Saturday, December 25, 2004

Phantasmic Holiday

Okay, I made that word up.
The point is, I recently saw the film version of the "Phantom of the Opera" musical, and though I wasn't going to review it here, an article by a certain ignorant journalist in the local paper angered me into action. Said journalist had never seen the theatrical performance or read the original book, which are not crimes, but turn into such when he blindly critiqued a movie without any sort of background knowledge and graded it a C-.
I can, however, see how the movie might be puzzling to Phantom virgins. The musical is all singing with no dialogue, and the movie follows the musical almost exactly with a couple of spoken lines thrown in here and there. The singing tactic works well in a theatre setting, where the songs draw you down to the stage and into the action, but it seems to distance the audience in a movie theater. More spoken dialogue would have created intimacy, added personality to the characters, and could have been used to provide more background information.
The critic also abused "Phantom" as being a lavish, overblown production. Well, sonny jim, that's how the play is. That's why we like it.
The actress playing Christine (I'm too lazy to look up her name) played an excellent dewy, dreamy innocent. Her soprano was strong and sweet, and though nowhere near as powerful as Sarah B. (the play's original Christine), I liked her voice better (I'm not a big fan of Ms. Brightman, who always sounds like she's trying too hard).
Michael Crawford could have blown this Phantom out of the water singing hogtied with an apple in his mouth, but I think the fellow did a decent job. His voice couldn't compare to the power and sensuality of his predecessor, but ya gotta give him props for a good effort.
The scenery was absolutely gorgeous in every scene, and they used a few really awesome special effects (especially the 'blending' effect in the opening). The outside of the operahouse was all CG, though, and looked rather fake and disproportional. It would have been more at home in "Moulin Rouge."
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I give it a solid B as a film, and based on keeping true to the play, an A-.
So there.

Happy Christmas!

He can molest me any day.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Yarn Connoisseur

When I first started knitting, there was nothing more annoying to me than yarn snobbery. I couldn't stand to hear the 'old folk' bitch and moan about how they could only knit with wool from a bucktoothed Siberian mountain sheep raised in Polynesia and shorn on a moonless night, and hand-dyed by blind eunuch Buddhist scribes in Norway yadda yadda yadda. I swore that I would love all yarns and never discriminate based on fiber content (excluding really, really poorly made crap that breaks when you look at it). At least half of this determination was fueled by my finances, or perhaps I should say the lack thereof. I simply could not afford to buy good yarn for every project, and reckoned that the stuff at the local craft store was fine, as long as it was pretty. If I wanted to be fancy, I went for an acrylic/wool blend (we're talking about 10% wool in most cases). Either way, I would eat my hat before I became such a stuck-up yarn elitist.
But for the past several months I've been working almost exclusively with very nice wool, alpaca, or wool blended with cotton or mohair. And it's spoiled me. The last time I was in a craft store I couldn't help sounding like a baby chick:

I have now, officially, become a yarn snob.
This last month or two, I've been ruthlessly ploughing through my stash and using up or getting rid of old leftover yarn (to make room for more, of course). I made a skinny scarf a couple weeks ago to get rid of some surplus yarn from a Christmas gift I made last year, and the whole time I was knitting, I was cringing, bitching, and moaning. I've only worn it around the house about half a dozen times, and it's already started to get that nasty acrylic fuzz all over it. Definitely not long-lasting material.
Now I can see where those damned yarn snobs were coming from; it's totally worth the extra money you pay for high-quality goods simply for the pleasure of working with, say, lusciously soft baby alpaca. And it's worth that extra twice over when you think about how much the person you're knitting for will (hopefully) love it, and how they'll feel so pampered every time they wear your gift.
Please pass the salt. It might make my hat a bit more palatable.

"Why bother spending time, blood, sweat, tears, and love on a project if you use crappy yarn?"

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey Day

Ok, so the post date is a blatant lie! It's actually the 30th, but I'm in end-of-Thanksgiving denial, so indulge me.
Holidays are crazy. Mum was cleaning the house like mad; everything got cleaned, even rooms the guests wouldn't be using, and items the guests wouldn't be seeing. Then the traditional Ugly Brown Dishes (hideous heavy pottery plates from the seventies - and boy, do they look it) had to be taken out of confinement and thoroughly washed. I really dislike those dishes. We use them every year, but they never feel 'familiar,' if you know what I mean. Every year they're like these foreign invaders sitting at our table. What was really funny was that the guests called to say they were sick and couldn't come - an hour before dinner.
Anywhoo, on we go. Christmas is coming. Only three more projects and my gifts will be done! I keep feeling twinges of guilt for foisting crappy homemade presents on all my poor, defenseless friends and family. But then I get so into the project that I have to believe it will be liked.

Food for thought: If your car is low on gas, is it hungry?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Lemon Drop goes to Sacto!

Yup, been touring ye olde state capitol for my "distance study" class. It's been pretty fun, but I still have one or two days to complete up there, and I really want to get them done before my job gets into full swing.
I'm in a good mood. My 'potential cold' that's been plauging me for weeks is gone (knock on wood). And today, as a birthday special, I made a mascot for the site! It's Knitting Nezumi, of course, but you can call her Nez. (Okay, so the pic is rather on the childish side of cute, but what else can you expect with my poor art skills + Microsoft Paint??) Ooh, inspiration! Wouldn't it be awesome to post guest submissions of Nez? Meaning I make you, my artistically talented friends, do work for my benefit. I like this idea. Send me your artwork, people! heheh.
Since this is ostensibly a knitting blog, I suppose a knitting update is in order. Right now I'm working on Christmas presents (!), so of course I can't post pictures until after the holidays. With about 10 projects to finish, I won't be working on any of my stuff for at least a month (fahrizzle!).
Oh yeah, and since I'm another year closer to prune juice and bocchie ball, let's have some fun age statistics! Laura was worrying recently about becoming an old maid, and after that conversation I could practically hear my biological clock ticking. So I checked out a few reputable websites and guess what? The average age for a woman to get married is about 28-30. But the average divorce age is 32-36, and nearly half of all marriages in America end in divorce. So here's my thought: why not wait to get married until you're 32-36, and just do it right the first time? Ah, logic. So out of place in our modern world.

"Laura, just be the best darn spinster you can be!" - Encouraging words from Laura's mom.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I *heart* sequins!

Meet Torendii. She can be a girl's best friend. This isn't her best picture, but you get the general idea. Here's the recipe:
Take 1 skein The Great Adirondack Yarn Co.'s Sequins yarn in Hpunch 804.
Using size 6 US needles, c/o 11 stitches.
Knit in seed stitch using entire skein, leaving enough to b/o.
Bind off and secure ends (yarn is a bit slippery).
Makes a fashion accessory (scarf / belt / etc.) about 2 1/2" wide and 3' long. Put on for instant glam.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Lovin' this weather!

Despite the thermostat wars and the fogged-up windshields, I love cold, rainy weather like we've had the past few days. It makes me feel festive; reminds me of Halloween, warm clothes, Christmas shopping, fuzzy slippers, family gatherings, presents, cozy blankets, and baked goods. Time to light up the fireplace, pop some popcorn, drink hot cocoa, and make cookies. The holiday feeling is in the air. It's what I privately call "pumpkin pie weather" (don't laugh!).
Speaking of baking, I've got a rant to get off my chest.
The other day I happened to wander by the telly, and it was on some cooking show. Glancing over, I was rather stunned to see that the hosts were showing viewers how to make blueberry muffins.
Yes, muffins. Those pasteries that take two seconds to make.
So I sat down to watch, thinking that surely these muffins must be made of solid gold to justify devoting an entire half hour to them. Alas, for the next 30 minutes I was shown such mysteries as how to wash blueberries, stir batter, and pour it into paper muffin cups.
What is it about cooking these days that's spawned folks who can make scrambled eggs and therefore think they're the next Iron Chef? My mum likes watching design shows, and one particular episode burned itself into my memory. This family (yuppies) wanted to redo their kitchen with lots of nice, professional extras and high-end appliances. One would assume these folks to be hardcore chefs. The husband said something like, "I really like to dabble in the kitchen, so it would be great to have better equipment." But any credibility I might have given him was blown out the window as the camera cut to a shot of him standing at the stove stirring a pot of what looked suspiciously like Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese.
I know there's been a sort of homemaking / craft revival, largely thanks to Martha Stupid. It's great that people are taking an interest in the 'old' ways of making things and enjoying simple ways of creative expression, and stores that were dying out (fabric/craft/yarn/etc.) are becoming popular again. But this trend is unfortunately creating a breed of people with over-blown egos. Example:
Some Jerk: "I made this pumpkin pie myself."
Normal Person: "Oh, so you took canned pumpkin mix and dumped it into a store-bought crust? Congratulations, asshole, you just made a crappy pie."
Cooking isn't so much about making something as it is about making something that tastes good. You don't really need talent; just practice, time, fresh ingredients, and a good recipe. Yet folks continue to think it's rocket science. It always cracks me up when you bake a simple cake and others get all awed and say, "you made that from scratch??" like you just created the world or something.
I admit there was a time I thought that way, too. We've all been raised on the notion that those crap box mixes are the only reasonable way to bake a cake, and any other way involves hours of slaving in the kitchen. Toot toot! here comes the reality bus; a basic cake takes maybe 5-10 minutes to make (excluding bake time), tastes about a thousand times better, and is heathier without all those oils and preservatives.
I originally had a firm point to make in this rant, but I'm getting bored and disgusted. I've managed to mock some stupid people, so my job here is done.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Rag Time, baby!

Here's my RagTag scarf! This was an easy and super-quick project -- a couple hours of industrious knitting and you're done. I bound off too tightly, though, so it hangs a bit weird; can you tell? I liked this project - it was the best 'quickie' I've ever had.
Major props to Annelle at Mendocino Yarn Shop for the pattern.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Let's hear it for October!

Whoohoo! A yarn shop is the best place for inspiring a dull mind. Didn't buy much, but got some great ideas. Remember that list I posted a month ago? Here's how those projects are working out.
From the "current projects" list: Phat Hat (done, but then I decided to rework it, so it's at about 70% again), Kitty Bed (1 inch progress), and purse-pack (not a stitch).
From the "upcoming projects" list: Dia scarf (done and done. And Rira should send me pics, heheh), Slytherin scarf (postponed for more interesting projects), Awesome sweater (postponed until I acquire money to send away for the necessary yarn), and Piano scarf (haven't bought materials, but finished the design).
Projects that weaseled their way to front of queue: RagTag scarf (done), and Torendii (at maybe 15%).
So, of all seven projects on the list, one got finished. Yes!! Total failure avoided! Nice save.
New ideas: Alien scarf, mesh poncho (using that chenille yarn Kristen liked so much), winter poncho with cowl, Purplicous Scarf and Hat Duo, and a charm-ing purse.
I had planned to make my dad a sweater for Christmas. Well, I found a great pattern, but I've never done a sweater before and don't know if I can finish in time. Also, I had a fantastic idea for Rira's arm warmers, but I don't know what the hell she wants. Soft? Fuzzy? Baby blue? (hahah, she'll never guess now!) C'mon, Rira, help me out. I know I said I'd do that bunny backpack for Laura, but I'm a-gonna be honest: it's not happening anytime soon. I hate that project. You're giving me the Burning Acid Death Glare, aren't you? aww, I deserve it...

"If you're never hungry, you could keep eating delicious food!" -- Words of wisdom from SM Nawata

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


A pattern of Wednesday updates seems to be emerging. Fine by me.
I've been sick. It sucks. I'm still a tad off-color, but pretty much dandy. Can't think of which knitting project I wanna start next. I finished the Phat Hat awhile ago, the unexpected RagTime scarf nearly a month ago, and the Dia scarf on Friday (officially). I could start my "Torendii" project. I could think of a project for that fun yarn I saw at the shop. I could even finish my purse-pack (hahah). My fingers are itching to finish something, but I'm kinda uninspired, to be honest.
I need more medicine, so I'll leave y'all with this tidbit.

Quote of the week:
Kuchibashimaru: "That's right! We're the trio of fearsome..."
Hanemaru: "...super-strong..."
Tsumemaru: "...nincompoops!"
Kuchibashimaru: *WHACK* "Moron! How many times did we practice this?!
It's 'ninjas,' NOT 'nincompoops!'"

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


So it's been a week. Or two. But we all knew the daily post trend was too good to last.
I've decided to start doing occasional reviews of 'beauty products' I've tried; not because it's useful information, but because it's entertaining for me. Also, I'm a beauty product whore and this gives me a purposeful output to an otherwise wasteful pursuit.
First up is a Sugar Scrub exfoliant by CostPlus. At the risk of sounding like a two-bit yuppie drone, I'll admit that I love to exfoliate. Love it. It's a beautiful thing to step out of the shower feeling fresh, scrubbed, cleansed, and glowing (too many adjectives, do you think?). Now, the exfoliant I've been using is St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which works great but has one flaw: it smells faintly like monkey butt. So I got pretty excited when I found the CostPlus product with its lovely vanilla orange scent and its moisture-rich, natural ingredients. The smell of the sampler was mild and delicious, so I adopted a bottle, fully expecting a life-altering experience (perhaps Nirvana) when I used it the first time.
What had been a mild scent in the store proved to be a sickly-sweet gagger at home. And all those sugars and moisturizers left a coat of grease on my skin that refused to be washed off. It was the first time I've stepped out of a shower feeling dirty. Then there was the fact that I smelled like some sort of pastry for the whole day; the scent followed me around like a foul cartoon raincloud and did not fade until my next shower.
This one, sadly, gets a thumbs down. And a regretful shake of the head.

We could have been so good together.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Youth gone mild?

Nothing to add, really. Simply wanted to remind people that 84 years ago today, the 19th Amendment was added to our Constitution, giving American women the right to vote. Just think for a minute how hard and long women had to campaign for the simple right to vote. Now think about how many people don't even bother to exercise that right, especially younger folks. I've met too many kids who say, "my vote doesn't really matter;" and that may be true, but if every person who thought along those lines went to the booths on voting day, it would make a HUGE difference.
It's not hard. Make yourself heard.
I'll get off my soapbox now.

Background music: "Where the streets have no name," Pet Shop Boys

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Supah Fantas-tiik!

urg, one of my classes got the chop. I needed that class, admin. folks. *sigh* I'm really coming to loathe the school system.
Here's a fun and exciting list of my projects, both current ("on the needle") and upcoming. If I don't write them down I have a tendency to forget.
Most basic hat (70%)
Kitty Bed (82%)
Backpack/purse thing (68%)
Dia scarf (gonna be a b-day present)
Slytherin scarf (yay! Have found perfect yarn!)
Awesome sweater for me
Piano scarf

ugh, three scarves up and coming. I hate doing scarves. The Kitty Bed has been put on hold, 'cause my cat doesn't need it anymore, so I just do a couple rows 'whenever I feel like it.' I always have several projects going at once, as I get bored doing the same one. It's rather stupid on my part, because fiddling around with a bunch at once means they all take at least twice as long to complete than they would if I concentrated on each in turn.
I'm off to eat cereal and hunt for another open class. Good night.

Background music: "Siori Yami No naka," ShakkaZombie

Monday, August 23, 2004

Enter at own risk?

Alright! I'm up and semi-running. Welcome to Lemon Drop! Thanks for wandering in. I finally succumbed to peer pressure and Laura/Rira-type blog-envy and created my own *shudder* blog (I hate that word). This will mostly be dedicated to my knitting hobby (and growing obsession), but other randomness will make its way in, I'm sure. I'll try to maintain a purpose to the madness, though, and keep the blog-typical inane whining to a minimum. I highly encourage visitor input, be it comments, knitting tips, recommendations, mockery, or insults. Actually, I'd prefer if you left the harsher insults at home; thanks anyway.
I think that'll do for starters. Hopefully I shall soon have pictures and projects up for your viewing pleasure, but for now I'm off to class, yay.

BGM: "Youth gone wild," Skid Row