Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Off to Vegas

I think I've been traveling too much over the past decade or so as I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Las Vegas and I have yet to pack a thing. I got the suitcase out, but that is literally the extent of what I've done. I have a lot to do to get ready to go, too. I HAVE to paint my toenails. I refuse to wear sandals w/o painted nails and I don't bother in the winter as I wear shoes and socks constantly here in Michigan. And it'll be warm enough in Vegas for sandals which will feel quite decadent in March. I like to let my nails breathe the winter months. I also want to finish the red mohair scarf that I'm knitting for my friend Lisa. It's close to being finished, I think.

Last night I did the dishes that were sitting in the sink. I refuse to go on vacation and leave dishes in the sink. I figure it would be bad form to do so just in case the plane crashes. The apt. is enough of a mess, they don't need stinky, dirty dishes in the sink, too. I should vacuum since Anna, Schneider's wife, will be taking care of the kids while I'm gone.

Over the last two weekends, I got the majority of the yarn stash organized into plastic tubs that I picked up from Bed, Bath & Beyond (made in the USA) using my multiple BB&B coupons. Did you know that there are people out there who don't know that they never expire? Tragic.

Lent started a good month ago and I never shared with you what I was giving up. Along with the usual junk food deprivation (absolutely no cookies, cake, chips, etc., except for Knitting Night because angel food cake isn't junk food) for the forty days, I've also given up buying yarn, books, CDs & DVDs. SK was not pleased when I said I was giving up yarn buying for Lent because she wanted to go to The World's Greatest Yarn Store. I told her that I would go with her, but she thought that it would be too cruel to have me go to TWGYS when I couldn't buy yarn. I told her that I could buy patterns, but she said, No. I thought that was awfully sweet of her…that and I think she's pretty well aware that she could give up yarn buying for Lent, too, if she were Catholic and not Buddhist. ;-) I.e., she has an even more impressive yarn stash than I have.

Let me put it another way for you. If, for some reason, money were to become worthless and we had to resort to some other form of currency and if that form happened to be yarn, I'd be the Bill Gates of the yarn currency to SK's Warren Buffett.

I've decided also (for now, we'll see how long this lasts) that I can't buy yarn unless there is space in my plastic tubs (meaning I have to knit from the stash and free up room), except for one last order from knitpicks that I have to place once Lent is over – specific yarn chosen by a friend for whom I said I would knit a scarf, and this sock yarn that I wanted but wasn't available until Lent had started. And then that's it. I better do a ton of knitting over the summer if I want to be able to go to Mary Maxim for their massive end of August/Labor Day Weekend Sale.

We have specific plans for Vegas, our trip out of Vegas proper this year will be Death Valley. HRH has a burning desire to go to Death Valley. The really funny part about this is that HRH simply hates being out in nature – but maybe our trips to Zion and Valley of Fire in the past year have made her slightly less queasy about it. Nature gives her the heebie jeebies. She just asked via e-mail if we want to go to Red Rock Canyon on Thursday and I questioned that she wanted to go. She said not really. She would go to the Red Rock casino while we went "snake-hunting." That's what she calls being out in nature – mostly because we hunt for things that will skeeve her out. ;-) What are friends for, if not to laugh at your fears and encourage them? Hell, the LB took a picture of a snake somewhere when he was out hiking and mailed it to both of us and even though she was sitting in her office in TO, she was still freaked out. Wuss. ;-)

Oh, I also need to update the iPod before heading out. There are songs I need to take off and other stuff (I:Scintilla) I need to put on. When will I find the time?

This all means that LL will only have to put up with catblogging this Friday at Fermicat's place as I won't be taking my computer with me. Enjoy it while it lasts, LL!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cat Scratch Saturday

I was out earlier running errands, meeting the sisters for lunch (and the nephew) and I would have sworn there was a full moon out there because people were driving incredibly stupidly. It was as if I were behind only brand-new drivers who had no clue where they were going, besides not knowing that the pedal on the right made the car go forward.

Then I got home and discovered the 12 Hours of Sebring was on and a light went on! Well, obviously, anybody who knows how to drive a car properly was at home watching sport cars taking on a super tough old WWII air base turned race track where I should have been. Go Allan McNish and Audi!!!

Here is Boris pretending he's a Vampire and Igor giving me a look that says, "Please rescue me."

Silly kids.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cat Scratch Saturday #2(3)

I've been debating about today's picture - one of Boris and Igor (the wallpaper on my phone) or a picture of Tikal or Zapata (my previous beloved cats).

And I still haven't decided...I'm going to search for a picture and see what appeals.

I decided on a picture of Boris with a cameo of Tikal.

I know you're all anxiously awaiting the books and movies of February, so here it is. I'm also watching Top Gear, so we'll see how well I summarise them when I'm not completely concentrating.


4. The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer (267 pages) - If you haven't yet discovered Eoin Colfer (then you haven't been reading me for very long, or you've ignored my recommendations - and I'm crushed). He's an Irish writer for the Young Adult genre and he's utterly fabulous. This is (possibly) a one-off (i.e., not part of the Artemis Fowl series, which is supposedly done) and was a little sad (orphans a la Dickens but in the future), but there is, of course, upsides. The premise was that in the future there are no real countries, just areas controlled by different corporations. For some reason, there were lots of orphans who were essentially guinea pigs for the resident corporation - information which comes in handy when the hero orphan escapes and hooks up with a fringe element of three people who are actually the good guys. It's much more novel than I have explained.

5. Airman by Eoin Colfer (412 pages) - This is the latest book by Mr. Colfer and took place before the time of flight on some little island off the coast of Ireland which was its own little country. (Oh, kickass, I love Top Gear, they're playing Joy Division as background music - as if that would ever happen here.) The country had a good king who wanted his citizens to have a good life (vs. the older kings who wanted everything for himself). The king had a daughter, his head of army had a young son who were best friends. Good king is killed by bad element who also kills the tutor of the princess and her best friend. The boy sees it happen, so bad element throws him into the country's smaller island prison (mining diamonds) by pretending he was part of the assassination (but as a different person - it was all very convoluted, but in a way that made sense). He escapes eventually (think of the title of the book) and fixes everything.

6. Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed by Paul Trynka (354 pages) - I was very disappointed with this book, because although it covers Iggy's life up until 2006, it didn't discuss AT ALL the triumphant return of The Stooges to Detroit in 2003. I was already annoyed with Mr. Trynka for calling a lake here in the Detroit area as St. Clair Lake when its name is Lake St. Clair. It's a small editing issue, per se, but if I caught something that BASIC, who knows what else was wrong.

7. The Secret of the Forgotten City #52 by Carolyn Keene (180 pages) - This one was cool because the Forgotten City was in Nevada, not far from Vegas and she even went to The Valley of Fire, which I thought was pretty cool, considering I've been there and could picture some of the locations in the book. I hate to give away the ending, but Nancy finds the Forgotten City with the help of Bess, George, Ned, Dave and Burt. Yes, shocker, I know!

8. The Sky Phantom #53 by Carolyn Keene (180 pages) - We are getting VERY close to the end of the Nancy Drew books and it's making me sad. This is one that I didn't read a jillion times as a child, so I didn't remember what happened. It was one of the more outrageous Nancy Drew books as Nancy (at the tender age of 18) is taking flying lessons and proving herself to a brilliant pilot (along with her skills as a dancer, drawer, painter, actor, horseback rider, skater, skier, etc., from all the other Nancy Drew books). *eyes rolling*

9. The Strange Message in the Parchment #54 by Carolyn Keene (180 pages) - A thought came to me while re-reading the Nancy Drew books over the past few years. And that thought was "Nancy Drew was the precursor for Hart to Hart." What? You're thinking. Yes, you know how the Harts knew everybody in the world - especially those mixed up in some sort of crime or mystery - well, that's Nancy and her father.

10. Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson (196 pages) - I'd say if you want to know about Shakespeare, read this book. Bill Bryson is HILARIOUS and he pulls no punches and tells you what is actually known and even discusses the discrepancies between other books on Shakespeare - essentially, stuff people made up - not out of any real sense of maliciousness or anything, but stuff that just isn't proved out by the evidence. It's short and sweet.

Book of the Month: You know, I really want to pick the Iggy Pop book, but I'm still pissed off, so I'm going with Airman by Eoin Colfer.


6. The 49th Man (1953 - TCM) - This movie was about the smuggling of an atomic bomb (in pieces) into the United States. I thought it was very interesting and well done. I won't give away the ending because that would be wrong. If you like older movies (b/w), definitely check it out.

7. Down By Law (1986 - N) - I was still in the midst of my Jim Jarmusch phase here. This one has Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni as cell mates (the movie starts off showing how they all end up there individually) in a New Orleans prison and shows their adventures of escape and their bid for freedom. It was better than the one I just watched last week (which will be discussed next month, of course - trust me, it won't be the movie of March). In fact, I'd say that of Jarmusch's older films, I have liked this one the best.

8. How to Steal A Million (1966 - K) - For Valentine's Day, I went over to my friend Marianne's house (we got Thai take-away) with other friend Susan to watch movies. I took a bunch of movies and they chose a very fun Audrey Hepburn romantic comedy. I love this movie wholeheartedly. Audrey is gorgeous and sweet and lovely. Peter O'Toole is incredibly handsome and funny. It definitely asks you to suspend your disbelief mechanism and I have no problem. If you have never seen this movie, once again, you haven't been listening to me. Watch it. You will love it.

9. Murder By Death (1976 - K) - I had not seen this movie for many, many, many years, but I remembered the gist. However, as I had no knowledge of The Thin Man movies 30 years ago, some of the spoofs were lost on me back then. I kind of object to Neil Simon making Nick and Nora British - just for the record, that's just wrong. How can you object to a movie with Truman Capote, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Maggie Smith, Peter Sellers, Eileen Brennan, Peter Falk, Nancy Walker, Elsa Lanchester and James Cromwell?

10. Hammett (1982 - N) - I'm starting my Wim Wenders (as well as I can since Netflix is no longer carrying Wings of Desire - pissed me off) film retrospective. The premise here is that Dashiell Hammett has to solve his own mystery using what he knows from writing mystery books. It takes place (obviously) in old San Francisco. It was nicely done and fun to watch with Marilu Henner and Peter Boyle. I would say that it's not Wim's best, but I still liked it.

Movie of the Month: I probably can't pick How To Steal A Million, eh? I'm going to go with The 49th Man. It kept me on the edge of my seat and surprised me at the end.

Now, it's time for Top Gear to have my full attention. James and Richard are racing in Italy - Richard in a 40 year old Ferrari Daytona and James in a fancy ass boat of some sort.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cat Scratch Saturday (Thanks, Red)

I tried to post this this morning, but blogger was misbehaving.

I'm off to Autorama, but here is Saturday Catblogging. I started an entry this week, but didn't get very far.

This picture of Igor was taken by my friend Rick.

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