Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Geek Glee 9/20/11

Things making me smile this week:

Beaker Boba graffiti:

Found by Beth B. via World Graffiti (Sorry, site no longer exists.)

8-bit sunglasses:

Fun, but $285?? Yikes. I wonder if you could DIY?
(via Likecool)

I never get tired of on-set photos like these:

Found by Amy H. via ThisIsNotPorn

Speaking of which, you've got to see this roundup of awesome behind-the-scenes photos from classic movies. My two favorites:

Jim Henson. Love.

For some reason it never occurred to me that there was a person inside the Stay Puft suit. Aaand now it is my life goal to be the person in a Stay Puft suit. I just have to learn how to mold a giant foam latex marshmallow man. No biggie, right? 0.o
And finally, in honor of The Rocketeer's 20th anniversary a while back, check out this amazing fan film by John Banana. It's pretty much how The Rocketeer would have looked if Pixar had made it.

Like I said: amazing.
(Thanks to Debbie C. for the link!)

What's making you smile today, guys?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sometimes It's Ok To Not Be Ok

It's one of those annoying quirks in life that the more stuff I absolutely HAVE to do, the less I'm able to do it. Sometimes I just let the deadlines and the expectations and the worries get to me, and then I sit on the couch all day mentally paralyzed and eat a half pint of New York Fudge Super Chunk.

(Ok, ok, fine. Three quarters of a pint.)

With our five-week book tour only four weeks away, I've started keeping a "to-do" list open on my desktop. I honestly can't tell if it's helping or driving me to the brink of sprinting naked through the streets with a song in my heart and chocolate in my hair. Except I wouldn't really be sprinting because I'm too dang tired. And I'd probably eat the chocolate. And grab a sweater. So really it'd be more of an aimless meandering through the streets while eating chocolate without any pants on, which, come to think of it, sounds kind of fabulous. (Who's with me?!)

Anyway, yesterday while I was sitting and thoughtfully contemplating my mountain of "MUST DO NOW"s the way I imagine a wild rabbit thoughtfully contemplates an oncoming semi, I kept remembering something I saw on Jennifer Lawson's (aka The Bloggess) Pinterest account. This:

And after a while I fetched my nail kit, and I painted my toenails bright green.

I've never done that before, so then I sat and admired this ridiculous color on my toes. I even walked into other parts of the house to admire it in different lights, and did a little photo shoot with Kermit in my office:

I thought about tweeting this picture with, "All I've done today is paint my toenails. Someone please tell me that's Ok," but that seemed really needy, so instead I went back to my couch, fetched my ice cream, and watched seven hours of Stargate Atlantis.

If that seems anticlimactic, it's because it is. Sometimes, there is no immediate fix. Sometimes there's just a temporary reprieve in a day of yuckiness, and you grab on to it, and you suck all the joy you can out of it, and then you just keep breathing and waiting and hanging on for tomorrow, when you hope things will look better.

And today, at least, they do.

Plus my toenails look kind of awesome.

In fact, I'm going to go add "paint toenails" to my to-do list and then cross it off. Booya. Productivity win.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Play Portal for Free, Finally "Get" the Cake Joke

I happen to know that some of you have never played Portal, and therefore put up with my constant references to the game with good-natured befuddlement.

Well, be befuddled no longer! Until Monday you can download and play the game for free from the game creators on your PC or Mac. You'll have to create an account (also free) over on Steam to do so, but hey, that's worth a $10 game, right?

Go here and click "install game" under Portal to grab it. And then have fun! WITH SCIENCE.

{Edit: Just to clarify, you have until Monday to download it, but then the game is yours forever. It won't self-destruct after the weekend or anything. ;)}

(Thx to @ThinkGeek for the heads up!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Procrastination Station: Web Series

If you're like me, you've found that the streaming pickin's on Netflix are mighty slim these days. (And you've also turned into a good ol' boy, apparently. Yeehaw!)


So, allow me to suggest some fun free web series for your geeky enjoyment:

- The Guild

This is the gold standard for online shows, and at only a few minutes per episode, you have no excuse not to watch one or two or seventeen. I held off for a few years because I thought I wouldn't "get it" unless I was a WoW player. I was wrong; it's funny and quirky and charming regardless of any online gamer experience. Besides, Felicia Day is kind of the patron saint of geek girls - I <3 her muchly - and the series just keeps getting better. In fact, the latest few episodes have had so many squee-inducing cameos by sci-fi celebs that you're robbing yourself by not checking 'em out.

You can watch every episode of all five series (so far!) for free at their website here. (NSFW due to language, although there's barely any in season one.)

- My Drunk Kitchen

Less geeky and more bust-a-gut LOLing, this Youtube series features the oh-so-adorable Hannah getting drunk and attempting to cook things. It is hysterical. In fact, here's the episode that got me hooked:

Again, NSFW due to language. (Sorry.) You can see all of the episodes on her Youtube channel.

- Ctrl

Hey, this one's on Netflix streaming! Sweet!

This mini web series is from 2009, but John and I just discovered it a few months ago. It stars Tony Hale, aka the brother from Arrested Development, as a cubicle drone who learns his keyboard can alter time and reality. It's FANTASTIC. There are ten episodes at around 5 minutes each, so you can watch the whole season in about an hour.

- For the Win

And finally, here's a small local series I discovered when Kelsey (who plays Tevin) e-mailed me about it. Considering the first episode has less than 1,200 views, I'm guessing you haven't seen it - but you should. In a nutshell: Elephant is an endearingly awkward comic book store manager who falls for a girl. There's also a snarky sidekick/employee, a jealous boyfriend, and geek-themed parody openers for each episode. It's adorable and funny and yes, a little cheesy, but that's part of its charm:

This one's safe for work - click away! And you can see the rest of the episodes (only six total so far) on their Youtube channel.

Oh, and the best part? Tevon and Elephant - or rather, the people who play them - are married in real life. No wonder they're so good together onscreen! Can I get an "Awwww"?

So tell me guys, what'd I miss? What web series do you watch? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nerdfighter Wedding

I featured blushing bride Amorae last February because I just adored her purple and teal Chucks and petticoat:

Well, it turns out, she also had one of the most nerdtastic weddings I've ever seen. For their one year anniversary last week, Amorae made a video showcasing the ceremony and all the fun geeky touches, like concocting a love potion at the alter, video game and LEGO decorations, and vows that include references to zombies and dementors. So. FUN.

Check it out:

{sigh} Don't you just love watching geeks marry?

Congrats on your anniversary, Amorae and Jonny, and here's to many, many more.

And thanks to Sadie for the link!

PS: Also, check out these photos of Harry Potter themed weddings! So much pretty!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Costume Details!

Thanks to John and another quick photoshoot in the backyard, I finally have some good photos of my steampunk costume to share!

So, here we go:

Most of the elements came right out of my closet, including the comfy boots. I didn't plan on wearing the orange skirt originally, but after our first photos before D*C I added it and nixed the itchy and abnormally long striped tights.

The beige dress was worn as-is with the top unbuttoned:

The faux leather vest is from one of the teeny bopper stores at the mall, and used to be double-breasted. I just sewed the larger side under to make it symmetrical, and so I could wear it open.

The orange undershirt was from Ross. Because it's jersey I could cut a new neckline and shorter sleeves without any hemming. I also soaked it in a bleach to lighten it up a bit and make it seem a little more worn.

The neat thing is it has light metallic threads through it, which give a little shimmer:

The necklace I made the night before Dragon*Con with a few odds and ends lying around and a simple ball chain necklace.

My waist cincher was a fun project: it's made from vinyl, and I patterned it off a black corset belt I already own. Then I wrapped the thick band of vinyl around me and used a wet piece of chalk to mark the curve over my hips to get the shape right. I trimmed it to size, added grommets, and used a spare brown shoelace to lace it all up. Because it's vinyl it did stretch over the weekend, and it was hot, of course, but considering it only cost a few dollars to make I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

My little hourglass charm is a necklace I found at Forever 21 for a whopping $2.50. (And it really works! Although it's more a "5-second" glass.) I made it into a single chain strand, sewed a small necklace clasp to my cincher belt, and hung the chain from it. The chain looped around one of my vest buttons, and I dangled a little seahorse charm from the other end.

The ray gun and holster were my pride and joy, of course, and hung from a smaller leather belt. I know you're all still waiting on a gun tutorial, but I promise: it's coming!

(Can you tell John and I had too much fun with this photo shoot? He's the only one who can take a pretty picture of me. I think it's all the tiger growls. [Although I am usually cracking up the whole time.])

My green bustle is actually a ruffled skirt I already owned but had never worn. It zipped up the middle, so I simply folded the two sides under, sewed them down, and attached a D-ring fabric belt to tie it around my waist. My large woven belt covered the buckle. (And if I wanted to, I could take out the stitches and have my original skirt back.)

On the other side of my belt I made a simple vinyl strap with a snap to hang some antique keys, and the antique French opera glasses are hanging from a painted shower curtain ring. (The glasses usually sit on our living room end table; I scoured the house for accessories.)

I tend to buy a lot of antique gloves because they're the only ones that fit my tiny hobbit fingers, but they're almost always white or cream colored. So, I dyed one pair brown (and it turns out antique gloves dye beautifully - which means now I'm going to be buying even MORE), cut off the finger tips, and added a decorative necklace chain looped around the two middle fingers:

The three chain ends are held in place by a small brass brad poked through the fabric of the glove. Easy, but kind of a fun extra touch.

Here's one of my favorite parts of the costume, just because it's so practical:

I planned to wear a leather belt cross-wise across my chest just for looks anyway, but then I realized I could cut it and make it a strap for my bag!

I already had this beautiful steampunk bag that reader Amber B. made for me, but it was a double strap, not cross-body. So I carefully removed the two straps:

Sewed the seams back down:

And then hammered grommets into the sides of the bag. I also added grommets to the cut belt ends, and hooked the two together using hinged S hooks we found at Home Depot. It worked out beautifully, and now I'm excited to modify some of my other two-strap bags, since I only wear single strap purses these days. (I also took the original purse straps and made them into one long strap to use later.)

I wore the bag with both outfits, and it was comfortable enough on my hip that I never took it off, not even to sit and eat. Still, I can easily wear the belt without the bag by hooking the ends back together with an S hook.

You probably remember my bracelet from earlier sneak peek:

The winged crown was on a chain bracelet I already had, but I like it much better as a cuff. To make it I had John dremel off the chain, grabbed some spare gears, and cut up an old belt:

The crown charm has two posts jutting out from the back, so I cut slits into the leather, pushed the posts through, and drowned the whole thing with epoxy adhesive. So far, so good: it's holding together like a champ!

And finally, I pinned my hair up in a messy bunch, pinned in some green highlights, covered the pins with my goggles, and finished the whole thing off with a pretty feather clip I found at Dragon*Con two years ago:

I've had several people asking about the colored clip-ins - they're from Etsy, and cost about $10 or $12 over a year ago. I'm too lazy for permanent color, so I used to wear clips like these all the

My second outfit you've already seen:

Again, the actual clothing pieces all came from my closet, so there' not much to say here. Except I obviously like to dress a little steamy even when I'm not at conventions. :) I used all the same accessories, so it was just a fun extra outfit to pull together last minute.

Now let's all drool over John again:

John's outfit, I mean. Yeah.

Again, most came from his closet, although we scored those great pinstriped pants at a thrift store. They were massively too big, so he took them in himself, even trimming down the leg widths (he is an *excellent* sewer).

I replaced the plain black vest buttons with some nice gold military style ones:

And I sewed another necklace clasp to his vest to hang his pocket watch from.

Other than his goggles John's only accessories were his gun and holster...

(Note: Do NOT make a holster out of vinyl. It stretches. And your guns sinks. And then your gun gets stuck. That is all.)

...and this neat old leather case I found at a Restore for a dollar:

I jazzed it up with more brass buttons (use a hammer to bash in the back side so they'll sit flat) and small wooden filigree pieces painted gold. The back of the case has loops, so it slid nicely onto John's belt.

And finally, here he is again, looking cute:

Or possibly about to sneeze.

Hope you enjoyed! Personally, I'm enjoying the thought of returning to posts with less than 20 pictures in them. But that's just me. ;)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 2011 Dragon*Con Steampunk Exhibition

Sunday at Dragon*Con was the Steampunk Exhibition. The line to get in was pretty long, but at least there were costumes to photograph along the way:

Steampunk Green Lantern - he dyed and handcrafted all the leather pieces himself.

We all dressed for the occasion, too. Here are my parents again:

Mom and I both had different outfits for the day.

This reminds me: it was raining on Sunday. Hellooo, limp hair. Heh.

Here's a later picture of my outfit:

(You guys have been quite nice about all these pictures of me, by the way. Thanks for that.)

Despite my hair issues I was later spoiled again in the art room: artist J. Corsentino liked my costume so much that he insisted I have this print, claiming I reminded him of it:

As you can see, he was being way too kind.

(You can see more at his website, Time of the Faeries - although I couldn't find this print there.)

Corsentino was also really enamored with my steampunk flux capacitor pin - the one thing I got more compliments on than any other all weekend. People would literally stop in the middle of the street, point, and yell, "THAT IS EFFIN' AWESOME!!" Ha!

Ok, getting back to the Exhibition:

This is one of the costumes by Penny Dreadful Productions that they were advertising all weekend. They just unveiled them at D*C, so there aren't even photos on their website yet that I can see. They had a large section of them in the parade as well, called Remnant:

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In addition to those guys, there were foot soldiers:

Scary nurses ala Silent Hill:

And this big guy:

We got to chat with one of the guys from PDP for a while, and it turns out they're hoping to mass produce these costumes to sell. The pieces are made of lightweight foam rubber - even the giant weapons - and the guy told John they'll range from around $1,500 to $3,500. I happen to adore everything PDP makes - they're amazing artisans over there - but the thought of mass-produced steampunk costumes, which are almost by definition extremely personalized and anti-mass-production, made both John and I scratch our heads. You can't deny they look great, though.

Moving on, inside the room we were greeted by some folks from the League of Steam:

Mr. Crackitus Potts himself!

Zed the zombie butler was there, too:

Every 10 or 15 minutes an alarm would sound and he'd try to attack the person in front of him. The others would have to rush over and "subdue" him and get his collar back in place. It was pretty funny. :D

They also had the best way of handing out business cards:

Giant extendable boxing glove ftw!

Like everything else at the con, the Exhibit was crazy crowded. You had to fight to even get close to the tables, so often I'd just stick my camera through a gap between elbows and take pictures of the tables that way:

Most of the time I had no idea what I was looking at, but it all sure looked cool:

Oh! This was really clever:

The guy had me turn the crank to press those metal plates into the paper - a fancy paper punch! Then he wrote their website on the paper glasses to use as a business card. Like I said: clever!

This guy (girl? Not sure) - scared the bejeepers out of a lot of people:


This is actually a mask; someone wore it in the parade:

I want one of these:

Isn't it pretty?

There were lots of big guns, of course:

And finally, I found this later in the vendor rooms:

Goooorgeous. I'll take one of these, too, please!

It's by Brute Force Studios, who also make that laser-cut leather you see in the picture. Neat stuff.

There's quite a bit more which I'll be uploading to my Flickr account, if you want to check it out!