In Bruges

Things I generally like include Irishmen, funny crime plots and characters, on location filming where the place becomes a secondary character, and Ralph Fiennes playing an evil bastard. He wears it well; he’s always disturbingly attractive when being a supreme psycho except when he’s Voldemort. I really liked this movie. It was funny yet had some very decent moments of poignancy, the usual dose of good acting from a British-Irish film (expect nothing less), and a very good script from first time feature director Martin McDonagh. Colin Farrell fit nicely in this flick. I’ve never found him particularly attractive and generally do not watch most of the films he’s in, but he can have pretty entertaining and decent turns in such things as Daredevil and Minority Report. He’s better when he keeps his accent, and sticks to comedy with appropriate amounts of drama. McDonagh is originally a playwright, and at certain points in the film, it does feel rather like a theatre play mostly in terms of characterizations and in the deep moments. One can definitely compare it to Layer Cake or Guy Ritchie films which are also British movies about criminals and feature violence, this one has a more sober note and setting yet still remains hilarious throughout. I look forward to McDonagh’s future films, and hopefully he works with Brendan Gleeson (already their second project), Fiennes, and Farrell again as he knows how to use them.

Vinland

Project 174/365 - Vinland Socks

As much as I like toe-up sock patterns, this pattern bored me quite early on. The pattern is well written and charted though especially since it is designed for people for small and wide feet making it versatile. Sadly, I think it was the chart that made me indifferent. The foot is fine since half the sock is stockinette, but the leg takes forever as you do the chart on the front and back. Maybe it was all those purls and m1s; it did not make for mindless knitting. I just grew really bored with it, and rushed to finish the socks so I could move on to something else. Both the socks have a shorter leg than the pattern or I would like. For my size 7 feet, I did four chart reps on the leg, and four more on the leg.

I did a lot of my usual mods. I love the Judy Magic CO, learned a new method to do increases for the toe, and I used a different BO than the recommended k2p2 grafting (see below). Once again, I used misocrafty’s short row heel tutorial which claims hole less heels, but for some really strange reason, I always got holes on one side of the heel and not the other. Namely the side where you pick up wraps from the RS side. The other side of the heel is perfect. I experimented with picking the wraps in front, in purl, in the back, etc., but it still looked sloppy and holey. Next time, I am going to pick up the wraps on that side of the heel the “normal” way for a short row heel or learn another heel altogether.

Vinland, started August 17th 2008, finished September 3rd, 2008 Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Vinland by Becca Compton in The AntiCraft Ravelry Pattern Page
Size: 8.5″ foot circumference
Yarn: Regia Loop Color (75% New Wool/25% Nylon – 100g – 460 yards ) #5763 – 1 ball
Needles: #1/2.25mm 100cm/40″ circulars magic looping
Modifications: Judy Magic Cast On, misocrafty short row toe, and the following BO from Grumperina: “Work 2 sts in pattern (either knit or purl). Move yarn to back (if the last worked st was a knit, this is already the case). * Transfer the 2 worked sts to the LH needle, and k2togTBL. Work 1 st in pattern (move yarn to back if it was a purl), * repeat between *.”
Cost of Project: Yarn was on sale for less than $10/ball, but can’t remember exact price
Would I knit it again? If I did, I wouldn’t do the chart on the back of the leg. Otherwise, it’s unlikely.

Booking Through Thursday — Peer Pressure

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?  – BTT

I havre actually read books that everyone else is reading before including the Twilight books, and a few years ago, The Da Vinci Code. I do it on occasion and what really convinces me to read popular books is when someone I know has already done so. In the case of Twilight, a lot of people I know liked it and I decided to give it a try. It does not hurt to give a book a try, but at the same time, I do not have many bibliophiles for friends and the pressure tends to be for books we have similar interest in. If the book is critically acclaimed or won an award, I am also more inclined, but sheer bestselling numbers does not always pursuade me. Resisting reading a book is not the same as resisting watching a television show for me; maybe, it’s easier to stop reading a book or finish it earlier. I usually can find some or at least one positive in the books. As a reviewer, I feel there is no obligation to keep up with current trends especially since I read and review so many books that are old. I do like contemporary books too, but it does not mean I follow trends..

Aristocrats

Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832 by Stella Tillyard is the biography of four high born sisters. As with many of the books I read, this languidly lay in the TBR for awhile. This one for almost a year, but I have quite forgotten where I read or learned about the books only observing that it seemed well criticised and popular enough for the BBC to make mini series on it. It is a thick history book around 450 pages hardcover and very in depth as it covers the lives of these four women. While I enjoy history immensely, I actually do read that many historical books, and to be honest, many of them are dry. This one was not only well researched, but Tillyard makes the prose feel, at times, as if one is reading a novel rather than a distant historical account. There are many academics who are readable and comprehensive, and there are many who are far from it. Tillyard is not only readable, but her writing is accessible to the public which is why this book is a bit of an oddity being very historical, biographical, and a best seller. As a result, one learns a lot about the lives of people in the UK and Ireland in the 18th century. It is not necessarily a page turner for everyone though, and I really only picked it up because I am interested in history, but you may not be curious if aristocrats, rich dead people, biographies, and English/Irish history are not your things. An interesting read none the less.

This six episode BBC series which also aired on PBS Masterpiece in 1999. I had not heard of it until I knew of the book which goes to show you that the series is not the most excellent. I have seen better to be sure even in the British costume drama. I do not think it’s necessarily a bad series; it’s actually difficult to adapt because it is a true story. The adaptors were quite faithful, and I think as with most series of this type, the acting and cast make the most of it. I quite liked Geraldine Somerville as Emily; she is very attractive in it. I did not like the Emily voice over, and the portrayal of Caroline’s storyline left me feeling depressed. The portrayal of Sarah at the beginning was difficult to see though. All in all, I thought it okay because it was a bit slow, but it did not merit too much censure or negativity. I’d take the book any day though.

Monthly Movies 08/08

Only two films in August. For many reasons, I read more, I knit more, and the Olympics were on. Also, I have been saving and storing my films for my move afraid that I will not be able to watch as many movies in my new home.

Waitress (19 08 08) – Not actually a romantic comedy as the trailers lead you to believe. It does have great chemistry between Keri Russell and the criminally hot Nathan Fillion, and lots of implausibility as you do in rom-coms. Also Andy Griffith. Pacing can be a bit slow, and there really is never enough NF, but cute flick.
Serenity (20 08 08) – Yes, I needed another excuse to watch NF again, and this time, Chiwetel Ejiofor was along for the ride. I’ve liked CE since Dirty, Pretty, Things. That reminds me that I want to see Kinky Boots, but have trouble finding a copy. In any case, I only saw one or two episodes of Firefly while it was on air. It’s a great cast, but the writing or the space cowboy concept never grabbed me. The Southern accents can be jarring. Decent sci-fic flick which is chilling and intense. Very Whedonesque.

Total: 2

Reading Challenges 08/08

Another good reading month as I completed 12 books, including many classics and nonfiction. Sadly. I think things will start slowing down in September.

Current Challenges

Personal Challenges

  • 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die – 92
  • TBR Books I Own Pile – Summer

Completed Challenges