Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Since yesterday the big story around these parts has been the resignation of the head football coach at the huge state university in town. I was surprised that the announcement came now--the NCAA's findings aren't due until August--but I'm not surprised that he's no longer in charge of the program. As is so often the case, the cover-up can cause more trouble than the crime. (In this case the players made the initial rules violation. The coach's fatal error was not informing the appropriate people when it was brought to his attention.)

I've read and heard a fair amount of the reactions to the downfall of the clean-cut coach--or maybe not as clean as everyone wants to believe--and some of it drives me crazy. So permit me today's post to get this out of my system:

-The coach is not a martyr or a victim of the players' misdeeds.

Yes, the players broke the rules. So did the coach when he chose not to report his knowledge of their actions and then lie about what he knew when. Whether you think the rule regarding players being disallowed to sell or trade their memorabilia is sensible or not, everyone involved knows it's there, especially the coach. Hiding violations tends to get schools in more trouble than reporting them. The now-former coach knew that but played his cards differently. (And spare me about how honorable he was being, that he was protecting his players. This was about protecting a credible shot at a title run.)

-Everybody's doing it, so why don't we? Because two wrongs don't make a right.

The thinking goes that there's rule-breaking and corruption at all major college athletics programs, so what's the big deal? I agree that there's definitely plenty of slimy business in big-time college sports, but that doesn't mean we ignore it when proof of it exists, especially if you're one of the watchmen. (The coach has been quite vocal about his Christianity and published books about ethical behavior, which only makes his stonewalling and suspect decisions all the more distasteful.)

-There's a place and purpose for athletics in a college setting, but these incidents suggest that the major sports and the money involved with them are working at odds with the educational mission.

The answer is not to begin paying these student-athletes, which some think is the solution. For one, you'd have to pay all Division I athletes, most of whom are not in revenue-generating sports. How many people are going to accept paying the star QB the same as the last person on the fencing team? And I get tired of hearing that they're not being compensated. A full college scholarship isn't nothing. Whether they choose to use it or not is on those individuals.

-Don't kill the messengers.

A lot of fan anger, at least in the local newspaper's online comments, is directed at the media for reporting this in the first place. No one likes feeling duped--and I think that's part of what's going on with the anger being expressed--but aim that displeasure where it's deserved: the coach. The players involved were clearly no saints, but the guy getting paid millions to keep things straight could have minimized the damage that will surely be greater because of how the situation's been handled.

OK, that's enough of that.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Award-winning knit flick

Last July I posted the video for a stop-motion animated student short that used knitting to help tell its story. Now comes news that The Little Red Plane is an award winner.

The article with news of the animator's prize also goes into a little bit of detail about what inspired her to make it and what it took to get all that knitting in the short. Worth a read and, if you haven't already, worth a watch.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book it

So far this year work, travel, and films--the last item in the list has been involved with the first two--have left me with little other time to wile away. I think I may be seeing a break in my schedule that should permit more room for knitting, reading, you name it. Having worked a long, energy-sapping day yesterday and wanting to enjoy a Sunday free from the clock, I decided to dive into a book.

I elected to go with In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, & an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson, which I purchased in the Kindle edition. This is the first new book--ie., recently published--I've bought for the device. While I prefer the tangible quality of physical media and could have ordered the hardcover for a mere fifty cents more, I thought this might be a way of easing me off the need for the object. I've liked the two Larson books I've read--I loved The Devil in the White City--but unlike my favorite authors, I don't feel compelled to have all of his books on my shelves. (It's why I've not given a second thought to downloading all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, which I'd not read from a physical copy anyway, or free classics I've not read.)

Reading about the rise of the Nazis wasn't at the top of my priorities, but I trust Larson as a writer to make the non-fiction story compelling and fresh. I'm about halfway through, and so far my faith has been rewarded. The book is about a professor who is appointed ambassador to Germany in 1933. His wife and two grown children accompany him on the move to Europe. Much of the book is drawn from the papers and journals kept by the ambassador and his daughter, and what revelations there are to be found.

On this side of history it can be hard to understand how everything took shape, or at least to view it without hindsight judgment. I'm about halfway through, but already Larson has made the period come alive for me in a way that I've not encountered it before. Having recently seen Shoah and The Great Dictator, made and released before the U.S.'s involvement, and now adding this book to the mix, I feel like the pre-World War II period is coming more into focus to me. The ingrained anti-Semitic attitudes in this country at the time, and the role they surely played in the U.S. not intervening right away, have been something of a surprised to read about.

So, it's been a fun day doing a lot of reading, with more to come tonight after I finish this entry. I has also got me thinking about the summer reading programs I was involved with as a kid. I was an an enthusiastic--or an overenthusiastic--participant then, and I'd like to get some of that back. Maybe reading a book a week is setting the bar high, but I'd like to get into the mindset of reading regularly again. Assuming I can keep up with it, I'm write about it here.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011


One advantage of my job is that I do not have to rise early to go to work. The exception--and on a Saturday, no less-- is this triple graduation day. I awaken a couple hours before I'm usually up and work almost a double shift. Fun. (No.)

So I might be forgiven for wondering if I was actually seeing what I was seeing this morning. I'm driving toward the interstate when I spot in the distance on the other side of the road what appears to be a tire bouncing quite high toward a car dealership. Did I see that right? I keep my eye on it, and sure enough, there's a tire bounding up the street with some impressive height.

Which then raises the question, where did it come from? At this point I look to my left to see a car with it's right front end scraping the road, yet the driver is still going and does not appear to be in the act of stopping.

It was such a surreal scene, first to see something that I was unsure was really there and then to see the car going by, as though driving on the wheel (I assume) was not impeding the operator's control of the vehicle. This is the sort of flourish I'd expect to come across in a David Lynch film, not at dawn in real life.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Four years

Four years ago this weekend I moved to my current apartment. It hardly seems possible that it's been that long, but the calendar doesn't lie. It's safe to say that this was a move for the best. Although I wish that my neighbors for the last ten months would turn down their stereo system some more, I'm otherwise pretty happy here. (One of the two people living next door has changed since late summer and the fall, which I think has kept the noise a little more in check, but I'd prefer to go back to how things were with the previous tenant, ie., not hearing any thumping bass or noise. Still, they're better than they were.)

Since I have to work the equivalent of two days tomorrow, I stayed close to home today. I saw two movies, dropped off recycling, popped into a couple chain crafts shops to look at yarn, browsed at a bookstore, and got all three meals. I was able to do it all within two or three miles from where I live. I renewed my appreciation for where I'm staked out. I have a lot at my disposal without having to venture far from home. Sure, the traffic can sometimes be on the heavy side, but I can get around relatively easily and have learned some alternative routes to circumvent the biggest backups.

Who knows how long I'll stay here, although I have no imminent plans for going elsewhere. Yes, it would be nice to have a place to my own, where I have no common walls with neighbors, but that's not in the cards for now and would be a big luxury. Really, this place suits my needs very well. When the time comes that I leave it, I hope the departure will be on my terms. This may be just a rental, but having inhabited it for this long, it feels like it's mine.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

About time

I heard something from a student today that I couldn't believe. She asked my co-worker what the time is because she can't read clocks that aren't digital.

Surely she was joking, right? It certainly didn't appear so, and follow-up questions about this astounding fact indicated that she was serious.

Eighteen or nineteen years-old and you can't read a clock? Words fail me.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Untitled Sock Project from Pol Pla on Vimeo.

The third item down here explains how blowing into straws not only knits this big sock but also determines how the yarn is dyed. The things people think of.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bicycle, bicycle

The regular workouts I did through the first three months of the year fell by the wayside in April and May. Part of the drop-off was due to being busy; part was because of physical issues. There was/is some thigh numbness due to a pinched nerve, and there was a week where my left knee was bothering me. The habit was broken, and with trying to stay on top of everything else, exercise fell out of the routine.

Yesterday I began the process of reestablishing the habit, but I cut the session short of my usual duration. I didn't feel like I had the energy. Granted, I didn't get a good night's sleep the prior evening, and it did seem awfully muggy in the gym.

I thought it might be time to mix things up a bit. I've used the treadmill exclusively and have ignored its features other than adjusting the speed. About a month ago I started incorporating the vertical angle option the machine has, but then my routine shut down.

Tonight I decided to give one of the recumbent stationary bikes a whirl. Maybe it would take less of a toll on my legs. At minimum it would probably work out muscles perhaps not as well served by walking or running. Variety is the spice of life, right?

Taking it at a comfortable speed--and with no resistance--I found that I burned more calories than I would have by hopping on the treadmill. Interesting. All that pedaling was boring, especially since I didn't have a TV to keep me distracted, but looking at the workout summary, I accomplished more on this machine. Verdict: add this to the regimen, perhaps for half of a week's workouts.


Monday, May 23, 2011

The rebate dance

My car didn't look all that dirty, but I know it's been a long time since I gave it a wash. A bright, sunny Sunday seemed like as good a day as any to have it cleaned. There's a drive-through car wash nearby, so I elected to pop in to clear off the grime that accumulated over the winter and this wet spring.

The place was offering a rebate that takes a third of the price off the most expensive wash. Going all out sounded good to me as I haven't had the car washed for several months. The free use of vacuums to clean out the small pieces of leaves and gravel from the floor is a nice perk of the business too.

I'm handed the rebate form as my car is about to enter the automatic wash. I looked it over as I've handed control of the car to the machine pulling it through. Now I know that rebate forms are often semi-complicated to follow so that those offering the money back don't have to pay it out. This one had a stipulation that I don't recall coming across before, and I thought it was pretty underhanded.

You see, I was going to get the rebate ready to go in the mail on the following day (today), but the rules state that the claim cannot be postmarked no sooner than five days from the purchase. Otherwise the rebate is void. Let me write it out again and bold it for emphasis: the claim cannot be postmarked no sooner than five days from the purchase.

Obviously the idea, as with most rebates, is to secure the purchase but impede the buyer from actually collecting the amount being offered back. Usually the tactic is to have several specific instructions that must be followed to the letter and to make a short window in which the rebate must be sent in. This case strikes me as particularly underhanded. Since there's usually a rush to send these in, writing in a voiding penalty for mailing it right away is sneaky. You know it's there because the longer one waits to send it in, the more likely one is to forget about it.

Translation: don't forget to send this in for those three dollars!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tiny hats

Knitted Newborn Hat

Yarn: Caron Vickie Howell Sheep(ish) (70% acrylic, 30% wool; worsted weight)
Colors: 0019 and 0012 [Olive(ish)and Yellow(ish)]
Needles: US 8 circulars
Stitches: 54

It's been slow going knitting things this year. The above hat is my first FO of 2011, if that tells you anything. But then, what's this?

Knitted Newborn Hat

Yarn: Vanna's Choice (100% acrylic; worsted weight)
Colors: Rose and Pink
Needles: US 8 circulars
Stitches: 54

Why, it's another FO started and finished today. The pattern for this baby hat disappeared from the web for awhile, but the link is in the project comments on Ravelry.

The hats are going to the same parents (or baby, as it were). Since they're Green Bay Packers fans, I thought I'd make one approximately in the football team's colors. I think it turned out all right and can double as colors for a girl regardless of the sports affiliation, but I've gone back and forth on whether I like it.

Comparing the yarns, Vickie Howell Sheep(ish) seems softer and not as thick as Vanna's Choice. As you can see from having them side by side, the gauge is different too. One for now and to grow on, perhaps?

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Saturday, May 21, 2011


Although not surprised, I've been discouraged to observe the amount of attention given to the California radio broadcaster who predicted (again) the date of the Rapture. He and his network are on the fringe of Christianity, yet many laughing about his prediction of the end of the world are treating his statements as representative of the religion's believers as a whole. The same goes for that small, notorious Kansas church the media simply won't ignore. Some of the loudest and worst examples of the faithful are presumed to speak for the dissenting majority. They ought to be dismissed as noisy nuisances than mouthpieces for most. That's basically how the one or two end of the world criers I saw in Times Square a couple months ago were treated.

I'm troubled more than amused by this stunt of proclaiming the imminent apocalypse, not because I put any stock in premillenial dispensationalism but because of how it misrepresents what I believe. I did not grow up in churches that emphasized the Book of Revelation. I consider living according to such apocalyptic prophecies to mean that one holds a fundamentally negative view of our existence. Why bother to improve things or strive for peace if it was foretold centuries ago that we are destined to have hell on earth?

So forgive me if I don't particularly find the jokes about this non-arriving Rapture all that funny. Millions of dollars have been wasted to spread this message. Those who trusted this charlatan's words are likely to find their worlds come crashing down, just not in the manner they expected. Contrary to what the broadcaster and his followers might think, their attempt to spread Christianity in this manner does far more harm than good. Yes, we can all feel better that we aren't as foolish or gullible as those who took the prediction seriously, but is our disdain or mockery of them worth expending any time or energy on?

(For a well-considered take on the subject--and one more upbeat than this rather humorless piece of mine--I would like to point you here.)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Uh, OK

This is a thing?



Thursday, May 19, 2011


This month I've been delighted to dive headfirst into a Charlie Chaplin retrospective playing in town. Assuming I'll be able to make it next Thursday, I'll have seen prints of all but one of his feature films--his last--and a few of his shorts. Before this series I'd seen a few of his key films but only one on celluloid. Being able to view a significant chunk of his work as it was meant to be seen, and in a concentrated period, has been rewarding even if it's been quite time-consuming.

I've been heartened to see not only how well most of the screenings have been attended but also the diversity of the audiences. The "newest" film to play is more than fifty years old. The oldest is more than ninety years old. Regardless, these movies still play, whether to a cinephile like me or to the kids whose parents have brought them.

I like complex and challenging films--I've seen one or two this week--but what I'm enjoying about these Chaplin movies, especially the silents, are the simple pleasures available in them. The laughs come freely and easily. Watching him move is such a joy in and of itself. Plus, for all the mischief his Little Tramp gets into, these are gentle movies overflowing with warmth for humanity. These are generous films in which his character engages in the universal pursuits for food, shelter, and love. How could they not hold up through the years and across cultures?

Popular culture is disposable by its very nature. Much of what I come across isn't likely to have a long shelf life, even some things that I like. This week I saw and generally enjoyed Hobo with a Shotgun, a low budget throwback to '80s exploitation films, but I hold no illusion that its appeal will be long-lasting in the popular consciousness or that there will be much, if any, interest in it five years from now, let alone fifty or ninety.

To see many of these Chaplin films is to be reminded of the power of great art to transcend the moment of its making as well as social and cultural boundaries. At one time he was one of the most recognizable people on the planet, and I'd venture to guess that Chaplin as the Tramp is still an exceptionally familiar image, even for those who may have never seen his work.

So much of what gets made today is divisive in that it's tailored for segments of populations rather than everyone. (Admittedly, the so-called four quadrant film is difficult to produce in the current marketplace.) It's nice to look back and be dazzled by movies that strove to--and succeeded at--entertaining anyone anywhere (and now) anytime.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bombs away

“Ma’am,” she recalled him saying, “step away with the knitting.”
Yarn bombing has made the pages of The New York Times with an article, slide show, and video. Does this mean the activity has reached critical mass and is headed for a decline, or is it time for it to break through into the popular consciousness now?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I finally got around to signing my lease renewal for another year. I hadn't been in any hurry because I wasn't planning on going anywhere, and there wasn't any rush to get it signed. OK, fine, the rent's going up slightly for the next twelve month stretch, but that's pretty much to be expected. Has anyone's rent ever gone down?

As I initialed and signed the document in the appropriate places, I realized that when this new lease kicks in, I'll be entering into my fifth year in this apartment. Can that be right? Have four years gone by? Yes, just like that I've zipped through four years in this place.

Of the six units in my building, I've occupied mine the third longest. It seems hard to believe. Where did that time go?

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Monday, May 16, 2011


What is going on with this weather? At the end of last week I was bemoaning the fact that my air conditioning isn't working. Today I turned the heat back on.

A few months ago I was disappointed to see that Healthy Choice's Honey Ginger Chicken was no longer being carried at the grocery stores I shop at most often. I've since found it at a different local chain and at a grocery store when I was in New Jersey, but I thought they might have been exhausting their inventory. Apparently not. I bought some more today. Weird that nobody else seems to be stocking it.

Lazy, blind, or both? I set up a small Christmas tree--my first--in my apartment in late November or early December 2009. I still haven't put it away. Sometimes I forget that it's even there.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011


Is this the first time this year I've knitted?

I'm afraid it is. It's been a long time since I've picked up the needles. Between being busy and not having any projects in mind, knitting fell by the wayside for me. I know you're disappointed in me. Join the club.

Tonight, finally, I cast on for a baby hat for a newborn. I have a couple skeins of pink/rose colors for this little girl, but I decided to start with the green and yellow I bought. The parents, the mother in particular, are Green Bay Packers fans, so I thought I'd try to do one hat in the football team's colors.

I've had issues in the past with twisting stitches when joining in the round, but I got off to a fast, trouble-free start as I worked on the seed stitch brim. See, I can pick up where I left off months ago!

Then a case of the stupids caught up with me. It was time to join the yarn in a contrasting color, and it took me a few tries before I figured out how to knot them together. Really? That's what I forget?

I've made some decent progress on the hat. If I spend any significant time on it Monday, I should have an FO. It's not anything that will be all that impressive, but it will be putting me back on the knitting track.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smelling the roses

It's been go go go go go go go for me that even when I have a slow day at home I end up sleeping through a good portion of it. There's been plenty of fun stuff in the mix, but let's face it, I've been pushing myself awfully hard on the work and play parts of the equation.

Today's activities might sound no different than a typical routine for me, but it wasn't the same. After calling the rental office about my non-functioning air conditioning, I headed toward the movie theater. There was a film I needed to see, but after that the day was wide open. Rather than head back home, I decided to stay out. I didn't want to be in my apartment if a maintenance worker came by, and I also figured it was still going to be pretty warm in my place. (I suspect that the air conditioning repair is not going to be fixable on the same day it is diagnosed.)

I had decided to go to another theater to see a film that I didn't need to see for any reason other than it looked like it might be interesting. I had a few hours to kill and no real plans for filling them. I walked to Barnes & Noble and wandered the aisles. I thought I might get the new Sloan album if they happened to be carrying it--they weren't--but it was nice to meander around the store without any real purpose.

That's something I don't do much anymore. Internet shopping has pretty much killed the need to visit the seller. If there's something that nearby stores may or may not have on hand, I can probably check the inventory online rather than pop in to check. More often than not ordering the book or CD or movie from Amazon is what ends up happening.

I used to do this kind of browsing when I needed to wile away time between movies or even because I enjoyed seeing what was new. (Today I discovered that Erik Larson has a new book out.) I'd lose plenty of minutes looking at the wall of magazines, sometimes just to see what was there and sometimes because there was something I was looking for. The magazine business has surely taken its hits in the last decade-plus, especially considering my habits. I used to buy magazines on a regular basis. I rarely do so now. (In this instance I was looking for a film magazine, which I did purchase.)

I still had a couple hours to go until the next film started, so I ended up getting lunch at an Italian restaurant I like but haven't eaten at in a long time. Although a few drops were falling and the sky suggested many more were forthcoming, I elected to eat outside. The air was lighter than it had been in a couple days, and I could stand to spend some time outdoors.

Since I was in no hurry, I took my time with the meal. It seems like the last several months every minute of the day has been scheduled to be used in the most efficient manner. There's always somewhere to be or something I should be doing. Consider my visit to New York City and the two film festival trips. Those were about cramming as much into a condensed period of time. I enjoyed those experiences, but I don't think you could call them restful.

Browsing at a bookstore and eating a slow lunch aren't exceptional things--and they were keeping me from being at home--yet these activities let me linger over what I was doing rather than charging through them dutifully. Wow, I thought, so this is what it's like not to be in a rush.

I made the short drive to the next theater and still had a wait ahead of me. I read from the magazine for a bit before going to the next movie. After that it was off to purchase some yarn for hats for some friends' new baby. Yes, knitting is on the horizon.

And then I was home. The apartment's stuffiness came out in a wave. Unfortunately no one had been by to check the air conditioning while I was gone. (I guess they don't do that on weekends.) It has cooled off outside a bit more, so it's slightly less stifling inside. More importantly, I felt relaxed from my Saturday in the city. I had time to breathe between movies and wasn't clockwatching as much. I could stand to do that more often.


Friday, May 13, 2011

The heat is on

We haven't really had spring here in the Midwest. Winter lingered longer than usual, and even when the temperature began to rise a smidgen, it seemed like we had nonstop rain and gray skies. The last couple days the temperature has jumped into the 80s and brought a decent amount of humidity. Where are those nice cool spring days?

Let's put it this way. The furnace was still set for heat until this week. Of course, now that I need air conditioning, I find that it isn't working. A coil was replaced a year ago, so who knows what the problem is? Hopefully this will be a quick fix by the apartment complex.

So I sit in an apartment at a toasty 85 degrees. It isn't cool enough outside to slide open the glass door to get the thermostat needle to drop. I've had it open for around seven hours and have it down to a warm 83.

Seriously, let's get some spring weather back. I'm not quite ready for summer just yet.


Thursday, May 12, 2011


Let the record reflect that I was going to blog here on this day, but Blogger was down for the better part of Thursday.

Maybe it's annoying that I'm backposting to keep the daily blogging up, but there you have it.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Childish things

This blog post about Lite Brite triggered memory of some of the toys from my childhood. I needed some help from the hive mind to recall the name of some of these, which I hadn't thought about in a long, long time.

Mighty Men and Monster Makers holds the distinction of being the first present I ever found before it was given to me. I was probably in first grade and was snooping in my parents' bedroom closet. I'm pretty sure I felt guilty then about what I did. Remembering it makes me kind of relive the guilt all over. The toy allowed you to switch out various parts and make rubbings of, well, mighty men and monsters. (Scroll to 4:36 to see the old TV commercial.)

The name of rub-on transfers, or action transfers, eluded me, but once I was assisted in identifying them, I found them by the brand I remember most: Presto Magix rub-on transfers. You could use a sharp pencil or the included special stick to rub the transfers onto a canvas to make your own scenes. Along the same line were the thin vinyl images known as Colorforms that you could stick onto a laminated background.

Looking back at these toys, I'm sort of amazed that such items held my interest as a kid. I suppose the attraction was the ability to interact with these simple playthings, to create my own stories and creatures. How powerful too is the nostalgia that comes with remembering them. I wasn't entirely prepared for that.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cool things

-The time lapse video "The City Limits"

-Guess My Word! and Guess My Word! 2

-AV Undercover

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Monday, May 09, 2011


I keep thinking that things will slow down, bu they haven't really done so. Of course, I could amend that sentence to "I keep thinking that I will slow down, but I haven't really done so", and it would be just as applicable. I've been going, going, going and had a lot on my mind.

I came home from work and was feeling tired, so I decided to take a nap. I woke up two hours later. I felt better but what does it say that I needed that much sleep at that point in the day to recharge?

The thing is, I know that I'm pushing myself to the limit, sometimes when it's unnecessary, yet I keep at it. I need to ease up, even if some of my consumption of time is doing stuff I enjoy and want to do.

And perhaps that's where I can reinsert knitting back into the routine. I've not done any in awhile because I've been pulled a zillion other directions and haven't made time for it. If this isn't the moment to resume, I don't know when is.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sock knitting ban

I stumbled upon a newspaper article from 1942 about the war board requesting socks no longer be knitted for soldiers overseas. Going by this piece, it seems that knitters have always been a feisty bunch. I highly recommend you check it out.

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Celebrity connection

When I mentioned that I was going to be at a film festival, it was not out of the ordinary to be asked if I would be meeting any celebrities. The event that I attended does make it easier to bump into them, but it's not like I go out of my way to make such encounters happen. Plus, while these may be recognizable folks, they aren't always people whose names people know. I've met Robert Forster at it, for instance, and a couple directors. I've stood in line next to Michelle Monaghan for concessions and John Malkovich for coffee.

One of the filmmaker guests at this year's event was an actress with whom I share an alma mater. I'll wager you may not know her name, but you probably recognize her from one of her roles in films, episodic TV, or your pick of I Love the (name your decade) VH1 programs.

I happened to be wearing a polo shirt with the school's name on it one of the days. After the last film of that day I came around the lobby's corner to meet up with some fellow critics for a night on the town. It turns out that one of them was going to introduce me to her, but it wasn't necessary as she and her director noticed what my shirt said and asked if I went there. Thus I ended up entering into a brief conversation with her.

The weird thing was that by this point we'd shifted outside the theater's front doors and were talking while a photographer was standing several steps away trying to get pictures. I imagine it was for the local newspaper, or maybe it was for the festival. Anyway, it was slightly strange to be speaking to her while that was going on. We'd also be interrupted periodically by those who wanted to get their picture taken with her.

It was a nice chat, even if I came clean to say that I wasn't crazy about the film she was in that played at the festival. (She asked and didn't seem put off by my trying to be tactful answer.) She graduated two springs before I started attending the school in the fall, so we were never there at the same time. (I initially guessed our years there might have briefly overlapped.)

From there it was time for the group to make its way to a nearby bar for karaoke. This actress and a couple of the other filmmakers tagged along. This festival in particular builds a sense of community that I doubt you get at much larger events, so the social intermingling of press, filmmakers, and whoever else is in the know isn't out of the ordinary.

Our group pretty much took over the bar, although there were some locals around when we happened to descend on this place. I had no intention of singing anything and stuck to it, and anyway, I might have been gone by the time my selection would have reached. (I stayed until nearly 2 a.m., and some people had yet to have their names called.) The actress in question did take her turn on the mic, as did the other filmmakers in attendance. I wouldn't be surprised if it's on YouTube, but I haven't found it.

So, there you have it, a little bit of my Hollywood hobnobbing in central Illinois.

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Friday, May 06, 2011


Still recovering from all this running around and a cold, but I'm posting this video as a preview of a story I promised you all about a week ago. How does it apply? Come back tomorrow for the answer.

Also, how ridiculous is it that on May 6 I have a cold and still have the heat on in my apartment?

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Thursday, May 05, 2011


Ending a full day with a cold that's compelling me to go to bed, so here are Animals with Stuffed Animals.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Weird cravings

I don't know why I suddenly wanted them, I don't know when I last had them, but the craving presented itself. The next time I was at the grocery, I bought some.

I'm talking about sandwich cookies. Sure, Oreos are sandwich cookies, but I'm talking about them in the general sense. Some are chocolate, some aren't. (Some are lemon.) They all have that sweet creme filling.

My grandmother always had cookies of some kind in a jar that I'd stop in and get after school when I was in junior high and high school. My brothers surely followed suit. Her house was across the street from the family business, which is where I'd put in a couple hours once classes were over. Sometimes the jar had cookies she made. (Sometimes those were in the freezer.) Other times there were sandwich cookies. They're usually among the cheapest cookies you can buy at the grocery, especially since all I found today were the store brand in a minimally designed package. I know at least one brand existed, but for all I know, they've been discontinued like Hydrox.

Who knows what spurred me to think of them and go to the trouble of buying them. (It's like that Pringles phase I went through this year.) I suspect I'm going to struggle to polish off the package now that I have them. It was still nice to bring back the memories associated with the sandwich cookies.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Knit hop

"Go shave a sheep and knit yourself a sweater."

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Monday, May 02, 2011


Fun days of film festing and little sleep caught up with me in a big way today. Back tomorrow...


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Where were you?

I left Champaign, Illinois later than anticipated today, so I didn't get home until a quarter after midnight. (Let the historical record show that I've backdated this post.) I was listening to The Best Show podcasts, so for all practical intents, I was out of the loop.

Around 11:00 p.m. I exited the interstate to get a pizza from Cassano's in Springfield. The local chain is a favorite of mine when I lived in the Dayton area, so I'll often stop to pick one up when I pass through. (As far as it goes, I hadn't had supper yet. Lunch was around 4:00 p.m. Central time.)

I placed my order, went to use the restroom, and checked my e-mail on my iPhone. For whatever reason, one of my brothers had e-mailed to tell me to turn on the TV because Osama bin Laden was dead. He didn't e-mail anyone else, and I'm not sure why he sent me one. If I'm home, the TV is usually on, and if it isn't, chances are that the computer is. Maybe he knew I had been out of town. I'm not sure.

Clearly this was big news, but I don't know that the pizza shop employees had a clue. They had music on--I think it was a radio station playing Kanye West's "All of the Lights"--and it didn't seem like breaking news was coming across on it. I didn't say anything. Why? It seemed like a weird thing to bring up, especially if they already knew. And give me a pass because I was fairly tired.

I did a quick scan of my Twitter feed, which had exploded with the breaking story. Once back in the car I unplugged the iPod and switched to AM radio. I heard President Obama's speech and listened to the subsequent coverage wondering what this all might mean on Monday and the upcoming days, weeks, and months. My thoughts turned to those people I met at the film festival I was at and the traveling they will be doing in the aftermath of this announcement. You have to imagine that flying tomorrow may present some challenges.

Upon arriving home I did something I've rarely done in the last seven years: I turned on TV news. I've had it on since arriving and may stay up a lot later than I intended. I didn't get a lot of sleep the last several days, but this is the sort of occasion when sacrificing some z's can be justified. (Plus, I'm operating on Central time, when I was routinely up until 3:00 a.m.)

This may not be the most exciting story, but in this case I'm putting it down for posterity's sake. Who knows how much of it I'll remember in the years to come. Documenting it here means I don't necessarily need to.

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