Monday

[amy] Lord of the Weekend

Spent the weekend watching Lord of the Rings. Thanks for Adam and Dollar for coming to my place on Saturday and letting me hang out at their place all day Sunday. We only got through the first two movies and were pretty much brain dead after each one. In related news, Viggo (who is better known to me simply as "the hottness") has tranformed himself into every dirty middle-aged moustashed white guy in the Upper Valley. I don't know if this makes him more attactive to me or not...

Thursday

[amy] An update

Well, the books finally did come. Turns out, the books arrived the day before my co-worker was returning home. I checked his mailbox, wondering why I didn't see a big box lying around. When I swung his little mailbox door open, a key fell out with "#3" etched on it's tag. Still cursing Overstock, I went back up to his place and bitched to his dog about how much the company sucks. Being the stupid detective that I am, I didn't even wonder why there was suddenly a key showing up in the mail. It was a key to one of the four much larger (and, apparently, communal) mailboxes. I would check those boxes every day as well, but because 1, 2, and 4 were always unlocked, with their doors just kind of hanging open, I would think, "One: empty, two: empty, four: empty, three: locked. ... Well, it must be empty, the other ones are." So I didn't know if I was more mad at myself for being a moron or at my co-worker, who didn't even think to tell me, "You know, Amy, we do things a little differently around here. Small mail goes into the small mailboxes, big packages are usually just left sitting on a counter or on the floor. But sometimes, sometimes big packages are locked away in one of the four big mailboxes that are usually unlocked and never used. If that happens, a key will be left in the small mailbox-" You know what? Now that I think about it, this is just a fucked up way for someone to get their mail. I'm so thankful that I get mine directly from the post office.

Having said that, I've been waiting forever (well, 8 days) for my KnitPicks order to arrive. It's a sampler of all their different kinds of yarn. I'm going to see which I like best, then I'm going to make another sweater.

Another? Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I knit myself a sweater. It came out pretty good (except for the collar!) and I wore it to work yesterday. I think the colors are a tad too masculine, so my next one is going to be pink. ... With lace trim.

Which is kind of the look I'm going for with my new knitting project: a latticework shawl. It's pink and fluffy and... kind of ratty looking. But I think that's just the yarn's fault. I'm almost halfway through it. The knitting has been slow-going, but I think the finished product will be worth all the hard work.

Regarding "What I Watch While I Knit" (or WIWWIK), I've recently seen Season 3 of Smallville. I love this show. I love that everyone in town seems to be mutated/warped in some way due to the "meteor rocks". I love that Clark's developing new powers. I love Lex. Just, you know, in general- I love him. And, heh, I have to say that the whole going-insane-on-a-deserted-island thing only made him more attractive in my book. I also love that every episode features the following dialog in one form or another:

CLARK: Hey, I think there's something weird about that guy.
SOMEONE ELSE: Oh Clark, don't be crazy.

I am sick of Lana, though. Lana Lang, Lana Lang. I don't see what's so friggin' special about her. All she does is jerk Clark back and forth. And just when Clark is smart enough to go, "Yeah? Well screw this then!", she's all, "No Clark, I like you... I want to be with you- but I need to know all your secrets first." Bitch. He's saved your life, like, dozens of times. I think that entitles him to a few secrets.

And I finished Season 1 HBO's Carnivale last night. Now that show is... I mean, all the... And... Okay, I have no idea what's going on. There are all these carnies and the new guy they picked up, Ben, who can heal people with his hands... So that makes him a... I don't know. And who's hiding in Management's trailer at the Carnival? Is this the Devil? A Demon? And Brother Justin... Is he the left hand of God, the wrath of God made flesh, or is he the Antichrist? I don't know. You know, I just don't know. What I do know is that there's a little too much nudity and sex in this series for me to watch it comfortably with other people. I mean, shit, one episode was called "Hot and Bothered" and I kept on having to make excuses to my guests on why I had to leave the room. "Did I leave the stove on?" Leave, come back. "Oh that's right, I'm cooking something so I guess the stove would have be on, wouldn't it?" Later (another sex scene underway). "I'll just go check on the casserole, ahem." Leave, come back. A couple characters on screen look meaningfully into each others eyes, which can only mean one thing in this particular episode. Leave now as a preemptive strike. "I think I'll go make a cake. You guys finish the episode without me."

Book-wise, I read The Lake Ching Murders by David Rotenberg, which someone at work lent to me. It was a very interesting yet quiet mystery. The murders themselves were pretty gristly but the motive came as a surprise to me at the end. I recommend it. I also read Book 7 of Lucifer: Exodus (Amazon says it's not out yet, but it is. You'll be able to find it at your friendly neighborhood comicbook shop). I can't get enough of this series. It's so good. I highly, highly, highly recommend that you start getting the trade paperbacks. I started to read Veronika Decides to Die for this month's BookBlog discussion but I didn't get into it for several reasons.

1. I don't like Paulo Coelho. I read The Alchemist and By the River Piedra I Sat Down to Cry. I didn't like either. The Alchemist was a bunch of mystical hoo-haw (all of which turned out to be pointless) and By the River was awful. I actually chucked the book away from me when I finished it.

2. I was sick most of last week and the beginning of this week, so there wasn't much reading I was doing. I was at home sleeping, drinking orange juice and sleeping.

3. The book was about a girl who tried to kill herself and ends up in a mental hospital where she meets interesting inmates and ponders life. Yeah, well I already read that book; it's called The Bell Jar.

4. I hated the fact that he wrote himself into the story. "She was reading an article by the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho..."

Screw you, Paulo!

And on the celebrity front, I'm all about the Paris Hilton Hack. I've learned all kinds of things that I already knew (or was 99% sure about): Paris is a skank, Lindsey Lohan has the mentality of a 7th grade girl, Jessica Simpson's a coke fiend and Fred Durst is a whiney emo pansy. Read more here and here.

Wednesday

[amy] Back to Mine (with books) ... (hopefully)

Finally. I've been dog-sitting for the past... one, two, ten... forever and I get to go back to my place tonight. Yea! Not only am I looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, not having to walk a dog anymore, and just generally returning to my hermit lifestyle is that I'll be getting away from cable tv. My co-worker has cable and I've been watching all kinds of True Hollywood Stories and sitcom reruns. I want to go back to watching my Netflix tv shows on my own tv on my own couch.

And I started out this whole dog-sitting, "do something nice for someone else" thing because I wanted to do something that would make me feel better about myself. I needed to prove to me that I am a good person. Which is a pretty selfish reason to do a selfless deed. ... Whatever. So even though I really didn't feel like doing the dog-thing again, I agreed. It would be better than putting the dog in the kennel, which the dog is too old for and besides, I would feel guilty about the dog crying the night away in a cage. I said yes...

But then thought about it... I was originally offered $100 for the job, "Because that's what I'd be paying a kennel," my co-worker had said. "No, no, no," I replied, thinking If I got paid, that would mar this nice thing I'm doing. The only reason I'm doing this is to add ammo to my battery of good deeds in the event I need to fire off a few rounds at someone to show what a super person I am. Me. Me me me.

But I thought about it some more... I mean shit, the last time I dog-sat was for one week but it felt like two. And this time was going to be for longer. So I approached my co-worker with a loophole: "I don't want to get paid in money, per say, ipso facto, visa vi. I want you to order me some books. Knitting books from Overstock to be exact." I handed him a print out of the books I wanted, highlighting the prices. "For some reason, these books aren't offered at a reduced rate at Amazon," I said, showing him a printout of Amazon's prices for comparison. "You will have to pay for shipping from Overstock but with the money I, I'm sorry, you will be saving, the shipping will more then pay for itself." I finished with a PowerPoint presentation outlining why the purchase makes sense and should be made.

Helpless (and maybe a little scared after I said, "Oh and if you don't get me what I want, you'll never see your dog again."), my co-worker placed the order on February 3rd. He was having them shipped to his place because I would be there. On February 4th, he forwarded me an email from Overstock saying that the order had been shipped. Wow, I thought, that's as fast as Amazon! So I'm looking forward to getting the shipment on February 7th. It doesn't arrive, but that's all right, my Amazon order arrived (I had placed my own book order on the side... It's an illness I have, I can't stop getting books) and I had plenty to look through. The next day, the Overstock order hadn't come but the rest of my Amazon order did (heh... it was a big order and had to be split into two shipments) and I had lots to ooo and ahh over.

The next day- nothing. And the next? Nada. A week later, I'm ready to drive to Overstock headquarters and slash the CEO's tires. I mean, what the fuck? Seriously. Unless they're lying, I don't see why, if the package was shipped on February 3rd, it hadn't arrived by February 15th. That's like... a lot of days difference. Are they bringing it to me via train? Pony express? Carrier pigeon? I find the whole thing to be completely unacceptable and I now hate Overstock and will never order from them again. They suck. They should call themselves Oversuck. They're the suckiest, slowest, ... stupidest company ever.

Meanwhile, the whole task of "dog-sitting" had been superseded by me expecting a package in the mail every single day and growing exponentially more frustrated, disenchanted and angry. It's gotten to the point where I'm ready to start accusing my co-worker's neighbors of stealing.

But it should be there today. It has to be. It... it has to be. I just want my books and I want to go home...

Monday

[holiday] Be my anti-valentine



Stupid holiday. If you want to watch a rant, click here.

If you want to read about a desperate Australian who has decided to live in a bubble for 5 days in the hopes of attracting a Valentine (yeah, if the fact that you're crazy doesn't turn away the ladies, I'm sure the fact that you'll be living in your own shit will), click here.

If you want to read about a guy out in Oregon trying to convince 31 "lonely single" women to commit suicide on Valentine's Day, click here. So it's gotten to the point that if I'm a lonely single woman, I should just kill myself. Super.

[music] Grammy don't know jack

I am livid over that fact that Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash (one of the worst albums I've ever heard- it made my ears bleed!) won Best Electronic/Dance Album over the FAR superior Legion of Boom by Crystal Method. They were robbed, I tell you, robbed! But what should I expect given that the Grammy for Best Dance Recording went to Britney Spears. Blech.

[uvScene] Love for sale

Whoever said that "buying people" is outdated? It still happens- and can be fun, too! This past Saturday night, the uvScene threw a bachelor/bachelorette auction. See all the pictures [I took] here. It was a lot of fun. The girls got auctioned of for more $$$ than the men (of course). Oh, and apparently if people are drunk enough, you can auction off a prostate exam.

[movies] Deuce Bigalo, Vindictive Gigolo

Oh burn, man, burn. You got burned, dude. Burned! Rob Schneider doesn't take shit from no one, especially a "Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter, Who's Never Been Acknowledged By His Peers!"

"Patrick, I can honestly say that if I sat you your colleagues at a luncheon, afterwards, they'd say 'You know, that Rob Schneider is a pretty intelligent guy, I hope we can do that again.' Whereas, if you sat with my colleagues, after lunch, you would just be beaten beyond recognition."

Now I want to write Rob an email telling him how awesome he is.

[knitting] A Trip to Patternworks

Saturday was another yarn trip with my sister. This time to Patternworks in Center Harbor, NH. This is essentially right next to Meredith, on the northern tip of Lake Winnipesaukee. Driving through Meredith was slow-going as there was a full-on snowmobile/4-wheeler derby taking place on the frozen lake. I saw a sign that said "Derby" and there were cars/snowmobiles/4-wheelers parked and racing all over the lake but doing a little research this morning, I see that it's actually a fishing derby. Check out the photos from last year here. See? See all the snowmobiles? I guess you can't have the guys walking out to their shanties, a small vehicle would be faster but still... there were hundreds on the lake. And it was a particularly sunny, warm day. If I was out there, I'd be asking everyone "Did you hear that? It sounded like cracking."

So the yarn store was cool. Beyond cool. The coolest yarn shop we'd ever been to, really. We walked in, took one step, said, "Oooo, look at this," took another step, said, "Ohhh, look at this," took another step, etc. They had all kinds of cool notions we'd never seen at other places- double ended stitch holders, coilless safety pins, ball winders, 4 kinds of wool wash. I picked up a knitting noddy (a.k.a. knitting knoddy, knitting nancy, knitting bobbin, knitting doll/dolly, knitting mushroom). I got the pink one and named her Princess Peach. These things are supposed to be the fast and fun way to make i-cords. I tried it out on the drive back home and after 10 minutes, I threw the doll over my shoulder, muttering, "Fucking bitch." It didn't help that the "directions" are 8 pictures (these things are meant for children, remember) that were barely comprehensible to me. 8 small black and white drawing of a hand holding the dolly. No words. Whatever.

The yarn, oh the yarn. There were all the usual suspects (Rowan, Adrienne Vittadini, Brown Sheep, etc), but the more exotic yarns were worth the drive. Angora and camel and yak, oh my. Yarn made from bamboo and soy. There was lots of yarn and needles on sale. And there was lots of balls of the same kind of yarn on sale. I hate it when the clearance bin only holds one ball of this and one hank of that. You can't really make anything out of one random ball.

I ended up getting five balls of Divine in Floral to make a shawl with. I know, it's mostly acrylic and I'm kind of a yarn snob, but it's exactly the yarn I need for it and it's only five bucks each. Five bucks! I made out like a bandit. Meanwhile, my sister was grabbing things like she was on Supermarket Sweep. Eventually, I found her huddled in a corner of one of the rooms, talking to herself, "I'll put back these... But I need these... I do, I do need these..." She heard me approach and spun around to look up at me with wild eyes. "We have to go, Amy." I was about to ask why but realized that she was at the point where she had to start putting yarn back, which is really sad. If we had stayed, she would have bartered her brand new Honda Pilot and we'd have been hitchhiking home with garbage bags full of yarn.

Thursday

[books] NOOOOOOO!!!!

I'm totally freaking out. What's this Amazon Prime bullshit? Is it going to get rid of free $25 shipping? Because if so... if so... I can't even think about it. FREE SHIPPING is, like, my life blood. It justified all my extravagant book purchases (the lower prices helped, too). Fuck! I mean, as it is now, with the Super Saver Shipping, I get my order in TWO DAYS anyway. I don't need... I can't spend... This is blowing my mind right now.

UPDATE

I emailed Amazon a question: "Is Amazon Prime going to replace the free shipping on orders over $25?" They wrote back: "Thank you for your interest in Amazon Prime blah blah Amazon Prime blah blah Amazon Prime blah blah. ... Did this answer your question?" Uh, no. So I called them up and talked to some girl who was like, "Amazon what?" Great. She said she doesn't know anything more about it than me. So I say, "Look, I just want to know if Amazon's going to get rid of the Super Saver Shipping for this Amazon Prime. If so, I'll sign up the Prime thing." Ha ha, which is a lie; I just said it so she'd go find out. So I'm on hold forever and when she comes back on, she says something about the Free Shipping still being offered, but she can't say for sure what the future holds. No shit, I could have told myself that. I thank her for nothing and place a massive Amazon book order.

Wednesday

[books] BookPage is wicked good this month.

Ooo ooo ooo. The new February issue of BookPage is just the thing I needed to cheer me up. At the top of my list of Most Anticipated books is A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. If you haven't read The Sparrow and it's follow-up, Children of God, you should. It's amazing drama, mixed with amazing sci-fi. The books reminded me of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy.

So considering how well Russell blended theology, philosophy and science fiction in her previous works, I have to say I'm a little hesitant about picking up A Thread of Grace, which "chronicles the Italian resistance to the Germans during the last two years of WWII." But... I just have to get it. I've been waiting too long to read something by her again.

Murakami has a new book out, entitled Kafka on the Shore. "It describes two parallel odysseys across space and time (literally), linked by a strange, ambiguous pop tune written by one of the book's mysterious characters. Kafka Tamura, a 15-year-old runaway, struggles to dodge an Oedipal fate; simultaneously, Nagata, an illiterate old man who can talk to cats, searches for an all-powerful stone. The two stories link neatly- and yet Murakami makes sure we are never entirely confident in their connection." Enough said.

Under the subject of 'Travel' we have Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with his Son by Peter Carey (True History of the Kelley Gang, My Life as a Fake). As a fangirl of manga and anime, I have to read this.

Before leaving the realm of Japan, it might be worth mentioning that I got a couple books for a friend of mine for his birthday recently. There was Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase and a new one by a female Japanese author. A woman. I don't hear about too many female Japanese authors, or... like, at all. It's called Out and the author, Natsuo Kirino, won Japans top mystery award for it. "When Yayoi, the youngest and prettiest of the women, strangles her philandering gambler husband with his own belt in an explosion of rage, she turns instinctively for help to her co-worker Masako, an older and wiser woman whose own family life has fallen apart in less dramatic fashion. To help her cut up and get rid of the dead body, Masako recruits Yoshie and Kuniko, two fellow factory workers caught up in other kinds of domestic traps." Yes, okay now there's a story I'd enjoy.... [Note to friend:] You are so lucky I didn't keep these books for myself!!!!!

This being Black History Month, might I suggest My Jim by Nancy Rawles: "Readers of Huckleberry Finn might remember the scene where Jim, the runaway slave, breaks down in tears because he's worried about the wife and children he's left behind. The poignant scene forces Huck to acknowledge Jim's humanity. Now novelist and playwright Nancy Rawles has written a slender but wrenching novel about Sadie, the hapless wife Jim was forced to abandon." Interesting, interesting. I like these kinds of stories, where you get a behind-the-scenes/paradigm-shifting look at a story you know so well. I think Gregory Maguire did this really well with Wicked.

In children's books we have The Time Hackers by Gary Paulson. "The future world depicted by Gary Paulsen in The Time Hackers is one in which time projections are a reality. Students are used to seeing and using holographic images in their studies. Dorso knows, for example, that Cleopatra wasn't especially pretty, Shakespeare had bad teeth and the bad habit of picking them with his pen, and John Wilkes Booth looked like a drugged ferret. But these were only images brought forward in time; everyone accepts the paradox that one cannot go back in time or affect time. You could not go back in time and kill your ancestor, for example, because that would mean you wouldn't exist to be able to go back in time to kill your ancestor. It turns out that extreme gamesters have discovered how to cheat the time paradox and tap into the time line, and things from the past have begun appearing in the present." So Dorso, upset over his parents' impending divorce, takes his trusty hatchet to the wilderness of time and goes back to the night he was conceived. He manages to kill only one of his parents before he disappears... But which one was it? You're gonna have to read it to find out.

And the last one I'll mention is under Cooking. Cover & Bake by The Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I love me some casseroles, for real. Macaroni and Cheese? Hells yeah. Tuna Noodle Casserole? I love Tuna Noodle Casserole. Shepherd's Pie? Mmmmm. And you get a free issue of the magazine when you order from Amazon. But the book apparently isn't on sale. Maybe Overstock has it...