Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Knitting Knews

Here is the promised picture of the scarf I finished yesterday:

Instead of casting on something new, I went back and picked this one up.


I'd started this several months ago, but set it aside when Shelly requested scarves in manly colors. I'm fresh out of masculine yarn, so I'm going to finish knitting up what I have on hand, then I'll look for manly colors.

I've also cast on a new pair of socks, which I need to get photos of.

Cody came home from school complaining of not feeling well. I took his temperature, and it is slightly elevated. He is supposed to be laying down, but he isn't. I got no sympathy.

Movie Review--Eragon

The story of Eragon takes place in a fictional land which is protected by fire breathing dragons and the ones who ride them. These brave men and women are called Dragonriders. They have a telepathic connection to their dragons, and communicate by thought rather than speech.

In the not too distant past, one Dragonrider grew hungry for power and killed all of the other riders and their dragons. He then crowned himself king and ruled the land with an iron fist. High taxes, forced conscription, poverty and oppression became the norm for the people of this land.

As the story opens, a young woman has stolen a stone from the king and is riding for her life. The king's henchmen, led by the shade Durza, close in on her, so she magically sends the stone to another part of the forest. It is found by a young farm boy named Eragon. The stone turns out not to be a stone, but an egg, which hatches into a dragon. The farm boy and his dragon, Saphira, become the last hope of the people of this land.

Now, I have not read the book, so I can only judge by the movie. The book was written by a 15 year old boy named Christopher Paolini, and you can tell. The dialogue is cliche and the humor juvenile. Even the names he gives the characters sound childish. Compare Paolini's "Urgals" to Tolken's "Uruk Hai." Compare Paolini's "Varden" to Tolkien's "Rohirrim". It leaves a lot to be desired.

The hero is rather unbelievable. A farm boy who suddenly becomes an adept warrior who leads and army of people much older than him into battle isn't credible. A dragon who grows from a hatchling to a dragon big enough to ride in the space of 5 minutes just stretches the imagination a little too far. Yes, I know it's fantasy, but even in fantasy, the story has to be believable, as if in that fantasy world, these things really could happen.

The characters never truly develop. I mean, the boy learns to do magic, but his character remains shallow and superficial. What about his growth as a boy becoming a man? His development of character as a human being? This kind of depth is barely hinted at, and never truly develops.

Probably the worst part of this movie is that there is not an original idea anywhere in it. It's like the author took a copy of Lord of the Rings, and a copy of The Dragonriders of Pern, and put them into a blender. He threw in a dash of Star Wars, changed the names, and viola, you have Eragon. The boy Eragon is easily a combination of Luke Skywalker and Frodo Baggins. Brom the Storyteller is no more than a shadowy imitation of Aragorn. Even the final battle scene was almost a direct copy of the battle of Helm's Deep. Honestly, I kept expecting Theoden to pop out of somewhere and declare, "The horn of Hamm Hammerhand will sound in the deep one last time".

Eragon is not a bad movie, if you like shallow characters and pedantic and predictable plots, but if you've ever watched The Lord Of The Rings, you may get the feeling you've seen this story before--and in much better form.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where Oh Where

has my blogging mojo gone?

I've got four or five posts rattling around in my head, but can't seem to find the impetus to sit down and commit them to keyboard.

It's Wednesday, and I still haven't finished my post game entry from Sunday's Dallas-Tampa Bay game. When that happens, you know the mojo has gone on a serious vacation.

I finished the charity scarf I started Sunday, and cast on a new pair of socks. Cody is finally done with after school band practices, and this weekend will be his last marching contest, so that ought to free up some time.

That's about it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cookies

By request, here is the recipe for the cookies I made Sunday.

1 cup butter--softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

Mix in flour, 1 cup at a time.

Bake at 350' for 10-12 minutes.

Because I am allergic to eggs, I used ground flax seed and water as a substitute. It worked great, and gave the cookies a really rich flavor. This recipe works well with cookie stamps.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Change Of Plans

I was going to write my post game football entry today, but I think I'll go to bed early instead.

Goodnight.

PJs

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How I Spent My Sunday

I knit.

I knit some more.

I knit even more.

And I baked cookies.


Oh, yeah. And I watched football.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

What better way to spend a day?

A Sigh Of Relief

Still without guard Kyle Kosier,

Still without cornerbacks Terence Newman and Pacman Jones,

Still without running back Felix Jones,

Still without quarterback Tony Romo,

And for much of the game, without tight end Jason Witten and cornerback Anthony Henry

I expected the worst.


They had to play Tampa Bay with half a team. And Tampa has been tough this year. Real tough.

Still, the Dallas defense stood firm and held the Bucs to only 9 points. Good thing, too. The offense, led by Brad "I won't be here next year" Johnson,

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
didn't do much of anything. Two field goals and one touchdown.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
A win is a win, but they're going to have to do better if they hope to win next week against the Giants. Much better.

Frankly, I just don't see it happening.

.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gratuitous

Colt McCoy photo

(photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Pre-Scheduled Post

Because I don't know if I'll have time to post today, here are a few pictures to get you by until tomorrow.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Shawl Picture

as promised:


I haven't worked on it today. I've been trying to finish my monkey socks and give Dani a little time to catch up a bit.

And for your viewing pleasure, my Halloween Tree.


I've spent the rest of the day getting ready for my test tomorrow. If you will excuse me, I need to go find my mouth guard.

Art Quiz

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual

22 Renaissance, 18 Islamic, -2 Ukiyo-e, -35 Cubist, -34 Abstract and 18 Impressionist!


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.


People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more concientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'd Better Be Ready

Today was my last class before my nidan test. There are actually three of us testing. One is testing for shodan, and two of us for nidan. Sensei has been working us pretty hard these last few weeks. It was so nice compared to my preparation for my shodan--"go over in the corner by yourself and figure out what you will need to know for your test."

The three of us testing have been leading the basics. Not a big deal for me. I've been doing that since I was a green belt. The one testing for shodan, though, it was his first time. He didn't even know how to count when we started.

We've also been going over kata every class--and not just seisan. We've gone all the way through sunsu. The guy who is head of IKA will be at the test. He is really big on synchronized kata, so we have been practicing that. Personally, I don't like it. I don't feel that I can do my best kata if I've got to worry about staying synchronized with someone else--especially if there is someone from another dojo who might not do his kata exactly the way we do.

The last thing we did tonight was some self defense. We did realistic self defense, too, not just simulated drills in which the attacker doesn't really attack. Sensei picked three of the bigger men in the class to attack us--three on one. It got pretty rough there, but it was kinda fun.

And that was it. That's all the training I'm going to get before my test, so I'd better be ready.

If I'm not, then I won't be on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crazy Busy Week

It has been one crazy busy week. Two weeks, really. I'm hoping that after my test Saturday, things will calm down some and I can get back to real posting.

Would you believe in the midst of all this craziness, I've finished chart B of Mystic Waters?

Pictures soon...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Re-Runs

Daffodil

Pine Cones

Misty Morning

Onyx

Because the writing muse has been strangely silent here lately, you get pictures. These are some re-runs from earlier in the year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ugly Sunday

It was an ugly Sunday here this weekend. The Cowboys and the Colts both lost--and by identical scores: 34-14, and both to teams they should have beaten. The Colts lost to Green Bay and the Cowboys lost to the Rams Dude. It was not a pretty sight.

The good news is, Cody's band won Grand Champion again at their contest, the Tennessee Valley Invitational in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

On the knitting front, I finished a charity scarf:

I'm not sure what the yarn is. This is some that Shelly sent me, and it didn't have a label on it. I think it's Red Heart Light and Lofty. The pattern is simple garter stitch. I'd started this one a couple of weeks ago when I was sitting with Aunt Martha. I needed something that I didn't have to pay too much attention to.

Feeling like I was on a roll, I started another:

This yarn also didn't have a label, but I believe it is Lion Brand Homespun. Again, the pattern is simple garter stitch.

I finally broke down and turned the heater on this morning, and Cody said, "Thank you."

I need some hot chocolate.

.

An Ugly Day In St. Louis

Without punter Mat McBriar,

Without running back Felix Jones,

Without cornerbacks Terrence Newman and Pacman Jones,

Without wide receiver and special teams player Sam Hurd,

Without left guard Kyle Kosier, safety Pat Watkins, and linebackers Anthony Spencer and Kevin Burnett,

Without quarterback Tony Romo,

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
It was an ugly day in St Louis.

It started off well enough. The Cowboys, led by veteran backup quarterback Brad Johnson,

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
on their first possession, marched efficiently down the field and took the lead on a one yard run by Marion Barber.

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
After that, things just fell apart. Johnson was unable to get anything going, finishing the game with only 17 of 34 passes completed, for a 50% completion percentage. He also had 3 interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of just 45.5.

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
On the other side of the ball, the Rams sliced through the Cowboys defense, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. The defense tightened up a bit after that, holding the Rams to one touchdown and two field goals. But it was too little, too late.

Early in the second half, Cowboys fans began chanting "Romo! Romo!" from the stands, but the injured quarterback remained firmly on the bench.

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The game was pretty much over by this time, anyway. The Cowboys offense couldn't move the ball at all after the half. A touchdown pass to Martellus Bennet with two minutes left in the game was nothing more than a consolation score. The finality of it was Rams 34, Cowboys 14.

This was supposed to be the easiest of the three games Tony is expected to miss. It should have been a fairly easy win, despite all the injuries. Maybe not a blowout, but the last thing it should have been is a blowout for the Rams. There is far too much talent on this Cowboys team for them to be playing so poorly. Something is missing. Passion? Enthusiasm? Killer instinct? Toughness? Grit? Determination? I don't know. What I do know is that if this team, with Brad Johnson at the helm, can't handle the Rams Dude, there's no way they can handle the Bucs or the Giants. This team, once Superbowl favorites, is now going to be lucky to even make the playoffs.

At the end of the day, all they could do, coaches

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
and players alike
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

could hang their heads and wonder what has gone so terribly wrong in Dallas.

.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Is In The House

Saturday Sky Photo:

What with all those green leaves still on the trees, it hardly looks like fall outside. Inside, however, it a different story, as I have been putting out my fall decorations:



It's been getting pretty chilly these last couple of nights. Down into the 40s, but I've been trying to avoid turning on the heater as long as I can. It may come on tonight, however.

In football news, LSU won, though I didn't get to see the game. I was watching Texas play Missou. They didn't succumb to either the SI cover curse, or the curse of being #1. They handily defeated Missou 56-31. They will most likely retain their #1 standing, and will probably be ranked #1 in the BCS standings when they come out.

Gratuitous Colt McCoy photo:

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

I've got to go pick up Cody at 4 AM, so I'm going to bed now.

Goodnight.

Friday, October 17, 2008

At Last

The long awaited first pictures of Mystic Waters:

I'm on chart B, and the charts go through I. It's gonna be a long ride until this one's done. But so far, I'm enjoying knitting it. It's a very large shawl, but not that complicated.

I'm loving this yarn, too. It's the first time I've ever knit with it and I'm really liking the sheen and drape it has.

Cody has another band contest tomorrow, so I'll have the day to myself again. It won't be an overnight trip, though it might as well be. They won't get home until around 4:00 AM Sunday morning.

Oh, that reminds me...Monday as I was walking out of the football stadium after band night, a lady stopped me and said, "You have a bug on your back. I'm just going to knock it off." I thanked her and, after she had knocked the bug off, walked on. That night I dreamed that I was walking around in a pet store. I had the same blue fleece jacket on that I'd worn to band night. Well, I was walking around and a lady stopped me and said, "You have a dead tarantula on your back. I'm just going to knock it off for you."

The next night I dreamed that Cody and I had gone to a zoo. It was a small zoo, and I've visited it in my dreams before. This time, Cody took the lions' cage apart and the lions got out and were walking around the zoo. We were walking and came upon a big male lion. I told Cody we needed to go get into the car, so he couldn't get us. Cody replied that he had a steak and was going to try to lure the lion back into its cage with the meat. I wondered what good that would do since he'd taken the cage apart and was carrying it around with him in a shopping cart. I went and got into the car, while Cody started waving the meat at the lion. The lion was more interested in Rylea, who was hopping on three legs across the parking lot. She started to growl at the lion, but took one look at him and came and got into the car with me. At that point, the lion turned and started following Cody and his steak back into the zoo. I woke up without ever knowing if the lion was safely caged again.

Ok, as if that weren't enough, the next night, I dreamed I was having abdominal pains, so I went to the hospital get an ultrasound. The technician asked me exactly where I was hurting, and I indicated my lower left abdomen. She palpated the spot, and told me that I had about 20 minutes before my appendix ruptured, so she was going to rush me into emergency surgery. She pushed the gurney I was laying on into the hallway outside the operating room, called out that I had an appendix that was about to burst and needed surgery immediately, and left. I laid there on the gurney for about two hours, and nobody ever came out to get me. Not only that, she had forgotten to put the brake on, and my gurney kept rolling around, bouncing off the walls and such. Somehow I ended up on a landing in the middle of a flight of steps. A man in scrubs came down the steps and asked me what I was doing there. In my Demerol induced haze, I answered that I was waiting to have my appendix removed because it was about to burst and I hoped they would get to me before it did. He asked me how long I had been waiting, and I told him about two hours. He began yelling, and the doctors and nurses came out of the operating room. He really chewed them out for leaving me there unattended when I might die without emergency surgery because they were too busy to come out and check on me, and who was it that left me there in the first place. Then he took them all off to his office to write them up, leaving me there on the landing, alone. BTW, your appendix is on your right side. I don't know how it ended up on my left in the dream.

Sheesh, is it any wonder I never seem to get any rest?

So that I don't leave you on a sour note, here are a couple of pictures I took this morning. It is the same flower, with two slightly different compositions. It was really hard to get these pictures, because the wind was blowing so hard that the flowers wouldn't be still. I took a lot of bad ones to get these two:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

You Know You've Got A Problem

when you'd rather knit lace than sleep!

Dani and I have finally cast on our Mystic Waters shawls!

I am doing mine in Knit Picks Gloss Lace yarn in the colorway Mermaid. Appropriate, don't you think?

I'll try to get progress Photos up tomorrow.

I'll try to get a real post up tomorrow, too. This has been one busy kind of week!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Birthday Pictures

Fifteen candles

Aunt Martha
B
Birthday Pie
Opening the Card
And the present
Aunt Martha got a present too.

She told me to make her something pretty, so I gave her Garden Party.

She said she couldn't wait to get back home to show it off.

Happy Birthday, Cody!

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