Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

PanslabyrinthposterPan's Labyrinth (***** Extraordinary), is rated R for "graphic violence and some language".  The genre is "Drama, Horror".  I think it's the best movie I have seen recently.  I did close my eyes during some of the most evil violence.  I'd like to see it again, and I would still close my eyes in the same places.

Here's a quote from A.O. Scott's review in the NY Times:

Set in a dark Spanish forest in a very dark time � 1944, when Spain was
still in the early stages of the fascist nightmare from which the rest
of Europe was painfully starting to awaken � �Pan�s Labyrinth� is a
political fable in the guise of a fairy tale. Or maybe it�s the other
way around. Does the moral structure of the children�s story illuminate
the nature of authoritarian rule? Or does the movie reveal fascism as a
terrible fairy tale brought to life? The brilliance of �Pan�s
Labyrinth� is that its current of imaginative energy runs both ways.

The graphic artists did a wonderful job.  The director was Terrific.  The actors are great.  The story is very sad, but there is enough magic in it to soften the blow.  I imagine perhaps that's the point... a girl escapes a bad life by living a fair tale.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Why I Stay

In response to my post yesterday, Barbara says she also misses the Bay Area.  She knows why she stays in Phoenix, but what, she wondered, is my reason to stay away from all the things I miss?

Well, it might be good to start with the reasons I left in the first place.  It was getting harder and harder to enjoy the SF Bay Area, where I grew up.  The orchards I rode horses in as a girl are all (all!) gone.  Traffic makes it difficult to go anywhere.  Anywhere!  The attitude in Silicon Valley, where I worked, was changing (more competitive, less of a family feel) and I was getting older.  Youth rules in Silicon Valley - rightly so, when working all night is not uncommon.  Expensive cars, clothes, houses, etc., are common.  My biggest chunk of savings was in my house.  I decided to retire and find a nice place I could afford, even if I had to leave the ocean.

We looked long and hard for a place in which to build a life.  We were picky, but not too.  It had to be very affordable, uncrowded, have some charm, have some culture, have a lot of natural beauty, and be within a day's drive of the ocean.  We looked at several towns in Oregon, chiefly Eugene.  We looked at Arizona's Tucson.  Both towns met many of our requirements except they had already begun to grow and become expensive, and Tucson was too far from the ocean.  We decided to stay in California, our home. 

A cousin of mine and a nephew of J's live here in Chico.  There are no children in the picture, so being near children and grandchildren wasn't important.  All the things I said I liked yesterday are true about Chico and Northern California.

Today we went for a drive and were struck by how beautiful it is here in Butte County.  I thought about Barbara's question while we drove.   It's called Butte County because there are many buttes here, and they are beautiful in their own, rocky way.  It was a beautiful day.  After yesterday's rain the air is clear.  The grasses are turning green.  There were big, wonderful clouds putting on a show in the blue sky.  The orchards are starting to bloom.

Sometimes I miss where I grew up and whine about it, but where I grew up is gone, replaced by something different and not as nice.  ... and I can always visit the ocean :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Things I miss / Things I Like

Today my heart aches for all the things I left behind, and is not satisfied with the here and now.

I miss...

San Francisco
  • Davies Symphony Hall

  • A.C.T.

  • The Golden Gate Bridge

  • The Old Days

  • The bay

Santa Cruz
  • Sunshine

  • The Ocean

  • Fog

  • Walking on the beach

Monterey Bay
  • Fog

  • Pt. Lobos

  • Carmel

  • The Jazz Festival

  • The beaches

My Friends

I like...

  • Small, University Town

  • Bidwell Park

  • The Mountains

  • My house
Northern California
  • Close to Oregon

  • Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen

  • Lassen Nat'l Park

  • Graeagle (Mill Works, Frazier Falls)

I can't think of
anything else!

Monday, February 19, 2007


There is a new wiki out there.


Operated by Sarah Bradberry, who is a hard-working, full-time knitting designer, author, and all around good person.  Feel free to add content to this wiki in order to make it the leading repository of knitting knowledge.

Click on the button to see the wiki.

Note: there is a knitting section in Wikipedia; however, this is the only wiki I know of that is exclusively devoted to knitting.

Ho hum Monday

And, it's the day we celebrate the birth of George Washington, our first President.  We used to celebrate Washington's birthday on his birthday (February 22nd); however, sometime in the 1980's the holiday was changed to President's Day and moved to the third Monday in February.   Lincoln (17th pres.) has frequently been associated with Presidents' Day as well, but the whole February presidential baby thing is kind of out of hand.  For example, Harrison and Reagan were also born in February.  Shouldn't we lump them in there on Presidents' Day as well? 

Whatever.  It's a ho hum day for me.  Grocery shopping and a peek in the garden follow, with photos....

Image Image J and I shop together every week.  Today was the day.  We shop at two stores for weekly food:  WinCo and Trader Joe's.  The photo on the left is a feel for checking out at WinCo, and the photo on the right is a feel for checking out at Trader Joe's.

We are lucky to have an abundance of vegetables, even in the winter.  There are some who would have us buy produce grown locally, in order to cut down on the extravagant use of fossil fuels required to bring out of season veggies from far away to local grocery stores.  They are probably right, but I do love fresh veggies and fruit.

Image Image Image Image

Today's total, for 7 bags of food, was $59.  Not bad for two people for a week.  (If you don't count the fortune spent on meat once a month or so.)

The garden is perking up!  We have daffodils, tulips pushing through the dirt's surface, buds on the trees and bushes.  There is hope that winter will end.

Image Image Image Image

Sunday, February 18, 2007

All Consumming Passion

The North State Symphony gave a passionate performance in Chico today.  The musical selections were all based on love stories (February, Valentine's Day, etc.).

There was Don Juan, Tone Poem (Richard Strauss).  The story of Don Juan is full of passion, killing, and revenge.  I listened carefully to pick out the place in the piece where Don Juan goes to Hell.  I think I heard it - there was definitely hellfire in the music.

Then there was a Violin Concerto in D Major (Erick W. Korngold).  The soloist was quite impressive, and only 21 years old - David McCarroll.  I predict we will be hearing about him more in the future.  Korngold wrote music for movies in the 1930s and '40s.  (One of the movies he wrote for was "The Adventures of Robin Hood", which was filmed in our own Chico, CA.)  At times during this piece J was reminded of a BBC Mystery theme, and I was reminded of Copeland.  It was good.

Chico isn't a very sophisticated town - that's why I like it.  After the first movement of the Korngold piece there was enthusiastic applause for McCarroll and the orchestra.  That would never happen in Davies Hall in San Francisco.  Poor San Francisco.  (Why is it good to clap for a solo in jazz, but verboten between movements in classical?)

Then we heard Preludes to Acts I and III of La Triviata (Giuseppe Verdi).  More beautiful music on the theme of love lost.

Finally, there was the rousing Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein).  What fun!  And it looked like the musicians were paying attention and working hard.  The music was all familiar, but arranged differently that I had heard before.  Very good.

The next performance is in May, "Eroica" with Brahms and Beethoven.

The only complaint I have is Laxon Auditorium.  Today I could hear the air conditioning during softer moments in the music.  Geesh!  J's complaint is that she was sitting next to an 80-something man in desperate need of a shower.  I could smell him two seats away.

Friday, February 16, 2007

CSU Chico Women's Basketball

The score was Chico 82, San Bernadino 55.  Not a close game.  Not a good game.  Both teams were uninspired.  I know winners shouldn't whine, but still....

20070216_scoreboard_1There is one player I really wish would have a good game:  Niki Simons.  She has the right intensity, but it looks like she's just afraid to take a shot in a crowd.  She had one wide open shot and took it, but whenever there is a defender in front of her she passes the ball instead of shooting.  Somebody needs to give her a shot of confidence, or teach her some moves to shoot when defended.

There's another game tomorrow.  I hope it's better than tonight's.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I don't like sweaters

... because it's hard to make them look good on a dumpy, saggy, abundant, bordering on senior body.  I feel most comfortable in sweatshirts, t-shirts, turtle necks with over shirts - you get the idea: shapeless tops that hide my abundance as much as possible.

Photo So, today I made a mental decision to give up on my Gentle Breeze Tee, which was supposed to be finished last summer.  I looked at the bag and I thought about how hard it was going to be to pick up stitches around the armhole and end up with the same number of stitches in each armhole.   Then I thought, "Frack this - I don't want to work on this sweater."  I'm retired.  Knitting is supposed to be fun!

Now I can reclaim all that lovely Bamboo yarn and figure out what I really want to do with it:-)

Sunday, February 11, 2007


We went to see Volver (**** Very good)...

The new movie at the Pageant Theater, is Volver.  It's funny, but not a comedy.  It's a drama, but not sad.  We liked it a lot, even though my reading speed is slow.  (I missed the end of a few of those Spanish subtitles.)

I can't really say what the story is about without misleading you about the movie.  There are ghosts, sisters, daughters and mothers, dead husbands, and more.  The writer and director, Pedro Almodovar, is Spanish.  He has a great sense of humor in the face of some serious family drama.  Maybe it has something to do with working in post-Franco Spain, or maybe he's just an irreverent fellow with a love of color and laughter.

Penelope Cruz is a terrific lead, and the rest of the cast is full of good people you don't normally see in the U.S.

Go see it.

About the Pageant Theater, all I want to say is I'm grateful it is in Chico.  Compared to the local mega-screen place, the Pageant is a pleasure to visit.  They don't have any commercials to sit through before the previews start.  They don't warn you to turn off your phone (and there were no phone sounds during the movie).  There is a brief intermission during the movie when they stop to rewind and load the next reel of film.  I'm getting used to that.  Popcorn and a bottle of water was $3, less than half what it would cost at the mega-place.

... and they show good movies!!!

Walk on a nice day

A walk in Bidwell Park's One Mile area, with pictures.  Cats sunning themselves.

Today was the first nice day since the rain storms arrived in Northern California.  I'm grateful for the rain!  Bulbs are growing like crazy, so some nice flowers should pop out in the backyard soon.  There are already blooming daffodils on the Esplanade in Chico.  Very nice.  The cats are all sunning themselves in various sunny spots on the warmer 2nd floor of the house.  A good day so far.

We went for a walk in Bidwell Park's One Mile area.  The creek hasn't jumped the banks, but the water is moving pretty quickly.  Here are some photos from todays walk.  You can click on them to see bigger images with captions.


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Friday, February 9, 2007

Helping Pat and Big G

No pictures, or knitting here, just the story of my day helping friends with their computers.  Read on (click on "continue reading" below) if this sounds interesting; otherwise, move along.

I had an opportunity to help Pat and Big G today.  One has a mature Windows XP and the other has a new Windows XP.

Pat's PC is a mature Dell with 512 megabytes of memory... not enough, but
those Dell's just keep plugging along.  Pat, if you are reading this,
my computer has 1024M of memory - twice as much.  Mine still slows down
and I have to wait when I have too much going on at once.  I'm starting to save my pennies for a new one with
MS Vista, maybe in a year or so, when some of the major problems have
been worked out of the applicaitons that run on Vista.

Big G's PC is a new HP laptop.  Wow, that screen is wide and pretty!  Way prettier than mine.  Don't forget, Big G, your anti-virus protection runs out in 17 more days.  Always practice safe computing :-)

On the way home we saw the same herd of elk that we saw before.  It's a big herd!  We didn't see any bachelors with big antlers :-(

Image And for those of you who actually read this far, I lied.  Here's a recent photo for Big G, from our trip to Arizona.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Typepad Compose Fields and Tags

Add tags to your Typepad blog posts.  All you have to do is turn on the advanced view on the compose page.

This part is the Post Introduction, which displays in the blog.  You won't see the Post Continuation (Extended Body) unless you click on a link to it.

So here we are in the Post Continuation (Extended Body).  I think the only reason to use the continuations is if you write a lot of blog entries and you don't want to load it all when the blog opens.  Or, if you have a lot of pictures, like I do, then you might want to put the photos in the extended body (here) so that the main blog loads quickly.  Only those people who wish to see pictures need to click on the post continuation link.

I was wondering how to improve Google searching of my blog.  Maybe tags will help?  Maybe keywords?  We shall see.

I looked at this bit in TypePad's Knowledge Base, which told me how to turn on the advanced post fields.

Note 1:  There is an excerpt field which I filled in.  It doesn't show in the blog.  Maybe it will show in various blog search software?  Also, the Keyword field doesn't show in a basic blog, but the Technorati Tags do.  I think I read somewhere that you need a more expensive TypePad subscription to show things like Excerpt and Keywrods.  Hmmm.

Edit 1: Fixed typos.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Belated Happy Birthday

There is a blogger's movement afoot to have a silent poetry reading on Brigid's Day, February 2nd, AKA Groundhog's Day.  I like it that there are events on my birthday!  The silent poetry reading is intriguing.  I'm not a poetry lover; however, there are a couple of poets that I like.  The one that comes to mind today is Richard Brautigan.  Since February also has St. Valentine's Day, I offer this from Brautigan:

Romeo and Juliet

If you will die for me,
I will die for you

and our graves will
be like two lovers washing
their clothes together
in a laundromat.

If you will bring the soap,
I will bring the bleach.

The above is from "ROMMEL DRIVES ON DEEP INTO EGYPT", Richard Brautigan, 1970.

PS:  My birthday was good.  I worked in the library, then J took me out to dinner at a fine restaurant in Chico:  The Red Tavern.  I had some very good butternut squash soup, maybe the best I've every had.  They serve seasonal vegetables, so everything is winter.  For example, no tomatoes, which made J happy.

Now I am another decade older.   There are at most two more decades in my life.  I guess I'd better get busy!