Friday, September 30, 2011

Let's Give John a Shot

After lulling me into a false sense of bloated security with a rack of ribs at Smokey Bones tonight, John drove us next door to the Walgreen's parking lot.

"I thought maybe now we'd get our flu shots," he said, halo gleaming.

Betrayed by BBQ. Curses.

The good news - and by "good" I mean "pathetic" - is that John and I are equally squeamish about shots. No, that's not quite right; John's actually passed out from a shot before, and I haven't. So he wins that one.

We researched the up-the-nose inhaler flu shot thingy, but it turns out those can have more side effects, and no one in town stocks them anyway, because - and everyone we spoke with took great pleasure in relaying this information - only kids get those.

Here's where I'm supposed to say it really wasn't that bad, I barely felt a thing, etc. etc. And maybe I would be saying that if I hadn't flinched so hard. As it was, ow.

Anyway, the lovely Kavita, our long-suffering and utterly charming needle-wielder, made the process as painless as possible, I'm sure. And I'm not just saying that because I got her to pose like Dracula looming over John for his shot:

John looks beet red in this picture, but that's actually an improvement: usually he goes sickly pale around needles. I like to think the non-stop laughter helped.

And speaking of non-stop laughter, if you haven't seen this already on my Twitter or Facebook feeds, you've GOT to check out Guy on a Buffalo:

(Yeah, it's weird. Keep watching anyway.)

And dare I say episode 2 is even better?

There's an episode 3 out now, too.

John and I are mildly obsessed; I think it gets funnier every time we watch it. Now we're randomly blurting out "Cheaper than adoption!" and "Hey, what's this, a baby? Awesome," in almost every conversation.

Oh, and naturally John decided he HAD to buy the t-shirt:

You can get the shirts (including other colors) at The Possum Posse's website for about $20.

And, [hinthint] there's a possibility John will be wearing this shirt in The Possum Posse's hometown on the tour. I can't announce anything official yet, but due to popular demand we're working on some last minute itinerary changes. But you didn't hear that from me.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Art Attacks to Make You Grin Like a Big Goofy Kid

I like my art to make me happy.

These'll do.


X-Babies by Skottie Young
Submitted by Mary B. via The Curious Brain

Those expressions! Ha!

The playful side of Big Daddy:

By Jonathan Case


How about a little steampunk Portal?

The Gentlemanly Escort Cube by deviantART user *Risachantag
Submitted by Paige A.

"Steam pipe" with a twist. ;)

I cannot NOT giggle every time I see this:

By DeviantArt user kibou87

Don't you just want to squeeze him?

This next one is made from spools of thread, and you have to view it through a special glass to see it right side up:

Superman by Devorah Sperber
Submitted by Lucy M.

Nifty, huh?

Something fitting for Jim Henson's birthday this week:

ID17 Series 2 by Andy Awesome Art
Submitted by Marisa R.

Which is a perfect segue to this amazing trailer for the new film Being Elmo, which I desperately want to see. Just these few minutes made me so happy I actually teared up a bit - and I dare you not to do the same:

I had no idea there was only one main performer for Elmo! Amazing, inspiring, heart-warming - seriously, I have a whole new respect for "Elmo" now.

Is your grin now firmly in place? Good, good. You may now proceed with your work week.

What art makes you smile, guys? Links in the comments, please!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Gettin' Real

Today John and I test drove yet another rental car in our quest for a book tour Mode of Transportation. As you all know I had my heart set on an RV for this trip, but for reasons too boring to list, that proved impossible. So instead we're making the best of it, asking the publisher to set us up in our favorite hotel chain, Hyatt Place (which, interestingly enough, is mega-tons cheaper than most of the hotels they put us in last time) and seeking out the safest, comfiest, and yet not TOO massively huge vehicle to tote all our stuff around for five weeks.

The first car was a big SUV with fancy displays and heated seats:

This channel only plays Rear Window! Bo-ring.

But it just wasn't comfortable. It was so big inside I felt like I was riding in a bouncy high chair.

If you follow me on Twitter you know about my mobile Disco party in the next car we tried; it had neon lights inside that changed color:


That car was too small, though, since we'll be lugging around a whole sound system, prizes, and all our luggage in the thing.

Fortunately the third try was the charm; John found an SUV that rides low like a car, called the Ford Flex. It's big, but it doesn't feel massive; I can reach the armrests and everything!

Bringing our own sound system is a last-minute decision, btw, and while it sounds insane for the author to show up with a trunk full of speakers, it should prove far less stressful in the long run. For our previous tours John had to scramble in each store to make everything work, and we frequently showed up to find there was only a single microphone, or the feedback was horrendous, or the system wouldn't work with our laptop without jumping through a lot of technical hoops. (Or, as those of you in Dallas may recall, sometimes the system didn't work at all.)

This is happening in our living room right now. Only with John doing bad karaoke versions of Michael Bublé songs. It's very distracting.

As an added bonus, with this sound system we can also include audio with our photo slideshow, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities, and we're having a blast putting together some fun new video content for the show. (Let's just say it's getting closer to an actual Rave Party all the time.) I just wish we'd had this option for the first tours!

On a personal note, I'm bouncing between white-knuckled terror and giddy anticipation for this final run. Since I tend towards "control-freak worry-wart," the terror usually trumps the giddiness, but I have John to balance me out. John can't WAIT. He absolutely loves being on tour, which makes me wonder if that stint in the Dallas ICU didn't cause a little brain damage. "It'll be a great adventure," he tells me, "We'll be traveling the country together!" he says, "I probably won't almost-die!" he claims. Blah blah de-blah blah. Not sure I'm buying it.

(Don't get me wrong; I love meeting everyone on tour, as I've mentioned before. Managing two blogs and a book launch from our car while we drive over 5,000 miles cross-country for 5 weeks, however, is more than a little daunting.)

At any rate, just wanted to keep you all apprised, in case you're wondering where all my crafty tutorial stuff has gone. After hand making and packaging 120+ individually boxed and bow-tied carrot jockey necklaces, my crafty streak is taking a little break.

This is the tour pile. The rest will go on sale in November.

In the meantime, guess I'll just have to point you to other great craft projects, huh? Here's one: have you seen the DIY sandwich box from a milk jug? So clever!

Just under three weeks 'til we leave. Yep. It's gettin' real. 0.o

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Marriage, in IM

John and I instant message and video chat a lot, even though we're both in the same house and are never more than 50 feet away from each other at any given time. Because yelling is annoying. And getting up and walking is CLEARLY out of the question.

Anyway, I thought this recent chat really captured the true "essence" of our relationship:

(I answered him out loud the first time, thus the "Can't hear you" remark.)

Of course, the best part was hearing his belly laughs from across the house.

How to Transfer Your Pics from Facebook to Google Plus

For those of you fed up with Facebook and considering taking the plunge to Google Plus, here's a simple method for transferring all your FB photos to G+. (Scroll down on that link; it's the very last tutorial.) When I did this last week I found that the Chrome extension has been renamed from Move2Picasa to Move Your Photos, so you may have to search for it - but it still works the same. The process is as easy as installing a free Chrome extension and opening two browser windows - a real life-saver, if you've been accumulating photos on FB for a long time.

The only part that stumped me was finding my albums after they'd been transferred to Picasa, which is G+'s image host. So if you have the same problem, here's what you do:

Click on the Photos icon in your top bar on G+, and you'll see "Your albums" in the left-hand side bar. Click that, and you'll see a list of all the photo albums you just moved.

When your photos are transferred over they're automatically set to limited visibility, meaning most people can't see them. To make them visible/public, click each album individually and set its visibility level there. You can choose to share each album with just certain circles, everyone, or no one. Easy peasy!

Unfortunately this process does not transfer your picture captions from FB, so you'll have to add those in manually if you want them back. Still, it's better than starting from scratch!

Oh, and just to clarify: all of your images will still be on Facebook. This process just copies them to Picasa, so you won't be losing anything.

Hope this helps some of you out there! (And thanks to Brian M. for the link to that tutorial!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Best D*C Video Yet

[running in]


You have to see this:

So fun!

I am insanely jealous of the mad skillz on display here, and I'm not just talking the costumes; the quality of the shots and all that video editing is amazing. Not to mention these guys saw a ton of fabulous cosplay that I didn't. [pouting]

Oh, and the Where's Waldo ending cracked. me. up.

Major props to Micah Moore, Blake Faucette, and Rick Burnett for capturing all the fun of Dragon*Con in under five minutes. I hope this becomes a yearly tradition, gentlemen!

(And thanks to reader AK Richards for the link!)

Friday Finds

John just rushed in to show me his new favorite video, and I must admit, it's a doozie:

via Wimp

(Turn up your sound for big kitty purrs!)

And completely unrelated but a good read for anyone who works online: SEO for Non-Dicks.

I've always had the impression that self-professed "SEO builder gurus" were a bunch of scam-artists, even though I know there must be some exceptions. This article explains how honest and straight-forward blogging achieves results that rival all the deceptive tricks out there, which makes me feel better about blowing off all the aforementioned "gurus" who contact me from time to time and make me feel like an idiot for not using their scummy tactics. Wheaton's Law ftw, people!

And finally, after countless hours of online browsing, John and I finally - FINALLY - have gotten our own laptop decals. Let's see if you can guess whose is whose:

And before you berate me; yes, I know they're not officially licensed products - none of the character and game decals are - and I feel kind of crummy about that. But I love them.

(Although the Portal one still needs a small cake decal for the top corner, don't you think? And does anyone know where I can get one? All the stickers I've seen so far are too big.)

Hope you guys are having a great Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SG:A Surprises

John and I have spent this week making miniature polymer clay carrots and gluing plastic naked babies to them.

Ah, the glamorous life.

Anyway, to keep ourselves from going insane, we set up our work table in front of the TV and have been watching marathon sessions of Stargate: Atlantis while we work each night.

Considering we've spent 4 or 5 hours a night so far, that's a lot of SG:A. And I love it.

Now. Some revelations:

Guess who I spied in the background of the episode "The Storm"?

Recognize that Genii foot soldier?

It's Cory Monteith, aka Finn from Glee!

When I went online to verify it was him, I found out he was also on SG-1's "200" playing young Mitchell:

It's fun to spot celebs you know now in older shows, right?

Ah, but here's another goodie: do you know who THIS is?

Besides the little girl Wraith from "Instinct," I mean.

Well, would you believe...'s Jewel Staite? Aka Kaylee from Firefly, and who also played Dr. Keller later on SG:A? I recognized her voice; otherwise I don't think you'd ever know under all that creepy Wraith make-up.


Anyway, just had to share. Now if you'll excuse me, I have more of this business to attend to:


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. ;)