Category Archives: Culture Too

The Ice Bucket Challenge

I guess some people are getting tired of the Ice Bucket Challenge and saying “enough already”? To be honest I haven’t seen very much complaining or criticism. What I have seen a lot of is people getting indignant about people complaining about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Which is pretty much normal for this sort of thing. For every person who makes the tiniest squeak about anything there will be 10,000 people shouting about what a horrible person he is.

Personally, okay, I know it’s for a good cause and a lot of money has been raised because of it and that’s all a good thing. And people are having fun with it and that’s a good thing too. But the intimidation factor does bother me. “Either donate money or get ice dumped on your head and don’t you dare say anything against the great and wonderful Ice Bucket Challenge.” Perhaps calling it “intimidation” is a bit overly dramatic but it does definitely involve peer pressure.

A few people, however, are able to handle challenges with perfect class and style.

I Don’t Have Anything To Say But I’m Going to Talk Anyway

Some days I have absolutely nothing to say and other days I have too much to say and no energy to say it and I start to think, “Why am I still doing this? How much longer will I keep doing this?” If Blogger would make one or two more little improvements I might switch back to that. I would miss my links page though. But I need to work on that some so, I don’t know… maybe I’m just getting tired of the whole thing. On the other hand, I want to have something for those times when I do really have something to say. And I like being part of a “community” even if I am destined to always be the weird, lonely girl that almost everyone ignores.

This week is the hottest this year so far. They are forecasting triple digits for this weekend. Everyone is complaining and yeah, I am too a little bit, but I really don’t mind all that much. Now I feel like it’s really summer, not just a perpetual spring. I know I’m making that sound like a bad thing. Of course I am more comfortable when the temps are in the 70′s and 80′s, but it’s August and it’s supposed to be hot. It’s hard to explain. I guess I’m more comfortable (in a different sense) when things are the way they are supposed to be.

I have really slacked off on sewing. I haven’t started one of these yet like I had intended to do. I have been working for over a week on a baby dress that I could have finished in a day. But you know, it’s like that sometimes. Sometimes you feel inspired and feel an urgency (which in my case is almost always imaginary) and other times you just can’t stay interested. Maybe it’s because it’s August. Is this the lazy month?

It’s also the month that school starts. Not something I have to deal with anymore, thank goodness. It always seems wrong to me that school starts in the middle of August. It’s supposed to start in September, the day after Labor Day. Anything else will always be wrong.

We started watching The Strain. I have mixed feelings about this show. It has a little too much “gross horror movie” stuff for my taste but it is also interesting enough that I want to stick with it to see what happens next. The new season of Haven starts soon. I’ve been seeing ads for it. I sort of feel like they started to lose me last season but not completely. I still want to keep watching.

By far my favorite series that’s on right now is Defiance. Here are two behind the scenes videos.

It’s Almost Over!

If you live in the U.S. and subscribe to cable or satellite TV you already know that this is “Shark Week.” Shark Week isn’t an actual thing, of course. It’s just a stunt that The Discovery Channel came up with back in the 80′s and they’re still doing it every year in August. The first year we had cable I thought it was sort of a fun idea. The second year, still sort of fun but 75% of it was stuff we had seen the year before. The third year, pretty much over it. The fourth year, SO over it.

Most of the programs broadcast during Shark Week fall into one of two categories: 1. Trying to convince us that sharks are almost cuddly, and 2. Showing us horrible shark bite wounds and bleeding stumps and interviewing shark bite victims who say things like, “I don’t feel any malice toward the shark. He was just doing what comes natural. I was in his territory. Yes I still dive.” You know… that’s an admirable attitude I suppose but I would find it a lot easier to believe in the sincerity of those statements if just once in a while they would show someone expressing what would be entirely normal feelings after experiencing something like that: “I am afraid of sharks, I [bleeping] hate sharks and hell no I’m not going back in the water.”

In the last two or three years the whole Shark Week thing has gotten completely out of hand. Not to be left out, Nat Geo Wild decided to have their own version of Shark Week but they can’t call it that, of course, so they’re calling theirs Shark Fest. In addition, every other channel is dragging out and rerunning every shark related program they can find. SyFy was repeatedly showing Sharknado and another shark movie with a similar title that I can’t remember now. Almost everywhere you look it was sharks, sharks, sharks! Even locally they were having some kind of shark thing at the Oklahoma Aquarium. (saw it on the local news, wasn’t really paying attention.)

And then there’s this:

Okay, that is cute.

But it’s all educational, right? No, it’s not. No matter how many times they get caught doing this sort of thing they will keep on doing it, and they still have just enough legitimate shows to lure scientists into talking to them, thinking that they are interviewing for a legitimate educational program. It’s not at all surprising considering the masses of people who believe in ghosts, bigfoot, UFOs, alligators in the sewers, and that the moon landing was faked, but it is disappointing.

Finally, I have to ask, why sharks? Yeah, I suppose they’re interesting and TV producers can create a lot of drama with them, which is all most people want to see, but I think it’s sad that, of all the fascinating things in the natural world, sharks get a whole week every year. Why don’t we have bird week, or Insect Week? There are a lot more species of insects than there are of sharks. Wait! Let’s call it Creepy Crawlies Week then they could include arachnids too! Surely they could create enough drama with that.

“Digital Natives”

From Fillyjonk’s Progress:

There was the usual “OMG the upcoming generation are all such digital natives that they will REBEL if you want to use an actual, dead-tree textbook!” but the funny thing is, in my department, we have at least anecdotal information (from informally polling students) that many of them HATE e-books, and hate them more strongly than the e-book users dislike paper books. And the idea that we have to totally overturn models of teaching that have worked for generations because these new kids have shorter attention spans, and like to be entertained, and bla bla bla. And part of me is going, “But the good students in my department would consider that slander, and they’re in that age group”…

Any attempt to characterize a large group of people, whether it’s an age group, a race, members of a profession, or any other groups we choose to divide people into, will always be inaccurate and unfair. The characteristics you ascribe to the group may be true of a large number of members but never all and usually fewer than half. I keep reading this stuff about how today’s, kids, teens, and twenty-somethings are “digital natives” – that they have never known a world in which there were no computers or cell phones and therefore they are almost like a different species from us older folk who just don’t quite “get” all this new technology. The truth is that in all age groups there are both technophiles and technophobes, just as in every generation there are people who can work on cars and people to whom anything mechanical is mysterious and confusing.

People my age who grew up watching Star Trek have been waiting for these gadgets for over half our lives. I wanted a smart phone years before the things even existed. The smartest and most ambitious did not wait. They made it all happen. Digital natives? My generation created this digital world we live in now. What does that make us?

Yeah, I sort of get how if ebook readers have been around for all or most of your life (and really they haven’t been available for that long yet) that you might be just as comfortable with one as with paper and ink books and might even prefer them but, on the other hand, you might not. There’s no reason why you should. Books still have the same advantages no matter what your age. Oh yes, I like my Kindle. I like being able to store hundreds of books in the space of just one. I like the built in dictionary. I like being able to download books from sites like Project Gutenberg for free. But sometimes while reading a book on Kindle I really miss being able to flip back to a previous chapter to review something I read earlier. It seems to me that with textbooks the ability to do that would be needed even more.

The Real Answers

For some reason – I can’t figure out why – online quizzes are fun, even though the multiple choice questions rarely give me a choice that is anything close to what my real answer would be. So, just for fun, I’m going to give my real answers to a quiz. I’m thinking I might make this a regular or semi-regular “feature”. Or I might not. You know how that goes.

This morning’s quiz is What City Should You Live In? Oh, what fun! I already know the answer to that one but let’s go.

What is the background for your ideal walk? – Woodland trails, preferably with a few hills.

Which of the following seasons do you prefer? – Summer. (Strangely, the quiz left this season out of their choices.)

Which of the following means of transport suits you the most? – Ford F150. Or whatever brand of pickup we end up with next. It’s almost time.

What kind of music describes you? – Bach

Where do you like to eat? – At home. Or at someone else’s home. Or at a nice family restaurant. I don’t care, I like variety.

What is the main quality of every town? – I can’t pick just one. I like multiple good qualities.

What kind of tourist attractions do you prefer? – Museums

Which of these hobbies could be yours? – Okay, I have to admit, shopping is a good answer or I could have picked painting if I had any talent for that sort of thing. My real hobbies: sewing, reading, and spending too much time on the Internet.

What do you like to read? – Science fiction, historical novels, and classics, but if I have to pick just one… science fiction.

What is your ideal party? – A back yard barbeque with lots of relatives.

And, my real answer to “What City Should You Live In?” – You should not live in any city. You should live far out in the country on several wooded acres but near enough to a medium-large city to drive to it once in a while.

The Cream

I keep seeing these on Facebook: 58 Luxury Master Bedroom Designs, 51 Grand Living Room Interior Designs, 124 Luxury Kitchen Designs.

Do you notice anything about these? They are undeniably gorgeous but the majority of these rooms are overwhelmingly cream, ivory, beige, or similar boring colors. The conclusion is obvious. Wealthy people are boring and have no imagination. I just don’t understand this aversion to color that so many people have. Maybe I’m just a kid at heart because these look better to me, though some are a little too modern for my taste.

Summer TV

The second season of Orhpan Black ended a little over a week ago. [sigh] It seems like it just started. If you’re not watching this show I don’t know how to tell you how awesome it is. Tatiana Maslany recently won a well-deserved Critics Choice Award for her role(s) as the clones, seven at last count, all with distinctly different personalities. The technical people on this show deserve an award also, for the amazing job they do making it look absolutely real. We often see as many as four of the clones on screen at the same time and I have to keep reminding myself, “It’s only one actress, playing all those roles.”

While Orphan Black would be fun to watch only to marvel at the technical magic, there’s a lot more to it than that. Mysteries abound. Which one is the original? Why is Sarah the only one of the clones who has been able to have a child? What exactly happened to Helena to make her such a nut case? Can Cosima be cured? And Allison… wow, never underestimate a soccer mom. Which side is Mrs. S on? Oh, and I must not forget Sarah’s foster brother Felix, a very fun character.

Two things you need to know if you haven’t watched Orphan Black before and you want to start: 1. You must watch it from the beginning, and 2. Send the kids to bed. It’s a very adult show. Occasional nudity, but not very often, and use of the “s-word” at least once or twice per episode.

The second season of Defiance just started a couple of weeks ago. This is a very weird, complicated show. It is set on Earth some years after an invasion. There are eight races occupying Earth. Defiance is the name given to what was St. Louis. I can’t say I love this show but it is interesting enough that I want to keep watching it. Several of the characters are very entertaining. I don’t know… maybe I do love it just a little bit.

Longmire is a modern day western with some of the usual western cliches: old-fashioned sheriff (He refuses to own a cell phone but is always borrowing his deputies’ phones.) surly Indians, and one wise Indian sidekick who speaks without using contractions. But, aside from that, it is a very different and interesting show. It has been praised for its accurate portrayal of Native American culture and for bringing up a little known historical issue in a recent episode. I do really like this show a lot. It has some interesting characters and stories. Each episode is a stand-alone but there is also a continuing story arc. If you haven’t watched it you could probably start at any point.

We just started watching the new series, Dominion. I probably would have passed on this one but Number Two Son wanted to watch it. I’m starting to get interested but I’m worried that it might become one of those impossibly complicated stories that just goes on and on and on without ever going anywhere. (I can’t really say why I think that and I could be wrong. It’s just a first impression.) In Dominion angels are the enemies of mankind, except for one who is on the humans’ side. Human society has become somewhat medieval since the invasion of the angels. So far I’m not especially impressed by any of the characters. But it’s okay so I’ll keep watching for a while longer.

Grocery Store Rules

Oooo. I have to steal this. I’m not sure 10 Commandments for the Grocery Store is enough, so let’s go through these and maybe add one or two or five.

1. Thou shall not leave your cart in an empty parking spot. – Not much to say about this one. Too obvious.

2. Thou shall not walk down the center aisle of the parking lot. – Not sure about this one. You shouldn’t be driving any faster in a parking lot than a healthy person can walk and I am more worried about the people backing out of parking spaces than about the people driving forward who, I hope, are looking where they’re going.

3. Thou shall travel up and down the aisle like a civilized person. – I am a big fan of the old-fashioned “always keep to the right” rule. It just works out so well when everyone does that. But I usually go just one direction, not up one side and down the other. I keep to the right and reach across for what I need from the other side.

4. Thou shall obey the express line rules. – Yes! Absolutely! A thing that drives me crazy about the local Walmart is that they usually have someone walking around telling people in the regular checkout lines to go to the express lane even if they have more than 20 items. That’s crazy! Why have an express lane at all if you’re going to do that?

5. Thou shalt not decide against the frozen pizza you picked up in the frozen foods section and then place it on the shelf next to the shampoo. – I don’t see this very often but yes, another obvious one.

6. Thou shall respect the invisible checkout line bubble of personal space. – This includes not starting to put your groceries on the belt six inches behind mine if there is no divider. Sheesh, people! Do you really think that’s going to get you through the line any faster?

7. Thou shall treat the cashier with respect. – Yes. She’s probably been on her feet for hours and has put up with dozens of people who have no idea how hard her job is. You will be out of the store and getting on with your day in less than 15 minutes. Whatever it is, just chill.

8. Thou shall not stop at the exit to go over your receipt. – Oh, never mind stopping at the exit. If some people could just get that far. How about, “Thou shalt not stay in the way after you have been checked out, preventing the next customer from moving up to the checkout.” Your turn is over! MOVE! So you have to look at your receipt and put your money in your purse and dig around in your purse for Heaven knows what but take just three steps and be out of the way while you do all that. Just three steps!

9. Thou shall reconsider the self-checkout. – I don’t do self checkouts. Someone else is getting paid to check out my groceries. I do not. If I self checkout I will pay the same as the customers who go through the traditional checkout line. Give me a discount for checking myself out and maybe I will consider it. Maybe.

10. Thou shall not stalk for a parking spot. – I really HATE when people do this and I especially hate when people sit behind me and wait for me to back out. Whenever people do this (unless it’s a holiday season when there really are very few parking spots) I sit in my car and play with my phone until they go away. Sometimes it takes quite a while. It’s amazing how persistent people can be when they’re trying avoid having to walk an extra dozen or so steps.

So what can we add to these? I have several.

Thou shalt not stop your shopping cart diagonally in the middle of the aisle while you take 10 or 15 minutes to read labels and decide what you want. Most people are so apologetic when they realize they’re doing this and you know they do the same thing over and over again. People, why can’t you pay attention?!

Thou shalt not stop in front of the meat case for 10 or 15 minutes trying to decide between the package of hamburger that weighs 3.12 pounds and the one that weighs 3.18 pounds. Just put one in your cart and move on!

If you cannot control your children thou shalt leave them at home with Dad or Grandma.

Thou shalt not engage in private conversations or arguments in the grocery store or anywhere in public. Good grief, people! Have a little dignity!

Okay, your turn.

A Few Fashion Things

Are Leggings Really Pants? No they are not! Leggings are not pants no matter what skanky looking teenage girls say. Yes, they are comfortable but if you’re going to wear them at least wear a tunic that’s long enough to completely cover your butt. Is that so hard? Seriously?

Make your own tights. This is something I never thought of doing. They have seams, of course, but those are nifty. The problem would be finding the right fabric – something with spandex but not too thick, which leaves out most cotton because I have yet to find a lightweight cotton spandex fabric. So, I don’t know if I will ever make those or not. I’m not a big fan of being wrapped up in nylon.

Your Brain On Shopping. I do like to shop. Sometimes. I like shopping without a plan – the “just window shopping but I might buy something” kind of shopping. The author of this article says, about shopping for clothing, “I feel overwhelmed by all the choices.” I am the opposite. I make almost all of my clothes but on the rare occasions that I have gone shopping for RTW clothing I always felt disappointed and frustrated that there were so few choices. Oh yes, there are a lot of stores with a lot of clothes but none of them are what I want. It all looks alike to me.

A silly hat. Oh, I don’t know if I’d ever have the nerve to wear this but there’s a part of me that says, “Every woman should wear a silly hat at least once in her life.”

Dammit!

I have been looking forward to the season premiere of Longmire (A&E) for it seems like forever. Finally, this is the week. It was on Monday night. We recorded it. We were going to watch it last night and I could hardly wait so I started it but then my husband said he had something he wanted to do first so I stopped it. Later when we were finally going to actually watch it we discovered that I had somehow accidentally deleted it. [bad words; really horrible, nasty, bad bad words]

The cable/satellite channels usually rerun all their most popular shows several times in a week so I’m hoping we will get to see it soon.

A Brief Word to the Writers

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the season finale of Castle stop now! Below the photo is a HUGE SPOILER.

Really? REALLY?! That’s your big season ending cliffhanger? Oh, it might have been seriously scary and dramatic if we hadn’t seen it, or something very similar, a thousand times before. There are only two ways this can go. On the season opener this fall either Castle walks out of the ditch and cracks a joke because he wasn’t in the car at all or managed to get out just before it blew up (That’s the one I’m betting on.) or he goes to the hospital and at the very end of the episode he wakes up and cracks a joke. So, my word to the writers (and/or producers or whoever came up with this idea): Dumbasses.

Kids and Screens

I saw this on Facebook yesterday. It was in an image but I’ll just type it out.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) actually recommends no screen time for children under two. Yet almost 50 percent of parents believe that baby videos have a positive effect on child development. By the time babies are two, 90 percent are engaged with screens for an average of an hour and a half per day, with 14 percent spending more than two hours a day in front of screens. Forty percent of three-month-old babies regularly “watch” television and DVDs for an average of forty-five minutes a day. And 19 percent of babies under the age of one have a TV set in their bedrooms. — Susan Linn (The Case for Make Believe)

At first I was inclined to believe all that and believe that it is as bad as she is implying, while at the same time realizing that zero screen time is impractical if not impossible for most families. I like television, but it does bother me to think about infants watching a lot of TV and I wonder how it will affect them. I wonder what kind of people will be running the world when I’m 90. (Of course it probably won’t really matter that much. I’ll just do what 90-year-olds have always done: sit back and watch and complain a lot.) I worry that the whole human race will decline into some kind of electronic zombie-hood and be completely ignorant of many simple, ordinary things.

But then I think, millennia ago when writing was a new thing were there village elders who warned that teaching young children to read would damage their minds? Quite likely. There are always people who feel that anything new is evil and in some cases it is tempting to believe them. We want our children to have more advantages than we had as children but at the same time we want them to have the same core experiences. We want them to enjoy the same things we enjoyed when we were their age and not waste time on things that we did just fine without.

When I really look at the numbers in Linn’s statement they don’t seem all that bad. An hour and half a day; forty-five minutes a day. I would bet that in reality it’s a lot more for most babies. Averages are deceptive. And who is Susan Linn anyway? She’s just another psychologist who wrote a book. I wondered what the AAP actually said.

The report recommends that parents and caregivers: Set media limits for their children before age 2, bearing in mind that the AAP discourages media use for this age group. Have a strategy for managing electronic media if they choose to engage their children with it

Now that seems reasonable. Children are born wanting to play and interact with people and I think that if you provide ample opportunity for free play and human interaction very young children will prefer that over watching TV. But no matter what their early experiences the majority of kids grow up to be reasonably decent and productive adults. They might be couch potatoes and eat too much and die before their 70th birthday. Most will not be geniuses. Many will believe idiotic superstitions and be clueless about science, history, culture before they were born, and a lot of everyday things like how those screens they grew up watching actually work. Just like most adults today. But they will get by and be mostly satisfied with their lives and a few might actually learn some science, history, and culture from those evil screens.

Yes, of course, limit your kids screen time but, more importantly, limit your own screen time because your kids will do what you do. I grew up watching TV – a lot! – but I also had books. My mother read books to me and for her own enjoyment. And so, as an adult I still watch a lot of TV and I read. And I have learned a lot from TV. I have seen places that I would never have seen and watched exotic animals in their natural environments. And, growing up in the 60′s, it was on TV that I first saw people of different races working together and interacting as equals. When I think, “What would I be like without TV?” I think I like the “with TV” me better.

And I haven’t even talked about tablets, phones, and the Internet. Our world is full of screens. Even if you go the extreme and ban all screens from your home your kids will still see screens when you take them to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, and pretty much everywhere else you go and screens will be all the more attractive to them if they’re something they don’t have at home. Yes, limit young children’s screen time, but more importantly, be a guide and an example.

Spammers Must Die!

I just had a brilliant idea for an episode of Criminal Minds. A serial killer is tracking down spammers and murdering them in really bizarre and horrible ways. The team do their job as usual but some of them express regret that they actually have to stop the guy. When they finally catch him (or her; it could be a woman) he says something like, “You can stop me but you can’t stop us all. Spammers have to die. Everyone knows that. They have to suffer for what they’re doing.” And the show ends with Garcia announcing that there’s just been another spammer killing.

Again and Again

The problem with remakes. While I get his “too-soon-ness” reasoning, remakes of older classics bother me even more. I just roll my eyes at the Spider Man reboot. “Didn’t they do that just a few years ago?” But in the case of well known older movies (60′s, 50′s, 40′s…) remakes sort of horrify me. I think people should see and appreciate the originals. They were classics for a reason. Would anyone dare to remake Casablanca, for example? Oh good heavens, I hope not!

If Hollywood is out of ideas why not dig up forgotten movies – whether 20 years old or 60 years old – that were poorly done in the first place and make a quality modern version? But I seriously doubt that they are truly out of new ideas. The problem is that the money counters want guaranteed success (understandable) and the way to get it seems to be with names that are familiar to people. (less understandable, to me at least)

In Other Words

I have noticed something a bit curious and this is one of those times when I really wish I had more readers from the sewing blogger community because I would like to do a little poll to see if others have noticed the same thing. It’s that women say “fabric” and men say “cloth”. Or maybe it’s, people who sew say “fabric” and people who don’t say “cloth”. I suppose you can file this under Easily Amused but it does amuse me. One is just as correct as the other. My mother used to use the word “material” for fabric but later she started using the word “fabric” more. That may be a regional thing.

Still, I’m curious. Why do we use the words we use when others around us use different words for the same thing? Somehow it gets established in our minds that this is the right word to use and it just feels right, while other equally right words feel wrong. Like, soda, pop, and Coke. If you have it fixed in your mind that sweet, bubbly drinks are called “soda” and then you move into an area where they are called “pop” you will probably still say “soda” and have a hard time changing even if you decide you want to in order to fit in.

Still (mostly) Gray on St. Patrick’s Day

I was tempted to tell (again) about the time when I was six years old and my mother forgot it was St. Patrick’s Day and sent me to school wearing a red and white plaid dress and that I sometimes suspect that might be why it’s always important to me to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. But I actually do like St. Patrick’s Day specifically for the “wearin’ o’ the green” and it makes me a little sad that most people don’t participate or participate in a half-hearted way, wearing only a tiny bit of green or a dull gray-green or brownish green that just barely qualifies as green. It’s a few days before the official first day of spring, and we can still have winter weather for at least another month, but it seems to me a perfect day to be saying goodby to winter and looking forward to spring and summer, which I know is not the real point of St. Patrick’s Day but that’s what it means to me.

It was very winter-like yesterday. This morning the sun is shining and it’s supposed to warm up some. There are a few traces of green here and there in nature but the world outside is still mostly gray and brown. Why wouldn’t you want to wear green at this time of year? Personally, I’ve been craving bright, pretty spring colors since the beginning of February.

Unfashionable Thoughts

Kelly is answering questions and gets a weird one, or at least to me it seems really weird.

Don’t you feel weird wearing overalls when they’re out of fashion?

And he responds:

Well, obviously I don’t! Fashion is a pretty dumb concept, really…

[...]

I’ve never bought into the idea that something can “look good” one year and then “look bad” the next. I get that tastes change and we get tired of stuff, but the idea of clothes becoming laughable is downright silly to me. I have zero interest in adhering to what the “fashion” people tell me is OK to wear.

I have never understood how some people get so worked up about always being “in fashion”. The whole concept of updating your wardrobe every six months is an invention of the fashion industry to sell us more clothes. And really, I can’t blame them for that; they are trying to make money, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we don’t have to buy into it as completely as some people do. It’s okay to buy new, fashionable things but it’s also okay to do your own thing and dress completely different from the way the “fashion police” tell us we should be dressing.

I have never been fashionable and I’ve always taken pride in refusing to follow the crowd. That’s still true now but at the same time I realize that, at my age, people don’t see a rebel doing her own thing, willfully ignoring the fashion world; they just see an older woman who can’t keep up. And I have to admit that today’s fashions confuse me a little bit. What is in? There doesn’t seem to be one overall kind of look like there was in earlier decades. You can look at picture of a woman from the 60′s and immediately recognize it as 60′s or a woman from the 70′s and immediately recognize it as 70′s but current fashion? Well, maybe I am just an older woman who can’t keep up because I just can’t get a handle on the modern look. I wouldn’t know how to be fashionable in this decade even if I wanted to.

This is one of the best things about sewing. I wear what I want and look the way I want to look. I have more choices than the person who does not sew. And maybe that’s why I “can’t keep up”. I stopped paying attention three decades ago. Also, I don’t live in the most fashionable part of the world. Around here being fashionable means wearing jeans, worn out t-shirts and cowboy boots. (And then there’s Walmart fashion. We get some of that too.) But I’m not into that sort of thing (the cowboy or western look) either. If I had to pick a decade with the best looking fashions it would be the 1940′s even though that’s way before my time.

So my look? My style? I don’t know what it is, really. It’s just “Oooo! Pretty fabric” and “This is a nice pattern,” and “Oh, I think I’ll do this instead of what the pattern shows,” and whatever comes out of that, that’s my style.

Shoes

For no particular reason, except I had nothing better to post, I decided to search for “shoes” on Flickr. Here are some of my favorites from the hundreds of pics that came up. (and by “favorites” I don’t necessarily mean that I would wear them, just that they caught my eye)

I kinda want these. And the tights too. (maybe)

Happy shoes. Until you see how much they cost. They’re Louboutins.

Oooo! Fancy!

A bit strange but wearable (not embeddable)

More happy shoes. Wonder if these come in my size. They don’t look all that comfortable though. No arch support.
(UPDATE: Yes, they do. When I first saw these I thought they were kid’s shoes but I went to the Choose Your Shoes website. They are hand painted Vans. Considering that they are hand-painted works of art the price is very reasonable but too much for me. I always wear holes in the big toe area of canvas shoes so it would be a terrible waste in more ways than one for me to buy a pair.)

These are cute (another not embeddable pic)

And for the finale, something really weird. Why am I not seeing more weirdness? Come on weirdness…

Okay, not really weird weird but definitely different.

Throwing Rocks

The first time I ever watched curling was two Olympics ago. At first there was a sort of “what-the-hell-are-they-doing” quality to the experience. It was on late in the afternoons and my younger son would come home and find me watching this weird sport. We laughed and joked about it quite a lot and gradually figured out how the game works, basically, though I still don’t understand all the rules.

It’s funny… at first curling looked incredibly silly to me but it’s actually a very interesting game. It requires skill, of course, and there is a lot of strategy involved. There are some situations in which it is actually to one’s advantage to not score or even to let the opposing team score. I don’t totally understand the sweeping. I mean, I understand the purpose of it but it still seems strange to me that it actually works – that sweeping in front of the stone can make it go where you want it to go. I am also intrigued by the shoes. One is slippery and one is grippy. And the players also have a grippy sole that they can put over the slippery sole when they need to. I wonder if that feels weird and hard to get used to – having two different kinds of shoes.

This is another sport that the U.S. is not good at. Our team has already been eliminated but I’m still watching, rooting for U.S. allies or whichever country I perceive as being “nicer” or whatever petty reason I can come up with just to have someone to root for. The bad thing about curling is that I only get to watch it every four years. It has gained some popularity and curling clubs are starting up in lots of places. There’s even one in Tulsa. But I really wish there was a professional curling league so I could watch it for a few months every year like we do football.

Just Because… Underdog

Perhaps I should call this a “confession”. For a while when I was a little kid (7? 8?) my favorite cartoon was Underdog. I know that at that age I didn’t get it at all. It was not the least bit funny. This was serious drama and a little bit scary and I LOVED it! And the theme song too. It was just perfect.

Fast forward to the present. Lately I’ve been seeing a running shoe commercial (Reebok, I think) that uses the Underdog theme song. It makes me giggle with childish delight every time I see it. So, just because, here’s the original. I love the Internet.

This ‘n’ That

Last night we watched the movie, Up. It was on CBS or ABC; I forget which. Sad, sad, sad, sad movie. I know it’s supposed to be cute and uplifting but all I could think was, “What good is it to have your dream finally come true if the person you first dreamed it with isn’t there to share it with you?”

We are finally out of the deep freeze. Well, at least for this week. It’s supposed to be cold again on Sunday. But today it may get up to 70°F! That is spring, my friends! Sure, the calendar says it’s still a few weeks away but spring is more than just a date. We have had winter near the end of April and spring in February, as we’re having now.

I have been watching some of the Olympics. I’m glad they’re on NBC again. CBS spoils the Olympics when they’re on that network. It seems like it’s always 30 minutes of OMG! Drama! Drama! Drama! for every 10 minutes of sports. NBC actually focuses on the sports. I used to love the Winter Olympics and would watch every minute of it but it’s more fun when you have someone who loves it as much as you do. Now I just defer to the rest of the family. I do want to see some more curling. Strange sport. I got hooked on it two Olympics ago.

Sewing – I finished another thing I want to show off but my first attempt at self-photography didn’t turn out good at all. The flash, auto-focus and the self timer don’t seem to work well together so I will try it outside one day this week. I started another pair of slacks and then decided that I want to put a zipper in them instead of doing the pocket trick. That doesn’t work as well if you have to use a different, lighter weight, fabric for the pockets. So I ordered a zipper because Walmart only has them in two colors so now I’m thinking I might start something else today so I’ll have something to work on while I’m waiting on the zipper. By the way, Wawak.com has all kinds of zippers in lots of colors.

I first saw this on Facebook. I absolutely love it!

New On TV

I’m still watching and loving Castle, Person of Interest, Elementary, Big Bang Theory, Grimm and several other shows but I don’t have anything really new to say about those so I’m going limit this to a few new, new-to-me and new-ish shows.

Helix (SyFy) is a classic, “group of scientists trapped in a remote arctic research station with a deadly disease and a murderer OMGWAGD!” story. The disease is an engineered virus and, apparently, the murderer or murderers are killing for the usual reason – to protect a secret. Not a great show but interesting enough so far.

In Intelligence (CBS) a government agent has a chip implanted in his brain that enables him to instantly access top secret government computers. He has a pretty female agent assigned to protect the “valuable asset”. I’ve only seen two (or is it three?) episodes and I’m liking it so far. I’m not familiar with the main stars, Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory but there are a number of familiar faces in the supporting cast. Marg Helgenberger, formerly of CSI – I think I’m going to like her character in this quite a bit better than her CSI character. John Billingsly, who played the alien doctor on Star Trek: Enterprise is a doctor in this show also. (human this time) P.J. Byrne, playing the resident geek, looks very familiar but I’m not sure what else I’ve seen him in and IMDb doesn’t really help. Lance Reddick, who played Phillip Broyles in Fringe, has a similar role in this show. Rosalind Chao (ST:TNG) was on one episode in what seemed like it could be a recurring role. (but not necessarily, that’s just my speculation, or perhaps my wishful thinking) So anyway, this one’s a keeper.

The Tomorrow People (CW) is about a group of people with special abilities – what they call the three T’s: telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation. They are being hunted by an evil organization that wants to control or kill all of their kind. Not great but fairly interesting and fun.

And I have saved the best for last. Almost Human (Fox) is a “near future” cop show. Every human cop must have an android partner. In the first episode Detective John Kennex, brilliantly portrayed by Karl Urban, pushes his android partner out of their vehicle – “because it wouldn’t stop talking” – into traffic where it is destroyed by a truck. As a replacement he is given, Dorian, “one of the crazy ones” – a more human-like android that had been deactivated along with all the others of the same model. In some ways this is a typical cop show, with an experienced, cynical cop partnered with an innocent, open-hearted rookie, but the setting and stories are very futuristic and high tech. Mostly, the crimes these cops fight could not happen in the present, or at least not in quite the same way. This is a very fun show with action, humor and occasional sappy, heart-warming moments. My only problem with it is that it’s on Fox. Whenever I watch something good on this network I always worry that it won’t last long.

The Less-Than-Super Bowl

If you’re an NFL fan of course you want your favorite team to go to the Superbowl. Failing that, you at least hope for one last great game before the long seven months without football. But we didn’t even get a good game. I’m not terribly disappointed that Seattle won. I like Peyton Manning and wanted him to win but I do not like John Elway and I wanted him to lose but I figured that on every team there is probably at least one executive that I wouldn’t like if I knew about him so I decided that I would root for the Broncos anyway. On the other hand, I have no feelings about the Seahawks at all, except that the “12th Man” thing kind of annoys me. Russell Wilson seems like a nice kid and I’m happy for him and the rest of the team.

Superbowl commercials are supposed to be a big deal. There’s a huge audience so companies go all out to have the greatest commercials but it seems to me that it’s been many years – a couple of decades maybe – since we’ve seen really great Superbowl commercials. This year I saw a couple of good Coke commercials and I liked the Mountain Dew commercial with the duck hunters. There were several Go Daddy commercials that weren’t bad. And Budweiser came up with another cute dog and horse commercial. (Although, my all time favorite was the zebra commercial that they had several years ago) It seems like there were others that I sort of liked but I can’t remember them now.

The problem with the commercials this year was that everyone tried too hard to be dramatic! inspiring! and heartwarming! And it seemed to me that the whole all-day pre-game show had the same problem. It was all drama! Inspiration! Emotion! Emotion! Emotion! Come on folks, it’s the Superbowl! Be emotional! Be inspired! Shed a tear or two! Gimme a break, people. It’s football. Why can’t we just have fun with it? The commercials used to be fun. There was a lot of humor. Sure there were always a few that aimed to be inspiring or heartwarming but it doesn’t work when everyone does it at the same time. After the second or third “inspiring” commercial the inspiration circuits overload and shut down or burn out. I like the humorous and clever commercials and the ones that are little stories with surprise endings. There were a few of those but that kind of commercial almost seems to have gone out of fashion.

I enjoy watching football sometimes but I’m not really what you would call a devoted fan. To be honest, I’m glad the season is over and we have a seven month break. Oh, there will be moments of “It’s Sunday and there’s no football what will we do?” For a week or two we might feel that something is missing from our lives but then we will learn, again, to appreciate all the extra time we have. So, for now, good-by football and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.