Ballard things

Yesterday morning, while we were walking Molly, one of our neighbors hailed us and offered us his stash of canned dog food. His dog had passed overnight. Simple old age.
They shared a pickup truck by the park. His dog was big and mellow and we used to chat about our pets when the dog was tied out to the tree in the planting strip. Taking the food seemed like the right thing to do. C says the dog was still in the bed of the truck.
I worry about the man, but I know he has friends. I hope he'll be blasting the Beatles on the radio this Sunday like always.

* * *
I love that our fancy coffee shop has fishermen in its meeting room almost every morning. And a regular group of Russian-speaking construction workers.
Yesterday, barista S said that there were tons of people from the knitting conference in over the weekend. And he asked about C's recent interview. I love being a regular. I love it very much.

Oct. 5th, 2014

knitting, yarncore
oh, i am exhausted today. but in a good way.

this weekend was the Nordic Knitting Conference, happening about 10 short blocks from my house. Klamath K (who i met through shadawyn's fiber weekends) came up to take a class and enjoy some city time. her C went off and had boy time while she crashed at my place. it was seriously a good time. my class schedule ran in a way that meant she had to entertain herself a bit more than i wanted, but she seemed well-pleased with the experience, so i won't complain. like, "honey, can we move to Ballard?" pleased.

classes were had, there was social time at Card Kingdom, a Portage Bay breakfast, lockage, late-running salmon in the fish ladder, her successful solo trip up to see Deco Japan, some of Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf, and a few episodes of Call the Midwife. plus great discussions of D&D 5e vs Pathfinder, and the role of the coach in professional sports.

the conference itself was nice. i took one class and followed my plan of spending marketplace money on raw material for gifts.

the class was a step up for me. the instructor, Judith MacKenzie, is worshipped as a god. (kind of like people used to talk about Elizabeth Zimmermann.) this was my first beyond basics spinning class, where it was assumed that i knew my wheel well and had a solid vocabulary and skillset. at first i was a bit frustrated that it wasn't quite as described in the program book, that she was a bit of a disorganized magpie, and that hand cards were on the materials list and we never used them.* but i'm definitely going to be using the techniques i learned to make holiday gifts, she was very generous with high-quality supplies, and she was a fount of tips, tricks, and factoids. i think i've got her seamless join down, and practice will shore up my semi-woolen method. it was amusing to me that as i started telling C about the class i was kind of lukewarm about the experience, but then i just kept going on and on about how cool this was and that was and things that i learned. so i'll be unpacking the class for a long time, and would pay to work with her again.

i sat beside a pair of women who had flown up from California for the weekend. they were talking casually about the other fiber events they had traveled to this year, their collections of wheels and spindles, having an upstairs e-spinner and a downstairs e-spinner, ordering custom-made spindles, and shutting back and forth between the house and the boat. (for context, they were talking about thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment and travel. they also seemed to not have jobs.) both knitting/spinning and quilting occupy this strange space where they are the hobbies of the frugal and of the leisure class. i know that working artists need the leisure class hobbyists to survive. i thought about the fiber i bought in the marketplace and realized that the vendor was also leisure class - she appears to be independently wealthy, and is selling at least part of her wares at cost. i love her work, and her pricing, but is she screwing things up for people who actually need the money?**

*i borrowed a pair, which required a bit of effort on the part of their owner. i'll make some rolags before i return them, and enjoy the social opportunity it offers. darn glad i didn't buy them for the class.
**this is similar to the unpaid or even pay-to-play intern model that is nearly required in professional theater. everyone who participates reinforces the barriers to people without those resources.


reader boys
i just keep coming back to this post, which is mostly a link to another post about reading for structure.
it has me thinking about perception a great deal, especially since i think of myself as enjoying structure, but consider the idea of a series of novels built around color references to be pretentious bullshit.


immune response

It seems that these days I rarely get cold symptoms in the way I used to. I get exhausted and confused, and if I can spend a day mostly sleeping, I will skip the full-on lost voice/running nose/cough whatever. I'd say that it's something else entirely, but it routinely coincides with something going around the office.
Yesterday was one of those days. Which is annoying for multiple reasons, including disqualifying me for the flu shot clinic today.

Yesterday's achievements included winding singles (proto-yarn) to free up bobbins for a spinning class this weekend, and falling asleep to the new Cosmos.

No rest after this; sprint is ending at work, company arriving Thursday evening.

Sep. 30th, 2014


It's raining, and I am conveniently on the bus that stops in front of my building.
I had an exhausting week, but the weekend has topped me up enough to make today work.
Saturday I gave away my soccer tickets (to a thrilled Mexican coworker) in order to do nothing. We watched the game on TV and ate amazing leftovers.
Sunday we journeyed to the wilds of the Snoqualmie valley and spent a sweet afternoon at Camlann. It was kind of the anti-renfaire, ruthlessly uncommercial and historically accurate. My inner D&D nerd (learning about arrow point design) and fiber nerd (Cotswold sheep! Weaving! Lucet! Dyeing!) were both well-pleased. We didn't stay for the Michaelmas feast, but we did get pottage on a trencher for lunch. They aren't very good at making clear that you *can* buy things there, but I did manage to walk away with their cookbook, which included the recipe for the plum dessert C had.
I still had a wee bit of energy left afterward to go have dinner and knitting in front of the TV with my Thursday knittas. I don't like fresh tomatoes, but knitta D grows delicious tiny ones in a container garden on her patio and they make her salads amazing. (I brought home a little bag of them for C, who has been eating them like candy.)

Getting the whining out of the way

The new lj app for iOS is shitty. The stupid thing defaults to posts from strangers AND it truncates posts without any indication that there is more to read. And no journals-only filter. I see that I can probably customize it, but the defaults are useless to me.

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Aug. 3rd, 2014

the article about land use in Silicon Valley and San Francisco that i was talking about last night:
burrowing owls, vomiting anarchists

Seattle has different issues, but shares the problem of rising housing costs and an increasingly large well-paid workforce segment choking out the less affluent population, plus a vocal group of existing land owners. my neighborhood is a hot one. our rent will be increasing next month; right now the math says sit tight (can't find a rent that is low enough to make up for the costs of moving) while figuring out a new plan. that's the thing that really gets me - i feel like our rent is ridiculous, but newer buildings are charging more. other desirable neighborhoods and older buildings aren't cheaper. (desirable for us means frequent bus service and a grocery store, not necessarily hip. even "unsafe" neighborhoods are surprisingly close to our current costs.) from there we get into being forced back into car ownership and then the savings has been chewed up in car...and there's a loss of quality of life that can't be calculated. frex, getting rid of the dog is not on the table. don't get me wrong, i'm still glad to be able to call maintenance when the disposal acts up, i hate yard work with a passion, and the thought of dealing with a HOA makes me ill. trade offs.

Seattle remains beautiful and charming and the home of my heart. right now there is a project putting pianos in the parks. the one by our house is decorated with a dragon's head and a stripy sail. it's seen steady use and has been accreting a free library of music books and even some hand percussion.

last night we went to see Mirror, Mirror. it was a charming production, in a little amphitheater that is invisible from the street. there was a whole picnic plan that was slightly scuttled by the (unknown to us) preshow lecture by Mark Okrand and being on a concrete bench instead of the lawn we imagined. but we improvised successfully and even shared our snacks with the people around us. beet sandwiches! generic blood orange soda! clementines! mutant pretzels! cheese! i'm sorry that there wasn't much opportunity to chat with ethnomuse due to the lecture, but there were bonus joyful_storm and samildanach so i count the whole thing as a win.

i enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy quite a bit. i don't know how i would rank it against the other Marvel's from a different place. it belongs in the Big Trouble in Little China and Hot Fuzz part of the Venn diagram. (i consider Hot Fuzz a masterpiece of its form. GotG isn't that good. i have now caused myself to wish for the alt-universe Edgar Wright version of the film.) anyway, there were several points that were so very close to moments from the history of my Friday gaming group. (most of the time i play Gamora, but there are definitely times when i am Groot.)

Jul. 26th, 2014

quote from a friend who is re-entering the dating pool:
every woman in Seattle is either on Machu Picchu, rock climbing, or coming out of a TARDIS. and they all knit. i guess i need to watch Doctor Who.*

* * *

on a somewhat related note, C and i recently watched Mike Magee's Day Off, which is incredibly well-done and the best thing since The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. it amuses me to no end that my sportsball fandom is the one i can't fully share with my RL friends or coworkers.

* * *

our July camping trip this year included emergency relocation due to the creek rising and creating a brand new waterfall through our usual campsite. fortunately this happened during the day, and with the help of the rest of the party we managed to go from "i think this might flood" to full relocation and reset of three tents in about 20 minutes, all before any damage was done.

no, there was damage: we typically stock a weir in the creek with drinks (glacier runoff makes a great cooler) and the canned beverages were carried away. pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and a normal water level for comparison.

and pirate E's parents managed to escape their truck before it exploded.

ultimately a good time was had by all, and i have taught another person that properly prepared beets don't taste like dirt.

* * *
the flowerboxes are thriving.

* * *
work is very busy for me. work is slow for C, so he's on a new clients/new contracts campaign. on one hand, it's excellent to see all the cool things he's done lined up on his resume, on the other hand resumes are hard and horrible and i feel like writing/editing professionals have an extra burden when it comes to polishing the damn things. *shudder*

* * *
i finally finished spinning some fiber i bought at Madrona, and knit it into a hat that was just the thing for camping. (i seriously considered taking my wheel, because busting it out by the campfire would have been badass, but we agreed that puffy fiber and the occasional bit of flying ash and leaf litter and bugs really don't mix.) camping did allow me to finish the stupid socks that are too narrow for my feet, so those are heading varina8's way soon. (i did try them on at regular intervals and everything seemed fine. but after i turned the heel i realized that they were not going to be for me. if i frogged them at that point i was going to be less happy than if i gave them to someone with different feet. i AM the boss of you, stupid skinny socks.)

*someone on OKCupid lost interest in him, based on his Doctor Who deficiency. I LOVE THIS TOWN. don't worry, he went home with DVDs.


some days, i feel like doing an embroidery project:

but for those days when i don't (most days) there is totally a meme generator based on the Bayeux tapestry.

* * *
this world cup season brought me r/footballhotties.* there's a lot of the Secretary of Defense on the front page right now.

* * *
in honor of the release of more Girls und Panzer, i give you the full-length anglerfish dance:

*still not as awesome as beardsgonecuddly.

Jun. 22nd, 2014

in the wake of recent revelations about the Disney adaptation of Into the Woods, i sat down to rewatch the 1990 recording with mimerki. conclusion: someone at Disney must have optioned the rights in order to keep it from ever being made into a film, then years later someone who didn't know the show said, "hey! a fairytale musical? why haven't we made this yet?"

meanwhile, they drove a dumptruck of money up to Stephen Sondheim's house. what could he do?

i think it's a really interesting show to watch with kids. but you have to be ready to talk about the issues raised. well, we don't dare screw with our ability to pop something in the DVD player and leave.

it could turn out to have many fine qualities while being a terrible adaptation (ask me sometime about my love of Hans Christian Andersen stories). i won't be giving them any money for this one.

sidenote: i thought i would introduce M to Meryl Streep's "singing", only to discover that Mamma Mia is not available for streaming or rental.


in my excitement about Bound yesterday, i forgot that i also saw Big in Japan. (to be fair, i ran home in between films, walked the dog, visited C at Market Arms and downed a Crabbie's while catching a bit of the second half of the USA v Nigeria pre-World Cup friendly.)

Big in Japan
Seattle band Tennis Pro attempts to create some interest by touring in Japan. (it's fictionalish.) i went because i liked the affable Outsourced from a few years ago, so i keep an eye out for director John Jeffcoat. other than the "woo! they're playing Chop Suey! woo! they're heading west on Northgate!" aspect of films made in Seattle, i wasn't getting much joy from this one. OTOH, Lost in Translation also did nothing for me, so i'd be interested in hearing an opinion from someone else who saw both films but dug Lost in Translation because i suspect they were trying for similar things and failed with me for similar reasons. the highlight of the film for me was finding out what the heck the lyrics were to this song that is on the SIFF pre-film playlist (and i like the animation):

the cookies are poisoned

Bound: Africans vs African Americans

i feel like i'm going to be talking about this movie for days and weeks. there's so much to think about and chew over. while the aim is to foster understanding between Africans and the African diaspora, it is truly enlightening to watch as a white American. highly recommended.
it was beautiful outside yesterday (and game was canceled). i left work early enough to eat a leisurely sandwich in the sun on the lawn of SCCC. i'd ordered a half; the guy at the counter apologized for giving me an extra-large sandwich since the loaf had been miscut. quelle horreur! but it really was more food than i wanted, and as i stalled out and was holding the end in my hand, a woman came by and asked if she could have a bite of my sandwich. i gave it to her. she continued on, content.

i saw a line starting to pile up for my film, so i moseyed over to get a queue card, and rapidly made a friend in line who invited me to go with her to Rancho Bravo once we had our cards. i agreed to go keep her company, and ended up having a great chat about films and being treated to a piping hot order of sweet plantains. why the hell have i never gone to Rancho Bravo before? we exchanged names *after* we were inside the theater and had split up to take our favorite seats. like you do.*

i had several other friends in the house, but i decided to keep my legroom seat and hang out after.

To Be Takei (feature) and The Missing Scarf (short)
the showing was plagued by technical issues. since we were in the Egyptian, during one of the glitches a wag called out "501501".**
the feature was a pleasant and funny portrait of Takei and his husband. i was surprised that while i knew about his childhood in the internment camps, i had no idea that he had been involved in Los Angeles city government for over a decade. or that he's been involved in a musical. even if you're not a Trekker or a fan of his Facebook page, he's an interesting American. recommended, but no need to rush to the theater. it will be a nice thing to watch on Netflix.
the short was an animated film narrated by Takei. i had seen it previously at the members' preview - Carl Spence was thoroughly enamored with it. it starts out as a comforting children's story about a squirrel looking for his scarf, dispensing advice to his neighbors along the way...highly recommended. (it was online for a while but seems to have been pulled while it's on the festival circuit.)

there was visiting with coffee afterwards, and a ride home with more chatting, and then i found C and Molly in the hallway. puppy kisses, husband kisses, followed by family walking time and reading and sleeping. a good day.

*i had to work to get her head out of her book in order to do so. MY PEOPLE.
**there's a campaign to raise money for refurbishing the Egyptian. text SIFF to 501501.

Black face in a white place

Dear White People
Billed as a satire, the film was more complex and less over-the-top than expected. It follows an ensemble cast of black students at a fictional Ivy League school - they were all well-rounded, with flaws and complex motivations, and even the villains weren't so much villainous as ignorant. It's an impressive balancing act that grants insight without alienation. And yes, it is funny, but in a wry vein. Dear white people: let's have more characters of color who aren't maids, slaves, or wise men. Recommended.

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Let's not screw this one up

The Breach
Work-in-progress screening.
Doc about salmon, the majority of which is about the fight over the Pebble Mine project near Bristol Bay Alaska. The EPA exists in order to shut down those kind of fucktards, may they prevail.
The first part of the film covers the salmon life cycle, and a lot of other issues, including pollution, dams, and salmon farming. Reading about why you shouldn't eat farmed salmon is one thing, seeing sweet little smolts covered in bloated sea lice is another thing.
Right now it's too long, and they know it. I see a great deal of potential in it and I hope that they can get picked up by a big showcase for docs like HBO. Recommended.

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The wedding party wore converse

Family United
Family comedy set during a wedding scheduled against the 2010 World Cup final. Had some fun bits but the concept was way better than the execution.

The Great Museum
I was super-excited to see this peek behind the scenes of the renovation of the big museum complex in Vienna. While I admired the idea of allowing the footage to speak for itself, I was dying for at least the names of the people we were watching. No captions (other than subtitles), no interviews, no narration - no context. I was left struggling to understand who, what, where, how, and why for almost the entire film. At least I've been to the museums. I would have been utterly lost without that. Still, the stuff was really cool. The buildings are remarkable.

Leading Lady
From the team who brought you Fanie Fourie's Lobola, proof that Fanie Fourie's Lobola may have been a fluke. I sat through the whole thing...the romance wasn't earned and the writing was insipid, predictable, and unfunny. Go rent Fanie Fourie's Lobola.

Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Kung fu movie set in 1930s Shanghai, with a heavily desaturated treatment that was just short of black and white. Country boy takes his values and his kung fu to the big city, makes friends and punches people. The good: Yuen Wo Ping fight choreography, and every fight was used to deepen our understanding of a character. The bad: so much jingoism. (Yes, the Japanese really were bad guys at the time. But I was pretty creeped out by the rhetoric considering the ongoing territory disputes in the present.) Recommended if you like punching and are excited to see Sammo Hung. I enjoyed it.

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I had a beer at the Egyptian

Seeds of Time
An unfocused doc about preserving global crop diversity, it didn't live up to my expectations. Making a note here to look for a book about the seed bank in St. Petersburg. There were so many interesting bits, the film just lacked a storytelling spine.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Comedy about a lucky centenarian with a penchant for blowing things up and meeting famous people. It's possible to draw a comparison to Forrest Gump, but I hated that movie and this one was unpredictable and fun. Recommended.

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Gunshots are extremely loud, dumbass

Sam and Amira
Sweet romance about a retired soldier and an illegal immigrant in New York just before the crash in 2008. Recommended.

Includes the best song about carpet I've ever heard. Still digesting the rest.

The Grand Seduction
A dying Newfoundland town bands together to secure a doctor in order to bring a factory to the town. Hijinks ensue. If you're into those tottering stack of lies farces, it's a scream.

Time Lapse
A low-budget genre film that couldn't settle on a cleverness level. If it had kept a slasher film idiot level throughout, then the idiot moments wouldn't have knocked me out of immersion. B for effort, my expectations were too high.

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Gold dust and spinach pizza

Excellent doc about a mining community in Columbia being bought out by a foreign mining company. It's not as depressing as it sounds, it's actually quite beautiful. Those miners are fierce. Having done a lot of research on coal mining in my previous career, I was fascinated to see the technology of 100 years ago still in use. Carbide lamps! I thought you couldn't get carbide anymore. Recommended.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wetlands. Helen is obsessed with bodily fluids, her mom is crazy, and something from her childhood is haunting her. For all that I've complained about poop in this festival, the liquid shit in this one was part of the story (and the blood, the semen, the vaginal fluid...) so while my gorge rose a few times it was all fine. Excellent acting, quirky, funny, great music. Plus there was a great juxtaposition of a Bad Religion t-shirt with a discussion of Catholicism. But I'm afraid to be the one who sent someone to see this one.

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Yesterday, I slept

Two Raging Grannies
If you approach Two Raging Grannies as a portrait of a friendship between two charming women, it's quite good.

I went in expecting something that used them as a framing device for a discussion of economic growth, or perhaps an elder version of The Yes Men, and it is neither. The topic is there, but the ladies are...terrible listeners.

Once I got over that it was entertaining but not enlightening.

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Queen of the Surface Streets
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