Thursday, April 22, 2010

Textiles: Year One Draws To A Close

It's been a fantastic year in every way. I've never been so happy.



Over the summer I'll be starting the first full time job I've been hired to without nepotism factoring in somewhere. It's a dirty job, and I do mean dirty (think hotel housekeeping with a lot more beery puke) but you gotta start somewhere, and at least it isn't security. When I said never again, I meant it.

Outside of work- Three Creative projects and some bonus goals:

Project the first: Get my sewing machine fixed so that I can beef up my sewing skills and salable inventory.

Project the second: Go here and get some of these so that I can get my hat-makin' on. Hats are number 4 on my Top 5 Awesomest Things Ever list so I feel a great obligation to improve the world by making a lot more of them.

Project the third: I want to build room boxes and dollhouses then populate them with weirdos.
Miniatures and dollhouses make up an especially precious branch on the great tree o' Craft. I have always loved the possibilities of creating little vignettes full of intricate detail, but they remain annoyingly precious and largely restricted to the realm of fussy retirees who seem content to create the same country general stores and Victorian parlors over and over again. This is a hobby that badly needs to be shaken up ala knitting and crochet. This summer I will get started on effecting this change.

On a related topic, lookit what I just found! How neat is that?

Ohh! And check out these great dolls by a former taxidermist and mortician! The site is very 1999, but her work is marvelously bizarre.

AS to optional goals, I'm keeping it simple: I want to go to more more music and theatre shows (starting with Evelyn Evelyn's Toronto appearance, improve my music by jamming with people, meet girls, write a book and pay down my horrible credit card debt.

On the bloggy side of things, expect to see some of what I've been learning in textiles this year for your own use and pleasure. Specifically, I've been planning a "wet felting for total beginners" entry for some time.

Until next time :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ever Think You Were Born In The Right Time?


A little while ago, I was shooting my mouth off about how much the nineteen fifties blew infected dangly bits if you happened to be a delicate female lady woman (and doubly so if you happened to be Barbara.)

Another young woman, with Bettie Page bangs and fashionably pin-up cherry prints on her pencil-line skirt, took issue with my blanket statements by making a few of her own along the lines of "The Fifties were Awesome," "Feminism Is A Cabal of Monstrous Man-crushing Bull-Dyke Trolls With Fangs In Their Cunts." and If You Don't Feel Oppressed Then You Obviously Aren't."

While I agree that it is extremely ineffectual (and irritating) to examine life, the universe and everything through Victim Goggles, I respectfully beg to differ on the above points by way of presenting Exhibit A:


LYSOL. LYSOL IN YOUR CUNT. HOLY JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH YOUR CUUUUUUUUUUNT!

Did you read that thing? Pay attention to the words: Appealing daintiness is assured, be­cause the very source of objectionable odors is eliminated.

"THE VERY SOURCE" BEING THE VAG THAT YOU BURNED OUT WITH CAUSTIC CHEMICALS.
AUGHHHHHHHHHHHH!


I have never been so happy to be an 80's baby.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Literary Weight Training


O Hai! Yesterday I was fortunate to stumble across a fantastic site that will be of interest to writers and artists.

750 Words has a mission to get you writing every day and to make it fun. The webmaster explains:

I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It's about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful.

I've used the exercise as a great way to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often filter out before ever voicing them or writing about them. It's a daily brain dump. Over time, I've found that it's also very helpful as a tool to get thoughts going that have become stuck, or to help get to the bottom of a rotten mood.


So how does it work? Basically, you can sign it using your Facebook, Google or Yahoo account (don't worry; what you write is kept private!) and just write anything at all that comes into your head. when you finish, you get stats about things like your mood, what you were thinking about as you wrote (the webmaster says to take it with a grain of salt) how many breaks you take, how fast you type, and a scorecard that depends on how many days you've kept your streak going.

Unlike LJ or blogger, you're not writing for an audience, and since no one's going to see it except you, there is a tremendous freedom that comes with letting all the words and ideas flow.

This is especially significant to my fellow aspiring aspiring authors; the more we write, the easier it becomes to sit down and pound out a chapter before lunch. I'm hoping to use this site to work up to my first novel, and while this is day 2 and I have only 1500 or so words under my belt, I am super psyched and feeling ridiculously stimulated. Getting into the habit is going to make it easier to write on those mornings when you sit down in front of Word, see a blank page and get an overpowering urge to projectile vomit Linda-Blair-in-the-exorcist style all over the keyboard.


The Webmaster is talking about possibly making 750 Words a paysite in the future, so join now or be awesome and donate!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Seussical Commentary On My Roommate's Cats

Turning Cat piss into Lemonade, in a stylistic tribute to the dude himself:


One cat.


Two cats.


Three Cats.


SCREW CATS.



See this creature? This cat Purdy?
She is filthy.
She is dirty.
She will not shit where she ought.
She will not use a chamber pot.
or go in box like she's been taught.

In fact-
(Excuse my lack of tact)
Where this cat shat would make you yak!

She shits on chairs
She shits on beds
She shits on sheets
and soft bedspreads

She shits in halls, and closets too!
There is no place she will not poo!

Her favorite spot leaves me so sour
Why must she shit in the shower!?
In the shower?
The tub?
The bath?
Purdy you're a nasty cat!

Why not use the porcelain chair?
The one next to the bath, right there?


And now that I am on a rant,
Gaze upon my hairy pants!



My clothes- all coated with their fur.
I just washed them.
They just purr.



And this cat, Tabs, alias "Pisser":
I'd like to smack her in the kisser
(also, she's the pooper's sister).


Can you guess from her nickname
The little quirk that makes her lame?

Yes, that's right, she likes to pee.
I swear she does it to be mean.
If you move her from a chair
she will violate your lair
She'll piss right where you sleep at night
Tell me that's not outright spite!
And let me tell you, I insist-
There's nothing grosser than cat piss!

Maybe there are decent cats
But these three jerks are dirty rats
who act like they are hooked on meth
So I'm not going to hold my breath.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mermaidfairyprincess.

Okay, let me start by saying that growing up, I was a Barbie kind of girl (at least until Sailor Moon came out but that's neither here nor there).
You could cut her hair (well, once anyway), endlessly change her clothes, and when you got tired of what she came with, you could clothe Barbie (or as I called her, (Voluptua, Duchess of Awesome )in your own sensational designs utilizing such avant-garde upcycled (that's what the cool kids are calling it now, right?) materials like toilet paper and wads of tulle harvested from your mom's old bridesmaid dresses. After all, fashion is what Barbie is all about.

But let us not pidgeonhole the lady; she might have done a lot of modelling, but it's not how she defined herself. In the eighties and nineties, Barbie was all over the workforce. I like to think it's due to a staggering intellect and hunger for new experiences that she changed jobs so often. It could be that she was well-connected but incompetent, but honestly, anyone who rocks an outfit like this

 
Image sourced from fashionistasdaily.wordpress.com

(in space, no less!) has to be some kind of maniacal genius.

Lately though, I've been worrying about the woman. Maybe she bought into that demented Hollywood mindset that sees all but a few women vanish from the screen after 35. Maybe the threat posed to her toy-aisle empire by Ghettofab Bratz dolls unhinged her. Whatever the cause, she seems to have regressed into a six year old Beauty Queen.

Now don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with spending an otherwise uneventful weekend making your own wings by stretching kitchen garbage bags over wire hanger armatures and smearing yourself with with your roommate's Raspberry Irridescent Dream Body Glitter in order to prance around the apartment waving a pink jelly Mermaid vibrator like a magical wand. It can be a lot of fun, especially if your roommate returns home unexpectedly and catches you mid-piroette trying to enchant the cat.

No, even the most hard-boiled broad has a little Ballarina in her soul and I don't think less of Barbie for breaking out the tutu now and then. What has me concerned is the frequency of these episodes- it seems that it's all she does these days. BARBIE WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR DREAMS OF BEING A VETERANARIAN ASTRONAUT?!

"I am a Space Kitten and I am not vaccinated against Space Rabies... Whatever Shall I Do?"

SPACE KITTENS ARE DYING OUT THERE!




Whenever you see Barbie these days, it is most likely that she will be either a mermaid, fairy, or princess. Mermaid, fairy, princess. Mermaid, fairy, princess. Mermaid, fairy, princess. mermaidfairyprincess. Rabbitrabbitrabbit!
I was starting to get used to this, thinking that perhaps it was just a cute quirky phase like when Britney was pretending to be a virgin. But then....
Then, at my niece's birthday party, I had a moment of clarity when I saw her unwrap
this:

What?! The fins turn into wings? But that-

It's-

How-

It doesn't even make sense! Fairies live in the air, Mermaids, the sea. This unnatural hybrid creature is about as likely as a deep sea parrot, or a soaring air whale!

BARBIE YOU CANNOT BE BOTH A FAIRY AND A MERMAID PICK ONE OKAY

It's pink, glittering, Mariah Carey flavoured maddness, that's what it is.

With a heart of lead, I realized that day that Barbie was beyond redemption. Something vital had snapped, sending her mind to that enchanted kingdom from which there is no return.

Then I started thinking, "She's been spending an awful lot of time with my niece, and with other little girls. What must they be thinking?"

Panic-stricken, I grabbed the aformentioned child by the shoulders and shock her while screaming, "Quickly, what do you want to be when you grow up? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?!"
When she finally stopped crying (Kids! Jesus!) She said that she wanted to be a princess.

Oh.
My.
God.

"B-but why?" I stuttered, on the verge of tears. The afflicted child appeared lucid, but I braced myself for a full-blown fit of the crazies. After a moment of thought, she answered, "They wear pretty dresses and get rescued."
"But they don't do anything!"
"Exactly."

The situation was far worst than anticipated. Not only had Barbie's frilly maddness infected the children with visions of Ballarinafairyhamburgers or whatever, but it was also making them lazy. Because of this, I wept tears of inconsolable sorrow for the inevitable future generations of barefootpregnantpolygamistchildbrides.

But then, a glorious ray of sunshine broke through the clouds.

"It's gotta be a fluke," I sighed. "No two little girls could possibly be this awesome."

I was wrong.

There is the possability that her parents are just dressing her up in tribute to their favorite childhood cartoon, but I don't think so. Look at the kid's face. She's badass and knows it.

You know what? As long as this keeps up, the kids are gonna be alright. I gotta go make my niece a Samus Aran Suit now.




Monday, February 22, 2010

Aspirations of Being An Aspiring Writer

While I'm taking a break from embroidering my little fingers off (sewing project. Last Minute. Very unpleasant.)it seemed like a good time to blog off some nervous energy.

I'm something of an aspiring writer, although it would, in fact, be more truthful to say that being an aspiring writer is something I aspire to. The writing moods come and go every few months, and when they're here, they are fierce. In a way, it's a bit like having a period, as at these times, entering my room unannounced while the keys are clacking means risking life and limb (The roommates sign legal waivers to this effect).

Since this magical time is again approaching, It seemed a good idea to talk a little about the creative process and how it applies to the collection of neuroses that is, as Mademoiselle Piggy might say, Moi.

It was a lot easier coming up with Ideas when I was younger, because I was a lot more interested in Fantasy. With Fantasy, pretty much anything is possible as long as you set certain rules and remember to stick with them. A wizard can shake a Deus Ex Machina out of his staff at the Hour of Oblivion, but it has to make sense in the world even if the world is crazy and nonsensical- Hell, especially if the world is crazy and nonsensical.

I think this consistency is one of the reasons that Fantasy appeals to a lot of younger people, as well as the stories' general tendency to be plot-driven rather than character driven- that is, Harold The Barbarian is too busy cleaving Orc skulls to spend much time addressing his aggression issues, or the Madonna/Whore complex that keeps him bouncing between Princess Snowdrop and Vulva The Dark Enchantress.

As a teen, I really enjoyed this focus on action: there'a something to be said for being swept along with the hero to all sorts of fabulously treacherous locales. Gradually though, somewhere between 18 and 21, I realized that I really didn't give a shit about whether or not Unlikely Hero from Bumblefuck-On-The-Shire overcame whatever set of Impossible Odds he had to in order to achieve his wonderful Destiny.
Unlikely Hero, it often seems, is so rarely very interesting outside his extraordinary circumstances. Take for example, LOTR's Aragorn and Frodo: These two guys exemplify the classic Fantasy Hero types, but would you want to have a Beer-And-Bullshit Session with either of them?

This disenchantment put my big (in High School anyway) dreams of Authorship on ice. I had the makings of two or three complete sagas (like bad things, fantasy stories always come in threes) ready to go, but no desire of actually sit down in front of Word and make the long trek to Mordor, so to speak. Imagine taking a cross-country roadtrip in a minibus full of boring people you can't stand. Yeah.

At the same time I'm not so deluded that I dream of writing the great Canadian novel. For starters, (as I mentioned to a good friend the other night) I absolutely, with very few exceptions, despise Canadian literature. Additionally, I feel too young, too uneducated, and too devoid of life experience to say anything suitably life-altering (or at least, self-important).

So what's a girl to do? The answer came care of this fellow here, and to a lesser extent, this guy, who you are much more likely to recognize.

Peter S Beagle, who you might recognize as the author of The Last Unicorn convinced me that genre writing need not be juvenile escapist fare. This is a man who was compared with Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut until his decision to write about Unicorns got a lot of literary panties in a twist. Magic and the supernatural are a big part of his books, but manage to seem less interesting than the characters, who run the gamut from cynical teenage girls to middle-aged Jewish widows, warrior monks, storytelling pirates, wizards, possessed cats and even beleagered stage managers. It takes a consummate storyteller to be able to write convincingly as such characters without seeming to speak through them.


I decided somewhere between The Inkeeper's Song and A Fine And Private Place that I wanted to do as he does, to write funny, human stories about interesting people in extraordinary circumstances.

Now it's just a matter of doing as was so eloquently said by Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith:

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Popwords: Milquetoast

So I had an idea for a fun thing to do every so often. Pop culture is ephemeral, here and gone in a moment. A living language is a continually evolving entity. Sometimes the two cross, and we end up with words, that while once universally recognized for their reference to popular culture, are now a bit weird and well, not very comprehensible.
Our first case in point: Milquetoast


Dictionary.com says:
noun (sometimes initial capital letter)
a very timid, unassertive, spineless person, esp. one who is easily dominated or intimidated: a milquetoast who's afraid to ask for a raise.


You may have heard this used in old movies, or in reference to a human doormat. It's a funny sort of word, sure, but what does it really mean?
Meet cartoonist H.T. Webster's Casper Milquetoast, "the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick."

Once upon a time, Mr. Milquetoast starred in his own comic, The Timid Soul. On second thought, "starred" is maybe too strong a word for this poor guy.

"Milquetoast" is a distortion of Milk Toast, which is an extremely bland breakfast food customarily fed to sick people. From what I can gather, it's a bit like French toast would be after having its spirit shattered irreparably serving hard time in a Turkish prison.

I imagine his voice sounds a little like Droopy Dog's.

An American Cartoonist, H.T. Webster(1885–1952)was active around the early to mid twentith century. His humour had a satirical edge to it- Wishy-washy Mr. Milquetoast is funny because in spite of Webster's comedic exaggerations, there is much truth in him.

Is that okay with you, Dear?

People in the 1930s and 40s emphatically agreed, which is how Milquetoast became part of our vocabulary. Unobtrusive Mr. Milquetoast isn't so well-known today as he once was, but his name, and his timid brethren, live on.


Sources
Green, Harry Lee. "The Timid Soul." Hairy Green Eyeball. 15122008. Blogspot.com, Web. 3 Feb 2010. .

Markstein, Don. "Don Markstein's Toonopedia: The Timid Soul." Don Markstein's Toonopedia. 2003. Don Markstein, Web. 3 Feb 2010. .

Friday, January 8, 2010

NEWSFLASH! I Am A Massive Nerd.

Yes, yes, Ha-ha ho-ho at the obvious fat joke. But what I actually meant is that my nerdly qualities are quite pronounced of late- a manic cycle is in full swing and the Kaytor's embroidery needle is flashing like a swashbuckler's rapier.

If you know your nerds, and you should know your nerds because, in case you've been cryogenically frozen these last few years, (Hi Walt!) the Geek has inherited the Earth. Anyway, if you know your nerds, you know that Poindexter is happiest in the midst of a project.

I am a very happy nerd right now. I have a project, but ask and I will hesitate to disclose its details (to the uninitiated, at least) because of it's sheer geekitude. Most of you won't get it, or you will get it and roll your eyes at its childishness.

Hint #1: Hipster craft
That is to say,Grandma's traditional time-killing, hope-chest-filling techniques used for very ungrandma-like purposes: the production of pop-culture ephemeralism that as you age will be left mouldering away in a closet until happened upon by your curious crotchmonkeys.

I know it's beyond passe to quote and reference The Simpsons these days, but the best illustration of hipster craft was beautifully rendered in an old episode where Lisa discovered the Bouvier family quilt. The square contributed by a teenage Marge was a seventies yin yang with the very R Crumb slogan "Keep on Truckin'" stitched just above.

Lisa:
'Keep On Truckin'.... What does that mean?
Marge: I didn't know then... and I don't know now.

With that in mind, imagine trying to explain a 4chan meme to your future thirteen-year-old!

Perfect McPreciousballs:
Hey Mom, why do you have a handmade pillowcase with 'All Your Base Are Belong To Us' embroidered on it?
You: Well it's from this... Uh.. never mind.
Junior Angelfartutterbliss: Is this another one of those weird internet things?

So yeah, That's what I'm doing with my spare (HA!) time. Contributing to the future crap closets of friends and family. My poor grandma was initially thrilled to hear I'd taken up needlepoint and embroidery... When she sees what I've been doing I'm going to get a lot of sincere but vaguely puzzled support. Well Grandma, you know I've never been a birds and flowers kinda girl.

Hint #2: Articles From A Wasted Youth
Although, I would argue that playing vidja games isn't a waste if you enjoy yourself, and some of the best times memories I have of spending time with my brothers was when we were playing Nintendo (and fighting over deleted save games and powerup-hogging)

Hint #3: Oh Hell, You might as well know so you can laugh when I give up on it.

I am totally going to attempt this in cross stitch. Pixel. By. Pixel. I am probably mad. DANCING MAD.

Well to be honest, this is going to take time to work up to. Right now, It's all about the 8-bit. 16 bit... is going to have to wait until I get more practice. Working on a grid is oddly soothing- I find myself tossing around all sorts of designs on graph paper and am beginning to suspect that my brain is more anal-retentive/mathematical than previously suspected.

That said, feel free to commission me if you want a picture of Bowser buttfucking Super Mario stitched on your favorite pair of chucks.

Hahha, no, I'm joking :)

I can't do chucks.