First, just a bit of non-yarn-related info: #1 Son has managed to purchase the ticket for his out-of-the-country trip in January. Of course, he has absolutely no money left and will have to live on water and the good graces of others, but he has 30 days left to figure out how to earn a little spending money. I am, actually, quite proud of him.

In more yarn-related news, I really, really want to show you pictures of the Pacific Northwest Shawl, but the weather refuses to cooperate. As I type this, it is snowing gently and the light is completely flat. According to the weatherpeople, we are expecting a humongous storm later this weekend. But one site reports the chance of scattered sun this afternoon. Should that happen, I will run quickly out and snap as many pics as I can in the hope that I will get one or two worth sharing. But even inside, there’s just no light.

Ann in Richmond mentioned that I had the presence of mind to record the whole repairing-the-GGG process. In reality, after standing across the room, swearing in abject horror, the first thought that really came to mind was I so need to blog this. I grabbed my camera before even edging in for a closer look. How sadly geeky does that make me?

But all of this is not what I really want to talk to you about today.

The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn

All knitterly creation stems from one simple element: yarn. It is the baker’s flour, the jeweler’s gold, the gardener’s soil. Yarn is creation, consolation, and chaos all spun together into one perfect ball. It’s a simple concept, twisting fibers together into a continuous thread of yarn. But the variety of fibers, blends, and spins is truley infinite. So is our relationship with yarn. We love it, we covet it, we are knocked senseless by it. Yet sometimes we are baffled, thwarted, and betrayed by it.

Clara Parkes (of Knitter’s Review fame) begins her wonderful new book, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn, with that lovely, evocative paragraph.

I immediately wanted to know more. And more. And more.

Want to know how wool and silk are the same (or different)? Where cashmere comes from? What the term worsted really means? Why silk sometimes stinks and how to de-stink it? How viscose is made? What’s good about acrylic? It’s all here. Section 1 contains a ton of information about all of the different fibers, from angora to yak, the special properties of each and how to evaluate them.

Not a spinner? (note: I am not) Never been up close and personal with a llama? Section 2 explores how yarn, from indie to mass-marketed, is prepared, spun and dyed and where you can get organic and minimally processed yarns and fibers in all stages of preparedness.

There is a whole chapter on pills. Not the kind you swallow here, gentle reader, but the kind that form on sweaters (and hats and blankets and scarves and…). Parkes not only explains what to do to remove pills, but also why they form in the first place and how to evaluate a yarn to determine its pill potential. I now have a much better idea of why my Noro Silk Garden jacket always pills like there’s no tomorrow, but my Noro Kochoran sweater, although it is much fluffier and fuzzier, does not.

from Cabled Tea Cozy
from Cabled Tea Cozy

Section 3 begins with an exploration of plies, and why we as knitters care. Starting with single-ply yarn and continuing through various numbers of mutiple-plies, Parkes explains how the twists cause the yarn to behave and how knitters can work with that behavior. Following the guidelines here, knitters can match yarns and patterns that will work together. Did you know that simply rewinding a skein of single-ply yarn will stop its tendency to bias in stockinette stitch? I didn’t either, but Parkes explains how and why. Following the chapters on plies are chapters on cabled yarns, textured yarns, and neat things like boucle and chenille. Section 3 ends with a chapter on why yarns felt, why sometimes they won’t, and how to get the best felting results.

Every chapter in Section 3 includes patterns, and every pattern includes a note from the designer about how the yarn was chosen to work with that pattern. And what designers! This is a who’s-who list, gentle reader. Knitters from adventurous beginner to experienced knit-guru will all find patterns here to pique their interest. There are one-skein quickies and lace, blankets and sweaters, bags and socks. You will want to knit them all. Or at least I do.

The book ends with a reference section. How to take care of your yarn, with special notes on different fibers. Determining WPI and yardage requirements. The standard yarn-weight numbering system vs. the older non-standard systems (i.e. #1 = sock / fingering / baby), along with typical gauges and recommended needles for each. A list of abbreviations, including how-to instructions. A recommended reading list; designer bios and a glossary.

I love yarn. I love all the yarns. I love to gaze and fondle and squeeze and pet and smell. Even yarns I would never in a millions years knit with, I love. The Knitter’s Book of Yarn is devoted to such sheer fibery knowledge, with tons of gorgeous yarn-pr0ny pictures, that my inner yarn-geek is fed in the best possible way and I want to just grab my nearest needles and start knitting up a storm.

This book instantly earned a prominent place on my reference shelf.

We can’t all be yarn whisperers, but with The Knitter’s Book of Yarn in hand, we can at least understand our yarn and learn to work with an appreciate it even more than we already do (if that is possible).

The book ends perfectly: Let the journey begin.

not so globby, but still green

Last weekend wasn’t all Harry Potter. I did take a little time out now and again to work on the Great Green Glob. I finished the pine trees and the sand dollars. Next up is the water. Then bubbles. Then fish. Then one border. Then another one. Then some I-cord. And it keeps on getting bigger and bigger.

Some of it looks a little wonky in the picture. In person, the seagulls are flying straight and the trees line up and the sand dollars are round. I didn’t do that great a job pinning it out for this picture. I really need blocking wires to keep it straight. But, it’s really not nearly as wonky as it looks.

Since birth, the Great Green Glob has lived on a variety of needles. It’s currently on an Addi Lace needle. I really, really, really love those needles. I can’t imagine a better needle for lace — and that include the Knitpicks needle that the Great Green Glob was on previously.

Knitting bouts were but brief interludes. UPS (do those guys have great legs, or what?) delivered my preordered copy of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows at about 11:00 AM on Saturday.

In grade school I used to drive my reading teachers nuts. My reading habits used to drive my Mama nuts, for that matter. As I child, I always had my nose stuck in a book, no matter what else I might be doing at the time. But… confessions, now… I rarely read a book from front to back. I read them back to front. I read them front, then back, then middle. I start randomly in the middle and read towards both ends at the same time. I skip around. If the author skips from character to character, letting one rest for several chapters, I will skip ahead to find out what happens to that character and then go back to catch up to the others.

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

So… I will admit it. I read the last part first because I didn’t want to wade through 750 pages to find out. Then I started back at the beginning, with a resolve to read it cover to cover, no cheating. And I kept my resolve.

Risking being branded a heretic, I will say that I think the beginning was a bit of a slog. But somewhere around the middle, the action picks up considerably. I don’t think that knowing parts of the ending made the middle part any less exciting. I was turning pages quickly and reading fast and I couldn’t wait to get to the next part. The last 1/2 of the book was definitely a good read.

I will not give anything away here, never fear. If you want to start at the end of the book… you’re on your own. I found the ending satisfying. For one who cut her teeth on fantasy, it wasn’t all that surprising (again, this does not imply I don’t think it was a fun read). But it was satisfying. Ends were tied up, questions were answered, etc. I give it star.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar-half.gif

Now… on to other things.

What do you think you would get, gentle reader, if you crossed Yahoo Groups, My Space and Widipedia, then added yarn? Well, I’m not sure exactly either, but I’m betting it would look a whole lot like Ravelry. I know you’ve probably heard enough about this already. But, no matter if you don’t plan on organizing yourself, this is a terrific tool. If you haven’t already, go and get yourself in line for an invitation. And there’s a new feature where you can look yourself up and see where you are in the list. I know that people are being sent invitations just as quickly as possible. I waited 3 months for mine. It’s so worth it!

If you’re already on Ravelry, add me to your friends list, or look me up. I’m there as jabecker (I’m so incredibly creative with names — I’ve used this screen name various places for 15 years).

In other news, #1 Son returned from his travels. His first bit of business, I thought, was to find gainful employment. He would, he told me, but not during his birthday week.

Excuse me? Birthday week??? Since when does anyone get a week off just because it’s their birthday? 🙄 Welcome to the real world, my child.

I expressed my displeasure.

#1 Son starts his new job tomorrow. 😉

Knitting |Reviews by Judy @ 2:14 PM

Next week I’m attending Cat Bordhi’s 3rd Annual Magical Moebius Festival – “Footsteps Along the Moebius Path ” – an ocean side knitting adventure! To say that I’m excited by this is a gross understatement. We will not only be bending geometry with the wonderful moebius, Cat will also be introducing new amazing sock geometry magic. And, I understand, the room we will be meeting in features a whole wall of windows looking out on the (probably stormy) Pacific.

Cat Bordhi. Socks. Ocean waves. Need I say more? I can’t wait!

A couple of days ago I stopped by the website of ColorSong Yarn to make sure that I had the right time/date info. Of course they sent a wonderful packet with all that info in it. Of course it was at home and I was not. So I stopped by their website, and there I saw it:

They have Addi Lace needles. In stock. Right now. I’ve knit with these needles, gentle reader, and they are amazing.

I called Nancy to ask if there would be any needles available at the workshop. Nancy assured me that there would be.

You know, Nancy offered. You don’t live that far away. If I drop some in the mail to tomorrow, you’d have them the day after.

What’s a girl to do?

I bought needles. I showed what I believe is admirable restraint by buying only two US#1 24″ circs. And I have them. And my socks are on them.

Addi Lace, Addi Turbo, Knit Picks, Inox Gray join comparisons

Addi really got it right this time. These needles are awesome.

Here you can see the tips. Top to bottom: Addi Lace, Addi Turbo, Knit Picks and my trusty and still-loved Inox Grays.

My take on it:

  • Tips:
    • Lace: The clear winner in this category. Sharper than Turbos, not as sharp as Knit Picks. These points get into tight places without drawing blood. The thinnest part of the tip is slightly elongated before swooping up to the body of the needle, giving almost the illusion that the points are convex. Although the tips are shorter than the Knit Picks or Inox tips, the longer point helps the needle get into multiple stitches easily without a lot of splittage. starstarstarstarstar
    • Turbo: OK for larger, bulkier knits without complex patterns. Just too for blunt lace, complex patterns like cables or small items like socks. starstar
    • Knit Picks: Lethal weapons. These are not the needles to use if you like to help your needle along with a finger on the point. Ouch. I like the sharpness for knitting socks and lace, but I did have to get use to it. They are so sharp that splitting can be a problem. starstarstar
    • Inox: Variable. The pairs I have are just about right. But the quality is not consistent. To find the just right needles, I had to dig around through a lot of other ones that ranged all the way from points I could pierce my ears with to Turbo bluntness. Not the needles to buy online. (For some reason I just could not get a clear picture of this needle.) starstarstarstar when good starstar when not good

Addi Lace, Addi Turbo, Knit Picks, Inox Gray point comparison

  • Joins:
    • Lace: The clear winner here, too. The joins are absolutely smooth. Interestingly enough, the joins are not exactly round. On two sides there is an almost imperceptible flair from the cable up to the needle. By opening the stitch slightly, this promotes a smooth transition from cable to needle. Love it, love it, love it. starstarstarstar
    • Turbo: Very smooth joins. Nothing to complain about here at all. starstarstar
    • Knit Picks: Also smooth joins. Slightly rougher than the Lace needles, but not anything that’s an issue. Variable quality — I’ve had good luck with mine and by all reports Knit Picks is happy to replace any that aren’t up to standard. starstarstar
    • Inox: I like the little knobby thing on the cable at the join. I’ve never had a stitch stick on it. Like the slight flair on the Lace cables, the little bump helps to open the stitch so it slides onto the needle. starstarstar
  • Cables:
    • Lace: Very nice cables. Thinner than the Turbo cables, slightly thicker than the Knit Picks cables, and a really lovely transparent red color. Very flexible and do not appear to be subject to any kinking. No steaming or the ilk necessary. starstarstar
    • Turbo: Thicker than the Lace needles, but very flexible and kink-less. My favorite cable before I met Knit Picks. starstarstar
    • Knit Picks: The winner in this category. I just love these cables. To me they feel even softer and more flexible than the Lace cables. starstarstarstar
    • Inox: Plastic. Stiff. Kinky. Need steaming. What I don’t love about Inox. star
  • Knitting speed and feel:
    • Lace: Oh, I want to love these needles so much! The feel is slightly stickier than turbos, not as sticky as bamboo or other wood. The yarn glides over the needles very nicely without hanging up or dragging. I’m not the fastest knitter in the world and there is no appreciable slowing of my speed. Very quiet. The needle size is helpfully printed on the cable. That’s such a nice touch! My only beef: To me the feel when the needles touch reminds me of the old, old, old metal needles I knit with 35 years ago. It’s almost like finger nails on a chalk board. (To you youngsters that know only white boards — that is not a pleasant sound). I’m not sure yet if this will end up being a deal breaker. I love everything else about them so much that I’m willing to work with them for awhile and see if I can become inured. starstarstar1/2 star
    • Turbo: Very fast. Too fast sometimes for intricate lace or very slippery yarns. Also have the needle size printed on the cable. starstarstar
    • Knit Picks: I like the way these knit. Fast, but not too fast. Quality, though, is variable. Size is not revealed anywhere, so carry your sizer with you. starstar
    • Inox: The winner. I like the teflon coating. Like the Lace needles, the Inox are smooth without being too slippery. I like the bend in the needle — it fits my hand well. (This is purely subjective as other knitters hate it.) Inox thoughtfully stamps the size on the needle, down near the join. starstarstarstar

The overall winner: Definitely the Turbo Lace. Marvelous, wonderful, amazing needles. Except the sound. Stay tuned on that score.

In the comments, Maia helpfully opines (and ~Kristie agrees):

The only thing I notice since you rebuilt is that there isn’t a spell check in the comments section. I thought that was such a lovely gift to the spelling impaired

I know! Believe me I am spelling impaired as well and I miss it too. Unfortunately the spell check plugin I was using does not work with this version of WordPress and it doesn’t appear that the author is going to modify it to work. 😥 I am searching for an alternative. All of the ones that I’ve tried so far have not successfully worked with comments. But I will keep looking! Until then all I can suggest is to use Firefox for your browser. It includes a built-in spell checker.

Furry Friends |Knitting |Reviews by Judy @ 4:46 PM

Captain Kidd wearing socks
That describes my mind as I try to come up with a witty title for today’s post. I’m not sure why the switch to DST should wipe me out this much. But it does.

Gentle reader, I am thinking that you may be growing somewhat weary of the somewhat obligatory UFO draped across a chair in a vain attempt to catch a little bit of natural light photos that have graced PI lately. Especially since most of those have been socks in progress, and how many ways can one display a sock?

And we all know, don’t we, how well I’ve been doing on my knit no socks resolution. Two finished objects this year. Both socks. One unfinished object holding all my attention. It’s socks. Yeah. What can I say.

At any rate, I don’t want to turn this into a look where my sock is today a la the Yarn Harlot. I could never do anything more than a poor imitation of Stephanie’s wit and humor with her traveling socks. For me to attempt it would just be lame.

But let’s face it, boys and girls… even I’m bored with my photography.

And it’s not like the weather is decent and I can run around outside and take pictures. Taking pictures outside is a serious risk to my camera. Camera + water = bad idea. This is Oregon. The rain will stop some time in late June. Until then there will be only brief, shining moments..

This is Captain Kidd. He’s a rather wonky sort of cat. He always has been. I think it’s safe to say that his parents were very carefully inbred, resulting in what we at chez PI like to refer to as a cat of very little brain. We love him anyway. But he’s a little strange. He has fortunately completely recovered from his illness last year. Physically. Mentally… I think he’s become even a little stranger.

Please, Mom, can we never do that again?

His illness may be a good example of his interesting personality. My vet stopped carrying the oh-so-special kibble that Kidd needed to have and that was worth it’s weight in gold (or that is what they charged me). Instead they offered a perfectly reasonable substitute. It cost me a large sum of money to find out that Kidd wanted his prior brand of kibbles back and if he couldn’t get it he was quite willing to starve himself to death while tearing out his fur and eating it. The other two cats in the house loved the new kibble and grew quite fluffy while eating their share and Kidd’s.

I now travel 1/2 way across town simply to buy his special brand. Other cat parents will, no doubt, understand. The rest of you probably think I’m nuts. (probably did anyway) But he’s now a (fairly) reasonable weight, although still very slim, and all the fur he pulled out (or the vet shaved because he had to have a feeding tube for awhile) has grown back.

Kidd likes to sit on the bookshelf by my desk while I work at my computer. I have no idea why. It’s his spot. He sleeps there, sitting up. If I have placed another object there, he scolds me until I move it — note the stacks of CDs pushed carefully out of the way. When he gets tired of sitting on the shelf, he goes under the desk and curls up in the corner.

I don’t think he was very happy wearing the socks. But, if you hang around while I’m looking for something to amuse myself with… well… don’t be surprised at what happens. 😀

The socks are up to the gussets and proceeding nicely. I like Dave’s Sea-Camo-Weedy remark, and I think I will name them that.

I had lunch yesterday with #1 Son at Nicholas’. It’s a tiny little hole in the wall in an unattractive area of Portland. It’s so tiny that, after your name is added to the always-present list, you have to wait outside. There’s no room for people to wait inside. No room even to knit at the table. The proprietors have thoughtfully provided space heaters under the roof overhang, so although I had to stand on the sidewalk looking like I was maybe lookin’ for a good time (hey, sailor… wanna party?), at least I was dry (mostly) and warm (sort of) and had plenty of company. Seating is at such a premium that, although my name came up on the list, I was not actually given a table until #1 Son finally arrived. Trust me on this — it’s well worth the wait. Every time the door opened the scent of wonderful Middle Eastern cuisine wafted out. I have 1/2 of a falafel sandwich left over for dinner, along with a very creamy hummus and pita that was so fresh when served that it was too hot to pick up.

The Tangled socks still have not shown up. #1 Son professes innocence (but has yet to prove it). I did not take them anywhere out of the house unless they were on my feet. (Good thought, ~Kristie, but I have a sample sock named Bob that I use when I need to demo.) I have checked the legs of pants and sleeves of shirts, just in case. I am afraid this mystery will not be solved. I am bereft.

On a techie note, a week or so ago I completely rewrote the PI theme from the ground up. I was pretty careful to make it look the same, so you may not have noticed. I tested it in as many browsers as I could to make sure it looked reasonably OK and was stable. But I have no access to either Linux or a Mac. If you see something that looks weirder than usual or really doesn’t work, please let me know.

Knitting |Reviews by Judy @ 5:07 PM

winter visitors
The Portland area loves visitors — most of all visitors who will settle in and stay for awhile, enriching the community. And ones that can dig their toes into our mud and enjoy our rain are much appreciated.

I’m not sure if This little flock of geese is a hold-over from those who headed for sunnier climes last fall, or if they belong to a group who headed north a bit out of season, but they don’t appear to be bothered by our gray drizzle.

The topography around where I live features a couple of small mountains and some gently rolling hills divided by marshy streams and small, mostly man-made, lakes. Quite a few ducks and geese of different sorts find the area a fine place to hang out for the summer and raise their kids. I have seen busy, rush-hour traffic come to a halt while mom and dad goose herded their little goslings across a busy 5-lane avenue. And no one seemed at all annoyed. In how many cities would that be the case?

~Kristie asks:

I’ve been noticing that whenever you knit socks that have YO’s, you usually replace it with a M1. Is this because you live in a cooler climate & the lace look would let in cool air, or is it the “look” of lacy socks you don’t prefer? Just wondering.

I had to think about this question for awhile.

It’s not the climate. It’s really not that cold here, usually. And wool socks are warm – even when they feature holes.

I love the look of lace. One of my favorite pair of store-bought socks were cotton lace anklets that I wore year-round until they were totally beyond any further help and, with heavy heart, I was forced to retire them.

I love to knit lace. Two of my unfinished objects are lace projects. They are not unfinished because I don’t enjoy knitting them. It’s just that I got… distracted.

I do knit lace socks. I offer as proof the Mermaid socks I knit for #1 Son’s friend and the Tipsy Knitter socks from last year.

So why don’t I knit more of them?

Sometimes it is because of the look I’m going for. Would the Rooster Feathers look so feathery or the Snake River Socks have that lovely faux-cable look if I had used YOs instead of M1s?

I think the real reason, though, is because socks are for me the meat-and-potatoes of knitting. Not something I really need to think about. Mindless knitting in a small package that I can carry around and whip out whenever I have a few minutes and want to keep my hands busy. Lace, while beautiful, adds a certain amount of necessary thoughtfulness. When looking for a stitch pattern for the next pair of socks, I usually skip the lace patterns because those will be harder and require thinking. Which is a silly excuse, of course, as there are many lovely lace patterns that are easily memorized and have short repeats. And, while I wouldn’t want to knit lace in the dark as I could with a simple ribbed pattern, I’m not often knitting in the dark anyway.

I need to branch out more.
Victorian Lace Today
And this is the perfect book to dip into for a little inspiration.

Jane Sowerby’s extensive research into Victorian-era lace knitting patterns has culminated in this gorgeous book of modernized patterns and lace history. The samples are knit in bright modern colors – hot pink, acid green, periwinkle blue – that fairly glow on the page. Alexis Xenakis used locations in and around Cambridge for his photography. The artiness of some of the shots is in no way obtrusive.

The primarily-charted patterns are mostly rectangular shawls and scarves with knitted-on boarders. I would characterize them as being of easy to advanced intermediate level. There is plenty here that’s accessible to the beginning lace knitter. I don’t think the patterns are as complex as some of those in Meg Swansen’s A Gathering of Lace.

My one quibble is that there is no general index of all of the patterns. It’s a small quibble, as I don’t mind leafing through the book again and again and again. But it’s annoying if I’m looking for something specific and can’t remember what section it was in.

If you are one of the few knitters who has not dipped into Victorian Lace Today, please do treat yourself to a viewing.

Confidential to #1 Son: I’m quite pleased and proud of you. Reading the review in the Wweek Local Cut was a treat. I do have a bone to pick with you about that last paragraph, though. The way I remember the conversation, it went more like this:

#1 Son: We’re going on tour.

Mom: I’m not too happy with you doing that. But I’m not sure you would listen if I said no.

#1 Son: I would go anyway.

Mom: That’s what I suspected. Please be very careful and stay safe. I love you and I want you to come home happy and healthy.

Miscellaneous Musing |Reviews by Judy @ 9:55 AM

Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fires has been reviewed extensively in the media. You have to have been living under a rock somewhere not to have run into one or two or twenty reviews. Most reviewers I’ve read have agreed that this Harry Potter is dark, scary, and no place for small kids.

The movie is often dark and foggy, and thanks to the magic of special effects, there are very realistic fire-breathing dragons, scary underwater merpeople, attacking hedges, bad wizards, monsters, huge snakes, etc.

Good guys die in this movie.

So, riddle me this Batman: Whether or not you believe that HP&TGOF deserves its PG-13 rating (and I happen to think it does), why would you take a baby to see it?

#1 Son and I went to see it on Friday. (Note: He’s 17 and I’m way more than that. Neither of us is subject to nightmares.) We went to the Oak Grove Cinema in Milwaukie. It’s a little out of our usual metro-west stomping grounds, true, but #1 Son doesn’t like the theater that’s close to our house. I didn’t really mind checking out a new theater. Since The Westgate closed there are too few theaters left that are more than a cookie-cutter, stadium-seating cinema complex. I was please to find that Oak Grove has tons of character. What’s not to like about a cinema that marks its restrooms in three-foot-tall neon “guys” and “gals” signs?

When the movie started, the theater was about two-thirds full. It was a very mixed audience. I would say that the majority were teenagers or older, with a fair representation of senior citizens. There were also a few younger kids. Behind us were a couple of children that were about 9 or 10. At the end of our row were a man and a woman with two kids: a boy who looked about 5 or 6 and a girl who was maybe 2-1/2 or 3.

The kids behind us had obviously been warned to only whisper during movies. And they did whisper. Very loudly. Through the whole movie. Whispers punctuated by flying popcorn kernels landing in our hair to the beat of chair kicks.

The little girl at the end of the row started crying after the first 15 minutes or so, and she cried and begged to go home through the rest of the movie. And they stayed until the bitter end.

So, our movie-going experience went something like this:

[whisper] Wait till you see this! mommy, I want to go home. [sob] [chair kick] Harry’s not supposed to enter because he’s not old enough but watch what happens! [patter of popcorn falling gently on hair] mommy [sob] please can I go home now? [chair kick]

Yeah, the ambiance left something to be desired.

I would have asked the kids behind us to at least stop whispering. But the last time I did that, the boy I ask to stop started crying instead. (No idea why. I wasn’t mean at all and I asked nicely.) The boy’s mother got really pissed at me, and #1 Son was embarrassed. So this time I just tried to ignore them. If I could have easily reached the couple at the other end of the row, however, I would have knocked their heads together and told them to take their baby home. And I wouldn’t have been nice about it.

Mom’s take:

Oak Grove Cinema: starstarstarstar for character and an extra half-star for the restroom neon.

Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire: starstarstar This was the weakest of the books, and I think the weakest of the movies. Despite the necessary trimming to fit a 600-page book into a two-hour movie, it was still too long.

People (of any age) who whisper in movies: half-star for trying, but some whispers can be just as loud as a normal speaking voice and more penetrating. A movie theater is not your family room. Keep your lips zipped.

Parents who take their babies to anything other than G-rated movies: minus 5 black starblack starblack starblack starblack star Parenting means you get to miss out on things you would like to do but that are inappropriate for your children. Wait until it comes out on DVD or cable.

Parents who refuse to remove a crying baby or child: Minus 5 black starblack starblack starblack starblack star The rest of us brought kids who could behave appropriately or left them at home. We paid good money to see this movie. Be a lamb and don’t ruin it for us.

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#1 Son's Blanket


Cotton Bag