Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 2/29/2012

Do y'all remember this top? 

I finished the knitting last February, and I never got around to seaming it together.  I figured out why...It is just too small.  I thought I had worked out the gauge and the measurements and everything...but no...

So it sat in the black hole since then until today.  I came across it and decided it was time to finish it.

Yep, I frogged it and am going to start over.

MK out.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - 2/28/2012 - Oscars recap

I really enjoyed watching The Academy Awards last night.  I think it was the best one in quite a while.  It wasn't perfect, but it was good overall.  I was thrilled that The Academy agreed with four of my five picks, too!

So, Carole asks us to tell Ten Thoughts on This Year's Oscars.  I have more than ten, but here are my comments:

1.  I was so happy to see Billy Crystal hosting.  He's made for the part.
2.  Michelle Williams got robbed.  I loved everyone else's performances, but...On a side note, Meryl was wearing a gold dress last night, and when I saw a clip of her last Oscar win and she was wearing a gold dress then, I thought "She's going to win tonight."
3.  Nine movies are too many nominations for Best Picture.  I would've stuck with The Artist, The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, Hugo and The Help.
4.  What was with Angelina Jolie and that pose?  Does anyone else out there think she looks too in dangerously?
5.  I did not like Sandra Bullock's look for the evening.  The outfit was not flattering and that flat hairdo thing has got to go. It is too severe for her, and she has more personality than that.
6.  Melissa McCarthy should have consulted me about what to wear.
7.  I loved the clothes (except see numbers 5&6).  Some of my favorites were Mila Jovovich, Michelle Williams, Penelope Cruz, Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis.
8.  I thought the skit with Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey, Jr. was kind of dumb.  Gwyneth looked great though.
9.  I cannot believe that Harry Potter didn't win anything...not even the Makeup award.
10.  Why is Sasha Baron Cohen such an attention whore that he always seems to go for the bad attention?

and one more, because there are really so many more thoughts...

11.  I am so glad that Uggie was allowed to be a part of the action.

Hope you enjoyed the show...

MK out.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Won't Be Wearing Vera Wang...

The Oscars are tonight!  I did see the last two movies on my list and am ready for the show!  I have never been invited to an Oscar-watching party, which may be because I don't think I have any friends who throw them.  I know I'd like to have one, but it just hasn't ever worked out...but all in good time...

Glenn Close and Janet McTeer both gave wonderful performances in Albert Nobbs.  They have both been nominated for Oscars. Close plays the title character, a woman, who has chosen to live her life as a man in 19th century Dublin in order to be able to work and have financial security.  It is obvious that Albert is pretty naive about many things in life and it is easy to feel sorry for her, because you see what's coming at every one of her turns.  McTeer plays Hubert Page, a house painter, who we come to find out is also living her life as a man, but in happier circumstances.  Mia Wasikowska also stars in this very well acted, very good story of a movie.  I liked it.

In Warrior, Nick Nolte (nominated for Best Supporting Actor) plays Paddy, an ex-Marine alcoholic with almost 1000 days sobriety.  He trained both his sons to wrestle in high school, but one son felt Paddy seemed to favor one over the other.  Now grown, both sons come to the conclusion that they must fight for their livelihood.  Tommy, (Tom Hardy), is a Marine who fought in the Middle East.  He hates Paddy and Brenden for deserting him and his mom.  Brenden (Joel Edgerton) had stayed with his dad because he had a girlfriend (now his wife) that he didn't want to leave behind.  There is much tension in this family over perceptions that are more complicated than each person thinks.  It is a fight movie with mixed martial arts.  The fight scenes are hard to watch, but the story is good, and the final battle is predictable.  It was a good movie though, and Nolte did a pretty good job.

So, now it is down to the nitty gritty...MK has to make her picks (not predictions)...

Best Supporting Actress - This category is a toughie for me.  Each of the actresses up for the prize did really well.  There were no obvious standout performances in my opinion.  The nominees are Berenice Bejo in "The Artist," Jessica Chastain in "The Help," Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids," Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs," Octavia Spencer in "The Help." The MK pick is Octavia Spencer.

Best Supporting Actor - It's another category with good actors and good performances and no obvious front-runner in MKs book.  The nominees are Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn," Jonah Hill in "Moneyball,"  Nick Nolte in "Warrior," Christopher Plummer in "Beginners," Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."  The MK pick is Christopher Plummer.

Best Actress - I stand by my pick of a few weeks ago, but the nominees are Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs," Viola Davis in "The Help," Rooney Mara in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady," and Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn."  All these ladies were extremely good, but the front-runner for the MK pick remains Michelle Williams.

Best Actor - This category at least has some variability for me, but all the performances were good.  The nominees are Demian Bechir in "A Better Life," George Clooney in "The Descendants," Jean Dujardin in "The Artist," Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Brad Pitt in "Moneyball."  The MK pick is Jean Dujardin.

Best Picture - The nominees are "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Help," "Hugo," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball," "The Tree of Life," "War Horse."  All were good movies, but the standout and MK pick goes to The Artist.

I know that Oscar frequently disagrees with me...and after having learned recently that the Academy is comprised of mostly older males..there is no wonder.  I enjoy watching the movies and I enjoy watching the Oscars and I enjoy picking the movies I think should win in the big five categories.  It's all just for fun...

MK out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 2/22/2012

Today's WIP Wednesday is of a different sort....It's about movies.  I still have to see two before Sunday...and they are Albert Nobbs and Warrior.

That implies that I've seen all the others that I wanted to see before the Oscars.  I haven't commented on two of them, so here they are:

Hugo is a fanciful little film about a boy who tries to fulfill his late father's dream of completing an automaton (automated man).  I did not see the 3-D version, but I thought the CGI was good in 2-D. Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz star in this family film. It was very good.

In A Better Life, an undocumented Mexican (Carlos) who works as a gardener is trying to raise his son (Luis) in the gang-infested parts of LA.  When his boss decides to sell his trucks and tools to Carlos, he sees it as his chance to better his life, despite knowing that his lack of a driver's license would mean sure deportation if he got stopped for any reason.  When the truck gets stolen, the action heats up.  It was a very good story and well acted film. Demian Bechir, who plays Carlos, has been nominated for Best Actor. This category is tougher for me to pick a favorite.  After I see Warrior, I may have a better handle on it.  Anyway, I liked it.

I also saw non-Oscar contender Big Miracle last weekend.  Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Ted Danson and more star in this film based on the true story about a family of grey whales who got caught in an ice cell in the Arctic Circle. Greenpeace, the US government, the Russians...they all get involved to try and get these whales out to the open ocean.    It's a cute, little, predictable family movie. 

As far as knitting goes...I am almost finished with the gusset decreases on my February socks.  Nothing else new to report...

MK out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

FO Friday - 2/17/2012

I finished the basketweave blanket last month, and have been waiting for a sunny day for a shot of it.  I did take a picture of it with my phone while we were in Florida; so, it will have to do:

The pattern is modified from the Basketweave Blanket by Classic Elite, in their #9081 Puddle Jumpers booklet. I don't have the booklet...I reverse engineered the pattern - I don't know what numbers they used, but it looks close enough to me.  I used size 4.5mm needles and Caron Wintuk yarn in Fisherman.  It took 5 skeins of it.  I remember this yarn from long ago.  I am so glad we have yarns these days that are easier on the hands.

Off to knit...maybe, I'll have something finished to show you next week. 

MK out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WIP Wednesday - 2/15/2012

I seriously could have kept going with listing my favorite chocolate treats yesterday, but let's talk about a different kind of treat in my life...


My February socks are coming along swimmingly.  I am using a wonderful yarn that my friend ML gifted me a few years ago.  It knits like a dream...It is Fearless Fibers Merino/Tencel sock yarn in Delft.  Oh my.  It is so squishy!  One of the January challenges in SKA was to knit something by one of the featured designers.  Erica Lueder was one of them, and I had been eyeing her Hermione's Everyday Socks pattern for a good while.  I started the socks at the end of January, and as long as I finish them before February 29th, they qualify for prizes.  I am working them TAAT on favorite way to do socks.  The pattern is quite easy, yet the result is so elegant.

The little pink something is almost finished:

Now, there is a little red something:

So, that's what is currently on my needles.

MK out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - 2/14/2012 - I Can Haz Choc'let?

Here are my Ten Favorite Chocolate Treats, in no particular order:

1.  Peanut M&Ms
2.  Recce's Peanut Butter Cups
3.  Almond Joy
4.  Snickers
5.  Chocolate-covered cherries
6.  Chocolate-covered almonds
7.  Chocolate-dipped strawberries
8.  Brownies
9.  Hot chocolate
10.  Anything Godiva.

You can read Carole's list and more here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

MK out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Movie Monday - 2/13/2012

In War Horse, a poor farmer purchases a thoroughbred, instead of a plow horse, to work the land. Joey, the horse, bonds with Albert (Jeremy Irvine) the son, and the two get the job done. Soon, the war stars, and the dad sells the horse to the army and the adventures begin. Emily Watson also stars. It was predictable, but a good, heartwarming story.

I was confused just about the entire time watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Part of the reason may be because I have never read the novel by John Le Carre. I don't think that's the whole reason, because there are quite a few people and events to keep straight. The film is set in Britain in the 1970s. There is a mole in M16, and the search is on. Gary Oldham, Colin Firth, John Hurt and Toby Jones all star in this movie, and each does a fine job of acting.

We Bought a Zoo is a cute little family movie starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Hayden Church, Colin Forc and Elle Fanning. It is about a widower with two kids who decides a change is in order, and he ends up, well...buying a zoo...where the family will live. The movie is based on a true story. It is predictable, and as I said before...cute.

MK out.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and More

I don't really know how I feel about Extremely Loud and incredibly Close. Oskar (Thomas Horn) is an eleven-year-old boy who lost his father (Tom Hanks) in the 9/11 tragedy. Sandra Bullock plays his mother. We only see his father in flashbacks. Oskar is on The Spectrum, and maybe the actor's affectations are meant to illustrate this fact, but I found the little boy quite annoying. The father and son had a very close and loving relationship; so, it is understandable that the boy is angry. He finds a key in his father's things and sets out to find the lock that it opens, believing that it is something that his father meant for him. John Goodman. Max von Sydow and Viola Davis also star. The acting is good enough. It is mostly entertaining. I just went away with more questions unanswered. It was a little better than alright.

In The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep delivered another flawless performance playing Margaret Thatcher, but to what end? The movie gave us snippets of the former British prime minister's early life and rise to power, but it didn't offer any meaty information. Most of the film was shown as flashbacks of the now, as depicted, demented Lady Thatcher's memories. Jim Broadbent stars as her husband Denis. As devisive as she was politically, maybe Lady Thatcher didn't lead as juicy a life as some of our US presidents have; so, there wasn't much to the story. The acting was superb, but the movie wasn't all that great.

Many people do not know what to make of The Tree of Life. There are scenes of the Big Bang Theory in action as organisms spring to life and then there are people and this family...There is talk about nature and grace...What do all these things have to do with one another? Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain) have three young sons and they live in Waco, TX in the 1950s. Sean Penn plays one of the boys all grown up, and we watch him try to figure out the meaning of his life through flashbacks as he examines his past. I liked the movie because it was calming and soothing in some odd way. We may never figure out why we are here, but we would be happier if we just made peace with it all. I liked it.

MK out.

Friday, February 10, 2012

FO Friday - 2/10/2012

Hello? Anyone there?

I am still having technical difficulties. The iPad is missing several proprietary features that my PC, I don't have a good way of storing pictures on it, because I need to purchase some things, apparently.

While I cannot post a picture today, I can link you to my Ravelry page for the January 2012 Socks that I made. I may have mentioned before that I was participating in the Mystery Sock (MOCK) challenge in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry. Carrie Sullivan (irishgirlieknits on Ravelry) designed the pattern, and I like it! It was my first mystery KAL. I really enjoyed it. I made the socks using 2.00 and 2.25mm needles. I mostly made the socks two at a time (TAAT) on two circulars, but there were times that I used DPNs and may have worked on one sock at a time. I used that mystery yarn from the American Red Cross knit kit. The yarn is lovely to work...too bad I don't know what the base is.

EDIT:  Here's the pic:

So, I have been watching movies. I just haven't had the wherewithal to sit down long enough and collect my thoughts to be able to make any coherant comments. I am going to break with tradition and tell you about one movie today...and I may return tomorrow and tell you about another one.

The Artist is a black and white silent film about a cast of characters making black and white silent films. Jean Dupardin stars as George Valentin, the movie actor of his time...who enjoys his craft and notoriety immensely. Enter dance wannabe Peppy Miller, played by Berenice Bejo, and the fun begins. Uggie, the dog, steals a few scenes in this engaging film, also starring John Goodman and Penelope Ann Miller. I have not seen Hugo yet, but out of the field of movies that have been nominated for Best Picture, I think The Artist is the standout. It was charming, entertaining and quite delightful to watch. I loved it.

MK out.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Month of Letters

After reading my Knitter's Review newsletter today, I learned about a challenge to mail at least one item through the post everyday for the whole month of February. Well, I did say that I wanted to write more letters and send more cards. This challenge may kick start me into submission. You can find out more about the challenge here. So, I signed up today and promptly sent out three cards, because I can be an overachiever at times...

One point of which I've been reminded too many times in the last eighteen months is that life is too short and there is so much to say. Waiting for the right time to tell someone how much they mean to you, or how proud you are about one of his or her achievements, or how you hope he or she is having a good day or whatever may result in your never telling this person any of these things. So don't wait...the time is now!

MK out.