Things that happened: a wedding (fun), Great Lakes Medieval Faire (wet and muddy, but fun), shoe shopping (brightly colored and on sale), and Dublin Irish Festival (wet and muddy, but loads of fun). I'm sort of hoping "wet and muddy" doesn't become our theme for outdoor festivals this year. You hear me, Ohio RenFest? Don't do that.
Currently, I'm knitting socks (surprise), slowly packing for France (just how many pieces of clothing can I take and then get rid of?), and fretting over immigration stuff (nothing major, just generic "I kind of hate this"). But hey, France! I haven't been to France in ages, and never to this particular part of it. I'm excited.
Also, you all have to go see Guardians of the Galaxy, like, right now. So. Much. Fun. And I'm never getting "Hooked on a Feeling" out of my head ever again.
So... yeah. Here, have some beaded lace.
Maia, designed by Romi Hill, the beaded version, in Apple Tree Knits Plush Fingering (the colorway is "Frost" or "Glacier" or something like that).
At first, I really liked it. And then it was surprisingly sweet and romantic and funny. And then I wanted to burn all copies of it with a blowtorch. So, that evens out to "it was ok" I guess?
I sent off a box to Afghans for Afghans.
And donated a skein of handdyed yarn to the Yarn Harlot's karmic balancing gifts.
And did I mention I'm running a 5k for charity in the middle of August? Because I am.
Picking a 1000-page book as part of a reading challenge that counts the number of books you read may have been a terrible idea. Then again, it's going quickly. May have something to do with the 3 hours I spent at the shop getting my car fixed this weekend.
I seem to have missed spring. Or maybe we just didn't have one. At this point, it's 88 degrees, and I hate it. This does not bode well for actual summer.
Science is awesome
You can now see what the ISS crew is seeing (unless there's a camera outage).
I saw Iron Man 3. Twice. Because it's Robert Downey Jr and Paul Bettany, mostly. I loved it. Not so much the plot - that was weird, and... well, weird. But watching Tony Stark dealing with the aftereffects of Avengers, and with actually having to be considerate of other people, was a fantastic piece of acting. Also, if you haven't yet, stay until after the credits. I'm really loving Marvel's storytelling, despite their executives being (apparently) mostly sexist idiots.
Also saw Star Trek 2. Also twice. Because Benedict Cumberbatch. Who was amazing as [spoiler redacted]. I had some issues with the movie the first time through - there's some painfully obvious messages and some potentially more painful, and slightly patronizing, fan service - but I got over it the second time around. It's still a really well done movie. And pretty. (Though consensus seems to be not to see it in 3D.)
Joss Whedon's version of Much Ado About Nothing should be coming out at the end of the month, which is exciting! So many good actors in that one. I really hope they have it around here somewhere... no wait. I no longer live in the middle of nowhere. It'll definitely play in one of the at least 10 movie theaters around here :-)
I keep thinking "I could go see another movie tomorrow" - then I realize I have tickets for Rocky Horror Show at Shadowbox tomorrow :-D I love that show so much, and the Shadowbox cast is likely to be amazing in it. I'm really glad Ann invited me to that first random show... even if it came with "it's kind of dark and macabre, I thought you'd like it" :-)
Oh well. I have New Year's to look forward to, I have cookie cutters and gingerbread cookie mix, and I'm going to see Red Dawn this weekend, because who doesn't need a bit of Chris Hemsworth thrown into a crazy month?
Also, I bought a sewing machine on Black Friday. No, I basically have no idea how to use it. That'll be the project when I'm sick of studying French :-) Because seriously, I need to finish that course.
I'm also planning a whole lot of traveling, including a DC trip with Sara for a pop culture academic conference (I am such a geek), and a possible trip to LA in March for work (and possibly visiting Carrie, if she's around), along with Gally in February (why am I spending that much time in LA?) and... no wait, that's it. September doesn't count as vacation planning when I'm not even sure yet if I'm planning a vacation in September.
Wow. If you read all that and don't have a headache, I'm impressed. I should obviously go to bed instead of ramble on the internet :-)
Went to see Spider-Man with Jess yesterday - quite enjoyed it, really. I mean, it's a superhero movie, but I was quite impressed with Andrew Garfield, who's rather funny, and Rhys Ifans was impressive as always. I know people haven't been happy about the reboot, but as reboots go, it wasn't a bad one. Now if they only decided to erase those Hulk movies from our memories with a Marc Ruffalo Hulk...
It's almost time to book my LA flight for Gally! So excited. I actually found a roommate who already had a room at the Marriott, where the convention takes place, so I'm in the same hotel after all :-) I'm sure the jitters will show up eventually, but for now, I'm just so excited I finally get to go. Plus, new Doctor Who in like a month! And the new cast members for Game of Thrones S3 are AMAZING. Things are good in fandom world right now.
Pretty pretty shawl.
Pretty pretty handdyed turned into a pretty cute hat. Although neon green really isn't my color.
Stuff To Do
Went to a trivia night/pub quiz thing with Jess two-ish weeks ago. Got teamed up with what was likely the only two other people in the bar we were likely to get along with :-) To give you an idea, the conversations we had mostly involved geeky movies. Also, as a team we were pretty decent at trivia, and won $25 bucks in money to spend on Guinness and appetizers at Fado :-) They let Jess and me keep the gift card, since the bar wouldn't split the card (really?) - maybe we'll be able to return the favor next time.
Saw Snow White and the Huntsman over the holiday weekend, because it was going to be less crowded than Spider-Man :-) It was pretty much what I expected... Chris Hemsworth is badass (and has a talent for accents), Charlize Theron is gorgeous, and Kristin Stewart is forgettable (though she does get a pretty cool hairdo when they stick her in armor).
Alphas, from SyFy. A pretty generic mutant show so far, but quite entertaining nonetheless. I'm pretty sure they only did the five episodes I watched this weekend, but since it reappeared on Hulu recently, Season 2 can't be that far away, and maybe then the pace of the story will pick up some more, instead of hinting at scary backstory.
I finished Laura and Bennett's wedding present, and technically they should have it by now. Isn't it pretty?
I'm also kind of obsessed with these little stuffies right now. No idea what to do with them, but I keep thinking about making more :-) They are very cute.
Had an excellent weekend with Laura. No, we didn't really do anything but knit and watch Supernatural, but those activities and that adjective are never mutually exclusive. I'm kind of sad we didn't get to see the last Sherlock episode together as well, but I think we were twitchy enough from the Winchester angst. And we did go to campus to prep for Laura's class on Monday. Plus I got Aeris to sit on my lap - mostly because Laura wasn't available, probably :-)
Set up a date to visit Sara in Baltimore. Managed to put in a leave request at work without imploding the computer system (given their track record with my HR-type stuff, this is kind of miraculous). Now just hoping the request gets approved before the flights get more expensive, but it's not like Southwest actually gets expensive. Just more expensive than "pretty darn cheap."
Still sort of debating Rolex in April. On one hand, I want to go and see people and hang out at the horse park, on the other hand I've been before, mum probably isn't coming, and I don't know that I want to go by myself. We shall see.
Shows, really - Supernatural. (The angst. The pretty. The gore.) Psych. (The crazy.) Sherlock. (OMG my brain hurts. Also, the pretty. Oh, the pretty.) Plus some Star Trek: TNG. (I forgot how irritating I find Wesley most of the time, although he does get better with age.)
Did I mention I went to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy? I enjoyed it (there's pretty, and it's mind-bendy), but I don't think I actually got it. Which may have been the point. I'm going to have to rent it sometime and re-watch. See if it makes more sense... well, it made sense, just... not really. Typical British spy drama, then :-P
Apparently I have no pictures on this computer. Probably because they're all on the harddrive, and I'm too lazy to find the cord. Next week, promise.
No really, spoilers. Lots of them. Deal with it or go away :)
Overall I liked the movie a lot, but I didn't absolutely love it. Of course I think the only real reason for that was that I already "knew" most of the characters and had to deal with different portrayals of them. But I think the whole movie did a really good job of taking inspiration from the old movies and not trying to BE the old movies and characters. It was definitely Star Trek for a new audience, but with A LOT of references to the classic series. Green chick in bed with Kirk was especially amusing :)
Zachary Quinto was awesome. Sarcastic Spock :) He was fantastic, and eerily attractive at the same time. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole Spock/Uhura thing though - maybe with more backstory, but as it was, definitely didn't work. Funny though, especially other people's reaction to it.
I heart Simon Pegg. How did I actually not like him before? The man's hilarious. And a really fun Scotty. He just didn't show up early enough, so I'm hoping they'll make at least one more of these movies.
Karl Urban as McCoy - given how much I read "he's going to suck," I was kind of afraid, but he was amazing. Probably the one who was closest to the classic character, but it worked. Very very well. "Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"
The other cast choices were, if not totally surprising, definitely interesting - but it was good to see that the kid from a couple of stoner movies could actually act :) And I swear I've seen the kid who plays Chekov in something else... help? Anyone? Chris Pine, who plays Kirk, is kind of too pretty for his own good, but he gets beat up pretty quickly, so it's ok. Actually, he spends most of the movie with cuts and bruises... poor Kirk. Then again, he asks for it most of the time :) Of course he tends to win... sometimes prequels suck because the tension goes out of a fight scene. You really know who's going to survive the fight on the narrow walkway over the gaping chasm :)
The visual effects were awesome, especially the shots of the Romulan ship being sucked into the black holes. For some reason it always reminded me of scenes from *Pirates*, where the Kraken takes down a ship, all tentacle-y and creepy. But that likely was the point. Sadly, none of the ships had beepy light-up consoles... they were relatively slick, although the engine room was ridiculously old-school. And huge. I don't remember engineering ever being that big. Or that yellow.
I think what bugged me most was Eric Bana... why does he keep getting hired for action flicks? I don't believe any emotions he portrays, and when revenge on an entire planet is the primary motivator for the villain, I kind of have to believe he actually has emotions. I just don't get it, but maybe I'm still jaded from the disaster that was the first Hulk movie. This was... well, this was another green guy with an anger management problem. We all know how that worked out ;)
I'm still totally excited about Leonard Nimoy being in the movie, and not just as a cameo :) He seemed to be really happy about being there too, and I heard somewhere that he was really nice to everyone, and especially helpful to Quinto. Probably one of the reasons why that performance was so brilliant.
I'll have to see the movie again, definitely - right now I'm only absorbing half of it, I feel like. But that's ok, I had loads of fun :)
PS Greg Grunberg was in the movie. I only figured that out during the end credits. But it was a funny touch too - had to have more than one *Heroes* cast member apparently :P
ETA: Red space suits are the new red shirts. But they still die a horrible death.
So yeah... movies. Saw Cloverfield when Sara was here, and now want 2 hours of my life back. Was it really better in the theater? Because on TV, it kind of... sucked. I know it's supposed to be all artsy and Blair-Witchy and all that, but I thought it was boring. The first 20 minutes are about people at a party, and nobody is introduced well enough for me to actually care about them, except one guy who unavoidably gets eaten eventually. Then they all hear a big explosion, with building shaking and everything, and instead of getting the hell out of the building, they all run up on the roof. Of a highrise. In Manhattan. Where they see explosions and rockets or something in, like, Upper Manhattan. Do they run? No, they don't, at least not until they almost get killed by a closer explosion. That leads into an hour of running with a shaky handheld video camera and discussing whether or not they should save this guy's girlfriend. Oh, and the Brooklyn Bridge collapses. And people get eaten. By a really random monster that apparently is plagued by evil flesh-eating lice. Which make you explode when they bite you. Yeah. Then we watched the behind-the-scenes stuff, because we had hopes that it would possibly explain the point of the movie. Which apparently was that the monster was a little baby that was confused, not out to destroy humanity. WHAT? WHERE WERE WE SUPPOSED TO GET THAT FROM?
Finished the first season of Rome, which was an award-winning, critically acclaimed HBO show in maybe 2006. Visually it was an incredible show, and the writing was excellent. However, a lot of the major characters looked the same. That may be ok when you're confusing Cesar's mistress with Cesar's ex-mistress, but when you're confusing Brutus and Marc Antony? Yeah, not good. It was interesting enough to want to watch the second season though, so that has to count for something.
Sara and I also watched Vantage Point to recover from the scary monster madness, and it was actually a pretty good movie, way better than I thought after the reviews. The retelling of the story from different viewpoints was really interesting because they peeled off layer after layer of the plot, and still managed to keep an interesting twist at the end. And I admit I like Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid, so that always helps a movie. Again, good rental :)
What else... got a hold of the John Barrowman episode of The Making of Me and was impressed with the first half of it. It's JB following a research trail into why people are gay or straight, and the first half actually made me laugh out loud a couple of times. There's the bit where they test his arousal response to nude images by putting this wire loop thing around his... you know what, and it is the most ridiculous thing I have seen on TV in a long time. Towards the end it got a bit desperate because they chose to put the stuff that didn't point towards a genetic reason for homosexuality at the end, but it was still interesting to see what people are looking at in that research area. However, I want to know who came up with this three-part series thing: one part is "why are people good athletes," one part is "why are people great musicians," and this part is "why are people gay." Who decided that made sense all put together? I think they just wanted to put JB on television again.
I think that's it... oh, saw De-Lovely because it has John Barrowman in it, and it was fun and entertaining, even without knowing anything about Cole Porter (it's a biography with music). Really wondering why they had to remake Life on Mars instead of showing the British version, but I'm afraid I will never find out. We shall see how it is, especially after reading some of the coverage from Comic Con... apparently the US pilot was pretty much a reshoot of the UK pilot. Needless to say the TV people said they were reshooting it when asked that question at the panel.
Got an invite to Sheanna's wedding shower, which is next weekend... so this weekend I have to go buy her a present! Parkersburg it is, I guess :P
I saw Hellboy 2: The Golden Army with Howard and Suzanne last weekend, mostly because I liked the first one and I'm a sucker for fantasy action movies. Also, Neil Gaiman must have been on set at some point, based on the photos he posted a while ago, so I was hoping the awesomeness rubbed off on the movie. And it pretty much did, I had a blast :) This one was funnier than the last one, probably because they didn't have to set up too many of the characters - more time for witty dialogue and fight scene choreography. The environmental message was a bit heavyhanded at times (if you've seen it, you know which part I mean), but it didn't take away too much from it being just a fun summer blockbuster. Doug Jones actually got to play a main character this time around, and he's a good actor after all, even though they mess with his voice so much that he might as well be miming with someone else's dubbing. Critics had complained about Luke Goss playing the Wraith prince (yeah, some serious makeup stealage from Stargate: Atlantis going on there), but I liked the way he did it. I had more issues with the princess - not the actress, she did well with what she had, but with the complete lack of helpfulness. I mean, she couldn't even keep her brother from kidnapping her when he's standing there soliloquizing about how his world is falling apart? Come on lady, do something! But I guess if stereotypical elvish princesses are my worst issue with the movie, it was all good :) This one was also more Pan's Labyrinth than Hellboy 1, which made for some amazing visuals. Guillermo Del Toro has a twisted twisted mind, but I like it - looking forward to what he does with The Hobbit :)
I also saw The Dark Knight this past Friday, and let me tell you, that was one weird, dark, awesome movie. I miss Heath Ledger now... anyone who can act like that should not just randomly die of an accidental overdose, that's just wrong. The Joker was extremely creepy, and the writing for the character really gave me shivers. And say what you want about Christian Bale having two default expressions in acting (stoic and psychopathic), he's a good Batman. Way better than Kilmer and Clooney at least (sorry George), and while I don't want to insult the original Batman, Bale is quickly surpassing Michael Keaton too. I like this new idea about Batman: dark, slightly disturbed, not really the superhero he's made out to be. Ok, so some of that isn't really new, but before Batman Begins, it's what I got out of the Batman movies. They were doing reruns this weekend, so I know :) The only sort of sad part was Two-Face - Aaron Eckhart deserved more than being the backup bad guy to the Joker. Also, bringing Cillian Murphy back for a 30-second cameo seemed like a bit of a waste, but at least you got the tie to the last movie. Again, if those two things are my only complaint... film on, Christopher Nolan, film on :)
In actual news, the police released autopsy results on the two kids that died in my apartment building a few weeks ago. Apparently it was suicide in both cases, with tox results ranging from heroine and marijuana to tranquilizers and alcohol. How they decided getting in a full bathtub was a good idea is beyond me, but at least now the "no foul play" theory is confirmed. That poor mother though... imagine visiting your kid for Parents' Weekend and finding him and his girlfriend dead in the bathtub. Ugh.
On that note... ok, I have to come up with something happy now. Uhm... oh, September! Fun month, September :) Going to visit Sara's parents in Erie for Labor Day (they have a house on the lake), going on vacation with mum for a week after that (Boston, Acadia National Park, Niagara, etc), going to a fiber festival in Yellow Springs with the twins the weekend after that, and going to the New Albany Classic (likely with Sara) the weekend after that. And then it'll be October, and I'll probably be broke, but very happy nonetheless :) How's that for a better ending?
Went to the zoo again, this time with a different part of the crowd - loads of fun yet again, and there are pictures this time (there were last time, but I didn't bother uploading them).
Bobcat, not sleeping for once. Apparently it meowed at Alan too.
I love the bat exhibit. People might say they're icky (in fact, one lady walked up and went "ewww" to her kids - way to be a role model, lady), but I like bats, I think they're cute. How can you not want to take this home?
Sleepy Koala :) In fact, the other one was feeling harrassed by the zookeepers that were feeding it, so it was climbing back and forth on the trees, but I didn't get a good picture, so you get dopey!koala.
In case you don't think tigers are just big kittens, I give you this:
And because all posts about animals need to contain at least one gratuitous shout-out to my ability to make animals pose, have a wolf who decided to come visit right as we walked up to the window. It's a timberwolf, I believe.
After the zoo, we went to the Book Loft in German Village, which has to be the most convoluted but awesome bookstore ever. 20-some rooms full of books... so much fun. I got the completed works of Hans Christian Andersen for $20, in blue leather with gold edging no less, and a cocktail book for $5. Now I need to get some of these supplies... a trip to Columbus may be in order at some point next week :) Had dinner at what I think is the original Max&Erma's (a Columbus company), and drove home in a thunderstorm, but that's ok. German Village would be fun to live in too - it's got a very European look to it, and no cheesy fake German things as far as I could tell. Well, Schmidt's, but we'll forgive them that one. They do have the Book Loft, after all.
What else? How about some movies? Sara and I saw a bunch of them before she moved.
Incredible Hulk: So much better than the Eric Bana version, and really quite enjoyable. I like Edward Norton, so the casting helped, and Liv Tyler was better than whoever played Betty last time too. She's a bit too Elven in everything she does for me, so if you hate the breathy voice, you may hate her, but it worked in context, and I got a kick out of Norton, and out of the writing... lost of funny one-liners in between the gloom and doom of the emotionally conflicted Hulk guy. Oh, and the brought in the guy who played Hulk in the original TV show! So awesome :)
Wall-E: Totally adorable. The entire movie revolves around two characters who can say about three words each, but it totally works. Also, total diss on Microsoft and shout-out to Apple. It was funny. And really, totally cute. Good Pixar movie. Definitely.
Doctor Who is done. Wow. What an ending. I was ok with it, although sometimes the writing on New Who gets sloppy and inconsistent. I'm kind of hoping Moffat will get rid of that... let's just decide if the Doctor likes or hates guns, and get rid of the whole "kill the evil race that will destroy the universe? Nah, I'll just look conflicted and deal with these guys yet again in the next season." I mean, genocide bad, yes, but Daleks don't learn, obviously. Even Dalek Caan was ok with killing off everyone. Good on you, Blue!Doctor :) And you got Rose :P Guess the cybermen are coming back for the specials... it would be nice if they decided to bring back more interesting villains eventually. Like the Master again, or the Rani.
Oh yeah, Secret Diary of a Call Girl. It's... interesting. Good, very entertaining, and really not as much about sex as you would think :) After the first two episodes, that part really becomes the background for some really interesting drama. Looking forward to the next season, and I do love Billie Piper. Glad she's getting work after Who.
Anything else... did I mention Friday Night Lights already? I think I did. Good show :)
Is that long enough for you all? Next time might have knitting content, and possibly involve a bike :)
I just got back from seeing Stardust... and I absolutely loved it! Very fun, amazing images (Scotland and Iceland apparently), and very Neil Gaiman even without following the book to the letter. Speaking of book: I distinctly remember reading Stardust as a book, not a graphic novel. Why does everyone keep saying that the movie is based on the graphic novel? Did I miss something? Laura/Carrie?
But on to the spoiler special!
Overall it was a beautiful movie, definitely worthy of being associated with the book, and I don't mind the Princess Bride associations all the critics seem to want to make. I only have one question:
A credit song by Take That? Seriously, Neil? What were you thinking? Are they even still alive? And singing? Together? I'm having flashbacks to junior high now. You had to have them write the ending song? Now it's stuck in my head, dammit! Not nice. Seriously, not nice at all.
Oh, and I totally want to see Beowulf. Screenplay by Neil Gaiman (and some other guy), Angelina Jolie, and swords - what's not to like?