Point Me

Monday, January 31, 2011

Shoot guns and drink Hard Liqour

I've expressed before my fondness for the audacity and honesty of Hunter S. Thompson's writing. 

His portraits of society from a far-out perspective always managed to be provocative, and often hilarious.The best portrait I've ever seen of Thompson was Conan O'Brien's "interview" with him.

My favorite part will always be at 3:25, when he says "Fuck You, Bear!"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Very Own Bad Oyster

This was my big project for January. A "Bad Oyster" scarf; design courtesy of the amazing Alex Tinsley, who writes one of my favorite inspirational crafty blogs, Dull Roar.

Why is it called a Bad Oyster? Because it doesn't have any purls (insert obligatory groan here.)!

This project introduced me to two new knitting skills: Steeking and Blocking. Both were easier than I expected them to be. Steeking is when you don't cast off a section of your knit-in-the-round project, leaving the stitches open. Then, you cut open said unfinished section. This has the duel effect of making this piece lie flat, and creating some very fashionable fringe around the edges.

Blocking is a process you do at the end of the project to work out any imperfections and prevent it from curling. The basic idea is to soak the piece, then pin it down flat. It will supposedly adhere to the shape you make it when it dries. I'm thinking I need to redo this, because my edges are still rollin'. D'oh!


But yeah, this is an awesome light-weight and trendy scarf. It's a pretty easy project too, but very time consuming.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Harvey had it right...

Facing the prospect of another snow storm is just aggravating me right now. It would be ok to get some more little flurries. Psha, whatever, I'm not phased by that. I'm over it, I'm a New Englander in the flush of winter. And it wouldn't be so bad if this was one of those epic snow storms that shuts everything down forever. That would be exciting and fill me with all sorts of childhood snow day nostalgia. But NOOOOO.

It has to be one of those stupid storms that leaves a giant pile of poo for you to shovel up AND does it all before 6 AM so you still have to go to work. BULLSHIT.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It's like my mantra during my commute:

Is it spring yet?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Obsessed with....

I bought their CD and declare it (once again, as a fake doctor) good for your bones, soul, and dancing muscles.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Robert Burns Day!

Today is the day that Scottish folks and poetry lovers celebrate the life and times of Scotland's celebrated native son, Robert Burns (duh).

Born in 1759, Burns is the man responsible for that lovely "Auld Lang Syne" we sing on New Years. He was also a Freemason, and named "Poet Laureate" of the Mason's Lodge in 1787. This probably explains why Masonic lodges are pretty much the only place you go for a "Burn's Supper" here in America.

Yes, a "Burn's Supper" is the traditional way to celebrate Robert Burn's day. These dinners are built around wearing kilts, reading poems, lots of toasts with Scotch Whisky, and to eat:

Haggis! (duh.)
Would you try this infamous mixture of sheep's heart, liver and lungs? I think I'll just stick to celebrating with the Whisky.

Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With argumentative chatter!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
What then? Poor little beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mighty Mini Popovers

Sunday is a good day for Baking!

I decided I wanted to make something bread-like. Popovers caught my eye in "The Joy of Cooking" because they were simple (only 5 ingredients) and actually pretty easy. The hardest part of making popovers is not being able to peek at them in the oven, for fear of cataclysmic collapse.

These are so yummy though. Crispy and Chewy and Delicious.

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. Grease you muffin tin and sprinkle the cups with sugar - or parmesan cheese- or flour.

Mix together until smooth:
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt

Beat in, one at a time:
2 eggs (beaten)

Your batter should be thick but soupy. Pour into the muffin cups, 3/4s of the way full.

Bake for about 15 minutes, then lower the temp to 350 and cook 20 minutes longer (again-no peeking! The suspense!).

After taking out of the oven, make a small slit in the tops to help steam escape.

You should end up with a light and crusty treat! In the spirit of the local popover queen, Judy, we ate ours with yummy apple butter from Brookfield orchard. So good! A victory for simplicity!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Father Noah's Ark - 1933

From an era where nobody at Disney gave a second thought to portraying a Biblical tale in a widely released children's cartoon comes "Father Noah's Ark." Who knows if there would be any outcry about the mega-entertainment-corp releasing a cartoon like this today. Nobody seemed to mind when they did an Ark story in their 1999 reboot of Fantasia.

What always bothered me about this short was how, in the beginning, a multitude of monkeys and porcupines and elephants are all there helping out to build the ark, and in the end, only two of each get to go aboard. It seems pretty cruel to have them help you build this thing, them leave them to die, Noah.

Also, poor skunks!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Awesomest Beer on the Block

All these snow days lately have provided ample opportunity for beer enjoyment! It is a most crucial antidote for common cabin fever and shoveling fatigue. As a fake doctor, I prescribe at least one of these after snow removal chores:

Lagunitas Brown Shugga!

It's like halfway between an IPA and a just PA, with a really delicious, sorta-sweet after taste. Very good! And the 9.99% ABV is nothing to sneeze at neither. Unsurprisingly though, it is a bit dehydrating, so don't forget to drink yer water!

Also, this is officially the face I plan on making when Miss and I go here.

Hells to the Yeah!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last 5 Books I read

 Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
 Atwood's writing is as strong as ever in this collection of short stories, but I think maybe I overdosed on reading her this year. I recognized a lot of recycled characters and motifs from her other contemporary (ie: not period piece) novels. The repetitiveness of her feminist themes also kind of serves to make her writing seem a bit one dimensional in this collection. It seems like, no matter what point of view these stories are told from, or what scenarios she fleshes out, women are powerful and men are incompetent idiots who need women to survive. Her best stories in this collection are actually the ones with no male characters, I particularly "Death by Landscape". It's not that the writing is bad, it's just  entirely too similar to her lesser known contemporary books (BUT maybe it's just me being sick of her!).

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
After "Wilderness Tips" this books read like Atwood with teeth. Things that were mentioned briefly in the other book are bared naked and ugly here, with all the gory details. This novel keeps you turning pages and wanting to know what happens next to the struggling heroine Dolores Price. And hey, who doesn't like a coming of age story that takes place in a psych ward? The narration is so innately feminine, it's almost impossible to believe that it was written by a man.

 You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
Not to be confused with the other 60's Tom Wolfe who wrote "Bonfire of the Vanities." This was the last novel of the depression era virtuoso who died at just 37.  The book focuses on the time surrounding the great market crash, and paints an intimate picture of Americans before and after their financial fall from grace.  The writing style is very flowery and uses a lot of anaphora (seriously, this guy is like the anaphora king). There are lots of awesome character sketches, and the scenes of financial build-up/ruin are eerily similar to the happenings of our modern recession. It's a great books to read if you want to realize how much history repeats itself. There is a fair bit of pontification on the meaning of life though, which can be a bit dull. Solid book though.

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
After slogging through Wolfe's philosophical reverie on life, it was nice to read something a little lighter. Like all Terry Pratchett books, this one has plenty of humor, science and magic. It tells the story of a young girl who wants to break the gender taboo and be the first female wizard at Unseen University. If you've never read anything by this prolific sci-fi icon, you should do yourself a favor and do it already. This particular book is quite short/quick. I read it in 2 days!
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Paul got me the first two books in this graphic-novel series for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of them! The art is cool, and it's a neat mix of harsh reality and subtle quantum magic. The characters are strong and the humor is really right on. I can see why you'd want to make this into a movie. However, from the first book alone, I do not think that Michael Cera would make sense as Scott Pilgrim. Having not seen the film or read any of the other books though, I am ready to be proved wrong. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More like Tom Crook...amirite?

For some reason, 2011 has ushered in an era of playing 10-year-old GameCube games at our house. Our most obsessively played diskette? Animal Crossing!

Every day when we come home from work, Paul and I take turns diligently working towards paying off our house by finding dinosaur bones, fishing, and doing chores for our neighbors.

Games like this are so weird, because they're predicated on you laboring more than you would at your real life job. But it's strangely, strongly addictive.

The most fun part of the game is buying/earning items to decorate your house. I'm trying to collect all the items in the Cabin Series, which will make my house look roughly like the interior of "The Great Northern" from Twin Peaks.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Caturday XXVII

I remember the first time I watched this movie, I was waiting so eagerly for there to be a plot. Even at the 45 minute mark, I was assuring myself that the story would come soon, that the character introductions were almost over. Little did I know that that was the whole premise of it all. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

You're a House Cat

The Daily Mail posted today about a study which found that British women have an increasing desire to be stay-at-home wives and mothers. The article notes that 64% or women aspire to marry a man that makes more than them, and 69% would prefer to stay home and raise children over re-entering the workforce.

It's an interesting and enduring topic of feminism, the priorities and power of women. Whether or not you work after having kids is an issue that defines a woman far more than any other choice does. Not just in your own personal sense of self, but in the way other women classify you in the hegemony of feminism.

There is a fair bit of strength growing in the stay-home corner. Mommy-bloggers are the new voice of the housewife, and there is a lot of power in their organized ranks. One word and collective re-blogging from them can make or break a product. At the same time though there is still derision from the populace, and in the anonymity of the web it is not uncommon to see these mothers dismissed as snobbish and lazy.

The snobbish angle is actually pretty easy to buy, because who else can afford to be a stay at home mom these days but the affluent? Biodegradable diapers and organic baby food are the hip topic du jour because that's the caliber of product a person who can stay home can afford. I think that making stay at home motherhood a more widely available opportunity would really be to the benefit of all people. But I'll get to that...

A return to celebrating home making is something that I can get excited about. While I'm no Martha Stewart, I do feel that that there's something immensely satisfying about supporting and perfecting your household. 

There's a part of me that feels like ever since I started working 40 hours a week, that I'm not living up to the wifely standard that I hold myself to. I look around and see the dirty dishes left undone, the projects I've been neglecting, and bathrooms in need of scrubbing and feel truly overwhelmed. When I only worked four days a week, I felt more comfortable in my home, like I was caring for it properly. It gave me time to organize, cook more dinners, and take the stress of chores off the shoulders of Paul, who frankly is the bread winner of the family. It makes me feel good to take care of the homely things. It makes me stressed out when things are left undone.

I don't feel its wrong to take pride in housework and cooking, and I don't think it's wrong to consider the success of these tasks my wifely duty. And heck, I am pretty sure that I'll want to stay home with children once we have some.

I actually think that having more stay-at home mom's would be a positive step for modern a society. More children with an active, strong home life helps assure the moral and societal development of our future. I also see it as a necessity for the propagation of our economic system. We work in a time where labor is no longer imperative. More and more jobs, duties and tasks are being delegated to automation. We have a high unemployment rate, and our rate of creating new jobs falls short of even the number of people initially entering the work force consistently, We should really come to terms with the fact that a full time job for every American is not a realistic vision of the future. It will take a feat of societal re-working, but we possibly could retool a labor-force that is fair but competitive. One way would be to guarantee a living wage, and make stay-home motherhood more feasible for the working poor. The other would be to re-distribute the amount of hours in a standard work-week. If people worked a schedule that is considered "part-time" all the time, it would provide more opportunities for others to work, while increasing the potential for worker happiness through personal development and leisure.

I know in my heart though that these ideas for a Utopian part-time society are pipe-dreams. What with our workaholic, bootstrap, capitalist culture, it would be almost impossible to stop people from working their hardest for personal career gain. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, we've got moxie.

And I'm certainly not yearning for the sexist days of yore, where a career woman's goals were seen as prone to flights of fancy and romance.

I certainly wouldn't criticize any woman who wants to build their career throughout their lives. It's a wonderful goal, to be successful and great at what you do. But part of me does wish that the virtues of good housekeeping were more celebrated as they were in the so-called good old days. Not in a "don't worry you're pretty head way", but in a

kind of way.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best New Toy

I got Paul a Nerf Maverick six-shooter as a Christmas gift this year. It's awesome!

We went out and bought a second one for me recently, and have been having sweet duels and shoot outs. It's super fun, and a great way to beat the already encroaching cabin fever. I would say its some of the best entertainment I've ever bought for less than $10.

What do you think? Should we take it to the next level and start modding them? Some people out there are real intense about their Nerf guns and paint them to look all steam-punk. Crazy!

Welp, as Paul said: "Everybody needs a hobby."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

David Lynch's Dune

Today Paul and I watched David Lynch's 1984 version of "Dune". 

This movie's reputation for being mediocre is, I'm sad to say, pretty deserved. While the costume and set design is excellent, the story was drawn out and weighed down by excessive amounts flat exposition. Good story telling is often built on building the story through action, "showing, not telling." And this movie has an awful lot of scenes where people literally recite the plot to the camera. This is partially because its a story built heavily on political and religious intrigue. Tales of societal stratagem often don't translate well in film. 

The special effects are also kind of silly. Lynch is, as usual, obsessed with fetal imagery, and one of the main villains of the film has a distracting vagina for a mouth. The silliest effect of all though are the "shields" that the Family Atredies uses for protection (:53 in the trailer). LOL!

Not to say it isn't a visually interesting film, but you can really tell it was made in 1984.

I also really hate the depiction of the Harkonnens and the Baron in particular. Stupid, Gross, annoying! But it is fun to see Sting play the bad guy.

And speaking of weird celebrity appearances, this movie is like a who's who of nerd actors.

Brad Dourif played Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings. As Piter de Vries, he plays the almost identical character; a corrupt and nasty political adviser with close ties to major figureheads.

 Patrick Stewart (again!) as Gurney Hallock.
And Dean Stockwell, AKA Al from Quantum Leap as the traitorous Dr. Yuweh. It was neat to see him in something else.

I've actually been dying to see him in 1970's "The Dunwich Horror". He plays the lead in this movie based on Lovecraft's short story about demon worshiping monsters. It looks hilarious and he's so young!

So anyways, "Dune" is really long and kind of boring at times. Also very very weird. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't read the books. The film is very true to the novel, but it's almost like because it's so word-for-word, it's not very good. I dunno. David Lynch's style and Frank Herbert's mythos is a weird combination.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So enough of this negativity about life and the new year. Let's talk about the good things that came out of our week off. Like:

Soooo many delicious beers.

Also received/drank but not pictured: Abita SOS, Lindeman's Framboise, Rodenbach and Southern Tier Pumpkin (My Favorite Pumpkin Beer of the Year!)

So far my favorite was the Lindeman's, which basically tastes like berry nectar, or delicious candy. But what can I say, I'm a girl drink drunk.