Sunday, April 30, 2017

What can I say?

Last night Stephen and I went to see Photon. It was Stephen's birthday and he chose this science-y sounding movie. (Poor Stephen just gets movie tickets from me, since his birthday is in the middle of Hot Docs every year.)

It is a tale of the universe. We have the big bang, matter, energy, protons.... a few billion years pass... eventually: life! Lots of microscope pictures, lots of computer simulations. I can hardly formulate a sentence about it!

I think the director (who not only directed but practically made the film single-handed) wanted to make a movie about his father, who had Parkinson's. So he starts from the atomic level to understand the brain, but in order to get to that, he had to describe the history of the universe.

Ambitious, for sure. Visually mind-boggling, for sure.

There was narration in English (the movie is originally in Polish, but the narration runs through the whole thing, so an English soundtrack was easy and better than subtitles) and it was quite deadpan and straight. Occasionally there was a bit of humour: space-time, for example, wrinkled up like a scrotum in winter.

Click the link above and scroll through the pictures to get to the trailer. It will give you a sorta-kinda idea of what went on. I'll just keep shaking my head and thinking about it!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Two movies

I have seen two movies at Hot Docs thus far.

The Workers Cup (which, I know, should have an apostrophe and it drives me bonkers that it doesn't, but I'm trying to relax a bit about that) was my opening night movie.

Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, and companies are competing to build the stadiums and hotels and infrastructure that will be needed. Workers (all men) are recruited from Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya... wherever there are people who will do almost anything for some money! When they get to Qatar, they find they cannot leave the work camps, they can't leave the country, they can't even get into town to meet anyone, without the permission of the company.

In an attempt to build loyalty among their workers and to show the world what great employers they are, these construction companies arrange a football tournament. The film follows one team, talking to the men about their homes, their hopes and their dreams as they compete. The sport is fun, but ultimately it is all a lie.

A bit of an emotional roller-coaster and an eye-opening conversation starter. Highly recommended!

Friday morning I was volunteering at the Docs for Schools program, where we bring in classes to see a festival movie. This is a great program and I wish my daughter's school would take more advantage of it!

The movie was Bee Nation, a story about the first First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee in Saskatchewan.

It's a charming and heartwarming story of a group of children on reserves in Saskatchewan who compete in a spelling bee. The winners in the three age groups get to go to Toronto to compete in the national Spelling Bee of Canada. It's a movie about children spelling and striving, and not about the state of the First Nations in Canada, but there are enough bits to show that the filmmakers could have made a diatribe about lack of education funding, lack of opportunity and lack of respect.

My dark picture of William and the director at the theatre

The best part was little William Kaysaywaysemat III and his family who attended for a Q&A. Very self-assured, very calm and dignified, that kid should go far.

Today, something probably a bit crazy -- I'll let you know!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Plain and fancy

Today some knitting news!

I needed bus and lineup knitting, and made two dishcloths.

Look at that pooling! Both cloths are two rows from one ball and two from the other, with different stitch patterns, and I think one cloth had 38 stitches and one had 37... not exactly sure about that...

I like this one! It's a Double Bump, and I wonder if I could ever repeat the pooling, or tweak it so the lines were straight.

This is Tweedish, another old favourite.

Another 8 days of film festival to go; luckily I found half a hat I can tuck in my bag. 

Finally, some pictures of the pinkish-green scarf. This was quite fun to knit but it's just not my colour! I bought the skein thinking the colours were more dispersed; should have looked more closely in the shop, and then, perhaps, I should have taken it back when I realized. I love the green, but am not sure what to do with such a pink scarf. 

Very clever dyeing here. And I love the pattern, Rising Sun.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

What I learned from Thursday's post

I linked to a post from 2006 this morning. And then I learned that the way I used to put up pictures is not really still the way Blogger does things. The pictures overlap the text, "centre" doesn't really mean what it says and generally the old posts are a mess! Not to mention that many links are outdated and useless.

I fixed the punting post quickly, but what to do about the rest?

How's that for posterity?

Remember the time...

Our Think Write Thursday prompt for this week is "Remember the time..."

Remember the time we actually went knitting on the Cam?

That's all I have for you, since I had a root canal Wednesday. Big headache, jaw-ache, brain-ache.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hat for next fall

It's not so blue as in the first picture.

I made a number of mistakes in it; silly, really, given the simplicity of the pattern, but it did involve counting to four! Apparently I can't consistently do that.

But, no one will notice.

I have a week to figure out what little vintage thing I will make for May. And really, one day I will take pictures of the pinky-greeny scarf!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Coming into Hot Docs season

Hot Docs starts next Thursday and I can already feel things slipping out of control.

I have signed up for six shifts during the festival, and have got myself tickets for... 11 movies. Three of my shifts are for the school program, where we get the kids seated and later clean up after them, but are able to watch the movie with them as well. So that's another five films, and some of those are the big-buzz shows.

Let's make a list, shall we?
  1. 78/52
  2. Brimstone and Glory
  3. The Girl down Loch Änzi
  4. Give Me Future
Plus, movies to be watched while making sure high school students don't get out of hand:

  1. Bee Nation
  2. Bill Nye: Science Guy
  3. Dolores
  4. Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower
  5. Step

I'll need some simple knitting for lineups. And I do have a family to tend to. And, let's not forget the root canal at the dentist next week! Yikes. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Coming and going

Ah, I was away for a week!

Waiting in the Calgary airport

I went out to BC for my father's memorial celebration. Lots of family, including a cousin I don't remember from when we last saw each other, maybe something like 1965... Once when my sister was talking about the wild, hippy, Kootenay weddings she'd been to, cousin Paul exclaimed, "Oh, I live such an ordinary life!" However, he also said things like, "I was out for a walk with my pet duck, Joanne..." I'm very glad I finally met him!

The memorial was very good -- we read lots of great English literature, which tends to be pretty Christian, and sang Ode to Joy, although my father professed no belief in any afterlife. Most tears shed: when my brother read the very last bit of Lord of the Rings. We also read from Dad's memoirs and trip diaries -- I came home with 10 kilos of the dang things, and hope to type some of the more noteworthy up for posterity. We scattered ashes in some lovely woods after my sister led a Buddhist chant. So he was pretty well covered in case of any surprises...

Let's see if I have any pictures...

Paul, Diane and the dog, out for a walk

Another walk in town

I like this bark/leaf combo

After the memorial and lunch and scattering, many of us ended up at my younger sister's house for dinner. We took along some of the leftovers!

Guess what, there were still leftovers afterwards 

The view from her bathroom. Still snow

Spring is on its way; the magnolias are out

Now, let's get textile-y. 

This blanket has been around forever, certainly from the mid-1960s. I suspect my parents bought it when we lived in the Cotswolds in 65-66. Wool, tweedy, a bit frayed, with a few cat-scratch holes neatly mended. I always liked having it when I was sick in bed: so many different colours in the weaving! I might have brought it home, but I thought one of my sisters would get more use out of it, so I took a zillion pictures instead. 

Once upon a time, in 2000, I believe, we siblings made hand- and footprints on fabric and gave them to our mom for her birthday. Then she did a whole lot of work and made this quilt.

Our little family's contribution:

I put buttons on it for decoration, thinking it would likely end up on the wall, but she made the quilt for their bed and they used it a lot, buttons and all. 

In a box in the storage locker (one day, someone will write a novel about the storage locker, I'm sure) I came across this! I have a similar one, though mine is lined and made with more muted pieces. 

My mom belonged to a quilting and sewing group, maybe in the 1980s, and every once in a while they would have a big get-together and swap. Someone brought all these little samples; I believe they were a wool/cashmere blend.

My mom snapped them up and made (apparently) two blankets, and I think there was once a jacket for my dad made out of them as well. Perhaps it will be lined and given to a getting-married niece.

The sad socks! These are the socks I'd made for my dad. They ended up with a brother-in-law with just the right sized feet.

Phew. And now I am home, with some knickknacks to find room for, some papers to put somewhere appropriate -- and also some of my own knitting to show you... another day. I finished the green and pink thing and made good progress on my April vintage hat.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Done like dinner

It is done. Oh, my, it is big.

I stood on a chair to take this picture of my couch.

One of a million available detail shots.

It's a bit of a chore to wrap it around oneself.

And even wrapped a few times, it is super gigantic.

I wonder if my 6'6" nephew needs a gigantic, slightly odd scarf. I have some months to figure it all out, since the days of woolly scarves might be over here for now.

It was fun to knit, great to use up all that stash of fingering/sock yarn. I only bought a bit... One ball I used about half of; one ball made me sneeze and I used a tiny wee bit of; and the last, a nice little skein of KPPPM, is untouched. I probably still have enough for a matching hat!

And a teaser for next week...

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Reading a book for the first time

Today's Think Write Thursday task is to write about a book we wish we could read again for the first time.

The book that instantly popped into my mind was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

I first read it when Elaine was a baby, so about 16 or 17 years ago, a few years after it had first come out. I think friends were reading it for a book club. At the same time my dad had been introduced to it by another English-professor friend, and it was all very exciting.

by H-Johanna

What a world: wizards who were children and the idea of a whole school full of them; Muggles who couldn't see the entrance to Diagon Alley; and kids vanishing through onto Platform 9 3/4. The horrible Dursleys and the gigantic Hagrid.

by Phillippeaux

The genius of those books was in the little details. The minor characters and the little asides. Hagrid knitting his yellow sweater, the scene in the wand shop. Owls delivering the mail. The first flying lesson; quidditch, for heaven's sake... How did she invent all these things? Amazing imagination.

by HumorlessPoppycock

After the first four books, which I read more or less all at once, we preordered the books as they were published, and raced to read them. I had thought the kids would read them when they were around 10 or 11, the age of the characters in the first book. How wrong I was! Elaine practically learned to read with these books, and by the time Book 6 came out, she was tearing through it with me.

Kids won't have that experience again with these books. They were so omnipresent; it seemed like everybody from elementary school to the old folks' home was reading the same book at the same time, all over the world! The anticipation, that feeling when you go into a book store and see boxes and boxes of the same book, all preordered and all about to be excitedly devoured. You'd see a person on the subway or in the store, with a corner of the book poking out of their bag, and ask how far they'd got, did they like that bit about....

by TheGeekCanPaint

I read at least four of the books before seeing a movie. I could see the Reptile House and Gringotts and the Forbidden Forest.

From Pinterest. I wish I knew who the artist is. 

But nowadays, Harry looks like Daniel Radcliffe and Hermione doesn't really have bushy hair. The first movie was pretty good, but they soon went downhill and by the last few I forked over my money to see them rather grudgingly, duty-bound. Don't get me started...

I'm sorry to say that these books don't actually improve on re-reading. Well, okay, for the first dozen times, yes. But even at the height of our Pottermania, the kids and I had a list of questions we would ask JK Rowling if we ever met her, and it got quite long. Things don't quite work... a whole book relies on someone doing something stupid, or not doing something simple that they should have done. (Just a word to Dumbledore, please!) Elaine has got into the fandom thing, and says that while most online fan groups talk about how great things are with Dr Who or the Marvel comics or Steven Universe, the Potter fandom talks about how things could have been better.

by SquirrelGirl15

But, wow, I would really like to have again that thrill that came with going down Diagon Alley or riding a broom for the first time!

(I've found some art that is supposed to be book-based, at DeviantArt.)

To see more Think Write Thursday posts, go here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Scrunched up

I have finished the zigzag edging on two sides of the gigantic shawl. Now all the stitches on the remaining side are on one circular, ready for a quick (!) and easy i-cord bind off. I hope that one day soon I can start on the million and six ends I have to take care of.