Sunday, May 24, 2009

Retro Apron

My sister recently had a baby, got a new house, and has a host of other things going on making her life very busy. I wanted to make something for HER, not for the baby (though he's very cute), and I found these very cute patterns for retro-style aprons. I had a vision in my head of how I wanted it to look: hot pink and zebra stripes, because she loves both. I finally found the zebra stripes at my local  Hancock Fabric and the hot pink came from my fabric stash. 

Originally I was going to make fabric-covered buttons for the strap, but I found these really cute zebra-shaped buttons instead. How could I pass those up? 

So, here's the final product. Hopefully I can get a picture of her wearing it eventually! 

Very cute, and very easy to make. Love it! 

What's Going On, Carolina?

Finally, after a two year drought, my beloved Carolina Hurricanes made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In Round One, the Canes defeated the Devils in a 7 game series. Ditto in Round Two, in which they defeated the Eastern Conference Champs, the Boston Bruins. Both were very entertaining series. 

So what happened? Right now the Canes are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they've dropped the first three games by multiple goals. None of them were even close. We're down to one game left before being swept by the Pens. Can we not show a little pride and win at least one game so that we can  prevent being swept before going to the golf course? 

Granted, I'm impressed that the Canes made it this far. I'm less than impressed at the past three games. It's looking like Detroit and Pittsburgh will face off again in the Stanley Cup Finals. So, the big conundrum is this--who do I pull for? Detroit, a team made up of Scandinavian beasts who can put the hurt on someone by looking at them? A team that has an impressive showing of Playoff Beard? Or do I pull for Pittsburgh, the team that looks like it will beat mine, and filled with young superstars? A team which has Sidney Crosby, whose playoff beard looks like a chocolate milk mustache, and Evgeni Malkin, a resurrected Neanderthal with a really awesome first name? 

This is going to be a big decision, with a lot of soul-searching in the coming days. 

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Star Trek: Canon Shmanon

I've embraced my various layers of geek-dom: I'm a knitting geek, love Dark Shadows, and adore Transformers, but my geek-dom started in one place: Outer Space. 

Star Trek. The Original Trek, with Mister Spock and Captain Kirk has always ALWAys been my favorite, above and beyond The Next Generation and the decline that started with Deep Space Nine. Sure, TOS is cheesy in a way that only the 1960s can be, but that was part of its charm. It was sexist (did you see those short skirts?) and bound by the social mores of the time (not to mention the special effects), but it had a message that wasn't overly preachy, something that later Treks could not maintain. 

Let's not forget that it pushed boundaries. It did show the first interracial kiss on television, the one between Kirk and Uhura in "Plato's Stepchildren". 

So, I was quite excited over the new Star Trek movie. The title harks back to the very beginning of Trek lore, with Captain Kirk and most of the entire crew of the starship Enterprise. (Dare I hope that Lt. Kevin Reilly shows up eventually?) Of course, with going back to the beginning, this is bound to get some Trekkers upset. (FYI: Trekkers are hard-core serious. I can't even attempt to make it that hard-core serious, so I have no problems in being called a Trekkie.) There's all this cry of canon, such as Chekov showing up in the movie even though he was obviously a second season addition. 

But let's move past this. I believe that the Star Trek canon, if we include all the series, is bloated. In order to revive the franchise and bring new Trekkies and Trekkers in, changes need to be made. To merely go back and tell the same story again is akin to adding new special effects to Star Wars (lay it on me, fan-geeks, I can take the hate), or the revival of Dark Shadows.  Granted, with the later, enough changes were made in the 1991 revival series to make it up-to-date and not a mere retelling. But it borrowed a lot from the series and House of Dark Shadows movie. 

That's not to say this movie didn't borrow a lot from TOS. It did borrow a lot from canon. To be clear, Trek canon usually refers to what happened in the series and movies, and NOT in the many novels that were written as a result. But with ten previous movies and five live-action series (there was an animated series as well), the canon was very bloated. And in great Trek fashion, they did what Trek does best: transcend time. 

Time-travel is not new to Trek. Kirk sling-shot around the sun numerous times, most notably in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which took Kirk and Co back to 1986 to save the future Earth from a mysterious probe that could speak only to humpback whales. (My family loves this movie probably best of all.) There were also various series episodes that borrowed a page from the movie, and some of my favorite episodes were time-travel ones. I love the entire concept, and was a fan of the first season of Sliders as well because of the alternate realities. 

If I were a bigger sci-fi fan, which I'm not, I could probably say who was famous for the theory of alternate realities. I'm thinking either Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov. 

This movie is a true "alternate reality" of the Trek universe. Without giving plot away, a beloved character has to make some harsh decisions in the future. In the process of going through with it, he unwittingly creates a type of time warp that propels him back in time. As a result, the lives of the main characters have a slightly different trajectory than we're used to seeing without making them unrecognizable. They are all there, their personalities are still there, and there's enough action to keep even non-Trekkies happy for plonking down ten dollars for a ticket.  Many of the lines are homages to TOS and the TOS movies. The movie moves as an action movie and is faster than previous movies in the series. 

Devoted fans may see the Romulan Curse rearing its ugly head (as it's an odd-numbered movie), but I don't see it that way. I hesitate to call it number 11, instead calling it Version 2.1. 

In fact, my geek-dom has crossed over to the point where I want to knit Scotty's hat. 

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Problem With Our Health Care System

This is going to be a rant, but it's not going to be a rant about the insurance companies or about socializing medicine. None of that political junk that gets everyone so heated up. 

No, this is about decency. 

Today I called the doctor's office to get an appointment to renew a prescription. It's one of those healthcare groups with five different doctors and two nurse practitioners. I've been going there for a few years when I had to go for urgent care. I've been seeing the same doctor there for the past year. Well, now she's gone, and I have to choose a new doctor. But there's nothing available until next week. 

I ask for a female doctor, and the receptionist gives me an appointment for May 20th. "That's not next week," I said. She tried to tell me it was, but then I said, no, this week isn't over until tomorrow, try again. Nothing. I can call Monday to see if there was a cancellation, but I can't wait that long. I have to get a sub for work. 

Eventually I end up going for a male doctor just so I can get my prescription next week. I admit--my fault for letting it go so long. The only thing available is morning--I prefer afternoon, because if I have to wait for THREE HOURS again, I won't worry about missing a class. So I go for a morning appointment and ask how long the wait is. 

"I can't tell you." 

WTH? She can't tell me because it's classified? What does the doctor do that early in the morning that I have to wait for over an hour? 

This is ridiculous. There's no reason why people who make an appointment for 8 have to wait hours to see the doctor for fifteen minutes. In any other profession, if a person fails to make an appointment, it's over. But because we have to see doctors, we're at their mercy. 

Don't tell me I have to be there at eight only to have to wait a few hours. Why not give me a 10 o'clock appointment when you'll see me? 

No wonder we put off going to see the doctor. Oh, and a letter to all of my doctor's patients when she moved would have been nice. Jerks.