25 November 2008

More Inside Geekdom

Jeff, in my screenwriting class complimented me on my ghetto-tastic "Jason Todd" shirt I wore to school once. I do believe he's one of the only people who understands the reference. Well, the shirt was entertaining, but starting to fall to pieces, so when my costuming crafts class decided to explore screen printing, it was the perfect time to revamp.

Here's the new version (never mind that I look stoned in this picture). I'm not going to explain what it means. And since he appreciated the first version, this post is for you Jeff.


23 November 2008

For Those of You Who Care...

I finally got around to watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

And loved it.

I told someone once that I wasn't one of those freaks who desperately worship everything Joss Whedon does... And I still don't think I am. But he sure can put some fun stuff out there. My fandom grows...

Watch it: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

20 November 2008

Mission Complete!

Well that's one less project to worry about.


The jacket is finally finished. I patterned it, created the designs which Colin helped me screen print and sewed the thing together. I wanted something that spoke of creativity, and in the end it's a slightly different jacket with a very draft-sketch feel. The "notes" scattered on the grid are actually quotes from various authors and artists about art.


Voila! I love the lining. And side zipper.


That long quote on the back is from Kerouac, a personal hero. All in all, not bad for a first attempt at creating my own pattern.

As Stephanie Yanez would say... "How do I look?"

Oh Stephanie Yanez. I could do an entire blog on her. But I won't. Instead, I'll just add it to this one and tell you that if you don't know who she is, you really really haven't ever lived. And by lived I mean discovered the one of the most annoying web personalities out there. Imagine a whiney six year old. You know that voice they make when pouting? Now put that voice on a twenty-something girl, and imagine it is keeping you up to date on all the anime and cosplay stuff you crave to know about. You just thought about Stephanie.

Enjoy this: And stay tuned for the rap midway through. Simply genius.

Anyone else want to join her fan group with me?

17 November 2008

Think Torchwood is Hiring?

You know - and I know - that I'm a geek.  It just happened somewhere along the road in my 26 years of life.  But I'm also at a point to appreciate that everyone, in one way or another, is also a geek.  My sister and I used to be the biggest Trekkies growing up.  And while many wouldn't, and might not still admit it, I'm surprised how many others out there enjoyed the same guilty pleasure.  You couldn't fess up such things in high school though.  

I've long since left that high school micro-verse where people are relegated to a role and a function in the social structure and pretty much stuck with it.  

Thank god I'm done with high school.

Besides, a lot of loser-ish things turn vogue when you're older. Like intelligence.  Or video games.  Or 80's inspired apparel, although that's not my favorite, unless done in a unobtrusive way.  Subtlety counts for something too.  

Anyway, I'm probably a bigger dork now, though definitely one with no shame about it.  Luckily I think I'm also a bit more of a sophisticated dork; that is, I appreciate a more artistic aspect of dorkdom.  I think.  That might be self delusion.  The reason I bring this up is because I just finished watching season two of Torchwood.  


A BBC series, and in fact a spin off of Doctor Who.  I know what you're thinking if you've ever seen the old series.  This was an update and renewal of the cult-followed original series.  I was turned off by the corniness of the old one, but have come to love the newest incarnation.  It may be aimed at a younger audience, and thus rather innocent, but it is too much fun to be ignored either.  And while I discovered Torchwood first, and became instantly hooked, I moved slowly into Doctor Who because of my former prejudice with the old show.  

Both of them compliment each other, but Torchwood drops a lot of the camp and takes a much darker and much more adult tone.  There is something that resonates with me, and a strange unease that I can't shake from the bleak outlook the show has - people saving a world that is problematic, unappreciative, and hopeless. The characters are fantastic, screwed up, and a little too realistic at times for such an odd Sci-Fi and drama hybrid.  The writing is superb and witty.  I can't lie: I'm a total geek for this show. 

I'm finished gushing.  Watch it if you're remotely interested.  What I am amazed by, however, is how different the British narrative is than traditional U.S. stuff.  Firstly, american audiences are apparently into the spectacle when it comes to genre pieces.  The focus for something in the science fiction realm tends to be all the digital imagery, usually hinged on some interesting, but hardly encompassing idea.   A show like Torchwood eschews favoring the special effects (which are not bad, but oft-times obviously digital) instead bringing the human dynamic to the forefront. Imperfect characters surviving both physically and emotionally in an imperfect world are the crux of the series.  They just happen to also fight aliens. Episodes almost always comment upon the state of humanity, as well as assess the mistakes and the divinities of individuals.  

I might nod to those that enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (of which I am a recent convert).  While not exactly the same, the writing is in the same vein.

I also have to say, because it is impossible not to if you read any reviews of the series, that the show is progressive, if nothing else, in its approach to sexuality.  Whereas Doctor Who barely even broaches the subject, it falls at the forefront of Torchwood.  These characters are almost pansexual, particularly one character who is interested in anything he finds attractive - men, women, or alien alike.   The brits aren't afraid to show anything, and treat all manners of sexuality as nothing shocking or abnormal.  The people in this show - and apparently the makers of it - have moved to a future that is quite comfortable with itself in *ahem* any sexual position.  Its refreshing to see, when most networks and programs in the U.S. are mortified of alienating audiences and therefore pander to the lowest common demographic of acceptance and tolerance. As if we can't appreciate anything if its not served up in a perfect, discriminatorily correct, My Name is Earl fashion.  Taboos are fine in American television, as long as its the right taboos.  Extreme violence, graphic straight sex, and mostly stereotypic gay or even ethnic characters.  

I know that no country is perfect, but I am impressed with other nations' social progress compared to our own in some ways. We seem to be on the shorter end of that stick.  At any rate, I'm sad that I now have to wait for season 3, a season which is to be more a mini-series than anything.  Alas, something is better than nothing.  

In the meantime, maybe Torchwood is hiring.  I could use an exciting, encompassing, likely-to-kill-you-at-a-young-age day job.


14 November 2008

What the hell is wrong with you people?

Do I just sound angry in all of these blogs? I guess that's what inspires me to write. I could probably start an entire blog, updated hourly, with things that annoy me. Someone else out there probably already has though. Alas. Maybe I should post some happier tidings. That's it, from now on (or at least today), I will try to counter balance my irritation with something positive that exists in the world. That's an easy enough concession.

Today's Annoyance: Next door neighbors in your apt complex, who are nice, but decide to hang pictures on the wall they share with your bedroom. At 8:00 in the morning, when you're pretty sure you wanted to sleep in.

Who hangs pictures at 8:00 in the morning! And she must have been doing a serious collage because it went on for 40 minutes!! They're nice, don't get me wrong,  but there's part of me that thinks I need to hang some pictures too, at 2:00 am.

We have weird neighbors, for the record, on all sides. There's the new couple upstairs with a dog who are frightfully unfriendly. Or our downstairs neighbor, an older lady who will talk to you until you're emaciated and near death, should you stop for a split second to listen. Our other upstairs neighbors we occasionally hang out with, although then I get the pleasant task of cleaning up the vomit she passed out in when the drink flows a little too liberally...

My favorites are the other girls that live below us, who never leave their house except to work. And they have to work. How else can they afford the constant stream of Target and Amazon boxes that arrive at their house? I'm not joking either; every single day there is a new stack of 5-6 boxes dropped on their doorstep. Where do they put it all? I imagine maybe it's clothing, but truthfully, have no idea what they could still be ordering at this point.  Perhaps they just ask for one of everything.

And now you know about our neighbors. Won't you be my neighbor?


As a child, I think I was too innocent to notice how creepy King Friday is. Just as a thought.

Okay. Enough negativity.  Now for a positive aspect of our world...

Frozen Margaritas!


A universe that came up with these can't be all bad, right? And even if it is, just load yourself up on these babies and you won't have to think about it.

12 November 2008

Marriage Potentially De-sanctified!

My friend Julie wrote a blog entry a while back about gay marriage and Prop 8 in California. Personally I think Prop 8 will one day be removed, as attitudes for social justice continue to improve and all the religious fear-mongers are drowned by the voice of reason. Hopefully it isn't that far off.

In the meantime, I find the argument that the church and many "moralists" use a pretty weak crutch. The idea that allowing gays to marry someone they love is "destroying the sanctity of marriage" is completely absurd. Straight people have destroyed the sanctity of marriage for ages, not to mention marriage hasn't always been such a celebrated union between two willing people. Where was the sanctity in all the political marriages, slave-wives of conquered nations, or harems of days gone by? The notion that it has always been some lofty and beautiful thing is not true. And to be honest, I know some downright ugly marriages existing today. Let's face it, gays and lesbians marrying is just a threat to the patriarchal system we've had in place since the dawn of men-as-insecure-animals.

And really, if me marrying a man threatens your marriage, you've got bigger problems in your relationship to work out.

Anyway, there is an older Onion article (god bless the Onion) which I think parodies the irrational thinking of so many people on this subject. Since its hard to find, I'll just present the thing here, in my blog:

Massachusetts Supreme Court Orders All Citizens to Gay Marry
Feb 25, 2004
From The Onion

February 25, 2004-Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 5-2 Monday in favor of full, equal, and mandatory gay marriages for all citizens. The order nullifies all pre-existing heterosexual marriages and lays the groundwork for the 2.4 million compulsory same-sex marriages that will take place in the state by May 15.

"As we are all aware, it's simply not possible for gay marriage and heterosexual marriage to co-exist," Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall said. "Our ruling in November was just the first step toward creating an all-gay Massachusetts."

Marshall added: "Since the allowance of gay marriage undermines heterosexual unions, we decided to work a few steps ahead and strike down opposite-sex unions altogether."

Marshall said the court's action will put a swift end to the mounting debate.

"Instead of spending months or even years volleying this thing back and forth, we thought we might as well just cut to the eventual outcome of our decision to allow gay marriages," Marshall said. "Clearly, this is where this all was headed anyway."

The justices then congratulated the state's 4.8 million marriage-age residents on their legally mandated engagements.

The court issued the surprise order in response to a query from the Massachusetts Senate over whether Vermont-style civil unions, which convey the state-sanctioned benefits of marriage but not the title, are constitutional.

"If the history of our nation has demonstrated anything, it's that separate is never equal," Marshall said. "Therefore, any measure short of dismantling conventional matrimony and mandating the immediate homosexual marriage of all residents of Massachusetts would dishonor same-sex unions. I'm confident that this measure will be seen by all right-thinking people as the only solution to our state's, and indeed America's, ongoing marriage controversy."

Marshall then announced her engagement to Holyoke kindergarten teacher Betsy Peterson, a pairing that had been randomly generated by computers in the census office earlier that day.

Those who don't choose to marry in private will be married in concurrent mass ceremonies at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, and the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. Any citizen who is not gay-married or is still in an illegal heterosexual relationship after that date will be arrested and tried for non-support.

Hundreds of confused but vocal protesters lined the street outside the statehouse Monday night, waving both American and rainbow flags. Their chants, which broke out in pockets up and down the street, included, "Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia's got to go, but frankly, this is fucked up" and "Adam and Eve or Adam and Steve, but not Adam and Some Random Guy." Others held signs that read, "On Second Thought, Boston Christians Are Willing To Consider A Compromise."

According to police reports, demonstrators were vocal but orderly.

"The unholy union of people of the same gender destroys the only type of romantic love sanctioned by Our Lord in Heaven: the love between a man and a woman," 54-year-old protester Rose Shoults said. "Me and my new partner Helene are going to fry in hell."

The much-anticipated order sets the stage for Massachusetts' upcoming constitutional convention, where the state legislature will consider an amendment to legally define marriage as a union between two members of the same gender. Without the order, Rep. Michael Festa said the vote, and his personally dreaded wedding to House Speaker and longtime political opponent Thomas Finneran, would be delayed.

"This is a victory, not only for our state, but for America," Festa said. "Simply allowing consenting gay adults the same rights as heterosexuals was never the point. By forcing everyone in the state into a gay marriage, we're setting the stage for our more pressing hidden agendas: mandatory sodomy and, in due time, the legalization of bestiality and pedophilia."

Massachusetts has one of the highest concentrations of gay households in the country, at 1.3 percent, according to the 2000 census. Under the new laws, the figure is expected to increase by approximately 98.7 percentage points.

11 November 2008

Compare and Contrast

I just finished watching Semper Fi, again.

For some reason it hasn't made it to DVD yet, but luckily as a Showtime production they keep throwing it randomly around on their station. I encourage you to watch it, though that could prove difficult without said channel.

Semper Fi is a documentary on Jeff Keys, a marine and all-american good ol' boy who just happens to be gay. Its a fascinating look about his life, and particularly his service in Iraq. There's a lot to the piece. Its filled to the brim with Keys thoughts and observations, both in journal and video form, about patriotism, politics, love, humanity and what it means to be different. It mixes well the course our country is on, our social progress and the firsthand account of how people are affected by our nation - both those invaded by it and those who call it home. I highly recommend it.


But that's not the main point I wanted to make. I was flipping around the channels and stumbled on another program - one I've heard so much about and until this point hadn't witnessed. That's right, I discovered the incredible Paris Hilton My New BFF. Just in case you haven't heard about this, Paris Hilton is apparently friendless and seeing money to be made, has her own reality show to find her a new friend. Seriously. I could take four minutes of this before I wanted to drill my eyes out.


I flipped back to Semper Fi and was struck by a contrast so enormous, I couldn't believe it. Here was an ex-Marine, who eventually left because of a prejudiced policy, discussing the unraveling of another country, humanizing the effects of war, the difficulties of being a patriotic in a society and government that reject you, and the common denominators of all mankind, from any part of the world.

Compare that with Paris, who was spouting that she was sorry, but she could only have one BFF and this girl just couldn't be it.

Seriously. Doesn't it boggle anyone's mind that there are so many more important things going on in this world than Paris Hilton and all she represents? There's nothing wrong with entertainment - and I personally believe that art can coexist with entertainment. But the fact that everyone talks about this show, and is so interested in it also tells me that we''ve lost our way.
We let the promise of money, shiny lights and power distract us from the problems that can't be solved with greed, fame or control. We're selfish, umotivated and don't want our comfortable lifestyles interrupted by things that aren't. Mindless, shallow entertainment like Paris Hilton's friendship status helps us forget exactly that.

I hope all countries are as great as this one.

06 November 2008

Much Too Much!

I'm drowning here. At least, it sure seems that way, in all the creative energy that has exploded lately. I think its time we play "What does Peter do with his leisure time?"

Let's start with this though: I hate my job. Just for the record, should you know of a job opening which involves a more satisfying and creative output than my current one, please let me know. I'm desperate.

Because I hate my job, I spend my free time in pursuits I like to refer to as "projects." I have a lot of projects, and I'm not kidding here. Too many that I'm trying to accomplish right now. And currently I think I'm sinking. I know this isn't perhaps interesting to you viewers out there (if there are any), but it is on my mind and I'm freaking out. Here's a small list, with pictures!

NaNoWriMo - quite possibly the lead weight around my ankle. I've been wanting to write a book for years now, and have the plotline mapped and everything. Its a guilty pleasure, a fantasy novel that I've constructed out of anger to the conventional fantasy running around, though mostly its birth came from some cool ideas I've worked through for far too long. It needs to be on paper. I thought this would be a good way to start it, and instead it is reminding me that perfection is unattainable when one is supposed to write 50,000 words in a month.


Costuming - I enjoy costuming. Check my facebook, myspace, or cosplay for the pictures of things I've done. Currently I'm working on:

- Judge Gabranth: a character with imposing armor from Final Fantasy XII, I couldn't help but want to make him. Some of my homies joined the fray to create some of the other characters (and collect the whole set!), but as of yet, none of us have finished. Mine is a seriously complicated fusing of sintra, leather, liquid plastics and mold-making. It'll be great. Someday.

Here's what I'm going for:

Here's where I'm at. Actually I'm farther than this, but this is the most informative picture.

- Black Mage: I got lucky enough to have an awesome costuming class in which we build chain mail, screenprint, and all sorts of random stuff. In a failed attempt to finish a halloween costume a week before, I decided a black mage from an old school game would be easy, and started making the wizard hat in class. The robes and all that have yet to come, but currently the hat is on its way and looking fantastic.


- Jacket: Screenprinting took off with me. Its really fun and has all sorts of potentials. So I dreamt up jacket and decided to make it. I drafted the pattern, created all the designs to be screenprinted onto it, and with my brother's help at his screen printing facilities, am making an awesome jacket. Here's the progress thus far:


-Designing costumes for Short Experimental Film (to be shot next semester)
-Create the latex mask from the negative I've already cast of the Valtiel face I sculpted. Don't ask.
-Finishing the Riddler Jacket
-Adding matching boot covers to the gauntlets and photographing the Ringwraith outfit

Screenplay: Its called Phoenix, it's on it's third draft, and it's a dark film my mother would never go see. I guess being raised on a steady diet of Disney and Anne of Green Gables does that to you.

Short Horror Film: Not totally updated, but we're near completion. You can at least get the back info on this from the SHit Blog, in my links.


Her Majesty's Secret Raisin Service: My roomie Amanda and I dabble in the exciting world of music. Surprisingly, it takes us longer to write songs than they show on television shows about music artists. In TV world a multi-platinum song can be whipped out in fifteen minutes, start to release party finish. Turns out in real life, its a lot harder. While our music tends to have a surreal element to it, and play with all sorts of ridiculous styles and transitions, we're getting better and you can expect that if not for Christmas, sometime in the next year you'll get a copy. And you'll love it. That is, if you want one. And you probably don't.

Murder Mysteries: I've fallen off the band wagon. I have three different ones, with three different formats I've been kicking around and want to pull out the stops with production on one for my birthday this coming year. Its a good year for murder, I think. The others were a success but I want to keep improving!


Oh and lest you think I've forgotten the documentary of the previous games, I haven't. Its in various stages of completion on my computer. The editing is a bit tough and there's far too much footage of the interviews I did to wade through. Alas... such is the price.

This is a partial list - the top of my list, list, and unfortunately not exhaustive. Its just that I have so much I want to be doing. Instead of writing this blog, for example. So if I'm slow at updating it, I apologize. Maybe I'll have more time when I quit my job and spend the next 2-3 months doing nothing but skiing and playing video games. Sounds like an ideal set up to me.