Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Randomness and follow-ups

Random notes following up on recent topics and visitor comments...

-Why do hotel maids take the soap one used during the first day's stay, especially if there's plenty remaining? Really, I don't mind using the same bar again.

-Number of days needed to recover from the film festival: two (or so I hope). I've had some pretty tired moments these days, but I anticipate bouncing back fully tomorrow.

-Added feature in some of the auditoriums and bathroom at the fest theater: feeling and hearing the rumble of the RTA train underneath.

-I have been posting fest reports at the site where I write under my real name. If you don't know the URL, feel free to e-mail me for it, although I will warn you that most of the films you haven't heard of and likely never will. The full list isn't up yet, but I'm hoping to put a wrap on the reports by the end of the week.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Festival views

I'm crashing pretty hard today as part of my post-film festival recovery. In the meantime I present a few pictures. Above you can get an idea of how many people were squeezing into the theaters. This picture was taken in the walkway outside the theater. The walkway also leads to Quicken Loans Arena, so imagine how crazy it was out there when people were also trying to get through here to go to a Cleveland Cavaliers game.

I realize this photo is dark, although this one has the lights up for the director's Q&A after the screening. The theaters are kept pretty dark even when they're just seating people. Most of the time I got my preferred seat on the aisle in a two- or four-seat row on the left at the back. Why that spot? More leg room, usually, and a quick exit to help with the rush to the restrooms afterward.

Here's an overview of the fountain area in Tower City Center. The food court area, which is where I spent the most time when I wasn't in a theater, is straight behind on that level, with the theater to the left.

And just because I think I've mentioned how I feel like the parking area underneath the building feels like a place where one would get murdered, especially when headed down here after a midnight screening, here's a picture of it. The low overhead beams with that mossy-looking substance on it and the darkness are definitely responsible for my impression of the place, although in fairness I've never been in danger down there.

Not a great bunch of photos, but with this being my fifth year attending the event, I didn't feel the need to take many this time around.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Once more with feeling

I was going to take the lazy way out and post a couple of pictures from my time in Cleveland, but at the moment I cannot locate the proper cable to connect the camera to the computer.

So, I'll take the lazier way out and do what I've been doing a lot of lately: posting filler.

Best part of seeing 44 films in eight days at the festival (with one other squeezed in at home between stints up north): I saw some good movies, some of which will either take awhile to get here or never will.

Worst parts: Not getting much sleep and having daily food intake determined by mall food court offerings.

Bonus worst part: Last night's sleep interruption around 3:30 a.m. when someone decided this was the proper time to stop their car, crank up the music on the radio loud enough that it woke me up on the second floor because it was as though it was coming from my room, and also try to hold a conversation by yelling over said music.

Anyway, I'm back and probably the worse for wear, but perhaps things here on this knitting blog will return to normal again very soon.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hitting the wall

It's the next to last day of the film festival, and the end couldn't come soon enough. I hit the wall today. Although I've rallied now, late at night, I'm ready to bid farewell to the event. It's mostly been a good time, but this much fun can be exhausting.

I knew I was in for a long day when I woke up and felt worn out. A morning coffee didn't perk me up for long, and a cappuccino didn't help me bounce back much either. There's only so much wear and tear one can take from low amounts of sleep, questionable nutrition, crowds of people, and lots of movies.

The biggest sign that I'm on the downswing occurred when I tried to write some notes about the previous three films I'd seen. I sort of blanked out when it came to put some thoughts to paper. At this time I was also feeling unreasonably distressed by a gloom and doom conversation a couple people in the theater were having. The economy, the worthlessness of politicians, outsourcing, solar flares that could wipe out the electrical grid for years...it was seriously depressing stuff. This overheard conversation was cartoonishly negative, yet even with acknowledging that, it was kind of getting to me hearing it in my weakened state.

I ditched the midnight session and plan on bypassing the 9 a.m. session on Sunday, meaning I'll "only" have four movies remaining to see before driving home. I think that ought to be doable, but I'm ready to get home to recover.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Tap, tap, tap

In an old entry I remarked that I don't "do" text messaging. I rarely receive and almost never send them. I haven't had any use for texting since my technologically challenged or resistant friends don't use it either.

I've been using Twitter since the start of this year, but until the film fest began, I accessed it exclusively through the web interface. I wanted to post updates from the fest as I'm seeing the films, so I figured out how to text and transmit the microblog entries to Twitter.

By now I feel like an old pro when it comes to finding the proper buttons on the phone with my left hand. I'm a little annoyed that I've learned how to do it. I consider most texting to be drivel generated by an inability to deal with any unstructured time. Yet here I am filling some of my free moments waiting in line or in the theaters tapping away 140 characters or fewer at a time.

I must confess that my initial reaction upon hearing of Twitter was dismissive, but I enjoy using it. Is it an exercise in narcissism? Maybe at times it is, although like anything else, it comes down to how you use the tool, not that you're using it.

From the content creator perspective, I like the challenge of trying to say something concisely and (hopefully) cleverly. My film fest tweets have been more of the purely informational variety, but they've helped me as I scribble down fuller coverage to be published on my site. It's helpful, for sure, although as I've relearned during this weekend and last, a steno pad and pen do a pretty good job too. That's how I wrote this entry originally.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fast, cheap, and out of control

I only had time for one meal during my insane film festival schedule--I'm not counting a breakfast of a doughnut and coffee as a meal--but I have come up with the best way of getting something into my stomach in the brief windows between screenings. It's fast and cheap and in the food court.

Say hello to McDonald's dollar menu. Two apple pies for a buck? They won't ruin my appetite for when I get something more substantial in a couple hours but will help keep me going. A hot fudge sundae during the break two sessions later? Sounds like a winner.

This isn't healthy eating, but then again, there's nothing healthy about what I'm doing.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Two days back home from the film festival went by in a blur. I can hardly tell if I'm coming or going, although it is most definitely the latter. I'm off again early in the morning for four more days in a northeast Ohio movie theater.

I know that I've been posting a lot of filler for the past month or so--and that's unlikely to change while I'm at the film festival--but my post earlier in March about Neko Case has led to some knitting-related content, however small it may be.

Her animated video for "People Got a Lotta Nerve" briefly features knitting. Knit night in the belly of a killer whale may not be the sort of thing you'd expect to turn up in a music video but there it is.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

After dark

Late last night I was driving home from Cleveland and in need of something over the airwaves that would help me stay awake. With my brain pretty much wiped clean from 23 films in four days and not a lot of sleep in that time, making a decision as to what to listen to on the iPod was too much. (So it doesn't sound like I was in any danger of dozing off behind the wheel, I can say that I felt plenty alert.)

I scanned through AM stations hoping to find sports talk or a ballgame, but all I seemed to come across were religious stations and conservative political talk. I was briefly mesmerized by a traffic update station that repeated the same detour information ad infinitum. Eventually I stumbled upon a station playing an old song. The DJ backsell indicated that the songs prior were from Peggy Lee and a Bryan Ferry track from the 9 1/2 Weeks soundtrack. I thought these were unusual things to hear--a music station on AM isn't common either--so I decided to stick around as long as I could pick up the signal.

As the day changed a show called "Midnight Blue" began. The first couple songs sounded like they could have been played off of 78s. Then the host introduced herself and the program, uttered double entendres, and spun Isaac Hayes "Moonlight Lovin' (Ménage à Trois)". This was certainly different.

I felt like I'd come across a station for lonely hearts and insomniacs, the kind of place where Tom Waits' deejay character in Mystery Train worked. The music consisted of bawdy early rock and roll, suggestive old blues tunes ("Banana in Your Fruit Basket"), funky R&B, and anything else that might sound a forlorn siren call late at night.

I could hardly believe my ears. Where in the world was this strange broadcast coming from? The station identified itself as AM740, but I had to listen for twenty minutes before an ID placed its origin in Toronto. Maybe a city that large can accommodate something as weird as this station?

The ads weren't plentiful, but they did break the illusion that the show cast, although one spot sounded like it was for a "massage parlor" or escort service, which would have fit the tone of the show. Some static interfered with my reception, so maybe I misheard.

I was able to keep fairly good reception all the way home. By that time "The All Night Juke Box"--their spelling, not mine--was cranking out an atypical selection of tunes. The drive definitely went faster because of listening to this fresh (if old) mix of music. For awhile it was like I'd picked up some decades-old broadcast that had been lost and just now bounced back to earth or been transported into an alternative movie universe.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Checking in

Anybody still reading?

Just wanted to post briefly to say that I made it back home safe and sound and enjoyed the late night drive, but I'm too tired to write anything substantial tonight. The drive did give me subject matter for what should be a fun entry tomorrow, though.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Work or pleasure?

I've been up here in Cleveland since Friday and have seen seventeen movies in three days, which is actually only two less than is possible. The plan is to see six more on Monday and then drive home. I'll be home for two days and then return here for another four of cinematic gorging.

The immediate question that may come to mind is if I can enjoy it. I'm sleeping very little--about four and a half hours last night--and spending pretty much whole days in a movie theater. Doesn't it get tiring? Is this really the best way to be spending time off?

It's fair to ask, and I can say that yes, I am enjoying it, even when I come across films that don't knock me over. Sure, I get tired and testy at moments, but today I found the internal rhythm that comes with doing this.

I've lost almost all sense of what day of the week it is. I'm practically cut off from the internet, television, and the newspaper. (The time spent online at the end or start of the day is either doing writing or checking e-mail.) In a way, it's a very Zen existence because I just am. There's been peace and relaxation found in floating through these days and into the various auditoriums. It should be more stressful, but I've hit that zone where I just show up where I need to be, eat when I feel it's necessary, and don't have to think about or do much of anything else.

I imagine part of comes from physical and mental weariness. I had to stop writing and taking notes today because I couldn't concentrate hard enough to do it. The updates for the other site will have to wait until I return home. And I know that I will need to be extra careful going home late Monday/early Tuesday since I'll have put myself through a lot to then drive a couple hours to my place. But I'm feeling good having lived in this moviegoing bubble for a few days rather than exhausted.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009


Since I'm trying to get in bed in time for five hours of sleep before rising for another day of film festing, let's keep this brief.

Hotel housekeeping...why do they go around so early and start knocking on doors? This morning they didn't get to mine while I was still in bed, but I know that the woman had already made it down at least half of the floor when she reached mine around 9:40 a.m. I suspect she started at 8 as I could hear the progress coming down the hall. Being a light sleeper is not advantageous at times like this.

The early housekeeping knock always drives me crazy, especially if I'm sleeping in even a bit. Granted, I realize that hotel guests are likely staying because they have other places to be at the start of the day, but it seems like the hotel is pushing it when they want to have someone clean the room when you're not even up and about for the day.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Film fest knitting

Sleep beckons (and so does an entry at my other blog) but first a couple of quick knitting-related items from a day at the film fest...

I packed the Noro scarf in the event that time permits to knit it. (If today's anything to go by, thinking I'll have knitting time looks ridiculously optimistic.) It was almost a moot point as at the first film of the day one of the needles spilled out of my bag in the darkened theater. I did recover it, so I have the tools to knit, if not the time.

The film festival trailer, which plays before every movie, has a camera roaming through a packed audience before a screening. Those with sharp eyes will notice that one woman is knitting. Did you see it?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prep work

It's been a day of gorging on NCAA Tournament basketball and trying to get one last bit of rest before heading north for four days of seeing more movies than any reasonable person would see. Hopefully I've given myself a sufficient amount of relaxing today.

For, you see, at the start of the week I noticed I had the onset of some kind of creeping crud that was working through the students. It's migrated more into my nose and lungs now. I've never felt terrible, just slightly tired and irritated. The long hours I'm about to keep in movie theaters is surely not a cure for it.

I have an ample supply of herbal throat drops and will probably doze off from time to time during some of the movies, but will that be enough to survive potentially seventeen-hour days at the cinema? Needless to say, this space will be affected, although with as much filler as I've been posting for the last month-plus, maybe it will be a seamless transition. At the least I'll try to upload some photos.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009


-I do not get tired of paying less than a dollar to park for a Blue Jackets game.

-I had a scoop of Savannah Buttermint from Jeni's Ice Creams. The seasonal flavor is ridiculously good.

-I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that I'll soon have easier access to this local ice cream maker. Ice cream, fantastic; calories, don't want to think about it. (I found out that a new store will be opening near a local yarn shop.)

-I was an eyewitness to a man riding a Segway in public. It was near the end of the work day, so perhaps it is what he uses for his commute? I knew of a Segway retailer in Columbus, but considering that I've never seen anyone using them, I figured they were no longer around.

-NCAA Tournament bracket has been filled out. Followed a strategy similar to last year's pool-winning tactics and took no more than ten minutes to do it. When it comes to this, research is for suckers.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Out of the past

Let's keep the microblogging going with a link to a video of a classic game show host being revealed as a onetime knitter.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Background artist

I can feel sickness coming on at the back of my throat, so it's another quick entry for today.

One of these days I'll check my tags and collect the examples, but until then, here's yet another observance of knitting in films: the mother of Nicolas Cage's character in Knowing can be seen knitting in the background while her husband speaks on the phone. Chance of anyone else in the theater taking note of this: zero.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday scenes

The blogging has been tough what with the decrease in knitting and lack of anything interesting going on. So, what's a blogger to do? How about an overview of the day?

-Overslept and missed church.

-Read the newspaper.

-Went through the film festival program and tried to figure out which movies I'll watch next weekend.

-Browsed the internet.

-Went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was probably warm enough not to wear a light jacket, but the wind could make it a little chilly from time to time.

-Went to the grocery store.

-Watched the Blue Jackets-Red Wings game. Took a nap at the end of the first period. Woke up in time for the NCAA Tournament selection show. Flipped between it and the hockey game.

-Watched some of the backlogged shows on the DVR.

-Talked to my dad for 45 minutes.


-Will watch a screener that needs to be seen in time for the next show.


Saturday, March 14, 2009


Today is Pi Day. Really. Therefore, could there be a more perfect day to make a pie? Not if homophones count in observing the mathematical holiday.

I made a peanut butter pie.

I get the idea for March 14 being Pi Day because here we list month, day, and year, but does this make sense in those countries--I'm looking at you, Europe--where it goes day, month, year?


Friday, March 13, 2009


Finding the time to knit is the challenge for me at the moment. This 70-year-old woman can't stop.

The article mentions that she's knit 23 teddy bears in a week with each requiring about four hours of work. That's nearly four days straight!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


Since being founded in 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets have failed to make the NHL postseason every time. While the hockey team's history is relatively short, they stand out as the only club not to qualify even once for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Prior to the start of the 2008-09 season I purchased a ten-game ticket plan for the Blue Jackets. I was lured in part by season ticket holder priority in getting access to playoff tickets. (Not having to pay a stupid personal seat license helped too.) Guarded optimism about the team existed, but success this season was no sure thing. Still, I wanted to go to some games, and the package seemed like a relatively good deal that had the potential upside of allowing me to see a playoff game or two if they happen.

Tonight's contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins was my ninth of the ten games for which I was allotted a ticket. Lucky me. The success and proximity of the visitors made this a hot ticket, especially since the hometown Jackets are in the thick of the playoff race for once. In fact, the over-capacity crowd, which had several pockets of raucous Pittsburgh fans, was the largest ever to attend a CBJ home game.

If you're someone who doesn't understand the appeal of sports, tonight's game might have answered your questions. First of all, putting 19,000+ enthusiastic spectators--some of them at odds--into one space can be exciting in and of itself. This was easily the loudest game I've attended all season. It's cliched to talk about such a situation as though electricity is in the air, but the atmosphere does breed excitement.

The game was important to both teams in their push toward the postseason, so the meaning that it held for the participants and those of us in the stands lent additional urgency to what took place on the ice. Even if it's by proxy, winning is fun, especially if there's more at stake. It doesn't make logical sense that a charge surges through me when my team scores, but it's there anyway.

Of course, the main draw for going to games is to see people doing things at high skill levels that sometimes seem more than human. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby is one of hockey's top stars. Watching him play in person was a treat because you simply don't see that kind of talent very often. I have more of a beginner's appreciation for hockey. I never played and didn't start watching with any regularity until a couple years ago. Nevertheless, Crosby's greatness was readily apparent to my eyes. The beauty and quickness of his passes and movements were breathtaking to witness.

All of the qualities listed above combined for what may have been the best hockey game I've attended. The Jackets built a 3-0 lead, blew it in a span lasting a little more than three minutes, and pulled out a 4-3 win in the shootout.

This game means very little in the grand scheme of things, at least as far as life is concerned. (The NHL standings are a different matter.) And sure, I get why some might think it's silly to get worked up about an event such as this. Nevertheless, there's something to be said for a simple game that can bring people together to yell and cheer and be entertained for a couple hours while seeing some of the best in the world display their skills. If the Jackets don't make the playoffs, so be it, but the small thrill that comes from having one's team succeed is always welcome.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drag days

Without knowing what I was clicking on, I followed a link that led to an article about the seven worst habits of workaholics.

First, I want to say that I have cut back on the amount of time I spend at work or doing work from home. Due to a variety of incidents through the years, I have learned that my job can and will consume me if I permit it to do so (and at times I have let it). Being salaried, single, and interested in what I do can be a dangerous combination, especially when adding in the movie stuff, which combines work, pleasure, and the potential for never-ending tasks. I'm working less than I used to, but without tallying up the hours, I probably still work a lot.

As regular readers should know, knitting has fallen by the wayside in recent months because time or energy has been in short supply. Good grief, I came home today and napped for two and a half hours. The academic quarter is nearly over, so it's sort of natural to feel that fatigue. Still, that's a sign of needing to dial back if I can.

I'm guilty of all but #6--drinking (too much)--on the list in the linked article, so maybe that should be the wake up call I occasionally need to take better care of myself. I haven't been feeling so hot lately--something I'll also chalk up to the weather and season--so I could use the reminder to get my act together again.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Credit where credit is due

This evening's freelance work--official statistician for girls' high school basketball playoff games, if you must know--has sapped me of the time and inclination for putting much energy into today's entry, so I direct you to an interesting story about one of the things that changed attitudes about credit in this country. It may not be what you think.

Back tomorrow hopefully in more regular blogging condition.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Black and white and read all over

Back when I was deciding such things, "journalist" was one of my prospective careers. Unlike most kids, I regularly read the newspaper, and not just the comic strips and sports section. I had a favorite local sportswriter whose columns played a part in developing my pop culture awareness and humor-inflected style. (It's there...really.)

I don't recall why, but I didn't do much with the school paper beyond my freshman year in high school. I entered college undecided between print and electronic media, although I suppose even by that time I was leaning more toward radio and TV. Both my diminished high school participation and college choices may have had something to do with being uncomfortable conducting interviews, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering what I ended up doing. Maybe I felt okay as long as I was the primary one talking, or perhaps it had to do with making the calls to get the interviews in the first place.

Anyway, as I started publishing reviews online, I entertained the notion of one day doing film criticism for a paper. How novel, the idea of getting paid for writing. Today, however, I realized that even if someone offered me a fulltime job as a critic at a newspaper, the wisest choice would be to decline.

Longtime newspapers are shutting down or considering ceasing hard copy distribution because sufficient readership and advertisers aren't there to make a go of it. My local daily eliminated forty-plus positions last week, including just about all of the life/arts section. Working at a newspaper may not be the least secure job around, but it certainly doesn't look like an industry one wants to be entering or staking long-term prospects on.

Hearing today about newspaper cuts (and who got the axe) didn't necessarily surprise me, but it brought to light how bad things are in the industry. I feel bad for those out of jobs, especially those I know or whose work I've enjoyed, but I feel worse that I fear it's only going to get uglier from here. It's nice to know that I'm in a (hopefully) more secure job than if I'd entered the newspaper business, but it's a shame to see an institution like that crumbling before our eyes.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weapon of choice

I'm working on an entry for my other blog in which I take a look at the ancestors of today's horror and slasher movies. Assuming that what I see continues to play out as it has so far, the idea is to talk about how these late 70s/early 80s movies, which were considered disreputable or objectionable then, have evolved into much crueler enterprises. (In essence, we've gone from audience identification with the victims to cheering for the killers.)

I'm seeing many of these films for the first time, so it's been quite surprising to see how quaint they look now, especially in comparison to the slaughterhouses that these films are now. But that's not really what I intend to write about here.

No, I just wanted to point out that I watched the original Halloween and discovered that Jamie Lee Curtis' goody-two-shoes character knits while babysitting on that fateful evening.

The needles come into play in a way that's of greater interest to non-knitters too, but it seemed so strange to me to see the character engaging in the craft. Her needles look more like those seen today than the ones I've spotted in two other 70s films. Good thing. Hers have more stabbing power.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

What a difference a year makes

On this date one year ago a storm entered the area that would end up leaving 20+ inches of snow on the ground. Today the high was surely in the 70s.

The day was nice enough for me to go for a walk and be a little warm hoofing it around the neighborhood because I wore sweatpants instead of shorts. I've had the sliding door on the west side of my apartment open for the better part of the day. It was really nice to take an afternoon nap to the gentle sound and cooling nature of the wind.

Last year's snowstorm and today's spring-like weather are unusual for early March. We don't usually get that much snow from one storm, let alone at this time of year. We also aren't accustomed to temperatures conducive to t-shirts and shorts right now.

The forecast has us back in the upper 40s on Monday, but what a treat it's been to have a few days to serve as a reminder of the kind of weather that will be here on a regular basis before long.


Friday, March 06, 2009


Lately I've wanted to be at home as much as possible. I suppose it comes with the territory when considering how busy I have been. I may get a little restless if I don't venture far from my apartment for a day or two, but mostly I'm content to be here.

However, I'm getting the itch to leave town. I haven't been more than thirty miles from home since going to a basketball game in Dayton in late December. In this day and age it seems almost incomprehensible to me that I've been able to remain within such a small circle for more than two months. Such lack of travel certainly makes the gas tank and wallet a little fuller, but how have I managed not to leave the greater Columbus area once in 2009?

That's one reason why I'm looking forward to attending a film festival in Cleveland this month and one in Champaign, Illinois next month. Both events are familiar to me--I've been going to the latter since 2001--so neither will provide a totally new change of scenery for me for a few days, just a break from what I ordinarily see.

Still, there's something inside me ready to hightail it out of here for a short bit. I like the area and where I live, but every once in awhile I need to go somewhere else for some unknown reason.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009


What follows would have been considered unthinkable when I first decided to knit, but it should not be misconstrued as an indication that the mask is coming off. I'm still determined to remain the secret knitter.

At times, like this evening, there are moments when I simply don't care about staying secret. I had to stop at a local yarn shop to pick up another skein of Noro Kureyon for my scarf. In the parking lot I noticed a car with an old parking sticker from where I work. I briefly considered turning around before going in--being recognized would not be out of the question--but ultimately I just decided not to sweat it. Was I spotted? Beats me.

Despite stopping off to get some yarn, I was the first one at knit night, which is held at a restaurant. Even though I've been there and knitted plenty of times, I can feel a bit exposed sitting by myself and knitting while waiting for my food. Again, for whatever reason, I chucked any sense of insecurity about it and pulled out the needles before my order or another knitter arrived.

Is it growth? Was it fatigue from a busy couple of months at work? Who knows. Whatever.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bear hugs

I've done a little bit of charity knitting since picking up the needles, but I have nothing on a 93-year-old Wisconsin woman who has knit one hundred teddy bears for African children affected by HIV/AIDS. And she's ready to make another hundred. Talk about dedication.

I was caught off guard by how much the story moved me. I know I'm a soft touch when it comes to the heartbreaking stories about the kids who have received the bears, but it's not just that.

I didn't know either of my grandfathers, so my grandmothers, both of whom are gone, hold a special place in my memory. My maternal grandmother died when I was in second grade. One of the most precious things I have to remember her by is a teddy bear she made for me. It was one of my favorite things as a kid.

I'm sure I received other gifts from her in the short time I knew her, but most of those things are forgotten and no longer around. The teddy bear, a product of her own hands, has outlasted everything else. That strikes me as the way it should be.

There's certainly nothing wrong or impersonal about purchased gifts, but to get something that someone took the time to make for you means more, even (or maybe particularly) in the case of the African children who will never know the woman who devoted herself to knit something for them and demonstrate love in action.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The tigers have spoken

I acknowledge that chances are when I write about music, most of you a) probably have no idea who I'm talking about and b) wouldn't like it if you heard it. It's not that I listen to a lot of outré stuff--far from it, actually--but my guess is that those who pass through here aren't following the indie/alternative/whatever-it's-called-these-days scene.

Consider this post my attempt to tip you off to something you might enjoy. Neko Case could sing the phone book and make it sound good. She's been attracting more mainstream attention in the past few years, but I'm betting her name is unfamiliar to most.

Her new album Middle Cyclone was released today, so now seems like a good time to introduce you to the first single from it, presented above in embedded YouTube video, and get a blog post for the day. (How devious of me.)

I've seen her in concert three times: twice solo--in 2003 (I'm guessing since it was in support of Blacklisted) and 2005--and last year with The New Pornographers. The solo shows were at Little Brothers, a since-closed club that maybe had a capacity of 500. The first required leaving early from a Guided by Voices concert also going on that night to see her in time. She didn't play with a full band and had a lot of reverb on her vocals, which I thought was unnecessary for someone with as strong of a voice as hers. Coincidentally, this guy seems to have attended both of the same concerts.

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Monday, March 02, 2009


I've neither the time nor brainpower to do justice to the topic of today's post. Instead I'll point you in the proper direction and make a brief comment.

Salman Rushdie's piece on adaptations was the best thing I read all day. When I'm feeling more up to the task, I'd like to put down my own response. The article is about adapting novels into films and the difficulty therein, but Rushdie then takes it to another level and asks what is the essence of who we are individually and collectively:
"As individuals, as communities, as nations, we are the constant adapters of ourselves, and must constantly ask ourselves the question wherein does our finchness lie: what are the things we cannot ever give up unless we wish to cease to be ourselves?"
In its own way, this question is at the core of this blog. Sure, this site is about knitting, but anyone who has been reading for any length of time knows that it goes beyond that.

This blog is a writer's exercise in pseudo-anonymity and the freedom and differences that come with it versus writing done under my name. In writing each day about my thoughts, experiences, knits, etc., how am I adapting who I am, not only to readers, some who know me and some who don't, but also in my conception of self? It's interesting to think about, but I'm not up to the task this evening.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lost and found

Ever have the experience of looking for something and not finding it but uncovering something else that had been misplaced?

In preparation for doing my taxes, I searched for a pay stub from a freelance writing gig. I knew the location of this document for months, but now I have no clue where it has gone. As I dug through a stack of papers I ended up finding a knitting pattern that is no longer available on the web.

The site that housed many of the free patterns from which I knitted my first dishcloths no longer exists. Naturally, this means the patterns have since vanished from the web. The Waved Welt Dishcloth in particular seems particularly missed as web searches have brought visitors to my blog looking for it. I even received a private message in my Ravelry inbox asking if I had a copy and would be willing to share.

I didn't see anything wrong with passing it along if I found it, but I was unable to unearth the pattern from my highly disorganized knitting things. Eventually someone else filled the person's request. I figured I must have recycled the printout or shoved it somewhere that I'd never find it if I went looking specifically for it. Sure enough, I didn't come across the pay stub I needed to find tonight, but the Waved Welt Dishcloth pattern surfaced. The lease I can do is knit it again.

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