Friday, October 29, 2010

Klingons and Kittens.

I'll actually brush my hair on the day.
 Finally finished the costume.  I seriously think it was cursed.  I present the evidence bullet point style (never mind that the so called evidence is really just me not being very good at this sewing business):
  • Massive failure at reading directions had me not placing a piece on the center fold that really needed to be there.
  • Of course the fabric shop had only just enough yardage of the original material for the pattern, so emergency trip back to pick out a new one fabric and buy plenty.
  • Actually get to turn on sewing machine go to start and I manage to epically botch up first bust dart.  Stitching refuses to be picked out.  Try for a while, Mater tries for a while then informs me that she's only succeeded in making a hole.
  • Mater entirely takes it over at this point and when I came back the next evening she presents me with a mostly constructed dress.
  • That, despite my measurements firmly placing me in a size 14, is decidedly sack-like.
  • Mater takes it in an ungodly amount.

At that point, while I know more things went wrong-ish someone who actually knew what they were doing was now totally in control.  Which is why I have a costume at all.  I went and bought a huge red t-shirt with the idea that if I couldn't get it together and make the dress I could do a little t-shirt surgery and have a (ridiculously short) back up costume. 

I think when Mater saw what I had in mind she decided that she had to do everything in her power to save my dignity.

She insists that she was enjoying herself and that it really was no problem that, despite how gung ho I was about making the dress myself, she was in fact doing it for me.  No one was exactly shocked that once again Mater came to my rescue when my ineptitude got the better of me but this time I honestly did try.

Here's what I managed to do all by myself:

Oh yeah.
 Yes, I successfully cut out a bit of felt and glued on some glitter.  It's like I'm some sort of wizard, I know.

And now the question is, what shoes do I wear?  I have two options: flat leather boots courtesy of Kate, or traditional go-go boots inherited from a drag queen after her last performance of Proud Mary.  I think the flats look better, but they've not got a lot of traction and what if I have to run away from unfriendly aliens?  Or, more accurately, disgruntled comic shop staff trying to get me to stop drooling on the Absolute Sandman display case.

Oh did I not mention?  The party I'm going to, it's at my local comic shop.  And is a midnight write-in for NaNoWriMo.


At any rate, shoes.  Option one:

After years of wearing heels flats feel unnatural.
Option two:


And now, kittens.  This is Charlie, the tiniest, loudest, most pathetic of kittens.  I kind of love him, even if he won't shut up ever.  And is in the middle of the gross kitten phase, where he makes an absolute mess of himself eating but doesn't know how to bathe himself yet.

Food-y Face!
He's really needy, so we see this a lot.  He's seriously undersized for his age so he sort of has this little big head thing going on and his face is all ears and eyes.  I think he's the best.

In other kitten news, Penny and Bianca are still hanging around.  Really hope they get adopted soon, because the older they get the less interest they'll have.  Which is sad because they are some of the sweetest, most loving kittens we've had.

Snuggling at the adoption event.
I mean, look at them.  How could someone not want to take one of these ladies home?  Bah.  I'm surprised they're still with us, their brother went the same week he was up for adoption.  Hopefully the adoption event tomorrow will go better than they have been.  Why does no one love kittens this month?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zoo Madness

I've been meaning to post this entry for ages, but have been awfully lazy about getting the photos off of my phone.  So, close your eyes for a moment, pretend it's Monday and that I was clever enough to bring a real camera so that the following photographs don't, in the academic sense of the word, blow.

Sunday, Pater, my sister, my niece and I went down to San Antonio to meet up with my cousin and his family at the San Antonio Zoo. 

Oh, zoos.  I have a lot of opinions.  On the one hand, conservation and breeding programs are lovely and I would be a strange sort of person if I were to look at, say, a tiger and tell him that just because we as humans insisted on hunting him and destroying his habitat to the point of extinction doesn't mean that we should be doing anything about it.  Buck up, imaginary tiger, you had a good run.  Please don't rip my face off.

On the other hand, oh lord, what a truly terrible existence.  While improvements have been made in regards to how animals are kept in zoos (at least in the States - I refuse to think of the zoo I went to in Japan ever again because I am a giant softie and it makes me sniffle) they're still incredibly depressing places.  Here, let Rilke make my point (as translated by Stephen Mitchell):

The Panther

               In the Jardin des Plantes, Paris

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly—.  An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Enough of my very important feelings.  Let's jump straight to the bit where you get to scroll past a million crap photos. 
Sea Horses!
Canoodling Sea Horses!
He's torn his wing, poor guy.

Napping Lemurs!
Cranky Jaguar!
 While the jaguar was cranky, he was nothing compared to the leopard.  Shortly before we got there, the keepers had pulled him out of his enclosure and we could here him rather loudly protesting whatever it was they were doing to him.  Not a happy kitty.

Hippo Butts!  Hee!
Is it a log?
Very much not a log.  Well done, camouflage!
Probably because they are so very clever, the effects of zoo madness are very easy to see in elephants.  We were camped out by the elephants while having lunch and this ladyphant spent her time pointedly ignoring all the 'distractions' that were in her enclosure to stand, facing that corner and shift from foot to foot.  There may have been a half-hearted dust bath.

She did manage to rouse herself when one of the keepers came in with a hose.  I would like to say she cavorted in the water.  She did not.  Poor elephant.

Black Rhino!
There were two keepers attempting to lure the black rhinos into smaller pens.  As you can see, the rhino may have a reputation as being incredibly stupid, but he is not stupid enough to not give the side eye to someone holding a frighteningly huge syringe.

And thus concludes the trip to the zoo.  While it was wonderful to see the interest and joy in the kids and I'm glad they got the chance to ogle some fascinating creatures it was still all in all rather depressing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting WIPed*

I have a tendency to obsessively throw myself into a new interest- living, eating and breathing whatever has currently caught my attention.  Sometimes the interest lasts (like pen and ink drawing, knitting, politics and activism, baking) but usually I'm quickly bored and forget that I was so desperate to learn everything I could and spend all of my time with whatever it was that intrigued me.  Like scrap booking, bead loom bracelets, watercolor, Russian, swing dancing, linoleum print making, embroidery, nearly every thing I studied in college, college in general, now that I think of it.... All of these were abandoned, and I have the half finished projects to prove it.

I mention this because I think my histamine response is the same way.  While the ragweed pollen is still in the air, my allergies seem to have petered out.  After the initial punch in the face, my immune system has decided it's bored now and is letting me live my life like a normal person again.  So, hurrah.

As a result my brain seems to have come back (not being totally zonked out on Benadryl probably helps) and I have an attention span again.  Which means I've actually been able to do something more productive with my time than watching Law and Order reruns and folding Kleenex into decorative shapes before stuffing it up my nose.

I've spent the last couple of evenings at my parents' to use Mater's sewing machine and have her hand hold me through my first ever pattern.  It was initially supposed to be for the epic Halloween costume of nerdiness, but after cutting out the pattern pieces Mater announced that it's construction would look stupid in the fabric we picked out.  We decided to give it a test run just in case, and rather than use plain muslin we raided her stash and picked out something that had enough yardage.  Which is how I came to be making the most hilarious dress ever.

Actual pattern pieces!  Also, I hate pinning.
Pinning can go right to hell if you ask me.  I understand the necessity, but my fingers definitely spent a good amount of time being quite hurty.  Maybe if I was a little less useless at doing it I wouldn't hate it so much, but here we are.  Also, ow.

Here's the half finished dress:

I'm holding the dress up, not doing the chicken dance, promise.
I know, the '80s have thrown up all over me.  It's awesome.  And it's vintage, which proves that I can't hop on board with the current resurgence of '80s fashion even if I wanted to because I was there the first time.  I'm just a little sad that I don't think I can ever really wear this because it is so outside my comfort zone even though the dress itself would be quite flattering.  But happily, we found another heap of fabric in Mater's stash that is within my comfort zone, so I'll be returning to this pattern and making a dress that I'll wear more than once.

Since Halloween is fast approaching the '80s dress of fluorescence is being put on hold so that I can actually have something to wear.  Went and bought a new pattern today and rather than actually work on it I ate my weight in pizza, watched Univision's coverage of the Chilean miners' rescue and played with my niece.  After several hours at my parents' I have this to show for myself:

I am a paper cutting champion.
I've also been working on a sweater for myself.

It's very pink.  I may dye it.  Because color freaks me right out.
Even though I have a veritable heap of things to be done for holiday gifts.  Progress is slow because of both the kittens refusing to not try and kill my wiggling needles and yarn and surprise moth damage necessitating me splicing every other row or so.

Yes, moths.  The majority of my yarn stash is in zipped plastic bags, so I'm not terribly concerned, but I have a large box of wool that was given to me by a friend that is unprotected.  The yarn I'm currently using came from that box, so I just know that there's an even larger tragedy lurking in it's depths.

I have a hard time being too concerned about not finishing knits for other people because, if I continue with my usual habit, I'll think it's too boring to look at in a few days and leave it abandoned for at least a few months.  Wait, this sounds familiar....

*Title courtesy of the Boyfriend.  Because, hee.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Today's been another errand-y day but rather than being the usual 'being a grown up is boring,' it was full of unexpected excitement.

Somehow we ended up entirely out of cat food.  This is situation that Fat Bill will not stand.  I woke up before the Boyfriend so I was the one subjected to her whining about it for a few hours and pawing at me every time I sat down.  So, it was no surprise that when he got up I demanded we go to the pet supply store now.  No, now.  Because Fat Bill's persistent annoyance skills are an art form.  It'd be impressive if it weren't so, well, annoying.

While on the way was the first thrill.  I present a dramatic reenactment:

Boyfriend:  *normal everyday conversation.*
Me:  *normal reply*
Boyfriend:  *normal conversation cont-*
Boyfriend:  Seriously, what is wrong with you?

One of the small farms still holding out against the encroaching strip malls had two adorable llamas, just lazing about being all llama-y and I love them.  Seriously, I'm not ruling out the possibility of going back , knocking on the door and asking if I can just hang out with their llamas.  You know, order a pizza, play a little XBOX and then have them kick and spit at me because despite being the best things ever most llamas are kind of assholes.

The rest of the way to the pet store was spent begging the Boyfriend to stop on the way back so I could take pictures of them because yay! llamas.  We did in fact stop on the way back but since I only had my cellphone camera with no zoom function I'm afraid we'll have to make do with these.  I've helpfully labeled them.

I would have actually gotten out of the truck and attempted to get better ones, but two neighbors were chatting at the mail box across the road from us and while I was willing to be that crazy lady taking cellphone pictures from her car, I was not going to be that crazy lady taking cellphone pictures while cajoling the llamas to come closer at the fence.  At least, not in front of witnesses. 

My lobbying for a couple of alpaca for the backyard is going to be stepped up after today, let me tell you.  And I'll have none of the logical reasons why two llamas on a farm are acceptable but two alpaca in my suburban backyard are not.  

While at the pet supply store, after Fat Bill's victuals were safely in the cart, the Boyfriend and I went to pick up some algae eaters for our tank.  We sort of lost our way as fish keepers and our fifty-five gallon tank  has one hell of an algae problem.  It's less a fish tank now than it is a glowing, green and sort of fuzzy installation piece.  There are still fish in there, we can just never really see them unless they come right up to the glass.

But the happy news is that we trying very hard to stop being useless fish owners.  Hence the algae eaters.  Five Otocinclus and a Red Tailed Shark in total.  Fingers crossed they do their job.  We'll continue repopulating the tank as water conditions improve.

But buying algae eaters while useful (and I think the red tails are just too cute) was not what thrilled me.  No, what thrilled me was Bart.

While talking to the fish guy he asked if we had a smaller tank.  Because he had this little Jack Dempsey that was currently living a hard life in the live plant tank, being beaten up by the other inhabitants.  He lures him out and he is just the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen.  Absolutely tiny, but already showing the bright turquoise and emerald green spots and stripes and he has a flash of red along his dorsal fin. 

I was done for.  Beautiful markings + sad story =  we have a new little buddy who has a twenty gallon tank all to himself.  He can grow up to ten inches and will be a territorial bruiser who likes to dig holes into the substrate and eat smaller tank mates but I think it's totally worth it.  We'll have several years until we have to worry about getting him larger digs than what's currently available.

Bart safe in his new home.
Unfortunately, his iridescence is really hard to capture.  And no, we don't use boulders as substrate, that's normal aquarium gravel.  It's just that Bart's about the size of my thumbnail.  The fish guy was really fond of him and made us promise to give him updates whenever we're in there.  Here's hoping we can manage to be good aquarists again and Bart does well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Think I Have the Plague

Possibly leprosy.  At this point, I don't even know anymore.

It's been a vicious cycle of allergies - sinusitis - allergies.  Not to put to fine a point on it, my world is full of snot.  I've spent far too long wandering around feeling as though my head were three sizes too big and twenty pounds too heavy and looking like this:

I may be dying.  Get back to you on that one  
 No, I don't know why stuffing tissues up my nose seems like an acceptable way of dealing with post-nasal nastiness.  I'm just as confused by my brain as you are.

As a result I haven't really done anything in remotely art-y or craft-y.  Which, to be honest, is driving me a little bonkers.  Just don't have the attention for it at the moment but I very much want to.  Gift giving is going to sneak up on me again this year and it'll be another awkward mess of placeholder presents.

Also, I have no idea how contagious the ringworm is and I don't want to say Merry Christmas by giving someone a skin fungus.  Yes, it's still kicking about the house, it keeps bouncing from cat to cat to Boyfriend.  I may just give up and burn the whole place down, it seems like it's the only way to be sure.  At least the kittens haven't caught it again, which is a small comfort but I sort of hate their smug, non-itchy faces right now.

While art and craft aren't currently in the cards for me, make up has been.  There's an argument to be made about upholding the kyriarchy in regards to how much I love performing femininity but, frankly, I'm easily sidetracked by all the pretty colors.  Besides, my eyes are about the largest canvas I can deal with right now and did I mention there's glitter?  I love glitter.

Urban Decay's latest eyeshadow palette hit stores and I had to have it.  And then there was a sale on NYX cosmetics, and another eyeshadow palette magically fell into my hands as well.  One of these days I'll say no to the instant gratification of premade make up and save up to invest in my own pigments and binders and a proper set up for making cosmetics, but today is not that day. 

The only thing that could possibly be better than putting on eyeshadow is making my own and then putting it on.  I'm a simple lady, I have simple dreams.

I'm, like, everything that's wrong with society right now.

But hey!  Cool box, right?  It's got little lights!
I've already mentioned that when I get a new toy I have to have a go with it straight from the box.  This was no different.  But what you should also know is that my personal make up aesthetic* is less 'enhanced natural beauty' but more 'drag queen.'  Or possibly a five year old that discovered mom's make up for the first time, but as Mater doesn't share my love for putting all things bright and sparkly on one's face** I'm making a guess that's probably informed by too much television watching.

Thus I've been toodling around the house looking a bit like this:

My drag name would be Snotia de Ragsi.
And now I'm already bored with what's on my face and will probably go take it off and try something new.  Rocking the pjs and the night club eyeshadow, that's me.

*I want the record to show that I tried really hard to come up with a less douche-y sounding way of saying that and have failed.  So, not a douche, just a bad writer.

**But not in my wardrobe.  I know I'm endlessly confusing to you, Mater, I'm sorry.  Someday I'll rock salmon pink and lime green as hard as you do, promise.  Yes, readers who are not my mom, she is that awesome.