Monday, March 27, 2017

Garden Season Begins

I was hoping for a nice early spring in March but nooo.


Snow may yet come but I'm bringing out my milk cans and metal shelving and stands.  I also purchased this glorious seat for the garden, placing it in what will be a nice green path invitingly leading to a resting spot.



It needs a cushion so I'm not imprinted by the metal seat and its shape.   If I could sew I could make one, but I'll just have to measure and find something sweet.   I'm going to find a little table to sit by it to hold my garden notebook while I gaze at the garden from this intriguing angle.

Need a new composter spot.   Tons of leaves and grass to rake up.  I love spring.


Friday, March 24, 2017

The Flash: Duets: The Musical Numbers Ranked


This episode of the Flash, with it's characters from The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow trapped in a dream type reality where they must play out a musical theater type plot...so incredible!   I honestly wished for another hour of the story, mostly to hear the cast singing.    I've read that the cast had many talented musical members, but, oh, man, their voices.

The biggest surprise was Jeremy Jordan who plays Winn on Supergirl, and his great soulful voice belting out Put A Little Love In Your Heart with a large troupe of singers and dancers while he played piano.

Every single person in the cast looked as if they were having the time of their life.  So much fun!

I loved every single number and wanted more.  Here is how I rate them, though it is so hard to choose.

5.     Superfriends     A sweet number combining talking, singing and tap dance with Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist.

4.   Put A Little Love In Your Heart    A great song and dance number featuring Carlos Valdes, John Barrowman, Jeremy Jordan, and Darren Criss.  They just pulled out all the stops on this song, great singing, spectacular dance.

3.  Moon River   Melissa Benoist's Supergirl finds herself in a stunning gown singing this classic to a nightclub audience.  Beautifully done.   That moment when she recognizes Barry at the back of the room!

2.  Running Home To You    Barry solos this song at episode's end, singing his hearts desire to his beloved Iris, and asking her once more, but with proper feeling, to marry him.  (Sniff).  Grant Gustin has such a tremendous voice and the lyrics are perfect for the Flash to sing to the love of his life.

1.  More I Cannot Wish You   Jesse L. Martin, John Barrowman and Victor Garber sing the beautiful harmonies of this song to dream world Iris and Mon-el.   Each actor's voice was spectacular and it fit the world and story so very well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Podcasts For the Discerning Bozo



I don't listen to the radio, as it seems to be a bunch of people babbling and/or shouting about nothing.  The Musical Oldies Station no longer plays music from any decade of music I know or like (eep!)


I am slow to embrace podcasts, but as I'm crafting more, and even as I go into the garden this spring, sometimes it's nice to listen to what often amounts to a story on a particular topic that interests me.


 I have come to really enjoy some, so I'm always looking for new ones, and thanks to Twitter, largely, I'm seeing all sorts of podcasts popping up that seem as if they'd be pleasant to listen to.


I jot the podcast names down in my ever present notebook and I've been trying out new ones.  I thought I'd share them.  Note I haven't had a chance to listen to all, so just watch my Podcast side bar for the ones I've listened to and liked and recommend.    The podcast list also provides links to the podcast pages, mostly in iTunes, because that's where I listen to my podcasts.  Many will have other options if you don't use iTunes


Happy Listening! (Note I edited the list so the podcasts are in alphabetical order.  I'll continue to update the list as I find more great podcasts.  DOA 3/24/17)



A Way To Garden  Margaret Roach of the Way to Garden blog is joined by Ken Druse, gardener and shade garden expert extraordinaire in a podcast that covers everything for seed starting to pruning to garden pests.

All The Books  Hosted by Book Riot, Liberty and Rebecca talk about the books they've been reading.

Awards Chatter  Interviews with actors and directors about their Oscar nominated films from the Hollywood Reporter.

Blizzard Watch   Dedicated to all things from Blizzard Entertainment

Cherry Heart   Sandra of the Cherry Heart crochet blog talks about projects and techniques and the glories of yarn.

The Churn  An after show for the Syfy series The Expanse   The authors of the Expanse novels and a cast or crew member will be on the show each week.  I think the hosts need to stay on topic a bit better, otherwise a great way to learn more about the show.

Colony An after show for the USA Network series Colony  This is done by the Syfy network as is the Expanse aftershow.  This one is really well done and on topic.

Coode Street  Interviews with Science Fiction and Fantasy authors and book discussion

Den of Geeks Sci Fi Fidelity  A podcast from Den of Geeks.  Games, TV, Movies  Excellent discussions, knowledgeable hosts.

Game On (MMORPG.com)  MMO News and discussion

Guardian Books  Author Interviews and Book talk from the Guardian newspaper.

How To Murder Time  Science Fiction and Fantasy Books and Games

Liars Club Oddcast  "A bunch of people who make stuff up for a living, interviewing other people who make stuff up for a living. All while drinking beer and wine in the middle of the day. What could possibly go wrong? Join us for a lively round of lies and exaggerations featuring everyone from NY Times Bestselling authors to National Book Award finalists to debut novelists, screenwriters, actors and more. Hosted by The Liars Club. Sorry, not responsible for the truthiness of any content, because, Liars. Pants currently on fire. Ouch."

Masterpiece Studio  Currently featuring the PBS series Victoria cast and episode discussion.  You are able to listen to the podcasts which featured previous Masterpiece productions as well.

Mike the Gardener’s Vegetable Gardening   Mike Podlesny of the Vegetable Gardening blogs discusses all things veg gardening.

Milk Street Radio  Christopher Kimball's celebration of food, and culture and how they are entwined.

MassivelyOp   MMORPG News and Commentary.  My favorite, I never miss an episode. Hosted by Bree Royce and Justin Olivetti, with occasional appearances from other MassivelyOP writers.

Mother Earth News and Friends   Urban sustainable living from Mother Earth News

The Nerdist   Movies, tv, general geekery.

New Yorker Fiction  Authors are invited to read aloud and discuss a piece of fiction from the New Yorker archives.
 
New Yorker Radio Hour  A wide range of topics are covered, from books and film to cultural trends.

New Yorker Writer's Voice   Author's read new fiction they've published in the New Yorker.

Post Mortem with Mick Garris   Garris interviews horrow film directors, actors, musicians.

Skip To The End   Film reviews, along with topical discussions of movies based on a theme of the week.

The Splendid Table   Food around the world and at your table

















Wednesday, February 15, 2017

National Embroidery Month Stitch A Day Challenge

February is National Embroidery Month and though my post is coming in late, you could still try the challenge as an embroidery beginner or aficionado.  It's more fun than traditional "samplers", I think, because you can create anything you'd like with your practice stitches.

I saw this a few days later than it began, so I didn't try it, plus I've been working on my crochet and am not quite ready to move on to a different craft right now (though I've also been toying with my paper crafting supplies.)   I have saved it of course here and elsewhere, and I will give it a try soon.

http://commonthread.us/discover/community/dmc-gulush-threads-stitch-a-day-challenge-national/



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Crochet Madness

 Christmas Afghan

The New Year has been odd, so I'm now about to begin row 17 of 31 rows in the famous "afghan in a weekend" I adapted to be my Christmas Afghan.  It's getting hard to photograph the thing, since it becomes embiggened with each row rather amazingly.  It's still very relaxing to work on, and the yarn is soft and very warm covering my lap in the cold temperatures we've had.   I've learned how to attach a new color/new skein of yarn in the middle of a row while working on this.  It is so simple, and makes life easier as I make my way around this behemoth. 



 Yarn Lust and Finding Patterns

Think me a bad dog if you must, but I decided this would be a year where I learn to do scarves.  I love scarves of all kinds, and want some nice wide ones in colors of my choosing.  I am so much all about the color.

It seems to me one of the first projects any crochet book gives you is a scarf of some sort and length.  Ya, time to tackle the ez stuff I'm too stoopid to make.  Why not branch out, you say?

I confess I have been out hunting the yarn aisles as I vowed not to do. BUT.  I now hunt with a project in mind.  Either I've found something intriguing on the wonderful Yarnspirations site, or I'm looking at the yarn itself for one of the free patterns on every label.

I could write an entire post on Yarnspirations, but I'll say I really started looking at it in depth one day when I was looking for patterns for all of the colorful little skeins of Lily Sugar and Cream Yarn that I have accumulated somehow.

Yes, there are a few skeins of the soft, shiny Paton's Yarn in there too.  Soft and Shiny appear to be irresistible to me.




Caron Cakes


 Speaking of Yarn Lust, I thought I'd try the Caron Cakes yarn.  These were apparently made for the 100th Anniversary of Caron Yarns to be sold last August and not for a regular product line.  Apparently special spools are needed to create the "cakes" and there aren't many of these spools...
But people went wacky over them and wanted MORE.    http://thecrochetcrowd.com/future-caron-cakes-customers-unite-michaels-stores-caron-yarns-respond/

This sort of shortage feeds Yarn Lust.  I hope Caron knows this and will act responsibly.  I started by purchasing one skein of it, rather pricey, I thought, at $7.00, but it is big and fat and soft.

Then I find out about the scarcity, and my collector Spidey Sense goes whacko. Particularly since they are adding some new colors in January that are prettier than the originals.  Also, they plan to retire some originals and it looks like a few new colors will be introduced in June.  BOINK!!!!!   I've been to three Michael's stores so far looking for the new colors, and haven't seen them.  Don't think me discouraged!

I'm making (fingers crossed) three scarves with the Caron Cakes.  The pattern is very simple, really just single crochet.  But.  I've never made a scarf before at all and I am wondering it if is typical of them to twist up like a strand of DNA when you're just starting out.  Or is this another DOA epic bozo fail?








I love the variegation of the yarn, the softness of it, and I really like the three colors I have for scarves:  Blueberry Cheesecake (above), Bumbleberry (purple), Faerie Cake (soft greens).  None of these are the new colors, which I haven't gotten my mitts on yet.



https://www.michaels.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-siteCatalog_michaels_US/default/dw55dada9f/project_pdf/CaronCakesLookBook.pdf


So Many Scarves, So Little Time

Whilst indulging my Yarn Lusting, I liked this pattern for Red Heart's Stylish Stripes Scarf on some yarn skeins:



I like the width and the way it hangs, but I didn't care for the colors.  I bought three other colors of the Red Heart Soft Essentials (trying to use the right yarn for the right project, yay me) yarn instead:






PINK!  The Soft Essentials is very silky and a bit slippery to work with, but oh, so pretty.  Imagine me with that scarf, la la la.


Finally, who doesn't need to have a few afghans in progress, in case I should shockingly finish one.  It bends the mind, does it not?

Caron Pinpoint Crochet Blanket


This uses three of the HUGE Caron One Pound skeins of soft grey, which I like, because I have a gray couch.





How perfect, except for those centers, which are not in colors I ever would use.  I need 72 centers for the afghan, and I decided to use some of my leftover pastels for the centers instead.  It will be so very soft and pretty.  I'll share it with the beagle.


I can make these during commercials or while supper is cooking.  And, so wisely use up the leftover yarn bits.



I've "bookmarked" many more patterns, but haven't made the big step of getting the materials.  These will do for now!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sherlock: The Final Problem

I really enjoyed this episode, for the suspense of what trap would be laid by the Holmes sister Eurus next, the bizarre fate of the little girl on the plane, and the mystery of Redbeard.

The Little Girl On The Plane

I don't quite understand how Eurus pulled this part off, how she was producing the voice of the scared child.  Pre-recorded?  On the fly?  I was certainly worried about her until the point were she remained in the air on that plane for hours and it never went any lower or arrived at the city in the distance.

The Trap Rooms and Forced Moral Choices

Having someone have to choose between who might be killed, or asking them to kill one of two who are held dear, it's always an impossible situation with no good outcome. 


Somehow the Holmes boys and Watson managed, with one "win" and one "loss".   I found Mycroft to be particularly interesting in these scenarios.  Such a fussy, fussy man.  Sherlock was brilliant but humane, a long in the making story arc for his character.

Redbeard

So much of the characters of Mycroft, Sherlock and Eurus was revealed in the childhood scenes were there was little dialog, but the children were so much what they would become.  The little girl playing Eurus was so cute, but she had sociopath writ large on her tiny features.

Heartbreaking enough to hear the story of Redbeard, Sherlock's missing dog, but so much more awful to realize there was no dog.  That poor little guy.

I've read numerous reviews that seem pretty upset about the episode.  Ridiculous, they think.  I felt it was a great character development episode.

I'm also seeing many noting it could be the end of the series, because the actors are sooo busy doing other things.  Pffft.  I'm hoping for many adventures to come.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Here's a bizarre episode, that I did not enjoy for the most part, yet it redeemed itself at the end.

While I was watching, I kept thinking of the old series The Prisoner.  Wasn't there constant maniacal laughter throughout that show?  With confusing, psychedelic visuals?  Maybe it was just one episode.


In any case, as you're watching Sherlock in his drugged, incomprehensible state, you can't tell what is real and what he is imagining. 

Somehow, the plot moves along and you're pretty sure he is actually seeing through the haze to the truth, and a cuddly looking little bear of a philanthropist probably really is a serial killer.



Flaw in the telling this week:

I know you have to write it off to Sherlock's reduced ability to observe and comprehend, but I feel Sherlock's analytics were working well enough so he'd notice the artificial lenses worn by the murderer's "daughter," and that she clearly did not need the cane she carried at all.  He spent a lot of time with her and he would not have missed these things among many others.

Mary

I was pleased to see Mary back haunting Watson's psyche, what a waste of a great character to kill her off.  That final scene!!! where Watson confesses to her that he cheated with the woman on the bus in a texting relationship, (sniff) that was so heartbreaking.  Even Sherlock was moved to give him a hug.  (sniff)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sherlock: The Six Thatchers

I really enjoyed this new episode of Sherlock. 

In particular, I loved Mary as spy/agent/infiltrator.  I could have watched the Mary as Spy show, but unfortunately, they had her leap in front of Sherlock.



The mastermind behind everything was a complete surprise.  I was hoping it wasn't Moriarty, because I never liked this show's particular Moriarty version and am hoping he remains dead. 

John is being completely unreasonable, and I also don't feel for him as I might since he was having a flirtation with some woman on the bus.  Unworthy, John, completely unworthy of Great Mary The Spy and you haven't any leg to stand on being angry at Sherlock.



I suppose it's some form of Make Up/Break Up between he and Holmes, but meh.

Red Herring city, I thought The Black Pearl was surely in one of the Thatcher heads, but no. 

I thought the scene where they show Mary's old agent bud hiding the flash drive in the statue head was silly, he doesn't get it in there and seal it, he just has time to tip the bottom, stuff in the drive and tip it back.  The first person to handle it would have seen it and there would be no head Thatcher plaster heads smashed at all.



Mycroft's office was pretty creepy, more like a jail cell than an office.

I liked Sherlock's patience with the dog.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Milk Street Radio

Christopher Kimball has a great podcast called Milk Street Radio.  You'd think cooking would need visuals, but the discussions and interviews on the podcast paint all the pictures you need of wonderful foods and cooking techniques.

I always loved Christopher Kimball's essays in issues of Cooks Illustrated.  Here is more of his warmth and wisdom.






Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Afghan Rows 7-10

I was zipping right along when I finished up row ten and realized I was going to run out of yarn.  Eek!  There are mathematical consequences to using fatter yarn than the original pattern, though unwittingly, since I still haven't seen a skein of the Red Heart Bulky anywhere I don't know how much bulkier I went.

As you go around, you need ever more yarn for a single row.  I looked at the skein in hand and thought it might make it, but it came up five spaces short.  There was no graceful way to attach new yarn for that small bit, so I pulled it out, went to the store for more yarn, and did the row over.  There was plenty of the white, and the green, but no red at all.  I was able to order some directly from Lion Brand, but still don't have it yet. 

I suspect I will still come up short for the 31 rows of the afghan, but, it is going to be lap sized and more pretty shortly, so I'll call it a lesson learned and be careful to have an overabundance of yarn any time I tinker with pattern requirements in the future.  There is no doubt I will tinker, because more often than not I see a pattern and think it would look so much nicer in another color, or, in the case of the many British based blogs I follow, we don't have access to the gorgeous yarns and threads they have.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Expanse Returns February First

Syfy's drama The Expanse returns February 1st with an extended episode.



I'm so excited to see it return, and now having read most of the novels in the series, I'll be more aware of what they keep and change from the books.  Having read the books after the TV adaptation last season, I was pleased that while the show changed some things, nothing was lost from the essence of the books and their story.

Additionally exciting, Syfy Wire will air a podcast after the show each week called The Churn.  The authors of the Expanse books --Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham --together they are James S. A. Corey-- will join the Syfy Wire show hosts to talk about each episode.

Both the books and the show are truly great science fiction.  Long live the crew of the Rocinante.