wow." in Pennsylvania Dutch?

Devil's Playground is a 2002 documentary about the Amish tradition of rumspringa, which translates into "running around". The Amish believe that a person around the age of 16 has the right to choose whether or not they want to stay in the Amish church, forever shirking modern stuff like hair dryers, Direct TV, and beer, and therefore are released from Amish restrictions and are sent out to "explore" the non-Amish, or "English" world. They can opt to wear modern clothes, drive cars, experiment with alcohol or drugs, and can question all that they know and their lives thusfar. It's rather amazing and A LOT of trust put forth by the elders of the Amish communities, but with a 90% rate of teens returning to the church after an average two years of unlimited hedonism (and coming in with a clean slate and total acceptance of the past as past), they must be doing something right. This film follows four or five Amish teens as they go through the process. It's kinda scary to watch at some points, but, heck, if these kids' parents have faith, so can I.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Yes, I do believe Gatsby is Great!

Have been on a Fitzgerald kick for a bit, and have decided to pick up The Great Gatsby again for the first time since junior high. I am really enjoying it. Fitzgerald's imagery and prose is so great.

Have found another Audrey Tautou movie, UK title is God Is Great, And I'm Not. It's about a French girl who falls in love with a Jewish veterinarian. So far, very cute.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Alcoholism + Infidelity + Mental Illness = Great American Literary Classic!

So, am about 1/3 of the way through Tender Is The Night, which has been very exciting. Not only are there French things in it (the novel is set on The French Riviera), but also scandalous love, beautiful prose, and finally, a duel. Yep. Two dudes shoot guns at each other because one made a crack at the other's old lady. Luckly, they both missed, and all is well, because that is what happens in a duel- very gentlemanly. No one really should get too hurt, but if you aim right and don't miss, it can get a bit undignified. It's a plotline similar to You Got Served, except it doesn't totally suck ass.

Tender is about a B List Hollywood Starlet, Rosemary Hoyt, who reminds me of an older teenaged Shirley Temple. She falls for a handsome but somewhat washed-up boozebag-esque nonpracticing psychiatrist in their circle of American ex-pats and extended tourists, a man by the name of Dick Diver (great name). The problem, other than that Dick is a bit boozebag-esque and somewhat unemployed, is that Dick's married- to the beautiful, fragile and mentally unsound Nicole. The only thing is, from what I've listened to, Nicole isn't so much as cuckoo as just all-arses-out boring and pretty. She just seems dull...but I'm only 1/3 of the way through, so maybe she'll still do something cool like put a bunch of Barbie heads in Rosemary's hotel room bed or something like that. So I'll keep listening.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Le Cinema (UK Title- Will Ron Palillo play my dad?)

Just finished watching Amelie, a blockbuster French film starring Da Vinci Code-r Audrey Tautou (whose always awesome) over the last several days. I love this film so much I want to remake it into an American version, set in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with me in the starring role. Also, would have the opportunity to cast all of my make-believe celebrity friends in roles as well- Patton Oswalt, Adam Copeland, Zakk Wylde, Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Selma Blair, Bea Arthur, Radar from M*A*S*H, and of course, tv's Horshack- Ron Palillo.

Rent Amelie just because it's French and watching it makes you smarter (because it's French), or, just to figure out which of my make-believe celebrity friends gets cast in what role!

Monday, October 09, 2006

More Fun

I am really loving the Yoko Ono book. I love it and her so much I'm tempted to see if any of her CDs are at the library (can't commit to buying any right now...decreased cash flow) and will check them out.

As for audio, I've got my sister's old car for a while (mine's in the shop) and today I found F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night. Fitzgerald is my favorite American author, but this is the first attempt at Tender. Excellent so far.

Still chugging away on the blanket. I'm convinced when it's done, it will be able to wrap and warm at least 2 adult sized Hokies during a hellish winter night game at Lane Stadium (Antartica is warmer). My sweater yarn should be here any day now though, then the blanket goes on another hiatus (hopefully not a long one).

Sunday, October 08, 2006

All You Need Is Love...(and yarn)

I finished my scarf, and started back up on my sweater. I'm almost done with the last sleeve, but ran outta yarn and had to order some more from Patternworks, and it should be here in about a week or so. Til then, I've picked up Shannon's massive Va Tech blanket. It's five strands of worsted weight yarn knitted together, so it's a lot of strain on my wrists, and I can only work on it for limited intervals. I'm pleased with my progress however, and John is happy because that means I will watch comic book movies with him while I work. Last night we watched X-Men III: The Final Stand, which was excellent.

In comics, I've picked up the latest Fantastic Four, which is getting good in my opinion, since the Civil War has caused friction between Reed and Sue Richards. Pretty soon they will be launching Fantastic Four: The End, which is supposed to be the climax.

I've finished the Cynthia Lennon book, and am now getting another perspective by reading Jerry Hopkins' unauthorized biography of Yoko Ono. Cynthia comes across as mousy, meek, codependent, and slightly pious. Yoko is just plain avant-garde grade A nutty. I've found myself liking Yoko a bit more, and is at least more of an interesting read. I am sorry what happened to Cynthia, but at times in her book she comes across so victimized it's rather pathetic, especially since right after I finished listening to John, I put in the audio version of Anne Frank, who was a girl with real problems, not just "oh, John has left me, but I don't want to confront him, but, Julian won't be able to go to a nice university with our alamony so piddly." You almost want Yoko to bitch slap her sometimes.

Friday, October 06, 2006

My New (Old) Favorite Book

I'm an avid reader, and have been for all of my life. At the Thanksgiving table one year, I told my family that I was grateful for books, and the ability to read. But I have had a hard time pinning down my favorite. Finally, after re-reading it (or listening to it on audio in the car) for the umpteenth thousand time, as well as possessing critical and definitive editions, I can probably say that my favorite book of all time is The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Anne Frank was a 13 year old German Jewish girl living in Amsterdam during World War II when her family went into hiding to avoid ending up in a concentration camp. Anne, her mother Edith, her sister Margot, her father Otto, and another family, The Van Pels, and a dentist named Fritz Pheffer all hid in a secret townhouse-like duplex that adjoined her father's office in Nazi-occupied downtown Amsterdam. Anne chronicled their daily lives, as well as very articulate opinions on sex, politics, war and peace. Unfortunately, an anonymous betrayal led the Nazis to discover the hiding place and to arrest the occupants. Anne died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp a few days after her sister, Margot succumbed to typhus. Her father was the only person who survived the war, and the woman who was helping them hide presented him with Anne's diary, which she had rescued from the hiding place before the Nazis could confiscate it. Mr. Frank published the diary and a classic was born.

I love Anne's detail, accuracy, imagery and narrative. I root for her, hoping that she does make it out alive, becomes a writer and studies in Paris, like she said she wanted to. I listen to each entry to her diary, named Kitty, hoping that it won't be the last, before the epilogue that explains it's abrupt end. This afternoon, I heard the famous line: "In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart," and I smiled. Amazing. Despite knowing how it ends, listening to it makes me want to write again, and cools me down by putting my trivial problems in perspective. It's a beautiful paradox- a masterpiece written by a sad little kid who could have been a friend of mine in middle school. She was both noble and bratty, brave and scared, devoted to her family but craving solitude. She's just like us, but so unique. And it makes me happy that Anne Frank was, is, and hopefully will always be, loved so much, (But she'd probably tell you she'd think all the attention was rather silly.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

31 Boo-tiful Stories!

Patton Oswalt is counting down 31 classic horror stories in celebration of the month of October on his My Space page. He's a good judge of nonsuckatude, so go and enjoy.

I got a fever, and the only antidote is...more knitting!

Sigh. Last night we went to the State Fair, which is one of my favorite annual activities. We went with my in-laws as part of my nephew's birthday, so we had 3 excited pre-teen boys in tow. We did the classic fun for kids stuff such as the baby animal farm (those baby ducks that slide down the slide are kick arse) but for the bulk of the time we waited around for them to ride such wonderful midway fair as the Drop N'Puke, Pee Pants Coaster, The Whirl and Hurl, and blow my brother-in-law's paycheck playing impossibly difficult fair games. Finally, my father-in-law, John, and myself, being the resident Old Fart Club that we are, ventured away from the asphyxiatingly large crowds and very very loud hip-hop music to explore the alternative lifestyle of the Fair- the classic Blue Ribbon Mall, home to the educational booths and, the coup de grace of the entire friggin event, the Arts and Crafts Competition- most notably, the knitting competition.

The knitting competition is a traditional, no nonsense display of expert craftsmanship. I once dismissed it as stuffy, but, having been a knitter for some time, and watching the trend ebb and flow with people of my age group and some of the younger boomers, I find it refreshing that the Fair judging system still holds quality as the focus. In order to be judged for a place ribbon, one must show straight flawless stitching, knowledge of complicated patterns, and usefulness of the item both now and for the future. So, hipster patterns like sassy cell phone cases and hottie girl tube tops are out. The Best In Show winner this year was a gorgeous lacy lavender afghan with an intricate cable pattern that was drool worthy. I didn't notice a lot of entries this year, as opposed to years past, which has lead me to believe that, after disappointing results over several years, some knitters have given up their competitive spirit, some giving up knitting altogether, and have gone on to other pursuits. To me, it's kind of exciting- a competition that separates the brats from the wise. The real knitters keep showing up and churning out high-quality woolen goods that Vera Wang would kill for. It's great art. And, it's inspired me.

I want to ease back into the competition. I've given myself a long time frame to work, and right now, the focus is on past projects. I don't think it would be wise to stop all that I'm doing right now, only to fall behind in the projects that need attention. I also want to be able to master stitching on an intermediate level (cable stitches, slip stitches, etc.) in order to bring a bit more to the table. I've found a really classy pattern in Knit Simple- a long knitted coat that has a challenging level of difficulty. I'm not ordering any of the yarn now, rather, I will most likely buy, when the time is right, one or two balls of it, and will spend a long time working my gauge (something I've been lazy about previously). And I'm going to try to enjoy both the process and the finished product, and hopefully have something that will raise an eyebrow or two amongst the judges. However, even if I don't win anything tangible, I have a feeling that, if I do this the right way, I'll still feel like I've taken home the grand prize.

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