Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sarah Marshall & Smoking

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (***)
Thank you for Smoking (****)

Thank you for Smoking PosterI didn't see this movie when it was in the theatres because I hate the title.  Last night I saw it on DVD and was thoroughly entertained.

It's about a tobacco industry lobbyist who is very good at what he does.  While he is busy selling smoking, he is also trying to instill some values in his son.

I think it's a very smart comedy (no slapstick here).

Click on the poster for more information about cast, script, etc.


image Forgetting Sarah Marshall is funny too, but not quite as smart.  One of the most remarkable things about this movie is that there is full frontal male nudity.  We are all used to seeing nude females from every possible angle, but men are usually shown from behind.  This movie proves that if you've seen one you've seen them all.  I guess the nudity is why it's rated R.

It's pretty, and pretty predictable.  I was entertained by some of the smart dialogue from Jason Segel (script writer and lead character), and the plot isn't totally stupid.

You can wait for the DVD for this one.

Click on the poster for more information about cast, script, etc.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pi Shawl & April Garden

So I'm done with the third section, the Gothic Leaf Pattern.  Now I'm working my way around the edge... about (576 * 2) 1152 rows.  So far I've done about 128 rows.  Only 1024 rows to go :-/

This is Grandma's Edge from Walker's 2nd Treasury.  I've seen it on a couple of other Pi Shawls in Ravelry and it looks pretty cool when it's finished.

I'm just a little concerned about that ridge between the shawl and the edging.  It is formed by knitting two together through the back loop, one stitch from the edging and one live stitch from the shawl which is how the shawl edge is finished off.  I'm really, really hoping it will block flat!  If it looks too ridgey, then I will have learned a valuable lesson, but I'm not ripping the edge out again - another ripping out would be the 4th time - so this is a design feature, not a mistake :-)

I'm just about done with the third skein, so I've just about used up 1350 yards of fingering weight yarn so far.  I won't finish the 4th skein, so maybe I'll be making a gift scarf for somebody, or maybe I don't know, something else.

The garden is looking pretty spiffy.  Click on the picture to see today's pictures... roses, pathetic asparagus, clematis, peonies, climbing hydrangea, geraniums, lettuce, onions, etc.

Friday, April 25, 2008

We couldn't help ourselves


We're having fun now.  I downloaded Ubuntu 8.04 (Linux), copied it to a CD, and then installed it on my trusty old IBM Thinkpad.  I have never installed Linux before, so it's a testament to Ubuntu that I was able to do it without one hitch.

It's amazing what you do not have to know these days in order to use Linux on a computer!  I didn't have to fool with anything that smacked of "root".  I got several applications with the install, like Open Office, Firefox version 3, Evolution email and calendar.

So, if I can install a wifi card in this thing, then I would have a perfectly good laptop for travel.  I probably won't spend the time to do it, because lugging around a computer on vacation isn't my idea of fun.  My Palm Treo 680 is a fine little gizmo for staying digitally connected while traveling, and it's small enough to carry in a little purse.

I don't know what else I need to accomplish with Ubuntu today... this post is being written via my Thinkpad and Ubuntu.  Since the Firefox browser looks the same on MS Windows XP as it does on Ubuntu, there is no learning curve.  Cool!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

North State Symphony Season Finale

scan0001 Well, our little North State Symphony just keeps getting better and better.  Our musical director and conductor is Kyle Wiley Pickett.  He fills the same shoes in Juneau, Alaska, so he's a busy boy.

We first started attending NSS performances in 2001.  The only other symphony orchestra I had ever heard was the San Francisco Symphony.  When I first heard the NSS, I thought they were cute, but amateur.  Each year they improved, and this year they sound good.  I have to give Wiley Pickett the credit, and the concertmaster Terrie Baune leads a fine violin section.

Today was the final performance of the season, and the guest artists were Chelsea Morden on Violin and Ayako Nakamura on Trumpet.  These young women are both winners of a young artist's competition that is held each year.

Today's program included:

  • Debussy's Nocturnes
  • Kabalevsky's Violin Concerto in C major, Opus 48 (guest artist C. Morden)
  • Arutiunian's Trumpet Concerto (guest artist A. Nakamura)
  • Holst's The Planets

A thousand years ago, when I was young, my father gave me an LP of Debussy.  I can still remember the cover of the album and was picturing it while the orchestra played Debussy's Nocturnes. 

Of course, everybody recognizes Holst's Planets.  The Planets made a fine season finale.  Very fine.

PS: you know why there are more women playing in orchestra's these days?  Because many auditions are held behind a curtain, so that you can't tell whether it's a man or a woman, only how they play.  At least, that's what Jan tells me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not happy with LensCrafters today


Here's a letter I'm sending in the mail to LensCrafters today.  I'm posting it here so you know to take care of your LensCrafter glasses.  If they brake, you pay.  It feels good to vent :-)

Dear LensCrafters,

I�m writing to express my displeasure with your damage policy. Last July, 2007, I purchased a pair of glasses. The cost was $289.96. Less than a year later, the Brooks Brothers frames broke. (The nose pad wire broke off.)

I was not expecting to be told it would cost me $94 to have a defective product replaced. The person behind the counter explained that was policy.

This policy tells me that you sell defective products that will not last even one year, and that you don�t stand behind your products.

I will never shop at LensCrafters again. Please take me off your mass marketing lists.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April Garden Tour

My April Garden tour happened this morning.  You can click on any of the pictures to see a bigger image.

In the front yard....


The Tree Peony is in full bloom.  This is my favorite showy plant in the yard.  Last year a volunteer peony popped out.  It must have arrived in the pot.  It's back again this year and appears to be pink (bud in last picture).

The poppies and gerbera daisies (1st and 2nd above) are a disappointment this year.  They are tiny and unhealthy looking.  I blame it on the MowNBlow team because they put weed killer out and I think it's bad for these little flowers.  The Iris (3rd above) made several blooms this year, and the geraniums (4th above) are happy, happy.  That's it for the front yard.

In the back yard....

The wisteria is in mid-bloom and smelling oh-so-sweet.  From inside the house the blossoms smell more like dirty feet... at least I think that's what that smell has been....  The wind chimes are new from a recent trip - my very first in my entire life wind chimes - and they are lovely to hear.  And it's been breezy.  Yesterday I blew and swept the patio.  Today that lovely, melodic breeze has dumped even more wisteria petals.  I thought you were only supposed to have to sweep the patio every day in the Fall!

The orchid that came home last winter made it through the cold weather.  I strung a bunch of christmas lights around it and every night that Kris the weatherman said it was going to be in the low 30Fs I turned them on.  It worked :-)  Romaine lettuce and chives, etc., are happy in the herb garden.  The rhododendron isn't going to bloom this year.  I think I should have fed it last year, and kept it wetter during this dry winter we had.

The tulips are just about done.  The dogwood is blooming.  The clematis is gorgeous - stuck off by itself in the shade of the dogwood, it happily blooms away, almost unnoticed. 

It's a small yard, but this is the time of year when it's the most showy.

Happy almost-US-tax day everybody!