FRIDAY FIVE: Fire up the TARDIS

For my inaugural Friday Five, I’m stepping into a time machine to look back at some previous eras.  Join me, won’t you?

I first heard about Halt and Catch Fire from Molly Lambert and Emily Yoshida’s sadly defunct podcast Girls in Hoodies.  Their praise for the series — which follows the misadventures of three tech innovators in the Silicon Prairie of the mid-1980s — piqued my interest, and when I got an Amazon card for my birthday I sprung for the DVD box set.  After binge-watching the first season, I started buying the episodes from iTunes once season 2 started.  What’s gotten me to fall in love with this series?  The milieu, which is so familiar (speaking as someone who’s the same age as Gordon and Donna’s daughters) and yet so foreign; the engaging characters, played by brilliant actors; the subtlety and the suspense it courts; the working relationship between punk coding prodigy Cameron and working-mom Donna, and the music.  As someone with mental conditions, I’m really impressed with how the writing team has handled Cameron’s anxiety, and I also love how the show has depicted the parallels between the punk scene and the nascent internet/gaming subculture.  And the cliffhanger ending for this week’s episode…oh em gee.  Sadly, AMC is taking a wait-and-see approach to a Season 3.  If you’re looking for a series to take the place of Mad Men on your Sunday nights, give this one a shot.

Staying in the southwest (I think) but moving the time machine forward to 1989, We Can Never Go Home is a comics miniseries about two teenage misfits with superpowers.  The hyper-realistic depiction of the protagonists’ hometown and school grounds the story and makes the violence they experience all the more shocking.  I first heard about this through this post on Instagram, and anything with an explicit nod to Hüsker Dü is A-OK with me.  Matthew Rosenberg and his creative team have done a great job of engaging the audience and making the main characters’ struggles palpable and painful.  The last page of Issue 3 left a lump in my throat.  This will apparently be a limited run, so get in while it’s still going.

Let’s go west with the You Must Remember This podcast, which is taking a long, hard look at Charles Manson’s Hollywood this season.  Due to the brutal nature of Manson’s crimes, whether I’ll last through the season is anyone’s guess, but the episode dealing with Manson’s connection to Dennis Wilson was fascinating and deeply sad.  I have a great fondness for Dennis Wilson’s solo albums (Pacific Ocean Blue sounds like a mashup of peak Nilsson and early Springsteen), and getting some backup on the creation of those records makes them all the more poignant.  Karina Longworth always has something worthwhile to say, and her love of film is steeped in a great intellectual curiosity and an irreverent attitude that might make you reconsider things you took for granted.

Staying in Southern California but going back a bit, this skirt caught my eye on the Junebugs and Georgia Peaches blog, and I have to say…I’m in love.  I’m hoping I get a job soon so I can get one in time for fall.  I love the ric-rac detail, and the print makes me smile.  (I’m with you, Amelia: the cactus riding the pinata FTW.)

Finally, moving a little forward to the Kennedy era…I try to keep political matters off my blog, but for the past year I’ve been working a position funded by AmeriCorps.  Holding down this job has given me the opportunity to hone my skills and learn more about the field I want to pursue (social media and marketing for nonprofit arts and education organizations), and has allowed me to engage in activism and learn more about people and communities with whom I haven’t worked.  I’m very proud of my work here, and as I wind down my service year I am dismayed to learn that Congress is voting to cut funding to AmeriCorps.  If you care about service and the ability to make a living while helping underserved communities, reach out to your Congress-critter about why AmeriCorps matters.

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WIP WEDNESDAY: Mad Men Mittens

Ever notice that learning a new hobby can inspire you to become adventurous in your other avocations?  Something about learning the ukulele has gotten me to look at knitting techniques that I’d previously written off as too difficult.  Case in point: colorwork.  We all have an intarsia project that took a wrong turn (at least, I hope we all do), and after my attempt at knitting a monogrammed bowling bag I had consigned all colorwork to a musty, holey shelf.  Of course, my love of Mad Men and my pile of scrap yarn made me reconsider Fair Isle.

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I cast on for these on Friday morning, once I’d completed a previous hat.  By Sunday night, I’d finished the first mitten.  I definitely see some things I should have done differently with these.  I kind of almost wish I’d used the salmon pink yarn in place of the baby pink as the accent color in the middle, since the pale pink doesn’t pop against the white as much as I would have hoped.  Also, the decreases don’t line up along the sides of the mittens.  I will at least do the decreases differently on the second mitten.

The white, crimson, and baby pink yarns are Berrocco Ultra Alpaca.  The “Wes Anderson pink” is a semi-mystery Plymouth worsted alpaca that was discontinued when I bought it in 2009.  I knit these on an Addi size 3 needle.  Soon they will be Raveled.