Monday, January 29, 2007

The Quirk Factor

It may come as no surprise to you, but there is a certain quirk factor that permeates through the very recesses of my existence from the items I create to the daily media medly I partake in. Fortunately last weekend my media medly consisted of these two delightfully quirky examples of cinema...

Broken Flowers...

Written and directed by a master of contemporary quirk, Jim Jarmusch, and starring Bill Murray, this is a lovely little comedic tale of loves lost, expectations thwarted and realizations made, all from behind the wheel of a rented Ford Taurus.

Here's the synopsis I found on imdb:

"The resolutely single Don Johnson has just been dumped by his latest lover, Sherry. Don resigns himself to being alone yet again and left to his own devices. Instead, he is compelled to reflect on his past when he receives by mail a mysterious pink letter. It is from an anonymous former lover and informs him that he has a 19-year-old son who may now be looking for his father. Don is urged to investigate this "mystery" by his closest friend and neighbor, Winston,
an amateur sleuth and family man. Hesitant to travel at all, Don nonetheless embarks on a cross-country trek in search of clues from four former flames. Unannounced visits to each of these unique women hold new surprises for Don as he haphazardly confronts both his past and, consequently, his present."

Bill Murray is delightfully droll as the movie's main character, Don Johnston. Jeffrey Wright plays Murray's neighbor, Winston, who is equally amusing in his sheer oddity. Both characters are endearing portraits of American men from very different backgrounds who come together in a search for meaning amidst life's small moments. Moreover, the on-screen rapport between Murray and Wright is not only fascinating to watch, but their relationship truly drives the flick. Upon the film's conclusion, I was left with the overwhelming feeling that these guys have been a screen team for years and that, my friends, is a testament to the amazing depth and breadth of talent these two seasoned actors exhibit.

And let's not forget about the film's creator, Jim Jarmusch. First of all, you gotta love a guy who's been sportin' this do for a bazillion years...

In addition to his upswept locks, Jarmusch can always, always be counted upon to provide a film with an exquisitely twisted premise, intriguing characters and cinematic vistas that cut a cross-section through the human landscape.

More of my Murray faves:
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou;
Lost in Translation;
The Royal Tenenbaums;
Groundhog Day;
What About Bob?; and
of course all those SNL classics...

More of my Wright faves:
Basquiat; and

More of my Jarmusch faves:
Night on Earth;
Mystery Train; and
one of the best guest appearances ever on a show that was SO wrongly cancelled, Fishing with John.

The quirkfest continued this weekend last with a screening of Little Miss Sunshine...

"Olive is a little girl with a dream: winning the Little Miss Sunshine contest. Her family wants her dream to come true, but they are so burdened with their own quirks, neuroses, and problems that they can barely make it through a day without some disaster befalling them. Olive's father Richard is a flop as a motivational speaker, and is barely on speaking terms with her mother. Her uncle Frank, a renowned Proust scholar, has attempted suicide following an
unsuccessful romance with a male graduate student. Her brother Dwayne, a fanatical follower of Nietzsche, has taken a vow of silence, which allows him to escape somewhat from the family whose very presence torments him. And Olive's grandfather is a ne'er-do-well with a drug habit, but at least he enthusiastically coaches Olive in her contest talent routine. Circumstances conspire to put the entire family on the road together with the goal of getting Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine contest in far off California."

Come on...any film that references Nietzsche, Proust and Rick James before its conclusion is alright in my book. Really though, if you haven't seen this film yet, you must. The cast is well chosen, the scenes are brilliant exhibitions of great writing combined with equally great acting and this film is fun-ny...yes, this flick is sure to provoke more than a few laughs from its audience.

Toni Collette was just brilliant as the flawed family matriarch. Greg Kinnear was imminently endearing in his consistent striving to ascend the mediocrity in which he finds himself using his self-devised 9 step methodology. Steve Carrell? Can you say gay, suicidal, Proust scholar? 'Nuff said. Alan Arkin had me in side-splitting fits of glee, while Paul Dano and Abigail Breslin gave performances assuring them many a future cinematic gig.

Jeez, have you seen this film yet?

More of my faves by this star-studded cast:
Definitely check out Collette in Muriel's Wedding, The Sixth Sense and About a Boy;
Kinnear in Nurse Betty, As Good as It Gets and Mystery Men (it doesn't get much quirkier than this film);
who doesn't love Carrell in The Office; and
Arkin parts too numerous to detail, check this list.

Any quirk factor movies you'd think I would like? Let me know in my comments!

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chicken Beanie Pattern

Chicken Beanie pattern is available now on my sidebar!

I'm on a roll folks. In addition to the "chapeaux du poultry" I am also working on three patterns for three separate publications, which will be available at your local newsstand in the next couple of months. Wooo hooo!

Thanks to all of you for your endless support, warm comments and amazing camaraderie! Smoochies all around!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Weirdness Within

Weird? Moi? No! Well, yeah, I admit it. Here's a meme to celebrate the weirdness that is me.

Tagged by my girl ova at Finny Knits...

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

1. My favorite breakfast food is soup. I know, how weird is that? Anyway, upon dumping off my collateral crap on my desk at the Cube Farm during the good ole work week, I head on over to the market (adjacent to Cube Farm HQ) to partake in their selection of freshly concocted soup du jour. Nothing like sitting at one's desk in the a.m., partaking in simmering soupdom, while meeting comments from co-workers such as, "What the hell are you eating?"

2. I must finish reading a book before returning it to the bookshelf (even if I hate it) AND I will read only one book at a time (adding to my misery if the book sucks). Did I mention the fact that I excel at self-torture? Mind you, I do not follow these same "operating guidelines" when viewing a film, television program or listening to music. If a film, boob tube episode or tune doesn't appeal to me, I play switcheroo with the remote or turn said media output unit off without a care in the world. If I return an unfinished book back to it's shelf, I feel completely and utterly defeated.

3. I make lists. For pretty much everything. I know, it's crazy and I'm sure there is a diagnosis for this condition in the DSM IV, but it makes me happy to be a maker of lists nonetheless.

4. I love shoes. No, really. I *LOVE* them. This December last when I was...ahem...Christmas shopping for my loved ones, I got a little "sidetracked" and purchased five pairs of boots for myself in the span of an hour. As if this weren't proof enough of my devotion, some time ago I actually made the following statement to a few of my girlfriends when we were out for an evening on the town, "Shoes...are very, very important to me." Okay, tequila contributed heavily to that statement, but the girls will not let me live that one down. Sheesh.

Wow, she's shallow and crazy! How attractive! Moving. Right. Along.

5. If I find a mistake in my crocheting/knitting, I will rip back to the flaw and fix it no matter how far back the mishap happens to be...every, single, time. Yes, it can be maddening (especially when I have to frog lots and lots of rows or rounds), but for me, it is more maddening to know that my garment, object, doohickey has a known flaw that could have been repaired.

6. I'm a huge sci fi/fantasy dork. I love this genre. Love the books. Love the movies. Love the Sci Fi Channel. Basically I will read or watch anything with a spaceship or a wizard in it.

Well, if I don't lose readers with my answers to this meme, I don't know what I'll have to do drive you guys away. LOL I'm not tagging anyone, but I encourage you all to share your weirdness with the rest of us. Should you choose to share your weird self, please let me know!

Happy Monday peeps!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Popular Culture on a Wing

I believe that this next statement goes without saying, as they say...

My creations are most definitely influenced by American popular culture.

Yep, from our junk food infested shores to our reality TV riddled screens, from our darkened movie theatres awash in cinematic glow to our bazillion song enabled iPods accompanying us to and fro, massive media overload at every turn, strip malls galore, actors turned politicos, OC chicks and oh so much more! This place is an artist's sensory playground I tell you. It should be explored, adored, feared and indulged, held at arms length and viewed under a microscope.

As both a keen observer and participant in the pop culture sandbox, I find that I have a difficult time slowing down the ideas proffered from the din. Now, some of those conceptions have a limited self life. Others however, have staying power. Yep, those veterans of my cerebrum are the golden nuggets that I tend to make corporeal in all of their brilliant technicolor, three-dimensional glory.

One such stubborn squatter in my grey matter urged me to make it a reality after recently having screened one of my all-time favorite films by one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. I mean come on! How could I not pay homage to a film filled to the, um, gizzard with voracious winged things flying through plate glass windows, plucking the eyes from unsuspecting townspeople and well, just generally terrorizing a sleepy little hamlet located on the north coast of my beloved golden state. And let's not forget about the all-star cast! Hi Tippi, Rod and Suzanne! Oh, and that fashion era is one of my faves. Love Tippi's little green suit.

Yep, I've loved this film since I was a wee Linoleum (I know, I have a call into a local therapist, no worries) and have been making art inspired by this cinematic jewel for quite a while now...

Take this little illustration I created a few years ago as part of a larger narrative:

I like this piece, though it just doesn't compare with some of the 3D works I found in this tome (which I purchased upon first inspection at my local bookseller I might add):

After seeing the crazy pop-ups in this compendium I knew I needed to take my ideas off of the page and onto the street, so to speak. So, here's my newest tribute to the battle of the bird modeled by LittleLinoleum...

Using a combination of crochet and knit to create this ensemble, I also managed to make a serious dent in my acrylico stashio. In addition, this little diddy is quite versatile as those birdies have pins that erupt from their bellies enabling the wearer to customize the attack formations before sporting the look about town. Not bad eh?

I may be deluded, but I think Alfred would be proud.

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obstacles of an Olfactory Nature

My present blogging continuum has be thwarted by obstacles of an olfactory nature.

A little background is in order. Beginning December last, I embarked on a series of biopsies and subsequent skin cancer surgeries led by my trusty dermatologist. No fun, I can assure you. Anyway, the latest blight upon my epidermis to be dislodged (last Thursday) happened to reside upon the side of my nose. Apparently it was much deeper than my physician originally thought because it took him an hour and a half to eradicate the nasty growth and sew up the opening with seven stitches. Yes, seven.

My poor bandaged schnoz:

Now, I'm a trooper when it comes to pain endurance. Really, I'm one tough chick. But I kid you not when I say the pain infecting my nose and adjacent cheek was pretty darn close to un-bear-a-ble. For several days I couldn't chew. I couldn't laugh. I couldn't lay down on that side when turning in for the evening. Hell, I couldn't even cry. The pain was just awful. But you know my friends, situations can always get worse. Oh yes. To top off an already miserable state of affairs, I came down with a cold just two days after my surgery! You know what's worse than incessantly blowing plentiful wads of boogers out of your nose? Incessantly blowing plentiful wads of boogers out of your nose WITH STITCHES EXTENDING THE ENTIRE WIDTH OF YOUR NOSE. Oh yeah, the fun never stops over here at ChezLinoleum. Sucks.

Needless to say I look like Jimmy Durante. Jimmy Durante with Frankenstein stitches and plentiful snot. I know, gross.

Despite my plight, I still managed to work up a hat, which I do plan on donning to my stitch removal appointment...

This Lil' Devil Hat should be a warning to my dermotologist. He'd better be on his best behavior when removing my stitches or I may have to force him to wear this hat during his next spot on the evening news! Muhahahaha!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Uncommon Threads - Airdate Info

One of the Monster Crochet episodes airs tomorrow on HGTV. If you've got cable, here's your chance to see me and my long lost pal Briana make crochet magic on the tube. I'm taping it, but I don't know if I can bear to watch it. Do me a favor? If I'm a terrible embarrassment to the craft world as a whole, just don't tell me.

Thanks for the airdate info Pam! Smoochies.

Here we go down the rabbit hole Bri...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

2007: A Year Of...

Reading for survival...

Oh yeah, some of my 2007 reads are sure to prepare me for disasters unforeseen. For example, what is one to do when attacked by zombies? Currently, I haven't the foggiest what measures to take to ensure my family's safety. So, this book will definitely come in handy...

Yes, this undead pocket bible covers everything from the history of the zombie problem to weapons and combat techniques (including close combat), creating an impenetrable fortress, as well as how to handle yourself when on the run and simultaneously being pursued by a legion of zombies. Good stuff I tell you.

Next I feel that I should read up on another potentially disastrous state of affairs...alien abduction.

Why not research a few accounts of probing nethers before devising my defensive strategy. Knowledge is power people.

Oh, and for any other dangerous situation I may find myself enmeshed in the coming year, I've purchased this handy dandy calendar:

Find yourself in a sword fight and you can't quite remember the best way to hold your sharp piece o' metal? Have no fear! Just check out this Monday's calendar page for details! Locked in the trunk of a car and can't seem to bust out of the darn thing? This calendar's got your escape technique covered. Sheer genius friends.

Getting in touch with my survivalist self isn't all I have in store for 2007. Nosiree!

Conjuring cuisine each and every Sunday...

Oh yea, oh yea...let's here it for LadyLinoleum's consistent return to the kitchen! Yep, last Domingo I rustled up some beef ale stew with buttermilk dumplings and it was nothing short of divine!

Today I broke out the Bittman and created a pile of fluffy buttermilk waffles for breakfast.

Followed that up with a huge steaming pot of split pea soup for lunch. Yu-um!

I love to cook peeps and I pledge to pull on my oven mitts with much regularity in '07. Oh, and I hereby do also promise to share my culinary adventures with you all!

Are partially digested waffles detectable via anal probe? Hey, I'm just asking.

Boldly going where other crocheters/knitters have not gone before...

Um yeah. And you thought the meat crochet was weird? Just. You. Wait.

Hey, waffles would look mighty good in wool, don't cha think?

Publish or perish...

I've been delighted with my successful foray into the crafty publishing world. However, I need to finish my proposal for a 100% percent Monster Crochet pattern extravaganza. I'm getting there. Just need to push forward full throttle. Now accepting positive vibes...

Healthy happiness...

The last several months I've struggled with myriad health issues. It's like I'm falling apart people! Anyway, I hope and pray that 2007 is the year that I become healthy again. I know that everybody and their mother states something similar at the onset of a new year, but peeps I mean it. I want to be here for years to come churning out the crazy junk I create, blogging to my heart's content and hanging out with my friends on the world wide web!

Here's to a wonderful and productive 2007 for all of us filled with laughter, love, creativity and camaraderie! Smoochies all around!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Inebriated Bunny Hat

How did your Lady of the Linoleum spend her New Year's Eve?

Crocheting...oh, and drinking. The combination of the two is directly responsible for the creation of these hats...

In nearly natural and modeled by the hubster...

In a fuzzy pimped out blue/purple colorway...

You'll be happy to learn that I was not so, well, trashed, that I neglected to document the pattern.

So folks, here's the first freebie of 2007! Happy New Year and enjoy!

Inebriated Bunny Hat

  • Approximately 200 yds of bulky weight yarn (the nearly natural bun hat was made with 3 1/4 balls of Lion Brand Landscapes in Spring Desert colorway)
  • US N hook
  • Tapestry needle

  • ch - chain
  • rnd - round
  • rnds - rounds
  • sc - single crochet
  • sl st - slip stitch
  • st - stitch
  • sts - stitches
  • tog - together

10 sc x 12 r = 4"

*Pattern is worked in the round. Each rnd begins with a ch 1 and ends with a sl st in the beginning sc to join rnd.

Hat body
Rnd 1 - ch 2, 8 sc in second ch from hook, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 2 - ch 1, 2 sc in every st, sl st in first sc to join rnd (16 sts total)
Rnd 3 - ch 1, (1 sc, 2 sc next st) 8 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (24 sts total)
Rnd 4 - ch 1, (2 sc, 2 sc next st) 8 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (32 sts total)
* Make ear openings.
Rnd 5 - ch 1, 6 sc, ch 4 and skip 4 sc in rnd 4 below, 12 sc, ch 4 and skip 4 sc in rnd 4 below, 6 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd (32 sts total)
*Continue with hat body.
Rnd 6 - ch 1, (3 sc, 2 sc next st) 8 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (40 sts total)
Rnds 7 and 8 - ch 1, 40 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 9 - ch 1, (9 sc, 2 sc next st) 4 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (44 sts total)
Rnds 10 thru 18 - ch 1, 44 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Fasten off after completion of Rnd 18

Ear (Make 2)
Rnd 1 - attach at one of the ear openings and sc 10 around opening, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 2 - ch 1, 10 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 3 - ch 1, (4 sc, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (12 sts total)
Rnd 4 - ch 1, 12 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 5 - ch 1, (5 sc, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (14 sts total)
Rnd 6 - ch 1, 14 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 7 - ch 1, (6 sc, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (16 sts total)
Rnds 8 and 9 - ch 1, 16 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 10 - ch 1, (7 sc, 2 sc next st) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (18 sts total)
Rnds 11 thru 20 - ch 1, 18 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 21 - ch 1, (7 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (16 sts total)
Rnds 22 and 23 - ch 1, 16 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 24 - ch 1, (6 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (14 sts total)
Rnd 25 - ch 1, 14 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 26 - ch 1, (5 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (12 sts total)
Rnd 27 - ch 1, 12 sc, sl st in first sc to join rnd
Rnd 28 - ch 1, (4 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (10 sts total)
Rnd 29 - ch 1, (3 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (8 sts total)
Rnd 30 - ch 1, (2 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (6 sts total)
Rnd 31 - ch 1, (1 sc, sc next 2 sts tog) 2 times, sl st in first sc to join rnd (4 sts total)
Fasten off with enough yarn to close opening.

Weave in ends.

Copyright 2007 Regina Rioux Gonzalez. All rights reserved.