Monday, February 22, 2010

Avatar Schmatavar

Okay, I guess I'm officially old. No, make that Old, with a capital O.

I didn't love Avatar.

I didn't hate it ... I just didn't ... love it.

First off, those dumb plastic 3D glasses hurt my eyes and I had a massive headache when I left the movie theater. They're obviously not meant for those of us with less than 20-20 vision. In my case, they had to fit over my regular glasses and that just didn't work--it left little areas on the periphery that weren't 3D and were uncomfortable and distracting.

And this must be the coming thing because fully half of the previews of upcoming movies were in 3D--Alice in Wonderland is the only one I remember. I mean, Johnny Depp is HOT but definitely weird and he's no less weird when he's standing in the foreground of an animated background with hair flying in all directions.

And it freaked me out a little that, although the movie theater had signs posted everywhere that said they 'sterilize' their 3D glasses before they reuse them, I watched the teenage 3D dispenser guy handing out glasses from the same bucket he was putting the used ones into. Kind of like drinking out of a stranger's coffee cup. Frankly, I want dinner and a few drinks before I share that much with someone I don't know again.

But back to the movie. Here's the plot:  It's 2154, and a young disabled Marine is going to the planet Pandora to participate in a scientific experiment, one in which he'll be the mindforce behind an avatar that will move among the native Pandorians (?) without being noticed. Yes, he's going to transform through sleep from a paraplegic humanoid into a 10 foot tall blue guy with a tail. But the important part is: he'll have working legs and he'll be able to run and jump and stand up to brush his teeth. Maybe that's worth being blue for.

And, of course, there's an evil military security type and a corporate goon who just wants to rape and pillage the environment to get control of a rare element hidden deep in the ground. To get this element he's going to have to bulldoze the civilization of Pandora, which is based on respect for the environment. The center of power is inside a huge tree.  And, also of course, there's a girl--she's 10 feet tall and blue too but when his tail and hers meld, virtual fireworks explode.

Anyway, you know where it's going to end, right? With a huge computer-animated battle with the Pandora people and various amazing other creatures vs the military types. And really, once you've seen one or a dozen of those movie scenes, whether the battle's led by Mel Gibson in a kilt or Bruce Willis on a motorcycle or Brad Pitt in a toga, you know how it's going to end.

Trouble is, it was Fern Gully all over again.  Don't remember Fern Gully? Well, you probably didn't have a toddler grandchild in the mid-90s. I watched videos with those kids until I thought my brain would fall out of my head and FG was one of the all-time favorites. We probably watched it literally hundreds of times.

It's the story of a human who falls in love with a fairy who lives in a magical tree of fairies. The whole fairy life is all about love for the environment and respect for Mother Nature and all that. And there's a bunch of evil humans who want to bulldoze the tree to get control of the land. Of course, there's a big battle between the fairies and the magical creatures and the corporate yahoos who want to bulldoze their tree. Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so.

Finally, this movie is L-O-O-O-N-N-G-G. I thought it might never end. I thought I'd be tall and blue by the time I left.

Sad to say, for the last hour of the movie I just kept thinking "now wouldn't that blue make a great sweater? Or socks? Or a shawl? Where can I get that color?"

Okay, I'm Old. I admit it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day Update

Mr. Pug came home from the hospital yesterday after getting his third stent, this one all the way in the back. It was a day of delays as the procedure was postponed for emergencies. In the end, all went very well and he's home today, surrounded by happy pugs. (Lulu refuses to sleep when he's gone for the night, meaning that she took one look at him, gave him a big kiss, and went to sleep.)

So, since there's no drama, I thought I'd comment on The Day:

How You Know You've Been Together A LO-O-O-O-O-NG Time:

  1. You pick up your Valentines flowers together at Sam's (where you went to buy chicken for the dogs). (Him: Oh, honey, what color do you want for your flowers? )
  2. You forgot it was Valentines Day because you're supposed to be at The Mountain knitting with friends and because you've been hanging out at the hospital for days. Whoops!
  3. You pick up your Valentines card on the run at Kroger. (Me: Oh, honey, while you're shopping I'll run to the card rack.)
  4. The card you pick doesn't have anything at all to do with him but it does have a great picture on the front of PUGS.)
  5. But it's the Perfect Card and you can't wait for him to see it because he'll think so too.
  6. You spend Valentines Day doing the taxes.
  7. You can't print out the tax return because he's put the power cord for the printer somewhere REALLY safe.
  8. But it's all okay because you're doing it together.
Happy Valentines Day, Mr. P

Friday, February 05, 2010

I'm a Contented Knitter

So, have you taken the Knitting Personality Test yet?

It's very short and I found the possible answers in the drop-down menus surprisingly unsatisfying--like Goldilocks, I found it hard to find the one that was "just right."

But, here I am, The Contented Knitter:

You are to be envied as the happiest of knitters. You knit for the enjoyment of it. Whether it's the satisfaction of making a jumper for yourself or the pleasure of making a gift for a friend. Knitting is a relaxation. You don't get overly worried about learning new techniques. (Yup! Still can't do Fair Isle or Intarsia--and I don't care!)

You tend to lack confidence in your abilities and will often stick to a tried and tested pattern rather than try something new. (Oh, like that's the reason I knit the same sock over and over and am afraid to try an actual garment? Oh!) Remember that your favourite patterns were new once. Beware of getting stuck in a rut, especially when you knit for other people. (No problem here--I never knit for others--remember that "lack of confidence" thing?) A good knitting primer would be ideal for boosting your confidence, especially something which combined the theory with suitable projects. (Which could explain why my favorite books are still the Maggie Righetti's.) Something like Sally Melville's Knitting Experience series would be idea. (Well, except for that Einstein Coat!)

If you want to branch out a little why not try felted knits? This will add a new dimension to your knitting. There are many felted knits that require nothing more than basic knitting skills and a washing machine. (Actually, I'm always attracted to felting but am basically too insecure to do much with them--I prefer things that are more exact and predictable. I really don't want to knit a bag the size of a two-bedroom apartment and then not know what size it will end up.)

So, bottom line: it's pretty Spot On. I have been knitting for 40+ years but stick to projects that are easy for me to understand and don't require too much stress and strain on the old brain. When my friends dive into new techniques, I find myself on the sidelines knitting that same old toe-up sock.

But let's face it: You just can't beat being "envied as the happiest of all knitters."

So, who are you?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ten Comments on Ten Shawls in 2010

So, how many of you are participating in the Ravelry group knitalong called "Ten Shawls in 2010"? The idea, which is remarkably obvious if you read the title, is to knit ten shawls this year, and to document your progress as you go. Of the ten, eight must use 250 meters of yarn and two must use 500 meters of yarn.

And here's where I am with the whole concept:

  1. Flickr is not your friend, or at least not mine. Every posted completed object must have a photo, the photo must come from Flickr, and though I've used Flickr many times in the past to post photos into forums, this time it took me days and days to get Flickr and Ravelry to communicate.
  2. When they say “shawls,” what they very often mean is “tiny, lacy scarves” or "things that sit around your neck and make you sweat." Many of them are "shoulderettes." Maybe these women’s shoulders are just substantially smaller than mine.
  3. Many are made from fingering or worsted weight yarn. A worsted shawl just sounds hot and heavy and my experience with Saroyan, which is lovely but hot and heavy, proves this.  My problem with this is that I typically buy worsted in amounts for a garment (i.e., 10+ skeins) and sock/fingering in amounts for a pair of socks (i.e., 1 or 2 skeins). The amounts do not compute for a shawl. This means the yarns in my stash that might be suitable don't have enough yardage or (in the case of the  worsted) too much yardage.
  4. HOT and HEAVY used to be a good thing, and something to strive for, not to mention something that has resulted in a very spotty marriage history, but not so much these days.
  5. These folks have nothing else in their lives, obviously. Some of them have already posted three or four January shawls, and not only the little bitty scarfy things--some are actual shawls.
  6. Some of them are really beautiful--Haruni, Aeolian, Bitterroot come to mind.
  7. Some are so ugly you have to wonder why, why, why.
  8. I have enough yarn in my stash to knit at least a dozen shawls this year without ever buying another yard of yarn.
  9. Odds are, I'll still buy more yarn to knit lace. Laceweight and fingering weight.
  10. The odds on me finishing even one more shawl/scarf/stole in 2010 are minuscule.
So, which one are we starting next? I'm thinking Haruni.