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Archive for June, 2010

That is not Karate

DD#2 and I decided to take in a matinee today, just to get out of the heat.  Of the movies playing, she and I both had some level of interest in three, the Toy Story  sequel, the Shrek sequel and the Karate Kid “remake”, or rather, what I thought would be a remake.  We decided that Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith were probably a fun combination, so bought our tickets with low expectations for anything but air conditioning.   We sat through a half hour of pre show advertisements and fifteen minutes of previews, and then we were totally blown away.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve never actually seen “Karate Kid”.  I’ve seen excerpts, and I’ve seen allusions to it.  I’ve sat through kids describing “wax on, wax off”, but never felt I’d missed much.  I figured I’d watch the remake and mentally turn Jaden Smith white and edit out some language, reset some fashion choices and I’d have it.   No, I don’t think so.

This movie is amazing.   Beautiful cinematography, gorgeous sets and scenery, beautiful child actors (Jaden Smith is going to be entirely too good looking a young man), and Jackie Chan.  Jackie Chan on the Great Wall of China.  How cool is that?

You know that scene in a Jackie Chan movie where he finally gets into a fight?  Where he takes on a half dozen mooks, all at once, wipes them out easily, and the idiots still keep coming?  Well, it makes a lot more sense when they’re adolescents, and he’s a grown man.  A grown man who’s obviously trying to decide on exactly the right amount of force to end the situation quickly without hurting anyone.

It’s great to see a movie where every character who doesn’t have a reason to be otherwise is Asian, especially coming (as it is) right up against “The Last Airbender”.  It even passes the Bechtel test (barely) – the mother and son are greeted at Bejing airport by a woman, who welcomes them to China and talks about the neighborhood, and the mother briefly talks to a (female) school principal about the school’s rules.  Female characters are few, but that’s not to say they’re not significant.  In addition to the obligatory romantic interest, the woman with the cobra struck me as being far more significant than her screen time would indicate (and the source for some truly beautiful imagery as well).

True, there are some very formula feel good bits.  The main plot line is telegraphed way in advance, and they don’t surprise you.  At it’s heart, it’s a Father’s Day movie.  It’s about sons without dads, and dads without sons, and father figures and their power for good or for ill.   It’s about dignity and courage and honor.

There is a car which figures prominently in the film, but no ‘wax on, wax off’.  That part was taken by a jacket.   There were some memorable lines, but for me the best was  “That is not Kung Fu”.

Yeah, you should go see it.

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I didn’t win either of the blog contests I mentioned last time, but Sunset Cat will be reviewing the book I suggested, so that’s a win, and I found another fun one at Knit-a-While, so that’s good too.

In the not so good column, I can’t find my camera (as in, my husband put it in a perfectly sensible and logical place for me, and now it’s not there).  This kind of sucks, especially as I’d been wanting to take more and better pictures.   Oh well.

The yarn swap package will go out tomorrow (well, deadline is Friday, but we’re looking good for tomorrow).  My partner tells me mine is already in the mail.

I just received a brand spanking new yarn ball winder, so that’s pretty awesome.

Yeah, this post is a bunch of dribs and drabs of thoughtlets, it’s kind of too hot to put together something more coherent, but I figure something is better than nothing…

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The ICC (Inter County Connector), MD rte 200, is being built across I95 between DC and Baltimore.  Leaving aside the myriad issues this brings up, ecological and otherwise, and just talking about the physical structure, it’s really pretty.  I’ve been wanting to take pictures for a while, and the other day I finally did.

ICC

There’s a problem, however, with pulling off 95 to take pictures of construction sites, and that’s getting back on 95 afterward.  So rather than trying to ease my way back onto the shoulder and then merging into traffice, I pulled through the gravel path and onto the on/off ramp, also being built.  I’m glad that I did, because once I drove up the rise I saw some more really pretty construction. (images link to larger copies).

Several layers of ICC

I took all these pictures at very high resolution, figuring I had the option of either scaling down the finished picture or cropping in regions of interest.

So then I had to figure out how to get back on 95.  I asked a friendly construction worker, who suggested I pull through the site, turn left, then right, and I’d end up back on MD 198, which I did.  So that was a bit of an explore.  Drove off to a quaint littl hardware store I like and spent too much for a weed wacker.

Following up to Thea’s question about the stitch marker, here’s what happens if you use a non split ring and the ‘trick’ to thread a lifeline through, the ring gets stuck.  Click to get a larger image which really shows the unblocked texture (purl side of shawl).

I’ve entered a couple more Blog Contests.  Sunset Cat is giving away some combination of yarn, stitchmarkers and patterns, plus is fixing to review knitting books (drawing from a date guessing pool).  To celebrate her 50th post Implausible Yarn is giving away yarn and a bag, (drawing from those who explain their blog or screen names).

The Haruni itself is coming along nicely.  The ball of yarn is now 19.5 cm in diameter, so coming up on that halfway mark (I’ve totally lost count of my repeats, so this is now my only check…  GAK!  If I miscalculate and run out of yarn I’ll scream).

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I found the camera, and did drive down 95 yesterday, but chickened out when it came to pulling over and taking the picture.  I got this on through the passenger side of the car while driving down route 1, though:

Vet's Liquor, Route 1Of course, as soon as I uploaded it to Flickr I found a better one of the same thing, actually, a whole bunch of them. Notice how well KimberlyFaye composed the picture.  I’d be jealous if I hadn’t taken mine while driving by.   I think I did reasonably well, considering.  I guess rule #1 for take better pictures is stop the car?  Meh, I’m not unhappy with it.

…and speaking of knitting, today’s blog contest is brought to you by ArizonaKnitter, who’s giving away the Vogue Lace Knitting Stictionary.  Check it out!

I’ve been working on Haruni, and am really pleased with the progress.  I followed a tip from Ravelry, and threaded my lifeline through the hole in my KnitPicks interchangeables (it’s there to tighten the tip with).  This brings it through easily and without worrying about skipping a stitch, and it doesn’t slow down the knitting either.  The downside is that I can’t use my ‘snag free’ stitch markers, there needs to be a break in the loop to free the lifeline with.  Ah, well, it’s a learning experience anyway.

Haruni Lace PatternI keep taking pictures of the Haruni, hoping I can show how the lace pattern develops.  I’m not really satisfied with what’s been coming through.  But see if you can spot how the center of one ‘leaf’ leads to the next ‘stem’ and vice versa.  Little, interlocking curves of stitches, making airy and dense sections which flow into each other.   I’m really happy with it.  As predicted, the mohair is growing on me as well.

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Preserves in the sunlight

Here’s part of what I was thinking of when I mentioned taking better pictures.  This doesn’t really capture the way the apple jelly caught the sunlight.  Something to work on , then.  In the meantime, pictures are up of the KnitNotWar 1,0o0 project.  Very worth enjoying!

These preserves, apple and strawberry, come to you via the farmers’ market.  The same market has got me thinking of various food security and ethics issues, but I’m afraid that if I start going off in that direction I might scare off the few readers this blog has…  It’s the sort of thing which might do better in my old blog, Penumbral Lore, which I’ve neglected for even longer than this one.  Maybe I’ll combine the two (and use categories for easy avoidance…).  That blog is themed about the intersection of science and !science.  This one is themed about beauty.  Not the easiest merge, but with a sufficiently broad definition of beauty it might work.

Since the blog hop hasn’t worked so well, I’m going to add a blogroll of people who show a tendency of commenting on this blog (starting now), starting with Thea, whose idea the hop was in the first place.    Also, her blog is really fun.  (I found a link to a free soap giveaway, which I entered, and a bunch of other giveaways, which I didn’t).  She also updates more often than I do…   :=/

I got my partner for the $10 yarn swap, but she doesn’t have a blog I can link to (or stalk…).   She’s very nice, but allergic to cats, which means that I’ll have to be very very careful about storing fur attracting swap swag (maybe the trunk of the car will work).   Ah, well, got to love a challenge.

I took more WIP photos, trying to really capture Haruni’s developing pattern, but now I can’t find my camera.  Obviously it’s hiding from the trip down 95 I’ve got planned for today…

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I’m not as organized as Thea, founder of the blog hop, but there are a couple of pictures I really want to capture.  So expect to see more random images posted and discussed here for the next little while (and visit the other blogs on the list to see what others have done with this…).    That is, if I can remember to bring my camera next time I’m driving up 95…

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Movi….ng Right Along

Well, I’ve done it.  I’ve signed up for that yarn swap I was talking about.  Movie themed, $10 limit.  I’m very excited about the idea, but want to be careful how much I reveal, since the recipient might end up being among the very few people who read this blog.  I think I’ll just have to blather on and trust to a cut.  If you’re in the swap and reading this now, or if you’re my swap partner and going through my back posts, please don’t follow beyond the cut.

(more…)

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