Monday, 15 June 2009

Watching Paint Dry, and Watching Films

I've been very good, and since I found the missing sleeve I've been knitting nothing but Chrissy. Quite a lot of the time this has meant that I've been knitting nothing because I would rather stare into space or even wash the dishes than knit another bland row of cream cotton: this is truly the type of knitting that fits into the Watching Paint Dry category. In my last flat, the one I had before where I live now, I painted all the woodwork when I moved in - skirting boards, doors, window frames, shutters - in a shade called Buttersilk, and the Organic shade of All Seasons Cotton is very similar. It's not as dark as it looks on the Dulux page, more the colour of Green and Black's Vanilla Ice Cream, or their White Chocolate. Mmmmmm. I wonder if they'll ever make a White Chocolate Ice Cream... anyway, back to the knitting.

When I've finished Chrissy, which should be this week, and when I've finished Lara, which should also be this week, I can cast on for another sweater with a clear conscience. Actually, I already have the red sandstone jacket on the needles but that doesn't really count because it's a winter thing and I'm thinking more of a summer thing. This heavenly garment is in the latest Norah Gaughan booklet, number 5. Isn't it gorgeous?

It's called Anhinga. I have some Jaeger merino in grey, or I have some All Seasons Cotton (it's the same tension) in some colour or another. A slightly variegated yarn, or a marl, might show off the shaping well.

Or I could do something from Breeze. Oh dear. I feel a fit of indecision coming on. Whatever I do, it will probably have fairly endless sections of stocking stitch, so I had better stock up on subtitled dvds to keep my attention focussed.

I watched Petites Coupures last week. I couldn't remember why I had put it on my list, apart from the fact that Daniel Auteil is in it which is good enough for me, and I couldn't remember whether it was a comedy or a tragedy or a road movie and I'm still not altogether sure. Bits of it were very glum, but I laughed quite a lot too although on reflection I don't think I was meant to, and at one point I got a bad fright. It was one of those films where you keep thinking, Am I meant to think this character is a whole person with deeply interesting problems, or am I meant to think he's a self-absorbed ninny? And her, is she a fascinating whimsical woman, or does she have mental health problems? And why have they made Kristin Scott Thomas wear a bad wig? I settled on the latter in both cases, but I think perhaps that wasn't the director's intention.

Before that I watched Real Women Have Curves, which is a lovely film. It's a bit predictable, but beautifully shot and well acted. It's two stories, one about a girl who wants to go to college but comes from a family that doesn't go to college, and another about the fact that one doesn't have to be thin to be beautiful.
The mother in it is piece of work, performed brilliantly by Lupe Ontiveros, who played Gabriela's mother in Desperate Housewives, and the daughter is America Ferrera who is just terrific. It was her first film; she must have been 17 or 18 when it was made. I would quite happily watch it again. Recommended.

Post Office
I had a bizarre afternoon in the Post Office last week. When I stand in the queue in that Post Office I always wonder why they don't have a Take a Number system and some seats. The Post Office does absolutely nothing for disabled people; if you're not in a wheelchair you can damn well manage like everybody else, however weak you may be or how much pain you may be suffering. Given that a lot of elderly people collect their pensions at the PO, and some disabled people collect their benefits, this is unrealistic. Anyway. When I went in they had rearranged everything and there were people up ladders fiddling with the lights, and there were some more screens advertising 'services'. Do they have any idea how angry this makes people? Advertising more services when you're already standing in a queue because they can't meet demand?

As well as the existing numbers dangling above the clerks' heads, there were now letters as well, and after a while a disembodied voice said 'Customer 37 to Counter E, please.' We all looked around furtively, trying to spot the number-issuing machine, although being Edinburghers we tried to pretend we weren't. The woman behind me was so angry, she was ready to eat someone, but it turned out that there were no numbers, they were just trying out the new system. When I had shuffled up to the front and actually got to talk to a clerk (who probably isn't called a clerk any more, but a customer operative or something), I asked him when the new system was going to be introduced. 'Nine o'clock this morning,' he said drily. 'You haven't seen two maroon leather sofas, have you,' he went on. 'They've been delivered. Signed for.' So apparently, I will get a number and a seat the next time I'm in. If they've found the sofas.

There's a photo machine in the PO, which was my next task. I need a new photo for a pass. I've used that machine before, and it has a disembodied voice and a touchscreen. I sat myself down and put the money in, and then realized the touchscreen wasn't there. The voice went on addressing me, telling me to press this for this and that for that, and some instructions appeared on the photo screen too, including one telling me that I hadn't put in enough money, although I had. I dropped some money on the floor, but decided not to bend down and pick it up, in case the machine took a photo of my bottom. The voice went on, and was plainly under the impression that I had touched the touchscreen, because things whirred a bit and then it told me that the photographs would be ready soon, so I picked up the money and went outside.

The photographs are absolutely terrible. I always look awful in id photos and it was often said at my place of employment that my pass looked like the sort of person they were trying to stop from entering the building, not the sort you would allow in, but these are oustandingly bad. I think it was the combination of listening to the instructions which I couldn't carry out anyway, and trying to keep a straight face, has led to my looking depressed and threatening at the same time, not a good combination. I thought of telling someone in the P.O. that the machine wasn't working properly, but there was a longer queue by now, and anyway you just know that when the photo company paid the P.O. a sum of money to put their machines in Post Offices, the co-ordination stopped there and that there would be nobody who could help. (On the subject of organisations paying each other large sums of money instead of providing a service to us, read this about W.H. Smith and Penguin Books. It's insane.) There was probably something on the side of the machine that said, 'In case of problems, ring this number.' As if.

I'm also trying to contact the tax people at the moment, and keep getting put through a series of loops on the phone before a very charming woman says, 'I'm sorry we've been unable to help you today,' and cuts me off. Everything Kafka and George Orwell said has come true. After half-an-hour of this, I quite look forward to some vanilla knitting.

'Stits' isn't a word, Gretchen. 'Stits and farts' is another way of saying 'Fits and starts'. In English this is called a Spoonerism, after, well, you can read about him here.


Spinningfishwife said...

You should go to Klick or Prontaprint or or similar. They sit you down against a screen, a human being takes lots of pictures then they display them digitally and you can CHOOSE the ones you like best. Costs x3 as much but your final picture is x100 better.

beverlyanne said...

I'm with you on Anhinga. I sent away for the booklet on the strength of this design. And in a non-knitting note, I loved Real Women Have Curves.

Anonymous said...

I'm relieved to learn it's only a spoonerism, as I was beginning to imagine some foul meaning that everyone but innocent me already knew. . .

Thanks for the link to NG #5, an attractive collection. Anhinga should drape nicely in All Seasons.

I enjoyed Ms. Ferrera in "Curves" some time ago. Perhaps it's time to put it on the rental list for another viewing.

Knitting Linguist said...

Yes, nothing will make you want plain, comforting, sensible knitting like sitting in a post office or calling the tax office. Both in the same week is craziness. I loved Real Women Have Curves, too, although I haven't seen it for ages. Great movie.

I'm about to send you an email about coffee -- how has it gotten to be Monday already?!

GrannyPurple said...

I can see why you like Anhinga--I'm off to order the booklet, too.
My passport photo looks as though it was done long post mortem!