Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the Holiday

Scott Adams on his Dilbert Blog, wrote about "Downer Ratio".  His mood mirrors mine today.

So... Jan and I went to see The Holiday (** Satisfactory) at the local megaplex. (The movie poster is a link to the NY Times review.)  It was everything the movie trailer promised.

This is a story of two women who trade houses during the Christmas holidays, each trying to escape their unhappiness at home.  Guess what, they find love and happiness on the other side of the world.  Surprise, n'est pas?

Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are beautiful to watch, and I think Cameron Diaz is funny.  Kate Winslet and Jack Black aren't as sparkly as the other two lovers, but they are more likable.

There is a part of the movie in which Eli Wallach plays an aged and retired Hollywood screen play writer.  When he's on screen with Kate Winslet, the movie is a pleasure to watch.

You can wait for this one on DVD.

On Vox: A Librarian and a poet

View Diane in Chico, CA�s Blog

Don Yarman wrote this poem:

I like my winter brewed black
with freshly ground desire
and poured steaming into sweet dry vision

Being a coffee lover, I think this poem is just wonderful

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sheryl's Tam

I knit another tam, almost an exact duplicate of this tam which I gave in a gift exchange at a work party.  Somebody else at the party liked the original hat and she and I worked a trade.  I get a sampler of her handmade soap, and she gets her own tam.

The original was done in Debby Bliss DK weight merino wool.  This one is done in Lamb's Pride Worsted, 85% Wool / 15% Mohair.  Of course the gauge of the two yarns is different, so I got to do the math all over again.  I finally created a worksheet in MS Excel for the next time.

This is the simplest form of tam o' shanter.   There are no color patterns or textured stitches, just 9 sections.  Well, I did add a round of purl stitches between the increase section and the decrease section.  The thing that I like best about this tam is the tubular cast on that I got from Mary Rowe's "Knitted Tams".

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day, 2006

The day here was just fine.  Presents were exchanged.  Several meals were eaten.  We watched "The Sound of Music".  And, we took a walk around the neighborhood...

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Queen

The_queenHelen Mirren is terrific in The Queen (**** Very Good).  We've been waiting for what seems like months for this movie to arrive in Chico.  Finally, it is playing at the Pageant, which shows reliably good movies and most of the foreign films shown in Chico.

The movie is one of the NY Times' Critic's Picks, and rightly so.  The Queen is about the week following Princess Diana's death.  It's as if the Royalty is caught unawares... people all over the world want to publicly mourn Diana's death, but the Royals want to shelter Diana's sons and choose to stay in Scotland hunting stags.  I think it's a sad movie.

The Queen, and the rest of the Royals (but Diana's sons are not heard from in the entire movie) think of Diana as an embarrassment and want nothing more than for her death to pass quietly and be done with her.  They are unaccustomed to displays of emotion, both privately and publicly.

The newly elected Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is instrumental in guiding the Queen out of her reclusive, private family time in Scotland and into a [cool] public display of mourning in London.  It takes him a week to get her back to London, and the movie is about this week.

See it in the theater if you like Scottish scenery :-)

Handknit for Chico

How could I have not know about this?  I would really prefer to give locally if possible, and knitting for local people is perfect for me.  I may have given a hat to this project, because I donated a hat to Heartstrings, one of the 4 local yarn shops sponsoring the event.

Next year!  There is a wonderful blanket in the current issue (Winter 2006/07) knit simple magazine.

Good intentions without follow-through are useless, but I'm sure I can manage one little blanket - maybe more.

The Jesus Center in Chico fed over 100 families last night, and gave them all hand knitted items as gifts.  I'm no Christian, but the Jesus Center does this very good thing every Christmas.  It's worth supporting.

Casino Royale

Casino_royaleThe latest James Bond is a hottie.  The movie, Casino Royale (*** good), is less playful than previous bonds... fewer puns, no naked ladies in the credits, no hit song in the credits (music over credits is a nicely arranged, familiar Bond theme).  NY Times doesn't list it as a critic's pick, but viewers give it thumbs up.

We were tired of waiting for The Queen to come to Chico, so this was the choice for our viewing pleasure during the holidays.

Daniel Craig plays Bond well, and he's a better actor than previous bad boy Bonds.  You can see on his face what he is feeling.  He has an emotional life and feels badly when the women he seduces are killed.  He even falls in love with one of them.

Dame Judi Dench is again superb as a tough, strong ruler of MI6.

There is no "Q" character, but our boy does receive an Aston Martin from "M".  The glove compartment has a nice collection of toys - even a blood testing kit that allows him to get medical help from HQ while he's in the middle of a poker game.

I get the feeling that this is supposed to be a setup movie which shows his beginning as the famous Bond, James Bond.  His very first kills and subsequent promotion to 007 are shown at the beginning of the movie.

I recommend it.