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July 16, 2010

Inviting Vampires In

(I did see Eclipse but I don't think I'm going to write a full review: there have been lots of diverse and interesting and/or funny reviews written already, and I don't have anything I'm dying to add. But I'll probably do a few Eclipse-related posts about specific things. This is one.)

This issue occurred to me a few days before I saw Eclipse, and so I paid attention to it during the movie, and I think it's true (although please tell me if you have evidence to the contrary!): In Stephenie Meyer's universe (or at least the movie version), vampires don't need to be invited in. This is made very clear in Eclipse when Riley is wandering around Bella's room. The fact that Meyer is contradicting traditional vampire lore isn't particularly noteworthy. She throws out practically all of the usual vampire rules. But I was disappointed about this one.

The fact that vampires have to be invited in means that victims who are attacked in their homes are never entirely separate from the situation. I don't want to say that they're not blameless, because I'm not trying to assign fault, but they are in some way responsible, even if they don't know it. The invitation means that an action taken by the human affected what happened. A lot has been written about the lack of agency that Bella, and to some extent the other humans, have in the Twilight universe, and by allowing vampires to wander into homes willy-nilly, Meyer has taken away a main line of defense that humans in vampire stories usually have. But even more than that, I'm disappointed because not having to invite the vampires in just makes it more creepy. Of all the monsters and demons out there, the most disturbing ones are those you know you've somehow, even unknowingly, brought upon yourself by inviting them into your life.

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2010

Team Almost Anyone Else

Someone actually asked me "Team Edward or Team Jacob?" the other day, and I realized I honestly couldn't come up with an answer, but for the opposite-than-Bella reason: they're both such AWFUL choices. PLEASE don't make me pick one. Instead, here are a bunch of werewolves and vampires I'd happily choose over anyone in Twilight.

Gail Carriger's Lord Maccon
Buffy's Oz
Harry Potter's Remus Lupin

Either Salvatore brother from The Vampire Diaries
Angel from Buffy and Angel
Moonlight's Mick St. John
Bill Compton from The Southern Vampire Mysteries (Haven't seen the TV version yet.)

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (1)

December 15, 2007

Review: The Nativity Story

I know this came out last year, but I got it from Netflix and finally managed to watch it last night. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was! The scenery and costumes are impressive, and the very international cast is quite good. (And attractive. Oh, Alexander Siddig as the Angel Gabriel...) What I liked best was how straightforward the storytelling was. It managed to walk the fine line between being overly preachy/syrupy and being "a new radical retelling!!" as so many religious-themed movies end up. It had the feel of a faithful adaptation of a classic piece of literature (which in one sense it is), while remaining respectful but not saccharine.

I had a few quibbles with it - there were a few wink-wink moments, such as when Joseph bemoans the commercialism of the temple, and the ending seemed rushed - the Magi arrived Christmas night, and Herod's soldiers seemingly arrived to kill the innocents only moments later. The movie was only about an hour and a half, and I thought it would have been better were it a little longer. The climax of the movie was really the birth, though, so I see why they didn't want to belabor the following days. Oh, and I couldn't help but think that Joseph would have gotten a place to stay - or at least a woman or two to help - if he had told any of the people in Bethlehem that his wife was actually in labor. Ah well.

The acting was particularly impressive. The magi were hilarious and provided the main comic relief. Herod and his son were delightfully evil. The villagers in general, and Mary's family in particular, made clear just how hard life was for this culture, without really hitting us over the head with it. And Mary and Joseph were amazing. Their emotions and interactions were complex, and really made it clear how horribly difficult the whole process was for both of them, and what strength they both had to go through with it.

I'll definitely be buying this one to watch each year! It's on HBO several times this coming week, including today at one and Christmas Eve at eight, or you can get it through Netflix (or, I'm sure, a rental store).

Posted by Kat at 10:21 AM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2007

Doctor Who News: Rose is back!

It has been confirmed: Rose is coming back for series four. (Yes, I feel compelled to tell you all any Doctor Who news I hear, because Cate once said it was my duty.)

Posted by Kat at 04:09 PM | Comments (3)

October 09, 2007

Netflix is magical.

Yesterday, Netflix sent me an e-mail saying that the last disc I sent back had arrived, and then another e-mail saying that they were sending me a new disc of Bones and it would arrive on Wednesday.

Today, Tuesday, that disc arrived.

Yesterday was a federal holiday. There was no mail service.

How do they do it?

(I would also like to know how such a large percentage of the discs I get are shipped from the facility closest to me. Do they ship the next few discs people have in their queues there in advance, and hope they don't reorder their queues, or what?)

Posted by Kat at 07:45 PM | Comments (4)

March 31, 2007

At least the clothes were pretty...

I just watched the first episode of The Tudors via Netflix. I don't have time to do the research necessary for a full review - I'm completed bogged down by schoolwork drama - but here are a few quick thoughts on my first reaction:

* I have heard that this is the most expensive TV show (to produce) ever. I'm not sure why, with such an astronomical budget, they couldn't manage to hire decent historians or scriptwriters. More about both of these aspects below.

* That said, the sets and costumes were quite impressive. Overall, I thought it did a pretty good job of conveying the atmosphere and environment of young Henry VIII's court.

* The script was pretty uniformly awful, although the computer on which I was watching had some volume issues, so I can't be sure whether the lines I didn't hear were as bad as the ones I did. There was a lot of very clunky exposition, of the "I'm a humanist, so I have an abhorrence for war" variety. (Yes, really. I laughed for about five minutes at that one.)

* I understand that certain liberties generally need to be taken with history in order to form it into effective television (or film, or fiction). I really do. But The Tudors seemed to just... mess up, at times. I understood why they made certain decisions to fudge the facts, but others seemed pointless and therefore just sloppy.

* Most of the casting was decent and believable, if not ideal. Katherine of Aragon was pretty good, and it looks like Anne Boleyn will be too. (She was only in this episode very briefly.) Most of the secondary characters were fine. The little girl playing Mary Tudor is adorable.

* Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry, though? I'm sad to say that it just doesn't work. And it pains me to say this, as he is usually one of my favorite actors. He's great at what he does, but this just isn't it. He's too slight, too waifish, too brooding, too quiet. I just didn't buy it. He's adorable, as always, (especially when he grows a beard partway through! But we all know how I feel about beards,) but he's not Henry VIII. And this was my main problem with the whole thing. I can forgive a lot in a historical drama, but I can't get past a completely unbelievable main character.

The actor playing the Duke of Buckingham would have been perfect as Henry. Perfect. Taller, bigger, reddish hair, assertive, more of a presence. Just as attractive, in a very different way. And I could actually believe he was strong enough to lift a lance, which helps. I can only assume that they felt they needed more of a "name," and it's really too bad.

Posted by Kat at 08:30 PM | Comments (5)

November 15, 2006

Doctor Who-related news (all Cate's fault)

Breaking news! San Diego Dispatches reports that our beloved Christopher Eccleston will be on Heroes later in the season! I was considering giving up on that show, because it just hasn't really grabbed me, but maybe I'll give it some more time...

(You all realize that it's all Cate's fault that I feel it necessary to blog each tidbit of Doctor-related news, right?)

Posted by Kat at 02:13 PM | Comments (3)

November 03, 2006

Review: Marie Antoinette

Last weekend, a friend and I went to see Sofia Coppola's new take on Marie Antoinette. My opinion? The short version: as the credits rolled, the guy sitting in front of us said "Well, that was the stupidest movie I've ever seen." My friend and I laughed for about five minutes.

The long version: What was this movie trying to do? We couldn't figure it out. We didn't think it knew. It would go on for a while as a reasonably straightforward historical biopic, and then bam! A sudden montage of shoes (including sneakers) and candy set to rock music! What? The music was one of the worst parts - well. The music itself was fine, and actually quite good in places. But the choice of music was disjointed: it went from generic historical-sounding instrumentals to 18th century opera to modern rock music and back with no discernable rhyme or reason. It was very "Oh, look how high-concept we are!" without seeming to have much of a concept - unless it was supposed to be a very long music video? Apparently Sofia Coppola directs music videos. Anyway. I watched the first half of the David Tennant Casanova the day after I saw Marie Antoinette, and I think Casanova is much more successful with the modern music/montages/etc. idea. There, it was well-integrated and actually made sense within the story. In Marie Antoinette, it just seemed tacked on.

Should we even bother discussing the historical accuracy or lack thereof? Aside from the deliberate anachronisms, the history really wasn't much worse than that of most historical movies. There were plenty of things that were changed - notably, the number of Marie Antoinette's children - but we expect that. (It amuses me that the goofs page at IMDb is concerned with anachronistic champagne glasses when, you know, there were so many more obvious issues. See above about rock music.) The bigger historical issue was that things weren't very well explained. I mean, I'm far from a Marie Antoinette or French Revolution expert, but I've read a few books (include the Antonia Fraser biography on which this movie is supposedly based), and I knew the story. The people sitting next to me, for example, talked a lot, and so I could tell that they did not know much of the story, and they were very confused. My friend and I found ourselves laughing at entirely different times than did most of the audience. It seems that the movie carefully arranged itself to work with no audience: there wasn't enough narrative force or explanation for those who weren't history buffs, but those of us who routinely bring reference materials to historical movies (for the after-movie dinner discussion! It makes perfect sense!) were guaranteed to be annoyed.

The other main issue was the pacing. It seemed like the part about the beginning of the marriage lasted forever, without much really happening. And then it sped up, perhaps so it could get away with skipping all of that pesky explanation about why exactly there was a revolution happening in the first place, and then stopped. Abruptly. There wasn't even any guillotine. As my friend said afterward, "It's not that I wasn't wishing it would end by that point, but some closure might have helped." Too much time was given to shoe montages and Kirsten Dunst sulking, not enough to an actual story. There was one scene that consisted of Marie Antoinette sitting in a room at Trianon with a bunch of guys playing guitars and singing to her, and it seemed to go on for a ridiculously long time. I just read that those guys were Sofia Coppola's boyfriend and his band. I'm shocked.

I must admit that it wasn't all bad. The clothes were pretty. (Isn't that the real reason we go to historical movies?) Most of the actors, especially Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman (apparently Sofia Coppola's cousin. Huh.), actually did remarkably well with what they were given. The character of Marie Antoinette was, remarkably, shown as rather complex - she wasn't the villian she's often made out to be, but she wasn't just a victim, either. My friend and I make a habit of going to see bad historical movies, and overall we rated this one as even worse than Kingdom of Heaven but better than King Arthur. Cake, anyone?

Posted by Kat at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2006

Your Doctor Who news update

(Did that get your attention, Cate?)

Here at knit-bloggers' Doctor Who headquarters, we have received word that a new spin-off, aimed at children, will be airing in 2007. It's called The Sarah Jane Adventures and features Sarah Jane Smith, a companion of doctors three and four. Yes, she's the one who guest starred in the school episode. News story here.

We're also hearing that Torchwood is doing pretty well in Britain, but no news yet on a stateside showing.

Posted by Kat at 02:31 PM | Comments (4)

October 18, 2006

Let's just call her "Young Billie Piper"

I was just perusing IMDb (yes, yes, I should be in bed, I know), and I noticed that Julia Joyce, the girl who played the young version of Rose on the "Father's Day" Ninth Doctor episode is playing Young Sally Lockhart in The Ruby in the Smoke and Young Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. Guess who's playing both Sally Lockhart and Fanny Price? Yup, Billie Piper, aka Rose. Hee!

It also just occurred to me that you can monitor upcoming Austen adaptations through Austen's page at IMDb. Several coming up soon. Wheee. Also, what is this?? They made a P&P modernization in 2003 that I never heard about? Anyone seen it? Thoughts?

Posted by Kat at 11:51 PM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2006

Veronica Mars alert!

The Veronica Mars season three premiere, which will air on the CW next Tuesday, is now available to watch on MSN. Wheee!

(No spoilers in the comments, please.)

Posted by Kat at 08:19 AM | Comments (1)

September 05, 2006

I <3 Veronica Mars

Dear Rob Thomas, You're a genius. Marry me?

Dear Veronica Mars pushers, Thank you. I think. Boy is this addictive. (You know who you are.)

Dear casting director, Thank you for finding so many pretty boys for this show. I'd love it anyway, but the eye candy certainly doesn't hurt.

Dear Netflix, Thank you for facilitating the beginnings of my addiction. Please be as forthcoming with season two.

Dear Target, Thank you for deciding to have season one on sale for $18.99 this week. That was thoughtful. Of course, if you really loved me, you'd have season two on sale as well.

Dear Teddy TiVo, Thank you for your patience. I know I've been neglecting you. I promise I'll be back soon. In a season and four episodes, to be exact.

Posted by Kat at 05:22 PM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2006

I tried to watch Crash.

I really did. I get some points for trying, right? I put Crash in my Netflix queue because it won all those awards and everyone was talking about how wonderful and brilliant it was. But I guess I didn't really want to watch it, because I put off watching it and put off watching it and put off watching it. For about three months.

I finally decided this was ridiculous and I'd just put the darn thing on. I got through the first half hour. Enh. It really amuses me that Netflix says I'd like it because I like Love, Actually. Sure, they both have ensemble casts, but other than that, I didn't really see anything in common. Love, Actually is warm and funny and touching and about, you know, love. Crash (or its first half hour, at least) was cold and unfunny and I guess about hate, but mostly about gratuituous violence and swearing, I think. If you want an interesting, thought-provoking movie about the intertwining lives of families from various races and cultures, watch What's Cooking? by the wonderful, versatile Gurinder Chadha (of Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice fame). If you want badly-acted, heavy-handed, obvious social messages, do what I did: turn off Crash and watch 7th Heaven reruns instead. At least they seem sincere.

Posted by Kat at 11:42 AM | Comments (6)

July 27, 2006

IRL News!

Danica Patrick is going to Andretti Green! I am very excited about this. When I first started watching CART a few years ago, Michael Andretti was my favorite driver, although at the moment I can't really remember why. Dario Franchitti quickly joined him in my affections, perhaps mostly because he's Scottish (no really) and cute. And I've liked Danica from the beginning, admittedly partially just because I like the idea of women being successful in the sport. So now Michael owns an IRL team that includes his son Marco (a new favorite), Dario... and soon Danica! Whee!

Interesting thread on Danica's "Strong enough for a girly girl" Secret deodorant ads here. The basic debate is over whether she should play up her "girly-girl"ness and sponsor things like beauty products. My comments from over there, slightly edited:

I've watched most of Patrick's IRL races, and my impression is that what she wants above all, like any driver, is to win races. From interviews, my impression is that she is aware of the fact that in some situations, she can use her looks/feminity/etc. to her advantage, and she is willing to do this - partially to counteract the inherent disadvantage of being female in such a male-dominated sport.

Frankly, I think the bigger issue is how she is treated by the race announcers and others on the periphery. There's definitely something of the "dancing bear" problem - during every single race, they make Patrick one of the "storylines" they follow, regardless of whether she's actually doing anything interesting. The announcers make the whole range of expected sexist comments. And the various notables they have kicking off the races have to figure out what to do about their traditional line: "Gentlemen, start your engines!" They tend to go with "LAAAAY-DEEEEE and gentlemen," which seems to make way too much of a point of it - almost making fun of her while seeming "inclusive." Once or twice, they've said "Racers, start your engines," which I thought was much better. Last Sunday, A.J. Foyt said "Boys and girl" and I almost threw something at the TV.

In response to comments along the lines of "She's just a mediocre driver; she hasn't accomplished anything:"
There are many drivers who have not won races but are considered to be good drivers, so Patrick is hardly alone there. It can be helpful to keep in mind that the IRL is the top tier of a multilevel system - practically any driver who makes it there through the various other leagues is better than "mediocre" almost by definition. It's true that she's not the best in the series, but it seems dangerous to imply that women should only compete in male-dominated sports if they're better than the men, rather than as good as most of them (as Patrick almost certainly is, at least based on current rankings).

Posted by Kat at 04:40 PM | Comments (2)

July 04, 2006

The Ninth Doctor is mine, all mine!

Well, at least the DVDs are:

My coworkers laughed at me for showing up ten minutes before the store opened to grab a copy, but they were sold out half an hour later, so it's a good thing I did. So there. :-)

Posted by Kat at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2006

More News on Doctor Who - no, I mean Jane Austen.

Billie Piper, who plays Rose, companion to the Ninth and Tenth Doctors, is going to play Fanny Price in a new version of Mansfield Park. (She's also going to be Sally in The Ruby in the Smoke, based on one of my favorite young adult novels.) In more, um, tenuous connections, it looks like our beloved Christopher Eccleston is in a new show called Perfect Parents with Susannah Harker, also known as Jane Bennet (in the 1995 version).

Posted by Kat at 09:54 AM | Comments (1)

June 13, 2006

Cautious 10th Doctor excitement

It looks like the next series of Doctor Who, with David Tennant, will be showing in the States in the fall. Yay! They mention a spin-off called Torchwood too... interesting.

For the record, I rather adore the Ninth Doctor and am very wary about this new guy. And really, take off the jacket. It's not yours. But I'l try to give him a chance...

UPDATE: More about Captain Jack's new show, Torchwood, here. And, as one of my exceedingly clever friends pointed out, Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who.

Posted by Kat at 08:33 AM | Comments (6)

May 17, 2006

Randoms! On Wednesday!

1. My newest TiVo find: Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown. Favorite quote so far: "Well, hello! You must be an Alp!"

2. I know Rachel warned us, but I was still disappointed by the ending of My Sister's Keeper. Actually, the whole book was sort of annoying, but compelling at the same time. Hmm. I'll try to sort out my thoughts on it in time for the May Reads post.

3. Oh. I was going to say the weather was finally better, but now I hear it raining again.

4. Speaking of which, yes, I was in the flooding area, but yes, I'm fine. My usual route to work was closed for several days, and my kitchen ceiling is precariously close to dripping, but I'm fine. And check out Feminknit for some pictures.

5. I am going through soy milk withdrawal. (I usually put it on my cereal, but we got a free gallon of regular milk, so we're trying to use that before it goes bad, and so there's no soy milk in the house.) It's REALLY not fun.

6. Talking about soy milk suggests that I don't actually have much to say. Or at least don't have the energy necessary to say it.

7. Up next: NH S&W report and photographic evidence that I do still, in fact, knit.

Posted by Kat at 08:39 PM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2006

Quick Randoms

Because I was supposed to go to bed on time tonight, darn it! Argh.

1. Operation: Harlot was successful last night. I arrived at the store at 10:30, unpacked boxes for the first 15 minutes, and then realized that I had 15 minutes and about 25 boxes left and I had to go more quickly. So then I started just opening boxes. Blood was drawn. (Boxes are sharp!) But I found it. Wheeeee. It's wonderful. Better review after I finish reading it.

2. Clapotis = fun. And I haven't even started dropping stitches yet.

3. Watched the fourth Harry Potter movie tonight. Some of the exterior shots seemed oddly cartoony, but I thought it was good overall. Hermione is still my favorite, of course. As always, I found myself sort of wishing that they'd hurry up through the dragon/battle/whatever scenes and get back to the academics and interpersonal relationships and lovely boarding-schoolness. Maybe I should just go find some school stories to read.

4. Don't you hate it when something disappears right after you discover it? Last week, I discovered the green tea lattes at the coffee stand on campus. Now, I don't normally like green tea much, but these were all milky and melony and yum. Yesterday? They were gone. Bah.

5. Interested in reading or contributing to a free online knitting lifestyle magazine? Sort of Glamour meets Knitty, with a little Bust thrown in? Let me know.

I'm sure there was more, but I really, really should be asleep. Good night!

Posted by Kat at 11:06 PM | Comments (7)

March 27, 2006

Things About Which I Am Happy

It's Monday, so it's time for Participation Positives!

1. Spring! It's finally feeling like spring out. It's going to be in the fifties all week, perhaps even getting up to the sixties on Thursday and Friday. I do know that we are pretty likely to get another snow before it's all over, but I'm enjoying it for now.

2. Comments! Wow, lots of you commented on the socks yesterday. Thanks! Just to clarify, I never thought that that socks themselves were ugly, but the first picture I posted of them was all dark and made them look oddly shaped. I think the pictures yesterday show them off to much better advantage.

3. Branching Out! It's done. I even just about memorized the pattern by, oh, the last two or three repeats. Yeah. It's nice, though. It's currently deciding where it wants to hang out while blocking, and then we'll have a picture for you.

4. Clapotis! It's started. The yarn is behaving a bit better than it was while winding, thank goodness, although it is a bit splitty. But OH so soft. It is also looking less pink than I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way. Pictures soon. I'm on repeat increase 2 or 3 or 4 or something. I'm just looking forward to getting to the straight rows so I can see what it looks like when the stitches start dropping.

5. Dr. Who! Are you all watching this? It's wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough. Hilarious and snarky and British. And boy, is the doctor cute. Too bad he won't be there next season.

6. Taxes! Well, not taxes themselves. But I finally did my taxes this weekend and it was extremely painless, and I'm getting lots back. Wheee. And yes, I'm already negotiating with myself about how much I get to spend on yarn.

Posted by Kat at 04:08 PM | Comments (5)

March 15, 2006

Random, with Pictures!

Wow, it's already Wednesday again! And I'm still in a good mood. Yay.

1. I knew the recent springlike weather was just a tease. We had some bizarre fits of snow this afternoon. At least we know who to blame.

2. I'm liking the scarf better as it gets longer, so that's good, I guess:

As you can see, it's not exactly reversible, but rather two-sided. I'm hoping to knit a ball of yarn every two days, so I finish on Sunday and can start Rogue. The picture has about half a ball knit up, mostly from lunch yesterday, subway and class last night, and lunch today.

3. On Sunday night, I realized that, improbably enough, I didn't seem to have any plain decaffeinated black tea in the house. I picked up some Red Rose at the store today, and they have new figurines! I've been sort of collecting them since I was very young, so it's always exciting to get a new one. I got the cute little bunny.

4. I saw Match Point over the weekend. Whoa. I think I've decided that it was very good, and you should see, but I probably do not ever want to see it again. But ahhh, Jonathan. Even in this rather, shall we say, questionable role, he was gorgeous. Oh! And according to IMDB he's going to be Henry VIII! That's one of the most exciting things I've seen in a while.

5. I'm doing some reorganizing of my Bloglines feeds. I've realized that I have a hard time getting into new-to-me blogs without reading all the archives, so now I have a separate category for blogs I think I'll want to read regularly but that I have to catch up with first. It's making it all much easier to navigate.

6. Last night for dinner I tried an Odwalla Strawberry C Monster smoothie and Super Protein bar. It was filling and surprisingly satisfying. Hmm. This may have to become my default quick dinner for nights when I have class or work. If I can find them, of course. I found the smoothies at the grocery store tonight, but I couldn't find the bars, even though the cashier told me they sold them. I got a few Luna bars, since they seemed to be the closest, but they don't have as much protein. Ah well.

7. And another for Project Spectrum: (blurry) strawberries!

Posted by Kat at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2006

Books and TV and blogs, oh my!

I was all conflicted this morning: do I post about Black. White. or do I do a book meme? Decisions! Luckily, Cate made the decision for me by starting a new group blog: Reality TV Sociology. Come read or blog along with us if you're so inclined.

So the book meme! This is from Carole, even though she forgot me in the librarian list. ;-)

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

Hmm. There are some that might be on my bookshelf but I don't remember that they're there. (Someday I will complete my inventory...) Or that I've borrowed. Yeah. The Atwood is on my night table, actually, now that I think about it, but it's not mine so I didn't count it.

Also, apparently I do not decide that I won't read books. I mean, I'd read pretty much anything if you put it in front of me. (Vickie, this means you.) Also, yes, I've heard of all of them. Lit degree + enough time as a bookseller will do that.

Oh, and I forgot to tag people. How about Erica and Rachel and Kristen? (Sorry if any of you have already done it.)

Posted by Kat at 03:46 PM | Comments (5)

March 04, 2006

First Impressions

I just finally saw the new Pride and Prejudice. I'll have to watch it several more times before I have a fully formed opinion/review, of course, but my initial impression is OH MY GOODNESS. Yes, they changed/condensed some things in ways I wasn't thrilled with, but overall I think they were right on with the tone. It seemed the most realistic of the Austen adaptations I've seen, I think. And. Matthew Macfadyen is PERFECT as Darcy. PERFECT. I loved Judi Dench as always, too, and I know people have been down on her but I thought Keira Knightley was great. I really liked what they did with Mary's character, and Charlotte's, too. Although, honestly, I would have forgiven them a lot in return for Macfadyen. Really, just for Macfadyen saying "You have bewitched me, body and soul." Or, you know, for Macfadyen just looking all tortured and smoldering. Most ardently.

Okay, off to go reread the book...

Posted by Kat at 11:18 PM | Comments (3)

February 01, 2006

Random Wednesday

1. New hair again, in its natural (i.e. not blow-dried straight) state:

I think I like it. More pictures here, here, here, here, and here.

2. I'm actually feeling remarkably focused about knitting recently. I'm re-enamoured with my Trekking socks and they're coming along nicely. Tonight I'm making myself work on the Clove Stitch Shawl I want to bring to Florida. Next week. Yeah.

3. One of the reasons for my focus is that the roommate has decided to try a sweater: he's chosen Beau from Vintage Knits. In a show of, um, moral support or something, I've promised I'll start a sweater from the book as well. Contenders at the moment are Fleur, Bridget, Faye, Oriel, and Salina. Opinions?

4. Right before midnight last night, I finished Guns, Germs, and Steel. More about it in the upcoming January Reads post, but I am veyr proud of myself for managing to make it the whole way through this time. My new lunch reading is Elaine Showalter. Yeah, I'm a dork.

5. My semester started last night. My class - Literacy and Service to the Underserved - seems like it will be really interesting, and the professor actually encouraged me to knit in class.

6. I just ordered my luggage for my trip. Which is next week. Yeah. Good thing L.L. Bean delivers so quickly. I should probably start thinking about what I'm putting in said luggage, eh?

7. Ugh. My favorites were voted off of Skating with Celebrities. How can anyone not adore Kurt Browning? Does not compute. qw21?

Posted by Kat at 10:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2006

Huh, I kinda like this finishing idea.

First, the promised picture:

Yup, I finished three things this weekend. Three! Now, granted, two of those scarves had just needed their ends woven in for quite some time, but still. I am proud of myself, and have three fewer things to feel guilty about.

I did almost as well with the other finishing projects. I only finished one book, but I realized that the closest to the end I was in any of them was 150 pages, so that's not bad. I'll make some more reading progress before bed. And I didn't write a whole draft of my story, but that might have been an overzealous goal for a day in which I also wanted to accomplish other things. I wrote an outline and about 1000 words of story, so I'm satisfied. My goal is to have a draft before my trip/the Olympics, and then revise it afterwards.

I did watch two Netflix DVDs. Apparently it was a weekend for historical epics, although now that I think about it, most weekends would fall into that category for me, especially if the epics in question involve pretty clothes and questionable historicity. Anyway. Last night I watched the first two episodes of Into the West. It started slowly, but ended up being captivating in that Oh-God-I-cannot-believe-another-horrible-thing-is-going-to-happen-to-these-people way. And every time blankets appeared, I had to restrain myself from yelling "No! Smallpox! Don't take them!" at the screen.

Tonight I watched part one of Henry VIII. I spent the first half hour or so trying to decide whether I'd seen it before; I eventually decided that I had, but figured at that point I might as well just keep watching. I'm planning a post about it after I watch part two (which I am quite sure I have not seen before), so I'll just say a few things for now. First of all, it prompted the declaration in my household that the beheading of Helena Bonham Carter is the hallmark of a good movie. (Don't tell me you haven't seen Lady Jane.) Also, the people who made both this movie and Into the West seem to be rather confused about the whole birth idea. Um, people, there's this thing called the umbilical cord. I really don't think you can pull a baby out of a mother and immediately walk across the room with it. Right? Someone with more experience (Ais? Erica? Kristen?) want to back me up on this?

Posted by Kat at 10:38 PM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2005

To whom it may concern:

Dear knitting,
Thank you for being reasonably cooperative thus far. Might I suggest that we step up the pace a bit?
the knitter

Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
I don't think the word "gay" means what you seem to think it means. You might want to look it up before you yell something like "You all must think we sound really gay" over the row of cubes again, because at least two of us over here are about ready to throw big cans of soup at you.
Just a thought,
P.S. Boss, that goes for you too. Also? Stop with the jokes about women. Thanks.

Dear Chris Botti,
"Hallelujah" (yeah, the Leonard Cohen one) is not a Christmas song. Just no. I don't care if it has the same name as the Handel chorus. No. Have you heard the words? I know you don't sing them in your version, but please tell me you at least know what the song is about. Your muzak version really has no reason to exist, especially not on a Christmas album.
No love,
Jeff Buckley fan

Dear customers,
I know you for some reason think the online reserve thing saves you time, but it really doesn't. And here's a little secret: it just makes us really, really annoyed with you, although I do understand that it's not your fault that the system's so screwed up. But please. Call and ask us to hold your book. It works just as well, if not better. I promise.
The girl with the pager

Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
30% of $30 is not $10. It is $9. I promise. I'm not sure how many different ways I can explain this to you. You're a teacher. Aren't you supposed to understand things like that?
Your cashier
P.S. I was nice. Next time find your darn educator's discount card. Preferably before you get up to the register and start holding up the line.

Dear reading public,
No, The Da Vinci Code is not out in paperback. Neither is virtually any book published in hardcover in the past year. That's just not the way it works, and I promise, it's not my fault. It is also not my fault that you didn't decide until December 19 that you need to order an obscure book for brother-in-law. I can't magically make it appear. I know that you are probably angry at yourself and just taking it out on me. The holidays are stressful. I know. Please try to remember that it's stressful for me too.
Let's all smile and try to get through the next few days.
Your friendly neighborhood bookseller

Dear salespeople,
I know this may come as a shock, but when you send a request to my department that includes direct insults to my department, that does not make me feel especially inclined to hurry up and get it done for you right away. Just in case that hadn't occurred to you.
No love,
The data corrections girl

Dear Mr. Ledger,
Well done. Couldn't you have played both roles?
Much love,
P.S. Casanova looks cute too, if a bit historically debatable.

Dear readers,
Thank you to anyone who waded through all that. Something coherent (like a review of Brokeback Mountain) will be coming one of these days, but, honestly, it might not be until after Christmas. I will try to at least get some Christmas knitting pictures up soon.
Much love,

Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM | Comments (4)

December 18, 2005

Christmas Knitting Dos and Don'ts

It's... going. Not quite as well as I'd wanted, but I figured that would happen. So to distract you from my lack of pretty pictures or actual content, here are a few pointers for you based one what I've picked up over the past few days.

* DO just keep knitting, and avoid thinking about any of it too much.

* DON'T use yarn or needles you hate. Metal 15s? Ribbon? Eyelash? The end results are pretty, but what was I thinking?

* DO take advantage of the lovely technique that involves doing some extra wraps before each stitch one row and dropping them the next and stretching it out. (I'm sure it has a name but I don't have time to look it up.) My God, does that make a scarf go quickly.

* DON'T take a break to argue with your mother. Or at least put her on speakerphone or something so you can keep knitting. (At least I won.)

* DO "carpool," i.e. get people to drive you places so you can knit in the car.

* DON'T just keep adding things to your list. My list went from 12 to 14 before it got down to, um, 13 at the moment, but two of those are almost done, I swear.

* DO cut back on sleep and housework. 5 hours a night. Laundry and dishes. Everything else can wait.

* DON'T watch anything too enthralling or complicated while knitting. I'm finding that Simon Schama's History of Britain works well - it keeps me interested but, well, I know the plot, so it's okay if I don't give it my full attention.

* If you are making anything that comes in pairs like socks or mittens, DO knit one of each pair first. It will keep things interesting, and it's better to give each recipient one mitten and some yarn instead of two mittens to half of them and just yarn to the rest.

* DON'T let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration does not increase knitting speed. I've been going with mostly Tab and various kinds of tea.

* DO keep the house stocked with easy-to-make, non-messy food. You don't have time to cook or to take food breaks. Knitting while eating is possible. I've been concentrating on canned soup, chips and dip, baby carrots, Twizzlers, and chocolate.

* DON'T develop a new addiction to an online game. (I'll give you the link after Christmas. I promise. It's for your own good.)

* DO remember the twelve days of Christmas. Nothing is technically late until January 6. Especially if you're Catholic.

* DON'T let yourself feel too much envy or resentment when you walk by your roommate's open door and notice the neat stack of books and CDs that he's giving people for Christmas. So what if they come already assembled? You're putting in way more effort.

* DO resolve to drag him into the madness next year. It's not like you forced him to start knitting.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

December 16, 2005

The needlework alone can take years.

Prize (after Christmas) to the first person who guesses what movie I'm watching while I furiously knit really bulky scarves. The above subject line is a quote from the movie. Another favorite: "That's what tapestries are for."

"I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family."

"I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice."

Random hint: Cate should get it, for a sort of tangential reason. ;-)

Posted by Kat at 11:00 PM | Comments (4)

November 21, 2005

Things I Have Learned in the Past Few Days

1. Six Feet Under + Birch = up until almost two am. Yeah. Bad combination. By which I mean "extremely fun and wonderful." At least I didn't have to be up early the next morning.

2. When my apartment is 49 degrees, it is pretty difficult to get out of bed.

3. Knit.1 seems to have a gift for writing simple patterns in the Most Confusing Way Possible.

4. On Friday afternoon, my roommate had to go to a meeting that might have coincided with our free snacks here at work, so I was to grab a snack for him. I realized that I'd be more confident in ordering for him at a decent restaurant than I was picking out a candy bar for him. Does this make us snobs, or just adults? I'm not sure.

5. It is, in fact, possible to talk on the phone while rolling very hot cookies in powdered sugar. Just in case you were wondering.

6. Sometimes those "Oh yeah, this IS my real life" moments actually help. Yesterday I was trying to simultaneously bake cookies and write my novel, and feeling vaguely annoyed at the situation. And then I realized that, if all goes according to plan, I will be writing novels while baking cookies for the rest of my life. (Well, eventually it would be nice if I didn't also have two jobs and school to keep up with while writing novels and baking cookies, and then maybe I could have enough time to give the writing a break and concentrate on baking for a few hours. But really, no guarantees.) And, somehow, once I realized that this was it, the writing got much easier.

7. A radio station that replaces its DJs with recorded messages about how they no longer have DJs to talk too much is, in fact, more annoying than the stations that actually do have DJs that talk too much.

8. I want to be Meg Cabot when I grow up.

Posted by Kat at 01:41 PM

October 26, 2005


The baby blanket! The mind-numbing, soul-sucking, endless gorram baby blanket1 is done. And it's pretty, too. (No pictures at the moment, because my ISP was down last night and so I'm writing this from my work computer.)

I finished the border and cast off while watching the pilot of Six Feet Under on DVD from Netflix.2 So now all that needs to happen is weaving in the ends, packing it up, and sending it to Texas. If anyone talks to Princess Aaralyn, tell her it's almost there.

1 My feelings about the blanket are not in any way reflective of my feelings about the baby (who is adorable) or her mommy (who is a great friend). Just so that's clear.
2 I watched the whole disc (three episodes) because I was that quickly addicted. I highly recommend it, if you ever have the chance to see it. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but it was very different from and much better than whatever I had anticipated.

Posted by Kat at 11:02 AM | Comments (3)

October 21, 2005

And where was the graffiti, anyway?

Just to keep us updated:
Days until Thanksgiving: 34
Number of phone calls with parents about Thanksgiving in past two days: 4
Number of neurotic e-mails to roommate about Thanksgiving in said time period: about a dozen
Number of hysterical conversations with said roommate about said topic in said time period: It's kind of hard to say. Since we live together and work together, he has a kind of hard time getting away from me.

Conversational highlights:
Dad: "No, really. It's not like you're going to be missing anything fun."
Mom: "It's a holiday. Someone might as well have fun... Maybe I can tell them I'm on call?"
Roommate: "I had no idea Thanksgiving could be this complicated."
Me (e-mail): "One more thing and then I promise I will shut up about Thanksgiving until at least, you know, November."
(In my defense, I kept that promise for several hours until my mother called me at work to discuss - say it with me now here - Thanksgiving.)
After witnessing said phone call:
Roommate: "You know, I'm starting to be surprised you turned out as normally as you did."
Me: Hysterics. Sort of unquotable.
A bit later:
Me: "So now do you see how I'm not really being unreasonably obsessive about this? Just being prepared for the inevitable?"
Roommate: "It certainly does seem to be a learned behavior."
A bit later still:
Me: "I'm driving myself crazy. I must be driving you crazy."
Roommate: Did not exactly reply. Did watch a movie with me so I could, as I put it, just stop thinking for a while.
Yes, he's a very patient man. Yes, he will be getting a darned good knitted Christmas present. (No, let's not discuss my family's Christmas plans yet. Thanks.)

So, to help me Just Stop Thinking, we watched American Graffiti. Great soundtrack. Interesting seeing the actors (especially Dreyfuss and Ford) so young. Loved Harrison Ford singing "Some Enchanted Evening." But. WTF?

Problem A: The plot. Let's just say that I was not surprised when George Lucas said in the "making of" documentary that the original version was almost twice as long. I definitely felt as though a few of those deleted scenes would have been helpful for figuring out, you know, what the heck was going on.

Problem B: The message. Let's review what we learned:
1. How to get your boyfriend back: Don't sleep with him. Do get into a potentially deadly car crash with another man.
2. How to control a man: Threaten to accuse him of rape. Alternately, threaten to rape him.
3. How to control a woman: Threaten to rape her.
4. Women ruin everything. The boy with the girlfriend did not go away to college. The one without a girlfriend did.
5. Get in cars with strange men. Really, what could possibly go wrong?
6. How to be a good teacher: Chaperone a school dance. Smoke with one student and sleep with another.
7. How to find your soulmate: Hook up with your ex-girlfriend. Join a gang (okay, it was somewhat under duress). Get a message on the radio to "the blonde in the white T-bird," because there could only be one of those.
8. Or: when you respond to his radio message, make sure you don't tell him your name.

It also really bugged me that, at the end, there were little notes of what happened to the four primary male characters, but nothing about the women. Presumably they all got married and lived happily ever after. Or, you know, went insane from dealing with these men.

I also did not notice any graffiti in the movie. Huh?

Posted by Kat at 11:17 PM

April 19, 2005

Netflix friends

(Almost done with the semester, and then we'll be back to our regularly scheduled boring blogging!)

Do you have a Netflix account? Will you be my friend? E-mail me!

(Did you mention Torch Song Trilogy recently somewhere where I might have read it? If so, e-mail me about that too.)

Posted by Kat at 10:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2005

Yay! I love Violet.

Which Incredibles Character Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla
Posted by Kat at 11:30 PM

January 28, 2005

Review: Phantom of the Opera

I went to see the current movie version of the musical tonight with my friend Christine (appropriate, I know), and the word we came up with to describe our reactions to it was "baffled." A little background: I knew most of the Phantom music, but I'd never seen it before and I only knew the most general outlines of the story. It was a very, very pretty movie. The costumes were gorgeous and the music was better than I'd remembered. But.

But. What was with the plot? It made no sense. The biggest question we had was why, when the Phantom was ON STAGE singing for half an hour at the end of the movie, did none of the armed policemen there to get him go after him? Why? Why was Christine so connected to her dead father but never mentioned her dead mother? Why was she suddenly in love with this guy she hadn't seen since she was seven? In regards to the Phantom, was she under a spell or something? He wasn't sympathetic and intriguing. He was just creepy. And yeah, he made no sense either. How did he learn to write music? How did he learn much of anything, as he had no contact with the outside world? Was he Meg's father? How did he eat? Where did his clothes come from? Why did he get mirrors in the first place if he couldn't stand to look at himself? What was with the weird picture thing at the very end?

These aren't necessarily rhetorical questions, by the way. If anyone has answers, I'd love to hear them. I'm also considering reading the book to see if it explains any of this. In the meantime, I'd like a nightgown like Christine's, if you know where to find one.

Posted by Kat at 11:46 PM | Comments (4)

January 13, 2005

Let's see who's in my brain.

Got this from Rachel, among others, although I'm changing the rules slightly:

1. I pick one dozen movies that are ones that I have special feelings about.
2. I pick a quote from each and post them.
3. You e-mail me to identify as many as you can. Name characters, context, etc. if you can--I'll use that as a tiebreaker. (I am trusting you to go by things you know and not to look things up on Google or anything.)
4. If you get the most right, I'll send you a prize!

Ready? Here goes:

1. "My daddy has to go away, but he'll return most any day."
2. "Her tongue appears to be hinged in the middle, but she may turn out all right."
3. "Dearest, loveliest Elizabeth!"
4. "All my life, when I'm quite grown-up I will always remember my grandfather and how he smelled of tobacco and peppermint."
5. "We may be a small country but we're a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that."
6. "When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting whatever it is you've got left."
7. "It's not normal for a woman to read! Soon she starts getting ideas, and thinking."
8. "He put snow on your ankle? With his own hands?"
9. "I haven't faced death. I've cheated death. I've tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing."
10. "My heart is, and always will be, yours."
11. "So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"
12. "If the Nazis take over Austria, I have no doubt, Herr Zeller, that you will be the entire trumpet section."

Let the games begin!

Posted by Kat at 09:51 PM | Comments (2)

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