Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unblinded by Science

I love the week between Christmas and New Years. It's so peaceful and still. I'm finished making Christmas gifts and nobody really expects anything to get accomplished until the first week of January (unless you have year-end reports to do, in which case, you're insanely busy and hate this time of year).

Working in an office, I'd hear people complain about having to work this week. But I loved it. There was work to be done, but no deadline and no senior management getting in the way of getting things done (because they're all on vacation).

Plus, the workload is light and the lack of bosses means that you can take breaks and recharge instead of trying to look busy. To that end, I give you...

Science of Scams

Go check it out when you have the time to watch all of the videos. At least check out the first 2. The first will teach you a cool party trick and the second shows how you can fake a ghost appearance (while making you less scared of any ghost sightings you see on TV).

They created 7 hoax videos, put them on You Tube and then debunked them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Star Wars Awesomeness

Are you unfortunate enough to remember The Star Wars Holiday Special? It was shown only once and if George Lucas could, he'd destroy every copy of it so we could pretend it never happened.

It's bad. Very bad. Not even in a good way.

Well, this guy threw a holiday party inspired by Life Day--the Wookie holiday that Chewbacca was going home to celebrate. He even figured out that the true meaning of Life Day was to make the rest of your life seem so much better in comparison.

If you find yourself with too much will to live, go ahead and watch it for yourself. At least check out Bea Arthur's song. That rocked a little.

***
Star Wars weather. Tell it where you are, it checks Yahoo weather and then tell you what Star Wars planet it's like out there. Be sure to enter a typo/nonexistent city and see what happens.

Thanks to Karl for this one.

***

This one has been making the rounds for a while and I was reluctant to watch it because of the length, but it's pretty funny. It also includes a lot of completely unfunny nonjokes in which the narrator reveals himself to be a serial rapist and killer. So you've been warned, but aside from having serious issues that make him think that shit is funny and somehow relevant, this guy is spot on about why The Phantom Menace sucked so hard.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Incredibly Boring Dinner with Andre

Photo swiped from Amazon.com.

So one of the presents that His Awesomeness requested and received for Christmas was the new Criterion Collection DVD of My Dinner with Andre.

I'm as pretentious as the next guy and watch my share of serious art films and important movies. But Jesus Christmas, I fell asleep THREE times while watching this movie a few years ago. And each time I woke up, I rewound to the spot where I'd fallen asleep so I wouldn't miss anything. Because it's a GREAT and IMPORTANT film. And I am pretentious like that.

It's about 2 playwrights having dinner and talking about the meaning of life. Even they don't know how they ever got funding and distribution for this thing.

They both play versions of themselves. Wallace Shawn is an unsuccessful playwright and Andre used to be successful, but fell out of fashion or something and took off to find himself or some such twaddle. After not seeing each other for a few years, they meet for dinner at a fancy NYC restaurant. Wally wears a jacket and tie, as is appropriate for such establishments. (In NYC today, only 2 restaurants require a jacket and tie, but in 1981, a lot more did and this appears to be that kind of place. Wally orders the quail, for example.) Andre wears a fucking grandpa sweater. Scroll up and look at it! God, I hate that sweater! If the struggling artist can put on a jacket, then so can the successful one. Of course, if he had worn a jacket, then visually, you would've had 2 guys in jackets discussing the meaning of life and that might have tipped the boringness scales.

HA tells me that the film is about how these two guys avoid connecting with each other. Wally hides behind questions and Andre hides behind words. Which means that we have almost 2 hours of Andre bloviating on the moving life changing experiences he had. Towards the end, Wally calls him on it and argues that the rest of us have to earn a living and living life to the fullest every day kind of gets in the way of that.

The part that really chaps my ass is this story Andre tells about something that happened to him on New Years Eve in the middle of nowhere in Norway or some other place that is way too cold for people to be going out at midnight at the end of December. (The whole movie is on You Tube, but there is no way in hell I'm going to search through all the videos for this scene, so you'll just have to take my word for it.) He was with a whole group of people having dinner, etc. and then the hosts take everyone out on a hike to the middle of nowhere. There's no one else around. They're completely isolated.

Now, at this point, I started to get concerned. Most women will tell you that any blind date that ends without her stuffed in the guy's trunk is a good date. Women are forced to be constantly aware of the possibility of street harassment and violence against us. I will spare you the full rant on that subject.

So it's clear at this point in the film that not only is it a high fallutin film about IDEAS, but it is also BOY MOVIE. Because every woman watching the film at that point is wondering what the matter is with all these people that they would allow themselves to be led into the middle of nowhere by people they barely know.

People who then make everyone DIG THEIR OWN GRAVES. I seem to remember Wally asking Andre if he was scared at that point and Andre says that he wasn't.

And that is why I HATE Andre. I'd rather starve than have dinner with him. GOD!

Of course, Andre wasn't murdered in the Norwegian countryside and instead went through some rebirthing experience and well, good for fucking him, I guess.

Anyway. At least Andre picked up the check for dinner.

So HA went to visit the family in the midwest after Christmas. (We alternate years with the families, but he goes out there between Christmas and New Years anyway to see the family. If money weren't an issue, I'd go too.) So his nieces (aged 3 and 6) grabbed a DVD from his bag and insisted on watching it. It was My Dinner with Andre. He put it on and they think it's boring too.

So there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Jollies


From the cover of a Figis catalog (they sell sausage and cheese assortments, that sort of thing), I give you Cheese! Sledding! Doesn't that cheese look like it's having fun.

If you watch Big Love, you'll get a kick from "A Juniper Creek Christmas". Songs include "We Three Wives," "Deck the Compound" and "Silent Wife". You can download them by following that link. If you don't watch Big Love, don't bother. You'd probably find the songs more disturbing than funny. Hell, I find them a little disturbing and I watch the show.

Even if you don't watch Lost, Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley has a very entertaining blog. This month, he's been posting an advent calendar of things his dog likes to chew. It has truly been the highlight of my daily blog reading.

Later today, I will be baking fruitcakes. Therefore, I said to my friend O, "It's fruitcake day." His response: It's a day dedicated to YOU?!?!?! Sometimes the obvious jokes are the best ones. I laughed harder at that than even when I saw the cheese sledding.

Finally, via Manolo for the Big Girl, a video of Robert Earl Keen singing "Merry Christmas from the Family". I'd only ever heard Jill Sobule's cover version. Either way, good stuff. One of my favorite holiday songs.




Whatever you're celebrating this month, enjoy it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Knives

Scene from my parents' Christmas/Hannukah party this Saturday:

Uncle Matt: Can I help?
Mom: The hams need carving. I'll get you the knife.
Uncle Matt: I brought my own. Actually I brought two. And the meat slicer is out in the car, just in case*.
Me: You know, in some families, someone bringing two knives to a party might be a bad thing.

*In case Mom made roast beef.

The cool thing about Uncle Matt carving the roasts is that when you play-distract him** so you can steal a bite, he thinks it's funny and acknowledges that the meal has not been Christened until someone steals some yummies from a serving plate. (Plus, it's extra good that he doesn't mind because of all the knives.) Try that shit with some stuffing on Thanksgiving while one of my aunts is watching and you're taking your life into your own hands.

** As in, "Look over there, it's Elvis!" or "Oh look, the Pope!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

We Have a Winner!

I wrote down the name of each commenter on a slip of paper once for each comment they've left on the blog during the contest period. Folded them up, pulled one out of a box and unsurprisingly, the person who left the most comments won. They left almost half the comments that were made in that time period, so the odds were with them. You gotta be in it to win it, baby.

So, congratulations Marsha! E-mail me your address and I'll get a box of goodies out to you next week. If I really get organized, I'll photograph and post all the stuff before I send it out.

I feel like I should write something more pithy, but I'm a little spaced out on Oops! fumes. Oops! is this spray stuff that you spray on things to get stuff off of them. Like if you need to remove the price tag from a plastic thing. You spray Oops! on the tag and it and the adhesive holding on come right off. The reason for the Oops! fumes is that I have made Seek and Find bottles for the NINE children in my extended family that I give holiday gifts to. I used a tutorial from Melissa Rambles On, and even used some objects that she sent me after she posted the tutorial. I used an assortment of bottles, including a bug oregano bottle with a big label stuck to it and the same big Aquafina bottles that Melissa used. I tried to avoid buying bottled water, but almost every other plastic bottle out there now has a textured surface with lots of indentations, which would make it impossible to see what was inside the bottle. You wouldn't think so, but grope a few bottles the next time you're in the supermarket and you'll see. I think all the indentations allows them to make the bottles using less plastic or something. I'm all in favor or using less materials, but I was freaking out over the possibility of not being able to find the bottles in time (I'm giving most of these gifts at my parents' Christmas/Hannukah party this Saturday). I came thisclose to buying 5 bottles of oregano and pouring all the oregano into a plastic baggie. But then it would look like a massive amount of pot and I am not going to be dealing with that.

So anyway, between the oregano bottle and the glue left on the water bottles after I pulled off the labels, and the complete lack of ventilation because my kitchen has one wee window over the sink that I can't reach easily, whoa. I've opened some windows to air the place out and will not make that mistake again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Awesome Stuff That Will Make You Happy

First up, an etsy store where all the crafts are Twin Peaks inspired. This one was posted on Facebook by Craft Magazine. Become a fan to find out about cool stuff like that directly.

Next, via Martinimade, here's an amazing Steampunk home restoration.

Finally, today is the last day of the contest. Leave a comment by midnight tonight and you may win some stuff, including cookies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Toasted!

One of my favorite lines in Soapdish is when Kevin Kline says, "Oh yes, the old days. So long ago, we had cigarette commercials done by doctors."

In late 2008, the NY Public Library had an exhibit of old timey cigarette ads. It was hee-larious. (It's also infuriating when you think of people like my Grandfather who died of cancer directly caused by 40 years of smoking and most of those years, they was encouraged by such ads. But I decided to go with hilarious.)

I meant to blog about it at the time, but organized, I am not.

You can see most of them in this online gallery. Aside from doctors and dentists recommending specific brands, and pictures of Santa lighting up, there are several ads that use the slogan, "It's toasted!" I guess they tasted differently, but it just sounds random to me. You could just as easily say, "It's brown!" or "It's smoky!" The ads say that the toasting removes the "dangerous irritants" that "cause throat irritation and coughing" but ya know, I'm kinda not buying it.

Seeing those ads, I felt like the Ferengi in that episode of Star Trek DS9 where they got sent to Roswell in the 1940s. They were offered cigarettes, tried to smoke them and then scanned them with their tricorders, which revealed how deadly they are. One of them said something like, "if they'll smoke these things, they'll buy anything. We're gonna be rich!"

What ads make you cringe at the memory? Which current ones do you think we'll be rolling our eyes at 40 years from now.

Remember the contest. Leave a comment before December 9 and get a chance to win some stuff, including cookies.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Traditions

There are two things I need to do to make it seem like the Holiday Season. For me, the holiday is Christmukkah, but as an ex-Catholic, the season is more about Charles Dickens for me than Jesus or Santa. All that peace on earth, good will towards men, let's be excellent to each other? That's what I call the secular/Charles Dickens aspect of Christmas. Christians often celebrate both the religious and secular aspects without realizing it, while anyone who does the tree and presents without going to church is doing the Charles Dickens/Santa thing.

To quote the great Willow Rosenberg, not everyone worships Santa. But Charlie D lets you have Christmas without him.

Thing #1 that I have to do to feel like it's Christmas is read A Midnight Carol by Patricia K Davis who seems to have written just this one book and no others. It's a fictionalized telling of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. Some of the drama in the book is factual (check the wiki) and the rest isn't and who cares where the line is? It's a good story and makes you appreciate all the decoration overkill most of us are subjected to. Would you prefer living in a gray, bleak London with no Christmas decorations because no one really celebrates the holiday? Think about it--winter, but never Christmas.

Anyway, I just love those behind the scenes/the real story novels. This is a quick read and warms my cockles every time.

Thing #2 is listen to Patrick Stewart perform A Christmas Carol. (It looks like the CD version is going for a small fortune, but the audio tapes are cheap.) I saw him perform his one man show of A Christmas Carol on Broadway and it was spectacular. When I was single and decorating a tree by myself, I'd listen to this while I was at it. Now that HA and I do the tree together (or not at all when we're spending the holiday in the Midwest), I listen to Patrick Stewart at other times. I think last year it was during the Christmas knitting. Maybe this year, it'll be while I make gifts that are not knitted. (I'll be doing little to no Christmas gift knitting this year. You heard it here first. But there will be some handmade stuff that will go more quickly.)

What little things do you need to get in the holiday spirit?

Don't forget the contest I'm running until December 9. Leave a comment, possibly mentioning what ads came with this post, and you get an entry to win a box of stuff. The contents of the box will be determined by the winner, but I can promise that there will be cookies.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Unscheduled Brush with Fame

IMG_0704


The wristwarmers I knit a coupla years ago are included in a round up of projects made with Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca D.K. yarn on the Plymouth Yarn blog.

So, yea!

The pattern is Rose's Wristwarmers, which were copied from the ones Rose wears on the beach in Scandinavia during that very dramatic scene on Doctor Who. You Whovians know the one.

Since I'm allergic to alpaca and therefore to those lovely wristers, I made a second pair for myself in manmade, non itchy fibers and I lurve them. I haven't bothered photographing them, so just picture the ones above in light green.

Remember the contest. Every comment before Dec 9 enters you to win a box of stuff, specific to what you're into.