Point Me

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Cat Scarf

Remember how I wanted to make a kitty scarf for my bro in law? Well, I finally found a chart that didn't remind me of road kill

I slightly modified the pattern, as these kitties used to sit over cross bones. I guess I felt like that piratey stuff is kind of played out... I was very very proud of this, as it is my first ever project with two colors!

Like many of the skills in knitting, colorwork seems a lot harder and more intimidating than it actually is in practice. Though, that's not quite true. I should say that colorwork in the style that I used (Intarsia) is not really as hard as it seems.

I got the basic start of the method from this video, once again supplied by the Judy ("knitter to the stars")

The real challenging method to this style of knitting is that you constantly need to be twisting the yarns in certain ways to avoid forming holes in the work. I found this page to be an indispensable resource.

While I'm really proud of how my colorwork came out, there were some other aspects of this project that I wasn't thrilled with. Firstly, my stockinette totally curled like wallpaper. NO matter what I did, I couldn't stop the scarf from rolling into a tube.

This is my fault mostly. I knit with a lot of tension in my string, as you can see from how the cat face pulls and puckers the stitches around it. I read that this happens sometimes to stockinette when you knit too tightly, but I didn't really restrain myself. I kind of like pulling the string taut and snug around the needle, it's satisfying! I read though that if you do a garter stitch along the edge of your flat projects it helps deter it. Good to know for next time I suppose.

I also kind of feel that the quality of the yarn I used may have encouraged the rolling. Not that Vannas Choice isn't wonderful. But I recently started following the blog Presents Knits, and the girl puts up all these gorgeous pictures of these hand-dyed and homespun yarns that are to die for. It really makes me want to branch out a little, go somewhere with a better yarn selection, and pick out something really beautiful and unique.

The other thing to know about Intarsia colorwork, is that it is not reversible.

I tried to weave the back to reduce the risk of it catching on things, but as you can see, it's still pretty messy back here. That's why I think this style would be better for stuff like socks and hats, where the tangley stuff can be hidden. If I wanted to make this baby reversible, I'd have to master a technique that I would place solidly in the expert knitters only category, double stranded double knitting.

I wonder how long 'til I'm brave enough to try this!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowball Mice

I made these little mice to give as Christmas presents to Nevaeh and Grace, who are the young daughters of women who work in my office. I made them from this pattern. I think the reason mine look so different from the very very cute gray mouse the original designer made was because I used larger needles. I think this caused their faces to lose a little definition. It's also kind of a no no in stuffed animal making, because it leads to little holes the stuffing can peak out of. But since these guys are white, you can't really tell.

I made the one on the left second, and it definitely came out 500x better than the first one on the right. I got a better feel for the shape of the mouse, and I also really improved at embroidering eyes. The one on the left also could stand up by itself, the one on the right could not. I guess it goes to show that practice does lead to improvement. Its too bad I had to give one of the girls a buddy who wasn't quite as sharp looking. They kind of remind me of Pinky and the Brain.

My favorite part of making these guys was doing the tails. They're called Icords, and are really handy for all sorts of things; zipper pulls, handles for bags, or even the tail spines on a stegosaurus. They're fun to make, because you get to slide your stitches to one end of the double pointed needle and knit them in the same direction over and over again.

Take it away, Judy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before Christmas - 1933

Merry Christmas Eve everybody. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you're having a nice day too.

Enjoy this cartoon from the good old days, when people put literal candles on their trees then sprayed them with highly flammable fake snow. This one truly captures the enduring creepiness of an old fashioned Santa Claus.

I had never seen this original version of this cartoon before. I had only seen a later repackaging of it, where all the seedy racial humor (3:14 and 7:16) and the puppies (7:35) had been removed. It's weird to know that this stuff was in there, and that I never knew it.

I hope you all have a very fun and festive holiday weekend. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Eve on Sesame St. - 1978

Christmas Eve on Sesame St. is my favorite Christmas special. Growing up, I can't remember a year when we didn't watch it. I've grown kind of emotionally attached to it, as it brings strong memories and feelings of gearing up for the excitement of Christmas time.

The music in this special is excellent. My favorite song is "True Blue Miracle" The song is especially poignant now, since the woman who sings the first solo, Alaina Reed-Amini has passed away from cancer this week. It's a really good song, and she sang it beautifully.

I've always thought that Bob was a really cool guy. He's a pretty famous Irish Tenor, and known as Bobu Magurasu in Japan...

The clip below is for part one. Watch it if you want to see Bert and Ernie have some PDA, A Muppet Pair skating number to the tune of Feliz Navidad, and Oscar the grouch flying through walls like a wrecking ball.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa's Land Oddity

So I was reading this great article on the Roadside America website about Santa's Land in Putney VT. This place is right up the road from my Grandma's summer place in Leyden MA, so I visited a few times through my childhood. The story really encompasses the charming weirdness of the place, including the spray-foam Xanadu house, which I always thought was there to make the elves and reindeer feel more like they were in their native arctic climate:
"We walk up the hill to the quiet of Santa's House, and can see red legs through the doorway. Santa sits, motionless. We assume he's a stuffed dummy. Then a truck klaxon echoes through the woods -- the over-the-top horn for the tiny Alpine Train -- and Santa jerks to life.
"Ho ho," he says groggily. "You caught Santa napping." The next words out of his mouth startle us even more than finding him asleep. "You look like prosperous gentlemen. Would you like to buy Santa's Land?""
Fortunately, somebody did buy Santa's Land in 2004, and apparently made a lot of really positive improvements to it. I'm really glad to hear it, as these small, independently owned attractions are as awesome as they are increasingly hard to come by.
The weird thing about this Santa's Land article though, was the discussion of a statue called "The Purple Plum Man".

The first thing that really comes to mind when you see this guy are the letters w, t, and f. He doesn't make any sense at all and looks like he came from a bad 50's space invader movie. The more I looked at this though, the more familiar it seemed. Then I remembered something...

When I went to Santa's Land w/ my bro in the 90's (I'm the nearly obscured head and shoulder by the belt buckle, he's the blondie baby) we posed for pictures with a fairly normal statue of the childhood icon Humpty Dumpty, pre-accident.

So my first reaction was, why in god's name would you paint a regular nursery rhyme character to look like that? It seemed like a really bad choice. But then the plot thickened!

Behold, Purple Plum Man in his native habitat, circa 1985. So. Either between 1985 and 2005 Purple Plum Man was temporarily painted to look like Mr. Dumpty, and eventually that was decided to be a bad call, or Santa's Land, for whatever reason, purchased two Humpty Dumpty statues and had to figure out what to do with the second one.
And the more I look at the pictures, the more the latter seems true. Purple Plum man perches on pot or sack of some kind, while Humpty opts for the more traditional wall. Also, Humpty has a more defined belt buckle.

Why two Humpty statues in the first place? And why try to cover up the truth with this ridiculous Plum man ruse? We may never truly know...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

From the Higgins Archives: What's wrong with this picture?

Click to get a larger view. This was in a folder marked "Unknown Event - Unknown Year". First person to shout it out wins a prize!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Old Fashioned Christmas Play

I have this book, I bought at a church sale called "The Complete Christmas Book." It was published in 1958, and is full of recipes, decorating tips, and holiday stories that really belong back in that decade. One chapter in the book is devoted to short Christmas plays. You know, just in case you want to invite a bunch of your friends over and do a little show for them or something. I dunno.

Anyways, one of the plays is basically just a recitation of "The night before Christmas." Except, at the end of each line is a zany, "humorous" substitution that the crowd you're doing this show for is supposed to be prompted to shout out.

The funny thing about this play is that 50% of these joke lines make ancient references to products and slogans that I don't think have existed for 50 years. The other were just bizarre and weird. I put the best quotes below:

"The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums...made them drool on their pillow. And mama in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled our brains...by visiting a psychologist"

"With what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh...with hydromatic drive. With a little old driver so lively and quick that I knew at a moment it...was the Fuller Brush man"

"And he looked like a peddler...In the (local) grocery emporium. His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry. His cheeks were like roses...But not so expensive!"

"He had a broad face and a round little belly that shook when he laughed...Like a television picture! And I laughed when I saw him...my wool underwear tickled me"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Donald's Snow Fight - 1942

Continuing with cartoons that put you in the Christmas Spirit! Because nothing makes a yuletide gay like Donald Duck being a big ol' a hole to his nephews. Huey Dewey and Louie don't take d-bag Donald's harassment lying down, and soon they're locked in an all out snow war, quite befitting of the year this cartoon was made. Plus, this clip doubles as a primer for those Norwegian lessons you always wanted to take!

1. I love Donald's Coat. How long until those hairy things become hipsterized?

2. Those people @ 2:40 must have been making out in the park like, all night! Hawt.

3. I love that Donald yells "That's unconstitutional!" in the middle of the fight. I also love the Norsk word for Unconstitutional: grunnlovsstridig.

4. I've always found the part at 5:20 where he sneezes very disturbing. It's like seeing his death mask!

Merry Christmas indeed!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm really torn here....

I discovered regretsy.com the other day, and it is amazing. The site compiles all the worst, ugly, stupid, and overpriced garbage that people try to sell on the awesome hand made marketplace that is etsy. It's hilarious, and I found myself in hysterics more than once reading through the archives.

There was one entry that I came across though, that I'm not sure how I feel about.

The Roy Road Fish Co. Hummingbird Hat. On one hand, I really do love bird watching. I spent my day off friday trying to lure the local Mourning Dove population on to my front step with Sunflower seeds so I could take pictures. The potential of being so close to these pretty little birds is kind of awesome. On the other hand, this is just a bike helmet with bird feeders taped to it. It looks like something Sylvester would order from the Acme catalog to catch the Tweety bird. Also, in this video, the guy appears to have bird poo on his shoulder, which doesn't exactly entice me to strap this baby on....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

From the Higgins Archives: WW2

The Second World War was a major boon for the Higgins Family and Worcester Pressed Steel. The company became a huge producer of military products and the factory grew to meet Uncle Sam's demands.

I love the banner in this picture. It says "The Future is in Your Hands: Be Sure to Protect Them. Safety First! Friendliness too!" Productivity was also encouraged by the domineering presence of the Worcester Pressed Steel Mascot: A suit of Armor.

There are a whole lot of pictures of this suit of armor standing in the background of factory scenes, watching people work. It's unnerving and weird. I do wonder sometimes if JW Higgins was actually in the suit, and this was his bizarre attempt to build morale. The use of armor as a mascot for the company makes a lot of sense though, because the arms and armor museum was built and opened around this time.

This picture was from a News article that the Telegam and Gazette ran about soldiers on leave learning more about the war effort at home. They talk about how this poor guy, who couldn't fight himself, felt proud working somewhere that contributed directly to the troops. The worker gets to show off his handiwork for two airmen and a seaman, giving them an up close look at arms manufacturing. The article also made it explicit that this took place 100% during the workers lunch hour, and no precious man time was wasted for the tour. Now get back to work, Flat foot!

Worcester Pressed Steel actually offered a lot of oppurtunities for the draft dodgers and the old timers to feel like they were contributing to the war. At one point, they took all the men on a field trip to a battleship.

I love the emotion in this picture. Especially the veteran grabbing his buddies shoulder on the left. I have to assume they were watching a plane take off. Very exciting! Meanwhile, back at the plant:

Next time: The swinging 60's.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fingerless Gloves

My office at the QVCDC is always cold. Auf Deutsch: Sehr Sehr Kalt. It's in a recently remodeled building, made of poured concrete, which is really conductive of the frosty air. Not only that, but the heating system is temperamental, making whether or not we'll reach the 65 degrees the ladies like to keep it humming at a great surprise every day.

I decided to make these fingerless gloves so I could keep my hands warm and type at the same time. The pattern is loosely based on the same mitten pattern I used to make Jenny's mittens over the summer. I just elongated the wrists and didn't close to top. I wish that I had made them a little bit shorter and wider in the hand, as they aren't quite ideal for stretching my fingers across a keyboard, but other than that I am pleased.

Pew Pew!

I made them from alpaca yarn I bought at the Big E in September. It was fun to work with a new material, as I've mostly just knit with cottons and acrylics. This stuff had the tendency to make felted fuzzballs ensconcing the yarn as I ran it through my fingers. It was also kind of prone to knotting. It's nice and soft and warm though, so it was great for these wristwarmers.

I enjoy knitting, especially when my projects are done, but I do find that it's an activity that makes me swear like a sailor. There always seems to be a new way to screw things up, but it's a learning experience.

I was thinking that for my next project, I'd try to whip out a scarf for my bro in law Ryan real quick before Christmas. This kid loves cats. When he was little, he had plans to open up a restaurant with a special room in it where you could go and play with kitties while you waited for your meal. I thought I might put a silhouette of a cat head on it. I haven't done any color work before, so I wanted something simple to start. Something like this maybe:

You know, simple round head, pointy ears. However, my search for cat scarf patterns only turned up horrible scary possibilities:


This one, oddly enough, was described as a pattern for cat lovers.

I like that this one has no pretensions to livelihood in a flattened animal.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First Snow!

We got our first snow last night! It even stuck.

It's Rose's first snow, but I'm afraid She'll disappear if I bring her out, being white and all. She's really more of an indoor girl anyhow. The last few times we brought her outside, she either ran and sat on the deck, or in the carport. Not at all like Rabi, who relished rolling in the dirt just to spite us.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

From the Higgins Archives: The beginning

My favorite part of being an intern at Higgins is getting to digitalize their extensive Archive Photo collection. It's given me this great window into local history, the Higgins Family, and how the museum really came to be. It also reaffirmed to me that working in archives would be something I'd like to do some day, handling these source materials and learning from them has been really fun.

So how did Higgins Armory get its start? It all started with this tyke:

John Woodman Higgins, pictured here around 1880 with his sister, who clearly blinks too much. This kid went from being your average kilt enthusiast to one of the wealthiest tycoons the city of Worcester ever built. He graduated from WPI, and became the founder of Worcester Pressed Steel at the age of 31. From there he nursed his unhealthy obsession with steel, but that's a story for another time.

What's really cool is Worcester Pressed Steel was a burgeoning company right around the turn of the century. You know what that means:

Ladies in the puffy-sleeves-plus-cameo-brooch look that just screams suffragette! Also waistcoats on dandies and a monster manual typewriter. I think it's neat though that they do seem to have some sort of electricity going, based on the haphazard wires criss-crossing the ceiling. Maybe with them being a big industrial business though, that's kind of a given. It wasn't until I wrote this that I realized I don't know much at all about the history of the electric utility.

I fell in love with this picture, there are so many neat details. This guys moustache screams "middle management". But what's up with overflowing wastebasket under the desk? And the bizarre saw in the corner. What's the deal with this guy?

So you can see, things started pretty simple for JW and company, but it didn't stay that way. Next time: WW2 takes things up a notch.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Can you believe it?

Holy wow, it's December! 2009 is almost over!

I'm finding myself more excited about the holidays this year than I have been in the recent past. The last few years, I've sort of let December creep over me, until Christmas is only a few days away and I panic about forcing myself to feel the "spirit". Maybe it's the fact that all the neighbors around us have put up x-mas displays already. The people behind us seem to go all out for every holiday, and even use theatrical lighting to showcase the decorations they put around the front door. On Halloween they had two spooky mannequins guarding a cauldron. For Wintertime, they've opted for classy swathes of evergreen on the door, framing an acoustic guitar with a red velvet ribbon around the neck. The people across the street to the front seem to herald every season with a dog flag. That is, a flag with a photograph of a dog on it. A Chihuahua puppy in a santa suit unfurled a few days ago.

Paul and I haven't put up any decorations yet, but I'm hoping we can get the tree over the weekend. I did however get to help deck the halls at the office. This included wrapping all the banisters in tinsley garlands and plugging in the fiberoptic christmas tree. I also got to show off my snowflake making skills at yet another work place. All the sort of passive preparation is making it feel like Christmas sooner I guess.

I'm excited though, for blogging video this month as Christmas time is theme of the majority of my childhood classics. I'll start off with this one, which was on a compilation disney VHS called "a disney christmas gift". I vaguely remember that it was mailed to us by our caring corporate buddies, free and unexpected one december. Each cartoon is holiday or winter themed, and segwayed by clips of people celebrating Christmas at Disney Land, or shots of old fashioned wind-up plutos and mickeys zipping around under a christmas tree.

"Once Upon a Wintertime" (1948) isn't about the X-mas, just December, and hopefully it will help all of us in denial about the coming snows face reality.

When I was a kid and went ice skating, I always tried to make hearts like the girl does @ 2:50, but it never really worked.

I also knew, even when I was little, that the girl rabbit and the lady were being total bitches.

My favorite part though, is that the animals are the heroes. That and the awesome narrative 40's style music.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Battle of Triceratops Run

Why not take a trip to Virginia this year? After all Virginia is for lovers!

Lovers of Dinosaurs killin' Yankees, that is.

Velociraptors want the South to rise again!

I wish there were more alternate reality sculpture parks like this one in Natural Bridge, where Union soldiers learn the hard way not to try to harness the wild native dinosaurs as a weapon against the confederacy. War of Northern Aggression indeed...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I like to read the British Daily Mail for the occasionally ridiculous opinion pieces and their fixation on the royals. The other day I made the mistake of reading this article, about some adults getting together to re-record a song that their school choir made a number 1 hit in 1980.

The song is called "There's No One Quite Like Grandma". It extols the virtues of grandmas, such as being there for parties and Christmas, and the fact that they don't rush you. It was so popular that they got to sing it live on "Top of the Pops", which is a huge deal in the UK. These folks are re-recording it to raise money for the elderly, which is a very noble thing.

My big mistake, however, was actually listening to the song. I love my grandma and all, but it's been stuck in my head for ages.

I found the girl who sings the solo a little creepy, but Paul says; "Nah, she's just British."

Learning a New Skill

At work, I've been put in charge of creating graphic promotional e-mails. The framework we use to create these little newsletters reminds me a lot of livejournal. There are lots of templates you can fiddle around with, but it really, really helps to know a little HTML.

One of the girls I work with gave me a Hypertext study guide to reference while I'm fighting with the code. I really like this guide for two reasons. One, my personal helper on this formatting journey is a little cartoon pig in steel-toed boots and a denim jumpsuit. He has a sweet von dutch trucker hat, toolbelt, and a nametag that says "HTML" on it. He helps me out by equating everything to being an auto mechanic. Transparent GIFs? Why, that's just like a car overheating! Setting up a project folder is also basically identical to stacking some tires, why not.

The second reason I like the guide is that the sample website they use for examples is a very lame Lord of the Rings fan page. One screen cap reads as follows:

Aragorn - The King Returns

In Tolkien's epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings, Isildur's heir was Aragorn, in whose veins two or three thousand years worth of old Numenorean blood ran true. Wow!

It's too bad that mylordoftheringssite.com doesn't really exist, so you could see the terrible formatting (a picture right in the middle of a sentence? Whatever you say Mr. Pig.) and awkward assertions made by this super fan (AKA "lotrnut@hotmail.com") like - "Saruman was really the progressive of the two", and calling Gandalf "diabolical".

I tried to find a bad angelfire site that would be a good approximation. This is probably the closest I'm going to get.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Plants etc.

My dad works at Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton MA. He works selling beautiful gardens to the richie riches, and generally thrives on making green things grow. All while I was growing up, he planted the most wonderful vegetable gardens. I loved going through in the late summer and plucking up the cherry tomatoes.

The smell of them on the vine is one of my favorite scents. Our yard was also always overflowing with beautiful daffodils in the springtime. He did (and still does) a really good job making everything beautiful.

When I was a freshman at Umass, I decided I wanted to get a plant. My dad was really excited when I told him, and picked one that fit my specifications. Not too high maintenance, and one that doesn't need a lot of sunlight, as my crazy roommate had hogged the entire gigantic picture window in our room.
It was a cute little green viney thing that sat on the bookshelf of my desk. As the semester marched on, and things got more hectic, I basically forgot that it existed. Leann confessed at the end of the year that she had been keeping it alive for me, sneaking water into the pot when I wasn't there.

Over the summer the plant thrived when I brought it back into my parents house. It grew so substantially that it had to be repotted. The vines overflowed the sides of the pot and skirted the floor. Subsequently, it became too big for me to fit in my teeny tiny Baker dorm room. Or at least that's what I said. I knew that if it came back to school with me, it would probably die. My parents kept it, and very quickly I forgot about it.

Last year, when Paul and I were still living in Amherst, my dad proudly announces that he still has my plant, and that I can take it back now. He had taken really good care of it for 4 years. He had put it in a nice new hanging basket with plenty of room to grow. I was kind of touched that he still thought of it as my plant.

As soon as it was warm enough, I hung the plant outside in our little fenced in lot. An unexpected frost came, and within a week the poor thing was stone cold dead. After 4 years of careful diligence, I had totally killed it.

My mom had also given me a little potted plant kit for Christmas last year. The pots were about 2 inches wide and came with seeds for Basil and some little pink flowers. They came with soil, fertilizer, and specific directions. I thought I followed them really well, but nothing ever sprouted.

However, for the gardening inept like me, there seemed to be a saving grace - hydroponics. Garrett got Paul and I one of those Aerogarden machines as a wedding present. I was really excited. These things are supposed to be fool proof. You don't need to water the plants, and every two weeks the machine automatically alerts you to add more nutrients.

Well, I guess I'm a fool:

The pictures are kind of blurry, so if you can't tell, they're dead. Dead before even making it out of the sproutling stage. The holes in the pic above are where ones clearly kicked the bucket right off the bat. The only one we're really holding out hope for is Parsley.

I don't know what happened. The little foam things they grew out of looked like they got moldy. We also waited about a year before we set it up, so maybe the seeds were duds. I also suspect that Roosevelt sits on them when we're not home. That sun-simulating light gets nice and toasty like a sunbeam.

At any rate, the verdict is in. Green thumbs are not genetic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday Dinner #11 - Baked Onions

Also - Post 100!

It's been awhile since I blogged food. Basically, ever since I've stopped having Wednesdays off, there hasn't been much time for a fancy cooking.

Last night I made Baked Onions from the 100 Great Vegetarian Recipe Cookbook. They were really yummy and easy to make, but very time consuming. You might also find yourself feeling a little hungry after dinner if your onions aren't the biggest.

Preheat your oven to 375. Slice off the root end of your onions so they stand up tall. Then, the recipe says to wrap them in loosley in foil and bake on a cookie sheet for 35 minutes. I didn't realize that this initial bake was meant to be done with the papery skins on. As you can see, I took them off right after cutting off the bottoms. I was worried that this might ruin the dish, but it turned out not to be a big deal, as far as I could tell.

Then you take the onions out and let them cool for a minute. I took this opportunity to chop up the 3 garlic cloves and the half cup of mushrooms. Once the onions are cool enough to handle, cut off the tops about 1/3 the way down and scoop out the insides. This is pretty easy, as the baking leaves the onion layers slippery and easy to separate. Finely chop the innards.

Cook the chopped onion with oil in a skillet until golden. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until tender.

The recipe then called for half a lemon, which I forgot to buy! It says to add the zest and juice and cook for 1 minute. I didn't think it was bad without it, but it probably gave a more interesting dimension to the flavor.

After that remove the veggies from the heat and add 1/3 cup breadcrumbs and a Tbsp of parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the onions shells with this mixture. Sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese all over. Wrap each onion in greased aluminum foil, adding a tsp of water to each packet. Scrunch the foil tightly and bake for 40 minutes. Open the foil at that point, and cook open for 10 minutes.

Mmm. They came out really cheesy and delicious. As I said though, go with the biggest onions, or make a side, because they aren't super filling. I would make again. It's a nice fall meal.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Caturday X

This is a picture of me in August of 2007. I'm at Cobbs, which I wrote amply about earlier this year. I'm holding a kitten that was adopted by the campground after it was found living semi-feral in the woods. The workers there named him Ringo, but all my family and I just called him "Little Kitty". He was a tiny guy, but he was a crazy good hunter.

He always knew the best places to look.

This is a picture of me today holding Roosevelt.

She hasn't really demonstrated any real capacity for hunting, but I did catch her attempting to spar with a lit candle the other day.

I like to think that we subconsciously picked Rose because of Little Kitty, but I honestly didn't remember how similar they were until I looked back at my old Maine pictures the other day. It's pretty crazy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Drinking with the Warner Bros. (and the Warner Sister)

In the wide wild world of drinking games, the ones based upon TV shows are rarely ever good. Take for example, this Futurama drinking game. There are just waaaay too many rules. There's no way that somebody on their 3rd or fourth beer could remember all that stuff.

However, Paul and I may have discovered, inadvertently, the greatest drinking TV show of all time. And that show is Animaniacs. We've been renting the episodes from Netflix. The show is great mix of formulaic gags and childhood nostalgia. The same "rules" come up again and again in every episode, but not so frequently that you can't enjoy watching the show too.

The Animaniacs Drinking Game Rules

1. Drink whenever they say "We're the Warner Bros (and the warner sis)."
2. Drink whenever there's a song.
3. Drink anytime Dot says she's cute.
4. Drink for any instance of comic violence.
5. Drink for any celebrity cameos
6. Drink anytime a character from another cartoon makes an appearance. Like if the Goodfeathers stroll by in the background during a Slappy the Squirrel short.
7. Hellloooooo Nurse!

I'll let you all have a practice round with this Star Trek parody sketch. I really like that this clip reinforces the "Spock Uhura" 'ship that was canonized in the new movie.

Poor James Doohan. He was such a sweet old man, it makes me sad they make fun of him so.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hell of a Ween

Halloween was really fun this year, but pretty different from what Paul and I have done the last 5 years or so. To all the very very dear friends that we didn't hang out with on the ghoul night, we missed you! I wish that I got to drink with you and see all your assuredly fabulous costumes. It really does bum me out when I think about not seeing you all.

Paul and I spent the day working at the Haunted Higgins event. It was a lot of fun, despite it requiring us to leave the house at 8 AM.

I was Princess Lolly from Candy Land.

The event was structured around all these different themed areas, and since there was no Candy Land area, I threw on a pair of borrowed wings, became "The Candy Fairy", and hung out with some really cool girls in the Fairy Forest.

Paul went as a Yip Yip.

Understandably, this costume elicited some drastically variable responses from the kids, ranging from excitement and joy to abject terror.

Some of my favorites were:

- The little boy who stared at Paul for a solid 10 minutes, then blurted out "I love you!"
- The little boy who encountered Paul on the stairs and yelled "Oh no! A ghost!"
- The little girl, who after sizing him up declared "That's a pretty bad Elmo costume."

Indeed, probably half the kids were under the impression that he was Elmo. Really kids?
This is the like Elmo of your most terrible nightmares.

It was a lot of fun though, giving out candy and playing the part of the mischievous fairy, skipping around the museum and seeing all the cute kids in their costumes. The most popular choices were Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Vampires. My personal fave was the brothers who came as Bowser and Waluigi. The museum did a really good job of it too - they even had a battle between a Jedi and a Sith lord, using only moves from authentic 16th century training manuals of course.

It was a lot of fun, but honestly exhausting. Afterwards, Paul and I went home and promptly took naps. We awoke a few hours later to our neighbor blasting a haunted house soundtrack into our backyard, which was super weird at first. Being half asleep and hearing screaming and evil cackling, it's hard to tell if you're dreaming it.

We got a healthy number of trick or treaters, but most of them were 12+. When the candy-begging died down, we went to a Party in Northampton with Pat S. It was kind of cool to go to a party where you didn't really know anybody. It took me back to freshman year.

I am looking forward to having a a more familiar crowd around me again next year though. I'm think about hosting, but don't hold me to it :). I hope you all had so much fun at your respective shindigs!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How I spent the first day of November

Paul and I went to the Lupa Zoo today! It was really cool, I had never been there before. It was fun to see all the animals, and be outside on such a great fall day. We made friends with this cockatoo that did tricks for treats. Somebody should have told him that Halloween was yesterday. He was kind of a show off. We also saw a really scary black throated monitor lizard that was trying his hardest to escape it's habitat. He was huge! It was digging persistently at the door and flitting its tongue like crazy. It was a little scary, we definitely watched our backs after that.

There were all sorts of cute little marsupials and monkeys too. I really loved seeing the fennec foxes. They are truly real-life pokemon.

It was a lot of fun. There were lots of sweet things to pose with in the park. Tableaus with the heads cut out so that you could put your head through. Lots of neat/ kitchy animal statues too.

It was a really fun time. It's so cool that it's only about 20 minutes away from the house.

When we got home, we shared a delicious treat. A pomegranite.

So delicious. I don't think there's a fruit that's more fun to eat.

One of my favorite web comics, Wasted Talent just did an ode to the pomegranite too.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spooky time!

Happy Halloween everybody!

To celebrate, check out this totally ridiculous clip of Tyra Banks interviewing a vampire. Tyra acts like she's expecting a scary sexy Twilight character to come out, but is instead greeted by Don Henry "The Vampire Emperor". Instead of a sexy trendy bloodsucker, we are treated to the musings of an awkard slash nerdy intellictual-type with monastic tendencies, who takes his vampiring very VERY seriously. Tyra clearly doesn't get him at all. My favortie line of the whole interview is at 3:40, when Tyra throws out the kind of back handed insult- "But you're not wearing any makeup or anything! You've just got like, a face like a vampire!"

Click through to Part 2 if you want to see Don do feats of strength, and complain about his aching vampire boneses.

Sorry I couldn't embed. I think clicking the link is totes worth it! It's Tyra at her Tyra-ist.

Tyra and a vampire

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Punkin Time

Last night, Paul and I carved our Halloween Jack O' Lanterns. It was a lot of fun. It was Roosevelt's first Halloween, and I think she enjoyed herself. She kept putting her face really close to the knife when we were carving. She also enjoyed eating the punkin innards way too much. She kept sticking her paw into the goop bowl and stealing little pawfuls of the stuff.

Unlike last year, we actively strove to not draw the same exact face on our punkins. I think we did a good. job. Guess whose is whose!

After the carving, we saved the seeds and roasted them. Hooray for healthy snacks! My mom used to make these every year when I was little. They're a real symbol of fall, and especially halloween, for me.

First, we seperated the seeds from the mush. I was pretty pleased with myself that I hadn't actually physically touched the innards during the latern making process, using a great metal spoon. This snackscapade kind of undid all that active avoidance.

Then, we rinsed and strained the seeds, picking off any remaining bits of debris that we could find. After, we patted them dry with a paper towel.

We tossed them in olive oil, and sprinkled them liberally with salt and seasonings. I used a "grilling and broiling" seasoning mix I found in the cupboard. I think we might have inherted it from Tracy Circle. It had garlic and onion flavors, lots of pepper, and bit chilli powder in it. It actually gave them a punch of spiciness I wasn't expecting.

I would say use whatever seasoning you like best though. When I was little, my mom would make them with lawrys seasoned salt. Here's a copycat recipe.

Then we baked them at 400 for 20 mins on a baking sheet, turning after the first 10. They came out pretty darn delicious!