Saturday, May 31, 2008

Just in Time for June, More Scarves!

The "Should We Go Get Ice Cream or a Beer?" Scarf for:

Name: Jenn aka j.fresh

Location: Seattle, WA (North Beacon Hill)

Job: I don’t want one! But, I might start working with a man who has Asperger’s.

Age: 24

What I want to be when I grow up: I hope I never grow up…

Best thing that happened to me last week: Camping on the Olympic Peninsula

On my bookshelf most recently: Pictures & seashells

On my Ipod a lot lately: Priscilla Ahn, Ryan Adams, Kathleen Edwards, David Gray, Patty Griffin, Sera Cahoone

Just watched this: Two Days in Paris, Prince Caspian, Lars & The Real Girl, Iron Man, Savages, Grey’s Anatomy Season Finale

Why I let someone knit me a scarf with hardly any say in how it would look: I didn’t. I got the most wonderful privilege of being the first to co-create my scarf with Kj.

That's right. For whatever reason, Jenn made it all the way into the yarn store with me. Our initial vision was a general brown and pink kinda thing ( she often seems to be wearing one or both of those colors- notice the photos), but once we started pulling yarn off the shelves, we were both drawn to turquoise blues and things just went from there. Though this scarf may look quite similar to some that have gone before, this scarf actually features the lightest blue yarn yet to be used in the scarf collection and the ligthest neutral tone: a sort of yellowy, peachy, ochre colored yarn. So don't be deceived, this baby's all new.

As far as the scarf name goes, usually I intuitively sense the scarf's name as I plan it for the person (and the names are often pretty reflective of the person, as are, I hope, the scarves) but this time, much like the process of choosing the yarn with Jenn, I had to wait and think about it as I went along. When I looked at the finished scarf with it's cookie dough type browns and the almost minty teal, I couldn't help but think about Coldstone Creamery (and I'd just been there with Jenn a few days before) and since most of my other socializing with Jenn has involved beer, the title finally fell into place. So what ultimately was my inspiration? Well, I think the very fact of its co-createdness, the team decision making, trial and error color choosing, says a lot about Jenn and how she approaches life and relationships. It was an honor to get to be creative on her behalf and with her. And I hope she'll take me back to Coldstone real soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finally, a little Rage from the RageKaje

Seattle transit travelers, like our clean, Eco-friendly buses, are overall, quite polite and accommodating. But avoid, at all costs, ever riding the bus at rush hour times, say from 5 to 7pm on weekdays. No, its not that people suddenly get pushy and rude when the buses fill up and there are no seats left. Rather, I find that Seattlites have no idea whatsoever how to ride a crowded bus. As more and more people enter the front of the bus, those without seats stand still, blocking the aisles like confused cattle. Whole pastures of open space may exist toward the back of the bus, but no one even turns to look, much less let more intelligent travelers pass them by to reach said open space. Instead, an unbreakable bottle neck forms at the bus entrance, with people both trying to exit and get on the bus, but still, no one makes a move to spread out or get out of the way. It took me ten minutes just to make it back to the area by the rear door, as people crammed butt to elbow in the front aisle.

I've raged and mumbled endlessly at this phenomenon, whether its Tuesday morning rides where 14 people cram up front because one woman standing two rows in won't move 8 feet back to make room, or like tonight, when I moved out of the bus entry and into the aisle as soon as I could, and had to move back and forth eveytime someone exited because the guy in front of me wouldn't budge an inch. And these buses and not designed to hold much standing capacity as it is, so why do people insist on planting, when they could move to the back? ESPECIALLY, when bus drivers make a point to make sure everyone who needs to is able to get off at their stop. It's not like the NY subway where you have to position yourself close to the doors lest you get squeezed away from your exit at the crucial moment.

Fortunately, I'm the second to last stop on my route, so I always have a seat in the morning, and always end up with a seat by the end of my ride, since I usually begin and end the ride as the sole passenger. Leaving the bus tonight, I asked the bus driver, "So, is it me, or do Seattleites not know how to ride a crowded bus?"

He nodded his head with an emphatic sigh and said "Oh, Completely Not, not at all, not at all." He didn't offer up any theories, (my theory is simple lack of exposure to crowds in general- downtown has like One crowded block) but as I left, he made sure to say, like a true, polite Seattlite "But they are good at following directions!"

This tendency to "wait until their told" before making room for others is the reason that my morning bus reading is continually interrupted by "MOVE TO THE BACK! MOVE TO THE BACK!" I mean, aren't these the same people riding to work everyday? Like goldfish making circles in a bowl, every morning, they are re-introduced to the wide open space right behind them at the back of the bus. Maybe the transit department, instead of posting insipid and derivative poems by local thirty-somethings, could post some helpful guides to riding the bus, like "If you notice that there's seven more people about to get on the bus, turn around and see if you can make room for them." That might be all it would take. For now, I can only smolder quietly while I remember rush hour on the 5 to grand Central Station.
Ah, the sweet, frenzied, organized chaos of the subway!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thanks for the Book Recommendation, Sofia Coppola

Marie Antoinette: The Journey Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

This historiography of Marie Antoinette is deeply researched and rich with important paradigm-shifting propositions so overdue for the story of one of the most hyperbolically, undeservingly villainized people, much less, women, in history. It's a thick read (heavily detailed), but always points to the humanity of the figures being studied- their flaws, limitations and steadfastness in light of fates they had little power to alter. It's a remarkable story of survival by a not-so-spectacular young girl funneled into roles she had no choice in, but who, though enmeshed in the hedonistic culture of 18th century France, defined herself by honor and duty, to the end. It's tragically ironic that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette should have suffered such violent deaths in a political tsunami, when as Royals, they were possibly the least controversial figures in the history of the French monarchy, if not Europe in general. You take a young man who seems to have been systematically taught how not to make a decision or think for himself, and a girl, barely educated, married off into one of the most powerful courts in Europe at the age of 14, and you end up with a King and Queen who, understandably, have little orientation or vision beyond the doors of their personal chambers. If they were terrible rulers, it was because their sphere of influence was a million times greater than their exposure or training. Tragedy lies both in the helplessness that was bred into them, and the Machiavellian portraits the scandal hungry media propagated of them.

Fraser's book is an outstanding achievement in compelling, compassionate historical biography, that continually prompts the reader toward a checks and balances system of evaluating how we label/interpret the actions of those who have gone before us.

View all my reviews.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bye, Sydney

Thanks for all the great movies.

Sydney Pollack
1934-2008, Book reviews ready to cut and paste.

The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World by Robert E. Webber

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Such a clear and relieving explanation for anyone who grew up in American evangelical Christianity and consistently struggled inside over methods, practices and meanings that didn't fit with how you understood yourself, the world or God. It was amazing to read 243 pages describing me perfectly.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Transit, Games and Kimmy

Having Kim visiting me here in my Seattle life has brought up a lot of thoughts and memories of my previous life(lives) that I've lived along side of her. We were riding the bus home the other night when I turned and said "Kim, we have spent a lot of time sitting side by side on public transit." Usually Kim would be knitting a project, and I would be making out-loud observations about print advertisements or nudging her to play a game with me while we rode the C train home to Brooklyn. This time, riding the 15 bus home to Blue Ridge, I managed to get Kim to play one of my favorite co-created NYC transit games: Phrase.

Phrase was started by Garth and myself, and has had a pretty good run. Its open-endedness and lack of competitive elements, may prove unappealing to many, but here's how you play. Someone starts the phrase chain with a one or two syllable word. The next person takes the last word or syllable and adds a new word, syllable or continuing phrase to it. this continues, with rules bending to fit phonetically or sneakily when necessary. The fun (dorky) part is that when you play you don't repeat the part you're adding to, you just keep talking. Thus, if you'd been sitting behind Kim and I the other night, this is the conversation you would have overheard. (might make more sense if you read it out loud)

Dog. Ie bag. Of gold. Ie Hawn. Solo. Nely*. Harvey Oswald. O wall carpet. Cleaner. Air. To the throne. To the wind. In my sails. And whales**. Of august. And everything after. The gold rush. Rush, hurry, hurry lover, come to me. Its me, its me, o Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer. For the children. Of men. Tos the fresh maker. ‘s mark. My word. To your mother. Mary. Had a little lamb. Zy divey. Ng board. Of directors. Chair. EE picker. Rve ball. S to the wall. Of China. Below us.***

* say this out loud and you might recognize the chorus of a song by The Police

** this is not a real phrase, but Kim said it and i loved it so much, I allowed it to be coined for the purpose of this game. Please start using this so it'll gain popularity. Like, if someone asks you why you're gonna ride the ferry, maybe say "Oh, you know, gonna check out some sails and whales."

*** this is the name of my stand up comedy routine, or at least the conversation i've had with myself onstage a few times in front of audiences, that I like to call a comedy routine

Monday, May 12, 2008

Vacation's Over

Feeling: Ticking Time Bomb in my chest

Reason to Celebrate: Just saw my first film in the theatre for over 2 months. That might be a lifetime record for me. Not one I'd like to beat.

Song: Bach, Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 28

Ready For: Six hours of class tomorrow; Summer Term has begun. With this Guy! Love it.

Book: "Marie Antoinette: The Journey" By Antonia Fraser. Finishing the book I got half-way through during my Christmas "break" 2006.
On the Needles: A scarf for Jenn. Typing all those papers of March and April put me on a knitting hiatus. I'm ready to recommence.

I'll Know When My Love Comes Along: Because I'll be picking her up at the airport this Thursday. Kim, My non-romantic life-partner (read: best friend) is flying in from NYC for more than a week. There shall be much knitting, much laughter, and likely, much Lord of the Rings.

Meditation: Make it stop hurting please.

Movie: 2 Days in Paris

Self-Care Activity of the Summer: Rollerskating

Wish: For a different story to have preceded me.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


What do these three people have in common?

At least one of them was in the last six movies I watched, as of two days ago. After watching Dan in Real Life, Heaven, Becoming Jane, Atonement, Elizabeth: the Golden Age and Trois Couleurs: Bleu, I realized that every film was starring either Cate Blanchet, James McAvoy or Juliette Binoche.

The only break in the pattern was when I watched The Piano which, though not featuring any of the above three actors, did feature the Academy Award winning performance by young Anna Paquin,who was also in Franco Zefirelli's Jane Eyre, which I revisited today only to realize that it was shot on the same manor location, Haddon Hall, as the recent BBC Jane Eyre that I have been watching repeatedly since I go it from the library. (I've neglected to add it to my film roster more than once because frankly, it would be embarressing to admit how many times I've watched it this month, especially considering its four hours long).
And Haddon Hall was also featured in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice that featured Brenda Blethyn, which takes us not only back to Atonement, where she plays James McAvoy's mother, but to Becoming Jane, the bio-pic of Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice.

So there you go.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Breathing Again

A Day without Work, Class or Homework looks like:

Waking up without my alarm clock, at quarter to 1

Catching up on "Lost" online

Doing laundry for the first time in, well, just imagine the longest you'd wait and multiply it by three

Reading a novel on the back deck in the sunlight, facing the mountains, blooming rose bushes, and bamboo trees

Taking a short walk down the hill to buy sorbet and rent a movie from the grocery store Dollar-a-DVD box

"Arrested Development" and microwave pizza with the roomate

Singing while folding laundry in an empty house

Peace that passes understanding

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Inter-Web Keeps Getting Weirder

I've been a decent fan of the IGoogle page, mostly because the Google Reader feature saves me time from scrolling around to see if friends have blogged lately or not- instead I get instant updates. I also enjoy the "Moon Phase" feature which lets me know when the Moon is waning gibbous, waxing, or what have you. Helps me know ahead of time that I'll be getting no sleep on those Full and New Moon nights.

But I've also enjoyed the optional display feature for the banner. I had the night/day theme which supposedly changed to reflect the time of day but really just cycled through morning and evening about every three times you went to your home page. Recently, I'd been keeping it cosmic with the solar system banner, which, though nice, really only had like seven images and thus, grew tiresome.

Well, the other day I noticed a link with a painter's pallet icon leading to "New Artists Themes" and immediately imagined my Edward Hopper or Gustav Klimt IGoogle motifs. Instead, here's the first nine "artist" options that were listed:

Beastie Boys
Jackie Chan
Oscar de la Renta
Lance Armstrong
Diane von Furstenberg
Marc Ecko
Anne Geddes

Did I miss something? I mean, I did flirt with the idea of a Diane von Furstenberg banner, to bring back Meatpacking District memories of NYC, but really? Jackie Chan? Lance Armstrong? Where was Vermeer? Andrew Wyeth? Dang, at least toss a Degas my way.

Well, of all things, three quarters of the way down, it listed "Mark Morris." Are you kidding me? Yes. You cannot have an Da Vinci themed IGoogle page, but you can have New York choreographer-themed banners?

So, yeah, now sometimes Mark Morris' deep set eyes and worried chin appear on my IGoogle banner along with images of recently performed pieces. I sometimes squint and look for Seth.

Thank you Inter-Web. You're just so consistently random.