[music] Haven't you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?

I don't listen to hip-hop! Actually, I do. And I picked some up a couple nights ago.

First let me talk about Blackalicious. This band is comprised of the Gift of Gab (rhyming) and Chief Xcel (spinning). Nia, their first full-length album, is a modern day classic. Broken Arrow, their sophmore release, is on my all-time Top 10 list. The Gift of Gab's 2004 solo effort, 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up, was rendered completely unlistenable due to it’s experimentalism. The duo's newest release, The Craft is only slightly better. The first song, 'World of Vibrations', is great... until the chorus, where a bunch of women start singing, "we VI-brate AT high-ER fre-QUEN-cies" in a jarring, dance-stopping, confusing up-and-down tone. What the-? What is this New Age crap? The last time I heard about vibrating at higher frequencies, I was watching the O.C. Do I really want to be reminded of a crap show while trying to enjoy listening to a new album by one of my favorite bands? 'Rhythm Sticks'? What the fuck are rhythm sticks? 'Powers' could be a fun, happy song- until the chorus: "She's got... POOOOOOOW-ERS!!" No. Stop. Please. The last song (the title track of the entire album) is a self-congratulatory, masturbatory display of how awesome Gab thinks he is. He does vows to be a "vessel", spreading this gift and whatever but even that comes off as being egocentric. Speaking of egos, the only gem (and slightly redeeming factor) on the album is 'Ego Sonic War Drums'- a drum-y, piano-y rapid-fire rap between the Gift of Gab and Peace.

Amy's rating: **--- 2 out of 5 Rhythm Sticks.

Next up is Miri Ben Ari- The Hip Hop Violinist. Yup, you read that right. The Hip Hop Violinist. This album was pointed out to me at my local music store and I scoffed for a second, but then I thought, "Wait a minute. I like Hip Hop. I like violins. ... This'll be the best album EVER!" Yeah, No. Ben Ari's violin playing swings between being too frantic and too distracting. The rappers featured (Kanye West, Scarface, Doug E. Fresh to name only a few) lose some of their street cred when talking gangsta shit over a poignant violin solo. 'We Gonna Win' is a nice intro to the album. 'Hold Your Head Up High' is a great song- With Lil' Mo singing about the struggles women face- and is a perfect blend a slower hip hop ballad with violin accents. The best song on the album is '4 Flat Tires', featuring Baby, Lil' Wayne and 6 Shot. It's a guilty pleasure- the chorus is: "It's goin' down like fo' flat tahrs but you know we gonna ride like fo' new tahrs." I know, right? You just can't think about it when you're bopping along with the beat. Plus, you know you want to say it now: "Oh no she ditn't! It's goin' down like fo' flat tahrs now, BITCH!"

Amy's rating: *---- 1 out of 5 New Tires

The last of the full-length albums I bought is Same !@#$ Different Day, or as I like to call it, "Same Shit Different Day". I just realized though, that the keyboard numbers associated with the special characters in the title are 1234. So the album could also be called "Same 1234 Different Day." ... You know what? It doesn't have to be "shit" either. It could be "Same Shoe Different Day". Any four letter word would work. But... ah... I digress. This album is a remix of Lyrics Born's first full-length solo album Later That Day..., which is an AWESOME album. If you liked the original, you'll love the remixes. It's really interesting for me to hear a song remixed into a completely new, different, equally awesome sound. The remix of 'Hello' is head bopping funktastic. 'I'm Just Raw', produced by Dan the Automator, is a new song and has a chorus of, "I'm smarter than you, I'm harder than you, I'm better than you, I'm just raw. I'm hotter than you, more popular than you, more clever than you and gosh-darnit people like me." Yes, that sounds just as egotistical as a song I just mentioned, but the mellow-yet-earnest way Lyrics Born sings makes you think that it's tongue-in-cheek (but not really). It's like... It's like smiling at someone while you tell them to go fuck themselves. They're not sure if you're being ironical or if you really hate them. I've perfected this ability, by the way. At any rate, this is the most awesomest of awesome purchases because not only are all the new and remixed songs highly listenable, it ALSO comes with a DVD. Fer real. With music videos and a documentary. Multi-media entertainment rolled up in one easy purchase!

Amy's rating: ***** 5 out of 5 Lyrics Born

I was given a couple promos from Music Matters (because I'm a loyal customer and they love me- mwah!). I have to say that Percy Miracles is a find. He's "The Ladies Champ" and has, according to the back of the CD sleeve, "sold over 10,000,000 records in Bulgaria." Is he an underground European sleeper sensation? No, he's the singing alter-ego of Phonte, one of the three members of the group Little Brother. Maybe. I think. It has gotten to the point where this member is also a member of that group, also known as someone else, featured on so-and-so's new album. I can't really follow it all, suffice it to say that sweet, sweet Percy truly is funny. Which is what I think the intention of this EP is. From the first song (in which a canned beat plays and Percy says, "Turn me up in the headphones... That's what all the rappers say, 'Turn me up in the headphones.'") And he intentionally mispronounces the word 'epitome'. (At least I hope it's intentional.) Percy excels at story-telling and these tracks are begging to be played at a time when people will be listening from start to finish. 'Miss Eda' and 'Back to the Motherland' are particularment bons.

Amy's rating: ***-- 3 out of 5 Dance F-L-O-O-O's


[knitting] Gryffindor Scarf

Here's the start of my Gryffindor scarf. I started it this past Saturday morning and was able to knit all that in, like, 7 hours. Maybe 8. I'm a sloooooow kn... it... ter. And with all the typing at work and knitting at home, I'm sure the sharp pain along the outside of my right wrist is nothing.

In the end, the finished scarf is meant to look like this or this. Hm... maybe my colors are too bright?

I didn't work on my scarf last night, but opted to try to map out a pattern for the Valentino bag. I cast on 64 stitches and on size 10 needles, let me tell you, that's a HUGE bag. So I switched to size 5 needles and it's a little better. Although, I don't know if I'm doing the cables right. It seems so tight when I knit the reserves sitches from the cable needles. Maybe I need to use size 6 needles and switch to five on a cable row? I don't know. You know what? I just don't know.


[movies] Gay horror

It may seem odd to spin a story by the famously bigoted H. P. Lovecraft into a horror flick with gay themes, but screenwriter Grant Cogswell and director Dan Gildark hope their new movie Cthulhu - which starts shooting in Seattle and Astoria, Oregon, next week - will do precisely that.

I haven't ever read any Lovecraft (I'm a scaredy cat), but my sister has read everything. I wonder what she'd think of this movie.

(I don't like how, at the end of the article, it's suggested that the movie might do better than it should because it may fill a "gay horror" niche. Whatever.)

[knitting] A couple new accessories to work on

I've started another knitting project- a Harry Potter scarf to wear to the premier on November 18. I'm using this pattern and Andean Silk in Hollyberry and Mustard. There are 14 stripe repeats and I managed to do two this weekend. The two colors feel different to me and I'm not sure if the way Knit Pick's creates Andean Silk has changed- The mustard color is in a long skein (this is the older packaging design) and the hollyberry is in a ball (which I assume is the new way they're going offer this type of yarn). The mustard feels silkier and softer than the hollyberry but it seems more fuzzy/halo-y as well. I'll try to post a picture tomorrow of the progress...

In more knitting news, I'm going to try to knock off this Valentino cabled bag. I'll knit up sample swatches from all the random Fall Knit Picks yarn I got a while back and try to copy the bag. If it comes out well, I'd like to submit the pattern to Knitty (for the Winter issue?). I'll check out the craft store for (a) fabric for the lining, (b) leather straps, (c) snap closure (d) some kind of bling to replace the "V".

Over the weekend, I finished the first three disks from Season 4 of Six Feet Under. I'd say it's not as good as last season, but I'll wait to see how the whole thing plays out before casing my final opinion. I've got Season 1 of Battlestar Galactica and Lost coming up in my Netflix queue but it says there's a "Long Wait" for both. I never know what the means, either. Long wait? Very long wait? What's the difference? It all seems so arbitrary to me.


[cats] Pictures

Here are some pictures I took of Griffith (white) and Gatsu (brown) yesterday.





[knitting] Amy

Whoa. When I'm not at work, I'm usually just wearing a blue sweater, slippers and diaper- so it's really surreal for me to see this doll pattern.

[knitting] 'Katamari Damacy' Has Fans Knitting Hats And Baking Cakes

This is old news, but MTV must be covering it because the sequel comes out this week.

"In January fan Xiola Azuthra started knitting and selling hats styled after the Katamari (another fan bought one and presented it to Takahashi as a gift). The first hat fetched about $130 on eBay. But with each one taking about six hours to make, Azuthra still has 65 people on her waiting list."


[books] Artistic statement or Ego?

'No title needed' on cover of Tom Wolfe's paperback edition of I Am Charlotte Simmons:

"We are using Tom Wolfe's name as a brand, rather than the title of the book. He is an icon himself."

WTF? I think that's so stupid. I wonder if the title is even going to be on the spine or if it's TOM WOLFE in big letters.

[pictures] Montreal

Here are a few I took in Montreal...

Montreal at night: Bright and Squiggley

Pick a peck of peppers at the open market...

Garry and Ken (throwing out the uvGangSign and a smile- how Canadian!)

[tech] Subscribe now

Finally got the xml/rss feed to work. Subscribe to this:


[amy] Another busy weekend

This past Saturday night I went to Beerstock. The HDL was shut down (and we don't know if they'll be able to continue at all), so the music/dancing was moved to Beerstock. Which was fun. I didn't get there until it was already dark out, but I saw loads of people. Like, people I went to high school with and hadn't seen since high school. I'm sure I didn't make the best impression since I was apparently "wasted" (although, I thought I was doing okay drinking two cups of water for every cup of beer).

There were a couple thefts, too, which soured the evening. Someone had their bag stolen out of their car and one keg was stolen. The whole keg. No one saw anyone take it, but it must not have been too hard because there were so many people and most of them were wasted.

What else happened at Beerstock? Well, some dude named Resin danced by the fire all night in his Speedos. There was a couple making out by the fire and that was mildly entertaining, until it got to the point where half the crowd was muttering "get a room" and the other half was just standing there, watching, waiting to see if the mauling was going to turn into something more x-rated. Unbelievable. And then there was the peeing. One tree in particular became the unspoken outdoor urinal, which is fine, but it was only about five feet away from party.

Yee haw! Cowgirl Amy at Beetstock

Like I said, I thought I was doing okay but, yes, I was wasted but smart enough to get a ride home from someone. The next day I went back to pick up my car and make my way up to the Tunbridge Fair for the Demolition Derby. Ken and Crew have been working hard on the cars all summer and the derby was totally awesome. I videotaped the whole thing and Ken took pictures.


[funny] Tennis Player

I saw this picture on a news website a while ago and saved it. I was going through my "My Pictures" folder today and laughed all over again.

[work] Awesome

Some guy made a "Work Blind" Curtain.

"I straightened the photo, undistorted it, and cropped it to the area in the doorway. I took it to Kinko's where they printed it onto vinyl, and grommeted the top with a kit"

I have to do something like this.

[knitting] Crazy Aunt Purl

I found a new knitting blog to subscribe to, called Crazy Aunt Purl. What was the clincher? Her tag line: "The true-life diary of a thirty-something, soon-to-be-divorced, obsessive-compulsive knitter who has four cats. (Because nothing is sexier than a divorced woman with four cats.)" It's like looking into the future.

Also, these horoscopes are the best:

"LIBRA (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23)
Ever been so lost you had to call the operator just to get a 911 on your location? Ah, then you'll be well prepared for this fall. You're about to embark on a three month cycle of emotional binge and purge, alternately craving attention and hating everyone in sight. While I'm sure there is an astrological term for this cycle, I think I'll call it PMS-on-acid. I'd give you some tips on how to handle this malady, but by now you're already tired of me and I'm getting on your nerves. Now you feel kinda bad about it. But that annoys you too. See what I mean?"

...three month cycle of emotional binge and purge... Sounds fine to me; Now I can validate all my upcoming freak-outs: "But it's in the stars!"


[crafts] Steak Soap

Ugh, this is so nasty I want to make it. Check this is out: it's soap- steak soap.

[fun] Shoe Lacing Methods

At Ian's Shoelace Site, there are almost two trillion ways to tie your shoelaces. There are color-coded diagrams showing you exactly how to lace, a real life example and ratings.

[via Not Martha]


[amy] Fun Weekend

Saturday I came into work for the morning. After that I went to the Grand Opening of the Center for Cartoon Studies. Once inside, you get a piece of paper and check off any or all of the following choices: Alien, Dog, Stick Figure, Robot. Then you take your paper to the "Dog" table or "Alien" table and have one of the students draw any old thing that comes into their heads, as long as it's within the category. Then you bring it to the "Finishing" table, where one of the artists does shading and generally pulls everything together. Then you bring the drawing to "Quality Control" when it gets either a stamp of approval or a big fat "REJECTED!!" across the front. I saw one cute drawing of a dog that was rejected for no reason I could see.

It was interesting to see the students drawing. Each one held their pen differently and, really, the only thing I could see was the top of their head. They would finish what they were working on, look up briefly to smile at you, and then take the next paper that was being shoved in their face. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire. Wait, what is the idiom I want here? Trial by fire? I mean to say that it's pretty intense to be starting a cartooning school only to be forced to draw your arm off during the Grand Opening. Whatever, idioms suck anyway. No one really knows what they mean. Pot calling the kettle black. The straw that broke the camel's back. Why beat around the bush- just say what you mean.

After that I went to an outdoor games BBQ (where I came in 2nd in croquet but didn't fare so well at horseshoes) and then onto the Hookah Dance Lounge. The video Adam was spinning was great and the music was great, but no one was dancing. Me, included (sorry). The hookah room was filled to capacity, but there were only a handful of people socializing in the main corridor and bar area. There was a photographer/reporter from the Connecticut Valley Spectator taking pictures for the next issue and as the night progressed, he just started hanging out more and reporting less. Which is cool. And as I was outside, a truck pulled up and a guy asked me, "Excuse me, miss, but is there dancing up there?" I said yes and he inquired further, "Is it swing or ballroom?" "Uh... What? It's neither man, it's, like, club dancing. Swing or ball- hahahaha... hahahaha.... BAHHH HAHAHAHAH!!!" I don't know where he got his bad information but I was amazing that an error like that could even happen. The dude ended up leaving but came back almost immediately to check the party out. He even hung out for a bit, so that's cool. See? The HDL can transform anybody.

I spent Sunday sleeping, knitting (I'm almost done with the 2nd ball for the Kiri shawl), eating, finishing Season 2 of The O.C. (so... bad...) and hot tubbing (no nudity this time).


[amy] All work and a little play

I've been completely consumed by Katrina stuff at work. When I do get a moment to check non-news websites, I inevitably go through all the knitting blogs I've subscribed to with Bloglines. Then I end up asking myself, "How can these people still be knitting? Or talking about knitting? Or buying yarn? Hel-lo?! There's a disaster- who gives a shit about knitting?" … Having said that, the new Fall Knitty is up and I quite like a lot of the patterns.

I'm just grumpy. All work and no sleep makes Amy a something-something. I stopped up to my sister's yesterday evening and she took one look at me and said, "Jesus, maybe you should go home to bed." I don't really want to because I (a) secretly want to be an insomniac, (b) want to be so tired I hallucinate and (c) uh... Wait, what was I just talking about?

My sentiments exactly.

This might be a little dated now, but Foamy tells it like it is.

RE: The Montreal trip last weekend, it was good. We ate the best food. I really liked Chuchai, which is a vegetarian place but can make you meat dishes using vegetables. How can I explain this... They have beef, shrimp and duck on the menu- and it's all vegetarian. "Non-vegetarians will also be astonished to discover the perfect taste, texture and even appearance of fish, duck, beef or shrimps in purely vegetarian dishes." We have to get a place like that around here...

Here's a movie of the drumming and anachronistic battle in the middle of a Montreal park.

Tomorrow is set to be a busy day with work in the morning, the Grand Opening of the Center for Cartoon Studies ("Get a piece of ORIGINAL ART made by The CCS SKETCH FACTORY" Yesssss!!), a lawn-game bbq (if anyone can make horseshoes terrifyingly competitive, it's me!) and the first Hookah Dance Lounge.

The newest Bookslut is up and has got me asking: WTF is a "gutterslut"?

Netflix-wise, I'm still plodding through Season 2 of The OC. I remember this show being a delicious guilty pleasure, now I'm just ashamed to let people know I watch it. The dialogue and situations are so completely contrived, I feel nothing but contempt for all the characters. I rented Alexander from a video store and haven't quite finished it. It's really... gay. Which is pure speculation, right? But is that not what Oliver Stone prevails at? Reign the Conqueror was so much better.


[amy] Montreal

I did go to Montreal this past weekend and you can see the photos here.