Archive for August, 2012

Burning Man costume, part DONE.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I am DONE. Finished. I made it. I made my deadline. I know making the costume and setting a deadline is completely arbitrary and totally fabricated, but I like setting goals for myself and then achieving them. The Moomins came over and helped me pack, and bonus, everything except the umbrella fits in the suitcase. And in six hours I crawl out of my bed in the dark and board a plane to Reno, where Cricket and I will pick up our rented mom-van and trek out into the dusty wilderness to experience unbridled creativity (I hope).

I plan to take as many pictures as my 32 gig camera card will hold, so I anticipate many a tale upon my return. See y’all on Tuesday.

And here’s some reading about some other people who also spent a whole lot of time and money on fantastic creations:

Burning Man costume part 11 (just kill me now).

Monday, August 20th, 2012

So close to the finish line. Must hold on…

I am so tired of this. I mean, I love it and I’m going to wear it every day for the rest of forever, but I don’t want to work on it anymore. Thankfully, I am almost finished and Burning Man is in a little over a week, so then I’m good. Done. No more fussery. I must say, it looks amazing. I know it is gauche to compliment your own work, but it’s fantastic, so there you are. Check it out. Here it is from the left with the crab attached.

And here it is from the right.

I made that ropey thing as additional ocean detritus. It has transparent circle things and dangly gold beads and sparkly blue and lavender plastic beads (because The Moomins said I lacked blue and purple in that quandrant). It adds a nice bit of texture. And it sparkles but my camera is emo and won’t show sparkliness. I’ve complained about this before. I’m not going to get a rage-headache talking about it again.

Here is the costume from the back.

I took the pinbacks off of the seastars because they looked stupid and stuck out too far and sewed them directly onto the jacket, which looked awesome. I also sewed all of those little cuppy things onto various places all over. Here’s a close-up of those.

They’re generic ocean things. You want them to be seaweed? Then they’re seaweed. You want them to be coral? Okay. How about ginormous plankton? Fine by me.

Now, some of you may call me crazy, but hear me out. I was struggling with the corset and I decided to kill the corset, cut the scales off of it, and attach the scales to a tank top instead. It solves a bunch of problems. I cannot put the corset without assistance, it mashed my skirt in a weird way and stuck out oddly on top due to my lack of boobage, I can’t really sit down when I’m wearing it, etc. The tank top solves all those problems. I can now put on the whole costume by myself, it’s not crushing my midsection or my skirt or protruding like a giant colander where my chest should be. The only problem now is that my belly sticks out, so I’ll have to put on my Spanx – no biggie. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. So I bought a tank top and painted it bronze and peacock green.

Then I sadly cut the scales off my corset and spent a good chunk of the weekend sewing the scales onto this new garment. It looks great and it is not cumbersome to wear. Hoo-ray.

Bokeh. It’s a real word that I did not make up.

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Do you know what a bokeh is? It is not a I Can Haz Cheezburger-type animal (like a kitteh or puppeh or bunneh). Here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

In photography, bokeh is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. However, differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting—”good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively. Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field.

The term comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility. The term bokashi is related, meaning intentional blurring or gradation.

Here’s a great example of bokeh:

But what I didn’t realize is by putting a thingie with a shape cut out of it over your lens you can control the shapes of the bokeh circles.

You could have butterflies or hearts or snowflakes, any shape you could think of.

But today I saw the best thing using a bokeh ever. Check this out.

Isn’t that the greatest?!! You could make a movie where some kind of mystical creatures are flying and all you have to do is cut a bokeh out of cardboard (there are many tutorials online) and choreograph your friends to wave lights around. So awesome!


Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

The Olympics have ended. Sigh. I really liked coming home and not having to think about what to watch – just turn on NBC until I go to sleep and watch awesome people do awesome things. Now I have to make an attempt to find things that interest me. I guess I’m back to watching people killing people and having forensics solve the murder (“When Natalie moved to this sleepy little town, she never suspected that blah blah found strangled in her kitchen and police suspected mumbleblah hair samples.”) One of the other things I love about the Olympics is the opening ceremony. Not the actual weird creative part, where giant puppet Voldemort fought one hundred Mary Poppins in a children’s hospital which was supposed to represent British literature and the excellent health care system they have there (I did not make one word of that up). No, it’s the part where all the countries walk in. The official languages of the Olympics are English and French, so they announce the names of the countries as they enter the arena in both those languages. I love accents and hearing other languages so very much. I have no idea why. My guess is it’s because it’s like seeing your own language through different eyes. You say all these words all the time, after a while it doesn’t matter, but hearing someone who is foreign to the tongue is like opening a window in your house you’ve never noticed. I never stop enjoying the French pronunciations of country names. I specifically wait for two countries because it sounds like this:




So I watch the opening ceremonies specifically for that. I considered tuning in to the closing ceremony but I was working late so when I got home I caught a little bit of Fatboy Slim rocking the turntables inside of a giant light-up octopus, decided I was too tired to go on this British acid trip and turned it off.

Now that I’m back on regular television for the next two years I’m excited that Hoarders is coming back. I thought after watching Hoarders for the last few seasons I would be somewhat immune to the weirdness reality TV sometimes brings to my attention. I was wrong. Did any of you watch The Soup on August 8? The Soup is a recap show of all the more interesting things the television has granted us, and one of the things they covered was a show called Small Town Security. I could not get over how profoundly bizarre this clip was. Click on the August 8th Condensed Soup clip and fast-forward to 1:09 to see what I’m talking about.

WHAT. THE. WHAT. Why is that guy dressed as a game show host from the 70s? What’s up with the guy in the fishing hat? Why doesn’t the woman’s face change at all when she laughs? Aren’t you supposed to smile when you laugh? The chihuahua is humping? The sheriff tinkles herself? I… I don’t understand. It’s like a bad dream. Not a nightmare, but a dream where you wake up and you’re out-of-sorts for the rest of the day, like you’re suddenly left-handed and nothing feels right. Oh television, please never fail to surprise me.


Random stuff n’ things.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

1. I am so sick of sewing. I’ve been sewing this damned costume since November and I am totally running out of steam. I didn’t graduate with a degree in Costume Arts for a reason! Luckily, Burning Man is at the end of this month so that will be the end of that. I miss drawing stuff. I haven’t been able to draw anything since I started this project. It will be nice to get back to that. I want to make a portrait of a jumping spider and I have a co-worker with a cool last name that sounds like a dinosaur, so I want to make a drawing of her as a dinosaur. Being my friend has its benefits (like dinosaur drawings of yourself).

2. The security guard at my job told me that if you mix Cherry Pepsi with the new Marshmallow Smirnoff Vodka, it makes a drink that tastes exactly like birthday cake. If I drank soda or vodka, that would be useful to me, but I do not. However, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share that vital information with you. Also, the IT guy says if you put a small amount of good-quality balsamic vinegar into Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, it tastes delicious, but more importantly, the drink has a sassy name (The Hipster Douche). What I have learned from this: the people I work with drink weird things.

3. I’m watching the Olympics like a crazy person. Cricket finds it endlessly amusing that I, the least sports-oriented human being ever, am obsessed with an entirely sports-related thing, but I think I figured out why I like it so much. I like to watch people who are the best at something do that thing. Everyone there works very, very hard and is very, very good at this thing, and I like to see them do that thing even if that thing is, in my opinion, kind of stupid (“I’m going to jump over this stick better than anyone’s ever jumped over this stick before!”).

4. In a related Olympics note, did you know that the divers who are jumping from a great height hit the water with their hands flat against the water, as opposed to pointing them as you would expect? That’s so their hands punch a hole for their bodies to go through which minimizes splash. Huh. Good to know.

5. Movies I Have Seen Lately:

Black Swan. What the hell was that? No, seriously. That chick needed a sandwich and a anti-anxiety drug regimen STAT. Also, fun fact, almost that entire movie was filmed at my college, SUNY Purchase, in the theaters and the cement tunnels that connect them. When she’s in the dressing rooms and the utterly depressing cement tunnels? I lived in there like a star-nosed mole rat for four years. Four years, people! Two fun stories about my college-theater experience there. One winter day I went into the tunnels and before the sun had risen. I came out later after the sun had gone down. People talked about the day and I had no knowledge of this “day” everyone had spoken about. The tunnels are like a casino. There’s no windows. Time becomes a foreign concept. The other story is when we all went into the theater before the sun had risen and we came out around 2:00 in the afternoon when the sun was a-shinin’. We reacted like vampires (hissing, covering our faces) and someone said, “The gods are angry, they have set the moon on fire!” To this day, I use that phrase. Use it yourself, it’s very handy.

Cedar Rapids. I really liked this movie. It’s a small-budget film, and it has a sweet small-budget vibe. I did not care for The Hangover and I don’t watch The Office, so this was my first real exposure to Ed Helms and I loved him. He’s a great actor and apparently a great banjo player, so that’s nice.

Bridesmaids. I truly, truly hate bodily function jokes in movies, so that one scene was rough for me. A lot of pooping, a lot of barfing.  But other than that, I liked it a great deal. I have always loved Kristen Wiig, and not just because she has two “i”s in her name. She is a hoot. The airplane scene hit home for me. I have also taken medication to fly, and it has also worked out not-so-well for me. I wasn’t escorted off the plane in Wyoming or anything, but I probably made some enemies for life. It also looked like the actors were having a great time, which is always a pleasure to see.

Mad crazy charts, yo.

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

I have a lot of them. It has been a good summer for charts. The fields have been fertile, the rain gentle. We shall feed well this winter (on infographics).


Burning Man Costume, Part 10 (getting there…)

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Alrighty. I accomplished a whole bunch of things. I trimmed the collar off my jacket, I attached all kinds of sea festoonery to my hat, and I glued my barnacles to my shoulders. The jacket now looks like this:

Do you see that blue stuff? That is a dustmop that I dyed and cut up. In real life they look like this:

Now I’m going to cut the sleeve-windows out. I’ve been postponing that because it’s scary and I’m a crap seamstress, but I have less than a month (eeep!) so things have got to get done.

Oh, and I can’t take a picture of the barnacles with camera flash because I covered them with teeny tiny clear glass beads that are really similar to whatever they put on street signs to make them reflect light at night. Therefore, when I take a photo with flash, it is blinding.

I’ve also been working on a lobster-inspired facepiece. I bought a pair of sunglasses and cut out the top part and took out the lenses. I looked like demented member of LMFAO.

I then made Cricket drive me to three, that’s right, three pet stores to find just the right cat toys to make antennae. It’s got coat hangers and plastic crystals and ribbons and big beads for eyes, all kinds of stuff. I’m almost done with it and after doing tons of research and basically taking it apart and rebuilding it (thanks, Mom) it now looks like… a Chinese dragon. Okay. That’s fine. I will wear a deranged Chinese dragon facepiece. I don’t care. It’s still awesome even if it doesn’t resemble a lobster in the slightest. After I attach the antennae I’ll take a picture and then all y’all will know the magic of my dragon-face.

Addendum: I now have pictures of the facepiece. They, not surprisingly, suck. When I’m all done and finished with this costume, I swear I’m going to a professional studio and getting professional photos. Where you can see the sparkly.

Without flash:

With flash (I left the red-eye in, I think it adds charm):

And up close, where you can appreciate that the red beads and crystals are free-hanging and can swing. I still need to paint the white coat-hanger part blue, but other than that, DONE. Check that off the list.

I have come to grips with the fact that I will most likely look like an idiot. I do not care. I am the ocean floor and I am going to own it.