Point Me

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First of the Season!

 Now that the weather is cool and blustery, my desire to knit has boiled back up into my bones. I finished this hat over the weekend, and I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.

I was inspired by Alex Tinsley's "A Most Bespeckled Hat". Though there are some key differences in the finished products. Hers uses a much thicker yarn, while mine was made out of some yard sale purchased sock weight stuff Paul's Mom gave me for my b-day.

Here's what I learned!

1. Ribbing is your friend- If you compare Ms. Tinsley's hat to mine, you'll see that hers has a has slouchier, less fitted look, while mine is a bit beanie-ish. The main difference is hers has a longer ribbed cuff that lets the hat get all loosey goosey. I will keep this in mind for further slouchy endeavors.

2. You've got more yarn than you think- I probably could have made this hat quite a bit bigger/slouchier, but I was paranoid about running out of yarn before I could finish (what with it being a ball of unlabeled stuff). I ended up with quite a significant surplus of the blue yarn, because I was so worried about running out. Now I'm not sure what I'll do with the odd amount of waste. Oh well!

3. Polka dots are fun! - This was an easy bit of colorwork that really came out looking cool. It was a great refresher on knitting in two colors after a long haitus. I would also recommend it as a good way to try two colors as a beginner.

PS: When I first saw this picture I couldn't believe that's what I look like now. I guess I've sort of lost track of how long my hair has gotten! And I'm not planning on cutting it till the winter is over! I'll be like Rapunzel in no time, I'm sure (minus it glowing when I sing, I guess.)

Here's to the coming season of many projects!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oh, hell to the no...

Why do you do this to me science? Why?

George Whitsides, a chemist from Havard, has led a team of robotic experts to combine two of my least favorite things; unsettlingly agile robots and unsettlingly agile cephalopods. 

Using the squishy flexibility of squids as unholy inspiration, they have created "Soft Robot".

While this prototype is kind of clumsy (1:28 - 1:40 esp. - I'm not having nightmares about this one yet), it does make me fear a future where slippery overlords with electrodes for hearts squeeze under my door in the night.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011- "Nice tits bitch!"

Hey all,

I hope you had satisfying and relaxing holidays. Ours was very good!

For me it was a Thanksgiving framed by two films. The first, I watched the day before turkey day, while recovering from a nasty cold- "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1967), which some of you probably know is the musical Daniel Radcliffe is currently starring in on broadway.

The '67 movie was enjoyable, but terribly terribly campy. The costuming and set design did a pretty good job of highlighting the tackiest looks of the era. I liked it as a very archetypal musical, with lots of predictable personality types and plot turns, and lots of good old fashioned sexism (there's literally a song about how "A Secretary is not a Toy"). The music was pretty good too. It's a solid show.

I enjoyed the film too as a vantage point into mid-century NYC. There's lots of good shots of the urban landscape. I particularly enjoyed this shot of Times Square, nearly 50 years ago:

Look at how much of the actual buildings you can see! And how much smaller they seem too.

It was also fun to see D. Radcliffe himself perform his version of the show the next morning in the Macy's parade. It was a nice point of comparison.

I thought he did a good job! Who knew H.P. could dance so good?

On Thanksgiving night, Paul and I watched some decidedly tackier fare together: "Thankskilling" (2009), dubbed by its own creator as "The Ultimate low budget experience."

It's a modern b-movie classic about college kids who get hacked up by a homicidal demon turkey whilst on Thanksgiving break. Here's a hint about what kind of movie this is; The very first shot of this movie is an extreme close-up on a busty woman's nipple.The lady is dressed in a flimsy pilgrim costume with her boobs hanging way out Here's what comes next:

I don't know if I can really do it justice by describing it, but I can say I'm continually unsure if I loved or hated this movie. Can I add that there is a scene where the turkey rapes a lady? And finishes by yelling "you just got stuffed?"

I just...I dunno.

Happy start of the gift-giving season!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Caturday XXXVIII

I wonder what he thinks he is experiencing...

PS- Turkey Day post to come!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Go Pats

You know what's awesome? Tonight is MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL. Yeah!

These last few years, I've really started to get into the whole American football thing. Now I usually spend the latter half of my week looking forward to seeing the Patriots play, and I can say quite honestly that football is my favorite sport to spectate. And not just because of my imaginary football boyfriend, Wes Welker.

 He's been struggling with injuries a lot this season. I can't help but hope though he'll replay his historic 99 1/2 yard touch down at some point again this year. That's possible right? Just because only a dozen people have ever done that ever doesn't mean that he couldn't do it twice in one season...RIGHT?

Anyways - The Kansas City Cheifs are toast tonight. TOAST.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


That is the sound of my brain exploding. I've reconstituted it in order to write this post.

It all started a few days ago when my second cousin, raised in a very christian family, posted this cartoon on facebook:

Hahaha, get it? Evolution isn't real, it's all millionaire liberal scientists colluding with the media to trick us into not believing the bible.

For some reason, this led me to torturing myself reading like 3 years of backlog of these "After Eden" comics, which only served to make me more and more annoyed.

There are a few repetitive messages to them, we're all cursed and fallen, the days god took to create earth are literal days, and people who buy into evolution are fools who think their parents are monkeys.

It turns out these comics are directly partnered with Kentucky's notorious Creation Museum. There are even a few comics depicting people getting converted at said museum. NOW GET READY FOR SOME IRONY!

Part of the museums facilities include, admittedly, very beautiful gardens and a petting zoo. You can go for camel rides there, just like the Magi.

And among their collection of fauna, they have....

A zorse. That's right. The cross bred combination of a zebra and a horse. A creature that only exists because of human intervention and *gasp* complimentary genetics. The selective breeding of zorse hybrids is even expressly discussed in Darwin's evil Origin of Species. These animals only started existing in the 19th century because members of the British aristocracy got bored at their country estates. Hardly a good example that everything in creation was rescued by a 600 year old man in a gopher wood boat. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rapunzel Rapunzel Let down your hair....

So I can climb your golden stair.

I know I've kind of been talking about this a lot lately, but I really really enjoyed Disney's new-ish film Tangled (2010). After seeing an early teaser for it way back when, my expectations for it were really low.

The cheesy jokes, the hair with kung fu skills, the people falling off a cliff, it all seemed a little.....hackneyed. It distinctly reminded me of the type of worn out humor that you'd see in *shudder* Dreamworks talking animal movies. It turned out though that a lot of the footage in that trailer was either changed or not used.

I will admit that the story was still kind of predictable.But, such are fairy-tales and adventure stories. I think it was a really solid, straight forward telling of a classic children's tale.

I liked the characters. Rapunzel's character was surprisingly dynamic, far beyond the impression you get initially from her big-eyed bobblehead look. And Mother Gothel was a really awesome villain. I also got a kick out of the horse, he was a good mix of anthropomorphic personality and realistic mammalian behavior. The only one I didn't like was the lizard sidekick, he kind of only existed to cut away to during emotional moments.

I think what I enjoyed particularly about it was the music. The tunes are still popping into my head. I like this one best:

I'll admit too that I was a little skeptical of the animation style, being brought up in the era of hand-drawn Disney. I have to say though that I stopped noticing that the style wasn't old school pretty quickly, and the 3-D look actually allowed for a really pretty style for the film.

I also appreciated the Monty Python homage in the bar scene. Aw yeah!

Anyways, it's quite a good movie. It's making me excited for the next generation of Disney films.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rated C for Clean

Doing laundry has gone from a very labor intensive activity, to a down-right easy one. So easy, that it's kind of boring to sit around and wait for our clothes to be clean.

Designer Lee Wei Chen has created a way to simultaneously take laundry back to the time where it was an interactive process, and take it to a more futuristic level. Behold! The Arcade Game Washer:

 The concept is pretty cool. Load your clothes and start playing. The success of your laundering is dependent on how well you do at the game. If you're a noob, you have to add more coins to get to the rinse cycle.

It's a neat marriage of household chores to gaming. However, I am lousy at most old school arcade games. I would probably go broke trying to get my clothes clean this way. I like it's potential as a teaching household item for moms though. It could make doing laundry fun for kids/teens, and every quarter they put in could be put towards a college fund or a savings account or something.

Also a practical place to keep all the pocket change you come across doing the wash.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Ok, I've officially owned this game for a month. Paul got it for me as a birthday prize. I love it and I'm kinda sorta obsessed with it.

The best way I can describe it is, it's like a competitive puzzle. You take turns drawing different tiles and laying them down to create a landscape full of monasteries, roads and castles. I've been foisting playing it on pretty much everybody who comes over. It's fun with a lot of people, because more aspects of the game come down to chance. When you're only playing with two, you have a lot more control over what you can strategize and accomplish.

I'm getting pretty good, if I do say so myself (though Paul is still beating me like 2/3 games). I'm taking all comers. Let's play!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

For Ladies Only

At my work, we have a tea box that is randomly filled with the rejects from our donated food. Usually things are run of the mill, you get your earl greys, your breakfasts, your herbal greens. Today we have:

"Absolute Natural: Women's Tea"

Obviously, I was compelled to try it. What made this tea so lady specific? It looked pretty normal in the tea bag and smelled surprisingly like chicken bouillon and celery seeds. When I added the water, the ingredients separated out in a weird way, causing  a white powdery layer to form on the top of the bag that was a little disturbing. I forge onward.

The taste is surprisingly mild and herby- not salty like the smell led me to believe. A little bitter, a little spicy, very complex and a bit sweet. It tasted pretty wholesome while it was hot. But as it cooled it started to get more medicinal and kind of nasty.

I did a little research and found out it contains dong-qui, red dates, and goji berries. I found this on a forum about "natural breast enhancement". Apparently it helps keep your boobies big when you're trying to loose weight.

Dong qui, also known as Chinese Angelica, is a root used in ancient herbal medicine used to treat lady problems (PMS and Menopause), anemia, and fatigue. It's also traditionally associated with causing miscarriages.

Red Dates, also known as jujubes, are a natural sedative/ stress reliever. It's powers also include laxative, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and wound healing properties. It is also a traditional contraceptive!

Finally, Goji berries , also known as wolfberries, are supposedly good for cardiovascular and ocular health. They are a well known trendy "super fruit."

So basically, this stuff is a witches brew of weird medicinal herbs. Also, kills babbys dead.

Get your own here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Yesterday was the celebration of Eid, a huge holiday for the Muslims of the world. 3 million Muslims dressed in white flock to Saudi Arabia to complete a pilgrimage known as the hajj. For an in-depth look at what being at this event is like, I highly recommend this awesome documentary from the Vice Guide to travel.

It seems overwhelming! What a mass of humanity.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Shape

Paul was reading me something last night about shape note singing. It's a type of musical instruction where each note of the scale has it's own shape, and it's supposed to make learning how to make reading music easier.

It was an early type of religious music sung by pilgrims in revival era New England. But as religous fervor lagged in the godless north, the practice moved southward. It was used to make choral participation accessible to everybody in the community. This led to the formation of Sacred Harp groups, America's original participatory singing society.

Singers sit in a square, all facing the middle. It's always a cappella. And it lacks, shall we say, the more complex subtleties of other religious/classical singing. Namely: dynamics do not exist. It is always as loud as possible.

Personally, I think this is pretty awesome! It looks like fun to sing, a style of music that's made for the joy of blasting out a killer harmony, and not necessarily made for joy of the listener.
As a kid (and still to this day) the only part of church I enjoyed was singing the hymns. This is pretty compelling to me. There's actually a lot of opportunities to join in in Western MA. Maybe if I work up the nerve!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Or not. I dunno. Today commences the 5th day I am without electricity. I am hopeful it will be back on tonight, but we'll see.

Because of the dangerous nature of the storm and all the downed power lines, we've been keeping kitty inside for safety. This has made her go insane! Her new habits include: Gnawing on the edge of the table, jumping onto the highest places possible, running around like crazy and hissing at nothing, climbing inside the sofa, etc. She's a little wild!

One of the things I've missed is my netflix shows. Considering that some helpful utility worker severed our cable line and threw it across our yard (WHAT.), it will probably be awhile before we have internet at home again. The show I'm jonesin' for the most is Baccano!

It's an awesome 16 episode story with some really wonderful characters and a fun mythology. It tells the story of 18th century alchemists living immortal in gangland NYC. The story weaves together plots from a few different time lines, making for a rich and complex story.

My favorite characters are probably Isaac and Miria, the shows comic relief. They're a pair of over-acting criminals who get away with their crimes by virtue of their silliness.

I also have a soft spot for Jacuzzi Splot, the bootlegger with a tattooed face and big anxiety problems. He's got to have a good cry before he can do anything heroic!

Please South Hadley Electric! I wanna find out what happens  next! Also, getting sick of going to bed at 8. Thanks!