Saturday, December 31, 2005

About King Kong

and by the way... Happy New Year!

About King Kong -- it is now 10:55 pm and we just returned from the movie.

I have to say I was impressed -- beyoond my expectations of a remake. There were only a few of the scenes where I felt Peter Jackson had taken the 'big scary monster flick' agenda too far. There was one scene that stretched a little longer than the concept warranted, but J pointed out it was part of the 'homage' to the original -- and thus essential.

Scenery was, of course, OMG beautiful. If half of the costumes came back into fashion again (among young people), IMHO, the world would be a much better place (except in summer). ;o) but that is my opinion. I like clothes that cover what is supposed to be covered (natives and ladies-being-carried-through-jungle excused)

Overall the movie was sweet. It also caught my attention from the start with a good story - and kept it flowing even through the often-grisly action scenes. I had heard rumor that it could have benefited from an 'intermission' period. On that point I agree! But, if one is willing to sit through a three hour+ movie... it is highly reccommended.

We were set to receive the original by Netflix in about ... three years. I've asked J to bump that up to only a few months ;o)

Calling cats

I actually caught myself saying this the other day ...
'I'm a little mad at my cat, she didn't come when I called.'

Links :
Johnny Yanok (artist) <--whimsical cards
Matt Manley (artist) <--really cool, reminds me of DaVinci choose the English, and then the little duck for some cool games! I like the memory one.
I want to make one of these striped-leg chickens.

We are watching the series Lone Gunmen. Tagline on imdb : Their missions aren't impossible... they just make them look that way. J says King Kong is getting a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, I guess we are going to see it tonight at 7 pm. Reviews later -- I don't really expect it to have a high plot-content.

I'm half-spoiling it for myself by reading this review at Bob's Film Journal.

I am drinking way too much cocoa and not knitting much. I have to clean for the landlord coming on Monday. :o( Sally no longer enjoys rides to the office. She is convinced that the car we borrowed takes 17 hours to get anywhere, and thus meows constantly while we drive. However, Willow and Sally are both extremely happy to be in the house (a large, non-moving cat carrier with all the amenities).

Friday, December 30, 2005

Pink for Sally

Breakfast with Sally, a colour palette. All about Miss Sally-Mander.

Today's links :
Molly Chicken
Mike Burnett (artist)
neat moving-parts wooden figures
ThinkMule - work of Jeremy Pruitt
I went through a phase in drawing EXTREMELY similar to this 'lion?'... hmm...
Mine was caused by viewing lots of Mayan and Australian Aborigine art...I kinda miss it.

Okay, if you can find the original text of this Prarie Home Companion joke, let me know! I'd love to link it instead. I bored the ears off half of my family this Christmas with this joke, but never failed to get a smile as well. Otherwise, here goes... my own half-remembered, much elaborated upon version.

Ole, my uncle, was a Norwegian bachelor farmer, you know -- the ones with hair growing out of their nose and ears so long you could comb it. No one knew if it was the chicken or the egg, whether they were bachelors because of the nose and ear hair or if they just let it grow after the fact was decided...

Well anyway, Ole was out front of his house, trying to teach his new dog how to fetch. She wasn't listening -- no way was she going to go run down that frisbee for a man with a beard growing out of, not under, his nose.

And then, just as Ole was getting ready to yell at the dog one last time -- a big tornado came down and picked up Ole, his dog, and the whole house and set them back down 50 feet in a gully.

After that, Ole's dog became the best-trained dog you could ever imagine.

She could vaccuum the house, go to the grocery store, the liqour store and the gas station. She would bring back all the food untouched in a paper bag - even the sausage and bacon. Because, you see... she figured, any man who could do that to a house... well, maybe that was someone she would listen to.

Paraphrased badly from a Prarie Home Companion joke of unknown date

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Odd Hobbies

Part of my colour picking hobby

Okay, maybe I am easily amused. Here are some of the odd hobbies I've picked up in the past year or so. Not to say these are ALL of my hobbies.. I seem to be aiming at being a jack-of-all-trades... (origami, weaving, inkwork, printmaking, gardening, cooking, woodcarving etc etc) I do ask myself though... when am I going to master any of these??

1. collecting images of Japanese sewing and crafts (actually, links to them)
-- Crafting Japanese (the website) is cool!
2. drawing little images for dishtowels and embroidery
3. picking colours for making web pages (out of other images)
--and sometimes profiling all the colours in an image before getting a good combo
4. blogging (heh)
-- reading lots of other people's blogs
5. collecting old vintage sewing patterns (40s,50s,60s)
6. watching Akira Kurosawa films
7. sending books by mail to my niece, mostly science books
8. attempting home tailoring (partial success)
9. learning more knitting -- socks, hats, household items
10. CSS and Python coding - both of these are new in the last year.

More likely, I am NOT easily amused... but instead need a lot of varied tasks to shuffle at all times to remain amused. Hmm?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Back from the road

We pulled in at three this morning -- the trip up was good, the trip back could have been better. There is a place called the Belvidere Oasis (near Rockford, IL) that needs to seriously re-think their traffic-flow design. J pulled our vehicle through the 'truckers' area of a one-way gas station that had No Turns, One-Way and Do Not Enter signs all the way through it -- you couldn't get back to the car section, or turn around. We had to go back on the freeway, BACK through a toll road, and get gas at another place before we could go onto our next exit. Nice. Okay, I vented about Belvidere. The guy at the pretzel place in the food court told us what we could do so we didn't run out of gas. Thanks!

The kittens went to Minnesota with us. The ride up was tolerable. It was only 17 hours straight through in the car (EEP!). They loved J's mom's upstairs room where we slept. They ran back and forth like a racetrack and met lots of new people. J's Mom has a large fluffy black cat that wanted desparately to play - but the girls would run away every time. On the way back (4 more hours than the trip up) Sally was NOT happy. There was no consoling her. I felt awful - because I couldn't control her in the cab and thus she had to ride in the cat carrier while Willow slept sprawled on my lap for the last six hours. Remember the pink toy bunny I knit? Sally finally went to sleep when I put it in front of the carrier door. She took out some frustration on it and then laid down to sleep with her nose touching it. BTW, the leash and harness thing didn't work.

Anything good about the vacation? J's family was great. We went to two different gatherings. As I am not fond of large groups, it was surprising how great it all turned out. My family survived. Everything seemed to get better, then we had a strange mini-crisis I don't want to get into... so we ended up with a delicate balance of stress and relaxation.

I knitted some dishcloths and FINISHED the red socks. I'll have to post the new kitten toy I've been making -- a kitten bow-tie/mouse.

Now back to the regular routine (and happy for it). Hope you all had a good holiday, or even better...

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Long Road Home (and back)

heh, isn't that the title of a book? probably. anyway -- We are heading off for our long trip driving to Minnesota. We leave tomorrow morning in the wee hours, about 6 am. The kittens are NOT going to like this :o( We tried out the cat carrier in the borrowed car on the way home last night and heard 'mew, myar, let-me-out' all the way. Not to mention the little paws reaching out and rattling the door every few minutes.

J and I both agree it would be even more cruel to leave them alone, even with someone that would take care of them. We did have two good offers at the office where they would have been safe. It is 10 days though, and that is a long time in 'kitten hours'. Their habit of 'lets-go-find-them' whenever we go to another room is enough to know they would miss us terribly. When we have to leave them at home for a day, the food bowls are still mostly full -- even if it has been eight or ten hours before we return.

J bought harnesses and leashes for them last night. We can't let them roam free in the borrowed car. The cat carrier is large enough for them both to lie down and move around. Still, we will be letting them have some stretch time at wayside rests if they can bear the cold. I marked their collars with their names, our name and a Minnesota phone # that has an answering machine, just in case.

I hope to get a lot of knitting done on the way up. Most of our things will be packed by tonight. I stayed up till five AM this morning making our Christmas cards and trying to get the last of our gifts for the office ready. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what gifts we will give up North - I have a few painted canisters and time to knit a few small items. J wants to make cookies (vegan!) as soon as we get there. He plans to give cookies and peppermint plants for his family's gifts.

So, we are off on an eighteen-hour drive, with cats. Wish us luck, please? ;o)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Cayenne peppers

Cayennes from our garden
There were some cool yellow ones on a ristra,
but I didn't want to take them off.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Purple oak leaves and red sock
+ puppy challenge!

I brought my red knit-a-long socks to work today. I'm going to work a little bit on them after my programming and website work is done.

In other news, I found this beautiful purple oak leaf on the road from the office. It is not perfect(Actually it is a bit chewed-on.) The colours astonished me!

Challenge : Make this with me! A cute abstract puppy just waiting to be sewn. I can see them dancing in a mobile or as appliques on bags, pillows etc etc.. What will you make?

Email me the results at or make a comment to this post!

Note for myself on Retrofish : Here is another shop keeper's art -- something to aspire to.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Kitty Cleans Up

copyright Marie Winger-Meyer 2005
I wish my kittens helped like this!
original design by me

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday morning + Retrofish cards and designs

Had a scare from Minnesota this morning -- everything is OK now. J's mother is a blessing for helping out in a time of emergency!

J and I made Vegan chocolate chip cookies last night. He found the recipe link on a message board he visits. We also made potato soup, which will be "frozen tv-dinner" until we go to Minnesota.

Retrofish Cards and Designs
click to visit

My original work : 'Retrofish'
done in the GIMP
inspired by

Our boss stopped by to pick up J yesterday, to do some outside work at the office. He called an hour before, and in that hour, our house got speed-cleaned!

I freak out so badly when someone comes to see our house... but I swear it has to be genetic. I remember our family always doing the 'this-house-is-a-mess' sprint when our friends or distant relatives would visit. I am so glad though, as the rest of the day was beautiful and relaxing. Painted two baking-powder canisters that otherwise would have been thrown away. J said they look great! I'm looking for a bamboo design to paint over the apple-greeen colour.

Knitting : 1 dishcloth, part of a dishtowel.
Quilting: Found one of my old quilt-tops almost done in a moving box. I think it will get done on Sunday evening. Just three more long seams and then to find a backing.

In other news -
The new Knitty is out, and MagKnits too!

Note : There IS another 'retrofish' out there - but they sell kayaks, and do not have the name 'Cards and Designs' as part of the title.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cats and Dogs! (dog coat, that is...)

The dog coat has been finished — but I couldn't get a picture! So, here are a couple. The coat is seen 'on-the-dog'... I tied up a pillow using measurements my Mom gave me over the phone. I think it will fit him -- but I remember him fatter! I HOPE it fits. We will be up in Minnesota for ten days starting on the 17th of December. There might be time then to make adjustments or even reknit, if necessary. Of course, "Miss Salamander" had to check it out, and ended up sleeping on the chair next to it later on.

The original photo was out-of-focus. I think this GIMPed version is beautiful. I loved the light angle and the stripes and clouds in Willow's fur really stood out in black-and-white.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Computer editor makes a joke

I edit articles for an online magazine as part of my job (my actual job description varies upon the needs of the day, but this is constant).

Fun note today :

Task : There is an article that needs a comma placed after 'mad' in the sentence '..academic elites have gone utterly mad at a time when...'

Process : Ask the editor program to search for the word 'utterly' since it is unusual. However, I happen to have my cursor about three paragraphs beneath the area I actually needed to be.

Response from computer : 'Search failed -- 'utterly'.

:o) I thought it was funny ;o)


YARN ARRIVAL :Knitpicks came! Wool yarn! (bliss)
CURRENTLY KNITTING :2 wool placemats to felt (home)
PLANNING TO KNIT :more cotton dishcloths (office gifts)
Link : Rabbit Tea Towels! I like! I have some of my own rabbit designs I've drawn.
Deja Vu : I could SWEAR I'd seen the 'Monday' rabbit when I was little!
Recipe : Actually, I recall MY mother's acorn squash fondly... making one tonight for me!
Note : I want a project scheduler on my desktop to keep track of some of the gifts I am making

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some things about me

I saw this in quite a few places -- and thought I'd join in.
Maybe it will tell you a lot about me!

I like...
Yarn! (and wool in general)
knitted socks
the smell of Lemons
Ranma 1/2
Fuji apples
drawing in ink
working with my hands
some types of music - classical, rock and jazz
putting colours together
playing Scrabble
having long talks with my Mom
Coffee. Lots of Coffee.
knowing how to help
making something useful (and using it)
cloth with lots of texture
the sweet expression on a sleeping kitten
strong plain green tea
rugs on wooden floors
Asian-style grocery stores
good science-fiction and mystery stories
old Japanese-style architecture
getting real mail
black olives
antique/variety stores
sitting on the front porch with J in the summer
"knowing how", crafts and techniques for making things
using lots of different spices in cooking
the smell of the leaves in autumn
listening to 'A Prarie Home Companion'
small groups, not crowds
Akira Kurosawa films
brain food

my hands are cold to the touch
I clean like a madwoman
I worry a lot
I try to take on too much
it is interesting to study plants and rocks
you just have to figure out how something works
...even if it means taking it apart
I am anachronistic one day,
...then I write Python and HTML code the next.
my kittens run off with my knitting
my coffee is so strong 'it can get up and hit you back' (J)
I run into people walking too fast in stores/etc.
I stay up half the night
I don't eat enough to keep a bird alive (mom)

I don't like...
folding laundry
throwing away old letters
cleaning the microwave
when I run out of COFFEE
losing my keys
hot, humid weather
deep water
buying something I didn't need/use
crawling into the back of our truck to get things

In our house:
We sleep on a shikibuton on the floor, in a room in the center of the house.
We usually sit on the floor, although the desk and kitchen table have ordinary chairs.
We have long fabric curtains between the dining room and the main room, and between the dining room and the kitchen. We rent an old duplex that is laid out very strangely.
We have two cats who are very very spoiled.
One of us is vegan, and the other cooks for him ;o)

Here is more information about the shikibuton. We made ours by hand, and will soon be making a new one. We went to a mattress factory and picked up the queen-sized components, two different kinds of foam, and also a lot of cotton batting from a fabric outlet. We hand-sewed a linen cover around the foam and cotton layers, and placed the entire shikibuton on a hard foam base that split into three parts. The shikibuton is stored folded, against the wall in our main room, and lends itself also as a 'futon' couch. We are planning to visit Japan in about five years, and will learn a lot more about real shikibuton making there!

It took me several weeks to get used to sleeping on this type of bed - but now sleeping in normal beds is hard! It takes longer for me to fall asleep in 'soft' beds now.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

The kittens are good girls, mostly

The girls are recovering nicely, that is, my kittens. They really disagree that the stitches should be there - and we have to watch them as much as possible. So far, they have done no major damage. I've been up and down and all around lately - left computer at office for the weekend.

Had to go to further medical steps with poison ivy... it came back with a new twist. My knee and ankle swelled up on Wednesday night for no apparent reason. Went to a doctor on Thursday. He said it was caused by the poison ivy and we would have to attack it from the inside (antibiotics and a shot). This is what I would call a major allergy :o( and one I will have to watch out for carefully in future.

It looks like we are travelling to Minnesota later this month for a Christmas visit with family. We will take the kittens with us - exactly how this will happen is still in the works.

Nice site
I'm really loving the crafting japanese site (look at linky). Knit some this week - a lot of cleaning and clothes-washing when I felt up to it.

Hope your week is going well.