Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I Learned From "The Golden Compass"

I finally got around to watching The Golden Compass a few nights ago. I had recorded it just because of Daniel Craig.

"In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization."

Apparently, this is from a series of books. Like I said, I wanted to see it because Daniel Craig is in it. However, I really thought that he had a wasted presence in this movie and was severely underused. Because of the way the movie just seems to cut off at the end and there's not a sequel, it makes me wonder why they used him. They could have used a lesser actor.

That being said, I did learn something from this movie. In it, people's souls live outside their bodies in the form of animals. As children, because they tend to be more spontaneous than adults, their souls (called daemons) tend to be shape shifters. It was really interesting to watch the daemons in this movie because almost all of them looked incredibly real. Because of how they move and interact with others, and the fact they talk, the daemons were CGI. 

Pan is Lyra's daemon. He's a ferret/bird/cat/rat daemon, spending most of his time as a ferret and cat. When Lyra and Pan are sneaking around the college she lives at, looking for something to steal, he reminds her they need to be careful. If they get caught, "...if you get a smack, I'll feel it too," he tells her. Humans and daemons feel each others physical pain.

And then it dawned on me. I have a daemon. I think most pet owners would consider their pets to be their daemon. It's not my dog, which is who I figured it would be, but rather my cat, Dixie. We've had her for 12 years and she was a birthday gift.

Dixie, sleeping off the turkey stupor, Thanksgiving 2009
I feel like she and I have a bond that even after eight years, I don't have yet with my dog.

If I'm hurting or sick, she's right there with me, like the world's smallest Florence Nightingale. Pain does go both ways, in a way. Several years ago, Dixie had to have surgery to repair an umbilical hernia from when she was spayed at 1 year old. Because of the worst case scenario of an untreated hernia, I decided to have it repaired.

When we brought her home from the vet, she was still so groggy and drugged up. The anesthesia hadn't worn off yet and she couldn't even hold her head up. On the trip home, she was like a newborn baby and didn't make a peep.

We made a little nest of pillows and blankets in the second bedroom for her to sleep it off and keep her away from the dog. Once we got home, she turned into an angry little tiger...a drugged tiger, but a tiger nonetheless. She was angry and growling (I've never heard her growl since then), dopey and unable to walk without falling over. And all of a sudden, it hit me. She was telling me why she was so angry: her belly hurt, she didn't feel good and she didn't know why.

It absolutely broke my heart. I just remember thinking, why did I do this to her. My husband tried to convince me that the surgery had been the right thing and she'd feel better in the morning.

"If you get a smack, I'll feel it too."

She did feel better in the morning. I didn't sleep worth a damn that night. I got up at 4 or 5 AM the next morning to check on her. She was sitting on a chair and looking pretty perky. I asked her how she was feeling and told her I was sorry for what happened. I actually asked her if she forgave me (yes, yes I did because I thought she'd blame me for dropping her off at the vet). I got a head butt from her in response. She head butts when she's happy, so I knew everything was fine. My daemon still loved me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Not Me...It's You

I decided to take another crack at the crocheted cupcake hat pattern for my nieces for Christmas. I wasn't about to let a single hat get the best of me.

I looked for another pattern and came across this one, by Kay Meadors, owner of the Natural State Knitting blog. This looked like a better option to me, because it's worked first with the ribbing (cake part) and then from the bottom of the frosting up to the top. All of Kay's rows are counted out by stitches so there's no real measuring, which I liked.

As I worked on the most recent one, I saw a simple change that should be made to Kay's pattern. Kay has the pattern written in such a way that you work on the hat as a flat piece and then pull the short edges together when completed to sew the hat into the right shape. That was the only part I didn't like, so as I worked on it, I actually just brought my edges together sooner and worked the hat in rounds instead of individual rows. Of the seam that I did have to sew shut, I thought it looked bumpy and uneven, but I know the edges were lined up correctly.

But you know what? Even with that one change, I can't bring myself to make any more of those damn cupcake hats. I made the first one in a soft buttercream medium weight Lion Brand yarn and the frosting in a soft variegated chunky soft (almost like mohair) Lion Brand yarn (the actual colors are unknown since they were leftovers). Sounds nice, right?

Those hats are just damn ugly in real life.

I've since realized of all the places I've seen those completed hats online, no one is wearing them! They all seem to sit so prettily, probably stuffed with tissue paper or something to give them a nice shape.

I don't mind making funny hats for our nieces and nephews, but I'm not going to purposely make ugly hats for them. As a crocheter, I am officially deleting the cupcake pattern from my computer and crossing it off my mental list of things to make. The kids can get other things for Christmas!

I decided to send this one sad sack looking hat to my niece for Christmas because my mom said she loves wearing hats.

My mom (pictured with my niece) and my sister actually raved about this hat...the one I couldn't stand looking at!