Monday, August 30, 2010

Tai chi and Leverage, and Dragon*Con 2009

Three random things:

I got my Tai Chi Video by Tiffany Chen and have done it a couple of times. I find it a lot easier than yoga. The movements aren't as extreme. Plus I've grown up seeing it around me so it was pretty easy to pick up.

Even so, there are some moves that confuse me, especially the spins. And some of the camera angles make it hard to see what she's doing.

Between yoga and tai chi, I've found that my calves and hamstrings are really, really tight. And my arms are pretty flabby too.

I've been dreaming about the TV show Leverage. It's my only appointment-TV show but this season's not as fun to me as previous seasons. The Rashomon Job was pretty fun, though.

And lastly, Dragon*Con 2010 is coming and I've got tickets! The local public television station did a show about last year's con. The link is here. I love that the Browncoats and the Hands of Blue were shown.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I don't understand Dickens

Based on this suggestion: and my sister's ringing endorsement, I bought the DVD for Bleak House starring Gillian Anderson.

I like Jane Austen as much as anyone else though I've always had a hard time reading Dickens. But I thought, maybe watching it will be different, by which I mean better. After all, it's a series by Masterpiece Theater. It's got to be good, right? And I can crochet on my Babette blanket.

I watched the first half and I have to say I don't understand half of what's going on or why. Mostly the why. For example:

Why did John Jarndyce agree to take 3 complete strangers into his household at Bleak House?
Why did he make one of them his housekeeper out of the blue?
As much as I like Esther, said housekeeper, 3 different men have fallen in love with her within the first three hours.
Why are complete strangers confiding their innermost hopes and thoughts to one another soon after meeting?

What I do understand:
The case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is dragging on forever because there are multiple wills and a large fortune (and Bleak House) at stake. Which John Jarndyce 's brother committed suicide over.
Secret love affairs, babies born out of wedlock, marriages for status, drugs. That's drama no matter what century.

I'm hoping watching the second half will make more sense. But if Masterpiece Theater can't make me like Dickens, then nothing will.

Speaking of TV drama, I've been watching the Great Food Truck Race on Food Network. So far there have been 2 episodes and both times Nom Nom truck has won. Has me totally craving banh mi sandwiches.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Woman King and Four of the Final Five

Progress shot of my Babette blanket. I'm using black as the final round of each square. I really like how the oranges really pop. Makes me think of the juicies vs blahs rule discussed in the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book, about the miter square blanket. You need blah colors like tan, taupe, moss, etc for the juicy colors like lime, fushia, orange, etc to pop against.

I've been watching Leverage for the commentary and listening to the Battlestar Galactica podcasts. I love the discussion about how they decided to tell the story they told.

I finished BSG season 3 and have seen four of the final five cylons revealed. I knew who they were already, since I read up on them on Wikipedia. Still, it was very interesting to see how it happened.

I also watched the Woman King, widely cited as one of the worst episodes. That's all I knew about it, but based on the title, I assumed it had something to do with President Laura Roslin. It was about the ethnic discrimination against the Sagitarrons and was actually Hel0-centric.

In the podcast commentary, Ron Moore mentioned that he wanted BSG to break new ground and that this episode didn't do that. On the other hand, the Leverage commentaries say "you may call it a trope, I call it a time honored storytelling device."

I liked it anyway because it showed more about the different cultures on the different colonies. I'm a sociologist working with refugees and immigrants from every continent (other Antartica), so culture is very interesting to me. That's what makes Caprica appealing to me.

Also liked the episode "Dirty Hands" which discussed class issues in the colonies and one the ships. And it was written by Jane Espenson who wrote for Buffy, Firefly and now produces Caprica and Warehouse 13.

The BSG podcast mentioned that The Woman King was supposed to be Dualla-focused but became Helo-focused. Dirty Hands was supposed to be Dualla-focused but became Tyrol-focused. I am really disappointed by the way Dualla is treated. Moore talks about her in the commentary as being a very important character but that's not what we see in the way she's actually treated and shown in the episodes.

Even so, all in all, I think BSG ended season three strongly. Just got Razor today from Netflix but will watch it tomorrow, as I work some more on Babette. If only I could do this every day...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


What to do with all these ends? How to turn it to this neat border?
By encasing them in a knitted hem.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It is hot and humid in Atlanta. I have airconditioning and ceiling fan going. Therefore I have decided it's the perfect time to start a wool blanket.

What you see here is all the machine washable, worsted weight wool I have:
5 skeins cream
13 small balls of varying sizes in orange
8 balls red
5 balls purplish red
7 skeins green
4 skeins light blue
5 balls cornflower blue
4 balls medium blue
11 skeins dark blues
2 skeins brown
8 skeins black

Brands include Knitpicks, Phildar, Knitting Fever, Patons, Lang, Muskoka, and Lion Brand. Some I bought, others were given to me from my friends late mother's stash.

At bottom are strips of blues and greens from previous attempts to make a superwash blanket.

This time I will be making a crochet Babette blanket. I haven't finished the cotton stripy blanket yet, but the experience of dealing with all those ends to weave in drove me nuts. I'm knitting a hem to encase all those ends.

The beauty of crochet is that ends get encased in the crochet as I go along. Crochet also uses up a lot of yarn and I have a lot of yarn to use.

I've been wanting to make a Babette blanket for a long time and now that I have so much superwash wool, it's time to do it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finished the colorful stripy part of the blanket yesterday. It took 4 tries but this is what I had in mind. Next steps: knit on an i-cord edging, then pick up and knit on the side panels. Not sure how I'm going to finish this off. It's about the right size for a baby blanket, but the backside is so full of knots and stuff that I wouldn't want to give it away. I may have to back it with some fabric.

I got in all this knitting because I spent the weekend watching Battlestar Galactica and Leverage.
Regarding BSG, I got to the point where they found the Eye of Jupiter and Kara and Lee discuss the possibility of divorcing their spouses to marry each other.

In thinking about the romantic relationships on the show, they are all famously messed up. The healthiest relationships are Laura Roslin and Bill Adama (not married), and Athena and Helo Agathon (married). The Cylon-human marriage is healthier than any of the human-human marriages.

Regarding Leverage, I watched episodes here and there from seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. There were episodes like the Fairy-Godparents Job that I hadn't seen, and others, from Season 1 I had kind of forgotten about. And some I watched the episode and others I watched for the commentary.

And now, on Monday, I am sore all over. My elbows are sore from knitting with cotton yarn for hours. My back and other parts are sore from doing yoga and belly dancing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yoga and Belly-Dancing, Buffy and Serenity.

As part of my staycation weekend, I discovered FitTV on cable. I followed along on a yoga show imported from Canada. I realized that my legs are strong, the rest of me is not, and I am very not flexible. Ouch.

Then I followed along on a belly-dancing show called "Shimmy" imported from the UK I think, based on the narrator's accent. Unbeknownst to me, I've been belly dancing all this time. The moves very easy for me.

I liked how the belly-dancers had little pooches of a belly and the clothes they wore, even the low-rise bell-bottom pants, celebrated a curvy body. :) The yoga women on the other hand were not curvy at all.
I have a friend who's trying to sell a TV series to either Syfy or Lifetime channels. She went out to LA for a few weeks and shopped around her show and got some feedback from someone who works on Eureka (not a show I've watched, tho I've tried). His advice was for my friend to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

She came back to the East Coast and mainlined Buffy Season 1. She's seen Angel but not Buffy. At my urging, she watched Firefly but decided she doesn't like it since it's a Western in space and she doesn't like Westerns. Even though Firefly has Zoe and Wash! I also caught Serenity on Syfy. Almost had to look away when the moment came...

Anyway, she called to say that Buffy was amazing. The other feedback she got was to give her characters more shades of grey, to have some mythology to the series, and to make one of the male characters more heroic, like Angel. And to make the best friend more of an audience-surrogate. I just hope there's someone in her Scooby Gang who does with the wisecrackings.

But then, my type is the "large, semi-muscular" guy who relies more on his wits and (cute and goofy) charm, rather than guns and intimidation. Ah, Wash, and Xander, and Topher, but not as much. And I hope she puts in someone like Willow and Zoe.

But most of all, I hope she gets her show made! I told her I know how to make a good cup of coffee if she ever needed an assistant. Though I think I'd like to help with the casting. Wouldn't that be fun! Seriously, though, I'd love to help with the writing but I don't think I have the skills.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Staycation weekend

been a week since i posted. what a week.

got a mongo proposal done and sent in. is a pain, but buys me time for when I don't have things ready the day before for Fed Ex. also squeezed out a grant report that someone else was supposed to do. not gonna even start with the work drama.

worked a zillion hours last 2 weeks to get it done. taking Monday off to recuperate, even tho I didn't work over this weekend.

Husband and i were supposed to go to Buffalo for his annual family reunion but I just couldn't do it, so I bailed. Husband didn't want to go without me so he didn't go either. awww how sweet.

We had a little staycation weekend instead. It's restaurant week in downtown Atlanta, where participating restaurants offer a prix fix menu. I made reservations for us at Thrive, a place we hadn't been to before. It was okay. the shrimp salad was the best thing there.

In the mail we got our Dragon*Con progress report. So we headed up to the pool with adult beverages to plan our Labor Day weekend plans. Well I did. Husband played Angry Birds on his iPhone. that is an addictive, and deceptively difficult, little game.

Saturday we went to the Ga Aquarium to see the shark exhibit. Husband's been wanting to see it so I got us tickets. For dinner we had trout :)

Yesterday Husband went to work and I finally finished the BSG Season 3 disc I had. The last ep on the disc was the boxing one which showed life of New Caprica and the Sam-Kara-Lee-Dee situation. As much as I like Dee, my favorite part was seeing Laura and Bill hangout under the stars.

I also watched some fitness shows on FitTV station on cable. Caught the end of a yoga show and followed along with the belly-dancing show. My verdict: yoga is harder.