Sunday, July 31, 2005


movie magic . . . sort of

Hey, so, it's been a while. Last week got filled up with work, planning (the Franklin Planner refill arrived in the mail, and not a moment too soon), organizing, and a complete overhaul of the knitting supplies in our home. No longer are knitting projects forced to occupy the nooks and crannies of our bookcases--now we have special drawers for current knitting projects, and for patterns, needles, and accessories. I would love to go on Martha's new show this fall and show her how I did it. CALL ME MARTHA!!! I did it all for less than $20 thanks to magic of Target. CALL ME TARGET!!!

Okay, so you know that the Island didn't really work out like we hoped. It was Ewany and all, but I'm hoping for something better and more inspiring this summer. So, with a foolishness born out of senseless hope, I went to see Must Love Dogs.

Look . . . please don't see this movie. You might want to. You might know someone who wants to. Oh, it's John Cusack, sure. But just rent Say Anything or the Grifters. Or even try the sick-making Serendipity or that one movie no one saw where he plays a Nazi. I don't want to berate the point, but any movie which resorts to a group sing-along of the Partridge Family theme song is not good. Even worse is a movie where the "foxy new friend" of the protagonist smiles upon hearing said sing-along, walks to the piano, and plays the melody with the lively good cheer of a ragtime pianist. Shame! Shame!

So tonight, we tried The Wedding Crashers. It's dirty and funny. A solid B+. Well played, Butterscotch Stallion.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


A Theory

The wrath of God is starting to get tiresome.

I'm not even sure what's happening to the sun on Thursday. Some kind of reddish hellfire smoldering, it appears.

This summer has been pretty gross, weather-wise and me-wise. Sure, I'm not doing some of the unpleasant jobs I did during previous summers, such as
So currently, of course, my job is fabulous, especially compared to the ones I've just mentioned. But still, I can't shake the feeling that I'm always behind on things, about to fail at one thing or another. I have grudgingly ordered a refill for my Franklin planner, because although I hate the fussiness of the planners and Stephen Covey is an absolute loon, the anal list making and goal setting encouraged by the planner is what I need right now.

My other problem is that the scale says I gained about 7 pounds in a week. Is this possible? I think I've been eating okay, and my clothes don't feel tight, but I have weighed myself multiple times and it always comes out the same. Alex tried feeding me some line about "springs" and "KMart scale" or somesuch, but I know it's not that. Can people have, like . . . a reverse tape worm? That instead of stealing your nutrition actually accelerates it, or maximizes calories or something? If so, then that's what I have. According to my calculations, I'll be twice my current weight by December.

I weep.

Monday, July 25, 2005



This cracked me up . . .

Oh, the Internets get me every time.


Spot on

I have a new laundry problem.

Gentle readers, you will remember that I recently shared a dark secret with you. The secret of my smelly laundry. The smell seems to have been resolved through timely removal of laundry from the washer and prompt drying. But now I have this to contend with:

In a house full of soft beds, couches, chairs, pillows, and people, Gemini prefers the cold metal of the dryer.

He's a tough guy, you know? But I need to doublecheck each time I dry a load, lest I tumble dry the kitty.

I'm still working on the Super Secret project, but I had a little time to work on the Phildar tank.

This is the tank I made without realizing that the halter part of it necessitated ordering a special accessory piece from Phildar. So I'm improvising with an i-cord. I think it'll be okay. Hopefully it will still be Chic Zen.

It's so hot out. I know everyone in Arizona and Iowa and Illinois and Ontario and New York is going through the same thing but . . . it is rilly hot.

These tomatoes were green on Saturday.

The farmer's market is filled with beautiful tomatoes, eggplants, blueberries, peppers, and on and on. I made baba ghanouj out of the eggplant we bought on Saturday, and now chowder from the potatoes and corn we bought.

Nothing like chowder on a hot day, huh? (That's the stock, by the way. Corn cobs generally do not belong in people food.)

To pass some of these hot evenings, I've been watching this:

Oooh, they look evil on this package, with their blue eyes searing into you. But it's a great show. Excellent writing, great acting.

Speaking of writing and acting, The Island did not do very well this weekend. In fact, it has the unmistakable whiff of a big ol' bomb. What's this? Did audiences not find the flying motorcycle compelling? Was all the exploding stuff too "brainy" and "intellectual" for them? Did this Entertainment Weekly cover do the movie in? Very possibly.

I'm sure you've already seen it, but do be sure to check out Mr. Cupcakes's fantastic Skully sweater progress.

Looks like it's time to SHUT IT DOWN.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Proximity Alert! Proximity Alert!

My very dear friends came out to the movies last night for a very late show of a movie they didn't, couldn't have wanted to see, just to humor me. Ladies and gentlemen, we visited The Island.

The movie was very loud, violent, and littered with product placement. In the scene above, the clones have like, a club or something that they hang out in and drink Aquafina water (not shown above, ha). Why oh why would clones stuck (spoiler alert! spoiler alert!) in an underground bunker who have no money and no idea a world exists outside of their own care that they are drinking a name brand water? What would they do with this information? A whole lot of nothin', that's what. I sure am thirsty, though.

This is a pretty bad movie with a lot of great actors forced to do stuff like this:

Bewildered-clone-finds-bug scene. Note costume. At least it's tight?

Not every scene was terrible . . .

Nothing wrong with this. Like the glasses. Like the Dieter turtleneck. Confused about why an uber-wealthy Scottish motorcycle/boat designer would drink Michelob Light, but . . . God, I'm thirsty!

Thanks, friends. I owe you a whole lot of puppet shows.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Da Vinci Hoo Ha

I finished listening to the Da Vinci Code, and was a little disappointed that I guessed several of the plot twists before they happened. I'm usually really bad at guessing the murderer in mystery stories and hopeless at Encyclopedia Brown-type detective work, so I'm thinking that maybe Da Vinci's code isn't quite as sophisticated as it wants to be. The narrator did his darndest to convey Scottish, English, French, American, and Mysterious Albino Monk accents, but his French accent sounded a little, well, loopy. Like the character had been under heavy narcotics for several weeks and had only recently woken up.

It wasn't a terrible book, but it was an awful lot like a John Grisham novel.

As far as knitting, I worked on Top Secret Project last night and thus have no pictures. Thanks for the kind words about the tank top. Thanks also to Stef for her helpful "free ball" comments. I'll certainly take that into consideration . . .

Tonight is the opening of The Island. Yes, last time I checked it was only running a 50 on Metacritic, and it will be overly long and loud and fundamentally dumb, but it has Ewan McGregor. So, that's that. He purdy.

This afternoon I'm going to get some work done on the Big Paper and get a few hours in at work. Someday all this work and endless school will pay off. Right? RIGHT???

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Hot hot heat

I finished the x-back tank. Huzzah!

I like the nubbly-ness of the ribbon yarn, and it has a very beachy, summery shape.

But what undergarments work under it? The armholes are so low that a strapless bra would show, and there are enough "holes" in the seed stitch that going without would be a bit daring. Very daring, in fact, as I would effectively be nude. I don't think Carrborelly is ready for that jelly. Soooo, some sort of lining is in order. I have a very old black tank top that my college roommate gave me that could be modified and sewn into this tank. I'll just need to take the straps off and sew (or tack) the top of the black tank into the green one.

This past weekend when Rebecca and I had our Fun Day, we went to the yarn store. I just have no self control.

I bought a cat. All right, I didn't buy the cat (Mouse was bought and paid for long ago) but I bought more yarn because I'm greedy. GREEDY FOR YARN!

Here Mouse poses with Cotton Classic, a mercerized cotton in a pretty sea blue color, romantically named "3818." I am going to use this to make the Ribby Shell on Bonne Marie Burns's ChicKnits website. Rebecca bought a gorgeous green Rowan cotton yarn to make the same pattern. It will be our own little Ribby-Shell-Along.

And this is an Italian sock yarn from Lana Grossa. I think the name of this yarn is Meilenweit/Multiringel. I think that means . . . stripes? I mainly bought this because it is a more masculine sock yarn, for the manly feet in my life.

Well, I must go get ready for work. This week I have been refoldering the collection I'm working on, which means a lot of plain old copying of labels. I've been checking out audiobooks from the library and burning them into my iTunes and then onto the iPod. It really makes the more mindless tasks fly by. So far this summer I've listened to Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation, Myla Goldberg's Bee Season, and now an abridged version of The Da Vinci Code. I may be the last person alive who has not read The Da Vinci Code, and getting it abridged suits me just fine. Very action packed, with killer albino monks and sexy French cryptologists. Pretty much like a typical day in Chapel Hill. I think they're making movies of both Bee Season and Da Vinci . . . Bee Season has one chapter with an amazing reveal of one character's obsession, and I can't wait to see how the filmmakers visualize it.

All right, for real, off to work!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


The industry, my friends, that was a revolution

Ah, the weekend is over, with its Harry Potter and yoga and yarn stores and knitting and blueberry picking and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-attending. I did only the merest smidge of work, not visible to the naked eye, even, and having such a nice weekend was fantastic.

But I was excited for Monday because Monday was the day that our new coffee maker was put to the true test: would the auto-start button work? If so, everything would change.

Brief note: this new coffee/espresso maker cost $4.95, marked down from $275.00.

It was on super-discount at the Southern Season inventory clearance, as it had mysterious, perhaps unsolvable electric problems. But with Dr. Hectic/Mr. Cupcakes in the house, nothing is unsolvable. Nothing!

So we plugged it in and the coffee maker worked fine. It hadn't even been used before, as evidenced by the plastic in the filter holder. The espresso maker did not work, but the steamer did. Sweet! And, the auto start button worked! It worked!

So now we are able to program the coffee maker to brew coffee at a certain time. It means that I don't have to get up and turn on the coffee maker, the coffee maker (let's call him Stewart) turns on the coffee maker! Stewart will wake me up each morning with a fresh and delicious cup of coffee (or as he calls it, "Caffe.") Mon cheri, he will murmur, eet eez time to awake. I haf brewed le caffe pour vous. Oh Stewart! You are the greatest invention since the Swiffer!

I was a Swiffer nay-sayer for many a moon, as it requires a disposable cloth thingy to be applied with each use, then disposed of in the trash, probably never to decompose and eventually to smother my great-great-grandchildren who are forced to live in the garbage heap the earth has become. But you guys? It really picks up cat fur! The sure-fire combination of broom, vacuum, Swiffer (dry), and Swiffer (wet) actually picks up 95% of grossness off the floor.

If I could somehow harness the cats, or modify the Swiffer cloths to fit on their feet, that would truly be revolutionary.

But this is the general reaction from the cats. It's not even a no. It's just a blank. A cute blank, though.

I have squeezed in a bit of knitting between marvelling over new inventions. The x-back tank is getting close to being done.

It just needs the back straps, and it'll be ready for the hot hot heat that is smothering North Carolina these days.

When I first tried to take these pictures, the cats swarmed as though the tank top was a beacon, calling to them to plop their big old selves down and start chewing on some yarn.

Bad, bad, bad. This is why all my knitting projects are stuffed on top of books in the bookshelves in the living room.

Well, better go get some reading done. Alex is outpacing me on Harry Potter (his is the wide white bookmark, mine is the red one). I'm such a muggle.

Friday, July 15, 2005


No Knitting News

Well, my career as magical dog whisperer hit a snag this morning when The Dog and I went outside and he walked to about the mailbox. He then turned around, and walked back toward the house. I tried to coax him back out to the street again but he sat down and held steady, looking at me with big, sad eyes. Maybe . . . he prefers evening walks? More research must be conducted.

Today was a great day . . . no work, just some quality cat time, lunch with Stef at Elmo's, a nap with Mouse, and a shopping trip to Roulette in Carrboro. It must be some Harry Potter magic in the air, because everything fit, and nothing exacerbated the genetic betrayal that is my legacy. (Can you place that line? Hint: All-time greatest movie) I even found pants that fit, which is bizarre and unexpected but also of course delightful. Now Angela and I are off to spend some time with The Dog and The Cats, and then it will be a Very Harry Potter Evening.

Oh, and Us Weekly came, but I need time to digest it before offering special tidbits to you, my dear readers. I did see that they quesily described Portia de Rossi as Ellen DeGeneres's "gal-pal." Gal pal sounds like, I don't know, Lucy and Ethel. I don't think they would call, say, Angelina Jolie "Brad's gal-pal." Although that would be pretty funny, now that I think about it.

C'est suffit. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, July 14, 2005



No knitting to report today--a little progress on the Super-Secret Project but that of course cannot be photographed or discussed, except perhaps with adjectives like "yarny" and "with needles," and really, what's the point?

The big news is that I am dog- and cat-sitting this weekend, and I was hanging out with the animals, watching a little Felicity (Noel--so puffy! Always so puffy? 'Tis a mystery) and The Dog seemed kind of depressed. He wasn't interested in eating, or going into his fenced-in yard. He just sighed and sat down in front of me. Then I said "Want a walk?" And The Dog came alive, as if he were a robot dog and responded to the command WALK. Fantastic! I want Buckles to do that. Like, CUDDLE. And then he would be cuddly and sweet and not bite my hands.

The Dog and I had a nice walk, except he went both #1 and #2, and say what you will about litter boxes--at least there's no, um, "heat element." But I think he had a good time, and if The Dog's happy, I'm happy.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Slap fight night

Slappin' cats.

For some reason, everyone was really excited to see some slap fights tonight, and I think our wish almost came true. But it didn't because God is angry, my friends, and God doesn't give you slap fights if you don't really deserve them.

The skies turned as black as night, and the rain, she a-poured down upon us. We were snug under the overhang, but we had to sit in a somewhat awkward "Last Supper" style side-by-side formation.
This picture came out dark, as my pictures inevitably seem to, so I made it all lightened and old-timey. Pretty sweet, ay? I kind of got the game players and not the knitters in this shot, but there were a bunch of us there. See?

There's two of the knitters right now! They look so arty, don't they? Rebecca made a delish blueberry buckle to share. Always a good time on knit night, God's fury notwithstanding.

I worked on the ribbon x-back tank.

It's pretty cool yarn to work with. Seed stitch is a pain, but we must suffer for beauty.

And now, the long-awaited, much-debated Us Weekly round-up:
Okay, seriously, it is such a boring magazine, but it has a candy corn effect on me, wherein I read it compulsively until sickened and Alex has to take it away from me. I guess it's indicative that when I tried to remember what was in it, I couldn't remember a single article, and I read it last night.

The only kinda weird part was in the inevitable Brangelina article:

During their trip Angelina applied to adopt an Ethiopian baby girl, according to Yohannes Ruphael, the editor in chief of the Addis Tribune. (Note: Ruphael has reported for Us Weekly on assignment in the past.)

Okay, (1) Does Us Weekly have ethics? So careful to warn readers of possible bias on the part of this source! And usually their sources are anonymous, or stalking paparazzi, or what their interns read on blogs. So why so up front about this? And (2) For what possible reason did Us Weekly need to employ the editor in chief of the Addis Tribune for assignments in the past? To cover the up-and-coming Ethiopian cinema? Maybe Ruphael is just a really awesome reporter, and the only person they trusted to cover, like, Mischa Barton's trip to Italy. In that case, I tip my hat to you, Yohannes Ruphael!

It's martini time, peeps.

To conclude:
Mouse in a drawer!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005



Kittens, not much new to report tonight. No new knitting accomplishments. That deserves a sad emoticon: :^(

But today I did so many things! I cleaned off mildewy papers and took apart a scrapbook at work. I went walking/jogging with Mr. Alex Cupcakes. I drove Stef to a library in the middle of nowhere, and then picked her right back up, and we went to Tyler's and had a beer. And to top it all off, US Weekly arrived! Tomorrow I shall report on the top stories featured therein. Because it's important.

Altogether, a lovely day. See you tomorrow for knit night, and the resulting slap fights!

Monday, July 11, 2005


Home again, home again

Susie Cupcakes back in the ("da") house! I actually spent almost zero time in Cleveland. The only thing I know about Cleveland is an irate woman in a Toby Keith shirt tried to budge ahead in the women's room in the Cleveland airport at about 11:30 on Friday morning. I don't think so, yo. Clearly, it was time to hit the suburbs!

My dad grew up in Perry, Ohio, a pretty little town of about 5,000 people. But they have a monster, $65 million dollar (really) elementary school, junior high, and high school.

This is just a very small part of the high school.

There are three gymnasiums, olympic sized track and pool. The smoke rising out of the nuclear power plant in the background? Might have a li'l bit to do with the fanciest school I've ever seen. I think Perry should put in a bid for the 2016 Olympics.

In between family events, we squeezed in a trip to the James Garfield homeplace in Mentor, Ohio. I lurrve historic sites, and I just listened to Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation audiobook. Poor Garfield was only in office for about 4 months before he was shot. From the museum part of the historic home, it sounds like he was a pretty radical reconstructionist, and would have been a good person to have in office in the 1880s. If you weren't a wealthy white supremacist.

I really do love recreations of historic moments, such as the one above, Garfield being sworn into office. I didn't take a picture of the deathbed recreation. Too creepy, even for me, Susie "Creepy" Cupcakes.

The Garfields seem like my kind of people. Lots of books, kooky furniture, and of course . . .

knitting needles! Speaking of, I finished the Opal socks this weekend.

Want a close-up of the gusset? Mais oui!

These were so much fun to make. I got tracings of my mom's, dad's, and brother's feet so I can make them socks, too.

It was a very busy weekend but I'm glad I went. The cats did miss me, though. So did Mr. Cupcakes. Oh, I'll just call Mr. Cupcakes by his real name from now on. Alex. Alex Cupcakes.

Now it's back to work, but to quote Simon Cowell (don't ever do that, kids), it's not exactly working in a coal mine. It's a lot of fun to read people's mail. Although if I could work in a coal mine with Ewan McGregor, I would totally, totally do that.

And now, here's the gratuitous cat picture of the day: Orangy!

See you tomorrow, my dears.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


The Buckaroo

So, when I put those socks on Mouse and took a picture yesterday? That's a buckaroo. Thanks, Stitchy McYarnpants! And this picture on MrA's blog really hits home.

A Boggle buckeroo! Cats are so talented.

Well, today was not such a great day, with what happened in London. It's all very scary, sad, and frustrating. Also, GWB still really sucks, world-class style. Way to turn a national tragedy into an excuse for your horrendously planned and disastrously executed "war" on "terror." But anyways . . .

Yarn! I started making the ribbon x-back tank from Knitty. You just cast on an even number of stitches on a circular needle and knit in seed stitch. The thing is . . . okay, you start knit, purl, knit, purl, etc etc etc, and finish with a purl. Then you're at the beginning of the next row, and you need to start with a purl (because last time you started with a knit). But you just finished with a purl, so you have a purl next to a purl. Then the next time around, a knit next to a knit. It makes a slight variation on the pattern. I think this can be remedied by having an odd number of stitches.

I tried to take a picture of this fascinating phenomenon, but in my hands the camera is a cumbersome instrument, capable of rendering only blurry approximations of shape and size. So just IMAGINE what I'm talking about.

I did get a picture of Buckles having a snuggle with the yarn.

Fer cute!

Hey, Susie Cupcakes is off for a fabulous weekend jaunt to Provence, where the sun-dappled fields of fresh vegetables and cellars of delicious wines beckon, and the refreshing country weekend will be followed by a day of flea-market shopping and espresso-sipping in cozy Parisian cafes.

Oops, I mean Cleveland! I'm going to Cleveland! Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Problems, solutions

Those of you "in the know" (as the kids say) have seen that Susie Cupcakes has been just a bit stressy lately. And by "stressy," I mean always worried and annoying, and prone to waking up at 4:30 in the morning worried about, like, the washing machine having this funny smell that contaminates our clothes and we don't know it until we've put the clothes on, and sometimes at work, I think "What's that smell?" And I work with moldy, mildewy things, and last week there was a bunch of mouse poop in the folders I was working on. But you know what the smell is? ME!

But at 4:30am, there is little to be done about such a problem. Except change one's pajamas to "washing machine smell-free" versions. But anyway, since I've started trying to exercise more, I think I'll be sleeping better. Also this solution is at-the-ready:

5 drinks + 2 Benedryl = sleepful bliss

Sooooo . . . um, anyway, tonight was knitting night! Hooray!

Another well-attended, stellar event. Many projects underway by the ladies and gentleman knitters . . . socks, scarf, shawl, robot, laptop case, cell phone cover, and, best of all, beer cozies!

Are they not adorable? Rebecca picked up the pattern when she was in Toronto for the Special Libraries Association meeting. That reminds me, I must start researching New Orleans yarn stores to prepare for the August Society of American Archivists meeting. Knitting and libraries are forever entangled, it seems.

But perhaps the best part of this particular knitting meeting was the (non-Susie) CUPCAKES!

David made these homemade vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla and chocolate buttercream frosting, and they were a huge hit. They were in honor of Miles (nee Buddy) turning the big one-year-old on the fourth of July. Happy birthday Miles! And a big shout-out to my homegirls, Graybaby and Mouse, who turned five on July 4 as well! Looking good, ladies!

And this picture is blurry, but Mouse looks pretty damn cute posing with Completed Sock and Partially Completed Sock.

Cupcakes OUT.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005



As expected, the weekend in Wilmington was filled with sun, sand, surf, miniatures, and Northern aggression.

Jenna was understandably dismayed to deplane and walk into 90 degrees at 85% humidity. I tried to pretend that she would get used to it, and claimed it is actually very very pleasant, but she was not having it.

But after a fun morning of running errands (mailing letters, buying cat food) we had a nice lunch with Angela and then took off for the beach. Jenna took her first of 94 siestas in the car on the way down. Siestas are the besta!

We didn't actually make it to the beach until the next morning, when Mr. Cupcakes met us at the hotel and we drove to Wrightsville Beach. I became just a teeny smidge concerned about not being able to find parking anywhere at all near the water, and it began to seem that we might as well just try to sneak into the Hilton pool, when a parking spot emerged. Now, I must admit the following picture is what the beach looked like the next morning at 8am, but I feel it represents the best of what North Carolina has to offer. Beach-wise, I mean.

Loves it! So beautiful.

My cool friends liked it too.

Lots of time was spent on the boogie boards, swimming around in the waves, reading on the beach. The only bad part was my unfortunate spotting of a fishing vessel named Wet Pleasure. Ewwwww.

Then, it was time for MINIATURES!

Perhaps I should explain that Minneapolis used to boast a store called "Ahhh . . . MINIATURES!" It was really called that, with the elipses and exclamation mark and everything. And if that weren't hilarious enough, the store used to run ads in the weekly alternative paper, and one year during Christmas they ran one with a miniature Santa spanking a miniature woman with the caption "Who's your Santa?" So crazy and gross. And perfect. So when we heard that the Cape Fear Museum was featuring a special exhibit on miniatures, we knew Wilmington was the perfect vacation destination.

Living small, y'all!

The exhibit itself was fine, but lacking in the oodles and oodles of dollhouse furniture we had expected. I might add here that we never actually went to Ahhh . . . MINIATURES! so maybe we had unrealistic expectations of what comprises the term MINIATURES.

The museum did feature some other exhibits and, um, things.

I'm just going to move on.

I'm not totally sure what's happening in this picture, except that I was feeding a pretend Venus Flytrap some beanbags, and it was FUN!

While in the museum we also saw the worlds longest narrated diarama re-enactment of the Battle of Fort Fisher. It had flashing lights and cotton poofs to represent gun smoke and lots of dead little plastic figurines. It would be a pretty awesome thing to have, like, in your living room. Guests would come over and you'd be all, "How about a twenty minute diarama re-enactment of the Battle of Fort Fisher?" And they would silently curse the moment they accepted your invitation. But still, so cool!

But watching it, that's when Jenna started to get nervous about being a Yankee south of the Mason-Dixon, and thought that maybe we would sic a blockade runner on her. So she packed up and headed back for Minneapolis, where the weather is humane and the tea's always unsweet.

Come again, Jenna Wenna!

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