Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Knit One, Watch Two - Scene Two

Hello, Gentle Readers (and Watchers)!  This is the second installment of Knit One, Watch Two.  I hope you find it useful!

Happy - 2011, directed by Roko Belic

This documentary travels the globe in search of the true meaning of happiness and how people define this often elusive aspect of life.  On this journey we find that, across cultures, we are more alike and interconnected than we may have thought, and these similarities could be the key to finding true happiness.

I am not usually one for documentaries, but this one was highly recommended by a friend.  And rightly so.  Just watching Happy brought a smile to my face.  The people who have found contentment and purpose in their lives sent their positive energy to me right through the screen.  Unless you are fluent in many languages, however, you will have to juggle your project and subtitles to get the full stories of some of the people featured, but not the whole time.  I loved that I was doing something that made me feel happy and fulfilled while watching a movie about achieving just such a feeling.  Initially, I thought I was going to be able to use this film as a means of justifying a lazy day of knitting, but it really became more about being in the moment and experiencing the bliss of a simple, productive activity.  I give Happy a hearty rating of KNIT.

Columbus Circle - 2012, starring Selma Blair and Amy Smart

An heiress in hiding, a mysterious death, and a detective with suspicions and questions aplenty, this movie is a nod to the film noir genre of years past.  

I had high hopes for this movie.  I love film noir.  And I love Selma Blair.  But Columbus Circle was plagued throughout with awkward writing and very disappointing acting. The latter, I suspect, is the result of the misguided efforts of a director trying too hard to stay true to the style of past decades and ignoring the sensibilities of present-day audiences.  There were also several improbable circumstances regarding identity and the assumption or erasing thereof (a main theme of the film) that completely ignores the post-9/11 world we now live in.  It was as though the script was originally written as a period piece, but was changed at the last minute to save on costume design.  The good news is, if you must watch it, the plot is mainly dialog driven, so at the very least it will not slow your knitting down too much.  Needless to say, with its overreaching direction and poor writing, I give Columbus Circle a FROG.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, Mr. Deep and I took a mini vacation to Folly Beach and Charleston.  When we got back Sunday, we had somehow accumulated a week's worth of sunburns and hangovers in 36 hours, but it was sooooo worth it.  Below are some highlights.  I don't have pictures for everything, but there is the obligatory couples selfie at the bottom.

I found this little cairn so mysterious and unexpected on this overcast and nearly empty beach.  Mr. Deep said it looks huge in the photo, but it's only about 8" high.
The morning started off as overcast, but it was perfect for keeping the heat down and the glare out of our eyes.  The water was cool and jellyfish-free.  The sun did come out after a few hours and we quickly realized we had forgotten our sunscreen, which made it time for a beer...

The Surf Bar at Folly Beach felt like a little Caribbean getaway.  Set a block off the main drag, it was populated at this hour primarily by locals and one sweet yellow dog.  I couldn't believe we were only two hours away from home. 
Mr. Deep, handsome as always.
A perfect hibiscus.

After walking through the shops of questionable souvenirs, we decided it wouldn't be a true beach vacation with a cocktail in hotel beach bar.  Mr. Deep observed that we must have wandered onto the set of an MTV reality show.  The deck was packed with deeply tanned phone-loving college kids who looked like they were drinking their way through last night's hangover on the last weekend of the summer.  It was awesomely entertaining!  Mr. Deep found it the perfect  opportunity to grab a macro-brew and enter it on his Untappd app. (If you are a beer drinker, you should check it out, btw!)  I ended up with some really wonderful concoction made of hibiscus vodka and ginger beer.  Truly lovely.  Afterwards, we took a walk on the pier and saw a pod of dolphins!  It made the souvenir I bought seem downright prophetic.
Here is a Bud Light with the newest addition to my corny keepsake collection (which will be another post altogether someday).

For some reason, all desire to snap photos left me once we were changed and headed to dinner in Charleston.  That said, I have to mention my favorite moments in town:
  • Dinner at Amen Street.  There was spicy shrimp ceviche and a beautifully tender calamari.  I can't wait to go back because I didn't get any oysters (at a raw bar, no less!), and you have to love a place with champagne specials.  

  • After dinner, Mr. Deep led me on what I thought was a goose chase for dessert.  But he had a plan.  He landed us at Charleston Grill, a place he knew I had been to years ago and loved.  We sat in the newly remodeled lounge and listened to jazz.  Our dessert was the spectacular Lemon Meringue Baked Alaska with blueberry sauce.  Oh. My. Heck.  I'll be dreaming about it for months.

  • Our last stop before leaving for home Sunday was to Christophe Artisan Chocolatier.  This is becoming one our rituals when in Charleston.  Their truffles and handpainted chocolates in subtle flavors like blue cheese, earl gray, and lavender caramel are something to behold.  They also have more traditional fare like vanilla bean and raspberry, but they are far from what anybody could call ordinary. 

It was, needless to say, a wonderful trip.  We got to visit with friends we don't see nearly enough and get some summer sand in our hair.  We'll be going back very, very soon.  Oh!  And just so this post continues with the yarny theme of my life, here is a picture of the toe of the sock I made during the drive...

And, of course, the aforementioned selfies (couldn't pick just one)....

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Knit One, Watch Two - Entry the First

This morning, I knew I needed to start thinking about my next blog entry, but all I really wanted to do was watch movies and knit Mr. Deep's socks.  Then it hit me: why not write about that?  I just need to at least minimally veil it as sharing advice and information as opposed to merely keeping my audience abreast of my slacking activities.  Ergo, "Knit one, Watch Two", in which I will share my completely uneducated and off-the-cuff well-formed and highly valid opinions of movies from a variety of genres and how these films contribute to the knitting (or crocheting) experience.  There will be two movies per entry and the reviews, which I will try to keep brief, may or may not be accompanied by details on my current project, imbibables, etc.  I would like to make this a somewhat regular feature of my blog, so I hope you enjoy it.  Therefore, without further ado......

Knit One, Watch Two - Chapter 1

The Awakening (Ooooh...A Scaaaary One....) 2011, starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West

Despite the evident period-piecey-ness of this movie's cover (is it a cover if it's on a movie?), do not confuse it with the novel of the same name by Kate Chopin.  The Awakening is a classically Gothic ghost tale taking place in post WWI England at a boarding school for boys.  The school is plagued by the supposed phantom of a child rumored to have been murdered on the premises years ago.  Florence Cathcart, a scientist focused on disproving the supernatural, arrives on the scene (after some considerable persuasion) to shake some sense into the hysterical spirit-spiers.  If only it were that easy.... 

I found The Awakening to be wonderfully atmospheric, so much so that I had to scamper off to the kitchen to make a spot of tea. It just felt right. You will not want to miss the beautifully filmed imagery here, so I would suggest a pattern you have already memorized.  And when things get scary (and they do), you will not want to have your nose buried in a complicated chart or rows of abbreviations.  There is a lot of visual information, so let your needles pause here and there to watch the quieter moments of the film.  All in all, I really enjoyed The Awakening and found its dark, misty mood perfect for cozy knitting.  Though not the most original storyline in the world, I find I am more interested in how a tale is told than what last-minute plot twists come about in the end, and The Awakening engaged me at every turn.  I give this film a rating of KNIT.

(Speaking of last-minute plot twists, I have just now decided to rate films KNIT or FROG.  I bet you can tell which means good and which does not.)    

Jesus Henry Christ - 2011, starring Toni Collette, Michael Sheen

Henry James Herman is a freakishly intelligent 10-year-old boy (2nd highest IQ ever recorded!) and product of a sperm donation who is being raised by his understandably neurotic yet totally rockin' single mother.  As most of his family was wiped out in one form or another before he was born, the roots-hungry Henry sets out to find his biological father.  In the process, he and everybody else involved discover more about family ties than they ever expected.  Awwwww....
Normally, the very hint of "heartwarming" sends me running in the opposite direction, but I have to say I loved this movie.  Teetering on the edge of magical realism (my favorite kind of realism), there are some really great images and playfully bizarre (if dark) situations.  And the soundtrack is quite righteous.  For the most part, the film is dialog-driven, so you won't get lost if you have to focus your eyes on your project, but make sure you visually check in often!  Moodwise, this is the perfect film for a hip knit or some vintage-style crochet work.  I give this film a KNIT.