11 December 2014

+JMJ+

Twelve Things about Interstellar

12. The whole point of this movie is space exploration, but I find the backstory of the earth equally fascinating. We're not really supposed to question the arrival of the dust storms and blight that are devastating the world's ability to grow food--both because they're stand-ins for "global warming" (which is untouchable) and because they're meant to be a Macguffin, anyway--but there's more to this future/alternate universe than nature going haywire. This is also a world in which a student gets in trouble for bringing in an old textbook that contradicts a new "corrected" version's assertion that the Apollo moon landing had been a massive hoax to trick the Soviets. I would have liked to spend more time wandering around there, Sliders-style. (Oh, have you seen my Sliders "episode guides"?)

11. The little that we do see of this world is wrapped up in the experiences of a single family--but not in the two-dimensional sense that has been the death of many a modern cinematic epic. (I was positive about this trope in my review of 2012, but its Curtis family is a cartoon caricature next to this film's Cooper family.) That is, this isn't "Save the family, save the world," but more like "Save the world, save the family." Which happens to be more theologically correct.

In any case, that's how one character spins it to the father, who must be convinced to accept a mission that requires him to leave his children and possibly never see them grow up. But if he doesn't do it, they will die of either starvation or suffocation, when the earth finally gives out--for it won't be long before that happens.

10. If you're wondering how the mother feels about this, well, here's the part that first made me want to write this post: she's dead.

07 December 2014

+JMJ+

Knitting Diary: New Cowl

Thanks to my knitting obsession, everyone in my family has a new vocabulary word: cowl. My love for these neckwarmers was born long before I ever knit one--and is the reason I turned what would have been Cathy's Scarf into Cathy's Cowl. But It took a while before I got to work on one for myself.

You see, I hardly ever begin with a design that I try to match to yarn, but almost always begin with yarn that I try to match to a design. And none of the creepy pastels that I pilfered from my late grandmother's stash seemed worthy of something as glorious as a cowl. It was not until an aunt in the US took pity on me and sent over two balls of Caron One Pound in Sunflower that I started the Knitted Infinity Scarf pictured on the left.

02 December 2014

+JMJ+

Happy New Slump!

Whenever other book bloggers moan that they're experiencing a reading or blogging slump, my (totally unsolicited and probably annoying) advice is for them to enjoy it: if one area of your life is slowing down, that just means that another area is speeding up! So look on the bright side and take advantage of it. =D Well, the time has come for me to follow my own counsel.

I had wanted to finish the Frankenstein readalong in November, but to be honest, I haven't even finished Frankenstein! =P And although I did read another faerie tale retelling for Locus Focus, it took me forever and I'm not really sure how to start the post about it. I'm still committed to finishing both of those short-term projects, but they'll take a longer time than expected. I'm sorry about that.

What I can promise for this month, for those who are still interested in coming here, are some Knitting Diary entries. Blogging and reading have been slow, but you can bet that all sorts of practical stuff, like crafting and cooking, are getting done.

So how is everyone else doing? Are the usual things in your life proceeding as they usually do, or have you also noted some slowing down in one area and speeding up in another?

26 November 2014

+JMJ+

Banned Books and Bratty Readers

Remember that time on The O.C. when Marissa wanted to get back at her snobby, social climbing mother by dating the yard guy?

Marissa Cooper was a mess wasn't she?
Now imagine her as a reader . . . LOL!

Yeah, he was good looking and had a nice personality--but there's a reason I had to look him up by googling "The O.C. Marissa Hispanic guy." She would have dated him even if he had been a troll in appearance and manner. The point was to show her racist mother up. It's too bad that she could only do it by being racist herself. To his credit, D.J. (Yes, I finally learned his name) didn't let himself be played by either the mother or the daughter, and his short arc on The O.C. has some real class. (Sarcastic voice in my head: "Yeah, social class." Shut up, stupid voice, and let me finish this post.)

I always mean to post this during "Banned Books Week", the most self-congratulatory sennight in the book blogging calendar, in which we pat ourselves on the back for being open-minded enough to read books which people whom we don't respect didn't like. (I wonder what Tyler Durden would say.) But I always post stuff off schedule, and well, some readers are bratty all weeks of the year. Like, R****** S*******, who inspired me to give this post another go, inasmuch as she shares the book blogging community's consensus that authors should be "nice" or be blacklisted. We don't like it when other people take away our "freedom to read," but we've done our fair share to take away some authors' "freedom to be read."

I'll bet that any author who wishes for the windfall that comes from having a book "challenged" . . .

21 November 2014

+JMJ+

"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 111

If I bring up Stephenie Meyer's Twilight up a lot during our discussions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, that's because the latter is the unacknowledged great-grandfather of the former. Edward Cullen is the perfect blend of Frankenstein and his Creature . . . if you overlook the sparkling. But seriously, the Romantic ideal of being lonely and lost in a beautiful but comfortless world, until you find the individual who is the perfect and only mate for you, is believed by both Edward and the Creature. And the idea that you yourself can have a hand in creating this individual is explored by both Meyer and Shelley.

. . . a train of reflection occurred to me, which led me to consider the effects of what I was now doing. Three years before I was engaged in the same manner, and had created a fiend whose unparalleled barbarity had desolated my heart, and filled it for ever with the bitterest remorse. I was now about to form another being, of whose dispositions I was alike ignorant; she might become ten thousand times more malignant than her mate, and delight, for its own sake, in murder and wretchedness. He had sworn to quit the neighbourhood of man, and hide himself in deserts; but she had not; and she, who in all probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation. They might even hate each other; the creature who already lived loathed his own deformity, and might he not conceive a greater abhorrence for it when it came before his eyes in the female form? She also might turn with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of being deserted by one of his own species.

But if you really think about it, the Frankenstein of Twilight is Carlisle Cullen, the vampire who turned Edward and the rest of his coven . . . and who would have been willing to turn Bella had Edward continued to refuse. Something that I've long felt the Twilight series fails to explain is why Edward has always had only admiration and affection for his "sire," when he himself is so ambivalent about what he was turned into.

17 November 2014

+ JMJ +

Knitting Diary: My First Hat

Did I really say did knitting has made ​​me "methodical"? ROFLMAO! It didn't take me long after I did to revert back to my old self--the self that can't follow recipes without tweaking them a little. For it turns out that you can have a similar approach to a knitting pattern! In my case, it's not because I want to misbehave, but because I discover along the way that I made ​​some unintentional mistakes that mean I will not be able to follow the original design as rigidly as I've committed to. . . and so need to improvise.

Take what happened when I decided to make the Fresco Simply Slouched Hat that you see on the left.

11 November 2014

+JMJ+

"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 110

Do you like finding books within books? I do! It's nice when characters are also readers. =) It strains credulity a bit that the Creature learned how to read while observing other people doing it, from outside the latter's home . . . but no more than that he should just happen to stumble across some pretty good books in the wilderness. So let's just accept it, aye?

I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings that sometimes raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest dejection. In the Sorrows of Werter, besides the interest of its simple and affecting story, so many opinions are canvassed, and so many lights thrown upon what had hitherto been to me obscure subjects, that I found in it a never-ending source of speculation and astonishment . . .

As I read, however, I applied much personally to my own feelings and condition. I found myself similar, yet at the same time strangely unlike to the beings concerning whom I read, and to whose conversation I was a listener. I sympathised with, and partly understood them, but I was unformed in mind; I was dependent on none and related to none. 'The path of my departure was free'; and there was none to lament my annihilation. My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to solve them.

The other two books are Plutarch's Lives and John Milton's Paradise Lost--and together the three make an odd collection. It's true that the purpose of literature is to teach us what our immediate experience cannot, and these books certainly expand the Creature's intellectual world. But they seem to be here mostly for contrast, for the effect that these worthy classics have on him is nothing compared to the effect of some other reading material that he finds in his own pocket: his creator's journal entries.