My 2013 Year of Film

December 31, 2013 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Movies, TV & Music 

I’m doing something new this year. Not my usual top movies seen in theaters and top movies seen at home. The reality is that with so many movies are being released on DVD or streaming so soon after a theatrical release, the lines between my at home list and theater list are blurring a lot. So I’m merging the lists to be a top 10 recent movies I’ve seen this year.

And instead of my at home list, I’ll start periodically compiling best of lists from the years before I started my lists (1997). I’ll start with 1996 next month, and work my way back in time. It’ll be a fun exercise, and a chance to fill in some gaps I have with older movies, and rewatch some favorites I may have only seen once. I’m curious which ones will stand the test of time.

This year I managed to see 97 new films, 93 of them were from the past 3 years. Not many older movies, but I did rewatch a bunch of older films with Ella. Probably one of my favorites was Lawrence of Arabia at the Paramount. She had the same reaction to that film that I did the first time.

My 10 favorite recent films I saw this year…

12 Years a Slave
20 Feet from Stardom
American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis
Side Effects
Stories We Tell
The Invisible War
Zero Dark Thirty

Honorable mention to Intouchables and Searching for Sugar Man, two movies that just missed my top 10.

But it wasn’t all enjoyable viewing. The five movies that made the bottom of my list…

Computer Chess
Jack Reacher
Mirror Mirror
The Paperboy
Zero Charisma

Equally bad, but just so darn bad it was fun to watch goes to Sharknado.

What were some of your favorite films you saw this past year?

Best & Worst Films of 2011

January 2, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Movies, TV & Music 

I finished up the year with seeing a few more movies than last year. A lot of movies came and went before I got the chance to see them. But I did get to attend the SXSW Film Festival this year and saw a lot of good (and bad) movies there. Here’s my list of the best and worst movies I saw this year.

Best 10 Movies of the 54 I saw in the theater
The Artist (2011)
Beginners (2011)
Drive (2011)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Hugo (2011)
Margin Call (2011)
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Moneyball (2011)
Tabloid (2011)
Take Shelter (2011)

Worst 5 Movies of the 54 I saw in the theater
Another Earth (2011)
The Future (2011)
Hesher (2011)
Robot Monster (1953)
Separado (2011)

Best 5 DVDs of the 29 I saw
Easy A (2010)
Hanna (2011)
The Lady Eve (1941)
Peeping Tom (1960)
This Is England (2006)

Go See Gustafer Yellowgold!

November 13, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Movies, TV & Music 

Just to give you a heads up so you can mark it on your calendar, December 9th at 4:30 pm, Gustafer Yellowgold will be playing at the Florence Civic Center. If you live anywhere close to the Pioneer Valley, go check them out. They’re great and not like anyone else out there. Yes the music is geared toward kids. But I recently ran into someone at the Austin City Limits Festival wearing a Gustafer shirt who gushed about them. Go see them. Do it.


September 13, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Knitting, Movies, TV & Music 

Am I crazy for loving the Woodins? They’re so weird.

I’m off to Austin for a Meltdown.

Oh, and Ravelry is the best time-suck ever.

Yarn Harlot in New York

March 31, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Knitting, Movies, TV & Music 

OK, so I’m not the most timely blogger out there. But here’s a rundown of our trip to New York.

THURSDAY Well we made it down to New York in crazy good time. But we left really late. Bill dropped me and the kids off in Central Park 15 minutes late. And the big sock photo had already been taken. But we got to sign the big banner that Guido organized and then chat with a few folks. Ella, the social butterfly she is, enjoyed showing off her knitting to everyone.

Then the three of us spent most of the rest of the day at the American Museum of Natural History. We arrived right during lunch time when there were hoards of school groups there. Very overwhelming. It’s all I could do to figure out where to purchase tickets and which doorway to enter. This museum isn’t really my kind of thing. But the kids loved it. We had no map, so the kids led the way for the next three hours. Bill met us later at the museum, and we all checked out the dinosaur exhibit. Perfect for a family with two dinosaur fanatics.

Then we caught a cab south, dropped Bill and the kids off in Times Square and I continued to FIT to catch the Yarn Harlot event. I arrived just as they were letting folks into the building. It was tons of fun. Not quite full, but many, many people. I’m not good at estimating crowd numbers, but probably about 600 knitters. I actually didn’t recognize anyone other than the Harlot and Guido. But I had fun chatting with new people just the same.

In everyone’s seat was a bag with a ball of yarn, a pair of needles, and pattern instructions to make a 7″x11″ square. The Harlot asked us all to knit/crochet a square during the event to be collected afterwards. All the squares would be put together at the end to create potentially 15 afghans for Warm Up America. Pretty cool. I got my square done with plenty of time left over for some sock knitting. The event went till about 8:30. I bought her new book on the way out and walked back in the warm rain to the hotel. Sometimes I really miss living in a big city.

Despite all of the knitters that came to the event, I didn’t really see many elsewhere in the city. So I don’t know if we really flooded New York with knitters. But it was a great time just the same.

FRIDAY I got to sleep in a bit while Bill and the kids went to breakfast. Very nice! Thanks Bill. Once back, we packed up everything, tossed it in the van, and took the subway to the Museum of Arts and Design to see the Radical Lace, Subversive Knitting exhibit. It did not disappoint, though the definition for lace was a bit broad. I enjoyed the gown knit out of money, the porcelain lace pieces, the knitted lead bear, giant knitted American flag (It was knit with telephone poles!), and the very very tiny knitted sweaters and gloves. They were even smaller than I expected them to be. Holy crap! It was so much fun being there with the kids. They were asking really interesting questions.

On the way to lunch we stopped by a nearby knitting store, Stitches East. The store was small and had lots of novelty yarn, and absolutely nothing that interested me. No need to ever come back. After lunch we unsuccessfully looked for Habu Textiles and School Products. Maybe next visit. Off to Audra’s house to unpack our things and visit. Her whole family was so welcoming and nice. That evening we went to Lloyd’s birthday party not far from Audra’s house. It was a lovely evening, though we left just as the rest of the Dees were arriving. Life with kids.

SATURDAY We went back into the city to catch the Justin Roberts’ show. We hadn’t seen him play before with the full band. It was a good time, though Ella seemed huge compared to the rest of the toddlers there. I prefer seeing him at a small venue like Iota where you can get a beer and a juice box at the bar.

That afternoon while the rest of the family rested, and went to Brooklyn General Store, just a couple blocks from Audra’s house. I loved this store. And I could not help but think of Cirilia the whole time I was there. They had some awesome vintage fabric. I nearly bought some but then remembered I haven’t used the vintage fabric I bought from Crafty Planet yet. But I did nearly buy Sew U, and I’m a sewing hater. I think I’ve been inspired by Cirilia. Curses! What I did leave with were some cool tights (for me), leaf magnets (a gift), and some Euroflax since I’ve always wanted to try it and WEBS doesn’t carry it. Maybe they’ll become some lovely washcloths? This store rocks. I’ll be back.

Once I got my yarn fix, we went over to Jalopy to see Audra’s kids play, Toxic Muffin.

Aren’t 11-year old rockers cute? After them another area kids band played, Tiny Masters of Today.

Then the giant Hootananny began. It was such an incredible evening. And there’s so much to say, but go over to Spare the Rock if you want more details. Here are a few highlights of the evening.

Marty Beller (from They Might Be Giants) and Jen and Audra from Audrarox doing “D Is for Drums” with the kids.

This is for you Amy. No Steve hasn’t really let himself go. But he is wearing underwear on his head. I love the photo of Ella chatting it up with Steve Burns. She was really working the crowd that night.

Thank god Liam fell asleep before the end. It went well past midnight. Ella kept going strong the whole night. She really gets her energy from people, not like her mother.

What an evening. Bill was recording the whole show for the radio show. Hopefully he’ll have it all edited down by next weekend.

SUNDAY Sleeping in REALLY late. We were all exhausted. We made a leisurely trip back home, stopping at Flying Fingers. I’ve been wanting to check it out. It was a nice shop with great customer service. But there wasn’t a lot there that interested me. I did end up getting a skein of laceweight merino/cashmere yarn in a soft green. But the best part was that Liam wanted me to get him his first pair of needles. He’s ready for me to teach him to knit. Hurray! We haven’t sat down yet to do so, but soon.

It was all such a great trip. And great to get away from work for a bit. I’m looking forward to more weekend trips with the family.

(Thanks to Molly, Amy, and JP for some of the photos.)

New York High & Low

March 26, 2007 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Knitting, Movies, TV & Music 

We’re back from our New York trip, tired but with lots of great memories. There were museums, yarn stores, the Harlot, and an incredible amount of kids music. But there’s no time to do a complete post right now. I’ll just tell you one high and low from the trip.


Waking up Friday night every hour on the hour to Wallace saying, “Wake up Gromit! Time for walkies.” Not a restful night of sleep. Could not figure out how to turn this alarm clock off. I used to like Wallace. I’m not sure anymore.


Watching Ella play the drum machine for Steve Burns during the Hootenanny. It was incredible watching this girl’s confidence in front of an audience. And it was amazing that she kept going strong all night long, well past midnight.

OK, many more details later. Must get kids to school and me to work.

Best & Worst Movies of the Year

January 3, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Movies, TV & Music 

I’ve finally narrowed down my choices for the best and worst movies that I saw this year. Since I’ve started keeping track of my movie watching, I’ve seen the second least number of movies this year. The year that I saw the least number was when I had my second child and Bill was traveling a lot for the law firm. But I finished the year well, seeing 16 movies in the theater in December. Check out my Best & Worst Lists if you’re curious about previous years.

Best 10 Movies of the 63 I saw in the theater
Babel (2006)
The Departed (2006)
Dreamgirls (2006)
The Last King of Scotland (2006)
Little Children (2006)
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
The Queen (2006)
Shut Up and Sing (2006)
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
United 93 (2006)

Worst 5 Movies of the 63 I saw in the theater
The Da Vinici Code (2006)
Friends with Money (2006)
Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
Running with Scissors (2006)
Scoop (2006)

Best 7 DVDs of the 28 I saw
49 Up (2006)
Hustle & Flow (2005)
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)
Lagaan (2002)
The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

Time for Me

December 28, 2006 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Movies, TV & Music 

Three days of working the big sale and I’m ready for a little me time in Boston. First a stop at The Container Store. Then a little shopping at two of my favorite clothing stores.

Then the rest of the day will be spent at the movies: Notes on a Scandal, Volver, The Painted Veil, and Little Children. And there will be lots of log cabin knitting at the movies too. Fun, fun, fun.

The Science of Sleep

October 6, 2006 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Knitting, Movies, TV & Music 

I went to The Science of Sleep this week and saw the most peculiar/interesting knitting machine in the movie. It had a keyboard which appeared to control some sort of intarsia knitting. I’ve never seen a knitting machine before. But, this can’t possibly be how they work, right? This must of been just another piece of this crazy, imaginative movie.

I also particularly enjoyed the dream sequences with the giant hands. That’s exactly how I dream. Totally normal, boring dream happening, then suddenly one of my appendages become huge, just like this.

This happens to you too, right? Oh, now you think I’m crazy.

Focus on a Cool Dad

June 5, 2006 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Kids, Movies, TV & Music 

In the latest issue of Cool Mom Picks‘ newsletter was an article about Ella & Bill’s radio show. They make me proud.

Special: Focus on a Cool Dad
Bill Childs

Every working parent’s dream: A job that allows you to bring your child with you. Bill Childs has just that, or at least he does once a week. He’s a law professor Monday through Friday, but on Saturday mornings, he and his 7 year-old daughter Ella co-host cult radio show favorite, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child on WXOJ in Northampton, Massachusetts.

One-time violinist, former college radio DJ, and ex-indie record store owner, it was only natural for Bill to start seeking out great kids’ music when he became a parent. Thanks to an open slot at a community radio station, Bill was able to parlay his passion into a volunteer job and soon had a regular show.

If you have listened to the broadcast then you know that Bill and Ella are quite the team. They work together to pick out the music–kid stuff as well as kid-appropriate grown-up music. Ella does almost all of the engineering, which has been a lesson in patience for Bill. (A dad giving up control of the electronics? Sounds like an urban legend to me.) But overall, they have fun dancing in the studio together, interviewing in-studio artists, and enjoying each other’s company on and off the air. In fact, the commentary is just as entertaining as the music they play.

The radio show is not limited to musical artists. Bill has taken the show “to the next level,” inviting Ella’s first grade class to read their poems on air. He’s also started connecting with local artists as well a possible collaboration with the Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art.

And don’t be fooled. This isn’t something Bill drags Ella to do on every Saturday. Aside from her favorite tasks, including “pushing the buttons and talking and playing the music,” Ella said that working with her dad is decidedly “fun.”

Based on what we’ve heard, it’s fun for us too, Ella.

You can listen to Spare the Rock live on Saturdays from 8 to 10am at, or download podcasts of past shows at

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