Saturday, November 26, 2005

I'm sorry, pardon?

So, I was walking home the other day from my Thursday errands, just bopping along to my iPod. (Sidenote: it was 20 below! Didn't feel super cold, though - I officially love my winter jacket.) This little old lady was standing by the side of the road, and she looked at me and said something. I took off my headphones and said, 'Pardon?' She said something I didn't quite catch, and gestured like she was trying to get to the other side of the road. I asked, 'Would you like me to help you across the road?', like the good little Scout I am. She sort of indicated no, and made to move up onto the sidewalk. I offered the crook of my arm, and off we went down the sidewalk.

Now, I don't know if this lady was just highly accented or what, but I'm sure she wasn't speaking English all the time. Languages I think she may have been speaking:

1. French
2. Spanish
3. Portuguese
4. Greek
5. Italian
6. All of the above

She looked kind of Greek, and every once in a while I'd catch an 'allez' or whatever, but most of the time I had
no idea what she was saying - and she never stopped talking. We just went toddling down the road, me trying to be slow and gentle (she was maybe all of 5 feet tall) and let her lead. There were a few times when she would say something that sounded sort of English-y, and I'd ask her to repeat herself, and it would turn out she was asking me where my mother was. I told her Vancouver, and she went off in her soft little voice about Vancouver. It was really kind of nice: gorgeous and sunny out, doing a good deed, a nice reassuring grandma type at your elbow - what's not to like? (OK, technically it would have been better if there was a nice Orlando Bloom type at my elbow, but hey.)

Now, after a while I started wondering where we were going. Clearly I had no pressing engagements, but ... It was around that time she stopped in front of a gas station and sort of indicated I was to leave her. I stepped forward a bit and looked back, and she was making sweet little old lady gestures that clearly indicated 'go on, now'. I felt a bit like a kindly old dog in an old Disney movie that had to leave the farm and couldn't understand why. I don't understand that lady, but it was nice.

Today, I went to a craftsale. I didn't sell much (the table ren
tal was $10 and I sold $12 worth), but I guess it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I meant to get the photos up yesterday, but I was tired, dang it.

I did some t-shirts with iron-on designs. These were my
two favourite:

Speaking of apparel, I also made a ton of scarves, but they're pretty boring. Just garter stitch novelty yarn. Maybe someday when I'm not tired of uploading photos I'll show them.

I made these pins from old earrings. I sold the green one.

Knitting needles made from dowels and Sculpey.

Bowls made from melted records. I was amazed that people hadn't seen these before. Apparently to those who don't check Craftster every time they turn on their computers, this is a totally new innovation. And now that I don't leave them in the oven for ten minutes like I did the first time I tried it years ago, it's officially the easiest craft EVER. Seriously: the part that takes the longest, not counting going to the thrift store, is preheating the oven. I sold two of these; not the ones below. They're just my favourites.

Journals made from old record album covers. I made them with the coptic stitch so they open nice and flat. I made the bowls from the records that came with. It's so cool to be resourceful like that and get so much for $0.49, I think.

Both this one and the next one are from the soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey. The top is my favourite of all the journals.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Silver Bells

It's snowing outside.
Sorry, I don't think you quite get me.
This is the third time it's snowed. The first time it didn't stick. The second time it did - about 2-3". It was pretty. And it's true what they say - it really does warm up to snow. I am wearing my winter coat and such most days, but mostly it's to cut the wind.
This snow outside is FAT flakes. Huge. It's so beautiful.
And you know what? This means I have carte blanche to listen to as much Christmas music as I want. I have snow, I get songs that mention snow. I'm sorry, I cannot wait for the 1st to start the music. Now my aunt, she hears the music and she starts mentioning hauling out the tree. (It's artificial. This household is all about the allergies.) Now THAT is crazy talk. No trees in November. Nyet, nada, zip. Especially if they don't smell.
I'm working my tail off right now for a craft fair. I only found out about it yesterday and it is . . . Saturday. Wish me luck. No, I don't have anything else to do right now, why do you ask? *trying to ignore lurking shadows of unconfirmed application to second craft fair, two papers, way too many readings and two midterms. Not to mention Christmas gifts and way too many Craftster swaps*

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Swap Info

OK, the majority of people who read my blog will have no idea what I'm yammering on about in this post, so feel free to ignore. The thing is, I take part in a forum called Craftster, and a section is craft swaps, where there's a theme (for example, some that I've done are a scarf swap, Renaissance swap, and a mix cd swap) and you make handcrafted items that you send to your partner and they do the same for you! It's very fun. But obviously, you don't know your swap partner so it can be kind of hard to figure out what to make them. Every swap has a couple questions aiming to help your swapper out, but I saw another crafter answer all the questions (there's a master list that the questions for individual swaps are often culled from) on her blog to help out potential swappers. And, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery...
Random things
Do you keep a journal/art sketch book?
I like to try to keep a little one with me to jot down notes or doodles.
Do you have any pets? Yes, a blue Betta (Siamese fighting fish) named Horatio.
Do you have any kids (ages)? Nope.
Do you have a portable CD player, mobile phone, or iPod? Yes, all three, though I don't use the CD player as much any more. Cell phone is 1.5 x 4 x 1". iPod is a shuffle.
Do you need another random trinket box? Nope, not really.
Do you need something to carry your knitting/sewing with you? No, I carry embarrasingly large Mary Poppins bags as it is.
Do you need a CD case/folder thing? No.
What crafts do you do/want to do? I knit mostly, and also do some jewelry, iron-ons and general crafty stuff like decoupage.
What crafts do you admire? Embroidery, quilting, sewing.
Do you collect anything? Nope.

Do you wear earrings?
Do you wear bracelets/cuffs? Sometimes.
What's your wrist size? 6-3/4"
Do you wear necklaces? Yes.
Do you want gold or silver findings? I prefer silver but it's not a big deal.

What is your shirt size?
XL women's, M men's.
What is your shoe size? 10 US. I don't think Asian and European sizes go so high as to accomodate these scuba flippers.
Would you like some clothes made for you? No thanks.

What is your favourite colour?
Green, blue.
What is your favourite colour to go with your favourite colour? Blue, green. Actually, I think chocolate brown looks gorgeous next to sky blue.
Do you have a favorite animal you would like something made with? Tattoo-style koi are neato.
Do you have a favorite TV series you would like something made with? I like Futurama (esp. Zoidberg and Zapp Branigan), House, Lost, CSI (but only Las Vegas), and Blackadder (especially Goes Forth).
Do you have a favorite book you would like something made with? The Discworld series, esp. the City Watch books; Narnia, Neil Gaiman's Sandman or A Little Princess.
What is your favorite food? Just off the top of my head, mangoes. Oh, and Starbucks flavoured lattes.
What is your favorite smell? I'm guessing this means candle-style artificial scents - in that case, cinnamon.

Allergies & Aversions
Are there any colors you hate?
A lot of shades of red, muddy shades of orange or brown, and ash grey.
Would you dislike receiving items made from animal products? Cool with wool, not so much with hides like fur or leather.
Is there anything you would rather not receive because of religious references? I don't mind iconography - in fact, I love little laughing Buddhas and paintings of the Madonna and such - but not so keen on being converted, not that I'm presuming anyone on Craftster would try to do such a thing through a swap.
Is there anything else you would dislike? Nope.
Do you have any actual allergies? Not to anything you should be sending through the mail.

What are your favorite movies?
The Apartment, Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the Horatio Hornblower movies (especially Mutiny and Retribution), Gone With the Wind, Beauty & the Beast, Ghost World, The Princess Bride, A Knight's Tale, The Lion King, Wayne's World, The Nightmare Before Christmas, all the Pixar movies, both of the Fantasia movies, Mean Girls, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Amelie, the original Star Wars trilogy, Singin' in the Rain and many more.
Who is your favorite person from those movies? I can't choose just one: Jack Skellington, Jack Sparrow, Miss Kubelik, Amelie, Belle, Scarlett O'Hara, Dory . . .
Who is the best dresser on TV? I really couldn't say.
Who are your celebrity crushes? Uh, my parents read this blog . . . fine, Eric Szmanda, George Eads (both from CSI), Hugh Laurie (House), Naveen Andrews (Lost), Ioan Griffudd, Clive Owen.
Who is the best cartoon character? Belle, Roger Rabbit, the entire cast of the Lion King, Dory, and more that I can't think of right now.


So, I was walking back from Value Village today and the last half of Abbey Road came on my iPod. It was perfect. I was thinking about what a huge impact this album has - not upon the music world, but on the people who hear it. I realize that's not really clarifying: what I mean is, my reaction and my brother's reaction and Stefan's reaction to this album. It's unmistakeable, like Shakespeare or Vermeer - some things are just pure quality.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (off the A side of Abbey Road, ya philistines). I was in my room late one winter night - this must have been January, February. I was at my desk doing homework, listening to the CD on headphones. It was pitch black outside and I felt completely isolated. It seemed like the end of the song would go on forever. It's extremely evocative; I always think I'm hearing wind but there's nothing like that there. (I think. I have no wish to be corrected. It would ruin the effect for me to know how that song was constructed.)
Basically, it got me to thinking about our relationships with music. The first Beatles song I can remember hearing is "Yellow Submarine", because it was so different and silly. Just a week or so ago, I was in the car with my aunt and her boyfriend listening to an Elvis CD when "Return to Sender" came on. I remember that song nearly word-for-word from when I first heard it, which has to have been more than 10 years ago now. I thought about it over the years and I never knew it was Elvis.
And then I started thinking about categorizing songs about their effects on us. There are some songs that are unbelievably, undeniably powerful to me. Just for the fun of it, five off the top of my head are, in no particular order:
  1. "Rhapsody in Blue", George Gershwin
  2. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", The Beatles
  3. "Feeling Good", Michael Buble (yes, I prefer it to "Home", partly for obvious reasons but partly because he just sounds like honey)
  4. "Needle in the Hay", Elliott Smith
  5. "Carol of the Bells", basically any version, even the one with Metallica, but in particular the a capella version from the West Wing episode "Noel"

However. This isn't about the greatest songs of all time. I realized a while ago that there are some songs that define me. Not who I want to be or what I think would be cool: no. As much as I love those songs, I do not live a "Take Me Out" or a "Paint it Black" or even a "Baba O'Reilly" life. No, I'm defined by . . . Great Big Sea. How Canadian of me. But not the fun-loving, hard-drinking rowdiness of "I'm a Rover" or even the delicate, loving misery of "Boston and St. John's". Nope, it's "Consequence Free". Sigh.

Oh, you haven't heard the song? No, of course not, despite the fact that to fulfill any more CanCon requirements it'd have to be a poutine-eating, plaid shirt-wearing, employed-by-the-government beaver singing that boom-diddya-dah song, Great Big Sea gets almost zero radio play. (Note that I refrained from making some mean comment about Nickelback's seeming monopoly on CanCon. No sirree.) OK, here are the lyrics:

Wouldn't it be great, if no one ever got offended
Wouldn't it be great to say what's really on your mind
I have always said 'all the rules are made for bending'
And if I let my hair down, would that be such a crime?

I wanna be consequence free
I wanna be where nothing needs to matter
I wanna be consequence free
just sing Na Na Na Na Na Ne Na Na Na

I could really use, to lose my Catholic conscience
Cuz I'm getting sick of feeling guilty all the time
I won't abuse it, Yeah I've got the best intentions
For a little bit of anarchy but not the hurting kind


I couldn't sleep at all last night
cause I had so much on my mind
I'd like to leave it all behind,
but you know it's not that easy


Wouldn't it be great, if the band just never ended
We could stay out late and we would never hear last call
We wouldn't need to worry about approval or permission,
we could - slip off the edge and never worry about the fall


"A little bit of anarchy but not the hurting kind"? Sheesh. I ask you, do KISS fans have such dilemmas? I don't want to rock and roll all night and party every day. I can't function without my 8 hours of sleep. And what about diet? You're not even going to have time to nuke a burrito, let alone make a stir-fry. Forget about brushing your teeth. And how exactly are you going to finance all this partying?

ANYWAYS. Clearly, I'm not exactly delighted with the song that describes me. But that doesn't stop it from fitting me to a T. So what I want is feedback. Do you guys have a song that fits you, even if you don't want it to? Comment, or make an absurdly long, wandering post on the subject in your blog.

And by the way, the two runners-up to "Consequence Free"? "You Can't Always Get What You Want", by the Rolling Stones, and then "Carry That Weight" by the Beatles. Make of that what you will.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Cartoon Modern

So here I am today, just surfing away at when he linked to a blog of '50s animation. You may not know this, but I love old children's illustrations. Not to knock Pixar, but there's something in the old pen and ink that simply cannot be beat.
In fact, I was watching The Bugs Bunny & Tweety show this morning and just watching the backgrounds, ignoring the story. (It was a Sylvester and Tweety short, too. Rather meh to me.) There was one of those couches that you know you have hurt so much to sit on, but boy was it gorgeous. For example, look at the trees in this picture. They're so delicate and airy. I believe it was on the DVD for Finding Nemo (oooh, another great example is the style of the credits in Monsters, Inc.) where an animator commented that they can't believe the work that went into the old movies. Take Pinocchio, for example, when Pinocchio and his father are in the whale (Nostrum?), and we see all the bubbles in the water. Every single one was hand drawn, for every single frame. Oy. Nowadays it's all computer, of course, and again I don't mean to malign computer animation, but there are some things you can't replicate.
Oh, or another example is in Cinderella, when she's singing and washing the floor, with all the bubbles that all have her reflection in them. Singing and moving. That movie's never been at the top of my favourites, but it is simply a work of art to look at.
So take out a few minutes to check out Cartoon Modern. Oh, and did I mention it's a blog for a book? *koff*

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sarah needs...

There is this meme going around blogs where you Google "[your name here] needs" and post the top ten results. So, hey, why not - I hate this essay I'm working on. I finally get why people sometimes don't like English. It's just work, dragging every word out.
Please note, I got a lot of people's blogs posting about THEIR results of their "sarah needs" search; naturally, I have edited those out.
  1. Sarah needs a cold shower, self esteem.
  2. Sarah needs to learn how laws are made.
  3. Sarah Needs a Home Rat/Jack Russell Terrier.
  4. Sarah needs comforting Fotographic information.
  5. Sarah needs your help.
  6. Sarah now needs to learn more about heart rates to start her project.
  7. Sarah needs to play.
  8. Sarah needs help with the following: data entry, distributing brochures, writing letters, hosting a coffee, preparing mailings, making phone calls, raising funds, displaying a lawn sign.
  9. Sarah needs to work, and Julie is bringing people to the house.
  10. Sarah needs a team of committed people to pray for her and her ministry.

Try it; it's all the presentation of a new blog entry without any actual effort!