Saturday, April 28, 2007

Blast from the past

Did anyone else watch The Magic Garden when you were a kid? I had begun to think I had imagined it . . .

Sunday, April 22, 2007

And I'm . . .

Faintly blue.
In pain. Right ankle and knee hurting -- no idea why, no idea how to fix it.
Wishing I could have danced more at the festival yesterday. Ow.
Glad to have seen good friends yesterday.
Swamped with work.
Wishing I didn't have to go to work tomorrow.
Wishing I could have walked more today. Ow.
Really lucky, in spite of my crappy mood.
Going to bed.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fiber studio redecoration

So I'm in the process of redesigning and redecorating the fiber studio in the back parlor of our house. We're going to replace most of the furniture, paint the walls, and have built-in storage put in along one wall. We've been drawing up plans, playing with layouts and choosing furniture.

Yesterday, we ordered our first new furniture piece, a cabinet/hutch unit for fabric storage. It will arrive in 4-6 weeks, and then we'll have to finish it. It will hold my quilting cottons, and we'll replace the glass in the top cabinet doors with something opaque so as to avoid fading of the fabric. It won't be as deep as the unit we have now, so it will be better for fabric storage, and the look fits into our decorating style better.

Current paint choices for the room include deep reds, such as "Santa's Suit", "Aniline Red" or "Italiano Rose" (Benjamin Moore). I'm going to get a bit of each this week and see how they look on the wall. It's definitely going to be a different look from the off-white that's there now!

But I'm not allowed to paint that room until I finish the solarium and the kitchen, which are next on the painting queue.

Now it's back to grading papers for me. After gardening all day yesterday, it feels nice to sit down. I have to get back into gardening trim -- all my muscles are protesting.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thoughts on humor and Catherine Tate

I only just discovered Catherine Tate, a fairly well-known British comedian with her own sketch show (yay for YouTube). She has loads of funny sketches, but I was struck by one of her repeat characters, Lauren, an insolent adolescent who works hard to prove that she doesn't care what other people think of her. Some examples include:

Lauren talks about Beyonce
The party
The field trip
Lauren in science class
"Are you gay, sir?"
Lauren at the burger bar

Part of what makes this funny is the rapid-fire, farcical, back-and-forth patter, as well as the stream-of-consciousness quality of her references once she gets going. This takes talent and loads of rehearsal to get the timing just right.

Once the pattern is established, then she can play with it:

Lauren's French oral exam
Catherine Tate and David Tennant
Catherine Tate meets the Prime Minister -- I love this one!

The repetitious, partly-predictable nature of the sketches is interesting from a theoretical perspective on humor, as some theories of humor emphasize that surprise is a key factor in humor, but here, the laugh comes in part from the recognition of the familiar ("Am I bovvered?"). There are still surprises along the way, of course, and part of the humor is carried by the intensity of the anger and disrespect she shows, or by her rise/fall in the eyes of others.

Interesting stuff, and now I have some new catch-phrases!