| Friday, July 31, 2009
The trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Mr Fox movie is out... and I kinda liked it! (I'm as surprised as you are.) It bears very little resemblance to the original story, but to be honest it was never one of Dahl's best works anyway. (It also underwent extensive revisions, as the original was even more a glorification of thievery.) I actually chuckled quite a few times during the trailer, especially at the young fox with the tube sock on his head. So for the moment, I'm cautiously optimistic about this one...
I really should start updating my Dahl site again. This movie could generate some serious traffic.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Since I know some of you have been inspired to hit the roads and get healthy lately, I've just created a "NSW Knitters Challenge" over at Runner+. The challenge is to get in as many miles in August as you can. There's no prize for winning; just the encouragement of the group to keep going! I chose Runner+ because it doesn't require any special equipment to record your runs. You can enter the distances by hand (as I do), or you can sync it up to the Nike+ system. I've made the challenge private, so please let me know if you'd like an invite. (And non-knitters are welcome too!)
Monday, July 27, 2009
I'm sad to report that I've fallen so far behind that my Infinite Summer is destined to be a failure. I'm still reading a few pages here and there, but nowhere near the rate I need to keep up.
This week: 28.8km (18mi)
Last week: 12.5km (7.8mi)
I know that's a ridiculously large jump, more than double. But 18 miles is what I should be up to on my plan, and the only reason the past few weeks were less was because of my stupid cold. The big difference was my long run, which I finally managed to get in yesterday. I did nearly 14km at a very slow pace (4:00 jogging, 1:00 walking) around Centennial Park. My legs, back, and lungs all felt better than I expected. Afterwards I chugged a chocolate milk while sitting in a cold bath. Bliss...
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Today I met up with 11 other frocked-up knitters for high tea at Harrogate Teas in Pyrmont. The event was organised by the amazing Jody as a special outing for the regulars at the Thursday night Morris & Sons SnB group. Over the course of three hours, we enjoyed numerous sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, petit fours and chocolates, and lots of tea. (There were also several bottles of bubbly being passed around, but this sickie took a pass.) It was lovely! We knitted and chatted and tweeted and amused the heck out of some American tourists. There were also many photos taken...
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
We just watched the Marlborough Farmhouse episode of Grand Designs. WOW. This is absolutely my favorite house ever featured on the show. I want it. This is a house I could see myself living in out in the countryside... eventually.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Tonight I left work early to see Dr. Chin at Broadway. I was due for my monthly allergy shot, and I wanted his opinion on my lingering cough. Well, half of Ultimo was backed up in his waiting room so I had a lot of time to kill. I headed next door for a massage.
My masseuse was a deceptively tiny Chinese lady. She noticed my stiff lower back and right hip at once, and I explained about seeing the physio for this running issue. At this point I was expecting the dreaded-but-usual ass massage. Instead she put a towel on my back and began drawing the curtains around the table. (Very unusual, since this place is in the middle of a mall. Hardly a private spa!) Then I heard her kick off her shoes and climb on the table. "You're...uh... Goin' up there?!" I asked. "Is it okay?" What the hell. So I finally had the mythical massage where the tiny lady WALKS ON YOU. For reals. I was torn between being weirded out (because you know I have a thing about feet) and reveling in one of the Best. Massages. Ever. Seriously, it was good. She mostly balanced one foot on my sacrum/lower back and used the other one to work my spine and knots. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it. It's definitely only for those that like a strong massage though. Now we just have to see if I can actually move tomorrow...
The situation would be comical if it weren't so depressing. One week I'm fielding drama from the "old guard" of the NSW Knitters Guild, convinced that I'm intent on destroying traditional knitting from within with my radical ideas about "email" and "the Internet." The next week I'm copping it from the "punk rock" guerilla knitters, accusing me of being a Granny and Communist (yes, really) for saying that I think most knitted graffiti is a waste of time.
Obviously the issue is that a lot of people identify really, really strongly with their particular niche hobby community (be it knitting, Star Trek, or the Dallas Cowboys). Saying you dislike an aspect of that community is tantamount to personal insult. They all take it so deathly seriously. I just don't get it. It's just sticks and string! I'm not offended by people who don't like knitting. It doesn't define me as a person. I don't take it as a personal insult when someone says they don't see the point in knitting socks. Sometimes I take it as an opportunity to try to sway them to my side, but I'd never use it as an excuse to insult and demean them. If you think that someone saying they dislike your preferred style of knitting project (or your favorite band or TV show) is equivalent to them saying that you are a bad person, then there's really no way to have a rational discussion or debate about it.
The only way to win is not to play, really. Militants (whether of the Old Guard or the New Subversives) really suck the fun out of everything.
For the record, NO, the Snook will not be auditioning for Masterchef next season. Why? "Because they want people who want to run restaurants. I don't want to run a restaurant. They said they want people who want to change their lives. I like my life how it is!" And there you have it. His superior cooking skills will remain mine and mine alone to enjoy!
Monday, July 20, 2009
This week: 12.5km (7.8mi)
Bay Run (7km) in two weeks, and then the City2Surf (14km) the following week!
My beautiful little macadamia tree lasted six months. I went to check on it tonight only to discover that SOME BASTARD STOLE IT in the past 24 hours. Yep. They dug it right up out of its hole in the footpath. I WAS LIVID. I went down to see Michael on the off-chance he maybe transplanted it somewhere else, but he didn't. He had some choice expletives for the kind of people who steal trees. He told me not to give up, that he had more trees with stakes and mesh. We're gonna replant, and they're not gonna steal the new one. I know he's right, but man, I really just want to give up. Sometimes the rest of humanity just sucks, you know? And they don't deserve my trees.
I logged in to Facebook before bed last night to see that I had a message in my Inbox. It was from an author called AJ Jacobs, who was trying to track down an obscure short story that he suspected might be by Roald Dahl. I wrote back to confirm that it wasn't... and then this morning realized that I've actually read one of AJ's books! He wrote The Know-It-All, which I read on vacation in 2007. I felt inspired to help him track down the real story, so I asked MetaFilter this morning and it was cracked within an hour. Fun, huh? So if AJ uses it in a book, you all will know that I helped!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
This weekend was MetaFilter's 10th birthday, and there were 67 celebrations on 7 different continents (including Antarctica!) to celebrate. I dragged the Snook along to the Sydney meet-up. It was an absolutely beautiful warm afternoon, and we took advantage up on the roof of the Glenmore Hotel. I was taking photos and tweeting throughout the afternoon. I think we had ten people in total, and we made full use of mathowie's bar tab. Thanks to everybody who turned up, and many happy returns to MeFi!
I'm happy to report that I scored 74% on the official MetaFilter Anniversary Quiz.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This one's been percolating for a while. After all, I've been writing about my annoyance with this "movement" for three years now. Now the founder of "Knitta Please" is visiting Australia and the media are going crazy with kooky knitting headlines. Loads of non-knitters have again been asking whether I know about it or am involved. "Yes, I'm aware; no, I don't participate; yes, I think it's a massive waste of time and human energy..." Yesterday when I was running in the Domain I spotted some knitting stuck on a post at Mrs Macquarie's Point, and it just crystallized my whole annoyance with the subject. The non-knitting public needs to know that we're not all like this. We need an Anti-Knitting-Graffiti Manifesto. [more...]
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Long name... for a fairly unsatisfying pair of socks. I dunno. I'm just not loving these. It's mostly the colour, I think. The yarn is Wired for Fibre "Rita" merino sock in the colour "Opulent". In the hank it looked like more of a semi-solid, so I thought it would be a good choice for this fairly busy pattern. Unfortunately when I started knitting it, the pink stripes really stood out and started to compete with the stitches. Not good.
Anyway, the pattern is from Knitting Vintage Socks. I knitted both socks at the same time on 2.75mm circulars. Despite looking complicated, the pattern was actually very easy to memorise. I'm still not happy with my lace knitting though. (My yarnovers between two knit stitches are way smaller than my YOs between a knit and a purl. I fear this would be problematic in a larger piece.) I do like the way the diaper knitting continues down on the heel flap. I was finishing the socks at Morris & Sons on Sunday when Mrs Morris came by and admired them. "You like 'em?" I said. "They're yours. Happy birthday!" At least they'll go to someone who really likes them. (More pics on Flickr and details on Ravelry.)
Oh dear god. Wes Anderson is making a stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox (which I'd like to link to on my RDF site, but it's having a server issue at the moment). This looks... not good. There appear to be lots of random characters that aren't in the book, and the stunt-casting is just ridiculous. (MARIO BATALI as a voice actor?!) And judging by the comments, there are going to be callbacks to other Anderson films. UGH.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
On Sunday, after I finished my last knitting class I headed out to help with the neighbourhood road garden working bee. Michael was successful at getting a $1000 grant from the council for more plants and supplies, so a couple weeks ago he put out a call for volunteers. There were six already helping when I got there. We planted some more trees, established a fourth community compost bin, and spread out lucerne mulch around the plantings on Myrtle Street. Snookums was too sick to help - he caught my cold - but he cooked a big pot of kangaroo chili and cornbread to feed the troops. (And there was much rejoicing.) It was a fun day. I got to meet several more cool folks from the neighbourhood, including James (who used to live in Chippo but now just works here). As I wasn't quite well enough to do the heavy labor, I got the fun task of documenting what was going on. [more...]
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Well, I survived the July Knitters Guild meeting and our first "Knit Wits" workshop at the Library. The meeting was also a semi-surprise Presidential visit, and we had several other visitors from other groups as well. Miss Fee gave a fantastic presentation on "Colour and Knitting" that was very well received. (We're hoping to have the slides up on the Guild site soon.) Afterwards, twenty newbies turned up for the knitting lesson. We had all ages, from a 4-year-old boy on up to grandmothers. Everyone at least managed some garter stitch, with several ladies progressing to casting on and off, purling, and even ribbing. There are photos up on our Guild page. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped out!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
It probably didn't help that I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30am yesterday for the knitting-on-Sunrise thing. Hoping to get some video for you later...
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
This week: 16.2km (10mi)
Last week: 9.5km (6mi)
See, this is where the 10% rule bites me in the butt. Because I wouldn't have such a big jump if I hadn't taken days off for injury/illness. If you're forced to skip a long run, that doesn't mean you have to drop all the way back to 10% + your previous milage, does it? I'm guessing not, since most training programs incorporate recovery weeks and then resume where they left off afterwards. So I've been thinking of the past couple weeks as "recovery time" and trusting that I can get back on schedule.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
While all the Americans were celebrating Independence Day this weekend, Down Under we were celebrating the very special birthday of a dear friend. I didn't trust myself to mention the occasion before the party, for fear that I'd give away the big secret! Somehow I found myself as the organiser for a special group gift from TWENTY PEOPLE. Back in May, Fiona happened to blog about a beautiful red leather handbag from England that she coveted. What better to get her? How often do you get to give somehow her secret dream gift, the thing that she'd never expect and never buy herself? So I ordered the bag, trusting that I'd collect enough to order it. Instead I got nearly DOUBLE. So we ended up also getting her sizable gift certificates to her two favorite shops and a very nice bottle of champagne. You should've seen her face. "You guys didn't get me that red bag!?!" I really hope someone got a picture of that moment. (I was too busy jumping up and down and squealing.) There are a few other write-ups and photos at Fee's, Mary-Helen's, and Ailsa's sites.
I really can't say enough good things about the folks at Mimi Berry. They were very prompt in communicating with me via email, and they were able to send out the bag in plenty of time. Oh, and it's GORGEOUS. I actually gasped when I opened it up and saw the shocking blue silk lining. If I was going to splurge on a bag, I'd definitely get one of theirs.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Update: It's showing as free now!
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I know I've mentioned this before, but if you have an iPhone and you run/walk/cycle/ski/hike outdoors, you should get RunKeeper NOW. It's so good. It uses GPS to track your distance and speed, and it's a lot more accurate than Nike+. (You also don't need special shoes or attachment hacks.) I downloaded the free version in February, but not long after I paid the $10 to get the Pro version. Every release has brought welcome new features, including voice prompts during the run and the ability to edit your run data afterwards. Yesterday the highly-anticipated interval workout functionality finally dropped. Nike+ can't do this at all! I've been so frustrated with all the training plans that suggest running intervals laps at a track, because running tracks are very, very rare in Sydney. I've done them by looking at the RunKeeper distance as I go, but I'd much prefer to keep my eyes on the road. So I was really waiting for this one!
When you open the app, there's a new button at the bottom of the main screen labelled "Training." Clicking it brings up a menu of your saved training workouts. (They give you a couple of them as a examples.) You can edit an existing workout or add a new one. Each interval consists of "slow," "steady," or "fast" and an appropriate duration (which can be time OR distance!). You can set the intervals to repeat, and you can also tack on a 5:00 warmup and cooldown if you want. This morning I was meant to do an easy 30 minutes with 6 x 100m "strides." Since the shortest distance interval you can set is 250m, I instead changed it to 45 seconds (which is way longer than it takes me to run 100m, but it seemed like a good compromise.) So I started off with the 5:00 warmup, then did 10 minutes "steady." Each time period is announced with a chime and a voice prompt telling you what to do next. I did my 6 intervals of 45 seconds "fast" interspersed with 1:30 "slow," then finished with another 8:00 of "steady" and a 5:00 cooldown. The system worked PERFECTLY, not a single glitch. Something like this could make a huge difference to amateurs' training.
I'm also happy to report that I had ZERO leg/shin pain this morning. Yay! New shoes and rest seems to have done the trick. I'm really looking forward to my long run this weekend to see if my fitness has held up.
This is quite possibly the most boring YouTube video in the history of the world. It's Petey playing in his water fountain and trying to dunk Amy in the water. The amazing part is that I filmed it on my new iPhone, and then I edited and uploaded it to YouTube FROM THE BUS on the way to work this morning. Hello, the Future!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Edited to add: Ooh, maybe I could make my own cheese curd for poutine!
This week: 9.5km (6mi)
Last week: 8.4km (5.25mi)
I'm happy to report though that I finally made it out for a run this morning, and I felt pretty good. My shin didn't bother me at all. I had some tightness in my calves and hamstrings, but I guess that could partially be attributed to me basically lying prone for 72 hours straight on the weekend and not stretching or exercising in any way. I'm eager to get back into my training plan if I can. This was meant to be a recovery week anyway, so I've got some breathing room. I'm just annoyed at missing three long runs due to the double-whammy of shin splints and sickness!
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