Friday, July 21, 2017

We Made A Figment Rocking Horse! Er... Rocking Dragon?

After John knocked out that Death Star shelf last month in just 2 days, he decided to take on another quick little woodworking project.

Over two grueling weeks later, and our "quick," not-so-little project is finally - FINALLY - done. It's more of a prototype, really, since of course we realized all sorts of ways to improve and speed up the process *after* the fact, but it's done and cute and delightfully rainbow-licious and did I mention it's finally done?

So without further ado, here 'tis:


Our Figment Rocker!

(EEEEEE!)


We've wanted to make another rocker since the AT-AT, but figuring out something fun and unique while still being relatively simple was tricky. In the end John came up with the idea (If you're new here, John cosplays an amazing Dreamfinder, and we sculpted our own Figment), which I then sketched out:


From there we enlarged it with a projector so I could trace a full-size version:
 

Next we figured out the layers and thickness so I could make all the paper templates.
 
 
Then I traced the templates onto 3/4" MDF:

 

... and sent John out to the garage to start cutting.

John works fast, so in almost no time he had the basic shapes down:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reader Spotlight: Wand Boxes, Batman Shelves, and A Narnia Reading Nook!

Let's see what some of your fellow Epbot readers are up to!


First up, Lisa K. turned a vintage TV into a cat bed, and I am obsessed:


 Her paint job gives it a delightfully retro, Toon Town vibe. Which of course is the BEST vibe.

 ***

Gary S. over in the UK made not one, but TWO display shelves inspired by our light-up Death Star!
 First the Death Star itself:

(I totally did a double take; I thought this WAS ours at first!)

And then the Bat symbol!


YES. This is exactly what I was hoping someone would do!

Hard to see, but the Bat has shelves, too - perfect for a smaller Pop collection.

Now quick, someone make one for Wonder Woman, Superman, the TARDIS, and the Ghostbusters symbol. :D (Unless of course Gary beats you to it!)

***

Ian was inspired by my old Metal Tape Tutorial to upgrade a lackluster wand box into something SHINY:

Looove that top diamond pattern with the W. And the added feet!


***

I think this is still a work in progress, but Rebekah is transforming her daughter's closet into a magical, Narnia-inspired reading nook, which you MUST SEE:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Unexpected, Heart-Warming Support For The New Doctor From... Ghostbusters Fans?

I used to follow quite a few Ghostbusters fan pages, so you can imagine the onslaught of ickiness that flooded my feed from the moment the new reboot was announced until, well, pretty much now. Most Page admins did their best to stem the worst of it, but even so, the negativity towards the all-female cast felt relentless and overwhelming, until I eventually unfollowed all but one or two.

Today the BBC announced that the new Doctor will be a woman: Jodie Whittaker. As both a girl geek and an old-school Doctor Who fan (though not so much the newer seasons), I'm both excited and filled with dread by this news. Excited by the continuing wave of new, strong female leads, and by how great this *could* be for the DW franchise - but dreading the flood of hate and "us-vs-them" attitudes already filling comment sections everywhere.

Just a few hours after the news broke, though, I saw something rather lovely pop up from Proton Charging, one of the few GB fan groups I'm still proud to follow. First a quick, funny note of solidarity from the admins:


And then in the comments, from fellow member James Burnes, the most perfect meme of support I could ever imagine:


And THAT is how you support a fellow fandom, peeps.

Thanks, James - I have a feeling this *might* get shared a few more times.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

D23 Droolin'

I am not at D23 Expo this weekend (aka, "The Ultimate Disney Fan Event" over in Anaheim), but I'm so loving all the coverage on social media! And while most folks are only talking about the new Star Wars land announcements, I'm all about the art, new merch, and cosplay. So for those you who don't have time to obsessively stalk social media like me right now, here are a few of my favorites so far:

Miss Mindy debuted a new Showcase Collection this weekend, and her Cogsworth and Lumiere figures have COMPLETELY STOLEN MY HEART:

I have no idea on the price or availability of these little guys, but ermergersh. NEEED.
[Update: You can pre-order them here, only $30 each!]

I've been hyped about AmberSkies Cosplay's new Te Ka cosplay from Moana since the moment she started posting teaser images on Facebook. She just debuted it for D23, and sure enough, she and SunChild Cosplay's Tefiti won the "Mousequerade" cosplay contest on Friday!


When she crouches it really looks like she's coming out of the mountain! And I love how she used blue tassels to simulate water at the bottom edge.

Her Te Ka costume even included these smoke effects:


WOW.

Te Ka is one of my favorite characters ever - she's such a powerful, gut-punching metaphor for a wounded heart - and from the moment I first saw Moana I've wanted to see her cosplayed, and cosplayed well. So I see this terrifying smoke demon and actually get a bit teary. WHAT.


For you park history buffs, who recognizes this? It took me a sec:

A post shared by Heather Sievers (@diningindisney) on
I can't believe an original sea serpent from Submarine Voyage still exists! THIS IS AMAZING.

Here's an old photo for reference:



In more new merch news, check out this adorable Tsum Tsum set:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Every. Single. Night.


"So, what do you want for dinner?"

"I don't know... something with chicken in it?"

"Chinese?"

"Nah, too salty."

"Fried?"

"Too fatty."

"Pasta?"

"That's all carbs!"

"How about a veggie stir fry?"

"The peppers hurt my stomach and the soy sauce gives me a headache."

"Curry?"

"Mmph, too hot."

"Salad?"

"Too cold. I want something cooked."

"Soup?"

"All the good ones are cream-based."

"What's wrong with that?"

"I'm lactose intolerant. You know that!"

"Honestly, it's hard to keep up."

"...."

"...."

"...."

"So..." [sigh] "Boston Market again?"

"And pick up some brownies for dessert."



******

(If you have to ask who's who after that, then CLEARLY you don't know us at all. ;))

******

And hey, IN MY DEFENSE, while I do enjoy being fickle, it doesn't help when you have conflicting health issues for which the world tells you you can't eat gluten, dairy, carbs, preservatives, sugars, something called nightshades?, citrus, nuts, beans, eggs, spices, most veggies, most fruit, and on, and on, and on.

Every few months when I get tired of the stomach aches and vow to eat a little better I google this AIP thing all the Hashi boards say I need to follow (Slogan: "All the bone broth you can drink!") or the FODMAPS list for my IBS ("An apple a day WILL LITERALLY KILL YOU.") followed by  all the things I should be avoiding because of my GERD and IC ("Everything those other lists didn't ban yet, MWUAHAHAAA!") Then I go have a good cry before eating a McDonald's hamburger, because:


TRUTH.

So far my "eating better" compromise is to eat a lot of roasted chicken, potatoes, and green beans - one of the few veggies we've found that doesn't hurt my stomach. And also brownies, because what am I, superhuman? Plus a ton of apples, because screw you, FODMAPS. It's an APPLE. I like apples.

 (Speaking of, have you guys tried these Envy apples from New Zealand? John just brought some home, and SWEET NECTAR OF HEAVEN. Step aside, Gala and Honeycrisp!)


So tell me, gang: what's one small change you've made to your eating that's made you feel better? And please don't say "Go gluten-free," because a) THAT'S NOT SMALL, and b) I tried that. I mean something do-able for mere mortals who currently eat a lot of take-out. A baby step. Like pre-making lunches or finding an awesome fruit-infuser bottle so you drink more water. How about some favorite desserts that are a *little* healthier than brownies, or Mega Easy breakfast plans? What's your go-to snack? Favorite non-soda, non-caffeinated beverage? Weirdest "healthy" thing you've tried and ended up liking? (Food, people. I'm talking about food.) TELL MEEEE.

I'm not trying to lose weight or overhaul my life here; I just want an easy win with a chance of feeling a little better.

... any ideas?


Monday, July 10, 2017

Jen's Gems: An Engagement Snitch, Jason Momoa, & Free Bat Plushy Patterns!

Ooh, so many fabulous gems crossed my feeds last week, you guys. BUCKLE UP.


First, Tyson Bullock dressed up as Jason Momoa's "signature pint of Guinness glass" and got the best. celebrity photo. EVER:

How hard are you grinning right now?? I'm not even a huge Momoa fan, but I am friggin' DELIGHTED.

Tyson shared that in the RPF's group, btw, which you should totally follow on Facebook for more awesome cosplay goodies.

***

Freeman Design just made THE most beautiful Snitch necklace - plus it has a secret:


That tiny Nimbus 2000 is really a key, and hidden inside the snitch?

An engagement ring. EEEEE! Go see more more pictures and read all the details here.

***

For you DizGeeks who enjoy the occasional deep dive into Disney history, Theme Park Tourist posted another great long read, this time on Captain EO.
There are some great nuggets in here, like the alternate story lines they *didn't* film, the actress who backed out of being the Supreme Leader (and why), and lots more. Read all about it here.

***

Have you heard of Choly Knight of Sew Desu Ne?  I just started following her on FB, and she makes the cutest geeky sewing patterns - plush toys, accessories, bags - and then gives some of them away for free on her website.  Check it out, this is all in her free pattern section:

Friday, July 7, 2017

Deep Impacts (But Not In A Dirty Way)

Minor Editorial Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago. So, you know, just so you know:


:D

***

Our washer broke this week. It just up and stopped draining mid-cycle, so we had a tub full of water inside and a week's worth of laundry waiting in the wings.

Before I could have my first nightmare about buying a new machine, though, John had gone online, diagnosed the problem, and ordered the $7 part with 2-day rush shipping. Yesterday he removed three screws, installed the doo-dad thingamajig, and bam. We're back in the laundry business.

This is just the latest in hundreds of home repairs John has done - for us and others - over the years, but it still amazes me. Even when it's something anyone could do, like removing three screws and plugging in a thingamajig, it always seems like magic. Most of us aren't wired to think we're very handy, or we're scared we'll make it worse somehow, but John? He charges in.

John's always been the doer, while I'm more of the "big picture" dreamer/lazy type. I'm also insanely pessimistic, so while I think it'd be cool to build, say, a rocket ship, I'm also convinced it'll just crash and burn and kill us all anyway, so why bother?

Me halfway through literally everything.

Believe it or not, I face that "THIS WILL ALL END IN RUIN" wall every. single. project. Every craft, every home renovation, every cosplay.

John breaks through my inertia, though. He balances out my negativity with his exhaustive optimism and energy, and is often midway through a build before I'm done listing out all the reasons it will fail.

Yesterday, after John fixed the washer, re-lacquered the coffee table, washed the floors, and mowed four yards in the 90 degree heat, he looked at me and told me he worried he wasn't doing anything of impact. That fixing things and maintaining things felt less than what I do, here on Epbot.

Just for reference, John works with me online and does All The Things here in the real world, while *I* haven't left the house in 10 days. I made a sudden change to my hormone meds on top of some stomach bug, so I've been physically hurting and tired and angry and sad and then angry again for nearly two weeks now. A lot of those days I watched TV or played a video game to stop myself from crying over what a useless lump I'd become. In short, I feel anything but impactful. I feel like a lazy cop-out who's missing out on her true potential, putting a burden on her husband, and neglecting her friends.

So as I listened to John say these things, I realized how impossible it is to think we're ever doing well in life. How easy it is to assume no one notices or benefits from our existence, when I know and can promise you they do. Because if John thinks I'm doing more, and I know he's doing more, then where does that leave us?

I think it leaves us here: together, leaning on each other, pushing, sometimes dragging each other along. Whether it's a single partnership or a community of friends and family, we - the big, collective "we" - fill in each other's gaps. We balance out our weaknesses and magnify our strengths.



Maybe you stink at keeping in touch with your friends, but you're an amazing listener when you DO see them. Maybe you plan all the get-togethers and remind the introverts that leaving the house can be fun. Or maybe you just hide at home and tell strangers on the internet that you like them, and that it's going to be OK.

That's OK.

I'm a little low right now, but John's got me. Next week I may be high on life again, full of ideas and projects and things to say - and when that happens, it will be thanks to his impact. John's example and his care come out in everything I say and do, and I know you guys can see it. Everyone sees it. John helps me be the best me.



Maybe you're a little low right now, but you don't have a John. In that case, we've got you. Your friends, your family, this quirky band of internet geeks you've never met - even this lazy lump of a blogger who isn't sure she'll ever post this - we've all got you. It's OK to be down here a while, where just breathing is a victory. It's OK to feel it. But you do have an impact, even now. Maybe it's not loud or flashy or in the spotlight right this second, but it's there, holding others up, making others smile, paving the way to the better "us" we all want to be part of. You don't hear this enough, so let me say it: thank you. For the things you do, the things you say and care about. Thanks for still being here.


John, sweetie, I didn't let you proof-read this because I wanted you to see me shouting it from my virtual roof top: every good and lasting thing I've ever done, or ever will do, is because of you. You're my shelter, my co-conspirator, my rocket fuel. But beyond that - beyond just me, beyond our family and circle of friends - you have this stunning legacy and impact here online. See, I'm not just "Jen" anymore.  I'm the Jen of "Jen and John." Do you know how proud that makes me? I see how you give people hope in their relationships, how you inspire them to do more and create more, how complete strangers use you as a goal post for the kind of person they want to be, and I think, "I get to be a part of that." Heck, I even get to take credit for some of it. (AWW YEEAH.)

You and me, babe. We're gonna change the world -  at least a little - for the better - together.

And hey, the rest of you?

Ditto.

Though I probably won't call you "babe."


But no promises.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Introverts, PLEASE READ THIS. (Extroverts, You Too!)

I've been meaning to talk about this book for years now, but in my defense, I'm easily distracted. ("Squirrel!") I was reminded the other week when I stumbled across a discussion among you readers about the challenges of being an introvert among extroverts. This is a pretty common theme in the geek community, and especially here online, since we introverts often communicate better on screen than IRL.

So I have a little challenge for all of you - extroverts, too! Read the book that I would say changed my life, if I wanted to be dramatic. But I don't. So instead, let's just say it changed how I see life, and other people, and myself. It made me understand introversion in a way all those online Buzzfeed articles never could, and what's more, offers nuts-and-bolts, practical advice on how to thrive as an introvert. How to use this trait that's hard-wired into our DNA, instead of trying to change it.


Most books I read quickly, put down, and immediately forget - but this one has stuck with me. I've read it twice now, and even though my last read was probably two years ago, I still find myself referring to it in conversation all the time - just last week, even, when a friend was commenting on the horrors of being made to "stand up and introduce yourself" in big groups.
 
Quiet lays the groundwork by showing how nearly everything in American society - our workplaces, our social settings, even our places of worship - are geared towards extroverts. It explains how we got here; how we as a society started glorifying people skills over character back in the 1920s, and why. (Actually a fascinating history lesson.) It contrasts these beliefs and practices with other countries that are predominately introverted, and then recommends changes we can make on both corporate and personal levels so everyone - extroverts AND introverts - can thrive.

I first read Quiet on the recommendation of Felicia Day, who I love, when she made the extraordinary claim that she believed every famous internet personality was an introvert. This completely boggled my mind, even though it lined up with my (admittedly limited) experience meeting other online celebs. After reading Quiet, though, I think she's right. There's a reason we introverts flock to the internet to work and socialize. We're wired a little differently, communicate differently, and the internet is the best thing to happen to us since the invention of mini-blinds.

(I may have just lost 5 minutes looking at funny pictures of cats and mini-blinds. There are some doozies. I recommend a google. :D)

There's a famous funny person online I'm casually acquainted with, and the last time we met up in person John later commented, "THIS is the person who does THAT?" Because socializing is a different skill set, and the two just don't always translate. After reading Quiet I understand that more than ever, and rather than seeing this as a bad thing - rather than feeling guilty about my own social inadequacies and anxieties - I can instead appreciate the opportunities I have today to shine. (The first few chapters of Quiet are a depressing history lesson in just how horribly introverts were treated in our grandparents' time, particularly children. There's still a ways to go, but happily things ARE changing for the better.)

To sum up, everyone should read Quiet, introverts and extroverts alike. Susan Cain's writing is easy to read and hard to put down, with lots of real-life examples to keep things interesting. After reading a library copy I immediately bought one for myself, because this is one I want to reread every few years. I've recommended Quiet to family and friends many times over, and I'm betting you guys will find it as vital and affirming and perspective-shifting as I have. So go, read! And if you already have read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What stood out for you? Any favorite nuggets?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Jen's Gems: Doll-Making Videos, Sarah's Ballgown From Labyrinth, & Jawa Mickey Ears!

Some of my favorites from around the interwebz this week:

Over on Bored Panda, these pics of a Dad taking pics with his baby daughter are the funniest/cutest things ever:

Her face! Hee! I also love the garden gnome one. Go see the rest here.

***

This will probably only interest fellow cosplayers and/or extreme Labyrinth geeks, but Sarah's original, screen-used ball gown has resurfaced at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, and for those of us who can't get there in person, Aria Couture just posted ALL the photos:


Reference shots for this dress have been surprisingly hard to come by before now, so Aria's write-up is a goldmine of close-ups and detailed breakdowns of every stitch and seam. (The skirt alone is 6 separate layers of various fabrics. WOW.) There's even video! Go bookmark the page if you ever plan to make this dress - or just go to drool, like me. :)

***

Remember how I said I watch crafty Youtube videos to help me fall asleep each night? Well this week I discovered the Japanese equivalent of How It's Made, and this episode on "Hina Dolls" is so fascinating it actually kept me awake:


You can turn the sound off; it's just music.

Anyone else go wide-eyed over the chalk-mixed-with-gelatin? (Say WHA?) And the way they make the hands is so. cool.

***

 Recycl EARS - who I featured here ages ago - has a new Star Wars design I'm crushing on for obvious reasons:

 HOW AMAZING IS THIS??
The eyes even light up!

Hit that link up there to follow her on Facebook, she has so many goodies.

***

And finally, John's contribution this week is a lesson in conflict management:


Just sit on the offending party.

"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"


Happy Sunday! Hope you guys are having a great weekend!