Saturday, February 27, 2010

Knitting Olympics 2010 done!

final dimensions: 30.5 inches by 30.5 inches.
yarns: worsted weight cottons held double.
needle: size 10 US
garter stitch with a crochet border
started Feb 12, 2010, finished Feb 26, 2010, 2 days before the deadline, which is the closing ceremonies of the winter olympics.

The friend I made the blanket for is expecting her first baby, a boy, in March. Her baby shower was Thursday night but I was too sick to go. She is supposed to be at a party I'm going to tonight, so I'll give it to her then.

Things that helped me get this project done:
1. big needles
2. being sick and staying home for 2 days. lots of knitting time when not napping.
3. garter stitch. so mindless, it's easy knitting even when woozy.
4. lots of TV. I watched 9 the movie about the ragdolls who come to life after the apocalypse. I watched almost all the episodes of Caprica to date on Hulu. I did manage to catch one episode on SyFy.

I missed the Battlestar Galactica boat but it's next in my Netflix queue. So I wanted to be sure to catch the Caprica boat. My favorite characters so far are Zoe, Lacy, Tamara and Sam. It's very much a character-driven drama in a sci fi setting, which I think is my favorite kind of show. Maybe I should start watching Fringe.

I'm not so much into the fighting and explosions. When I watched Buffy and Angel, I would fast forward through the fights. But pause and rewind if I saw them stop to talk. Never know when there'd be a bon mot, which is part of the joy of watching a Whedon show, the dialogue.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Winter sports

Yesterday, I got up for jury duty and thought I'd take another look at where I was to report. Upon closer reading of the jury summons, it turns out I was in a standby group. I love that we can call in and see which groups need to report the next day and it turns out my group wasn't called for duty. So back to bed I went.

I ended up taking 3 naps yesterday. It was great.

Today, I'm taking another sick day. I'm feeling better, but why push it. I will have to go into the office on Sunday to get some things done for Monday, but no other pressing things, so I'm taking it easy today. May take only 1 nap today.

So I'm watching women's curling on the winter Olympics. Kind of a funny sport. I think of a sport as something that requires skills and physical prowess. You know, something that makes you sweat and breathe hard. Not seeing much exertion in curling. Skills and strategy I see, but not sweat. It's a sedate game with lots of contemplation of strategy.

Later in the day I'm going to buy tickets for an Atlanta Thrashers hockey game. Now that's a sport. There's definitely physical exertion. Skills and strategy too but not as contemplative.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Knitting Olympics Day 13

This is how far I've gotten on the baby blanket. Tomorrow I have jury duty so that's another full day of knitting.
I've gotten knitting needles through court house security a bunch of times so I know I'll be able to knit while waiting. And the magazine's for tomorrow too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Future TV

The ones that I'm looking forward to are:
1. La Femme Nikita remake. I missed the Alias boat and would like to see a show headlined by a kick ass woman. And in this case, an Asian American woman! That would be reason alone for me to watch. The only other show I can think of where the main character is an Asian American, woman or man, is "All American Girl" starring Margaret Cho.
2. Undercovers. Again another spy show, with a wife-and-husband team. Boris Kodjoe plays the husband and he's one of my co-worker's eye candy guys. Notably Kodjoe is black. Between this and La Femme Nikita, the diversity of sci fi TV certainly has improved since the 1990s. I'm thinking of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Sliders which ran 1995 to 2000s. Even though the shows are set in California (LA and San Fran respectively) they barely showed any Asian Americans or Latino/as. How can you set a show in those places and not have a significant character be Asian American or Latina? At least the police procedurals have always known to have characters of color but sci fi is behind the curve. Where was I? Oh yes, Undercovers which is created by J.J. Abrams.
3. American remake of Torchwood. Loved the British original but if they don't keep Captain Jack omnisexual, then it's just not Torchwood, and then what's the point?
4. The Walking Dead. But mainly because it's set in Georgia and Atlanta where I live. I'm not really a fan of the zombie genre.
5. The Star Wars Live Action Show. Because I was born in 1970 and Star Wars is the defining movie of my childhood. It's what turned me onto sci fi which remains my fave genre.
6. Whatever Joss Whedon makes next.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is a hero?

Here is a post at Newicue listing the author's top 10 Whedonverse heroes. It certainly has sparked a lot of controversy. Part of it stems from the fact that different people have different definitions of the word "hero."

This is the list of Newicue's top 10 Whedonverse heroes:

Runner Up: Andrew

10. Spike

9. Wash

8. River

7. Giles

6. Jayne

5. Angel

4. Mal

3. Anya

2. Illyria

1. Wes

Right away, you can see the controversy. There's No Buffy (or Willow, Xander, Faith). On a list of Whedonverse Heroes. My other gripe is that Newicue left off Zoe, who with Mal, are the Big Damn Heroes.

If you define Hero as a person who fights the hardest for the side of good, then Buffy certainly belongs on the list.

However, there are many definitions of hero. In Serenity the movie, Mal and Zoe define a hero as someone who gets other people killed. Well, that's certainly not the case with some of the people on this list. Certainly Wash didn't get anyone killed, at least not directly. I suppose as part of the Serenity crew he got Book killed as well as the others who gave them sanctuary.

Newicue certainly has a list of great characters, but I think more of protagonists rather than heroes.

Because of the pushback they got, Newicue is doing a poll on the readers' favorite heroes. And of villains.

My definition of hero is someone who fights hard for the side of good. My favorite heroes are the ones who do it despite their own shortcomings (okay who doesn't have flaws?) and despite the odds of them succeeding. I'm also including characters who grew and changed in interesting ways. I guess in some ways, my criteria is similar as the criteria used by Newicue.

So here's my list by order of shows:

1. Buffy
2. Willow
3. Xander
4. Faith
5. Wes
6. Cordelia
7. Mal
8. Zoe
9. River
10. Simon
11. Adelle
12. Topher

My favorite all round characters, though not necessarily heroes, would include

1. Dawn

2. Wash

3. Sierra

4. November

5. Fred

6. Connor

7. Jayne

8. Spike

9. Lindsey -- but that may just be because I think Christian Kane is hot. Loving him on Leverage.

10. Drucilla

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boy or Girl?

Other than the opening ceremony, I haven't really made the Winter Olympics 2010 appointment watching.

Here's a gem from Jane Brocket's blog about the Olympics that I thought I'd share:
There are also some phenomenal thighs and gloriously weird outfits in the speedskating events - and the added entertainment of trying to guess from looking at the competitors whether we are watching a men's or a women's event.

The friend's baby blanket continues apace. Picture to come when I get onto to circular needles so it will lay flat. Otherwise you can't really tell what it looks like.

The friend's baby shower is Feb 25, one week away. At this pace, I think I'll make it. It's cotton yarn, so my arms, wrists, and elbows certainly are feeling it.

On Feb 25, I also have jury duty. I keep looking at the blue, green, yellow, and white yarn and think crochet blanket. I also think "crochet needle easier to get past courthouse security than pointy needles."

Actually, I took knitting needles into a courthouse on Monday with no problem. But still, I saw a crochet blanket in the background on Shades of Ray (watched it on and have it in my head to crochet a blanket. Never mind that I have 6 unfinished projects, all hiding under the couch. I counted when I cleared out my knitting basket to make room for the Knitting Olympics baby blanket.

Shades of Ray was a cute movie, starring Zachary Levi (Chuck on "Chuck") as Ray, a half Pakistani-half white guy torn between his white girfriend Noelle and a new interest, Sana, a woman who's also Pakistani-half white. She's played by Sarah Shahi, who was on the L-Word.

It's a romantic comedy, with things to say about love, marriage (Ray's parents get a pretty good story line and Sana's parents to a lesser extent), family expectations, race, culture and self-awareness. Fran Kranz (Topher on "Dollhouse") plays Ray's best friend Sal. Sal was Topher as a clueless guy who doesn't understand women.

After I saw Shades of Ray and saw the connection to the L-Word, I was at the library and saw they had season one, discs 1 and 2 of the L-Word, so that came home with me. Have yet to watch it, or season 1 disc 1 of Mad Men.

In other TV watching news, I'm watching Sliders on Hulu. I understand that season 1 and 2 are good, and 3, 4, and 5 not so good. Lucky me that only seasons 1 and 2 are on Hulu. So far the sociologist in me is enjoying the different alternate Earths they go to. What if the USSR won the Cold War? What if penicillin and modern medicine was never invented? What if, what if, what if?

It's also funny to see the mid 1990s fashions and the total lack of cellphones.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

KO 2010 day 3

This is how far I've gotten on the blanket, with iPhone for scale.

Also, I'm getting frustrated with the KnitPicks Options needles. The collar where the interchangeable needles screw onto the cable keep coming off. I know it's easy enought to glue it back on. However, the product shouldn't have failed to begin with.

If it was only one of the collars to fail, I'd figure it was just that one. However multiple collars have come off different cables and so I think it's just the quality of the product.

I'm going back to Susan Bates or the bamboo needles. Actually, I like the bamboo ones better because the size is printed on the needles themselves so I can tell right away what size they are.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Knitting Olympics 2010 open

This is how much I've gotten done on my Knitting Olympics project. It will be a baby blanket for a friend, a feminist expecting a boy.

The center is a square of this pink/navy yarn, then a ring of white, a ring of baby blue, then white, etc as you can see going outward.

I also bought this yarn, because I just love the combo of blue/green/yellow/white. I guess I'll use it for another blanket another time. Someone I know is bound to have another baby sometime.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ah, brainy not just busty

seen on a car on the way home yesterday. added bonus, her legs are realistic size if not the waist

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Knitting Olympics

Just signed up. Look at this list of participants!

The Knitting Olympics is run by the Yarn Harlot. Details here, including the link to sign up.

Per the Yarn Harlot's post linked above, this is how the KO works:

Eligibility: Any knitter who, embracing the "Citius, Alitius Fortius" ideal, would like to challenge themselves while embracing the Olympic spirit, and is just whacked enough to play along with me.
Concept: You must cast on a project during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, Friday, February 12, 2010 and finish before the Olympic flame goes out Sunday, February 28. That's 17 days.
1. The project must be a challenge for you to complete in 17 days.
2. There are no rules about what a challenge would be. Like the real Olympics, there are many areas to compete in. If you are a new knitter, then a garter stitch baby sweater might do...If you are experienced, use your own conscience.
3. While this is intended to be somewhat difficult (like the Olympics) it is not intended to ruin your life. Don't set yourself up for failure. (Olympic athletes may cry, but they do not whine pitifully, sob and threaten members of their family with pointed sticks because they haven't slept in five days. ) This is intended to (like the Olympics) require some measure of sacrifice, and be difficult, but it should be possible to attain.
4. No casting on before the flame is lit. (The opening ceremonies run from 6-8 pst. If you can't watch, then I'd pick a time in there.)
5. Finish before the flame goes out.
6. You may swatch before the games. (I consider this "training.")

I'll be making a baby blanket for a friend who's due in March. Her baby shower is Feb 25, before the end of the Olympics. So the challenge for me will be speed, not level of knitting difficulty.

Progress pictures will be posted as I go.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Looking for Book Recommendations

This is what I'm looking for - a book that's like the show Leverage or the movie Ocean's Eleven. Lighthearted, witty, heist/caper. Female characters that are more than just the protagonist's love interest. It would be great if the main character was a woman. of color. And passes the Bechdel test: 2 women have a conversation that's not about a man. Only I would want there to be 2 main characters who are women who have a significant conversation that's not about a man.

I like the Ocean's Eleven movie, as it's full of male eye-candy. However, it was full. of. males. the only female character was played by Julia Roberts and she was the love interest wanted by the male protagonist and the male antagonist.

Leverage, on the other hand, the protagonists are evenly divided between men and women, now that they've added Tara. Who I hope stays. I like that Jeri Ryan is clearly 40 years old and is not classically beautiful. You can see her wrinkles and still pulls off playing the hottie. The women and men are equal partners in pulling off the heist/caper.

So, I'm looking for a book like the show Leverage. Light in tone, not some dark thriller. And no cozy murder mysteries please.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Ads: Misogyny on Display

Last night I "watched" the Superbowl. That is, Husband was watching it in an adjascent room while I carved on my pottery. I looked up for the commercials, since there's so much hype about them that they have become a pop phenomenon.

The hostility towards women and the insults aimed as women were really clear. Slate's Ad Report Card, written by a man, comments about them here.

The most egregious examples are:

In an ad for the Dodge Charger, men stare into the camera with expressions of either defeated resignation or seething resentment. "I will be civil to your mother, I will put the seat down," goes one section of the voiceover litany—much of which centers on how unbearable it is for men to listen to the opinions of, and on occasion respect the wishes of, women. The Charger is billed as "man's last stand." Not long after, an ad for Flo TV declares that when a man goes shopping with his girlfriend she has "removed his spine." He is urged to "change out of that skirt." Is it me, or was this year's dose of casual misogyny a little rawer and angrier than usual? Are men feeling especially threatened by the fragile economy and by the fact that the vast majority of job losses have afflicted traditionally male, working-class strongholds like manufacturing and construction (the kind of guys I picture wanting … a Dodge Charger)?

The comments in the Slate post also note the misogyny.

The Google ad, on the other hand, was really nice and sweet. And the NFL had Mark Sanchez do an ad spotlighting women's heart disease, which is often overlooked.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trip Deferred

Next week, Husband and I were to go to New York City to celebrate his 40th birthday. However, he's been called into trial (he's a lawyer) for the Monday after we would get back.

No one else on his team can do the trial, so we've cancelled the trip so he can prepare.

Now I'm trying to think of something we can do in town so he can still mark this life milestone.

Monday, February 1, 2010

You Don't Own Me

The topic of the Crankshaft comic on Sunday was protest songs. Click here for a link to see the comic.

Here's the gist of the comic. The husband is e-mailing back and forth with a friend about the best protest songs. Suggestions include "We Shall Overcome" and "My Land is Your Land" The wife says her favorite protest song is "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore.

So I looked it up and here are the lyrics:

You don't own me
I'm not just one of your many toys
You don't own me
Don't say I can't go out with other boys

And don't tell me what to do
Don't tell me what to say
And please when I go out with you
don't put me on display

Cuz ... you don't own me
Don't try to change me in any way
You don't own me
Don't try to cuz I'll never stay

I don't tell you what to say
I don't tell me what to do
So just let me be myself
That's all I ask of you

I'm young and I love to be young
I'm free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please...