Monday, December 28, 2009


Had a great vacation with Husband in southern California/Los Angeles area. It was so relaxing. First a few days in Palm Springs/Joshua Tree National Park, then a few days in Santa Monica right on the Pacific coast.

Took lots of pictures, will organize and post later. Probably over the New Year's weekend when I have no plans.
In the mean time, I'm back at the office to meet some deadlines.
ETA: Photo taken on Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy just north of Joshua Tree National Park.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

East Coast Snowcopalypse

There's a huge snow storm hitting the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. My friends in DC are posting about how they're stuck in their apts. If I was stuck inside this is what I would be doing:

1. Watching back episodes of Dollhouse season 2. It's getting really good. I missed eps: Meet Jane Doe, a Love Supreme, and The Attic. This morning I watched "Stop Loss" about Victor.
2. Continue watching Angel the Series. Jasmine, as played by Gina Torres, is about to show up.
3. Knit on either the Noro Furisode Log Cabin afghan or the Easy Top Down Raglan Cardigan I just started this morning.

That should keep me occupied for, oh, the next month or so.

However, I am not stuck at home but rather at the office in Atlanta, just south of the snowcopalypse. I'll be out of the office for a week, but deadlines still loom. I've also taken home the plants in my office. They deserve a vacation in my sunny apt too, instead of sitting alone in my darkened office while I'm gone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knitting down the stash

Now that it's the year end, I looked at my Ravelry page and saw that I knit 23 projects this year, ranging from one-skein berets and scarves to sweaters and blankets.

Sixteen of the projects used stash yarn. That is, I used yarn I already had, not yarn that I bought for the project. I'm pretty happy about that.

I have to say, though, that some of those yarns were given to me by my friend who was giving away her late mother's stash. So I count that as stash yarn in that I didn't lay out any money it. I did use quite a bit of it to make her this out of that yarn. She said her kids, a boy and a girl, fought over who got it. So my friend broke the tie by keeping it in her bedroom.

However, I am now itching to buy another skein of Malabrigo to make a beret. It's cold and rainy today in Atlanta, the kind of day that makes you want to play with soft, colorful yarn. There's a yarn shop 10 minutes away that now carries Malabrigo...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sunrise Circle Jacket


Yarn: Cascade 220, Color Ruby, 4 skeins and a smidge
Needle: US 7, 4.5 mm
Started: Sept 21, 2009
Finished: Dec 17, 2009

Alterations: did not sew the hems, sewed on only one button instead of 4
I took the sweater to work so I could sew the seams during lunch. I showed it to a co worker who also knits and she thought the rolled edges of the unsewn hems looked nice, like a Design Element. Hey, less finishing work is fine with me. This way, I can turn the edges back like a shawl collar.

The important thing is it's done, it's wearable, and in time for the trip to SoCal on Sunday.

And I can start on the new sweater. :)

eta: removed the button and loop. don't like the way it pulls and puckers. will use a shawl pin instead. eventually will also rip out -- again-- and reseam the right side. the seaming there is tricky because the back is knit back and forth, but the sides are curved and so the rows don't match exactly. the fronts are a little longer than the back so you're supposed to "ease in any extra fullness" as the instructions say. and that's all it says.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vacation knitting

In a few days, Husband and I will be off to Southern California for a vacation to mark our 10th wedding anniversary. There's a way for me to blog via iPhone, but I don't think I will. I prefer typing on a full size keyboard.

I had knit the Sunrise Circle Jacket to wear on this trip, but haven't finished seaming and hemming it. I'll take it on the plane with me and do the seaming and hemming on the plane. Then I'll be able to wear it while there. It won't have buttons, but I do have a shawl pin to use.

I've got several projects on the needles, including 2 scarves. I'll take one probably the triangular scarf because that's more mindless than the Noro multidirectional scarf. More than once I forgot to stop the short rows at the right place and had to unknit. The other WIP is a big blanket. Not portable.

I also have a hankering to start another top-down raglan cardigan, maybe another Hermia. Or a Fair Isle cardigan. Or Cosmicpluto's Easy Topdown Raglan Sweater. I have 3 skeins of a pink/grey/cream yarn I could use for the yoke and then use grey for the rest. And this time I'll put in pockets. Last week I went to a work event and realized that nothing I was wearing had pockets for my business cards. Hard to network that way.

I still want to make a shawl with the yarn I mentioned here. But not portable. Plus, I really should finish something before starting another.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Angel, Woobies and Hoyay

I'm having a very fun time reading the Hoyay thread on the Angel forums at Television Without Pity. Hoyay is short for Homoeroticism Yay! The examples of gay subtext the forum posters come up with are hilarious. The Hoyay thread on the Buffy forums are just as funny.

Made me think about Connor and how he's never part of these gay couplings. I think it's because he's the Woobie. As defined by "A woobie (named for a child's security blanket) is that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to when he or she suffers so very beautifully."

And poor Connor has suffered so very beautifully. By the way, if you go over to, be prepared to lose hours while surfing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cordelia and Connor

Spent the morning at home since I'm working until 10pm tonight, I'm going into the office late.

So, I watched up to the point where Cordelia's come back from being on a higher plane (what did she do there? I hope at some point we find out.) but doesn't remember who she is. Connor's the only one talking straight to her, including the part where he tried to kill her. Then she goes to live with Connor who falls in love with her. Well why wouldn't he? She's the only one who wants to spend time with him, other than his father Angel; he's alone in this world; they have to share the bed because there's only one; he's 18; she's a great person and she's gorgeous.

After much hijinks, including forgetfulness spells*, she remembers she loves Angel. They declare their love for each other, but know they can't have it (um, why not?) and she leaves to go live with Connor again.

In the most recent episode, Cordelia (while possessed) finally gets it on with Connor.

I like this couple. They're both blunt and straight to the point. The show's made it clear that he's 18, so he's legal and Cordelia's not that much older than him. And even if he is, we are now living in the age of the cougar. And poor Connor, it's about time he gets a little happiness. Plus he's so cute. Vincent Kartheiser looks totally different (and cleaner) as Pete Campbell on Mad Men, which I don't watch, even tho it's got YoSaffBridge too.

* As soon as I watched the episode Spin the Bottle where a memory spell goes wrong and the Angel Investigations team, including Wesley, forgets everything since they were teenagers. As they introduce themselves to each other, they all act as if they are teens. Cordelia's Queen C again, Fred's got a heavy accent as she says she's in school in San Antone. Gunn's all toughness and bravado. Angel calls himself Liam and makes references to being Irish. It was quite funny to see isolated, bitter, bad-ass Wesley revert to the uptight buffoon he was when he first arrived to Sunnydale fresh from the Watcher's Council.

I thought of the other times Whedon used this theme:

Band Candy from Buffy Season Three, where the adults eat the candy to fundraise for band, and revert to their teenage selves. This is where Giles as Ripper and Joyce hook up.
Tabula Rasa from Buffy Season Six where the Scooby Gang gets their memories wiped, but the emotional connections are still there.
Echoes from Dollhouse where a psychotropic drug makes all the non-Dolls act a little loopy. This is the episode where Topher wears no pants and Adelle jumps on a trampoline and says she finds lentils incomprehensible. This is where we see the emotional connection between Adelle and Topher begin. It's not a romantic relationship, but more a mother-son dynamic that really shows in Epithaph One.

Heck, you could say all of Dollhouse is a play on this theme. When memories are taken away, what do you have left? Emotions and personalities still come through.

While watching all these hours of Angel (um at least 4 episodes this morning, with much fastforwarding through the fight scenes), I sewed the back of the Sunrise Circle Jacket to the sleeves.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Had a tough staff meeting today. Told everyone that starting Jan 1, 2010, we were all being furloughed one day a week. I gave them a simplified version of the budget that showed in black and white the gap between income and expenses. Even with pending grants that I feel confident that we'll get, there's still a gap. We do have fundraising efforts going, so I'll reassess at the end of March.

No one's happy about it, some more so than others, but I hope everyone will realize, that the glass is 4/5th full, not 1/5 empty. The unemployment rate in Atlanta is 10.5% so....

Still, not a happy meeting.

Can't believe I just furloughed myself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Enver Gjokaj is amazing

Just watched "the Public Eye" and "the Left Hand" episodes 2.5 and 2.6 of Dollhouse. Great episodes. Recaps elsewhere so I won't repeat it. Quick comments:

1. Enver Gjokaj who plays Victor is amazing. In The Left Hand, Victor gets imprinted as Topher so there are 2 Tophers working on the case. Gjokaj does a spot on imitation of Topher. In previous episodes he does a great job playing Kiki the airhead student, Terry the serial kidnapper, and Dominic the former head of security. Gjokaj should have quite the career after Dollhouse.

2. The 2 episodes are just packed with action, revelations about the reach of Rossum Corp and the mythology of the Dollhouses.

3. We get Summer Glau! Her character Bennett and Topher together were so cute.

4. We get 2 Tophers, which was fun.

5. Maurissa Tanchareon shows up.

6. Alexis Denisof does a great job as Daniel Perrin. I just finished Angel season 3 where he plays Wesley. Gotta say, I'm liking Wesley more and more as he gets more bad ass. While we're on the subject of Angel Season 3, I gotta say, what is up with that ending? Cordelia ascends to a higher plane? What? And Holtz played a deep, deep game. Looking forward to seeing how Season 4 starts.

All in all, I agree with other reviewers that these 2 episodes were very good and I look forward to the next episode and the series ending on a high note.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Slingers: Ocean's 11 in Space

That's how io9 describes a potential new show, called Slingers. Article and clip here.

And here's a summary from Mike Sizemore's blog:
Slingers is set in the year 2960 A.D., following mankind’s first interplanetary war. Humanity is now clustered into a finite, but still vast section of the universe known as Enclosed Space.

Humanity won the war with an aggressive alien enemy, but at a cost. The way back to Earth is now cut off by an impassable barrier – a side effect of the blast that finally pushed the enemy back.

The show takes its name from a group of people thrown together on board an experimental spacecraft that is capable of Slinging itself to any point in space. In theory it’s the only craft capable of getting home. In reality the crew are using it to carry out a series of high tech heists and get even with those who are now exploiting their positions in the post war hierarchy.

Dominic ‘DM’ Monroe, a special ops war veteran becomes the de facto leader of this small team of thieves who rail against the decision by military command to just ‘stay where they are and make the best of it’. They’re determined to get home and if that means breaking a few rules and picking up a lot of enemies along the way then so be it.

Based on just this written summary and the pics on Mike Sizemore's blog, I thought: Firefly + Leverage = show I would watch.

Then I watched the clip in the io9 post and got a distinct 1960s vibe to it and the voices are British. Now, if they add Torchwood's omnisexuality, I am so totally there.

Apparently it will begin filming in 2010 to be aired in the US on the Syfy channel.

I can't tell if it's supposed to be a serious drama or something more lightweight. Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Knitters are not afraid of the words "Assembly Required"

Here's an excerpt from an article in today's New York Times:

With New Toys, More Assembly Required

As another holiday shopping season gets under way, new toys will soon begin entering households in critical mass. To the consternation of countless parents like Ms. Starr, a startling number will need to be built.

For a variety of reasons — from international trading patterns to the amount of shelf space at big domestic retailers — toys are coming in more compressed packaging these days and with more dreaded assembly required. And many adults feel less and less up to the task.

“I think it’s true that toys do have more parts today,” said Simmie Kerman, a co-owner of four toy stores called Barstons Child’s Play, in the Washington-Baltimore area. Manufacturers, she explained, save on shipping and labor costs by packaging toys flat and unassembled. “It keeps the costs down,” she said. “It’s the Ikea model.”

Consumers pay less as a result, but they bear a bigger burden when theyopen the box.

Then there’s the ever-growing popularity and educational allure of so-called construction toys, like Legos; for them, building is supposed to be part of the point and part of the fun. Many such kits are no longer designed for open-ended, creative building, but rather to construct a precise model based on a licensed movie theme, for example “Star Wars” or “Transformers.”

If a child can’t recreate the spaceship or warrior by following pages of directions, it is up to the parents to do it.“They’ll help in the beginning, but in the end, it’s me and my husband — and they’re watching TV,” said Lori Harasem of Lethbridge, Alberta, referring to her attempts to assemble Transformers robots for her children, ages 11, 9 and 2. “Often the directions aren’t very clear, and suddenly you’re disassembling.”

As she spoke, she was looking out the window at a playhouse she had tried to assemble for her daughter. One of its walls had fallen down.

Recognizing her customers’ frustration — and perhaps their mechanical shortcomings — Ms. Kerman has her staff build some toys, like tricycles, anticipating that customers either won’t be able to do it themselves or will do it wrong. In the case of other toys, like train tables, the store will assemble them for a modest fee of $10 or so.

“My stores cater to a more urban clientele,” she said. “They are not out on the weekends tinkering with their car. Their handy skills have become less specialized.” She added, “Maybe we’ve all lost that skill” of building things by hand.

This article brought several things to mind:

1. As a knitter, I totally can take 2 sticks, some string, and (sometimes) follow directions to make things. Putting together IKEA furniture is easy for me, but I know people -- non-knitters -- who are defeated by IKEA instructions.

2. I grew up playing with toys like Lego but mostly I remember playing with stuffed animals. Once my motor skills improved, I did arts and crafts, like embroidery and drawing and making clothes for the stuffed animals. So for me, playing and making things and assembling things were all connected.

3. I do think most people have lost the skill of building things because now we can just buy things. That loss of connection with the time, effort, and skills of what it takes to make things leads to devaluing handcraft and labor in general.

4. This disconnect also leads to more stress. I knit because I want the product, the end result of all the knitting. But the rhythm of knitting stitch after stitch after stitch, calms me down, like fingering rosary beads for some people. And the soft and pretty yarn! Physically handling such soft materials like silk, merino wool, and tencel, when usually I'm touching hard keyboards, pens, and paper, is so soothing.

Knitting can be as easy or difficult as you want. I'm totally doing only garter stitch and stockingnette stitch projects at this point because those are easy. Enough in my life is challenging. So I rely on beautiful yarn, as shown in this previous post, make the project beautiful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You know you're a Buffy fan when

someone posts a clip from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special where the kids are dancing and your first thought is "Xander doing the Snoopy dance."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Snapshots from Thanksgiving 2009

First, the menu for the big day, which I made, for the first time. Usually Husband does the cooking.

1. 10 lb turkey
2. collard greens
3. sweet potatoes wrapped in prosciutto
4. cheddar garlic biscuits from scratch

That was plenty of food for 5 people. More than plenty.

Second the participants. Husband, of course, Sister, her fiance, and Brother Two. First Thanksgiving without Brother One who is in Taiwan with our parents.

Third, things I am thankful for, in no particular order.
1. Family
2. Friends. Those I see in person, those I see only on Facebook, those who have passed way.
3. Being employed, even as stressful as it is in these hard times. The unemployment rate in Atlanta is 10.4%. Thankfully, Husband's job is very stable and he's doing well.
4. Living in the new condo. I. Love. Living. Here.
5. Renting out the old house. The stress level would be even higher it we didn't have that taken care of.
6. Making pottery and knitting. I would be lost without some creative outlet.
7. Joss Whedon. As evidenced by many many posts on this blog, I have fallen down the Whedon rabbit hole. It had been quite an education in storytelling. He is incredibly talented and as I watch more of his stuff, the more critical I have become of TV and other storytelling. Critical in not a bad way. Critical in that I think more about what is going on and how. I have become a less passive consumer of popular culture. And the internet has led me to many blogs and websites that also comment on his work and other pop culture works that helped educate me more.
8. the Internet. Yes it's useful and informative, and you can shop! But it's also full of blogs of people who are interested in the same things I am. Blogs allow comments and encourage feedback and frankly I get a thrill each time I get an e-mail back from a blogger I've commented on or e-mailed. Or when I get a comment on my own blog. It's another sign that some connection's been made and I love that. And I like that a study has shown that the internet fosters connections between people, not isolation.
9. My iPhone. I love my iPhone. And not just because it allows me to read recaps critical commentary of shows I watching. I can also get on Facebook any time.
10. Facebook. I've reconnected with many friends and stayed in touch with many friends via Facebook. I really appreciate it because this year 2 of my friends passed away, and even though I didn't spend very much time with them, I was able to keep up with them via Fiacebook. And I was able to act as a conduit for a FB in NYC to offer condolences to the family of a mutual Atlanta FB friend when she passed away 2 weeks ago.
11. My health. People express thanks for it all the time, but it's true. Life is so much harder when you don't have good health. It's harder for you and for those around you. The only health issue I had this year was the 2 week cold and I felt like crap and able to do so little. I can't imagine what it would be like to operate like that all the time.

Fourth, the shopping. No early morning shopping trips for me. Sister, her Fiance, and I did go to Borders bookstore and Home Depot. At Borders, I got the Firefly DVD set for $20, normally $50. That was my big score of Black Friday. Later in the day, we went to Virginia-Highlands, an Atlanta neighborhood that's also where my favorite yarn shop, Knitch, is located. I spent an hours fondling yarn, but bought nothing. I was quite tempted, though.

So that was Thanksgiving 2009. I think it was quite typical of many people's Thanksgiving this year: time spent with family, eating, taking time to think about what we are thankful for, and some subdued shopping.

Hope everyone else's Thanksgiving was just as happy and peaceful.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

Atlanta sky reflected in facade of American Cancer Society building.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vacation starts today

Today, Sister, Sister's Fiance, and Brother Two come into town this afternoon. I'm taking the morning off and hopefully the afternoon too, but may have to go into the office to take care of some things.

I've spent the morning surfing the web, reading up on the links in my sidebar, and knitting on the Sunrise Circle Jacket. Right now, I am one row away from turning the hem for the right front. Then I knit the hem and all the knitting with be done.

Usually I will block the pieces before sewing them together, just to flatten out the rolled edges.
However, by blocking surface, AKA guest bed, will be in use. Maybe I'll put it away for now and work only on relatively mindless knitting. While the SCJ is all stockingnette, you do have to pay attention to the knitting because of number of stitches between Make 1s and the number of Make 1s varies on each row.

So, what to make? Options:
  • Modern Quilt Wrap with the colors here. Maybe the triangular shawl option I mentioned on that post. However, now that it's only one month till the California trip, it most likely won't be done in time for that.
  • Another scarf, a little triangular center-out fichu, from a skein of Soxie in the Blueberry colorway. I have a multidirectional Noro scarf going, but the yarn is very rough. I imagine it would soften with washing, but it's tough going.
I could also continue working on the Furisode Log Cabin blanket
Or add on a green border to the crochet blanket at top I started years ago. It's sock yarn from Mountain Colors, can't remember what color way. The burgundy yarn in Essentials sock yarn from Knit Picks. I also have ball of Essential in forest green.

As you can see, it's only the size of a sofa throw cushion. I have a long way to go yet to be a blanket, even a baby blanket, of decent size. Maybe Sister or Brother will want it as a cushion cover and I can quickly crochet a back to it.

ETA: Sister wants the crochet cushion cover. And I started a superwash wool scarf for Brother Two.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ups and downs, at least holidays are almost here

I've been blogging for a few years now, but it was only recently, in about the last year, that I've really gotten into it.

I use this space to write about the important and trivial things rattling around in my head. I've discussed issues like race, politics, gender, social justice, art, craft, TV, knitting, celebrity crushes.

This week has had more than the usual amount of ups and downs and the past few posts have been really serious. Can't get much more serious than death.

Friday was the memorial service for Errin which went from 11am to 2pm. Well, actually the service started about 11:45 but that was time spent sharing condolences with family, or reading the Facebook homages. After sharing my condolences with the family, I sat in the pew for 45 minutes, waiting. I watched other people in the "audience" share hugs, tears, memories with each other. I saw people I knew and could have approached them but didn't. I was shy. I was tired.

Husband wondered why I was hit so hard by the passing of someone he's never heard me talk about. Where to start? First, Errin was so young, only 35. Second, she was so bubbly, always so happy and upbeat even in times of stress. I mean, last time I saw her, she was just laid off, but still focused on the silver lining: she had her own consultancy business and had 2 job offers, even in this economy! Third, she did so much for the causes of women's rights and human rights (which is how I first met her) and did so much good in this world. Her being taken from us so soon is proof that the world isn't fair.

There were also the personal aspects that got to me. During the service people got up to share stories, memories. We laughed, and we cried. Whenever someone talked about how happy she and her husband were, it broke my heart. I love my husband so much and the thought of not having him, like Dana not having Errin anymore, just make me grieve for Dana. Or was it for my future self? At some point, Husband and I will be parted and I dread that day.

In other happy news (not), today is a board meeting where I'm going to ask the board to approve that we cut staff hours and hence pay, including my own. I know that I have the support of Husband so the impact on our household will not be as bad as in other staffers' households. But the fact is that the money just isn't there. Fundraising is just difficult across the board for all nonprofit organizations.

I am looking forward to this coming week, Thanksgiving week here in the US. Sister and her Fiance are coming, as is Brother Two. They arrive Tuesday and leave Saturday. I have the menu all planned out and will hit the grocery store on the way home from the office this evening. I wonder if that's wise...

This will be the first Thanksgiving without Brother One, because he is in Taiwan with our parents. The good news is that we will call for Father's birthday, which falls around this time of year. And Brother One has access to e-mail so staying in touch with our parents (and exercise their English comprehension skills) will be so much easier and cheaper than phone calls.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weird head space

Feeling weird today. Possible causes:

1. My friend Errin is dead, from a car crash yesterday morning. Having a hard time wrapping my head around that.
2. Had a couple of scotches from an impromptu memorial last night. Note to self, Glenlivit a much better scotch than Chivas Regal, my mom's drink of choice.
3. Trying to squeeze more money out of the work budget than is there.

Most likely, all of the above.

In a bit, I'll be off to meet a friend for lunch, then go to the pottery studio if it's open. I missed class last night for number 2 above. I waffled on coming to work this morning, but figured as long as I was up, I might as well. But taking the afternoon off.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

goodbye Errin

Just found out my friend Errin Vuley passed away, killed in a car crash. She was 35 years old.

Errin always had a smile and she worked so hard for the rights of women and girls in Georgia. She fought for our reproductive justice: the right for a woman to not have children if she didn't want them; the right to have children if she wanted them; and the right to raise her children.

Errin livee her values of equal rights for all and was such a loving person.

I am going to miss her so much. I'm so glad I got to see her recently at a SisterSong conference. After the panel discussion, we sat in the corner at lunch and shared and giggled like girlfriends. She had just started a new job, had recently gotten married, was embarking on a new phase of her life.

And now it's all gone. She's gone.

So many thoughts ricocheting around my brain.

Husband's job as a lawyer is 90% about car crashes and he routinely talks about driving in Atlanta, or more specifically, being in a car in Atlanta as driver or passenger, being one of the most dangerous things you can do.

I haven't known anyone hurt or killed in a car crash, even as I've been in a few myself.

Also, just on Saturday I went to the dedication ceremony for the Phillip Rush Center: Supporting Atlanta's LGBT Community. Phillip was a friend of mine who passed away earlier this year. He was only 55. I wrote about it here.

I'm not religious, but I know that I've been really blessed to have known 2 such wonderful people, activists who really made a difference in people's lives.

I have so much to live up to.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wine and Knitting

Went to a wine tasting party last night, wore my Hermia sweater. Some one asked me if I had knit it and I said yes and it was so nice to have a conversation with another knitter.

We also talked about other things but mainly about knitting. We may have been the only people there who knew what Malabrigo, Noro Furisode, Ravelry, and Interweave Knits was.

The wine was pretty good too.

And I finished my Malabrigo Oceanos scarf. Just in time for the Atlanta 70+ deg weather.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Dollhouse Season Three

Yesterday it was announced that there will be no season 3 of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and it just bummed me out. I've been trying to figure out why.

Yes, it's an uneven show but as I look back on all the shows I watch and even the ones that are popular, every show has it's ups and downs. On the whole I like it and want to know more about what's going on and explore the issue of identity, free will, and personhood.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, eh?

I think it's because I loved Firefly, it's still my favorite Whedon show, followed by Buffy. I just love the characters and the humor. I'm all about the smart and funny. Dollhouse has the smart, not so much the funny.

I'm in the midst of season three of Angel and and season 8 of Buffy so I'm just immersed in the Whedonverse. Thus I'm just bummed that Whedon's show won't be renewed.

I would like to see Dollhouse on Syfy or another a place on cable which is all about niche audiences. On the other hand, I would like the general discourse on network television move away from reality shows. I know, I know, network TV is a business, it's about getting advertisement in front of as wide an audience as possible. Dollhouse just wasn't making business sense to Fox and so they gave it 2 seasons and then will move on.

What I'm concerned about is what they will replace it with. Will it be more reruns/copies of Bones and House, 2 shows I don't watch? There is a ton of police procedurals and hospital shows on all the time. Do we really need more? Where are the new ideas?

Enter Glee which I finally watched last night. It is sweet and light and thoughtful too. Last night's episode focused on Artie the kid in the wheelchair and the fallout from the gay boy coming out of the closets. There were other subplots too that could have taken the show into "A Very Special Episode Of" territory but didn't.

Husband started off saying "it this show going to be crap, Crap, krap, or Krap?" this morning, he declared it not crap.

And from what I heard, last night's show wasn't really up to par with the other episodes. I thought it was pretty good, so I'm happy to find a show to enjoy, along with Leverage and White Collar, shows that I watch actually smiling.

Flashforward and Dollhouse I'll keep watching because they keep me thinking if not smiling.
ETA: I agree with this, from Time Magazine:
Don't get me wrong. I liked Dollhouse. I often loved it. And when I didn't love it, I loved what it was trying to do. It was the kind of very ambitious storytelling that TV should be encouraging. Through a difficult (maybe fatally flawed) premise, Joss Whedon told a complex story about the nature of consciousness and human (especially female) exploitation, and he did it in the framework of situations and characters far more morally ambiguous than any TV outside a few cable channels usually allows.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ebb and flow of marathon TV watching

Spent the weekend watching Angel the Series from Season Two episode 16 "Epiphany" where Angel sleeps with Darla but doesn't lose his soul to Season Three episode 4 "Carpe Noctem" where Angel's body is taken over by an old man.

That's 11 episodes of about 45 minutes each. All this while carving on my pottery.

I also read the liner notes from the DVD box set. Basically Joss Whedon says that they spun off Angel, but didn't really have an over arching theme like Buffy did. So they made it about anything and everything.

In this marathon watching, I liked Cordelia more and more. The pain from the visions are getting worse, and leaving physical marks on her, yet she's not willing to give them up. They give her a purpose and she wants to help the people in those visions. She's afraid that if she gives up the visions then her friends at Angel Investigations won't want her around. That a long way from the shallow vain girl at Sunnydale High School.

The side trip to Pylea was cute if a little cheesy. Fred's the precursor to River, the smartie who's a little scrambled in the brain pan. Cordelia's made princess, which she enjoys, of course, being restored a bit to her Queen C status of her Sunnydale days. And the Groosalug turns out to be quite the hunk and they fall in love. Still, in the end she gives it up to go back to our dimension.

In various episodes, people's loyalties are tested: Gunn between his old gang and his new gang; Angel fires Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn, goes dark but not all the way to Angelus, then comes back; Harmony comes to LA; Cordelia's tests have been discussed above; and even Lindsey makes a choice and leaves LA and Wolfram and Hart.

However, Lilah's still got a rival, Gavin Park, played by the gorgeous Daniel Dae Kim.

I'm liking this marathon watching and may try to do it with Lost, Battlestar Galactica, or Heroes. I've been reading reviews and recaps of those shows on Television without Pity or just other places. One of the benefits of marathon watching is that there's not a week in between each episode for me to wonder what's going on, how will it be resolved, or to nitpick because the next episode is immediately available and I get the answers soon enough. Plus the amount of info and details in the sheer volume of episodes pushes out the dumber details and what I'm left with is the overall arc of the story and character development.

I read the recap of this week's episode of Heroes on IO9 which was very snarky and read the comments too. The recap was pretty negative and some of the commenters said that it was excessively negative, as if the recapper was looking for things to complain about and not also discuss the good parts.

I think the general trend towards snarkiness makes it harder for shows because there are people out there who do write negative (and funny) reviews that can drown out the better reviews. In marathon viewings, the ups and downs of a show even out.

That's what I did with FlashForward. I went about 3 weeks without watching, then watched 3 episodes in a row on Hulu.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

carving clay

Husband's away to Pennsylvania for the Penn State football game, so I'm on my own this weekend. Last night, I stayed up until 3am carving on this bowl. Behind it is the inspiration for the pattern. I will choose a glaze that is translucent, so that the glaze that settles in the grooves will be darker.

I also really like how the clay gets lighter as it dries:

I was thinking of cutting a hole in the bottom to make it a flower pot, but I may keep it intact. Then it can be a bowl for serving food or holding yarn, or be a cache pot to hide the functional plastic flower pots.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Knitch, Atlanta's Purl

My favorite yarn shop, Knitch, moved to a new space, a storefront that's right on N. Highland. It's one big open space, with white shelves packed with yarn lining the walls. It reminds me of Purl in NYC.

Their inventory is a little thin right now. I imagine they held off on getting more yarn until after the move. Still, I had a 15% discount about to expire, so I got a skein of Malabrigo in the Oceanos colorway. It's a varigated blues and oh so soft, as Malabrigo is. I was drawn to the laceweight first, but figured I'd be much more likely to knit it up as a scarf before I'd make anything out of the laceweight. Still, the varigation in the laceweight was so, so pretty.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Civil Rights, But Just for Me

A must-read for anyone who cares about social justice and human rights. I posted comments on her blog, which I would have pasted at the bottom, but they haven't shown up on her blog yet. But do read the other commenters too, since not all of them agree with Tami. I originally got the post from Racialicious.

Civil rights, But Just for Me

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

I was going to begin this post be talking about Mohandas Gandhi. I was going to chastise Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and new leader of the civil rights organization Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), for her hateful pronouncement, recounted in The Guardian: “I know down in my sanctified soul that [MLK] did not take a bullet for samesex unions.”

I was going to point out that Gandhi, who is said to have inspired MLK, did not take a bullet for black Americans. His cause was the oppressed people of India. But the universal truth of his message–resistance to tyranny, nonviolence and the fundamental equality of all people–was as applicable on the North American continent as the Asian one. Bernice King’s father realized that.

How small and hateful and contrary to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi it would have been if, during the height of the U.S. Civil Rights movement, a surviving family member had proclaimed that “down in their souls” they were certain that Gandhi didn’t take a bullet for Negroes to ride on the front of the bus.

To my surprise, while doing a little research on the martyr known as “The Great One,” I discovered that, though time has cemented Gandhi in the public consciousness as a loving but determined champion for world equality. He may well not have supported civil rights for all marginalized people.

From Wikipedia:
Some of Gandhi’s early South African articles are controversial. On 7 March 1908, Gandhi wrote in the Indian Opinion of his time in a South African prison: “Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized – the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.”[14] Writing on the subject of immigration in 1903, Gandhi commented: “We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do… We believe also that the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race.”[15] During his time in South Africa, Gandhi protested repeatedly about the social classification of blacks with Indians, who he described as “undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Kaffirs”.[16] It is worth noting that during Gandhi’s time, the term Kaffir had a different connotation than its present-day usage. Remarks such as these have led some to accuse Gandhi of racism.[17]


In 1906, after the British introduced a new poll-tax, Zulus in South Africa killed two British officers. In response, the British declared a war against the Zulus. Gandhi actively encouraged the British to recruit Indians. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts in order to legitimize their claims to full citizenship. The British, however, refused to commission Indians as army officers. Nonetheless, they accepted Gandhi’s offer to let a detachment of Indians volunteer as a stretcher bearer corps to treat wounded British soldiers. This corps was commanded by Gandhi. On 21 July 1906, Gandhi wrote in Indian Opinion: “The corps had been formed at the instance of the Natal Government by way of experiment, in connection with the operations against the Natives consists of twenty three Indians”.[22] Gandhi urged the Indian population in South Africa to join the war through his columns in Indian Opinion: “If the Government only realized what reserve force is being wasted, they would make use of it and give Indians the opportunity of a thorough training for actual warfare.”[23] In Gandhi’s opinion, the Draft Ordinance of 1906 brought the status of Indians below the level of Natives. He therefore urged Indians to resist the Ordinance along the lines of satyagraha by taking the example of “Kaffirs“. In his words, “Even the half-castes and kaffirs, who are less advanced than we, have resisted the government. The pass law applies to them as well, but they do not take out passes.”[24]

I was wrong about Gandhi having a message of world equality. At least early in his life he believed that some people are more equal than others.

What is it about us that makes us fight for our own freedom and equality, but sit comfortably with the bondage and oppression of others? Even the man heralded as one of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders believed “all men are created equal”…but for those over there.

My discovery convinced me of two things:

The greatest battle for marginalized peoples may not be the biases of the majority culture, but the way those biases are embraced by minority cultures. How much stronger would all of the equality movements be if we were working together to cement the idea that EVERYONE, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, ability, etc., deserved basic human rights and respect?

Instead, we learn to hate ourselves, while fighting to demonstrate our superiority over other marginalized people. We fight each other over scraps. We fail to leverage our own dehumanization as a tool to empathize with the dehumanization of others. Instead, we seek to demonstrate, as Gandhi once advocated in South Africa, “See, majority, we’re just like you. The pair of us are equally better than those people.” I deserve rights; they do not.
The fight for equality and human rights might well be over if marginalized people worked together. But we do not.

I think, this is also true: it does not matter what Gandhi thought of black people or what Martin Luther King thought of gay people. For all the deification, they are both just men, fallible men–men of a different time and place (Mohandas Gandhi was born in the 19th century, for goodness sake.), men who were just as influenced by the biases of their day as any of us are, men like those who wrote “all men are created equal” and yet owned men, women and children as property. Do we even know whether MLK would have approved of a woman (his daughter or no) as head of the SCLC? His views and treatment of women were not exactly enlightened. That Gandhi did not believe in the inherent equality of all brown people; that King may not have approved of gay marriage–I couldn’t care less.

TODAY matters. It matters that we come to understand that “divided we fall” in the battle for human rights. It matters that we learn that if you are not about justice for all, you are not about justice and that a civil rights organization that does not advocate for across the board human rights is not a civil rights organization. (This goes as much for homophobic black civil rights groups as it does for gay rights groups that marginalize people of color and transgender people.)

And that a civil rights leader who takes time out from advocating for equality to call out who, in fact, should not be equal, is not much of a leader at all–pedigree be damned.

Charting Character Interactions

This is from, but I found it at

Can you imagine trying to chart out the character interactions from a book or TV series? Those charts would be huge.

I sent it to Sister who asked "Who has the time to do this?"

Answer: you could do it next time you watch your favorite movie for the umpteenth time. Or professional illustrators/cartoonists do it as their jobs.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Flashforward back on

So I watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 yesterday (Black Swan, Gimme Some Truth, and Scary Monsters and Super Creeps).

I'm liking it more. The twists are coming out, there's some character development, especially Janis Hawk and FBI boss Stanford Wedick, or as Television Without Pity calls him "FBI Boss Dude Courtney B. Vance." They get to show some personal background and be badasses. Demetri sings karaoke and gets to crack some jokes for once. Good to see more than just the Bedfords.

My favorite characters so far are Demetri Noh, Janis Hawk, and Wedick. Janis got shot in the abdomen and now the chances of her getting pregnant are practically zero. But her flash forward shows her being pregnant. So are the flashforwards predetermination, one possibility out of many, wishfulment, or self-fullfilling prophesies?

Okay, the show's thrown in enough for me to keep watching. And I'm liking their use of music to support the story, especially in Scary Monsters and Super Creeps. Which shows blue hands. No other shout out to Firefly, though.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Castleberry Hill

Husband and I went for a walk this morning, going from our neighborhood to Castleberry Hill, another up and coming downtown neighborhood, on the other side of Phillips Arena.

It was quite the circuitous route because of the frequent lack of curb cuts. Yo, city planners: curb cuts are necessary at all 4 corners of an intersection, not just some. We would get to an intersection but since there was no curb cut on our side we'd have to backtrack to find another curb cut that would allow us to cross the street. At one point Husband had to roll in the street. Luckily, on Sunday morning, there's not much traffic downtown.

Still, we made it to Castleberry Hill and to No Mas! a well regarded restaurant. They also have a store, which wasn't open today because the owners are at Atlanta Gay Pride. And there's also a pottery shop which also wasn't open.

Just as well, because I've got a few pots in the works.

Before we went for our walk, I left the bowl uncovered on the balcony to dry. Alas, when we got home, it was too dry. I've covered it with a wet towel and wrapped it back up. Hopefully, in a few hours it'll be wet enough to carve without shattering. That would seriously stink if I broke the bowl.

In other pottery news, I used a masonry bit to drill a hole in a bowl (see above) I made years ago, to convert it into a planter. Worked out pretty well, I'd say.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Best Friend

.Now that she's received it, I can post the sweater I made for Best Friend.

It's Emerald, from Knitty, same as I made for Sister. Again, I used Lamb's Pride Bulky, this time in the Cranberry color way. It took only 8 skeins, but I bought 10.

I forgot to take another picture after I put on the one big wooden button and before mailing it off. But imagine a big wooden button.

Her birthday's not until next week, but I sent it early, since she lives in Denver and I figured I was done (had been done for some time) so why wait? And who doesn't like early birthday presents?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Testing Temptation -- the LYS version

My favorite yarn shop, Knitch, has moved and today's the reopening. I have tomorrow off, since I'm working on Saturday. I'll be selling Chinese batiks and my handmade pottery at the Harvest Market in the City of Riverdale. The proceeds will benefit the organization I work for.

So... Friday, I will come to the office and pick up tables and chairs for the event, and probably do some work. Then I'll go to the pottery studio for open studio time to throw some more pots and carve up the ones that have reached bone dry stage.

After that I may go to Knitch to check out their new digs. Depends on traffic. I also have a frequent customer discount to use by Nov 11 :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Last night I brought home a bowl that I threw last week. I'm uncovering it and letting it sit in the sun and wind for a bit, to dry and harden up. When it's leather hard, I can carve designs into it without it squashing all out of shape.

Wine bottle included for scale. Behind them is the 191 building with the 2 turrets. The glass cylinder is the Westin Hotel. The black rectangles are plywood to cover up the missing windows. The windows were smashed when the tornado blew through in March 2008. We weren't living here at the time, but I bet it was pretty cool to see.

When I was at the library this week, this book caught my eye.
Then, as I was flipping through, this close up sparked an idea:
I'm going to carve that bowl to look like this. I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I have 6 more rows to go to finish the left front of the Sunrise Circle Jacket. However, it's midnight and I really should go to bed.

But only 6 more rows! I could knit while watching an episode of FlashForward and finish it.

If I could keep my eyes open.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I want to make a new shawl

As I mentioned, I went to a semi-formal event on Saturday, and it was chilly out. I don't have a dressy coat, and I thought "Dang. I wish I had a nice shawl."

I'm thinking of making the Earth Stripe Wrap from the Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Kidsilk Aura yarn shown above.

As far as I can tell from comments on Ravelry, the ESW is made by holding 2 yarns together for a heathered effect using similar and discordant colors, and following a particular sequence of stripes that repeated several times.

Well, I don't have the same colors nor exactly the same amount of yarns, so I'm going to do a top down, center out triangular shawl, making up my own sequence of stripes. Then knit until all the yarn's done.

Sister, Sister's Fiance and Brother Two are coming to visit for Thanksgiving, so that could be a nice mindless, sedentary time to work on the shawl. Depending on the size of the needle (I'm thinking size 8 or 9), it could be done in time for Husband and my 10th anniversary trip in late December.

Um, please disregard the randomly striping pink, black and grey rectangular mohair shawl that I've worked off and on, for years. Currently it is off and hiding under the couch.

I've made quite a bit of progress on the Furisode Log Cabin afghan, thanks to the hours and hours of TV watching and reading I've been doing. Plus, Furisode is bulky weight.

Tonight, during Heroes and Castle, I picked up the Sunrise Circle Jacket. Still slogging along. I'm motivated, though. I've been wearing Hermia cardigan almost everyday and I'd like something new and complete for the December trip. If I work on just the SCJ, I probably could make it.

Okay. That's the plan, then. I'll start the Kid Silk Haze/Aura shawl tomorrow and put the Furisode afghan on hold.

What kind of self-control do you think I have?

ETA: Just looked at my notes on the SCJ on Ravelry. Cast on on Sept 21 and today (Oct 27) I turned the hem for the left sleeve front. Just about 20 more rows, including WS purl rows, and I'm done with the left front. So it is a pretty fast knit, despite the fluctuating stitch counts on the front. And despite the fact that I put the left front in time out for about 10 days.

If the SCJ is my main TV knitting, I may be able to get this done in a few weeks. Plus, the sleeve part is perfect portable knitting.

See, I can start the Kid Silk Haze/Aura shawl guilt free, because I'll soon have a project off the needles.

Ah, rationalization. It's true, decision making is more about emotion than logic.

Sierra "Belonging"

Just watched this episode of "Dollhouse." Wow.

What I liked:
1. The explicitness with which they talked about power, control, and exploitation. and money.
2. Adelle and Topher's crises of conscience. Especially Topher. In other episodes, we saw how Adelle wrestled with it. And in the end, in "Belonging" Adelle gives into the order from up high that would enslave Sierra forever. On the other hand, Topher rises to the occasion do the right thing and really help Priya this time.
3. Priya getting her revenge on Nolan.
4. Topher and Boyd coming to help her cover it up.
5. Boyd's grey morality. Why is he part of the Dollhouse? Adelle mentioned that everyone who works at the Dollhouse has compromised morality. So what's Boyd's story? He's Dollhouse's Shepard Book. I hope we get to learn more about Boyd than we did about Book.
6. The enduring power of love. Even though Priya couldn't remember Victor's name, she could feel and remember that she loved him greatly. And it helped her agree to be wiped again.
7. Increased craftiness on Echo's part and a bit more about Victor's background. I hope we get to see that too.

This is an episode that I'll watch again. There are layers that I know I've missed. At least I'll have to look at it through a gender lens.

Fall in Atlanta

Above is a picture of Centennial Olympic Park, as seen from my balcony. Most trees still very green.

Below is the park that's on the roof of our building's parking ramp

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Busy weekend and still got TV in

Where to start?

On Friday, Husband and I went to see AC/DC in concert. Had some friends over for dinner beforehand. We got take out from Maggiano's and it's a testament to their food that I've been eating leftover spagetti all weekend... and still like it.

On Saturday, I watched a lot of Angel. I'm on season 2, borrowed from the library, but I finally bought a used set of all 5 seasons. Then in the evening, went to a charity casino event. I had the little black dress and all, but no shawl. Even though I have 4 projects on the needles, perhaps I can knock out a shawl. Not that I know when would be the next charity event I'd be going to.

And today I watched the pilot for White Collar. It's been on practically endless reruns since Friday. Cute show. As I told a friend, this could be my next show, now that Leverage and Burn Notice are on hiatus. Plus Matt Bomer and his hair are such eye candy.

Still haven't seen "Belonging" the Dollhouse episode that explains Sierra's backstory and shows just how evil the Dollhouse is. I know it's dark and will push all my women's rights buttons, so I'm waiting for the right mood for it. Possibly later this afternoon But I will watch it.

As for Flashforward, I haven't watched the 2 most recent episodes, but will eventually Hulu it, probably later tonight, while Husband's watching football.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tenth Anniversary

Today, Husband and I celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss. The happiest day of my life was the day he proposed, in August 1998. It was a sign that he really wanted to be together forever. That meant more to me than anything else.

We met in May 1991, our junior year in college. He was 21, I had not yet turned 21. We were at a party and he caught my eye. Ever since that summer of 1991, we've been together.

I am so fortunate to have found someone who is funny, sweet, smart, good looking, ambitious, and successful, so early in life. He makes me so happy and I'm the luckiest woman in the world.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today's sky

Above, a close up of the view of Stone Mountain from my apt. Below, the rest of the view.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New shoes, via iPhone

These are the new shoes I got over the weekend, by Moda Spana. I love them. So cute and flat. Usually I wear heels about 1.5 inches tall, so flats that are not flip flops are kind of a novelty for me.

Plus I'm posting a pic from my iPhone for the first time, so I thought I'd try it out with my shoes. Now if I could only figure out how to blog from the iPhone, I'd be set.

Why I Make Things, Part Two

The New York Times today has an article called Beauty and the Bento Box. I haven't read it all yet, but this and the cake I made this weekend, helped crystalize something for me.

Some time ago, I wrote a post called Why I make Things, Part One. I think it boils down to my belief that craft = utility + beauty. It needs to feed/serve body and soul. This is what I think the Japanese bento box symbolizes, just as the simple elegance of Shaker furniture, the beauty and utility of quilts, and the furniture, etc. of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Nowadays, it's so easy to buy something instead of making something. But before you make something, you have to think about it.

Think about the function, then the form, then the materials. As you gather the materials, that's when you think about how it will look. Do you want the dark clay, or the light clay, all other considerations being equal? What if you combined them in a swirl pattern as you wedge the clay together? You have to wedge the clay anyway.

Patchwork quilts are the epitomy of craft. It's about making something useful and essential -- blankets in times when there was no central heating. And handsewing something takes so much time and effort, you might as well make it beautiful, because you'll have to look at it for a very long time.

The fact that every single culture engages in decoration of things and self (body art, tattoos, make-up, fashion), indicates that the need for beauty is an integral part of all humans.

So that's why I make things.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Not the Usual

Husband went out of town this weekend for the Wisconsin-Iowa game. So this is how I whooped it up while he was gone.

I made a cake, from scratch, seen above. Chocolate cake with coconut frosting. Ugliest cake, but tasty. As someone who prides herself on making things that are both functional and beautiful, this was not my best. However, it does taste good. And considering this is my first effort in making a cake from scratch and not a boxed mix, I'm pretty happy. Plus this is my first time making frosting ever.
But still, in that picture, I did include things I have made that are functional and beautiful, like the green flowerpot, and my Malabrigo afghan.
This week I also started my pottery class. In the cake picture are three bowls I brought home to dry. The biggest one on the right is 11 inches in diameter and 4.5 inches tall.
I did not work on the Sunrise Circle Jacket, because the fluxuating stitch count was driving me up the wall. I worked on my Noro Furisode Log Cabin blanket instead. I wound up all but one of the skeins into cakes:
On Saturday I worked, speaking on a panel about the challenges of reaching out to refugees for the US Census. I barely had a voice, despite all the honey and tea I've been drinking. Basically, I said that one fear that refugees in particular have about the census, is that in their countries of origin, the census was used by the government to identify and target people of different groups for ethnic cleansing. No wonder then that refugees are reluctant to answer the census.
On the flip side, in some countries, specific ethnic groups were barred from being counted in the census, so now they're really eager to be counted.
After the census thing, I went shopping, something I don't really do anymore because very few things fit right and many stores are eliminating their petite sections. However, I did buy a dark teal blue jacket, black ankle boots, and red suede flats. Even though the jacket is a petite, I still have to have the sleeves shortened.

In another break from the usual, I didn't watch anything by Joss Whedon! Instead, it's been a Neil Gaiman and NCIS weekend. The next Angel DVDs haven't come from the library yet (actually, they have, but I probably won't go get them until tomorrow.) And, okay, I watched the most recent episode of Castle, where they wore the blue gloves. That's the closest I got to Whedonverse this weekend.

Rather, I've been watching the NCIS marathons on USA cable network. It's like Law and Order. Each episode stands alone and they're pretty straight forward who-done-its. I like the characters, especially Abby Scuito the goth forensics tech who also knows sign language. It comes up every once in a while, like when she and boss Gibbs will sign to each other when they don't want others to understand what they're saying, or when lipreading surveillance videos. Plus she has the best wardrobe.

I'm listening to "Stardust" by Gaiman on CD, read by Gaiman himself. He's pretty good as a reader, doing voices too and not sounding cheesy. I'm also reading "Fragile Things" a collection of his short stories, and the movie "Coraline" just came in from Netflix. As a crafter and especially as a knitter and someone who's done clay work, I'm really looking forward to seeing the "making of" feature. I hope there's a making-of feature!
ETA: alas, there is no making-of feature for Coraline. Plus, Brother One gave me two Buffy comics: Predator and Prey, a compilation of issues 20 to 25 of Buffy Season Eight, and Buffy Omnibus One. It was at the office when I came in this morning. On Saturday, I stopped by the office and saw that there was a package in the common area, but I was in a hurry and didn't look closely. If I had, I could have had some new Buffy for the weekend, but I'm happy with the way the weekend turned out, as it is.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gunn and Tam, Lindsey and Eliot, Wolfram & Hart and Rossum Corp.

I've been watching Angel and Leverage. Kind of fun seeing Christian Kane as the morally ambiguous bad guy lawyer Lindsey McDonald on Angel and then as the morally ambiguous good guy Eliot Spencer on Leverage.

Just finished watching the episodes War Zone which introduces Charles and Alonna Gunn, and Blind Date which showed Lindsey's crisis of conscience.

As watched Charles and Alonna, I thought about Simon and River Tam from Firefly. The Gunns are orphans, Charles always watching out for Alonna. When Alonna is turned into a vampire, she's happy to have strength and clarity of purpose without the guilt. She offers to turn Charles too, saying that he's always taken care of her, now she can take care of him. Alas, he ends up killing her.

In Firefly, Simon's sole purpose on the show is to take care of River, after she's been messed up by the Allliance. In Serenity the movie, in the climatic battle against the Reavers, River says to Simon, "You've been taking care of me my whole life. Now it's my turn." Then she kills the Reavers and saves the crew.

I'm beginning to like Angel the series more. If I find a good deal, I may buy the series, but as it is, I think I'll keep borrowing from the library. So far, I'm still really liking Cordelia and Wesley's really growing as a character and not a buffoon anymore.

I like the whole Wolfram & Hart angle, which uses legal and magical power. Lindsey had a crisis of conscience regarding the assassination of the three blind seer children, and tries to get out of W&H. But at the end of that episode, goes back and is made a junior partner. Are we to think that he may try to change W&H from the inside? Makes me think of this fanfic Sleeper that I thought was pretty good.

Is Wolfram & Hart the precursor to the Dollhouse/Rossum corp?

And Faith is back! She's now in jail, on her own road to redemption.

Lastly, I like Whedon's play on the theme of heart. In War Zone, when the vamps say they're going to take out the heart of Gunn's crew, I thought they meant Charles, who's in charge (sorry for the bad pun!), but they meant to take Alonna, who is Charles' heart.

And to begin and end with Leverage, my favorite character is Hardison. Not a big surprise since he's the sweet, smart, funny, sassy one who doesn't lead with his fist but rather his brains/skills. Rather like Wash :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zoe and Zoe

Just watched 137 Sekunden the most recent episode of Flashforward. We finally see Zoe, Demetri's fiance played by Gabrielle Union and we also see Zoe from Firefly, okay, Gina Torres who played the FBI boss's wife, Felicia Wedeck.

I like that Demetri decides to go forward with his life, even though he got the call that he's going to be killed. In Zoey's flashforward, she says she sees their wedding and sees him. But on TV when they show her vision, it's not clear that Demetri's there. And Demetri lies and says he saw the same thing.

The show's getting more interesting. One vision seems to be disproved- Mark's AA sponsor's daughters remains are in the grave, proving she's not alive, as in the vision. And another seems proved, the one shared by the Nazi and the airport agent. So who's to say whether Demetri's or Zoe's visions, which seem diametrically opposed, will be true? Is the person telling Demetri about his death telling the truth? Is Zoe telling the truth, or is she lying, just like Demetri is?

Free will, self-fullfilling prophecy, predestination, all still up the air. And it was reported today that ABC will air the whole season, so we should get some answers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

can't count

I'm making the Sunrise Circle Jacket but starting about row 25 on the front, my stitch count starts fluctuating. Some rows my stitch count is spot on and then the next rows my count is off by one stitch.

But I can't find any errata online. As long as it's only off by one, I'm not going to worry too much about it.

Watched Heroes tonight. The whole Claire in College thing is very reminiscent of Buffy in College. And the end where Sylar gets shot but heals immediately, and then joins the carnival makes me think of Torchwood. In Season 2, there's the episode From Out of the Rain, where Jack had joined the carnival back in the 1920s and his act was to kill himself and then come back to life. The Peter and Emma synthesia piano duet was cute.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Serenity Found

For my birthday, Sister gave me books. Always a good choice. They are: "Finding Serenity" and "Serenity Found" 2 books of essays about Firefly/Serenity, edited by Jane Espenson. It's part of the Smart Pop series of books. The other one is "Big Machine" by Victor LaVelle.

I already have "Finding Serenity" and started reading "Serenity Found." Both are chock full of insighty goodness about the shows. And because they're essays, I'm not reading them in order. The ones I liked best are:

1. Girls, Guns, Gags: Why the Future Belongs to the Funny by Natalie Haynes. It's about how the women on the show also get to be funny and how that's a mark of gender equality.
2. River Tam and the Weaponized Women of the Whedonverse by Michael Marano. Starts from Alien: Resurrection, which I did not know that Whedon worked on, to Buffy/Angel and Firefly. Dollhouse not included since DH hadn't come out yet, but clearly the dolls continue the theme of women being made into weapons by a patriarchal power.
3. A Tale of Two Heroes by Shanna Swendon. Talks about the parallels between Mal and Simon as both being heroes with their own missions.
4. I, Malcolm by Nathan Fillion, which is about his experience playing Mal. There's a link to read the essay for free, over at
5. Firefly and Story Structure, Advanced, by Geoff Klock. It dissects the episode Out of Gas into the different scenes of the three timelines told in the episode and how they link, overlap, and reinforce each other. There's also a schematic of the ship which helps map out the story. Out of Gas is one of my favorite episodes so that was really nice.

6. The Bonnie Brown Flag by Evelyn Vaughn. I read this first because it really addresses the issue of the American Civil War angle of the show. The heroes of Firefly are people on the losing side of a civil war. Most people hear that and think Confederates and thus slavery and why would the protagonists be pro-slavery?

The essayist unpacks the Southern reasons for resisting the North, and many of them were not about slavery, and yes, we all know that slavery is bad. And in the Firefly 'verse, the Alliance (North) won and slavery still exists. So that issue is taken off the table.

I think looking at it from solely the view of the American Civil War is very narrow. There's always a losing side to every war, and every war is about one side trying to impose their way of life upon the other side.

And slavery still exists in our own world, right now. It's called human trafficking and globally it's the third most lucrative criminal activity behind arms and drug trafficking. And it's still going on in the US. My friends at could tell you all about it and it happens domestically across state lines as well as internationally.

Interestingly, human trafficking will be part of the theme of the next episode of Dollhouse, where we see how Sierra ended up being a doll, against her will.

Doyle's death on Angel the Series

As I work though Joss Whedon's body of work, I seemed to have overlooked Doyle's death.

Doyle was a major character, the one who came to Angel with visions of people in trouble. Doyle set him on the path of the show and was the vehicle that gave him purpose. And halfway through the first season, dies in a blaze of glory. Literally.

I can't think of another Whedon show where a major character was killed off so soon. I think I'm still expecting Doyle to come back. I mean, Angel got resurrected, Darla apparently is coming back, and Buffy got killed off twice. Even Warren and Jonathan's come back, kind of.

And if Doyle doesn't come back, then that's a pretty big change in Whedon's MO. Thought it was worth a mention.
ETA: looked him up on Wikipedia which said "At the TCA Writer's Guild of America West party in 2000, supervising producer David Fury stated, "Joss has bandied about, 'I love the idea of putting a character in the main credits as one of the stars of the show and then kill him right off the bat.' "

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Random things from a random mind

1. still sick. bleh.
2. it's my birthday today. :) going to dinner later tonight at Serenbe, a really interesting conservation exurban planned community that emphasizes sustainable living. Article here.
3. going to work at some point today for a few hours.
4. Husband's friend mentioned that it's ironic that the day Pres Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize that the US bombed the moon.
5. I voted for Obama, but think it's way, way too early to award him the Nobel Peace Prize!
6. I really would just rather spend today on my couch knitting and watching TV.
7. Dollhouse is getting better again.
8. Watched Sanctuary on Syfy. It's Canadian, and I see references to Torchwood, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, X-men, and Buffy. One character even says "Five by Five." I have to look up what that means.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ridiculous Dollhouse: Instinct

Just watched this episode on Hulu and it's just wrong in so many ways.

The entire premise is wrong: Nate's wife died giving birth to Jack. Now Nate can't love Jack, so Nate hires Echo to be Emily, the mother. Sierra's also engaged to be Kelly, apparently Emily's only friend and acquaintance. Jack's an infant still. I don't know how old and not a judge of baby ages, but didn't anyone notice that Nate's first wife died, Jack is born, and now Echo's around acting like she's the one who was pregnant? What the hell?

Emily finds pictures of Nate and first wife and asks who she is. Nate spills the beans about hiring Echo to be Emily the replacement mother. Nate calls the Dollhouse to have Echo taken back and will put up Jack for adoption. Emily overhears and tries to run away, with Kelly's help, but the Dollhouse intervenes and takes Sierra back. Emily freaks out, runs to the police.

One thing I did like was that police did take Emily's concerns seriously and the policewoman was counseling her about domestic violence. But then Paul and Nate show up, the Dollhouse pulls rank, and physically take Jack from Emily and take Emily back to the Dollhouse, Emily protesting and screaming all the way.

Did Ballard totally forget the words "Do you want a treatment?" Those are the magic words to calm even the psycho Alpha and Paul forgets to use that on Emily/Echo? I know he's new but did none of the goons with him remind him of the magic words?

I like the B story with Madeline (Mellie/November). She's dressed so well, sexy and confident. It's great to see a full figured woman looking good. And her outcome shows why people would want to become Dolls. Madeline lost a baby, went into the Dollhouse, came out feeling better. Not happy, but "not sad." And richer.

Madeline sees Emily, still screaming and struggling, being brought into the Dollhouse. And then sedated. Madeline comments to Paul that she met him before, on her last day there, and wondered if her engagements as an Active were that intense. Madeline seems really calm. I wonder if the "diagnostic" Topher gave her was some kind of sedative. If I saw a woman screaming and kicking about losing her baby, and I had lost a child too, I'd be much more freaked out than Madeline was.

And now I come to my biggest complaint about this episode. Nate hired the Dollhouse to provide a mother who would love Jack like her own and make sure that Jack would grow up healthy. This implies that only the biological mother would be fit to raise a child. This flies in the face of the human history of adoption and heck, even the use of nannies and extended family and friends to raise children. What kind of stupid premise is that?

And Topher's tickering with the mind affects the body at a glandular level so Echo can breast feed. Okay I don't know the medicine and science about all that, but was that necessary? Again, human history shows that there are acceptable substitutes for breast milk that still result in healthy children.

I suppose that shows the danger and reach of the Dollhouse technology, thouggh Topher spins it as possibly making the brain cure cancer. So why not try that first instead of this ridiculous maternal instinct imprint?

Echo, even wiped, still retains that maternal instinct imprint and goes back to get Jack. Nate apparently has snapped out of it and is now more affectionate towards Jack. He explains the whole engagement to Echo and asks that she do the right thing and let him raise his son. Apparently that's enough and Echo gives Jack back to Nate. Paul shows up with goons, and none of them say "Do you want a treatment."

Instead the episode ends with Echo talking about retaining all the feelings but not memories of her engagements. Paul asks for her help to bring down the Dollhouse. Last shot, the 2 of them on a bench at night.

What the hell was all that? My knitting (a multidirectional scarf, in garter stitch -- possibly the most mindless knitting of all) held more interest. Well it is Noro and the color changes are pretty cool.

Oh, I forgot that there was like a 5 minute segment with Sen. Perrin and his wife digging for dirt about the Dollhouse. Perrin is played by Alexis Denisof who played Wesley the fired Watcher from Buffy and Angel. Wesley was a buffoon, at least in the first season of Angel. To see him as a more serious character was interesting. And lends gravitas to an episode with more logic problems than the GRE.

The Dollhouse is supposed to raise questions like nature vs nurture but this episode didn't seem to think things through. Like the whole continuity issue with Emily showing up all of a sudden. Didn't anyone ever notice? I know the Dollhouse fills the clients' requests, regardless of the lack of logic in the clients' requests, but come on, this stretches belief to the breaking point.

I'm going to keep watching, but mostly on Hulu. I want to see where Perrin's digging gets them. I want to see Sierra's backstory, which will be coming soon. And Victor's, Topher's, Boyd's, and Adelle's. And what happened to Whiskey/Dr. Saunders? An Active runs off and there's no mention in this episode about what they're doing to track her down?

I had high hopes for Dollhouse, but if it doesn't improve soon, I'm just gonna let it go, and watch "FlashForward" instead.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feminism and domestic violence in Angel

Just watched the Angel episode "She" which made me think about Tara's demon family theme in Buffy.

On Buffy, Tara's family believed that women in their family became demons when they turned 20 or so, and thus should be kept at home. In "She" there's a dimension where the women have ridges on their back that glows red when they're aroused. So to control the women, the men yank out the ridges in the women's back and then the women are passive slaves.

Now I'm watching the episode after that which is "I've got you under my skin" where a family of 4 seems really afraid of the father. The story goes that someone in the family is possessed by a demon and that's why they're afraid of him. Wesley says that a father doesn't need to be possessed by a demon for people to be afraid of him. This episode gives some back story about Wesley and more for Wesley to do. I'm liking him more.

Interestingly, it's the son that's possessed and the father is now much friendlier. Turns out the boy is a bad seed and the demon was trapped inside the boy. Nice twist.

sick leave

taking a sick day. I think it's just a cold, not the H1N1 flu or anything. Th. e worst thing is the sore throat.

Watching discs 3 and 4 of Angel season three. Buffy's stopped by, Doyle's died and Wesley's showed up. But no Faith yet.

Still not a huge fan of Angel the character but I'm liking the series better the more I see of it. I'm really liking Cordelia. She's just getting better and better. Not sure about Wesley. I guess he's the comic relief, but I like Xander better.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What I haven't been watching

In TV watching news, it turns out that I didn't watch Dollhouse, FlashForward, nor Stargate Universe. Friday we went out for dinner. Saturday I worked and then went to the first Thrashers hockey game of the season. Sunday I finished watching my Leverage disc from Netflix and Angel from the library. Then we went to the Metallic concert.

Gotta say, not all that impressed by Dollhouse. don't have any burning desire to Hulu it. Angel is still meh. I'm waiting for Wesley and Fred to show. And Jayne and Zoe, I mean Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres show up at some point. And because I'm liking Leverage, I'm waiting for Lindsey McDonald to show again.

As I think Saranga mentioned, she's a Whedon completist and I am too, sort of, so I'm gonna persevere with both Dollhouse and Angel. Good thing I have the knitting to keep me going too.
I've caught bits and pieces of SG:U since Syfy keeps rerunning it. I'm sure if I Hulu it, it'll make a lot more sense to me than it does now.

Tomorrow Husband's doing a day trip to Statesboro, GA for work, and won't be home until late. I have a happy hour with the people I did the European Fellowship with, but should be able to squeeze in Flashforward at least. I'm looking forward to that, since John Cho's character's fiance shows up and she's played by Gabriella Union. An interracial couple that does not include a white person!

No offense to my white husband, friends and relatives, but it's pretty darn refreshing to see a relationship that doesn't revolve people's whiteness.

I'm liking Racialicious's discussion of Flashforward and Heroes, which I will most likely watch tonight if Husband's not watching football. If not, it'll be on my Hulu list.

Tonight's game is the Packers vs Vikings, with Brett Favre. The Packers and the Vikings are great rivals. Brett was the Packers' golden boy, then switched to the Vikings. Not sure if he's still retired or not (the guy can't make up his mind.) I can't believe I'm writing about football.