blog geek

On The Silver Screen

I have seen this link in various places today: Movies From An Alternate Universe. Asking the audience to re-imagine well-known films, the site wonders just who would have starred in a 1950s version of "Drive" or an early 1960s version of "The Hangover"? (The answers are obvious: James Dean is a proto-Gosling; Lemmon/Martin/Lewis are pitch-perfect too). It is a post-postmodern idea that does away with linear time and coherent history. The time is out of joint. Films we know to draw upon the past suddenly become the past - witness the almost lazy re-configuration of "2001" into a Fritz Lang Art Deco futurist epic - and so we have to ask ourselves the age-old question: what is really new?

Or you could do what I did with friends: continue the re-configuration of film history: imagine a 1980s version of "Brokeback Mountain"? A 1940s version of "Pretty Woman"? What about a 1960s version of "Lost In Translation"? The possibilities are endless - and intriguing.

More fun with film: Stephen Wildish is a UK graphic designer who has done some brilliant film alphabets (among other great work - seriously, check out his site). See if you can identify all of these: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Finally, I like my pop culture hot & irreverent served with smart snark. I get it from Pajiba most days and I like many of their features such as the Career Assessment and their Guides to everything under the sun. It is not highbrow but it's funny. For slightly more highbrow pieces, I would recommend  The Hairpin's look at Classic Hollywood (it is hardly Pauline Kael but it mixes its Classic Hollywood gossip with astute film readings) and also Clothes On Film which delivers sharp sartorial analysis.

PS. Most of these links would quite possibly not be available or would contain illegal material if SOPA & PIPA were made law. Just in case you wonder why you the non-US citizen should care.

Lightbulb Moment

The past few days have been quite a blur. My quasi-flu turned into proper flu and I have been cooped up in bed too tired to do anything except doze, occasionally read, and knit a tiny bit. I have been working on swatches (which I cannot show you) and my Kastanie sweater. I think it's fair to say that I'll end up running out of yarn before I can knit two long sleeves. I never get any use out of the short-sleeved sweaters I own, so I am considering ripping Kastanie out.

And I have another reason for considering it. I am tired of the silhouette. I want different pieces in my wardrobe - I want interesting pieces. Granted I have a body shape that lends itself to fitted clothes (think Christina Hendricks rather than Nicole Kidman) but I still want to make things that have a purpose beyond warming me and not adding fifty pounds in the process.

Recently I have subscribed to a great deal of fashion blogs - the kind where ordinary people blog about what they wear. Girl With Curves has a completely different style to me but I find inspiration in how she layers and combines pieces. What Would A Nerd Wear is often too casual for me, but is great for accessorizing ideas. Blue Collar Catwalk has yet another style - again, different from mine - but I love the way she combines prints.

What I am taking from these blogs is something different than what I take from Ravelry (and I think to some degree there is a very distinct Ravelry style too - if you disagree, look around next time you are at a fiber-related event). Suddenly I'm less hung up on knitting the right designers in the must-have yarn - suddenly I am thinking about my knitting in a wardrobe context.


And I think also the death knell for Kastanie.

Self-Stitched September: One

I hate knitting sleeves. Everything zips along nicely and then I get to the sleeves and my will to live dies. I think I have twigged why I hate knitting sleeves.

Look at the photo. I'm wearing a Tangled Yoke Cardigan. It was originally knitted by Ms Old Maiden Aunt but it was gifted to me earlier this year. Lilith had knitted extra long sleeves because she likes having cosy hands. Look again. The sleeve is a full inch too short for me, if not more.

I have monkey arms, in other words. I already knew I had long legs because I struggle to find trousers long enough, but I never thought about my arms being long. Still, it explains my hatred of knitting sleeves - I have to knit them extra-extra-long and I had no idea.

Oh, by the way:

'I, Karie Bookish, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear handmade item(s) of clothing/accessories/ jewellery every day for the duration of September 2010'.

Yes, Virginia, I have chosen to participate in Self-Stitched September. I might not photograph every outfit I am wearing every day, nor will I blog my outfit every day (that way madness and narcissism lie) but when I do post, I'll link to the relevant handmade items on my Rav account (or otherwise document which items I have worn). It'll be interesting, although I'm still trying to figure out why I am participating.

  • I want to wear handmade items more often (although I already do this)?
  • I want to mix up the handmade items I wear (more likely)?
  • I cannot resist a good meme?

So, today I'm wearing the Tangled Yoke Cardigan and my Echo Flower scarf/shawl. Let Self-Stitched September commence!


So, this is your almost-first look at Larisa, a little scarf I designed some months ago and which is currently out with various test-knitters. It is knitted in Kidsilk Haze and has beaded edgings. I'm currently one-third through the scarf itself and find it a really relaxing knit. Just enough interest to keep me going and yet easy enough to knit late at night or during my commute. I'm not one of those knitters who walk through a meadow and decide to knit a scarf inspired by a particularly beautiful tree. I designed 'Larisa' because I could not find the right pattern for an elegant, yet straightforward, scarf which I could give away as a present. I wanted a scarf which would dress up an outfit, a scarf which was classy rather than fashion-forward. And so I simply sat down with a partial ball of Kidsilk Haze, some beads and my trustworthy notebook.

I would say, though, that I am one of those knitters who love their art and fashion history. I drew some inspiration from Art Deco - in fact, the horizontal line of the beading contrasting with the vertical lines of the lace is a design element I picked up from all those hours I spent reading about sky-scrapers many years ago. I tried out various severe lace patterns with super-vertical lines before opting for a lace insert which combines some vertical design elements with a V shape (or heart-shape depending upon your mood). I just think the pattern looks much softer and more inviting as a result.

Meanwhile, I have finished my crochet bag and meant to get some shots of it today. Unfortunately the weather was not on my side and it proved impossible to get enough light(!) for a good photo. I hit a snag with the lining, actually. It turned out that my sewing machine which I was "not entirely sure actually works" did not work. Maybe you will understand if I show you which machine I have.. I'm not sure why it does not work, except that the bobbin case keeps falling out when I use the machine and the 'overthread' doesn't want anything to do with the 'underthread' (I'm not sure of my English sewing machine terminology - does it show?). So, anyway, well. I had to handstitch the lining and I'm not a fantastic handstitcher. I'm going to rip out the part of the lining I have already attached and wait until I can afford a new machine (or work out why my machine does not work - whichever comes first).

Finally, if you reading smart women writing about what it's like to be a smart woman (i.e. a person), you will enjoy The Anti-Room. I found this little post on Harlequin romances and inherent misogyny.

PS. Faithful readers, do you think me and my full-busted short-torsoed peasant-woman body could get away with this cardigan?

Under the Covers

In the early '00s the blogosphere was very different to what it is today. The number of bloggers was very small and everyone seemed to sort-of-almost know each other. My friendship with Stuart of Feeling Listless goes back to this adamic age and this morning Stuart wrote about another blogger who I had actually forgotten existed: Ms Belle de Jour. Yes, she of the lucrative book deal and the Billie Piper TV series. To recap: Ms Belle de Jour was a high-end prostitute blogging about her work and her life. She was a good writer, was clearly smart and educated. Like most bloggers at the time, she was anonymous, but interestingly she kept her anonymity even when she landed the book deal and the Billie Piper TV series. People tried to guess her identity: Was Belle de Jour a real person? Was she actually Toby Young (the implication being that no female prostitute could possibly write so well)? Or was she some other published writer having a bit of a laugh (again the same implication as before)? It seemed as though everybody was suddenly Belle - I even had emails asking me if I had invented her because, you know, I was reading the same book as her. I never knew that reading Jonathan Coe singled you out as being a potential sex worker.

And now The Times has finally revealed the identity of Belle de Jour. Yes, she is real and she is "a curvy size 8 with a fantastic figure" and, oh, a research scientist.

This unveiling is a twist which feels incredibly dated to me - it goes to show just how blogging and the whole damn blogosphere has changed in the last four or five years.  Blogging has gone democratic: you get personal blogs, corporate blogs, politics blogs, mom blogs, fashion blogs, car blogs, book blogs, gadget blogs, travel blogs etc. Blogging is no longer something you do on the sly - bloggers will link to their Facebook profile, Twitter feed, Skype ID, Ravelry profile, account, Flickr account and LibraryThing profile (and probably a dozen other social networks with which I am currently unfamiliar). Secrecy no longer intrigues; openness appeals.

Tellingly, when Stuart posted the news about Belle de Jour to MetaFilter (itself an online community dating back to the early '00s), the reaction was rather muted. Some had never heard of Belle, others shrugged a bit and most of the attention was given to the way the mainstream media had broken the story. We have become so jaded.

On Languages and Blogging

"It is a sign of a deeply disturbed civilization where Tree huggers and Whale huggers in their weirdness are acceptable... while no one embraces the last speakers of a language." -Werner Herzog

Found here which looks at whether we should preserve languages and whether a world with monolithic language usage would be a bad thing? More on this later.

Mooncalf left an astute comment on my last entry wherein I had a mini-rant about Danish lifestyle blogs being smug and self-satisfied. She linked two blog entries, both of which reacts to the Martha Stewart-ness of some blogs. I really enjoyed reading the entries and I have taken some of their points to heart. I think it is important to remember that all blogs are edited in one way or another. We all have messy tables, bad days, sweaters that do not fit, unread books and frozen pizzas. I tend to shy away from confessional blogging (and I'm also notoriously private for someone who has blogged continuously for almost nine years), but I do attempt to create a fairly realistic picture of my life whilst leaving out things I would feel uncomfortable sharing.

So, bearing all this in mind, please ask me a question.

And, going back to the idea of language, notions of identity etc etc, I found this little tidbit in one of my commonplace books:

"As there is no selfhood without some other, a national canon -- whether attached to land or language -- is constituted in such a way that its identity has both intra- and intercultural aspects. In other words, it is mediated by the memory of the other and its development always involves at least two cultures. The court of Louis XIV, English Classicism, or the Weimar Klassik defined itself with reference to Graeco-Roman Antiquity. Thus, it is possible to argue that national canons reveal an interacting with other creeds. They are intercultural manifestations, conflictual as well as mutually complementary, configurations that are, in relation to each other, not only powerfully reciprocal but also strongly oppositional." -Mihály Szegedy-Maszák

I think that pretty much reveals my stance on whether we should preserve* languages or not.

(* I'm not of a prescriptive bend, mind.)