costuming!

October 20, 2017

So the interesting thing about Halloween these days is I do so much costuming throughout the year that I don’t even think of anything special for Halloween. If I happen to be doing something for the holiday that requires a costume, I just look in my costume closet and decide what to wear.

Emmy’s Heihei costume arrived. It fits, and she appears to love it. Success!  But wow, the bar’s going to be really high for me from here out. That thing upped my skill level.

And it looks like Galadriel is go for this year. I just have the sleeves, facing, and finishing left to do. The serger is making it so nice! I don’t know that I would even attempt stuff like this without it.

 

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This has already been a long week. They’re all long weeks these days. The package with Emmy’s costume in it is late getting to her so that’s not stressing me out at all. I’ve started on my own costume, which is comparatively simple. I’m hoping to have it ready for MileHi Con. I have a second round of notes for The Wild Dead. I’m 17k words in on a new project which is nice. Seems like there’s a million other little things I need to do. I’m down to just two knitting projects instead of four. But the holidays are coming up so that’s about to change…

I haven’t seen The Last Jedi trailer yet, and I’ve decided to try to hold out until I see it on the big screen. (I expect it’ll be in front of Thor: Ragnarok, which I already have tickets for.)  I didn’t see the Blade Runner 2049 trailer until the big screen, and I think it makes a difference. We do so much watching on little screens now, we forget that scale is really important on films like this. The immersion that comes with the big screen is really important to me. So I’m waiting.

Meanwhile, I have seen the pictures in the traditional Annie Leibovitz Vanity Fair spread. God I love these. The hard copy is sitting on my coffee table right now. The pictures are all gems, windows into worlds and characters. The ones of Carrie Fisher are gorgeous and sob-inducing. Story wise, though, this is the one that really intrigues me because it’s a bit of the Star Wars world we haven’t really seen in the movies:  the rich and powerful in their natural habitat, a section of society that’s been isolated from the wars.  (The comics have covered this world a bit, and this seriously looks like a scene from one of the Rogue Squadron issues.) I’m expecting a little James Bond flair here, maybe a secret mission with our beloved heroes trying to infiltrate this milieu for some reason or other.

Seriously, my dream is to have the movie open with Finn and Poe in the middle of some caper gone horribly wrong, full of adventure and hilarity.

Or, you know, it could start some other way. That’d be okay too.

 

so this is happening

October 9, 2017

As mentioned in a previous post, my niece wants to be Heihei for Halloween.

I’m making her costume.

This is going to be amazing.

 

my bullet journal

September 14, 2017

About a year ago exactly, I saw a mention on social media about something called a bullet journal. This was a sufficiently intriguing phrase that I googled it (as I google whenever when I don’t know what something is — as should you!) and found a tsunami of links and information about this Hip New Lifestyle trend that was sweeping instagram and was guaranteed to Change Your Life. Now, I’m the last person to jump on board a Hip New Lifestyle trend — the self help section was my very least favorite section of the bookstore, followed closely by its cousin the business advice section. But I gotta say, this spoke to me. I read up on it. And I pretty much started my own bullet journal that same week.

It’s great.

In a nutshell, a bullet journal is an adaptable, self-guided planner and organizer and whatever else you need it to be. That’s kind of what I love about it — you start with blank pages and then do whatever you need to make it work.  This article (which also links to the original Bullet Journal site) made it all make sense and got me started.

I’d tried other planners — Day Runner, calendar systems, etc. —  with pre-printed pages and notebooks and rigid structures, and they never worked. They didn’t fit with what I needed to do. (It should come as no surprise that my life has never really looked the way that the makers of planning systems think a life looks like.) Entire sections of my planners would remain blank, or I’d start dutifully using various sections the way they were meant to be used and then stop when it became clear that it was just making more work for myself without helping me. There were never pages for what I needed, and the pre-existing pages never seemed to fit. I don’t need a day-to-day calendar with all the hours marked out, not when most of my days are “6 hours of sitting at the computer trying to make stuff up.”  Not to mention the expense of buying all those proprietary pre-printed sheets designed for a proprietary-sized notebook.

So I turned to the post-it note method of organizing and planning, which is utterly terrible. Imagine a desk covered in post-it notes, with various other notes tucked into folders, and yet more notes pinned to a bulletin board. I’d joke about needing to-do lists to organize my to-do lists, and spend time just about every week trying to consolidate my to-do lists.

The bullet journal is a way to organize to-do lists. And least that’s how it works for me. Now, instead of writing things on post-it notes and scattering them all over, I have a book that I have customized to my own needs. When I need to write something down, there’s likely a place for me to write it in my bullet journal. Books I want to read? That has a page. Release date for a short story coming out in six months? Deadline for an anthology I just agreed to write for? That’s got a spot. Stuff I need to do this week? This month? Boom. There’s a page of book promotion items. Another page for trip prep items. Travel, deadlines, release dates, and just about everything else are all compiled in one space instead of me having to consult three different pages to sort my life out.

What I really love about the journal is the way it flows calendars. This is the bit I did take directly from the bullet journal format:  The future log, which gives a thumbnail look at the whole year. Each month then migrates to a page which gives a month-at-a-glance summary (especially useful for travel, as it blocks out entire trips), along with a monthly task list (i.e. things I need to do this month but not necessarily on a particular day). This in turn flows into weekly to-dos (things that do need to be done on specific days). If I don’t get something done it roles forward. If I keep rolling forward the same task then I need to think about how much I really need to do this task.

Also, whenever you need to write something, it just goes on the next page. Go on vacation for two weeks and don’t need your usual to-do lists?  You just skip it and won’t have any wasted space in your book. You use what you need, and nothing extra is left over. Brilliant!

I could probably do a better job of utilizing this tool. Tens of thousands of websites give examples of templates and methods for tracking daily habits, managing housework, long-term goals, and so on. A lot of people use the journals for actual journaling — what happened day-to-day, gratitude lists, memories, etc. It’s a planner as envisioned by scrapbookers.

I’ve talked before about how over the last few years the goal-setting method that carried me through almost two decades of life and success started to break down. I’d accomplished just about everything on even my long-term list. “Just keep doing what you’re doing but better” isn’t a good way to formulate a plan that will actually allow me to accomplish anything new. And what new things did I want to accomplish anyway?  I’d been moving toward keeping something like a rolling list of goals and dreams that I could consult and prioritize at just about any time.

Turns out, a bullet journal is pretty brilliant for something like that. There’s a page for future travel. There’s a page for “things I want to get better at” (like music, Spanish, and birdwatching). A list of craft projects, which I can add to whenever I want, instead of writing it down on a post-it. Sometimes I don’t really have a plan, but even writing a thing down makes it concrete and reminds me to think about it.

I’ve heard lots of people say they’re intimidate by the whole concept of a bullet journal because they google it and are inundated with images of colorful, perfect layouts and beautifully calligraphed pages. Who has time for that? I don’t.  I use colored pens to make headers and things but that’s about it.

Remember:  no one ever has to see your bullet journal. It’s not getting graded. Posting on instagram isn’t a requirement. It’s for you and nobody else. Use it how you want. No one is the boss of you.

Ugly bullet journals unite!

 

eclipse

August 23, 2017

No words.

I mean, millions of words have been expended online about the eclipse, the science, the lead-up, the traffic. I could rehash all that because I was one of an estimated million people who went to Wyoming for the event. (Normal population of Wyoming: 480,000.)

You see the pictures and read the commentaries, and this is one of those things that entirely exceeds any expectation. The reason people in the know urge everyone to go see totality if you can:  because it’s indescribable.  Until you’ve seen it, you can’t know.

There’s a hole in the sky, with the purest white light emanating from it. There are stars in a darkened sky. There’s the pinkish orange haze of a sunset all the way around, a 360 degree dome of twilight.  And then the stab of searing light at the top edge of the sun and the real world returns.

At our location, totality was set to last something like 2 minutes 30 seconds, give or take. I set the timer on my phone for 2 minutes and started it when totality started, so we’d have some warning when sunlight was about to come back, and so no one would have to check the time.  I didn’t hear the timer go off. Someone else heard it. I couldn’t believe it. Fastest two minutes of my whole life.

I’ve always known about eclipse chasers:  people who travel the world, seeking out the next location of totality, planning their lives around that next chance to experience a minute or two of cosmic wonder.  I imagine after Monday there are thousands of new eclipse chasers. Next one in the continental U.S. is 2024.  Start planning now.

 

So this is from last December, when the Star Wars: The Power of Costume exhibit came to the Denver Art Museum. I can’t remember if I talked about it at all. But it was really cool to see some of the classic costumes up close, and realize things like Emperor Palpatine’s cloak is made from waffle weave cotton. Heh.  I know the local Star Wars cosplay groups, like the Rebel Legion and 501st, were in heaven.

Just a couple of pics:

The crowd around this one was always thick. It became something of a shrine in the days after Carrie Fisher’s passing.

From a costuming perspective, the cool thing I learned about this iconic outfit:  the body of the dress is one piece. It’s made like a classic SCA T-tunic, the length of fabric draped over the shoulders, with only two seams up the sides, continuing to form the sleeves. The collar and hood are added and fasten in the back.  It’s wonderfully simple and very 70’s when you look at the lines of it out of the context of the film.

This display just made me really happy:

Finn and Rey, BFFs!  And once again, deceptively simple. Much of these costumes are found pieces, patched together.

Mostly what I really loved was the chance to look at costumes, and Star Wars, in the context of art. It’s all art!

 

I spent this weekend at an SCA event that nearly got flooded out by an epic 2-hour mountain deluge and I got no sleep because I was freezing cold and I’m still dehydrated and BANNERLESS COMES OUT TOMORROW and BANNERLESS #2 IS DUE ON FRIDAY and I’m a little frazzled so here’s a quick post, with a few more thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming.

This one is CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS.

Michael Keaton is a treasure, and his evolution from Bat to Bird to Vulture is tremendous fun.

A lot of comics geeks are bitching about young Aunt May, and first off it’s really wonderful to hear a 50 year old woman called young, but I really like young Aunt May, that she’s Peter’s aunt and not his great aunt, that she’s a regular harried middle aged woman, still vibrant, and she worries and has a million things going on, and there are all these implications — she’s lost her husband (as implied in the brief backstory given in Civil War), her sibling (Peter’s parent), and gosh darn it she’s not going to lose Peter, and that’s why she’s so flustered about him. I love it.

My comics geek friend is tremendously happy that this Spider-Man invented his own mechanical web-slingers, just like in the comics, rather than have it be biological because that never really worked, did it?

I’m scared to go back and watch the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man because while I loved it to pieces, I’m worried that it will now look as cheesy and dated as the first Tim Burton Batman.

I’ve been saying “I can be your guy in a chair” all weekend. I’m pretty sure that whole thing was a dig at the DC TV shows.

Just like the ferry scene was a dig at The Dark Knight.

And then when the door opened at Liz’s house, HOLY SHIT.

Those Captain America high school PSA’s were a riot.  “How many more of these are there?”

I loved the opening scene, all these real world implications of the alien invasion in Avengers, like yes there’s going to be contractors hired to clean up the city, and this is something I think the MCU is doing really well, following through some of these implications — and not in a big way. It’s part of the worldbuilding. It’s always there in the background. It’s lovely.

I loved Peter’s complete meltdown when Vulture dropped the ceiling on him. He’s still a kid. He panicked. Such a human moment.

And I loved that he fought the big last battle in his homemade sweat suit costume.

Okay that’s probably enough now…

I SHOULD BE WORKING.