Monday, July 30, 2012

Random Monday

  1. It's a beautiful day outside today, with a high of 80F and a tolerable humidity rate of 59%. After a series of crippling heatwaves interspersed with some truly frightening electrical storms in this region, I am thrilled to see a stretch of beautiful weather coming our way. Now if only I could work from home - or, more accurately, from Roberts Pool in Collingswood. ;)
  2. I am returning to theatre!!!!! Burlington County Footlighters of Cinnaminson, NJ has finally, through the committed efforts of three dedicated members, completed a meeting room renovation that creates a 2nd Stage performance space for the company. For it's grand opening, I will be one of six directors presenting a series of one-acts. But not only do I get to direct a challenging little piece called "Caught in the Act", I also get to perform in "Fidelity Farce" and "Sure Thing". I'm really looking forward to walking the boards again, but before I get there, I must find myself a cast - at auditions tonight!
  3. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and have really been enjoying the mix of great information and entertainment that they afford me, while leaving my hands and eyes free to cook, clean, knit, craft, shop, and so on... I wanted to mention a few favorites that have been engaging me lately:
    • Books on the Nightstand features book reviews and discussion from publishing insiders Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman. Recent Booktopia events in Manchester, VT and Oxford, MS have provided additional content for the show, as will, I imagine, the upcoming event in Santa Cruz, CA. Lively call-in topics such as "Who are your favorite underrated women writers?" and "Is there a place for book-snobbery?" keep the show interactive.
    • Knitters have tons of options for listening, but my favorite so far is 2 Knit Lit Chicks, offered by an enthusiastic mother/daughter team of avid knitters and readers. Barb and Tracie begin each podcast talking about their project progress, referencing conversations they've hosted in their Ravelry threads with knitters all over the world. They provide honest product reviews and you'll find valuable information here even if your taste is a little different from theirs. The second half of each episode focuses on books. Barb and Tracie are big into audiobooks, so some conversation is more about reader performance than writing quality. That said, they've gotten me to read at least three titles I would have otherwise ignored, and I enjoyed them all.
    • My final podcast pitch today is for This American Life, which is an unpredictable, intriguing little treat for your day. Each episode consists of three guests telling their own personal stories that relate back to the theme of the episode. Ira Glass hosts, moderates, and interviews, weaving the stories together to create a thoughtful, empathetic program that delves into the collective psyche of America. You will find yourself unexpectedly touched time and again. Well worth your time.
  4. This is my first year participating in the Ravellenic Games (the games formerly known as the Ravellympics), and I think I may have set my goal a bit too high. The plan was to complete all WIPs during the course of the event, but I didn't consider a few key pieces of information. Firstly, one of my four WIPs is Andrea Babb's Meriweather Wrap Jacket - a textured wrap sweater - and I'm only about 1/4 of the way up the right side. As if that weren't enough impediment, I remembered when digging into My Weekender Bag - more aptly described as Kathy Merrick's Folded Tweed Bag - that I had put it into hibernation because I needed another skein of yarn. I still haven't gotten around to buying it. So, folks, I might be the skater who falls on her butt on the ice this year.
  5. Whatever. Knitting is fun. Finishing projects is awesome. I finished Blue from Peru! this weekend. :)
  6. Currently reading Defending Jacob by William Landay and all other books are on hold. It's giving me nightmares and cold sweats. I am really having to tear myself away from it to get anything else done. Highly recommended!
  7. If you are living in Jersey, now is the time to buy local EVERYTHING. Tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, blueberries, peaches, and nectarines are all available in huge local supply. Hit a farmer's market or pick your own, or just shop at a supermarket that buys from local crop.
  8. Boo to US Olympic Team uniforms made in China.We have literally stamped our country's greatest 'amateur' athletes with the phrase "Made in China". WHERE is our civic pride, and where is Ralph Lauren's sense of obligation to the millions of seemstresses and tailors out of work in our own struggling economic climate? Boo, boo, BOO!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Lengthy, Rambling Thank You

I've been away for a while. It happens. This blog is not my job and, though one or two readers may object to this statement, I believe that my only obligation here is to myself. As is true for most people I know, the first promises broken are the ones I've made to myself, so it's logical that my blog falls off from time to time.

I mean, let's face it. As good as writing is for my soul, sometimes going through the effort of it is just not as appealing as a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a Netflix marathon of Parks & Recreation.

So how's the weight loss goal coming? Errr... not right now, okay?

That said, I'd like to get to the business that brought me back to the blog today - the violent attack of movie-goers at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO on Friday, July 20th.

It's been a few days and despite the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle, it seems as though Friday's press conference remains the most reliable source of information. Certainly, we've since learned a great deal more about James Holmes' apartment and the array of explosives therein. Still, the details of the attack are unchanged, 12 fatalities have been reported with another 58 victims injured, and Holmes' motives remain unclear.

Although this may be frustrating for a nation trying to come to terms with a senseless act of violence, I feel the need to commend the officers of the Aurora police department, and specifically Chief of Police Daniel Oates, for their discretion. Their faith in the American judicial system, and their understanding of its fragilities, have led them to remain tight-lipped about details that could prejudice a jury or trial and pave the way for numerous appeals. Mr. Oates said to the press on Friday morning that although he wished to be cooperative, he was determined that Holmes be tried 'in a courtroom'. This polite statement was nonetheless an unsubtle warning to reporters, as well as an insightful comment on American culture and justice.

It's also worth noting that officers were onsite at the theater within 2 minutes, quickly got 60 people medical attention (all but 2 have survived, although 11 are still in critical condition), got Holmes in custody, successfully evacuated 5 apartment buildings, and by Saturday afternoon had cleared Holmes' apartment of a massive booby trap 'clearly designed to kill whoever entered it.' These extraordinary successes - as noteworthy for their compassion as they are for their efficiency - could easily be overlooked in the wake of the tragedy, so I wanted to take just a moment to raise my little voice in praise of the APD and all the emergency responders who so successfully maneuvered in the moments and days immediately after the crisis.

There is a great deal more to write, and I imagine much of it will be written. If not by myself, then by others. For now, please be safe. Please be happy. Please be grateful for the people who fight to keep you that way.