Thursday

[gossip] My little buddy...

First pic of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes kissing. Which is all mildly interesting or whatever but what I like is this:



Katie, honey, you should know not to wear heels around this guy. You already tower over him but putting your arm around his shoulder like, "Hey there little guy" is just cruel.

[gossip] Celeb news

Entertainment reporters are shitting their pants in excitement over the fact that Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes. Katie broke it off an engagement with some American Pie guy back in February. February? That's only, like, two months ago. This chick works fast. And it'll be interesting to see what this does to her career, considering she's now the most searched celebrity of the moment (Higher than Angelina! Oh, how the Africa getaway you and Brad plotted only paid out 5 minutes of fame! Next time there better be pictures of you guys doing more than not touching/looking at each other!). For more pictures of the new couple looking equally pleased to be seen with the other (check out her shit-eating grin), click here. Ignore the fiancee reference; I think the caption is a bad translation from Italian.

[funny] How to avoid cliche...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time...

From Mike D'Angelo's review of THE INTERPRETER at Nerve.com:

"Our very first view of (Sean) Penn's Agent Tobin Keller sets the tone: Sitting alone in a smoky dive bar, he mournfully removes his wedding ring and drops it, kerplunk, into his shot glass."

Notwithstanding the admirably uncommon moniker of "Tobin Keller" (re: the perils of christening your child "Toby" with a head cold), it goes without saying that overstated symbolic gestures of this nature will simply not do.* It's as shopworn a moment as sniffing the fabric of a recently deceased loved one's clothing, or stewing in a deserted church during a time of spiritual crisis, or getting into a fistfight with a gang of drunken rednecks led by Terry Bradshaw. The skilled writer, the one who truly knows his craft, must engage his imagination in order to dramatize the familiar with inventive unfamiliarity. It is a question of respecting your audience, your characters and yourself. ... What follows is the errant evolution of a very difficult scene.

(Keller enters the bar alone.  A boozed-up regular turns around and brightens.)
Regular: Hey, Tobin!  Where's the wife?
(A beat.)
Keller (glumly):  She won't be joining us tonight on account of having left me.



(Keller enters the bar alone.  A boozed-up regular turns around and brightens.)
Regular: Hey, Tobin!  Where's the wife?
Keller: How do I spell depression?  'D-I-V-O-R-C-E'.  (He laughs, a little too hard.)  Goddamn, I'm not funny.



(Keller enters the bar alone, brandishing a saxophone.)
Keller: Who wants to hear some heartbreak, key of "I'm-a-fucking-loser"?
(He takes the mouthpiece to his lips, and blows out wrenchingly atonal cacophony.)



(Keller enters the bar alone, already hammered, and encumbered with a sandwich board advertising a $4.99 Blimpie "Meal Deal".) 
Bartender (alarmed): What happened, Keller?
Keller (slurring): How does anything happen? 
(Keller rips off his ring and swallows it.  There is a beat, after which he pitches forward and begins puking.)



(Keller enters the bar alone, already hammered.  He rips off his wedding ring and unholsters his gun.  He tosses the ring into the air, and shoots at it, missing badly and exploding the head of a patron sitting at near point blank range.)
Keller (glumly): I am failure.



(Keller enters the bar with a duck under his arm.  Everyone stares, dumbfounded.)
Keller: Whatsamatter?  Ain't you ever seen a walking punch line before!?!?



(Keller knocks back a shot at the bar.  A beat.  He yanks off his wedding ring and stares at it intently.)
Keller:  You know, I wish I was Little Hercules so I could grind this to dust in the palm of my hand.



(Keller knocks back a shot at the bar.  A beat.  He yanks off the ring and looks up to the bartender.)
Keller:  Hey, Frank... you still got that giant slingshot back there?



(Keller drains a Long Island Iced Tea at the bar.  A beat.  He yanks off the ring, and wistfully studies it.)
Keller: Them gays don't know how easy they've got it.



(Keller knocks back a shot.  The phone behind the bar rings.  The bartender snatches up the receiver.)
Bartender:  Howard's.  (Pause.)  One moment.  (Hands the receiver over to Keller.)  It's your wife. (Keller wearily takes the receiver to his ear.)
Keller:  Tobin here.  (Pause.)  Uh-huh.  (Pause.)  Is that so?  (Pause.)  Okay, then. 
(Keller hands the phone back to the bartender, and promptly yanks the wedding ring from his finger.)  Won't be needing that anymore.  (He drops it in the empty shot glass.)

Tuesday

[amy] That was fast.

It was a nice, quiet weekend. I got a lot of knitting done and watched a lot of Season 3 of The Shield. This show is so good but you really need to watch an episode at least two times to get everything. I like watching the episodes with the cast and crew commentary on. You can learn all kinds of interesting shit. Example: The woman playing Vic's wife, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, is actually the real-life wife of the show's creator: Shawn Ryan. And the girl playing Vic's daughter is Michael Chikilis' daughter in real life. And Kenny Johnson, aka Lemonhead, is originally from (get this) VERMONT and was at one point ranked #2 in the world in his weight class for arm wrestling. Can you believe it? Vermont.

The bias shrug is coming along. In fact, it's coming along so well that I'm wearing it right now. It's done. I'll try to get an "action" shot or whatever, but you're going to have to trust me. Here are some progress pictures...

     

What a nice pattern it is. I made about a dozen mistakes but you can't tell because the lace hides them all. BAH hahahahah!! But this shrug really showed me why I like knitting: here is a plain old stupid ball of yarn and with two sticks, you can make something really pretty to wear out of it. That's so cool to me. And this shrug was something I made out of left-over yarn (from the Christmas poncho I made for Barbara). So I didn't have to spend anything extra to make it. And it only took a week to make. All in all, this was an awesome project.

I also starting taking some picture's of my sister's cats, Gatsu and Griffith...

 

What else did I do this past weekend besides knit? Friday night I played a little Halo 2 up at my sister's. I hadn't played in quite a while and was slightly worried about being slaughtered. I kept repeating, "What are the controls? I forget. I don't think I'm going to do very well..." But once the game started, it all came back to me. Ahhh, sweet Halo I've missed you.

Saturday night I played a little Heroscape with my sister's boyfriend and a few other people. It was alright but I was ready to quit the game 15-minutes into it. So what's the safest way to quit? Commit suicide with your character. I was playing with Mimring (I know, I'm so embarrassed) and basically ran up to opponents and sat there until they killed me. As soon as I died, I stood up and said, "Well, that was fun. ... Er, bye. I'm going back down to my place." I think they all thought I was pissy but the fact is that I didn't want to lose four hours of my life to this game.

Wednesday

[video games] New Maps for Halo 2

"The two free maps are titled Containment and Warlock. Containment is a massive level blanketed with snow, and Warlock was influenced by the Halo: Combat Evolved map Wizard. The Killtacular Pack will include Turf and Sanctuary, and it will sell for $5.99. Turf is set in the narrow streets of Old Mambosa, and Sanctuary is a dilapidated Forerunner compound set on Delta Halo. For those who can bear waiting, the Killtacular Pack will be free on June 28.

Five additional maps, Terminal, Elongation, Gemini, Backwash, and Relic, will be available for download on June 28 for $11.99. Halo 2 players who aren't connected to Xbox Live can purchase the retail package of all nine maps, as well as every update from Bungie, for $19.99 on June 28."

NINE new maps for twenty bucks? Cool.

Read more here.

Tuesday

[knitting] Pictures!

I finished the stole! It's, like, 8 feet long and wicked cozy.



The good news is that I've already gotten a compliment on it. It's like I told my sister: I don't knit things for the self-satisfaction, oh no, I do it for the compliments. The only downside to the stole is that it's not the easiest thing to wear. You really have to commit to it. I don't- Do you know what I'm talking about? It's not everyday you see someone running around in something like that so when you wear it, you have to... you have to pretend everyone wears stoles and you're not being completely weird by wearing this long, furry, pink thing.

Here's progress on the Henry Sweater (which I never ended up wearing to the Henry show because when I tried the thing on after attaching one sleeve, I realized how misshapen it was). Now it's just sitting around, unloved and unfinished...

     

You can see in the last photo that this sweater is made to fit someone with the same physique as Strong Mad. I have some ideas about what I can do to fix it but it's too depressing to contemplate right now.

I've been trying to block a scarf that I knit this past winter...

   

I ran out of safety pins before I could get all those egg-crate-y looking peaks pinned down. It's the wrong-side of the Fir Cones pattern and I wanted it to be FLAT, not... egg-crate-y. So I'm going to see how this blocking this works out.

And, here it is, my NEW work in progress...



A shrug from this pattern in Interweave Knits Spring issue. A little late to get started, I know, considering that their Summer issue is out now (or about to come out). The picture makes the yarn look kind of blueberry in color, but actually it's quite purple. And 100% wool. So... this is going to be meant for COOL summer evenings. I wouldn't be able to wear it out during the day without suffering from heat stroke. The pattern is complicated and I have to concentrate hard to avoid mistakes (I've had to backtrack a couple times... [sad face]). The knitting it going sloooooow...

Monday

[amy] Can't everyone just leave me alone?

I'm sitting on the couch, knitting, when my storm door opens and I hear a knock knock knocking on my front door. I open it to see a girl, no more than 18-years-old, in a denim jacket and tan pants smiling up at me.

AMY: Hello?

GIRL: Hi. I'm here with Kirby vacuums- "Quality is best when you use Kirby."

AMY: ...

GIRL: You've never heard of that?

AMY: No.

GIRL: Well, we're here giving free home demonstrations of our Ultimate G Series Diamond Edition. We have a 5 hour drive back to New York City and we get twenty-five dollars for every demo we give. May we come in and clean for you?

AMY: Oh... No, thank you. That's okay.

GIRL: Please?

AMY: Uhhhh... I don't think so. My place is really messy and-

GIRL: Oh, that's okay, we've seen worse. It'll take no time. We clean your rugs and-

AMY: Hang on there, kiddo. I don't have any rugs.

GIRL: [trying to look around me] Not even any area rugs?

AMY: No. It's all wood.

GIRL: ... That's okay. We'll clean the floors. Please. We get twenty-five dollars for every demo we give.

AMY: Look, I'm sorry but I don't want-

GIRL: PLEASE! We-

AMY: HEY!

GIRL: ...

AMY: I was just going to walk up to my sister's and-

GIRL: This won't take long!

AMY: No! I know what this is! I know what you're doing! You think I was born yesterday?

Girl: No.

AMY: You come into MY place, take a look around, see if there's anything worth STEALING and then you go back to New York City and two weeks from now, my place is mysteriously robbed!

GIRL: ...

AMY: You say, "Oh, she's got- she's got- an iPod or whatever and a flat screen t.v.-"

GIRL: You have a flat screen t.v.?

AMY: No. I just made that up. Whatever, the point is: I don't what YOU coming into MY place TO-DAY. [using sign language] O-KAY?

GIRL: Okaythankyouforyourtime. [leaves]

* * *

The most bizarre thing about this whole meeting is that she kept on saying "we have a long drive" and "we get paid twenty-five dollars". Each time she said "we", she would look over at my drive way, presumably looking at a vehicle full of other carpet cleaners. After she left my door, I looked out the window and there was NO ONE parked in my driveway. She walked off on foot to beg at more homes along my street but... What the fuck? Who was she looking at? Who was this "we"?

I'm scared...

Friday

[amy] Mmmm, strawberries...

I'm sitting on the couch, knitting, when my storm door opens and I hear a knock knock knocking on my front door. I open it to see a small boy, dressed in a Boy Scouts' outfit and an older man, presumably his father, standing behind him.

BOY: Hello! I'm with Pack 22 of the local chapter of Boy Scouts and I was wondering if you'd like to buy any of these bulbs to help support us! [Hands out order form with glossy pictures of flowers]

AMY: I don't know, kid. I don't have a very green thumb. I habitually kill all the plants I get.

FATHER: Oh the bulbs are easy. You put 'em in the ground and... Well, that's it.

AMY: Hmm... Maybe I can handle that... Oh, strawberry plants?! Maybe I'll that one...

FATHER: That's what your neighbor got.

AMY: What, right next door? Ryan?

FATHER: Yeah.

AMY: Shit, I'll just go steal some of his in the middle of the night, then.

FATHER: [Placing hand and son's shoulder in conciliatory fashion] I'm afraid I just ruined your sale, son.

BOY: [Starting to cry]

AMY: Aw fuckit, I'll get some strawberry plants, too. Okay? Jesus, wipe your face. Do I pay now? When do I get the plants? [Filling out form]

FATHER: You pay now and I'll be personally delivering the orders... [Leering at AMY]

AMY: Ew. Okay, if I'm not here or just not answering the door, leave my plants on the stoop. Fucker. [Hands order form back to boy]

BOY: [Salutes AMY] Thank you and Pack 22 of the local chap-

AMY: I bought some of your shit, didn't I? Stop wasting my time and beat it. I got knitting to finish.

Wednesday

[books] Book Sense Books of the Year

The winners of the 2005 Book Sense Book of the Year Awards have been announced. I like this award because Book Sense is all about what independant bookstores are selling- and it's always good, interesting reads.

The winner for Adult Fiction is Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I've wanted to read this since it came out but have been waiting for paperback. Alas, the paperback won't be out until September 5th.

I'm not too sure about the Children's Fiction winner, though: Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. Sounded a little too much like you-know-what, only for kids. Don't get me wrong, I liked you-know-what but it has become so ubiquitous that I don't ever want to hear/see you-know-what's title again. ... Unfortunately there's a movie coming out and Ron Howard has grossly miscast the lead role...

Monday

[science] Sleep Paralysis

I happened to suffer from sleep paralysis this past Friday night...

"The disorder known as 'sleep paralysis' occurs when the brain is awakened from a REM state into essentially a normal fully awake state, but with the bodily paralysis still occurring. This causes the person to be fully aware, but unable to move. In addition, this state is usually accompanied by certain specific kinds of hallucinations."

I felt like I was just drifting off to sleep when an invisible 500 lb. blanket was put over me, I became lucid and saw a face like this looking down at me from the foot of the bed. I can't remember if I screamed or not, but I forced myself to move and become fully awake. It happened again (to a lesser extent) when I tried to go back to sleep, I woke myself up, and then I went to sleep for real.

Reading through the hallucinations, I did feel fear (which is a mild way of putting it; it was more like terror), sensing a malevolent presence, pressure/weight on the body and impending sense of doom. I think if I had any of the visual, auditory or tactile hallucinations, I'd go mad and never return back to sanity.

I have to say that I was so scared because one of the things I'm most afraid of is an incubus. Wikipedia leads one to believe that it's "legend" or "myth" but I know better...

[amy] Attack of the crappy movie.

Ho-lee crap. I'm having the best time of my LIFE. The Henry Rollins/NYC weekend was awesome. It completely blew my mind. This past weekend, Adam, Gordon and Dollar's House Your Rager blew my mind. I had such a good time (though you might not be able to tell it from the bleary-eyed pictures of me).

Big up to the guys for hosting the party and allowing a couple hundred people to filter through their home. Thanks for Ken going all the way up to Burlington for the ice luge. Thanks to everyone who complimented me on the Henry/NYC movie we premiered...

About the movie. We were meant to bring a cable to connect my laptop to the projector. I couldn't find mine and was going to borrow Ram or Ken's. I went over there and, of course, we left for the party without the cable. At the Rager, around 10pm, I finally realize we'd forgotten it. Talk about melt-down. I was completely freaking out. Ram and Adam were level-headed, saying things like, "We'll save it, convert it, import it, blah blah blah." I'm like, "No, man. Seriously, we'll drive back to Ken and Ram's, get the cable and come back." Which is what I think we should have done. Instead, we put a quicktime.mov on Adam's laptop (which couldn't apparently do full screen) and it was totally crappy. The music was okay (except for a song that was mysteriously missing from the end) but the audio from the video snippets was horrendous. And the video deteriorated in the compression as well. People's faces were melting! I didn't intend for it to be a horror movie! This is my Oscar-worthy documentary! Completely fucked up!

I should preempt this by say that before we premiered the movie, Ken gathered most people and gave a little speech about the it. I wasn't really hearing what he was saying, but I get the feeling it was along the lines of, "Okay, Amy made this movie. She's slightly retarded and worked REALLY hard on it so if you see her around afterwards, it would be nice of you to tell her that you liked it." We showed the movie, I hated it for the reasons listed above, but so many people came up to me afterwards and said they liked it. What did I use to make it? It was really good. Etc. So inevitably I became suspicious. Didn't they see how shitty it was? Man, if I had played them the real thing... Everyone would have lost their minds.

Everyone at the party was cool. Thanks to everyone who said, "Your sweater looks comfy," only to have me go, "It's a poncho. And thank you. I knit it."

Thursday

[knitting] More projects...

The spring issue of Knitty is up. While most of the patterns aren't anything I'd wear, I am interested in making "I Do" (but in a more "I Don't" color) and "Branching Out". First, though, I've got to finishing seaming the Henry sweater and open-lattice shawl.

And besides that, there are a few things in the new spring Vogue Knitting that I'd like to take a stab at.

Wednesday

[movies] Closer

Jeeze, what a crap movie Closer was. I watched it over at Ken and Ram's last night. The only good thing about the movie was that Ken hooked his laptop up to a projector and we watched the haute merde on the wall.

If you want to read an accurate description of what the movie was like, read this.

Tuesday

[amy] I'm back...

... and not married to Henry Rollins. I thought I would be but I ended up not having the guts to ask him.

It was a really good time in NYC. Adam, Dollar and Ken are cool (but I already knew that). Megs was super-cool about getting the hotel room and taking us to interesting places around the city. Basically we got to Times Square, checked into the hotel, went to the show, went to a burlesque show, went to a bar, passed out in the hotel for a few hours and then made the drive back up. It was all pretty cool.

More to come...