we loved Veronica Mars too much

i saw the Veronica Mars movie today, and had a great time. (one of my companions was a Kickstarter backer, as were several others in the audience judging by their matching t-shirts.) it was clearly written for the fans, and i think that it brought the joy that the Browncoats didn't get from Serenity. even though i could have just watched it at home, being in a crowd of fellow fans was delightful.

the fanservice was gratifying. the whole thing felt more like a pilot for a new series than a standalone film. i'd watch the heck out of that on Netflix or Prime. but i felt disturbed as i watched the film, and more so as the day has gone on. to press the reset button for the series, we have to scuttle Veronica's life and drop her back into high school status quo.

i've never quite beaten the irrational fear that i could go to Pennsylvania and somehow be barred from returning to Washington, that years of my life could be undone. i picture it rather like Ursula's garden.

so i have to keep reminding myself that Veronica isn't a person, that this is all about creating an interesting narrative. Veronica is a doll that we move around on our Neptune playset. we'd never do something like that to a real person, right? right?

SIFF days 6 & 7

clumsy aspiring secretary has one great skill: speed typing. it's a sports movie/rom-com about...speed typing in 1959. you know what's going to happen, but the whole thing is a stylish peek into postwar France with the occasional surprise along the way. not great art, but very fun. i'd like to show it to my parents.

a kind FOOL gave me a ride to the next venue, so it was an easy two-movie day.

Fuck Up
imagine a Cohen brothers film set on the border of Sweden and Norway. if that sounds awesome to you, IT TOTALLY IS. (if you don't want scary gangsters in your wry comedy, run away.)

that kept me out pretty late, so it was a shortish documentary for Wednesday.

The Last Shepherd
squee! this one left me glowing. a shepherd in Italy herds his sheep into the cathedral square in Milan. it's done as a slice of life and it is so very sweet. our hero the jolly fat man has a trusty dog, a smart wife, four gorgeous children, a taciturn partner (with one tooth), and 700 sheep. oh, and he spends a good chunk of the year in beautiful mountains. maybe there are too many long shots of sheep, but i like to look at sheep. perfect way to end a work day.

Siff day five


The highlight of Out of Print was that I got to see both scarlettina and varina8.

This documentary about the book and the transition to electronic media was broad and shallow. It needed a thesis, and it was clear in the q&a that the director had one but somehow it didn't make it to the screen. Never have so many great interview subjects contributed so little on such a great topic.

SIFF day four


i adored Key of Life. it's probably my favorite so far - a down on his luck actor switches identities with a man who suffers a knockout fall at the bathhouse, meanwhile a career woman who is looking for the perfect husband crosses their path. mayhem ensues.

i thought it was going to be about the (tiresome) actor, but the shining heart of the film is the other guy trying to live the actor's life. it's delightful, especially because it doesn't rely on embarassment for its humor and has several plot twists. very funny to me, and the Japanese folks all around me at the screening were definitely digging it.

i'm sorry i saw the last showing because it was such a pleasure. recommended.

Siff day 3


After a late night at Bootie there was no way to make my planned 10am film, so I had to go with pinch-hitter Epic. They had full on Hollywood security - I had to check my phone. The film was delightful. It's amazing to see how far computer animation has come, both in technical quality and in script writing. I do have issues with the good/evil animal choices, but it's otherwise a grand adventure with a smart and resourceful heroine and a blissful lack of toilet humor. Recommended. I even think the 3D is worthwhile. Four and a half fighting hummingbirds out of five.

From there, I went on to Byzantium. It's like Neil Jordan made a revisionist version of interview with the vampire in atonement for interview with the vampire. Delicious. I'm looking forward to showing this one to C.

SIFF, day one

today, i probably won't watch any movies. and i have a lot going on at work, so press previews are Right Out.

but thanks to the kindness of scarlettina, i did catch Putzel* at the donors' preview, and this year i went to opening night for the first time.

i avoid opening night because it's not on my pass (so i spent all this money and i still have to buy a ticket!?!), and the movie either has a release date or more often i don't care if i see it. this year it was actually a much-anticipated film plus Q&A with Joss Whedon (and the cast, but unlike half the audience i didn't go to see Captain Tightpants).

tl;dr i liked the movie, i disliked the eventCollapse )

fill in the blank

Surprise Porcupette is the name of my _________________ cover band.

stepping out

we can do it, socket
i did a scary thing today. twice.

and i'm okay.

so here are two things that make me deliriously happy in celebration:

yes, i hate watching longish videos online, and i almost never watch them when people post them.

but! this is Patton Oswalt describing a Star Wars/Marvel Universe crossover. it's all improv. worth the eight minutes.

and this! even though it has the weakest lyrics, this is my favorite song on the Heist. (and everyone in Seattle knows what he means when he says "my posse's on Broadway".) it is full of Seattle and Lady Washington and sled dogs from Leavenworth. Ryan Lewis calls it his soccer stadium anthem, and i desperately want the Sounders to use it. long, yes, but it ends ON TOP OF THE SPACE NEEDLE.

he that hath no beard is less than a man

the master
i think the SIFF opening night gala is a ripoff. typically it's a film i wouldn't pay extra to watch (it's not included in my pass, which i spend enough on thank-you-very-much) and i don't care about the party part of the festival because i'd rather be watching movies. plus McCaw Hall is, by all reports, not a great venue for film.

but this year they got me.

edited to add: wow. all sold out except for a few "Red Carpet Experience" tickets. i note that the Gala Pass appears to still be available, which is cheaper than the Red Carpet ticket and includes two other events.

that was a good king

we went to Beowulf tonight at Town Hall. (somehow, this was my first visit to the venue even though they often host literary events.) it was just lovely. the Early Music Guild always starts you with a preshow lecture for context, the room is remarkably live and has lovely barrel ceilings and stained glass, and Bagby himself is charming and expressive. he holds the room in thrall from the first "Hwaet!". thank goodness for supertitles. some lines are remarkably close to modern english and other parts...well, that's where the bard makes a difference. we bought a DVD and look forward to digging into the extras and being able to pause and repeat. (frex, i've never actually done Beowulf in a class, i've just read it on my own. i have no idea how you say "Geat". i was trying all night to pick it out and failed.)

we found time to chatter with friends before and after the performance, and logistically it was ultimately just so: we got a ride to Capitol Hill, we had a restaurant where we could order asynchronously and C could have a GF roll, there was time for Vivace coffee, the rain tailed off before we walked to Town Hall, and then there was a car2go nearby and we zoomed home to take care of the dog. i'm really happy with car2go as a complement to zipcar and the bus.

i think i might have the confidence now to attempt Hwaet. Benjamin Bagby has a pair, after all.

sidenote: what if The Wheedle on the Needle is a bowdlerized Grendel? they're both annoyed by noise, after all.

Apr. 3rd, 2013

rich zoe
this is the worst spring allergy season i've ever had. maybe at this point i have a dollop of con crud on top. sneezing, itchy eyes and ears, running nose, postnasal drip that leads to sore throat--the gang's all here.

* * *
Norwescon continues to fill my cup. i think when it comes down to it, a few thousand people are busy being happy for a few days and that's infectious. i periodically think that the internet has made conventions irrelevant, then i find myself locking arms with Dr. Doom in a kick line and i get over it. this year we stayed at a boutique hotel off the reservation, which may be what we do every year from now on. we had great food, free ice cream, beautiful grounds*, and a giant bathtub that were all a brief walk away from the crowds. (it's probably no further from the center of the con hotel than the party wing.) i ate well, and i still managed a nap on Saturday when i needed it. i got to lots of space science programming, i saw solcita in rockstar mode backing up Molly Lewis, and the "Supporters Anonymous" viewing event in the con bar was a good time even though my Sounders lost. for the most part the convention runs more smoothly every year, although i worry that the schedule conflict with Sakuracon is depressing attendance in the 15-30 year old bracket. i've heard rumors that a dual-membership pass is in the works. transit between the convention center and seatac is so easy; i'd love to make the light rail a little more surreal for a weekend.

* * *
Molly Lewis graduated from high school in 2008. we're all old.

* * *
i recently learned that a cat is a station master in Japan. why was i surprised?

* * *
i've been trying to make C a pair of socks for a good six months. stuff just kept going wrong with the gauge or my hand health or the yarn tangling into a hideous snarl. i've probably knit and unraveled enough stitches to make three or four pairs. but i finally finished them! the legs aren't as long as C would normally like, but now that i have a pair done and good measurements logged, there's nothing stopping me from doing more. he's wearing them today, let's see if they give him blisters or something.

i am making myself ridiculous sparkly ones.

i've lost interest in my ambitious shawl project. i seem to need to be doing some thumb sucking, and the lace just isn't comforting. nor apparently do i find something endlessly large and complex as satisfying as knocking out a pair of socks.

* * *
i started watching Call the Midwife last night. i described it to C as All Creatures Great and Small with people instead of animals.

i'm also digging into the new Cartoon Network content on Netflix. (frex, we got rid of cable before Adventure Time started airing. so that's all new to me even though all of the characters are familiar sights from using the internets.)

i haven't seen the new Doctor Who yet. or not in its entirety - i caught part of it at the hotel on BBC America and was completely offended by the hack job they do with adding commercials. i liked what i saw of the episode when i wasn't busy putting together the profile of the typical BBCA viewer: cat owner, with a weedy garden and terrible allergies.

* * *
i read some of this a while ago, but came across a hard copy of the original article today: a linkfest about the connection between lead exposure and crime. compelling stuff.

* which included a movie moment of kissing in a cloud of falling cherry blossoms. magic.


i am good at documenting my experiences in a contextless way - here are the things i saw - i am not there, nor my companions, nor our conveyance or our guide.

anyway, Skagit river eagle viewing. i went with my brother B and e_bourne, and it was a lovely way to spend a morning. it was just the three of us and the guide in a flat-bottomed boat with comfy seats and propane heaters. there was cocoa at about the halfway mark. we were able to go into areas where the water was only a few inches deep, and the boat was stable enough that i could stand as needed to take pictures. the guide rowed as needed to steer, but mostly we floated in the current and enjoyed the sounds of the river.

we "only" saw a dozen or two bald eagles, plus assorted ducks and a heron. at peak, the eagle count is more like 200. the eagles come to feast on the carcasses of salmon, and while we could see fish bits on the bottom, there weren't many left. our guide said that most years the river reeks of dead fish. i'm pretty okay with missing the dead fish stank. the water is crystal clear, and we could see the bottom the whole way. (i failed to get the right combo of settings to capture it from the moving boat.)

but i did capture this, which was the very end of a group of four eagles squabbling and swooping about nearby.

the rest of the photoset

afterward, we left the misty mountains, but we did not walk into Mordor. just Mirkwood & Shire Cafe. Mordor Tattoo is upstairs, as is Rivendell Hair. (the food wasn't great, even for vegetarian food. and how the hell can you have the Shire without bacon or a bit of trout?)

what's in my kitchen

a wild meme appeared!

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don’t use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, and fondue sets


by "sandwich makers", i mean the George Foreman grill. because that stupid thing is remarkably handy for grilling meat quickly with no fuss.

i do have a reamer, but i'm pretty sure "juicer" means a machine.

i kind of miss the fondue set, but not enough to store it.

i don't like actual martinis, and when i make myself a cocktail it's at least rocks-sized.

Alton Brown says that you shouldn't keep a kitchen implement if you don't use it once every six months. that doesn't mean you should go get rid of those tools necessarily, it just means that you should try to use them more often. (and there are some things that just aren't going away. i have a fish-shaped gelatin mold. i am never giving it up.) he also has a thing about kitchen implements that are "unitaskers". i think you need unitaskers sometimes; and fancy appliances - i love my kitchenaid stand mixer and its attachments.

the rest of the time i could get by with a 10" chef's knife and a cast iron skillet.

do not taunt the honey badger

knitting, yarncore
my inner teenager is always just under the surface.

i had two separate people warn me about fatigue and pain from knitting with tiny circular needles; you stay in the same position for a long time and it's easy to overdo. well, that wouldn't happen to me because i am a special snowflake.

of course i charged ahead and completely wrecked my hands. as in it hurt to pet the dog.

yes, i have sought treatment. basically i need to rest and listen to my body. if i'm still in pain at the two-week mark i have real trouble.

i've been not-knitting for a week, and it is driving me bonkers because it turns out everything i like to do (and my job) requires my hands.

these are the offending socks.
honey badger


i'm quite proud of them since i learned multiple new techniques in the process: sock blank dying, magic loop, toe-up construction, and two-at-a-time knitting. and to put my work down more often.

spam and eggs

while i do it less often these days, i still like to make public posts. but i've been getting a flood of spam comments on public entries, so anonymous commenting is off.

not that i get a lot of legit anonymous comments, just that i feel that anonymity is a Nice Thing We Should Have.

(and why do spammers always try to sell me Louis Vuitton bags? otherwise, these things are generally socially embarrassing items like erectile dysfunction drugs or baldness cures. is there a stigma around buying Vuitton, which is extra strange since the product is covered in the corporate logo?)

things that are distracting me today

a paper discussing the economics of NIMBYism
houses are an undiversified investment with uninsured risk

a discussion of common expressions that are bizarre when translated directly into English
my favorite so far is the Filipino BAHALA NA SI BATMAN. (and it really is referring to Batman.) also, do a search on the page for "cow".


no, let me sum up

lemon, have it all
in my mind i write long posts about stuff i've been doing, and they include pictures.

recently i made a tiny sock, dyed yarn, and attempted to learn to spin. lo, it was a productive weekend in great company and i need to do it justice.

July 4th happened, complete with party and fireworks.

we took the dog camping and i lost a sock needle, i need to do that justice.

today is scarlettina's birthday, and markbourne's. this is a bittersweet thing that is going to happen every damn year. we celebrate tonight, it will be good.

i originally named the iPhone K-9; i have a thing about naming devices and computers after friendly fictional robots. Siri called me "Mistress" for a while but she seems to have mysteriously lost the setting, and the voice is just wrong anyway. i like to think the thing is my loyal tin dog, but actually it's controlling me.

a computer, a compiler, a song

knitting, yarncore
on Friday i was toiling away on a lace scarf before game. Pirate B sat down on the futon beside me and watched me knit for a moment.

B: are you reading a bunch of numbers while you do that?
Me: yup.
B: you're a computer!

it's not a bad analogy. as noted in the link, knitting patterns really do look like source code. (or sometimes a punch card. i'll get to that in a bit.)

one of my frustrations as a nOOb knitter has been the amount of energy and focus it takes to read a pattern while i knit. in response, i've developed a habit of having a project that requires less focus to take with me, and a more complex thing that stays at home by the couch.

i was discussing the lace project with scarlettina and noted that i felt like knitting from a pattern should be the same experience as playing the piano or singing; i read the music with my eyes while my body does the thing the music says to do. but somehow after more than 15 repeats of the 12-row knit pattern, i wasn't memorizing any phrases. i couldn't hum the tune without the music in front of me.

so i started to think more about the analogy. there are two ways to notate knitting patterns, written and charted. they both look like gobbeldygook without a key.

  • written patterns are easy to understand as a beginner. once you know the abbreviations you read each line and execute.

  • charts are often called "scary" (plus my very experienced mom hates them and will translate them into written directions for her convenience). charted patterns are a symbolic representation of the instructions.

the music analogy led to a revelation: musical notation shows me without using words what came before, what to do now, and what i'm going to do next. it goes in my eyes and out my hands without verbal processing.

frex, with a written pattern i was reading Twinkle Twinkle Little Star like this:
start from middle C, all notes are quarter notes unless they are called out as a half note.
Row 1: C2, G2, A2, Ghalf1, F2, E2, D2, Chalf1
Row 2: G2, F2, E2, Dhalf1, G2, F2, E2, Dhalf1
Row 3: C2, G2, A2, Ghalf1, F2, E2, D2, Chalf1

instead of this:

(here's the pattern i was working on, written and charted both...and the finished scarf.)

so for me, charts are music. once i wrapped my brain around scanning right to left, left to right, bottom to top* i found a noticable increase in speed. i also started to hum the tune, feeling the relationships of the stitches and anticipating the shape of the next phrase.

*sounds crazy, but if you're looking at a two-sided thing from one side and as you work it grows on the right and down this is what you have to do. i didn't immediately grasp that and had to tear out an evening's work as part of the learning process because i am totally into doing first, checking the instructions later. fortunately knitting forgives charging ahead, since all you lose is time.

at night, the ice weasels come

Life in Hell is over. funny, i thought it had died quietly while Matt Groening was busy with The Simpsons and Futurama. that it was still out there for so many years without me knowing it, that's sad.

in high school i used to make a special trip to a record store in State College to pick up a (usually week-old) copy of Pittsburgh City Paper. it brought me Life In Hell, and Savage Love, and personal ads asking for relationships that to me were the stuff of fiction. that bit of city culture was a rare commodity in my world - this was after BBSes, but long before local calls to said BBSes.

Life in Hell had sex. Life in Hell had a happy gay couple. Life in Hell was saying what i was thinking about being in school. it was there when i needed it, and for that i am forever grateful.

SIFF is over, long live SIFF

My Dad is Baryshnikov
i went to this one because it was showing at the Bay. and that was nice, except for the part where there must have been six speakers before the film, including two from Wells Fargo execs. they got quite the tongue bath, so i guess they gave SIFF a significant amount of money.
the movie was pretty okay. a Russian coming-of-age film about the littlest rhino* in 1980s Moscow, who decides based on a videotape of White Nights and some dicey evidence that his absent father must be Baryshnikov. it had more failure and hazing in it than i want in my entertainment, but nice lifestyle details and an unexpected ending. after seeing all the clips used in the film i mostly want to rewatch White Nights as an adult.

*a friend's little brother was in a residential ballet school here in the US, and that's what the boys called themselves since there doesn't seem to be a male term to match "ballerina".

Duck Beach to Eternity
documentary covering an annual unofficial gathering of Mormon singles in their 20s and 30s in North Carolina. i thought that the subjects' sincere belief was handled respectfully, and it was a nice insight into a subculture. it's a world where high school never ended and being unmarried at the age of 25 means you must be damaged goods. the style feels modeled on MTV reality shows, but the subjects aren't scumbags. (i have such a crush on Bryan the Latin teacher, who also appears to be fluent in Italian and a great singer. he was clearly chosen as the misfit, but i like to think that as the film spreads he's going to get calls from some nerdy LDS ladies. speak it! speak it!) recommended.

The Woman in the Septic Tank
a Filipino indie hit about Filipinos trying to make an indie hit for the festival circuit. great sequences where as the producer and director argue over casting, the scene they are imagining plays out with each actress. there are rewarding details...each concept uses slightly different props and set dressing. maybe it's too inside baseball for a general audience, but a really cool thing to see at a festival.

Otelo Burning
black surfers in Apartheid-era South Africa. this showing was plagued by projection issues and i walked out when they gave up and got ready to show the end on a watermarked DVD screener. it wasn't bad, but obviously i didn't love it enough to hold out. it was the North American premiere. i ached for the director.

A Checkout Girl's Big Adventures
a frothy fairy-tale about a blogger and her life as a cashier and guardian for her little brother. it somehow takes grim subject matter and fluffs it up in a way that keeps the movie from being a downer. it is silly, and too pat. i smiled and laughed a good deal and had warm fuzzies for the cast. (it felt like a tv movie from the days when the networks made tv movies...pretty common with French films since CANAL+ finances a lot of them for future tv release.) conflicts with other events meant that Checkout Girl was the end of my festival. it was a perfectly nice dessert.

this year's total was only 42 films (most of which i need to go back and review as of this writing) but i didn't fall asleep during any showings or get terribly sick so i can't feel bad that the number is relatively low. every year i am more aware of my own tastes and the hidden clues in the official film descriptions, which creates a higher percentage of personal hits. the pass is still worth the money.


Queen of the Surface Streets
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