Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday Steam 6/1/13

File this under "When I Win The Lottery:"

"Walktopus" is a 20 inch bronze sculpture by Scott Musgrove, and can be yours for a mere four thousand dollars.  It's based on this five FOOT tall version, though, which is even more impressive:

And while we're furnishing our dream homes, I'd also like to add this bar cart, please:

It's from Restoration Hardware, and is made from a 1920's Light Bulb Voltage Tester, whatever that is. Only two grand, though, so hey: CHRISTMAS PRESENTS?? :D

Shilo linked me to a really fascinating article this week on something called a "chatelaine:"

The chatelaine is "a device popularized in the 18th century that attached to the waist of a woman’s dress, bearing tiny useful accessories, from notebooks to knives." So kind of like a Swiss army knife, only cooler.

Considering that they're both decorative and useful, I'm amazed this is the first time I've ever heard of chatelaines; we should totally be incorporating them in our steampunk and Victorian cosplay, ladies! Go see more examples and read about their history over at Collector's Weekly.

Oh, and here's another great article Amber L. found on the same site - and quite relevant after my corset-for-cramps post, too -  Everything You Know About Corsets Is False. (Well, assuming you think they're bad, anyway.) More than just addressing common misconceptions, this article actually gives a quick overview of the history and development of corsets, which is really intriguing.

And now some more amazing Victorian age gadgetry, this time spotted by Genevieve over on io9:

Pocket watch camera! See a few more Victorian-era spy gadgets at the article here.

Julie M. found an etsy seller with the COOLEST handmade "pocket holsters":

"Steampunk Metamorphose Holster," $220 by Chateau Nifty Pop

Its convertible, too, so you can wear it on your hips or as a cross-body bag:

Lots more designs and finishes at their shop, and all about the same price.

Next up, here's Cassandra rocking her steampunk Wonder Woman costume:

Her lasso even lights up!
Oh, and I got a neat surprise the other week from May B., who e-mailed to show me her own steampunk, Darth Vader inspired cosplay! Hers is based on Victorian mourning wear, and she tells me my Lady Vadore mask was just the inspiration she needed to add that finishing touch:

 Amazing, right? And check out her mask detail:

May used conductive thread to add LEDs to her necklace - which is SO going on my craft "to-do" list.

John saw May's pics first, and he told me it was surreal to open an e-mail and see such a familiar "face" on someone else's costume. Ha! I like how she used all silver accents, though, and really made it her own. Fantastic job, May! (Oh, and May makes and sells some gooorgeous fairy wings - you should totally check 'em out.)

And finally, remember that awesome steampunk AT-AT I featured a few months ago? Well, Mark - aka Captain Bayley - is back, and this time he's made that steampunk AT-AT a baby:

D'awww. An AT-ST! So perfect!

Mark also put a website together since my feature, and it's fun to see how his engagement present to Caroline - along with all the positive attention it received - has catapulted him into a full-blown... hobby? Obsession? Career? ONLY TIME WILL TELL. :D 'Til then, I look forward to seeing what else Mark dreams up! (More pics here, and thanks again to Mark and Caroline for sharing the steamy fun!)

Hope you're having a great weekend, everyone! As always, please share your own steamy finds/creations in the comments or over on the Epbot Facebook page!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Princess Bride Play is INCONCEIVABLE

For some reason I didn't have nearly as many sparkling gems of internet delight fall into my lap this past week, but happily Leah S. sent me one that more than makes up for it.

See, Leah is a theater director at the Spotlight Youth Theater, and every year her advanced drama class puts on a full-length play. So this year Leah decided - like you do - to adapt The Princess Bride for the stage, annnd....


SO PERKY. You know, like a nice MLT, when the mutton is nice and leeeean...


Ok, so, not only is just the SIGHT of this play putting me into paroxysms of joy, there's something even better about it: Leah cast the roles of Fezzik, Inigo, and Vizzini to three young ladies. WOOT! That's right, my friends, check out this band of merry women:

I want to join this Brute Squad.

And, seriously, do you KNOW how much I'd want to play Vizzini? DO YOU?! I think I've already got the screechy voice down, so really I just have to work on my victorious guffawing:

AHAHAHAHAHAAH... [slumping over]

Here's a few more shots for your geektastic viewing pleasure:

From his face, I'm assuming this is the part where Westley calls Prince Humperdink a warthog-faced buffoon. But that's just a guess. :)

Hey, Count Rugen, his name is Inigo Montoya. You killed his father. Prepare to die.

(What? I'm not the only one hearing the dialogue in my head, right?)

True story: John likes to pat all his pockets down and go, "Ohhhkay. Oh kay. Ohhkay," when I ask him if he has his keys. And I love that pretty much all of you readers would totally get that reference.

Hope that made you grin as much as I did, guys! And thanks again to Leah, Sonce Landa Photography, and all of the Spotlight Theater actors for the offer, but I'm full up on peanuts right now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May Art Roundup!

Wow, this month really flew by! Ok, prepare for another deluge of awesome geek art, my friends!

First off, several of you linked me to this back when I first posted Paige's "Is This What Respect Feels Like?" comic, and it's too perfect not to share:

YES! It's by Sarah & Catherine Satrun, twin sisters and artists - how cool is that? You can buy prints here at their Etsy shop; an 8X10 for $15, or an 11X17 for $20.

Karina M. linked me to Ben Smith's stylized series' posters, and I am loving the bright pop of color with all the gray scale:

Smith's Trek series is my favorite, but he also has lots of Star Wars, Firefly, etc:

Here's an old favorite of mine that I've had in the office for ages:
"Little Batty Princess" 5X7 print, $7, by Annie Rodrigue 

Annie's style has a fun Tim Burton vibe, only cuter. Batty is my favorite of her characters, although this steampunk flyer is a close second:

"Fly" 5X7 print, $7

Anna G. found this fantastic Princess Bride apothecary art:

"Iocane" print, $18 from Purple Cactus

And in case you're thinking - as I did - that this would be even better on a t-shirt, they have those, too!

Shannon Bonatakus mostly paints lovely long-necked women wearing little-to-no clothing, but it's her fan art pieces that I love most:

"Swear You'll Take Us" by Shannon Bonatakus
[Note: link NSFW due to artistic nudity]

This He-Man tribute piece is more like her usual style:

"The Sorceress"

True story: I was once THIS CLOSE to buying the original of this Rainbow Brite, many eons ago. 

John was all for it, but what can I say? Sometimes being the penny-pincher in the relationship is hard. ;)

I don't see any of these three available, but Shannon's shop includes prints of her Neverending Story and Harry Potter pieces (among others), which are equally stunning.

Jimmy Pickering mostly illustrates (and writes!) children's books, and it shows - in an amazing way:

You Disneyland geeks may also recognize his style, since he's done some fantastic Disney art that hangs in the galleries there. Not much of it makes its way here to Orlando, so the last time we were at Dland John and I picked up a few of his prints, including this Small World one:

You can only get these at Disney, so check the art stores there on Main Street if/when you're there next!

And while we're talking Disney: you know how some things just make you unreasonably, childishly happy? That's what this Dumbo print does for me:
"The Flying Elephant" 8X8 print, $18 by Mario Graciotti
(aka "Mr. Bluebird" on DeviantArt)

It also comes as a phone case!
iPhone/iPod case, $35

There's just something magical about Graciotti's color choices. Check out his Space Mountain:

"Space Mountain" 8X10 print, $18
(lots more sizes available, including poster options)

It's like hot cocoa mixed with Lucky Charms marshmallows. :)

Jasmine Becket Griffith (aka "Strangeling") was one of the first artists I ever started following, way back in the early days of Ebay. Now, ten+ years later, John and I actually know her and her husband Matt, since they moved down to Orlando some years back. I love that I get to see so many of Jasmine's originals at local conventions and galleries now. 

In fact, I spied the original of this Cinderella painting at Downtown Disney just last week, and I had to stop and stare for a good five minutes:

"Cinderella at Midnight" original painting, $5,000; LE canvas $695; 8X10 print, $13.99

Jasmine has literally hundreds of prints available at her online store, and she auctions off most of her originals each week on ebay. (These few are gallery exclusives at the Pop Gallery in Downtown Disney.)

"Poissons Volants" LE canvas giclée, $695 OR 8X10 print for $13.99

"Alice and Snow White," LE canvas giclée, $695 OR 8X10 print, $13.99

I don't own any Jasmine originals, but I have tons of prints - as you can see from my giveaway board! - and she and Matt have always been so sweet to me over the years. 

Case in point: I've been trying to get my hands on one of Jasmine's exclusive Hamilton Collection Mickey statues for years, and happened to mention it to Matt once ages ago. Well, a few months back Matt e-mails me out of the blue, saying they'd just visited the Hamilton offices, and they tracked down a Mickey for me! Matt shipped it to me that week, and even refused payment. Now Mickey sits just below my monitor, in the place of honor:

I think I'll end on that happy note! As always, leave a comment below to enter my art give-away, and I'll pick a winner at random within the next week. The winner gets to choose any piece from my Pinterest art give-away board as a prize! (I added a couple more pieces this month, too!)

Happy commenting, everyone!

[UPDATE: The give-away has ended, and the winner is Shelly Dorris! Congrats, Shelly, and please e-mail me your mailing address and choice of prize!]

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Another Crazy Night In The Magic Kingdom

Last night's Monstrous Summer All-Nighter at the Magic Kingdom was, well, a big stress-ball of chaos. BUT, in the end, the most important thing - the Epbot pow-wow - was a staggering success, and that's really all that matters. :)

The trouble started right after John dropped me off at the Contemporary resort (so I could walk in to the park and avoid the ferry/monorail) and then circled back to park at the TTC. He discovered the entire lot was at capacity (YIKES) and closed. He'd have to drive all the way to Epcot, park there, and then take two different monorails to reach me - along with roughly three gazillion OTHER people.

Meanwhile, my plan to stay distracted by taking lots of pictures was foiled by a dead camera battery (right after I took this photo - grrrr) and the realization that the fresh batteries were still in the car with John. WHOOPSIE.

The resulting phone call with John was when I started breaking down a little. Knowing both he and the car were at least an hour away was playing havoc with my anxiety, since I always need the option of a quick escape to feel safe. I wanted to take a Xanax, but I'd also left my water bottle in the car, I was completely dry-mouthed due to nerves, the fireworks were going off, and there were about two thousand people between me and the nearest water fountain or drinks vendor. (If you're feeling on edge just reading that, then you know how I felt!) So I holed up in the forecourt of a little gift shop to the right of the train station - the only spot clear of people -  and paced in circles while I talked it over with John on the phone.

After several minutes of hand-wringing I told John I just couldn't manage it, and to come back and pick me up. I was devastated about missing the meetup, but just making that decision was a relief, so I walked back to the Contemporary already feeling better.

Then something awesome happened: When John arrived back at the Contemporary, just one hour after he'd dropped me off, all the cars were gone! He told the guard he was picking his wife up, and was waved through without a hitch. He actually arrived first, so he parked and walked up to meet me. We went inside to grab a quick meal and let me wind down, at which point we realized: hey, we're here, and the meetup is in less than an hour: let's go for it! With John by my side and the car within walking distance, I knew I could handle the crowds without a problem.

We power-walked from the resort all the way to Adventureland in less than 25 minutes, arriving at 11:55 on the nose. We were barely within site of the Terrace when someone said, "Are you Jen?" Next thing I knew, I was completely surrounded by readers, and - not gonna lie - the next two and a half hours are a complete blur of happiness.

John counted 20 readers around me in those first few minutes, so he headed to the counter and ordered - yup! - 20 Citrus Swirls. I later got the story from him: The cashier looked at John in disbelief, and then the manager came over to verify: "Twenty? Like, two-zero?" When they realized John was serious, the manager grinned, said, "Alright, then!" and got to work helping the other CM slowly fill cups. He also counted loudly with each: "ONE! TWO!" Ha! John then passed the Swirls back through the crowd, so even though I couldn't see him, soon everyone around me was being passed ice creams.

More and more people were arriving, though, if you can believe it - so in the end I think we had over 40(!!) readers there -  but not everyone wanted a Swirl, so it worked out fine.

We all gathered in the space by the Tiki Room exit, and I did my best to work my way around and talk to everyone, passing out pins - which I eventually ran out of - posing for a couple of photos, laughing a lot, and even signing one little girl's autograph book. (D'awwww.) There were several quieter types lurking on the edges of the crowd, but John was wonderful about helping draw them in and getting my attention so I wouldn't miss anyone.

I told John later that it felt like one big geek party, and it was easy to forget WHY everyone was there as we all chatted and carried on. There was a couple from London, a family from Kentucky, a pair of real live Disney artists, a few familiar faces from Dragon*Con, and another young girl (not the autograph one) who impulsively hugged me as they were leaving and just about made me melt. Some folks had just arrived to the park, like us, but plenty more had been there since 6AM, proving just how crazy Dizgeeks can be. (You know, in a good way.)

John and I said our final goodbyes at nearly 2:30AM, and all that standing and non-stop talking and laughing had taken its toll on both of us. Even now my throat is shredded; I've been more croaking than talking all day.

(Btw, I kicked myself later for not getting a group shot with the readers, but it didn't even occur to me until after they'd all gone. It would have been tough anyway, as jam-packed as we were in our little Tiki Room exit alcove!)

After that is when we discovered we'd left our tripod foot at home, meaning I couldn't attach the camera to the tripod, meaning I couldn't take all those lovely long-exposure night shots I'd been hoping for. A sad blow, to be sure, but it was hard to be TOO distraught after such a great meetup. In fact, we kept running into readers the rest of the night/morning, which was fun.

I should mention that this 24-hour party was much, MUCH more crowded than the last one, too, so even if I'd been able to use the tripod I wouldn't have gotten any crowd-free shots anyway. I'll probably have better luck during a late night trip during the off-season.

I still took some photos, though, so here are a few blurry shots of the rest of our night's wanderings:

The entrance to New Fantasyland, with the Seven Dwarf's mine coaster being built in the background.

The Tangled tower. (That whole new rest area is gorgeous, btw. Prettiest bathrooms EVAH.)

Probably my favorite shot of the night, straight off the camera.

We saw the cutest service dog (named Tinkerbell! Ah!) wearing light-up Mickey ears, but Tinkerbell wasn't terribly cooperative with having her picture taken:

You can just see the light-up part of her ears in the blurry pic.

Tons of folks were either wearing Monsters, Inc t-shirts and hats or their PJs, which added to the slumber-party vibe in the streets. Check out this awesome girl we spotted on Main Street:

We ended up in front of the castle around 4AM, where a DJ and several characters were hosting a street dance party:

Like I said, much more crowded than last time! Although by this hour the crowds were really nothing compared to earlier in the evening.

The colorful lighting and early morning haze were quite pretty on the castle:

 There was also a brilliant full moon, which made the cloudy sky look incredible:


You know, as hot as it is down here, Disney really should switch to being open all NIGHT during the summers. That would be soooo much better. [Said the evolving vampire-blogger...]

John and I admitted defeat at 5AM, a full hour short, but his back was aching and my feet were hurting and - egads, Sweetie, WE ARE OLD. When did that happen?!

Well, to end on a happy note, here's an orange castle:

A million thanks to all of you who were able to come out and make my crazy stress worthwhile, and to those of you on Twitter who sent encouraging notes when I was freaking out, and to all the rest of you who I know would have been there if you'd been able to. (When are we getting our Star Trek transporters, anyway?!)

I hope you're all having a great holiday weekend! Now I'm off to make a little hot tea for my throat. [WORTH IT.]