Thursday, September 27, 2012

Afghan sampler, inner rectangle completed

Yesterday I finished and blocked the inner rectangle of my afghan.  I've added a mini border to define the rectangle, and then I'll be adding my remaining squares around the outside.  I've been stitching along with Blair at Wisecraft, and you can visit her blog to see pictures of the sampler afghan, or to stitch along yourself!

I hit the hook hard the past few weeks, and it's rough on the wrists and fingers.  I think I'll take a break and before finishing this one up!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Movie Mondays

A recap of this weeks screenings.  Proof in writing that I watch too many films.  Let's get started!

Gas-s-s-s (1970): A Roger Corman black comedy set in a stark and beautiful post-apocalyptic desert.  Only those under 25 survived a plague of gas accidentally released by ‘the man’.  I loved this, though I’m partial to bad exploitation films.  There were more ponchos than you could shake a stick at and lots of silly dialog/characters.

spaghetti western car lot cowboys

The American Snitch (1983):  Ok… I’m at a loss to describe this film… maybe Smokey and the Bandit meets Designing Women?  Is it bad?  Yes.  Does it have redeeming parts that will make you giggle?  Yes!  This is truly a forgotten flick; take it on its own terms and give it a try.   Captain Crackers says: “Hold on!!....Whatever your name is!”

American Snitch
Jesus and Elvis singing a song and cooking breakfast together

Dead End Drive In (1986):  Ozploitation at its best!  Lots of counterculture shots, great stunts, interesting premise.  For me this was a pleasant surprise… the Netflix description made this sound like a horror flick- it’s not at all!  The world has taken a turn for the worst (not quit apocalyptic, but pretty crappy) and there is a surplus of unemployed hoods.  What is the government to do with them?  Also, check out Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!   It’s a documentary on the great genre of Ozploitation, or Australian exploitation films. 

Dead End Drive In
She met some girls in the bathroom who did her hair... to clarify, she was pleased

Hollywood Boulevard (1976): A satire on the then hugely popular B movie genre.  An ambitious actress wants to get her foot in the door of Hollywood, and is subjected to a bevy of awful job experiences.  Netflix also led me to believe this was a horror film… not even close, it’s pure satire.  Interesting fact: this was made by several Roger Corman film students who used shots from his movies for almost all the scenes that weren’t dialog.

Hollywood Boulevard

Once Upon a Time (2011): A network TV drama about fairytale characters.  They are all cursed and living in Maine.  This was surprisingly watchable.  I like the premise and it is filmed nicely.  I read a review somewhere that fans of Lost might like it, and that’s hitting it on the head.  It has the same structure as Lost, where each character’s story is revealed in flashbacks and all the stories are intertwined. 

William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet (2009): Documentary on the project that turned William Shatner’s musical album into a ballet.  Shatner is charming and disarming as usual.  The music was not too bad and the ballet was... well, ballet!

The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981): Period drama about a woman sort of shunned for her association with a French Lieutenant and a respectable gentleman who has just become engaged.  This is a story within a story as well.  Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons star.  I thought this was pretty good, maybe a little draggy in parts.  I liked the supporting cast.

Big Doll House (1971): Exploitation film set in a Philippines woman’s prison.  This is a cult film and has some very memorable and famous lines, such as “Get it up or I’ll cut it off.”  Stars Sid Haig and Pam Greer.  It’s got an improbable plot and some silly dialog, but for its genre it’s top notch.

Full Tilt Boogie (1997): Documentary on the making of From Dusk Til Dawn.  This was more like behind the scenes outtakes than it was a look at the process of making the film.  Everyone on the set seemed to have a good time and it was interesting to watch.  There were some funny moments and characters.

Popatopolis (2009): Documentary about Jim Wynorski, the prolific B movie director.  I enjoyed this movie a lot.  It had a good mix of the history of Wynorski’s film and of B movies in general, behind the scenes of him making a film, and interviews with people that know him (The best being his elderly and adorable mother and Roger Corman).  If you like B movies, give it a watch.

Mst3K The Movie (1996)

Mst3k Night of the Blood Beast (1996)

Mst3k warrior of the lost world (1993)

MST3K secret agent super dragon (1993)

I’m just going to review all the MST3K’s together.  They were all fantastic!  And in truth I’ve seen these all before. I love, love MST3K.  They make me happy.  If I had to be stuck in space indefinitely, I’d want to be on the satellite of love…with Joel (sorry Mike).

Solarbabies (1986) Post-apocalyptic 80s kids flick that involves a magic orb, an evil scientist, an owl, and lots of roller skates.  Sigh… this movie was bad… in every way that a movie can be bad.  But it has one flaw that I cannot forgive- it takes itself serious.  Poor thing.  As a kid I probably would have loved it though.
Just a guy and his pet owl

Clueless (1995): Comedy about privileged Cher, the ‘clueless’ high schooler whose world begins to change when she elevates an unpopular girl’s social standing.  Am I the only who loved this movie when it came out?  I rushed out to get myself some thigh high socks and a skort.  This is adapted pretty heavily from one of my fav books Emma and directed by Amy Heckerling (who directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High).

She’s all That (1999): Romantic (not really) comedy (if you say so) about a popular guy who makes a bet to turn a social outcast into prom queen.  Why oh why did I press play?  I watched this in high school and thought it was pretty good and that Freddie Prinze Jr. was cute.. boy was I dumb.  If you like seeing a bunch of people in their mid to late 20s pretending to be 16 and to really care about who becomes prom queen…this is the movie for you.  Also, it reeked of corporate think tank.

Audie Murphy Great American Hero (1996): Documentary about Audie Murphy.  This was an interesting film about this forgotten hero of WWII.  He did some crazy heroic things on the battlefield and was at the time (and maybe still) the most decorated soldier.  He ended up starring in several Hollywood films.  His life was also tragic.

Lewis and Clark the Journey (1997):  Lewis and Clark get the Ken Burns treatment.  I want Ken Burns to make a film about me!  He’s got it down to a science.  This was an interesting film that explores the subtleties of the personalities at play in this expedition. 

Friday the 13th (1980): Cult horror film about some camp counselors trying to get a ‘cursed’ summer camp up and running again.  If you haven’t seen Friday the 13th… give it a watch.  It’s got a medium amount of gore and not too many jumpy moments. 

Friday the 13th part 2 (1981): This sequel to Friday the 13th has a little more gore and skin.  Another bad day for camp counselors!

Royal Deceit (1994): Remake of Hamlet.  I liked this film.  The pace is slow but I think a lot of the scenes have the feeling of a theater performance, which fit nicely.  Also beautifully filmed and acted.

Metropolis Restored (1927): Classic silent film about a dystopian future where society is divided between those who work below ground maintaining machines and those who live above ground and enjoy the results of that labor.  I enjoyed this beast of a 2 hour and 45 minute film!  After suffering through several turkeys this week, I needed the cleansing that only a masterpiece could give.  I love the Art Deco design elements and the story was very good.  This movie was way ahead of its time.

the machine-man

This concludes this week's screenings. I hope some of these films seemed interesting enough for you to check out. I usually watch movies on Netflix instant streaming, and you can find most of the films there.

Thank you for reading!  



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Afghan stitch along, squares finished!

Granny sampler stitch along blocks!

This week I finished up all the blocks for my afghan stitch along!

I've been following along with Blair at Wisecraft for months, doing a granny square a week, and I started joining them together last night!  For my main color, I originally wanted a grey, but instead chose a salmon rust color (eek!).  I hope I'm going to like it, so far it looks good but I haven't joined many blocks.  The salmon color is versatile as it looks a bit like spring and a bit like fall, which I like.

The afghan has a defined inner rectangular border which I am crocheting now, and then an outer border as well.  I may end up doing the outer border in a grey background, not sure.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Random stuff

I've spent all my free time finishing the last blocks for my afghan sampler.  I've been crocheting along with Blair at Wisecraft for months, and am so excited to see this project finished!  I think it's going to be a shame to fold it up on a chair, I might hang mine on the wall!  (I'll be sharing photos this week) 

It's still triple digits here in the desert, but I can feel summer losing it's grip.  There's something in the air that feels like fall..

Over the next few weeks I'll be working on several projects for my sewing room; a new ironing board cover, sewing machine cover, and a few pincushions.  Of course I'll be sharing! 

But until then, time for another random compilation of photos! 

Thomcord grapes- these were delicious, tasted like grape juice

Set of little notebooks from target

Frida girl!

Cuban sandwich and tortilla soup

scraps from a lino block (printmaking)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Movie Mondays

A recap of this weeks screenings.  Proof in writing that I watch too many films.

Victory (1996): Slightly suspenseful love story in exotic local.  This had been moldering in my queue for months and I'm glad I finally watched it.  Love Sam Neill, but he played a bit of a creep!

My Life so Far (1999): Scottish family character study set in the turn of the century.  Beautifully filmed and acted well.  A quality production, even if it lagged and dragged in areas.  Colin Firth stood out, of course, but if you like this genre you will probably recognize several faces.

Lost in La Mancha (2002):  This is one of the most depressing films I've seen since Sophie's Choice.. well not that bad but a big bummer for sure.  I love Terry Gilliam and I hate to see him sad :(  This is a film about the making of a film (Don Quixote).

Night of the Comet (1984):  A comet hits earth and those left have a lot to deal with.  This 80s zombie (kind of?) flick was probably my favorite screening of the week.  Low budget, under the radar, not too gory, not many cheap scares, and several scenes that more than earn it the status as a cult film.

Night of the Comet

Captain America, The First Avenger (2011): Action and adventure comic book flick- with a good looking lead and a fun storyline.  My husband and I watched this movie the other night and had a good time.  The effects weren't awful either.

Starcrossed (1985):  Made for TV movie about an alien lady and an earthling guy and their desperate flight from many baddies.  Lots of fades in and out where there used to be commercial breaks, WAY too many scenes that reference unnecessarily/ glorify automobiles (produced by Gulf Western- did that have something to do with it?).  This movie was painfully bad in several areas, but I do love a young James Spader!

Beverly Hills Cop (1984): Fun cop revenge action story.  Eddie Murphy is good and there are many funny characters that pop up throughout.  Plus the opening scene with the police chase is probably the most impressive and destructive I have seen--- this was 1984, and there are no fancy computer tricks, just demolition derby style mayhem!

Superstar (1999):  SNL film based on a popular skit.  Sigh... know when you watch a movie you liked as a kid and it is truly awful.  Welcome to my experience when watching Superstar.  If I'm being honest, I mopped my floors while most of this played.  Just really bad... not funny at all.

Tommy Boy (1995):  Chris Farley being Chris Farley in all his Farley goodness (at his peek in this one maybe?).  I hadn't seen this film in years, but of course when it came out it was hugely popular.  A solid 90s comedy with some lol parts.

Of Dolls and Murder (2012): Documentary on the Nutshell Studies, which are a series of doll house dioramas based on actual unsolved murder cases.  They were made by a millionaire lady who had an unfulfilled desire to be a detective and so constructed these doll houses to help police officers hone their skills.  These are beyond creepy.. I could have done with less modern day forensics and more about the doll houses.

Comedians of Comedy live at the Troubadour (2007):  This beast of a comedy show features 10 plus comedians assembled by Patton Oswald for a night of stand up.  It's over two hours long and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998): Captain Picard heads up a Star Trek adventure.  I don't really know any of the characters in these Star Treks, as I'm a TOS girl, but this was watchable. I felt I missed a lot of the jokes because I haven't seen any of the Picard TV shows.

Merton: A film Biography (1984):  Documentary on the famous mystic monk Thomas Merton.  This struck a chord with me, and I think I'll get one of his books to read.  Interesting man.

Masquerade (1988): A suspense thriller starring Rob Lowe.  This was so-so, but to the film's credit, I thought I had the plot figured out but didn't!  Lots of glorification of consumerism, but hey- it was the 80s!

Neverland (2011):  British miniseries about Peter Pan.  OK, so it's made for a young audience but still- It was way too long and boring and and dragged on and was repetitive and painful.  And by the end I honestly did not care what happened to the characters, even though I had invested about three hours of my very divided attention into the thing.

Shooting Creek (1995):  A very low budget and sometimes awkwardly acted film set in the south right after the civil war.  There were parts of this movie I enjoyed; there were a lot of good horse chase scenes and I have been in a western mood.  But I didn't really relate to the main character and like I said, there was some pretty bad acting-- main union soldier guy, I'm talking to you!

Stiff Upper Lips (1998):  A cheeky, irreverent spoof of the period piece film genre and some novels.  Since I love British period pieces, I enjoyed this satire on them.  Some of the scenes are very naughty ;)

Stiff Upper Lips

Buskers (2000):  Documentary about street performers.  Pretty straight forward and not too in depth-- you don't get too personal with any of the performers, the very opposite of a film like Confessions of a Superhero.  This was a good background noise movie.

More Business of Being Born (2008):  This series of films will stick with me for a long time.  It's a follow up documentary about the trends of modern maternity care.  It blew my mind in a lot of ways.  My opinion (coming from complete inexperience) is that I think we are going down a weird and probably unsafe path in the ways woman give birth.

Marilyn in Manhattan (1998):  A documentary about a period in Marilyn Monroe's life.  Came out in the late 90s and is good but doesn't have many frills.  A few good interviews but in general pretty mediocre.

Jackass Number 2 (2006):  Honestly, what can I say about this movie?  If you've seen any Jackass, you know what you are getting in to.

This concludes this week's screenings.  I hope some of these films seemed interesting enough for you to check out.  I watch movies almost exclusively on Netflix instant streaming, and you can find most of the films there.

Thank you for reading! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rainy Day

It's been freakishly wet in the Las Vegas valley... it feels like it rained more this year than all the years I've lived here combined!

Yesterday the sky bottomed out and it suddenly began to pour- that's how it normally goes down around here.  Then, after 15-20 minutes, it stopped almost completely.  Again, this is the norm.  The sun began to peep out from a cloud and I immediately thought--


Rainbow after shower
Iridescent fly
Rain drops on honeysuckle type shrub


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Clark County Museum


We've all had those days... bored and despondent.  No errands to run, but really want to leave the house.  Needing some stimulation but wanting to spend zero dollars. 

This is where my husband and I found ourselves one hot day last week.  After a brief discussion, we decided a museum visit would fit our mood perfectly!

So off we went to the Clark County Museum.  This museum has a small gift shop and an indoor exhibit of the history of Las Vegas, but the best part is the outdoor exhibits: a conglomerate ghost town of historic buildings stocked with period furniture and accessories.  These buildings are spread out over acres and require a good deal of outdoor walking.

But once we arrived, the reality of how incredibly hot it was hit us hard.  The walk from the car to the gift shop was enough for me.  We quickly decided to skip the outdoor section and just look around the indoor exhibit.  Maybe we'll visit again in December!

Main Building
Early ranchers... and not bad looking either
How anyone lived in this desert without AC is beyond me
Note the prostituion token,
reads "good for one screw"
I love the graphics on this old slot machine
Yeah... a lot of nuclear testing went on just north of here
Mid century modern goodness
Everyone is cooked well done
Sign from the late 70s
Ladies pose in front of the Landmark Hotel. 

My favorite Las Vegas sign has to
be the old Stardust.
Can't believe it was torn down to build the Echelon,
which after 5 years is still basically a dirt lot

Movie Mondays (TV Tuesday?)

A recap of this weeks screenings.  Proof in writing that I watch too many movies.

Team America (2004): Hadn't seen this movie in years; I giggled throughout. 

Mummies IMAX (2007):  This is a beautifully filmed (of course, it's IMAX), if slightly uninspired show about mummies.

The Color of Magic (2008): Watched part one of two so far.  It's pretty good, even if it's geared towards a younger audience.  I had never heard of discworld until now, but apparently it's based on a book.

Centurion (2010):  This was an average bloody gladiator style man movie.  It was watchable but lagged in many areas.  Of course Michael Fassbender had many opportunities to be shirtless, which was nice.

I Spit on Your Grave (1978):  My husband used to have this on VHS, and hadn't seen it in years, so we gave it a watch.  This was a hard one to get through, as it is particularly graphic in several areas.  It's a controversial film that has been banned in many countries.  I do love horror movies from this time period though....

Barbarella (1968):  What a very silly film!  I was in awe through most of it.  The 1960s is probably my least favorite cinematic period; I can't stand those beach bingo goofy characters.  This was worth a watch though, and Jane Fonda's body was smoking.  I kept thinking "Clobberella" the whole time.

Legend of Hell's Gate (2011): I don't know why, but I've been in a western mood.  This movie was pretty good... OK the plot had more holes than a slice of swiss cheese, but it was beautifully filmed which for me excuses many faults in a film.  I liked this one.

He knew he was right (2004): If I'm being honest, I've seen this mini series before, in all its crazy Victorian melodrama goodness.  Based on an incredibly long series of books, this one is pretty good.  And it's got Bill Nighy, who I love.

BlueBeard (2009):  I liked this French film based on the fairy tale of the same name.  I read some reviews that complained the actors were very wooden, which I guess they were but it didn't bother me.  The mood in general was very quiet and understated.  It was directed by Catherine Breillat, and I could feel a woman's sensibility to it, which I liked.

Snow White Tale of Terror (1997):  Most of the films I watched this week had great visuals.  This was no exception.  Something about this one was off... maybe a few plot points or something- not sure.  But the visual story was pure fairytale.  And Sam Neill, who I love, is in it!

Quest for Fire (1981): I saw this a long time ago, but couldn't remember much of it.  I put it on one morning thinking it would be tedious, but was surprisingly good.  As a fan of the Clan of the Cave Bear series, I quickly got in the neolithic groove.

Frankenstein (2004):  Miniseries.  Pretty good!  The guy who played the monster did a real good job.  Pretty true to the story as well.

Jane Eyre (1996): If I'm being honest again, I've seen this one before too.  I love period piece mini series, and there's just not enough of them around!  Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and I liked this one pretty well, but it changed a lot of the plot.  The actress who plays Jane Eyre is kind of weird looking...

Parents (1989): This was pretty good.  Again, visually like candy (it's set in a stereotypical 1950s).  I'm no film critic, but it seemed to me this film was ahead of it's time.  The quirky mood seemed more like a late 90s style film than a late 80s.  Maybe this one was influential?

Great Gatsby (1974):  Great book, great movie.  I loved looking at Robert Redford's hot man hands.  I want to punch Daisy in the face though...

Slums of Beverly Hills (1998):  I hadn't seen this one since I was a teenager.  It was weird seeing it from an adult point of view.  Pretty good film, but slightly annoying to me.

Teen a Go-Go (2012): I liked this documentary about the music scene in Austin (I think?!) Texas in the 1960s.  Go-Go-tastic!  The birth of the garage band.

Clue (1985): Ambitious and original take on the board game clue.  I like Tim Curry and this was pretty good.  The 'who dunnit' wasn't predictable either.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Random Stuff

Am I the only one who gets grief from their husband for 'collecting bananas'?  He snapped this photo the other day and emailed it to me. 
But they go brown so quickly!  And I use the brown ones for banana bread and smoothies....
I picked up this pattern the other day at the quilt shop.  I am very excited--I'm going to make one of each!  The pattern is by Straight Stitch Society.

I've been working on a journal cover for my stitch-love-project blog.  I'm using scraps from my collection of feedsack prints.
I finally got all the pieces fit together to my liking.  Yesterday I began stitching them down.  Can't wait to see it on a notebook!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pecan Pie

I baked this pecan pie this morning as a belated bday cake for my husband.  It turned out perfectly!  Golden flaky crust and filling at just the right texture.  The trickiest part of a pecan pie is knowing when the filling is done.. it should be set but still a little jiggly when you take it out of the oven.  It you under cook it, it will ooze when you cut it.  If you overcook it, it will be thick and chewy.
You can get the recipe for free with a trial from my favorite America's Test Kitchen here.

Movie Monday

A recap of this weeks screenings.  Proof in writing that I watch too many movies.

Trekkies 2 (2004):  Pretty good.  The best part was the Star Trek tribute bands.  I am a fan of TOS, but haven't really watched any of the other shows.

Parks and Recreation (2009): Watched the newest season (4).  If you haven't seen this show, it's an all around good comedy.

Sunset Boulevard (1950):  I've probably seen this 3-4 times, and it's always good.  It's a cult classic, so give it a watch.  Often imitated but seldom done so well.

George Carlin (1977):  I actually watched three George Carlin stand up specials, which were all good.  His first special aired on HBO in 1977 and before I came on this lady spent 10 minutes warning people that the language and subject matter was going to be strong and controversial.  It was pretty tame by today's standards though!

The Big Lebowski (1998):  What can I say?  It holds up!  I giggled throughout.

Love and Death (1975): Woody Allen spoofs 19th century Russian love story (a genre I enjoy).  This movie wasn't very strong though... something about it was off.  Maybe too disjointed..

Clockwise (1986): John Cleese stars... this was a sort of amusing light comedy that had its good parts, but it's no A Fish Called Wanda.  Of course I love John Cleese and would watch him in almost anything.

Cutthroat Island (1995): I watched this beast of a movie one morning.  What a spectacle!  As I was watching it I kept thinking, "this must have cost half a billion to make."  Well, apparently it was one of the biggest box office failures ever.  I thought it was pretty entertaining, but was Hollywood at its most garish.

Cold Comfort Farm (1995):  I watched this movie with little expectations, and ended up pleased.  My favorite thing was Kate Beckinsale's wardrobe.  I want that wardrobe!

Ginger Snaps Back, the Beginning (2004): 4.5 out of 10 modern horror film.  Set in the 1880s (I think) but the dialog and delivery was 21st century.  The sets were nice though.  I could have been totally fine never seeing this.

Children of the Corn (1984): I forgot how corny this movie is.. it's really bad.  Most things about it are bad.. everything about it is bad.

Erik the Viking (1989):  Terry Jones movie with a very Python vibe.  I enjoyed this one. 

Sleeper (1973):  Probably my favorite screening all week.  This is why I love Woody Allen.  He was channeling Buster Keaton a little bit.  Not in physical comedy (who could) but visually.  It's kind of a silent film with sound set in the future.