Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Something this warm and fuzzy only comes around once every leap year... or maybe light year (or maybe I'm full of it)

Daniel has an interesting sense of humor.  He loves shows where the characters are ordinary Joes, but with some really odd personal quirk (you know, just like real life).  Watch how these seemingly normal ridiculous people behave with each other and for him hilarity ensues.  Examples?  He likes watching The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock (ok, the characters there are more exaggerated), Modern Family, and now recently Bored to Death.

A recurring character on Bored to Death is Louis Green, played by John Hodgman; and it's him that I want to talk about, not the stars of the show (Jason Schwartzman, Zack Galifianakas, or Ted Danson).  One evening, while watching Bored to Death, and Hodgman's character walked on screen, Daniel paused it and asked me if I had ever seen the Ted Talk that Hodgman did.  Sidenote:  Ted Talks are amazing and inspiring; they achieve their goal of spreading ideas that deserve far more promotion than something like Jersey Shore gets.  Anyway, if you have a little over 16 and a half minutes, it's well worth your time.  Expect some laughs, a discussion of aliens and love.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Earning a living

I've started and deleted this post at least five times.  I'd like to talk about what I'm doing to try to gain some financial self sufficiency, but in reading what I've written it just seems to sound whiny or like I'm coming to the reader hat in hand.  With the intent of being matter of fact or maybe with a dose of humor, here goes:

Sooooooo, I've recently added some goodies to my blog here.  While it's all well and good to offer knitting services; it might not be the savviest move to offer them on a knitting blog.  Heh, most of the people visiting here can make it for themselves, right?  I'm still getting commissions from friends and family (... I have no idea what I'd do without you guys and the warm fuzzies you give); but the term "market saturation" seems to come up (also, I have the hardest time trying to quote prices... even at $3.00 per hour + material costs, I feel like I'm asking too much).  What to do...what to do...  Adapt or die?  Diversify?

Also I've started working on my Amazon Associate's store.  Basically if you purchase something through amazon that I've linked, in theory there is a teeny tiny percentage that they think of as commission.  Were considering getting a book anyway?  If nothing else, if you like some of the books I've put up; you may enjoy some of my other recommendations.

Alright, I officially feel like a sell out.  Sorry folks.  On that note, let me enchant and horrify you with the following (particularly effective if you grew up in the 80's):

Oh, one last thing... if you go to Black Acre Brewing Co.'s site and say that you're NOT 21, you'll get directed to a full screen version of the above video.   

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cheescake and Contortionists - surprisingly good together

Celebrating Valentine's Day on the 14th is completely overrated.  Think about it:  the crowds, the waiting, all couples wanting to do the same "special occasion" at the same time?  Nuts to that!  Instead, my boyfriend and I spoil ourselves by having two Valentine's Days.  The going out portion, that the majority of people set aside for the 14th was what we did last night.  Dinner and a show, sounds anticlimactic, but it was wonderful!  First we went to the Cheesecake Factory and dined our way through a generous gift card from my mother (Thanks ma!).  After dinner we shared a slice of their raspberry lemon cheesecake.  Amazing.  Utterly wonderful.  I gasped and my toes curled while we shared it (I do apologize to the other diners if this made them feel uncomfortable).  So, I found a picture of this amazing creation, but it looks like the "before" picture on an advertisement.  What we were presented with was the delictible dessert, but it had raspberry sauce over the top and pooled on the sides, and topped with an obscene amount of whipped cream.  Can I point out how rare a thing it is to find something that looks far better when it's put in front of you instead of the picture representation?  Kudos Cheescake Factory, well done.

Next we went on to see Cirque Du Soleil's production, Quidam.  Just as you'd suspect, it's beautiful with breathtaking feats; and like all of Cirque Du Soleil's shows, there is a vague storyline.  The touch of narrative is mostly in the form of a few characters that sort of act as the on stage audience; but by far most of the sensations you feel comes from the music.  Silly one moment, dramatic the next; the only thing that you can count on from the music is that it adds this indispensable element of emotion to these athletic feats.  When you're watching the shows live, it's almost like you're invested in them; experiencing them.  Oh, dear lord I sound pretentious.

Favorite part of the show?  Ok, don't hate me for it, but the panto mime.  Now it's not some guy trying to get out of a glass box or juggling invisible balls.  The guy doing these skits in the show pulls people out from the audience on stage with him.  In the beginning of his first skit, he's obviously getting ready for a date.   A lovely romantic evening with an unsuspecting young woman from the audience.  In playing along and trying to understand from his motions what he wants her to do, she invariable makes some comical mistakes.  In the mime's second act, he's a director and pulls four people from the audience.  One to be the leading man, one for the leading lady, one to be the scorned lover, and of course, that one guy that comes along with the clapboard... since doing it in one take would leave far less room for hilarity.  Disclaimer:  While this was my favorite act, perhaps due to it's presence, Quidam might not be best suited to children.  I read some of the negative reviews on Cirque Du Soleil's site and audience members were less than thrilled at the subtle drug references and sexual innuendos; you know, the things I found hilarious.

Now, the favorite part of the evening?  Having my best friend/boyfriend with me.  Daniel's an amazing guy, and I'm delighted to have my second Valentine's day with him (heh, last year we celebrated in World of Warcraft... since we hadn't even met yet).  It's great to be making memories with him, and I'm looking forward to the 14th where we can have our own private Valentine's day, maybe just a picnic on the floor of the apartment (it's rather chilly here in Chicago).

Interested in the show?  The links below are to the dvd and soundtrack of Quidam.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wanted: Good Books

Lately as I've been knitting I've been busy reading, or rather listening.  My hands are busy, and I find comfort in the repetitive motions of looping the yarn over needles.  But due to my recent blues I haven't been feeling up for knitting that I'd term challenging, whether it's attention to the pattern or if it's learning a new technique.  The only problem is boredom and the obnoxious depressing thoughts that run away with my train of thoughts at those times.  At a certain point you stop feeling like you're a monk in a zen-like experience and begin to catch yourself in a slack jawed drooling imitation of a machine.

For a while I would watch *cough cough listen cough cough* to Netflix.  Note:  Action movies are horrible to knit to, most of the plot is visually conveyed, and thus not the best choice for me to click my needles to (although when it's really tense I typically knit faster in anxiety).  Most of the time things like Law and Order fit the bill pretty well; but sitting in front of a computer all day isn't very good for soaking up some sunshine and getting vitamin D.

This lead me to the local library where I ventured up to the information desk and inquired about audio books.  An enthusiastic librarian showed me the shelves of CDs filled, and then hurriedly showed me something new that they had been experimenting with.  Proudly she opened up something that looked like a VHS tape case that contained a mini MP3 player with an audio book on it.  They're self contained books, all you need are headphones (and if you don't have your own you can get some from the front desk too).  It saves your place when you pause it, and with it being so light you can take it anywhere.

Using these cute little MP3 audiobooks, I've knit my way through Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen, The Hypnotist: A Novel by Lars Kepler,The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger, and The Last Child by John Hart.  I'm looking forward to adding a few more titles to this list. Oh, and considering I'm working on knitting a blanket, I might get those audiobooks under my belt sooner than I would expect.  That being said, I'm usually not sure of what I'm checking out from the library, other than it's usually fiction and a mystery.  Any recommendations?  Pretty please leave a comment with the title!