Archive for November, 2011

November 27, 2011

Things that need to happen right now

I offer evidentiary proof that I need a kitchen remodel.  My sanity and baked goods depend on it.  This is my entire working space!  At the very least, mama needs a new kitchen island.  Additionally, my kitchen appliances are committing mass suicide.  The fridge leaks, there’s a burning smell when I run my dishwasher, and none of my custards will set properly in the oven.  My kitchen is Jonestown.  Have resorted to trawling the aisles of hardware stores hoping to stumble into a reality show carpenter offering to “crash my kitchen”.  No luck yet although I do plan to propose marriage if I run into DIY network’s resident “yard crasher”, Ahmed Hassan: http://www.diynetwork.com/ahmed-hassan-bio/bio/index.html.

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November 15, 2011

Bits 2

I read an article a little while back celebrating the 60th anniversary of Ruth Orkin’s photograph, “An American Girl in Italy” on MSN.  They interviewed the photo’s subject, Ninalee Craig, who is now 83 and reflected back on the impact of the photo since it was taken in 1951.  And I just wanted to take a moment and share it with you because I find it to be so breathlessly romantic.  Within the article, they do discuss the sexist connotations that some people have derived from it, but I disagree.  I see a woman perfectly in control of herself, traveling abroad, an almost careless look on her face as she’s blissfully unaware of the effect she’s having on the men around her.  Probably on her way to some fabulous brunch, no doubt.  I suppose they could have called the image “An American Woman in Italy” but then it sounds less youthful and adventurous.

    • So, apparently Atlanta is not simply the town with the notoriously nightmarish airport that was nearly razed to the ground by General Sherman because the Confederacy refused to surrender it to Union troops (take that, Savannah!).  It is also the Zombie Capital Of The World!  The AMC series “The Walking Dead” is filmed there.  If anyone reading this isn’t watching it, you should at least give it a look.  And this is coming from an extreme hypochondriac whose nights are plagued by nightmares of zombie epidemics in the days after each week’s Sunday episode.  Worth it.  Anyways, it also boasts zombie film festivals, zombie parades, and zombie haunted houses.  The CDC headquarters in Atlanta even has a Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness section on their website (no, really): http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm.  In fact, all manner of paranormal creature has found a home in Atlanta as both “Teen Wolf” and “The Vampire Diaries” are filmed there.  Alright, admittedly, I can be caught watching “The Vampire Diaries” occasionally although that doesn’t prevent me from periodically bursting into laughter at unintentionally funny moments.  It took me about ten minutes into my first show to realize that the gruff voices and brooding expressions weren’t part of some sort of elaborate farce and that they were meant to be taken seriously.  That’s how overwrought it is; I mistook it for a parody of teen vampire shows.  Anyways (Wow, this is a distractable post!), check out this funny article about the throngs of Atlantans auditioning to be zombie extras for “The Walking Dead”.  My favorite part…when a zombie extra is receiving direction from one of the show’s executive producers: “That’s when we cut to you.  And you go ‘Munch, munch, munch, munch'”.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/us/zombie-apocalypse-in-atlanta.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig
    • In the news: Congratulations to the citizens of Mississippi and Maine for voting in line with my own personal belief system and winning!  And to the graceful losers: the fact that you got legislation so atrocious onto the ballot in the first place is astounding and a victory all by itself.  To Penn State students: is there something in the water that causes Pennsylvanians to riot everytime something sports-related ends unfavorably for them?  Ah, the willful ignornance of youth…

Ok, I do not normally get my news from the UK’s Daily Mail and, in fact, find it to be filled with the most mean-spirited smut.  British tabloids, ruining Britain’s reputation as the most civilized society in the world one illegal phone hack at a time.  But I did love this tale about a horse and his owner who do yoga together.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2034410/Lewis-Egyptian-Arabian-horse-Still-competing-old-age-beating-stiffness-joints–doing-YOGA.html

How cute is that?!?  Apparently, Linda, ertswhile equine yoga instructor, began doing yoga to overcome a chronic back injury, and Lewis, her Arabian horse of advanced age, began mimicking her poses.  Linda claims it has helped Lewis’ stiff joints, and he’s able to return to competitions because of it.  Now I don’t know about the therapeutic benefits of yoga to horses personally, but I still thought it was a charming story.

  • For those of you foolish few who have not done so already, you have until March 23, 2012 to read The Hunger Games before the movie is released.  “Good Morning America” showed the first trailer for the movie yesterday morning during the show.  The link to view that is here, courtesy of Lauren, who is getting me fiendishly excited about it against my will (if we get too wound up, we’ll spoil it for ourselves!): http://jezebel.com/5859211/finally-watch-the-official-tingle+inducing-hunger-games-trailer.  All you newbies have to do is read one piddling book before then, and you will not regret it.  In fact, I challenge you to just read the one and NOT finish the entire trilogy during one sleep-deprived, swollen-eyed weekend.
  • So, it’s no secret.  I want an iPhone.  I ABHOR my current phone and can’t wait to be part of the brainwashed masses who tolerate Apple’s frustrating quirks and pomposity so they can get their hands on technology smarter than they are.  The other day, I read this interesting article about one of the most tantalizing features of the newest iPhone 4S: the voice-activated virtual “assistant”, Siri.  It delves into the complexities and implications of why, in our society, robot voices are female when they are meant to be helpful or performing some service and male when they are meant to be commanding or menacing or even villanous, such as Stanley Kubrick’s homicidal HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey” [shudders running down spine].  I completely agree that women’s voices are more soothing (and sexy).  And I like the interpretation that the nurturing role of women accounts, at least biologically, for our preference for female voices.  Women as caretakers and nurturers are woefully undervalued in our society, and I don’t just mean in the home; these characteristics have tremendous value in the job world as well.  And I also agree that this stems from a learned behavior as well: that we’ve grown accustomed to female voices in the capacity of an “assistant”…secretaries, telephone operators, flight attendants, teachers.  But I think that while we should diminish the concept of assigning gender to jobs (what is men’s work and women’s work), we should also embrace the fact that, generally speaking, distinctly masculine and feminine characteristics do exist and that is the key to treating “male” and “female” jobs with equal worth.  In the meantime, I still want an iPhone.  Here’s the link: http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/21/tech/innovation/female-computer-voices/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn.  If you read only one article from this post, it should be this one; it’s a very intriguing discussion.  By the way, what’s the matter with Germans?  Their sentiments about not taking orders from a female GPS voice are not improving their global reputation.

I am madly in love.  I bought and have begun knitting with the Harmony Wood Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needle Set from Knitpicks.com.  I may never use a straight needle again.  They are so versatile and pretty!  Incidentally, anyone in need of a rag tag assortment of straight needles should let me know.

    

November 8, 2011

Plumbing new economic markets…I think this one could take off!

My response to Andreas’ crude joke about the usefulness of knitting in his life.  Methinks this could be the next holiday gift-giving craze!  Ladies, a Christmas gift idea for the man in your life who doesn’t easily get cold but, on particularly frosty nights, would like just the right amount of specific warmth.  I am currently accepting requests for size and color preferences (Please don’t actually respond to this; I think I’ve reached the maximum level of vulgarity I care to!).  This project ate up about three precious hours of my time one evening…worth it.  I think I’ve made my point.  For the warily curious, he does actually use it…as a case for his mobile phone.  It’s ribbed.  Ok, now I’m seriously done.

November 7, 2011

My favorite fashion in cinema

So, the Greek has this thing about scenery.  He will make me watch the most awful movies imaginable just because he loves the landscapes so much.  But I must admit I have the same issue with fashion.  Victorian gowns, fringed flapper dresses, and my personal favorite, classical gowns from the ’40’s and ’50’s.  I will watch movies purely to ogle the clothes to many searing looks of disdain from my Greek who does not share my affectation.  My most recent violation was “Bye Bye Birdie”, among the more silly of teen movies.  Does anyone even know what was happening in that movie?  But then a sultry, 22-year old Ann Margret starts bopping around the floor in a belly baring pink top with tiered ruffles and hot pink hot pants, and I remember.  Seriously, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS38PiZ2-RA&feature=related.  She’s supposed to be a 16-year old girl!  Anyways, I thought this would be a prime opportunity to introduce some of my top picks for fashion moments in movies.

1.)   I think I’ll began with perhaps my most favorite, a dress so special it inspired this entire post: Keira Knightley’s flowing green satin gown in “Atonement”.  I may have even read the book just to make sure the dress was in there too.  I won’t keeping talking on about it; it just cheapens it.

2.)   Grace Kelly’s black and white tulle gown in “Rear Window”: an incredible garment on perhaps the most beautiful woman in the world.  Its beauty is further excentuated by her being in Jimmy Stewart’s shabby apartment while he’s adorned in striped pajamas and a leg cast at the time.

3.)   Audrey Hepburn’s black and white lace dress and unbelievable hat in “My Fair Lady”.  In fact, that whole scene at the horse races and the high fashion hilarity that ensued with all those dry, crusty aristocrats parading around in their outlandish hats should be included.  It makes me long for the days when one could stroll around with a lace parasol, and people wouldn’t think she was strange.

4.)   Natalie Portman’s Victorian bodice gown in “The Other Boleyn Girl”.  Apparently, the movie’s advertisers agreed with me as the gown streams across the cover of the DVD, and it accomplishes its goal: it completely captivates the eye.  It’s the dress she wore when she swept into court and seduced the king.

                                 

5.)   So, just as the only reason to watch “Bye Bye Birdie” is the “Lot of Livin'” number, so is the black and white ball and the elaborate ballet production that follows for “An American in Paris”.  Amazing costumes, outstanding 16-minute, Gene Kelly-choreographed and danced number; it’s just so ’60’s Paris mod fashion.

6.)   Essentially all the fashion in “Sex and the City: The Movie” with special recognition to the wedding dresses, every last lovely one of them!  And the wedding shoes, let’s not forget the wedding shoes: the jewel-toned and jeweled Manolo Blahnik blue satin stiletto.  There is, as always, no other reason to watch that movie.  On a side note, it also occurs to me that that show has lost a lot of its relevance in our current economic and political landscape.  I was recently watching a rerun, and Charlotte was interested in a trader from Bear Stearns, which then caused me to wonder if her Prince Charming was one of the ones pushing subprime mortgage-backed securities and cooking the books that led to the US financial collapse in 2009 and wiped out a bunch of people’s retirement funds.  And I distinctly recall an episode where they discussed the merits of voting for Presidents based purely on looks.  Ah, it was a better time for lite fare back then, I suppose.

                   

7.)   The green sequined number on Cyd Charisse and the green leaf dress on Debbie Reynolds in “Singin’ in the Rain”.  The whole movie was conceptualized as one elaborate song-and-dance number and fashion show with the flimsy remnants of a plot surrounding it.  The movie twists and mutates painfully in order to incorporate a grab bag of disparate ideas seemingly thrown out at random by the movie’s makers.  The entire movie is actually inspired by the song itself if that tells you anything.  They made an entire movie with a three-minute song as its sole inspiration.  But my, my, what a song-and-dance number and fashion show!

    

8.)   Ok, I don’t mean to be predictable, but I must mention Audrey Hepburn’s LBD in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  The dress was created by Givenchy expressly for Audrey herself, a prime example of one of my likely-to-go-unfulfilled life dreams.  Can you imagine?  A top fashion designer building a dress with you and only you as his inspiration.  It makes me all tingly inside.

9.)   You can’t see it from the image I uploaded, and I couldn’t find an image of it, but what really makes Eva Marie Saint’s red floral dress in “North by Northwest” so extraordinary is the matching deep red stone necklace that accompanies it.  It’s an incredible dress as well, dark and mysterious; Alfred Hitchcock is exceptional at creating mood with scenery in his movies, and fashion plays a huge part in that.

As a ponder the fact that I have no idea how long WordPress allows one’s blog posts to be, I’ll wrap it up.  There shall certainly be more posts like this to follow as my obssession with old movies and fashion is so immense, it couldn’t possibly fit into a single post anyway.  Plus, you’ve apparently stuck with me this far, which was kind of you, so I’ll give you a break and your eyes a rest and say farewell for now.

November 7, 2011

“My first completed knitting project!” Or, “Dabbling in animal cruelty”

I think I may have found my new models for all future knitting projects!  The boys and I had a photoshoot last night for my first wearable knitted garment.  It’s just a simple forest green garter stitch scarf with fringe.  I do love the color though.  Finally got the bloody thing onto my blog!

Otis was surprisingly cooperative.

  

Jack Jack required me to wiggle my toes at the end to keep him distracted.

And one of me for good measure.  Yeah, I’m that crazy cat lady.  This is how I spend my evenings.  Whatever, I’m comfortable with it.

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