Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Even the Thesaurus Can't Help Me Now

I've run out of words to describe how bad I feel.  My fever broke last night, so my head isn't swimming nearly as much.  But my cough is worse.  In fact, I've pulled a muscle around my lower rib cage from coughing.

Throat still sore.  Nose still clogged.  Joints still achy.  I'm the kind of sick that is so miserable you just want to cry.  And talk to your Mama.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sick Bay

One of many peculiar things about me is that I cannot drink milk when I have a sore throat.  It just tastes funny.  Friday morning, I poured myself a glass of milk, took one sip and thought, "UH-OH."

My throat is disgustingly sore and gunky, my nose is stopped up, my head is pounding, going double-time when I cough (which is often.)

Nominations for Knitters' Hunk and Knitters' Chick open one week from today.  Spread the word if you'd like --- on your own blogs, on Ravelry. . .   Wherever seems appropriate.

The Fedora of Fate* awaits.




*Actual Fedora of Fate not pictured;  I don't feel like getting up and finding a camera.




Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Craft

My son is an actor.  We talk a lot about acting and films and TV and actors and who's good and who's not.  And, invariably, we get stuck in that "Who Is Your Favorite Actor?" trap.  Now, we both know this is a trap, yet, when either of us sees a phenomenal performance, we throw ourselves headlong at the bait.

For a long time, I tried to pretend the bait wasn't enticing me by casting off comments like, "Do you mean actors I like to watch act, or actors I like as people?"  Legitimate --- the question could be meant either way --- but I was just tap-dancing around the snare.  There are actors who are heroes to me, but whose work has never moved me to think, "Why doesn't he have an Oscar?"  There are actors whose work might astonish me once, but that's all.  For a Favorite Actor, someone has to be superb all the time.  And you must never catch him acting.  That's the death of an actor.

I've never seen Sir Ben Kingsley bad.  Ever.  Granted, I haven't seen everything he's ever done, but he's yet to make a false step in front of me.


Tom Wilkinson simply makes me bloody happy.  Again, I've never seen a misstep.  His work in "In the Bedroom," with one of my favorite actresses, Sissy Spacek, is heartbreaking and frightening.  And a simple turn in a bank line is one of my favorite single movie moments ever.


Stephen Root is astonishing.  A perfect character actor who makes your jaw drop time and time again.  Hysterically funny when he has to be, agonizingly sad when he has to be.  If something has Root in the cast, I'm likely to watch it, if only for him.

As far as funny, Cary Grant was one of the most gifted face and body actors ever.  Hugh Laurie is prodigiously funny, but I've seen him take some stunning dramatic turns.  The same goes for Bill Nighy, who is as maddeningly perfect as is fair for a mortal to be.

God --- Gary Oldman.  How do you unglue your eyes from him to watch anyone else in a scene? Jeff Bridges is a master.  I almost never fail to fall in love with any character whose skin Gregory Peck wore.

I'm rather late to the Max von Sydow train, but what a face.  A face that glows with joy or collapses under the dark weight of anguish.  With scarcely a beat in between. Jim Broadbent has the insane elasticity to play a boor, a hapless goofball, or a sinister villain, all with the same ease.

Every one of these men make my head swim with their effortless, powerful talents.  As soon as I post this, there will be names of other actors come to mind that I should have included.  That's just how many remarkable gifts are available to anyone who settles down in front of a screen.

And yet, I think there is one actor whom I can call My Favorite.  His work is genius, yet looks staggeringly simple.  His skills are what make lots of people think, "That's not hard --- I could do that.  He's not even really acting."

Oh, but he is.  That's the uncommon command of the art that he had.  And I am overwhelmed and changed and so deeply grateful each time I get to watch him.
Spencer Tracy


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Counting the Days

I've been looking at the calendar, and believe I have come up with the first couple of relevant dates for Knitters' Hunk and Knitters' Chick.

Nominations will be accepted from Sunday, August 4th to Saturday, August 10th.  Each person is allowed to nominate up to three men for KH and up to three women for KC.  NONE of the following people need to be nominated:

Liam Neeson

Benedict Cumberbatch

Sam Neill

Alan Rickman

Maggie Smith

Meryl Streep

Voting will begin Thursday, August 15th.  One must give the Fedora of Fate time to work its magic. . . 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Anagrams

Of "Kim Spence Dean":
encamped skein
panicked semen*
naked specimen
caped skein men+
 kind men escape
capes need mink



Of "Kim Dean":
kinda me
am inked^







*The thought, the visual of sperm flailing all around, screaming. . .  Cracks me up.

+Knitting superheroes?

^I am.  Tattoo, you know.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Itch. And Quandries.

Knitters --- probably all crafters --- know the feeling of just aching to have a project in your hands.  It almost takes away your ability to think about anything else.  You simply want to make something.

I've got that same itch right now for books.  Thinking near-constantly about how books feel, the rustle of the pages, the places you're sent to. . .  I went to Barnes & Noble today to buy a magazine and walked out with 3 new books.  I could not help myself.

And, yes, I am currently reading one*, and, yes, I have both an armoire and a bedchest already crammed full of books.  But it's a fever, I tell you.  A fever that must be fed.

Occasionally, thoughts of the not-too-far-away Knitters' Hunk and Knitters' Chick contests float by, and I realize I'm having a devil of a time coming up with my three nominees for each.  Gotta work on that.




*Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, a gem of a writer.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

State of Play

I've been spending a lot of time on Stumble Upon lately;  having given up the search for a job, there are suddenly open hours.  And, like Pinterest, Stumble Upon is a black hole of diversion --- it was morning when you started, and it's dusk when you look up again.

But it has led me to some nice sites.  Here --- I'll share:

Do It Yourself Kaleidoscope.  (Actually, while you're at the site, go to the home page.  Dozens of cool things.)

The Quiet Place Project.  Terrific, terrific site.  Note the different places you can go, at the bottom of the home page.  I've shed lots of tears, and found encouragement here.)

Footage of a Space Shuttle launch.  From the Space Shuttle.  If you're a space/NASA nerd like me, this is manna from Heaven.  The only audio is the actual sound of liftoff and ascent.  Magnificent.)

Lorette found this, and posted it on facebook. The Colour Clock.  You color theorists will, no doubt, find it entertaining, while we mere mortals just find it soothing and pretty.

Do Nothing For 2 Minutes. For me to be able to listen to beach sounds even this briefly calms me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Whorled

I am 53 years old.  I've seen this dance time and time again in my life.  We get mad, we march, we sit, we say, "Hopefully, this will lead to a real and frank discussion on race in this country."  And, for 2 or 3 days, everyone has things to say and platitudes to repeat, and then another "big story" comes along and enflames and distracts passions, and all that's happened is that we have put off the "real and frank" discussion again.

I don't want to sound cynical, though I know I do.  It's just that I've been through this and been through this and been through this, and will undoubtedly go through it again.
  
Don't misunderstand me.  There can be change.  There has been change.  But "No Justice, No Peace" may have worn out its welcome.  And think about that message: if we don't get justice, as we define it, we will continue to disrupt and yell.  Folks, peace is precisely what you want.  You have to want change to come with dignity, with confidence, serenely and powerfully.

And what about "justice"?  It seems to me that, somewhere, somehow, we began equating "justice" with "punishment."  They are not the same.  To bring someone to justice means to place someone into the justice system.  That's it.  Then the system, flaws and all, decides whether or not there should be punishment.  When people say, "There was no justice for so-and-so," what they're actually saying is "I didn't get the outcome I wanted from this trial."  And there is nothing wrong with that.  BUT SAY THAT.

Yes, the justice system is a mess.  But the justice system operates based on law.  Whatever laws a city, county, state or nation pass is what the system has to operate with, in, and from.  If laws are written poorly, or with obvious disregard for some citizens, or if laws are written for the benefit of some citizens, trial results are going to show that.  Because juries must decide cases based on the law.  Nothing else*.  Not round-the-clock punditry.  Not information or behavior that we, outside of the trial, may see or hear, but they, inside the proceedings, cannot and do not.

Laws come from legislatures.  If you are displeased with, or unhappy with, or mad about the result of a trial, or the arrest/non-arrest of a person, or the inequities in sentences, YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  Change your legislatures.  VOTE.  Direct your indignation at the people who put these laws into place (sometimes, under cover of darkness or by procedural sleight-of-hand.)  Verdicts, somewhere along the line, got placed into that repulsive "Who Won/Who Lost" mindset.  That mentality probably doesn't belong in the courtroom, but it is plainly --- manifestly plainly --- the mindset in legislatures and among legislators.  "Did our party win?"  "Did we beat those awful people who don't think like we do?"  "Am I going to win re-election?"  Defeating individual legislators who have put shameful laws into motion is a brilliant start to healing all the woes that follow from those statutes.





*http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/trayvon-martin-and-the-irony-of-american-justice/277782/



Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Week-Long Pop Quiz

There have been some entertaining answers to the questions this week.  Thank you so much for taking the time to write.  Are you in the mood for one more?

What is your favorite line from any movie?

Mine is actually two lines;  again, I'll wait for some of you to answer before I let you know what they are

Oh, you are all coming in with some great quotes.  Particular tips of the cap to Shari and Bridget, who brought The Marx Brothers to the party, and to Kim, who got her husband involved.

As for me:
"Miss Jean Louise, stand up.  Your father's passing."
(To Kill A Mockingbird)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Low Voter Turnout

Less than a quarter of the people who read the last blog post responded to my question;  but that's okay.  Here's another one:

What is the weirdest food you've ever eaten?

My answer once a couple of you get the ball rolling.

................................................................

Again with this one, two answers came to my mind.  I'm going with barbecued raccoon.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Your Turn

I've talked enough lately.  Too much wailing and self-pity.  So, for a few days, there'll be a question here that you are invited to answer.  (I will, too, just to be fair.)

Today:
If you were given a yacht, what would you name it?

Very tempted to christen mine "But I Can't Swim."  Will go with "Water Bearer," though.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Beautiful, Masterful Acting

Every bit of Cary Grant acted when he was onscreen.  Face, body --- watch this to see what I'm talking about.  Plus, he's knitting!

Life On the Couch

It's a quirk of my biology that when I am sick with cold/flu/sore throat, I cannot drink milk.  It tastes really, really funny, even on...