Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A hat fit for a dragon

The other thing that I came home to tonight was my cowl completed.
We elected to go with a cowl over a wig because, as Mom said, dragons don't have hair. Actually, some more contemporary-looking ones, as well as Asian Lungs ( or Yongs, if you're Korean) do. But she's right that other people may not know this. So she came up with the idea of making a Patsy-style cowl out of rabbit skins. So one night, we did some web browsing for some cowl patterns. Here's a picture of me with the newspaper mock-up on my head. Once we quit holding the corners down, it sort of went all "flying nun" on me. Just look. Don't linger.

We were both cracking up there.

We took down the mounted skin that adorned my wall, and bought another one at Hobby Lobby. Once we got it pinned, it sat on my maille desk as we got ready for listing. Now that we've gotten some more time, she has sewn it. We left the foot hanging down intentionally and didn't match the grain for that lovely DIY look.

We're going to sew down that spot on the right side of the photo so it covers my hair better.

Also, here's a pic of the muzzle:

Okay, couldn't resist

My muzzle just showed up today!
I got home from college at 6:00 today, and I came home to see a small box on my office chair. My first thought was "Is it from Canada!?" YES! It was indeed my new face. It's a lot bigger than I expected. The guy demoing it on the website (I think that's Jason?) doesn't make it seem nearly as big, but wow! Just holding it up to my face, it's huge. I held it up to Mom and it practically covers her whole face! (I knew she wouldn't make a good dragon! She couldn't see forward for her own schnoz!) My adhesive will come in four days or so, so I'll be able to post some pictures then.


Claws of the dragon (rawwwwwwr)

One day, Mom takes me over to the Michael's under the guise of something else. There she started helping me look for some decent claws. First we looked in the jewelry, so we could find some cheap charms or something. We might have used plastic bear claws, but Michael's didn't have them. They didn't have much in the jewelry section, either. From a video I had given her, she went to the back of the store and picked up a block of paperclay. It was here that she announced that she had decided to actually help me with the costume. Music to my ears, Mom. Quite frankly, I was going to run low on funds soon, and I don't know a single thing about sewing. ("Needle go through fabric." That's all I know.) So we went home with two bricks of paperclay, and some goodies for Mom's Swapbot - a tactic she has adopted to get rid of some junk and have fun at the same time.

I started doing the claws as per the video, wrapping foil around my fingers and building the clay on top. The cool thing about it is that it's water-soluble, just like real clay; put some water in your hand, and the paperclay flows nicely. What bugs me is that it completely dissolves with water, even after it dries. I was even able to take my sawdust and knead it back into a clay. Then I sanded them, sometimes adding more material for gap and hole filling. This is what I have now:

I have two more for wing thumbs and am in progress for a set of horns. Speaking of horns:

I ordered a set of costume horns off the 'net. Cost about 15$ including shipping. The problem with shopping for these on the internet is that people never post good pictures. Indeed, the spiral horns I had ordered were not symmetrical, as I had expected. Instead of being one left, one right, there were two lefts. And they were heavy. I decided not to use them and use my surplus paperclay to make horns. They're drying now, and they'll take a LOT of sanding. The tricky part will be getting them to sit well on the back of my head.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chronicles of the dragon

Devious machination #342: Getting a dragon costume for Scarborough faire.

For those few friends who haven't heard of this, we have a totally awesome Renfest out in Waxahachie. As I assume it is with most renfests, it's home to a bunch of people in linen and burlap, women who desperately need bras (as many of the women who come in costume are overweight), and a few hired performers ( the ragpicker, Sholo the Nubian, etc.). It's basically several acres of total awesome.

Last year, thinking it would be my last chance to go, I set out to get something totally on a lark, that I would never find anywhere else. Actually, I had something fairly specific in mind: a shoulder dragon. I was hopeful when I saw a couple people with some awesome gryphon puppets - maybe the same place that had those would also have a dragon. They did. They were expensive, but fortunately, this was right after graduation, where I'd gotten a bunch of gift money. I poured about $70 into my constant companion, Eochaid. I thought that was pretty awesome (and indeed it is), but I thought I should do more.

On the drive home (no longer fixated on the one goal), I thought to myself how much fun it would have been to go in costume - as a dragon. Lo and behold, April rolls around again, and we're still here. (See "Jim's Wild Ride" for more details) Now's my chance.

First obstacle, posing the idea to Mom and Dad. They take my dragon fascination with a bit of a chuckle, and they probably would think I'm crazy for doing something like this. I think they did, at least somewhat, but they gave me the go-ahead anyway. Don't get me wrong, they're very supportive people, but Mom told me I'd be on my own for this project. That was about what I had expected, so all was cool. (Mom has been very busy packing lately, once again see Jim's Wild Ride.)

Second, I would obviously need a mask. There are some decent static masks out there, but they're static. Not having the mask move kind of kills it for me, since that sucks away the realism. That's when I found these guys: Northfur FX & Mascots. They carried the perfect thing: a two-piece dragon muzzle prosthetic. You adhere it to your face, and it gives very good realism. They even said you can eat in it, though you have to take small bites. It was expensive: about $45 USD, plus shipping.

Here, Mom came in with a counterpoint - what if I just got a bigger puppet and went as a dragon wrangler? Or what if I just get a smaller mask? She had found a decent puppet online, for about $80, and a half-mask for about $30. After going back and forth for a bit, I discarded both ideas. I had my heart set on this particular idea, and nothing was going to stop me :).

I went ahead and bought the muzzle and started looking online for a wig. Why a wig? My 70's hairstyle wouldn't work with the costume, so I thought I would go with a straight wig. This would a) hide my facial hair and b) give me a place to hide the horns I would have coming from the back of my head. You would be surprised how hard it is to find two of those cheap. Why two? To make the wig make sense, I was going to have a fur tuft on the end of my tail, made from the second wig. At this point, Mom suggested I change tack. I should abandon the wigs and get a cowl, like Patsy from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It took some persuasion on this, but we went with it. We decided the cowl should be made from rabbit fur, so it looked like I had taken a small animal and simply stuck it on my head. I will post some separately about this part with pictures.

Next installment: Claws of the dragon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Why did it post this out of order?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

So I picked up Sanctuary to get my Amanda Tapping fix, seeing how SGA got cancelled. Here's what stood out most:
How much this looked like Torchwood.
How long they could attempt to be suspenseful, before a less-than successful reveal.
How funny Tapping sounds with a Brit accent.
That this is Torchwood.
That they got half of Stargate and some of Battlestar on the show (Maj. Lorne, Todd, and Dr. Carter, and Dee and Charlie Connor. I don't remember actor names well.).
That everyone seems to have an obsession with the edges of tall buildings.
That "Sanctuary for all" goes on a mission for blood in the second episode, and show absolutely no remorse for shooting however many dozen crypt guardians.
That the fourth episode was the typical "trapped in a small room with only a few hours to live" script, with a fairly corny ending. Bleh.
That I would rather watch Hiro than Dr. Zimmermann.

I decided to do a side-by-side:

Conclusion: I hope it gets better. Even my favorite actors from previous shows will only keep me interested for so long.
It's an old entry I decided to move over. My review on the Doctor Who finale and Stargate: Continuum.

Warning: not edited. Expect grammatical errors.
Just saw Stargate: Continuum last night. I'm not quite sure what to think of it. There was a lot more blood and gore in it: ex. Apofis getting the top of his head sliced off, Baal bleeding out on the pel'tak (in the background), and staff wounds (they smoke now). Then there's the climax (scroll down if you haven't seen it and plan to, otherwise read on). We've seen this number before in the episode "2010": everyone dramatically dying in an attempt to fix the timeline. We've seen them do the team's deaths in slow motion before. More anticlimactic, if you ask me.
On the bright side, there's Jack! Yay!
However, the whole thing seemed a bit rushed and short on action. "Ark of Truth" kicks its tail in this regard. I mean, which would you rather see: Cam trying to beat a Replicator/Terminator thing in melee combat before the Ori blow up the ship, or Daniel and Cam standing there shooting at Jaffa who always beam into the exact same spot?
That reminds me, why doesn't it occur to anyone to (a) pick up the Jaffa's guns (especially Daniel, who runs out of ammo) or (b) try to break the platform? And while we're at it, why doesn't the ring platform on the flagship have redial? Teal'c goes through, and Qetesh just goes "Oh well, he's gone. Can't do anything, even though I know he'll try to come after me." Anyway, I'd rather watch Ark of Truth any day.

While I'm here, how about the Doctor Who finale? (Not that I know any of my friends watches it.) El lame-o.
1. Did Rose have that stupid lisp before? And am I the only one that thinks Billie Piper is ugly?
2. Go home, Jack, you pervert. I never want to see you again.
3. We won't see Grandpa again. He is so much COOLER than Donna. I mean, he's got guts enough to attack a stinkin' Dalek with a paintball gun (and hit it in the right spot) in defense of his wife, who he'd be better off without. That constitutes awesome.
4. Too much technobabble. But let's get one thing straight. there's good and bad technobabble. Stargate and Star Trek (especially TNG and VOY) did it well; it made sense and sounded futuristic. They would use actual particles (some of the time) and continue to use them so that we got a good idea of what they do: veterons could shred warpcores, and tachion eddies, while innocuous to larger ships, could send small star-sailers lightyears.
Doctor Who can't technobabble to save its life. Theirs sounds like a random word generator on fast forward. You can't make out the words, and if you could, they'd be total nonsense. Nonsense does not a good climax make.
5. Plothole: Why would you blow up the whole multiverse? What could you use to expand and feed everyone? And once you finally eradicate everything else, what do you do then? Mill about and play canasta? Davros, you're an idiot.


Hello World

Why the name? It's a multiple reference: 
"Technobabbling" is the (sometimes handwavy) technical jargon employed commonly in science fiction. It could be anything from "timey-wimey detector" (which was an excellent bit of lampshading) or "reverse the polarity" to "calibrate the metagenic warp enhancers with multibeaming biofilters."
That paragraph can also be titled "How to drive your spell checker insane."

If you're not familiar with the Babel fish, I'm surprised.

In an alternate spelling, it was a reference to "The Wrong Trousers." But it turns out they don't spell it that way.

What is this about? I'll copy the "About Me" from my FB: I felt like changing this, so I did.
Wow, that was helpful. I guess that's why I have some blogging to do...