The three-day coma

I have been in a coma for three days. Seriously, yo.

Wednesday afternoon, I got a migraine. It lasted until last night (Friday). It started in the center of my head, moved to the right side, then to the left, and ended at the base of my neck. Vomiting ensued. So did hallucinations. Oh, and the building I live in decided to do a few small repairs yesterday, and those included drilling. I said DRILLING. Sweet!

My meds aren’t due by mail order till next week, so an emergency call to the doctor netted some last night. I am, finally, better. And I hate a lost week. When you live as I do now, lost time is a bad thing.

BUT! I did download some new music Monday night before the agony ensued (thanks for the gift card, Gina!). My husband I are going to the Paolo Nutini show on Monday night in Fort Lauderdale, so I scooped up that new CD. Hubby was supposed to interview P-dubs, but they couldn’t get it worked out – publicists, damn them! I have to wonder if hubby could have understood that thick Scottish accent, anyway.

I also got Brendan Benson’s new CD. I love Brendan’s solo work, total power pop, sort of the lost ELO tapes, if you know what I mean.brendan
You might know him from his work as second lead in Jack White’s Raconteurs, and I loved them, too. I can’t find a new video from “My Old Familiar Friend,” but here’s one of my old faves, “Cold Hands, Warm Heart.”

After I downloaded two albums, I had time for some singles. I get freaky freaky with the singles. I won’t detail all here, but I got some K-pop care of Korean Spice Girls clones The Wonder Girls. Don’t judge me.

Come on! Aren't they just the cutest!

Come on! Aren't they just the cutest!

Hey, at least I got the original Korean version. I don’t like people singing hooked on phoenics.

And I rounded it out with an old schooler from Cody ChestnuTT”

So there you go — my jam of the week.

Here’s to a better week where I’m not in a coma and I can actually listen to this stuff!


Death of a movie theatre

I snapped some photos today, gonna send them to a friend in Cali. A theatre five minutes done the street from me, that’s been around since I was in high school, suddenly closed. Not a surprise, but kind of tragic.
Here’s the deal:
This place was where I saw Desperately Seeking Susan in high school with my best (gay) boy friend. We snuck into another movie after. I was wearing a big-ass bow on my head, a mile of rhinestone bracelets, and a black shirt with shoulder cutouts I sewed myself. I still have the vintage scarf I made the bow out of.

During my 20s and 30s, my Cali (now) friend Lisa and I saw every British film under the sun here — Hilary and Jackie, The Governess, you name it. I remember doing a weekend double feature by myself of a Daniel Auteuil flick followed by Peter Bogdanovich’s The Cat’s Meow. In between films, I’d sit at a bench outside, have an ice cream and edit my novel (you know, the one that is still sitting on my hard drive all these years later).

This place used to be in a vibrant strip outlet, but once the main stores relocated two years ago, we gave it matter of months. It’s amazing it lasted 2 years. It had turned into the most run-down shithole you’d ever want to go to, but hell, I still went from time to time. My husband I and saw Spiderman 2 there, and we were the only ones in the joint. Thank God, because I was drunk. Last time we went was earlier this year, to see The Wrestler. Fitting, since that was about a broken down piece of meat, and we saw it in …well, you get the gist. We joked for years the place was a mob-front. The pictures I snapped don’t do the damage inside justice. The sign on the window says “August 16 showing will be our last show.” There is trash in the trash bins that hasn’t been taken out, and half-drunk water bottles littering the counter.

Why am I so nostalgic? Oh, I don’t know. It just sort of represents this whole county. No one seems to care about anything here. I did like this place, since they showed a lot of foreign and independent movies through the years. It makes me sad. This town makes me sad. I want to leave. So, there you go!

In other news, I finished a hat this weekend:

It's just another black cabled hat with a vintage pin. So exciting.

It's just another black cabled hat with a vintage pin. So exciting.

I’m loading that and another item into the Dreads and Curls store and that’s about it until the show in October. We’ve had no sales for a while now, and I can’t see pouring more money into this. When the listings expire, they expire.

And I got my glasses today:

I'm having a really bad hair day.

I'm having a really bad hair day.

Hoping tomorrow is a brighter day!

Goodbye, Alice

Not a lot of good news here lately, but I did come across a new Louisa Harding pattern book. Titled Queen of Hearts, the entire collection (including pattern names, such as Cheshire and Flamingo) is an homage to Alice in Wonderland. Here’s my favorite hat, titled, simply, Mad Hatter:

Maybe Miss Thing went a little heavy on the smoky eye, but the hat is to die.

Maybe Miss Thing went a little heavy on the smoky eye, but the hat is to die.

You can find the rest of the collection here.

If I had all the time and money in the world, I’d sit and knit these patterns all day. But I don’t. The bad news is my unemployment ran out this week. I am now on my “extension,” which will be 20 weeks, and which should take me until approximately the date I was “laid off,” or “shitcanned,” as I like to say. After that, there could be another “emergency” 13 weeks, but I believe that’s at a reduced rate; I don’t want to have to accept that, and I shudder to think of the timeline in front of me. I’m also tired of the quotes I’m using here.

I spent all day Monday trying to get through to the unemployment office, and finally DID on Wednesday. Gosh, are they busy. Maybe THEY are hiring? In a last gasp effort to make some, any money, I listed more things on, including my Masterpiece Collection DVD of Alice in Wonderland. It sold yesterday. Bye bye, Alice. It was nice having you around for a little while.

This weekend I’m going to try and sell some clothes at the consignment shop. I have some bigger items to list on Craigslist. I sold a hat to an old college chum, so that goes in the mail today, too. I am not putting a lot of eggs in the basket regarding October’s Rock the Stitch Show, for that is foolish. But one can hope. I am still waiting to get paid on two patterns. The money would be helpful right about now.

If it was just me I was worrying about, it would be one thing. But the job situation here at Chez Velvet Cage is not exactly great for all the residents. We live in hope, in limbo, in a little bit of fear. One step away from “what happens next?” I don’t know. My concern lies with my spouse, right now.

I keep looking for jobs. I plan to apply at the mall and Starbucks this weekend. It’s come to that. I will make a last-gasp attempt to contact an old acquaintance regarding teaching (possibly substitute) in the county. I am not sure what is involved. If I don’t hear back, I will have to investigate on my own. It’s funny, so many people I went to school with who are now “friends” on Facebook teach. It was never something I wanted to do; always something my mother wanted me to. I guess when you have no options left, you will try anything.

Sorry so morose. I will try harder to be positive! I’ll be blogging about Project Runway for the local newspaper (online), will post details on that tomorrow. Just don’t want the site to link back here.

Later, I have a Tony Leung movie coming from Netflix today. He is the cure for what ails me, I think….

Let’s Get Lost

Watching Bruce Weber’s Chet Baker biopic as hubby came home tonight. Nothing like Baker drifting out of the speakers. Such a sad, depressing life, but such beautiful images and music….

Been a lost week here, migraines all week — we have a slight tropical depression bearing down, and that always does it. Hubby is gone now, off to attend/review a Dave Matthews Band concert. I politely declined, because I don’t care for DMB, and the thought of being surrounded by a bunch of dreadlocked white kids doing the hippie dance with the scent of cheeba in the air makes my head hurt more. Too many better concerts coming up — I’ll wait.

We need to go to the movies this weekend. Jon’s geek fanboy self wants to see District 9, and the word is good, but there’s this teeny-tiny part of me that is saying, “Do it. Go ahead. You are not a Nora Ephron fan, and there was that time Meryl Streep dissed your friend Kate’s husband at the Oscars, but you are leaning towards seeing Julie and Julia.”

And I think I will. Stanley Tucci plus Jane Lynch equals Hell Yeah.
My love for Ms. Lynch has been written of before: She comes, and she brings it. I’m hearing possible Oscar buzz this time. I will probably watch Glee this fall just for her sake.

Wishing everyone a great weekend, and hoping next week will be more productive pour moi. I’m going to finish a book I’m reading and get to bed early.

The life!

It’s not all about me…

Had a very nice birthday yesterday with other celebrating (low-key) over the weekend, but we still need to go out for tequila and apple pie at our favorite Mexican joint. Maybe next weekend. And yes, I got new glasses! Will post pics when I get them in two weeks. I am changing my outlook on life in so many ways — the vanity is gone, I feel proud to go around in some kickin’ retro frames and say, “this is who I am bitches, I’m blind!” Aherm.

Hey, it was my birthday, but it’s not all about ME. We’ve been updating our shop, Dreads and Curls, frequently the past few weeks, preparing for our big show in October, and FYI, my partner in crime takes pictures 10 times better than me, and she has some pretty snazzy knitwear, too:
She calls this one the Posh Pleats Cowl Neckwarmer, it can be worn multiple ways and she’ll include instructions on how to do so to the lucky owner. I have to tell you, I was at a downtown boutique yesterday, and they had something they claimed was handknit, but I swan a large conglomerate probably paid some poor third-world womyn to make them for pennies — the price was exhorbitant, the quality lacking. Handmade, all the way!

And yes, I’ve been busy, too:

I know, I know, I've gone mad for the butterflies. I guess I was pretty inspired by all the pins Zooey Deschanel wore in 500 Days of Summer...

I know, I know, I've gone mad for the butterflies. I guess I was pretty inspired by all the pins Zooey Deschanel wore in 500 Days of Summer...

By the way, speaking of my beautiful partner in craft, I want to see you rocking you hair like Shoniwa of the Noisettes, Marce. I think you could do it. Laws, I can’t wait to get this CD when it comes out in Sept. I am holding on to my iTunes gift card and it’s KILLING ME!

I still quote John Hughes’ movies…

This is a hard one for me to write.

And I’m sure there are a lot of other bloggers writing better entries than me.

There’s one right here. You should read it.

I’ll try to be brief: for me, that is tough.

I used to be a film critic, a long, long time ago. Not a very read one, but I still did it. And even though I skew towards my foreign faves, my indie picks, my headdesk “what where you thinking Tanya?” chinscratchers, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for John Hughes’ movies.

Not necessarily for his main characters, his protagonists, but those supporting characters, the ones floating around the edges of his movies, the peripheral people who I identified with far more than the heroines, the heros, the ne’er do wells like Ferris Bueller.

I will tell you right now, Ferris is my favorite Hughes film. I don’t know why. I didn’t see it in the theatre, I first watched it while I was babysitting one night in college, on HBO. And I fell in love with Cameron. Let my Cameron go. Alan Ruck broke my heart a little, and I think I always will have a soft spot in my heart for boys (and men) like Cameron.

Is it the jersey? Ask my husband...the hockey fan.

Is it the jersey? Ask my husband...the hockey fan.

And we’ll always have Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago.
Did you know THAT HOUSE was on the market recently? If I won the lottery....

Did you know THAT HOUSE was on the market recently? If I won the lottery....

I love Jennifer Grey’s bitchy Jeanie, and I think Charlie Sheen has never been so perfect in his career as the pale-faced tough object of her affection. I love the vision of Chicago in this, and all of Hughes’ movies, and even though it’s candy-coated, it remains a city I so long to see, thanks to him.

No one looked so forward to Pretty in Pink as me. I mean, come ON – my dorm room was painted pink! I went with my (first) college boyfriend, 10 years older than me and in a band. I was dressed to the hilt in my thrift-store chic, which I had been doing for years, and been ridiculed for in high school. It wasn’t the movie I wanted it to be, but then, how could it be? SHE PICKED THE WRONG GUY!

But I will forever laugh at James Spader’s hysterical line readings — he was like the ghost of prom’s past, a 40-year-old louche asshole trapped in the body of…a 40-year-old louche asshole.

Was it the loafers without socks or the way he said TRASH that cracked me up? Both. I think he was approaching the character as a comedy role, and no one knew it but HIM

Was it the loafers without socks or the way he said TRASH that cracked me up? Both. I think he was approaching the character as a comedy role, and no one knew it but HIM

And who wouldn’t want Harry Dean Stanton for a dad? I sure did. By that time, I had seen Paris, Texas and Repo Man too many times to count. But sadly, the reality is seldom as pleasing as the fantasy. I speak from experience.

Speaking as someone who remakes clothes: I REALLY WOULD HAVE GONE ON A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, ANDY!

Speaking as someone who remakes clothes: I REALLY WOULD HAVE GONE ON A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, ANDY!

But it was Annie Potts’ Iona…oh, Iona, how I wanted to grow up and BE you, with your cool-ass record store, your revolving door ensembles – one day, a dominatrix in rubber, the next, a 40s era siren in a snood. When you grew up a little at the end and started dating a “yappie,” I died inside. Why couldn’t you stay the same?

He loses IQ points every time he goes to the bathroom - I still quote that line...

He loses IQ points every time he goes to the bathroom - I still quote that line...

I went to see The Breakfast Club in high school, with my best friend. We no longer speak, we haven’t, for over 10 years. I don’t know where he is now, but I’ve heard tales. Back then, he was a closeted gay boy, and we had a bond that seemed like it would forever be unbroken. Although I didn’t love that movie, it made me feel like less of an outcast. And I thanked that little movie for it.

As I got older, and continued thru college, I saw Some Kind of Wonderful. A great movie? No. But as always, with Hughes, the soundtracks were kickin’. Thanks to that one, which I still have, I was introduced to flash in the pan glam-gothers Flesh for Lulu. Loved them. Met them, wearing this shirt (which I artfully remade), and which I still have. They were the sweetest guys. A memory I will treasure forever.

They kept asking me where I got the shirt, but I was so coy.

They kept asking me where I got the shirt, but I was so coy.

My favorite character from that movie? It has to be Elias Koteas’ Duncan…and you know, he is Canadian.
Maybe it's the black leather.

Maybe it's the black leather.

At that time in my life, I was attracted to the strong, silent, scary type. Oh yes….

And as we got older and all aged, there was She’s Having a Baby. I worship Alec Baldwin as the uncontrolled voice of the id in this one, and if you love you some Alec Baldwin, he certainly did have that young ‘n hot ‘n furry look.
alecThere was the priceless scene with the cow creamer, or “udder buddy,” if you will. An old friend and I lived off that one for years, until she gifted me with one for a housewarming present.

So in a way, these movies have infused my life with…something. Something intangible. I think, we he was working on all cylinders, Hughes’ had a simple message: It’s hard out there, and it’s even harder to be yourself. Some people can do it, some people can’t. But you really SHOULD.

I’ve tried to do that all my life, and the results have been…mixed. But worth it, in the end. I think John Hughes’ decision to leave Hollywood was, in the end, a noble one. And it’s pretty damned sad that the “Summer of Death March 2009” has to keep marching on.

A tough year, this one….

Vogue Italia and Girls with Glasses

Screwing around in the velvet cage today, playing with rubber cement this morning and slipped stitch fair-isle this afternoon — new stuff for Fall to add to the store. Soon, soon. I can’t wait to get my super huge cabled purses up and running. Those are more of a challenge. I’m in my cable period, it would seem.

Slip-sliding around the Net, you really should take a look at the August 2009 Vogue Italia shoot by Stephen Meisel featuring Linda Evangelista. Love her or loathe her, you have to admit, the pictures pack a punch.

My favorite shot - I believe the sweater is Yohji. And you know how I feel about Yamamoto.

My favorite shot - I believe the sweater is Yohji. And you know how I feel about Yamamoto.

You can check out the full suite here or over at Project Rungay. They always have the scoop.

I want a day where I can go to a library and sit and do nothing but read back issues of fashion mags. Especially foreign ones. I used to do that. When I was in college, I’d read all the 70s and early 80s Vogues on the third floor, and usually pass out on the couch. The Japanese exchange students would find me by closing time, and giggle and point. Something had to wake me up.

I also found this shot from the May Vogue Italia of Eva Herzigova in some kickin’ glasses.
Which reminds me: I have an eye doctor appt. on Monday. Just the usual yearly to make sure I can continue to get my contacts. But here’s the funny thing: Since I lost my job, I hardly wear them at all. It’s mostly my glasses, everyday.

I used to scream in horror if I had to leave my house in glasses, but now, I just don’t mind. I’m okay with it. I WOULD like some new, kickin’ frames, though. But it’s probably an expense I can’t justify come Monday. Mine are gold wire, and I’d love something a little chunkier. WITHOUT a stupid logo – I do not need someone else’s name on my glasses, thank you very much. I guess, though, as I get older, I just feel sexier in my glasses. So there.

Here’s what I’m working on, FYI:

A slip-stitch cowl made to match this vintage butterfly pin. Total Fall colors!

A slip-stitch cowl made to match this vintage butterfly pin. Total Fall colors!

Not the best photo: An original design - reversible cable scarf with handmade pin. I deconstructed a necklace and this is the result.

Not the best photo: An original design - reversible cable scarf with handmade pin. I deconstructed a necklace and this is the result.

Back to work — and hello to all the new readers popping by. There are so many creative spots out there on the Net I love visiting every day, so it’s nice to get a visit back in turn.

Cruelish Summer

My best friend and I went to see 500 Days of Summer this afternoon. Afterwards, we went to Dairy Queen and had Blizzards. I don’t think we’ve laughed so hard together at a single gag in a movie in a long time. I think it was just one of those “in jokes” between us. Maybe the filmmakers have been spying on my private life for years? What can I say. It involves my (former) hearty crushing on Harrison Ford.

Holy shit, I remember record shops! And I MISS them.

Holy shit, I remember record shops! And I MISS them.

So anyway, we had fun. I think a blogger I read earlier this week hit the nail on the head when she said you really have to think about this one for a couple of weeks before you can really DIGEST it. But I did like it. A lot.

I feel so lucky that I got to see L.A. once upon a time. I remember it well, some of the nooks and crannies one-time, never to be seen again friends took me to. The recording studios. The tiny spot for breakfast on Sunday morning. It really can be a pretty city if you seek out the special spots.

And here’s a tip to the screenwriters: Some of us gals have had Ringo as our favorite Beatle for YEARS. So, um, there.

Hey, I got a great knit book over the weekend, even though I couldn’t afford it. I figured it was an early birthday present:

Luxe Knits, by Laura Zukaite

Luxe Knits, by Laura Zukaite

I bought it more for inspiration than for actual pattern crushing (ie, I don’t know when I’ll ever knit with Artyarns again!), and if I can do some scans this week, I will.

But the design concepts and architecture are stunning. I esp. like the use of smocking, herringbone and honeycomb, three things I’m delving into now.

And a couple of America’s Next Top Model’s are in it. That’s Naima on the cover. Hey, it’s also published by the publisher that is publishing the book MY pattern will be in next year. I wonder if I’ll get an ANTM gal….I can dream. Dream small.

By the way, does anyone know where I can get this outfit?
I would like to seduce my husband after by birthday dinner in it.

Thanks for any tips.

PS: To RACHAEL: That may indeed have been a possum on the head in the Louisa Harding fashion shoot. If you ever meet her, you will understand….

The Ringo Crack Report

This week, I turn over a new leaf. More organization! Will I do computer stuff in the morning, or afternoon? I don’t know! Today, the morning!

Ringo celebrated a quasi-birthday in July. For July 2000 is when I got him. I don’t know when he was born exactly, but he was just a few weeks old when I did. Remember, he was found in a box, on the side of the road. Not, as is commonly reported, a van down by the river. That’s a damned LIE!

Regardless, I can say he is nine years young, and I celebrate his birthday in July. He’s a Leo, just like me! (Please don’t remind me my birthday is coming up. I just realized how old I will be yesterday, and I quickly crawled under the covers).

I got the little sucker a present from Etsy I’d been eyeing for a while, from seller HannaPT, one of the big guns who was featured in The Storque. The Catnip Kickin’ Stick, AKA, the crack bomb.
Here’s their photo:

Catnip Kickin' Stick, photo courtesty of HannaPT Etsy Shop

Catnip Kickin' Stick, photo courtesty of HannaPT Etsy Shop

And here’s what really happens:




If I can get the video camera up and running, I’ll shoot a film of what really goes down once his feet get going. I have to wonder how long this thing is going to last, he kicks it, gets the whole thing in his jaws, and generally abuses it until it’s nummied worse than a dog’s chew toy.

But my boy, he loves his crack.

In other news, we watched a great flick this weekend that we should have seen last fall, but I hate going to movie theatres so much (and yet, I’ve been going a lot this summer, and will be attending 500 Days of Summer with my best friend this week, because we luv the Joseph Gordon Levitt, AKA Ed Norton Jr.).

Let the Right One In is the Swedish vampire movie that kicks Twilight’s pansy ass to the curb. It’s not THAT gory, if you fear the gross stuff, but it is extremely twisted, and the cinematography is so beautiful, it will knock your socks off.
The one thing that had me puzzled throughout was that I thought it was set in modern times, but about 3/4 of the way through, I realized it was supposed to be the early 80s. That will tell you Swedish modern design really IS pretty damn modern.

Those damned Swedes and their IKEA!


When you don’t post, no one comes…

Yes, I have been quasi-busy this week. And hey, my Rowan preview garnered more hits than a home run derby, even some translations to French. Mais oui!

I sent out my pattern to the publisher on Monday. I wrote my 250 word bio on Thursday. It came to a whopping 133 words. Such is my life. I did a lot of cleaning, and a little loafing (headaches). And I finished my migraine study for my neurologist (headaches). When the check comes, it’s going straight in the emergency savings fund. I don’t touch my money these days.

My partner and I have put some new lovelies in the shop, and I’ll spend the next two months preparing for Rock the Stitch 2009. Here are two new, original designs pour moi!

Honeycomb Cowl with vintage daisy pin

Honeycomb Cowl with vintage daisy pin

Butterfly Teal Capelet Collar with butterfly closure

Butterfly Teal Capelet Collar with butterfly closure

I hope they go over well on Etsy, and at the show. I truly enjoyed designing both of these “on the fly,” and will definitely make more, in alternate colors and fibers.

And I sold four hats in a week at the shop — including one to Australia and one to France. Go figure. Although our sales aren’t through the roof, there’s a part of me that is tickled by the fact that people halfway across the world will wear things I made. I genuinely hope they get joy from wearing them. And lots of compliments!

I’ve been scouring the Web for inspirations, and found this from Anthro. Not loving all the extra ruffles, but love the asymetric shape:

Hmm. Bears investigating....

Hmm. Bears investigating....

So that’s all from the velvet cage for tonight. I’m knackered. I spent today vacuuming, dusting the blinds and cleaning the baseboards. I want the apt. clean before I start knitting my fingers to the bone for the next two months!

I promise, some Ringo kitty pron coming soon – he got a new toy from Etsy for his birthday, and is crack-a-lackin from all the catnip.

And here’s a fun link for your perusal: A gallery in SoCal did a show of artwork inspired by cult films. Of course, the Rushmore stuff is my favorite. And as you can see from all the Lebowski art, the Dude abides.

Everyone have a White Russian this weekend!