Saturday, November 23, 2013

The frustration of Newton's First Law

Hey folks. Today I'm going to tell you about a state I often find myself in, and why I absolutely hate it.

Newton's laws, at a glance, can be summarised as this:

1. Things generally like to stay in whatever state they are in. (Still objects stay still, moving objects stay moving)

2. The harder you kick it, the faster it goes.

3. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction (which people use out of context to justify lashing back on things)

And something I often find myself doing is being stuck in the in-between state. It's kind of Newton's first law.

Imagine for a moment that you are floating in space. Sounds cool, eh?

Source: http://scottbee2.deviantart.com/art/Space-Core-meets-the-Death-Star-350730043


But you're floating in space, and there's nothing to act a force on you. This is all hypothetical, so imagine space with no gravity (like, none. No far-off planet to drift to, no sun to orbit around). You can't grab anything or touch anything, because there's nothing to push off from. Your space suit is totally contained, so the theory of being able to fart yourself across the void is also nullified. You're just stuck there, waiting for something to happen, unable to actually change any of your circumstances.

"This is less exciting than I was hoping for."


This is what I call the 'In Between', and I hate it. It makes me want to bang my head on things and shout and kick stuff but I can't because there's nothing to touch in the In Between, and nothing to change that circumstance.

I find myself in the In Between on days when I have nothing for the majority of the day and then one thing in the evening. I sit around and wait for that thing to happen, and nothing gets done because why would you bother? There's no time to get the thing done. You don't have enough time to invest in the thing before the other thing you have planned happens, so you don't use the In Between time constructively. You just sit there, pottering around, waiting for something to happen.

Last year, I did that for literally a week in the September holidays. I got back from Animania, and did nothing in the week between it and my 21st, because I had to leave Newie and travel home halfway through the week. It takes a lot of time and a lot of energy for me to hang out with people, so I usually need at least a day to mentally prepare for it, and if there isn't enough time like that to be prepared, then nothing happens.

And even an afternoon stuck in the In Between is enough to make me mad. I get to the end of the day, and look back, and realise that I did nothing with my day because I spent all my time waiting for something to happen. Imagine what it's like to be stuck in that void in space for weeks.

I end up in that space sometimes without noticing. I'll suddenly turn around, and there's nothing. Or it'll happen because I've finished one giant project and want to veg for a bit, and then I just stop. And can't start again.

Or, like right now, I won't be able to define my circumstances clearly. I won't know who I am, or what I'm doing, or where anyone else is or what they're up to, so I'll just float in my In Between space, perpetually confused but unable to get out of it because there's nothing to push off from.

So if you see me, and I'm looking confused and frustrated, but I can't tell you why, please define something to me. Something simple, or stupid. Something that can be made solid in the realm of space that I can either hang onto or push off from. Because otherwise I'm just sitting there, getting bored and feeling like I should be doing stuff when I can't.

And I'm of no use to anyone like that.

...

Sorry for the rant. It needed to be put out, and there it is, sitting out like Grumpy Cat on a bad morning with no coffee. I've got a long way to go to catch up with the novel and a dozen other things going on besides. I also finished Uni on Friday. Like, finished, finished. The end of the degree, finished. And as long as I didn't bung up anything this semester, they should be giving me the funny hat next year. I hope.



Gonna have to make something to wear to graduation.

Sneaky cosplay, here we come.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Me and the Hollow (Living Alone pt 2)

Hey folks. If you're a regular to the blog, you may have read the post I made about three weeks ago about the challenges I have involved with living by yourself. If you haven't read it, I might suggest hitting it up by clicking here. It'll help with understanding where I'm writing this from.

Also, I'm doing yet another post to do with hollows. Some days feel like maybe I should have renamed the blog to 'Gone Hollow' or something and just made it about Shirosaki. But leave my psychotic anime crush out of this; we're talking tonight over a tall shotglass of mead, about how I've learned to deal with things in my life that suck.

Sass. And psychotic. Brilliant combo.

It can kind of start with high school, the beginning of everyone's self confidence issues. Let's ignore the majority of it for now and I'll just put out that I was one of the nerdy ones. There were no nerdy girls in my classes. If you wanted the absolute nerdiest, there was Andrew and Christian and me. Andrew and Christian were best buds, and I eventually learned that people are difficult. So I copped slack for that. I also copped slack, or rather, didn't cop anything, because I was the plain one. It took a while for me to be noticed as a female by the lads, and very little went on there, so we'll skim over that too. In fact, in lieu of telling everyone how flipping awkward high school was for me, how about we just go with the obvious.

Brooke is short.

My Pop is tall. He has to duck under doorways, and I'm fairly sure I still stand below his shoulder. My Nan, and Grandma and Grandpa, are all short. In spite of 'tall' being a dominant genetic trait, I got the short end of the stick, so to speak. I stand at 5' 3"; the shortest in my nuclear family. It meant a few things.

It meant that I do enjoy climbing things more than other people.

It meant that I got used to looking up when talking to people.

It meant that when I started wearing my clompers (leather working shoes), which have like an inch heel on them, and then change back to flat shoes, I have to try and figure out why everyone is much taller.

It means that when I cook, I also get a workout, since getting stuff off the top cupboards usually means finding a chair or climbing onto the counter.

And it meant that sometime in recent years, I had to go "You know what? I'm short. Can't do much about it, so there's no point in getting hung up over it." It was like I had this mentality that one day went "Okay, deal with it."



And I did. Or had to. Or still am. Thankfully, people grow out of being jerks after high school, and teasing is rare and in jest. I've since learned that having a lower centre of gravity makes me more agile and it's easier for me to hit soft organs if I have to.

But that's not really the point of this post. No, the point of this post is me versus the voice that sits inside my head and heckles everything I do when it messes up, or when I take risks. Or when I do anything.

At the moment I'm cranky at it because I've got one particular hang up, and it's not dislodging nearly as quickly as I need it to. I've got everything due for uni in like two weeks. I don't have time for this.

But I digress. There's that heckler, and I hate her, and I know what she is.

She's me.

See, I think that's one of the hardest things when it comes to confronting your demons; recognising that they're a part of you. It's so much easier to blame their existence on your circumstances, or your upbringing, or your neighbour's cat, but that doesn't change the fact that they're inside your head, reading your thoughts like a newspaper left in the 'john.

And once you realise that that thing is a part of you, you have like, two or three options.

You can accept that it is part of you and be reconciled to it, moving on

You can accept that it is part of you and not be reconciled, leaving it behind

You can keep blaming it on the weather and wonder why it hasn't left yet.

And I've got things that have probably fit into all three categories.

The height thing I guess belongs to the first category. I try to chuck as many things into that avenue as possible, because the second option is a harder path to take.

The second path kind of only makes sense if you understand the human condition as a Christian does. We, as Christians, understand that we have a nature that will be told not to do a thing and immediately will go "I'M GOING TO DO THE THING!"
We call it the sinful nature and it's just that; that humans by nature follow the law of entropy and over time have really only gotten stacks better at being horrible to each other. We're corrupt.
There is hope for someone who talks to Jesus about it though; and I'm not talking about some kind of religious institution or works-based setup.

Religion is like...like spraying deodorant on a corpse. Or spraying deodorant all over your body when in fact you need a shower. It might cover up the stench for a little, but it doesn't fix the problem.

The assurance I have with accepting and not being reconciled to one of my demons comes from knowing that Jesus lets me leave that part of my nature behind. I don't have to keep doing evil. I have the option of doing good now, and even when I mess that bit up (because fallibility is something I excel in), I'm covered by the same grace that cleaned up my rank smell. So to speak.

The third type of dealing with problems in the mind, complete rejection, is something I've done before, and will do again, and something I see in a lot of people around me. It is blaming the problem on an external source.

And sometimes that blame is justified.

But it doesn't do away with the problem, to blame it on something else and then walk away as if everything is solved by that. Took me like a year and a half after my first breakup to learn that one. If the thing has had such an influence on you that it's now taken up residency inside your head, you need to sort that thing out. And I'm not sure how you can do that; the method of the sorting is different for everyone. But realising that at least part of the onus is on you to do something about it, kind of makes you own the problem and want to do something about it.

And sometimes you can't do anything about that problem. Sometimes it's a small problem that can't be fixed - like my height - or it's a big problem that can't be fixed. But you have to get to that point of realising that the problem can't be fixed, so you have to change your perspective on it.

"Okay, I'm short. I'll just learn to deal with it."

Doing battle with yourself is not as simple as just fighting, but that doesn't mean you can just run away.

And sometimes it hurts to look retrospectively at the monster that lives inside. It means coming to terms with your ugly side.

Not going to lie, I hate having to do it. I hate getting to the end of difficult nights, exhausted and burnt out over something small or stupid, being unable to let it go because of my stupid pride or selfishness, or because I haven't felt that feeling in so long that I absolutely do not want to let it go, despite the cold hard fact that it's actually the best thing for me to do at that point in time.

But facing off against that issue, and realising that it is part of me, is crucial. It takes the claws out of the argument, and for a split second the heckler has been bathed in a spotlight, completely identifiable, because that's how you make a heckler shut up.

And once I can name the demon, I can tell it where to shove its brilliant idea.



Now, I'll get back to novelling.

Yes, friends, National Novel Writing Month is upon us. I'm behind, but writing a story about islands in the sky, and a man who can see the suffering of others. He doesn't have a lot of fun, but I'm enjoying it.
It's called Skybound. Eventually coming to a theatre near you.

Brooke out.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The upsides and downsides to living by yourself

Okay.

I'd originally given this one a different title, but things worked out differently. Same as how I was all set to blog through the residency and then that kind of went to pot amid the fifteen other things I was so certain I could get done while I was there.

But let's try and chuck up another blog post. It's late, but I've only just taken off my shoes. The scent of my socks should keep me up for a bit.

For context, I moved out of my family house in 2010/2011 to head to Newie for uni. Because I am king of figuring accommodation, I moved down with a friend from home and we took up residence in a tiny granny flat owned by a family friend of mine. Bec and I shared this space for two and a half years, and we juggled all the things that come from living with people who are not your family, things like remembering to clean up, or explain why you do something the way you do.

The space we had was a little tight for two, but we managed. It was nice, if only from my end because I'm messy and Bec was forgiving.

And then in June Bec moved out into another sharehouse closer to the uni and everyone from unichurch - this place is out in southwest Newcastle and it takes half an hour to get most places. I carry odd things in my car because there's rarely a chance to go home and come back if I've forgotten something silly like a coat or sunscreen.

In a way, it was kind of handy, because I'd already gone nocturnal for assessments, and my mess was everywhere, so I didn't feel the pressure of having to tidy up.

And then I had a breakup and a car accident, and things started to get quiet.

I think I may have stabilised in the months since; at least I'd like to think that. I mean, there's upsides and there's downsides to living by yourself.

Of course, the landlord and his son still live upstairs (it's an odd arrangement), so pants are still important on days I'm home. (Pants will always be important, for the record.)

But I can do things like listen to whatever music I want and not have to check and see if the housemate is okay with four hours of Anberlin.

I can eat fish. For a cat lover, Bec was never very keen on the seafood business.

There's no one to complain about the mess, or who has to daily navigate it. That's probably a problem of mine that has surfaced from having a large family with plenty of eccentricities. I'm just used to being messy. I don't like it, but I'm used to it, and that's how ants happen.

If I stuff up the laundrey, it's my fault.

In fact, if I stuff up anything, it's kind of my fault.

Except for yesterday evening, when I arrived home and the landlord informed me that the washing machine didn't have the overflow pipe put into the drainpipe properly (he's replacing something in our shared laundrey) and as a result the laundrey flooded. So did my kitchen. I store things on the floor.



I sighed, and checked how much water was everywhere. Floor needed washing, I guess.

But I digress.

Living by yourself can seem like a lot of fun, but it also equates to a lot of frozen food, because cooking for one is one of the sadder and useless things that happens in life. Much cheaper to cook fifteen meals at once and alternate between green and yellow curry for three weeks. Although, there's other things that stem out of that too.

I guess the only and biggest disadvantage to living by myself has been...being left with the inside of my head.

Insert picture from Photomedia portrait exercises.
Credit to Ben Van Gessel

It's a weird place to be, and in the passing months, it's really only gotten weirder. It's kind of what happens when you don't have anyone to tell you that that kind of thinking is a bit weird and maybe you need to go outside for a bit. There's talking to self, and cackling, and don't get me started on the arguments.

But that's kind of a problem too.

As the eldest, my problem is that I measure success by comparison. If I'm doing better than average, I'm okay. (Weird logic, again). There's a bucket more of things that that thought is attached to, but it kind of equates to a voice in my head that is me, and calls me things like 'uselessface' because I don't have a job or career or spouse and everyone surely must have it together because they have those things. I bet they can get everything on their 'To do' lists done too.

And don't tell me that that's not how it works, because this is how my head works.

It's not a great place to be.

It's being mad at yourself for being so poorly disciplined, and being late for everything because of that lax in discipline, but at the same time being unable to do anything to make that better.

It's trying desperately to not get depressed over having social plans flop because it was your one shot at social interaction that week and everyone else must have just had better things to do.

It's not being able to write a blog post without chucking in self depreciating stuff and then trying to write it off as a joke.

heh.

It's over-analysing everything other people do and say because you've gotten used to not interacting with anybody and can't remember how people work.

"Is that guy trying to have a crack at me? I don't know. Don't be silly Brooke-akfjheprighptisuhprkh?"

It's going home to an empty house when you grew up in a home with five other people who were all noisier and less weird than you.

Except that it's not really an empty house. It's a house with very little to distract from that voice that reminds me of how hard I fail at life.

I guess living by yourself would probably be not as problematic if you were not me. Or didn't have to live inside my head.

Hmm.

On a brighter note, semester has started up again. I'm hoping it'll be too busy for me to go crazy. Crazier. After that, Brooke Gets A Job and Will Move Into A Sharehouse and Hopefully Will Be Able To Readjust To Normal People and Possibly Society As Well.

Either that or I'll go bush and turn into a feral wild girl with flat feet and hair that gets snagged on everything. Sounds grand.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Insert witty title here

So.

I'm working on a few different posts at the moment. Some are being written, some are still thoughts bouncing around the inside of my head. They're all kind of heavy topics though, so they're taking time. Time spent going 'do I write this or not? How do I convey what I want to talk about the clearest without sounding like a back-country redneck from whom nonsense is spouting?'

(The topics in the works are about rape culture, abortion and responsibility and my self-hate bouts. Nobody wants to talk about those with a muddled head)

So while trying to keep the blog up to date, without suddenly dumping three months of deep thinking on it, I thought that it's probably okay to talk about something light. Or interesting. Or mildly amusing.

Animania was last weekend.

Not the 21st; the 14th. I only went for the Saturday, and am due for a blog post about it. Owing to the briefness of the convention, the post will be similarly brief. But that's on hold too.

What else has been going down of late?

I've got a residency starting up on the 2nd of October. Opening night is the 3rd. Residencies are opportunities for the general public to get to interact with the artist, since the point of them is to have the artist set up their workspace in the gallery and then work on their stuff in the gallery. I think this will be good for my work, since the next best way to appreciate a cosplay aside from going to a convention and being familiar with the character is seeing the stuff being made. I'm also trying to get as many cosplayers that I already know to come on opening night dressed up. I'll be coming as Tex, if that makes it any more appealing.

Wait. Does it?

I promise I'm not going to beat anyone up.

So there's that. It's a bit of a challenge, because although I love it when people get to see my stuff, I always end up a bit bashful when it comes to standing next to it and going "HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT MY STUFF!!!"

I'm not great at self-promoting. I leave my signature on the back of the artwork, or in an inconspicuous spot. I guess that's why characters are fun. People get to see my work, but it's Rukia or Tex that they're talking to. I get to disappear.

But yeah. If you want to come to the event, it's at Watt Space Art Gallery in Newcastle Australia. If you're one of my overseas readers or you're not going to be able to visit, I'll try and keep the blog updated on shenanigans. The blog is supposed to be part of it, so there is that.

What else is going down?

I turn 22 on the weekend. It's weird, because I'm not ready to have another birthday. I've been too busy to organise a get-together, and I'm probably going to be in the middle of nowhere with my folks in any case. It kind of feels like....

...I dunno? I haven't had time or energy to get excited over it. Is this what being grown-up is like?

Or maybe that's just me. Could be just me getting mad at myself and not wanting to think about it - Mum got married at 22. It feels like I should be getting my life underway and I keep putting it off, or I haven't been able to yet and I'm trying hard but can only do one thing at a time and everyone else is getting married and has a job and is going on overseas trips and I'm...

THAT'S MATERIAL AND PROBLEMS THAT BELONG IN ANOTHER POST, BROOKE. LEAVE IT AND MOVE ON.

*sighs*

So yeah. There is that. I'm turning 22 and the state government reckons that means I'm financially independent and at the moment, all I really want to do is move into the house in My Neighbour Totoro and fly kites. And not have to do things like worry about the state of my teeth.

gah.

Wow. Are you enjoying this post? It must be fun, eh?

I'm sorry.


Have a cute animal picture.



What else is kind of worth blogging?

Talbot?

Okay. Talbot.

Because this is my last semester at uni, I'm trying to get good use out of the facilities there. Gonna be perfectly honest there - I love film photography, but there's only a couple months left when I'd be able to access a darkroom to do my own stuff.

So I made a pinhole camera to put the 8x10 film I have in.



It's a substantially large pinhole camera, so I named it Talbot.


I've since covered it/him with black bookbinders linen, so he looks mega classy.

Back when photography was getting onto its new and wibbly-wobbly legs, and getting slightly easier to cart around, there were two photographers who were prolific in the spread of 'street photography' - Henri Cartier-Bresson and Henry Fox Talbot. I named the camera after the guy that invented the calotype (a precursor to film negatives and one of the first processes that didn't involve mercury vapours to make a photo). (Fun fact for the day.)

I may end up doing a dedicated post on Talbot too (the camera) as I get the hang of working with it. In the meantime; have a look what what I've taken with it first.




Pinhole cameras are essentially a box with a tiny hole in it. They're as basic as cameras can get, but they're still kind of cool. They also have a massive depth-of-field, because the hole (aperture) is so small. (Case in point: a kit lens for an SLR might be able to go up to f22 - Talbot goes up to f423)



But yeah. More on Talbot later. I need to find a dentist. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nobody wins a poo-throwing fight



This is a phrase that I thought up at the start of the year, and now it's three days out from the Federal Election in Australia.

I thought now might be the best time to talk about it.

But, I kind of want to preface this blog post with something that my international readers probably need to know:

1. Australians don't often talk about politics
2. Australians are pretty good at slagging off at each other (badmouthing, talking down, slandering etc)
3. Did I mention that we don't talk about politics? At least, not in a coherent or polite way to people of the opposition. <sarcasm> No friendly discussions here! </sarcasm>

I have a few problems with politics in general, which is at least in part because one half of my family is staunch supporters for one political party, and the other half supports the other major party.

A couple years back, we had everyone at out house for Christmas lunch. The talk swung to politics for about 30 seconds before Dad vetoed it. Nice Christmas lunch doesn't need people arguing or getting sour about stuff.

I guess one of my problems is basically to do with Australian culture. We're pretty good at mouthing off to people, and we don't have a lot of respect for authority. I'm not necessarily talking about toeing the line there. I'm talking about actually respecting the political members responsible for looking after the country.


Yes, let's keep up to date on the election by playing a smartphone app that allows us to hit our politicians. Smooth.

Case in point.

And that kind of has its own type of reasoning: Australians live in a place that famously spends a lot of time trying to kill its visitors, or makes little sense. We don't trust a lot of promises made by the higher-ups because they frequently fall through.

But that's not the point of my argument. That's just giving us some context to work off, and therefore makes sense why the parodied Australia in Terry Pratchett's Diskworld series elects their Prime Minister and then immediately throws him in gaol.

My problem stemmed from heated discussion between the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader a while back, but it can very easily apply to a lot of things.

This is, that nobody wins a poo-throwing fight.

You can throw as much poo as you like, but the fact of the matter is that in order to throw it, you've still got to touch it.

So, dear political parties, when you want to pitch your spiel to me, don't start by telling me how much the other guy sucks.

In a group environment, anyone can suggest an idea. And then everyone else can contribute to that idea. Any third-rate can say that every idea sucks. If you want to move forward with the idea though, you have to have feedback. Constructive stuff is better.

The opposing sides of Parliament are designed to keep the other in check, but they could make each other better. At the moment everyone's looking like complete noobs.

And see? There's me, one of the mudders, with no interest in respecting anybody in power.

But I digress.

If you have an idea, or a political party has an idea, it should be able to stand on its own two feet without having to slag off the opposition. Otherwise it's like kicking in everyone else's sandcastle so yours looks the best. In that case, there is no longer a 'best sandcastle'. There is just a lot of kicked-in ones and a kicker-of-sandcastles.

Or a thrower-of-poo.

Slander on others does in fact reflect back on the type of person that the giver-of-slander is. And with all of the campaigns at the moment dissing everyone else, it's making me feel like I'm going to have to pick the least worst to vote for, as opposed to the best.

And I really wish I didn't have to do that.

But anyway. Please keep it in mind. Group projects, planning for the weekend with friends, having a fight, whatever. The moment someone sinks to slander, they might have successfully scored a hit on the opposition, but they've also sunk down to do that.

Rise above, my friends.

Rise above, my political leaders.

Because at the end of the poo-fight, someone has to clean up.

And it's not going to be me.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The last lesson my car taught me

Um, this is kind of weird to start writing about, but it's also important, and yeah. I'll start where I can and stop where I will.

This is one of the posts about my first car, and it was the last lesson that the Suzuki taught me.



I say 'last' because back in June, I broke it. Badly broke it. Like, it's not coming back, broke it.

And it was my fault.

I guess this means different levels of thing to different people. But we'd had that car since Hannam Vale (So, at least 2001), and Dad had looked after it. She went alright, and even when Dad bought a different car, he didn't sell the Suzy. It was lent to a couple of different people, and each driver added their own level of attachment to the vehicle. It was unregistered for a while, and Dad had people asking more than once, if he was planning to sell it, seeing as it had sat in our front yard, untouched, for a couple years. But he never did.

I first started regularly driving the Suzuki at the end of 2010, when I got a job that meant I needed to be driving a car that wasn't Mum's while she was at work. She was a tetchy thing to get used to driving, but we got on alright. The Suzuki was a 1989 Swift GTi model; built as a sports car. Highly strung; usually pretty difficult to drive if you weren't used to it. It'd be difficult to start in cold mornings, or on any morning, really.

Back at the start of uni, I took the Suzy to Newcastle. This was back when my housemate still lived in the house, and before she was able to drive, so I did driving for both of us frequently. Nothing bonds people and a car like losing it and thinking it was stolen in a car park.

And from there I gradually just got more and more attached to the car. She was difficult sometimes, because she was an old car, but Dad loved it and I loved it, and it was something of a family heirloom.

And then I did something stupid.

This was like a squire riding their father's warhorse out for the day and breaking its leg. It was like if Batman, still in his early days of being batman, through some fool maneuver, got Alfred killed.

I still have no idea whether or not I checked at the give way sign, but I was on a minor road of a T-intersection on a rainy day in Newcastle back in June, and I hit someone else.

Y'all can calm down a little; I didn't hurt anyone, and I emerged shell-shocked, but unscathed.

Shock erased anything I could remember of the event to prove that I had looked before entering the give way section, and the fallout of that was that I was in the wrong of the accident.

I had broken the car that was Dad's pretty, and my pretty, and Sam's pretty (Sam was one of the lads who'd driven the car in the interim years). I'd been told to look after it, and

and evidently I haven't gotten over all of this yet. Guilt takes time. The fault is still mine though, and I have a bit of a hangup over it.

So.

There was a lesson learned. Let me tell you it.

Grace.

Or rather, I began to appreciate grace a whole lot more.

See, I've known of and understood grace for a while. To a degree.

My Mum and Dad are both Christians, and they raised me and my siblings to understand the wonder that comes with having a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. But even from a young age, they taught me the value of grace. They're both like sixth-generation Salvation Army kids (Okay so Dad's only three generations, not sure about Mum). Well, they came from Salvation Army stock.

And I'm not up for debating a whole bunch of things right now, but when we left the Salvation Army, Mum made sure that I understood grace properly. That I understood that it's not the things we do that make us right; that following the laws wouldn't be enough to repair a broken relationship with God. We needed Jesus, and we needed to understand that he offered a way to get into a right relationship with God, without doing stuff.

That it was a gift.

That it was a grace.

And I'd known this for a long time. Been taught it for a long time.

But it wasn't until I was dealing with a written-off car, and being in the wrong, and trying to figure out whether my demerit points will carry over when I get my full license, that I realised the value of grace.

I think you can appreciate the value of something in one of two different ways.

You can understand how important it is when you come from not having it and then having it,
and you can understand how important it is when you have it and then it is taken away, or you have to deal with something without its aid.

That's not to say that I didn't want the law to be nullified - certainly not. If the law was nullified, then there'd be no justice. A world with no justice is a scary thought for me. We need justice. Without justice, things that go wrong get unpunished, victims are left to their broken lives and society, without stability, caves in.

Justice is important.

So I understood with incredible clarity why it was I was in the wrong over my accident. And why it was that someone had to be at fault. It's pretty rare that cars go and crash themselves.

It's just that I didn't want to be the one at fault. I wanted grace. I didn't want the law to be broken for my sake, but I also didn't want to be the one to have to deal with being in the wrong.

It was actually an incredible paradox, and at the same time a perfectly clear truth. Perfectly clear lesson. Painfully illustrated in screeching brakes and deformed metal, laid to rest clad in TARDIS blue.

...

It was painful to learn, and beautiful at the same time. And I hope that I never take the lesson of grace so for granted again that I have to learn this one over.

Grace abounded more when Dad found my new car; a Festiva. It's a gelding compared to the stallion that was the Swift, but I'm incredibly thankful for it. Not having wheels is something you can get around if you live in the middle of Newcastle, or if you have housemates with cars, but when you have neither of these things, even getting the groceries is a challenge.

Meet the incredibly tidy Daiko Bubbles. I'll be sure to post about it in the future. And about the Swift too.



But I think that's about as much talking as I can manage about the cars for now. I'll go back to aimlessly surfing the web in the art gallery, and listening to Explosions in the Sky.

Seriously. Go look them up if you like post-rock, or like forty minutes of absolutely radical instrumental music.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Updates: Final Semester, Glutton for Punishment, Future Cosplays and Life Lessons

So.

Somehow it's now the last day of July. And I've had my first day off for this week.

Uni started back on Monday, and with it came the challenge of waking up on time, and remembering to do things in the correct order to maintain sanity and other general things.

I've started my last semester - I finish studies in November, and hopefully the University will give me the funny hat early next year. With this then, is a slight bittersweet feeling. I mean, I've really loved uni, but at the same time, there's a bunch of things that I'll be glad to have done and dusted when I leave the realms of tertiary education.

And hopefully, I'll be able to get a job at the end of it. And move into a house that's a little warmer in the winter.

I've got a couple of blog posts in the works; these are kind of things that I've been mulling over the last month or so. There's two that are about my first car, and one that's about communication. I'm still trying to figure out how to say everything that I want to say in those, which is why they're not up yet.

Also, NaNo is coming up again in November. Which is still a little bit away, but I'm beginning to plan story stuff now, because then you can just write during the allocated time. I'm ML-ing for Newcastle along with another mate again this year, so it should be fun. If I can figure out how to navigate time properly, I'll also try and finish last year's novel before we get to November. I got to fifty thousand on it, but it's probably closer to an eighty or hundred-thousand word novel. I haven't even written the scene with the granting of the superpowers yet.

*sigh*

Anyway, most of the plot of this year's novel is already planned. The characters don't have names yet. The story is about apathy, I guess. The main character is really apathetic because -*statement redacted*

More on it soon. The story doesn't have a name yet. But it's about fate and apathy and the future and a bunch of other things. Redemption?

And a gypsy curse, unless I can think of a better way to phrase that bit. Carnies with superpowers or something.

So, what else is going down?

Today, I woke up late, courtesy of playing Princess Uno with friends last night until I'd punched into the 'confused zombie' phase of overtired.

Yesterday, I started on my sister's 18th birthday present. It's her birthday tomorrow. Not sure if it'll be done in time. :/

I also attended my first Alchemy class for the semester, and made a big piece of chalk art at the church hub/office.



Yeah, that's right. Alchemy.

It's funny, because when Bec the Housemate and I were looking at the Fine Art Program Handbook back in first year, we both saw Alchemy listed and laughed our heads off because 'what? Like the lead-into-gold business? I knew Fine Arts was going to be a bit out there, but they seriously teach Alchemy?'

Yeah, they do. Sorry to ruin it, but it's a photography subject. You learn to print photographs with technology that was used back in the 1840's. One of the first exercises that we're going to do is make a pseudo-daguerreotype. I'm going to henceforth refer to that word as 'D-type' because I can't spell it without aid of a spell-checker. D-type photographs were the first type of photograph made, and the process happened when you coated a silver plate with a bunch of chemicals, exposed it to light, and then exposed it to a bunch more chemicals. Including mercury gases. I think we might be skipping the mercury bit of the process.

First.

But D-types were insanely cool on a number of different levels. Firstly, they produced only a single positive from the process - unlike film photography, which creates a negative that can be printed from - so the end product was a complete one-off. Second, these photos were incredibly detailed, due to the nature of the light-sensitised metal; the surface was slow-reacting to the light, and could be compared with modern tech as having an ISO of less than ten.

(For my friends who aren't waist-deep in photography madness, ISO is light sensitivity. The higher the number, the more light sensitive. The trade off with having high ISO images is the grainy effect you usually see on cheap cameras)

So yeah. Alchemy looks like it'll be fun.

And I've got a substitute for Fibres this semester, but I've had her teach me before, and I actually get along with her better than my standard tutor, so this semester I'll actually want to do really well with Fibres. Which is good.

My theory course looks like a mix of philosophy and art, which should be interesting.

And I've got another photography elective on Friday.

So that's uni so far. I'm planning to make lace at some stage this semester, and I don't even know what else.

Wait.

Let me tell you about today's finding.

Animania is one of the conventions that I frequent. Case in point.
The big one is coming up in September, and I was of two minds about going, until I got an update about the event this morning.

The special guest is the Japanese voice actress for Kuchiki Rukia, of Bleach.

And you're all like 'blimey, not Bleach again'

At that point, something in me sighed, and something in me went nuts. Because I then should totally go, and get a signature or something, and dress as Rukia, but not her standard attire, because that's too simple and there'll be fifty million of them at the convention.

Truth be told, I already had a Rukia cosplay planned for some time in the future. I was actually planning to do it at a point in time where I wouldn't have long hair though, because wigs are getting more and more difficult for me. Something about having hair down to my butt.

Anyway. We'll work that out when we get there.

A week later...

Crap.

Okay, that's it. I've got gallery duty and I'm going to be here for the next five hours; posting will be done.

Also, I realised that all that post got incredibly detailed in a short amount of time. I apologise. If not careful, it's pretty easy to get stuck on the small details. A flaw of mine.

What was this week then?

I got very sick on Monday night. No idea why. Guts just decided to hit the 'purge' button and things got less and less fun after that. It's only today that my appetite has actually returned somewhat. Isotonic drinks in the meantime are the best.

I've also started patternmaking the outfit for Animania; I was supposed to get the fabric today, but for my amazing organisational skills. (Woo!)
Tomorrow.

I think there's a couple things I'm on edge about with the cosplay, and a couple of things I'm really, really happy about.

I dunno if I ever blogged about it before, but battle damaged characters are boss to cosplay.

I probably said something a while back about this too.


Why?

No hems. You can have something that's flowing and majestic and tattered as buckleys, and you don't have to sew hems on it. In fact, it actually looks better if you irregularly hack into the fabric with a pair of scissors. Authentic battle damage; stuff like that. Hems on giant flowing things are pretty nasty, so no hems make life better.

The outfit also looks really simple. I finished patternmaking it last night; the seams and stuff are all nice and neat.

Except for the collar.



Look at that thing.



LOOK AT IT.

It's like whoever designed this thing didn't even understand how clothes work. It was just 'oh, hey. This would look cool. Let's chuck this on here, and that on there, and whatever.'

*Throws chair*

It'll be done. Fortunately, Dark Rukia has been cosplayed before; so I can look at what other people have done in the past and figure out what I'm working on from there, but in the meantime it's a bit tricky.

Now, to away from this clunky update, and try and write something a little more coherent. I've got five hours left at the gallery. Plenty of time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Supanova and the return of Texas

So. Let's see how I go typing up a blog post with a bruised hand. Reverse snap is never kind to play, and more so if you happen to be a fine artist and you're playing aggressively against eight other people.



First, I want to apologise to everyone who's been regularly tuning in. I should have gotten this done earlier. The middle two weeks of June were the definition of madness for me, and I needed some time off to recover and rest. I may talk about a couple of those things later on, but that's really a blog post for another time.

Also, I tried typing up a post for Nova earlier, and it quickly turned into a play-by-play. Which is not incredibly interesting for everyone. I'll try my best not to dilly-dally.

OKAY. SUPANOVA EVERYONE.

I'd never been to a Supanova before. I'd done Main Animania twice before though, and basically assumed it would be the same, but a bit bigger and encapsulate a wider range of fandoms.

Now, let me tell you about what was right in that statement and what was insanely underestimated about that statement.

Have you been to Paddy's Markets before?

If you have, imagine what it would look like if you went to Paddy's and gave every fourth person a costume, and every second person a camera.

If you haven't been to Paddy's before, a music festival or any kind of crowd that after half an hour you feel over will suffice in the above situation.

Supanova had many many people. Too many people.

I guess that that part of my thinking considering that the first day I was at Nova, I was in the armour and therefore took up more physical space that a lot of other people didn't seem to think existed. Wait. That's a little confusing...

Brooke, how did the armour go in the long-awaited competition? Did you win?

Well.

The short answer is 'no'. The long answer goes something along the lines of 'I slept in and arrived after the prejudging check-in time closed'. Which goes to show that you should not try functioning on three hours of sleep and then expect that the next night you can get away with anything less than twelve hours sleep.

This was a little disappointing. I had planned everything for Supanova with the intent of entering Tex in the competition, and arrived late, dripping black ink everywhere and with my shoes already leaking.

That's something I didn't mention earlier. It rained pretty much all weekend at 'Nova, and I had to walk a kilometre from the place I was staying to the train station in the rain both ways.

And the ink I used to paint the armour, which I believe had 'waterproof' printed on the bottle, was not waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. I left little black puddles wherever I stopped on my way there and back.

But there were photos asked for. The first two were on the train, and those kind of mean a little more than photos taken at the convention. I mean, there's a much larger amount of people that go to conventions with their cameras, but the people on the train or wherever have no idea as per the occasion. They're just minding their own business, and you've popped into their world, oddly dressed and acting normal. They might not understand what you're doing, but they get to appreciate it nevertheless.

And let's not forget the rat-tailed 10-year-olds who waved to me and called me 'Master Chief' on the train. I waved back, because that's what you do when kids who understand at least part of what you're trying to be talk to you. I didn't have my helmet on, so there was no need to do the character business.

And thusly we arrived, soggy and putting black ink on everything, with one of my shoes already broken, at supanova. Don't assemble shoes with hot glue - you need stuff that bends.

The costume was well-received by everyone else, and I had a lot of people ask for photos. About 80% of those people kept calling me 'Master Chief' though. There was a great level of temptation to at one stage do the "My name is TEXAS" yell (Think that line from The Matrix) but, you know, my voice was kind of muffled by the helm, so there wouldn't have been much of a point. Would have fogged up the visor, and that would have been about it.

It was kind of cool that I had to actually tell people that I'd made the armour. There was black ink rubbing off here and there, so you could start to see green foam showing, but it was still rather cool that it was of high-enough workmanship to be mistaken at times for a store-bought Spartan.

There was a store-bought spartan there though - I saw a woman dressed in mjiolnir armour complete with battle damage and the correct shade of green. It was interesting seeing it up close, as I got to have a gander at the look and the feel of the licensed product. I didn't encounter her on the Saturday though, so we didn't get photos together.

Oh yeah, the photo business...

Let's go out on a limb here and I'll tell you what it means when you have a complete stranger ask you for your photo.

It means that your outfit impacted them enough to break the social convention of talking to a stranger, enough to ask to take a photographic record of your effort, alongside themselves, or taking a pose.

It is often a confirmation of the 'breaking down the fourth wall' business that I spent the last semester yabbering about, more so if they interact with you in a manner appropriate for your character.

I was only asked for one photo of me 'killing' someone else though. I put the lad in a headlock and then all was well again. But yeah. I got asked for a lot of photos. I'd be in the middle of having a conversation with someone, and someone else would tentatively approach me for a photo. I'd chuck on the helmet, pose, and get hit by five other requests. And then get about ten minutes to take the helm off for fresh air before the next photo.

So this was part of my Saturday. Something else that does happen with the photos is that social media lets a bunch of strangers put up photos that they've taken in a place where everyone else can see said photos too. So if your outfit's good enough, you might not need a camera for a convention - you just trawl facebook for the week after the convention and the photos that everyone else took of you show up.

I've done this before and been met with limited success. Considering that 1) I didn't have any pockets and 2) my point and shoot camera has vanished off the face of the planet, I was kind of relying on con photos for documentation of the suit and general reception.

Let me now post up the entirity of the photos I've found of Tex that were taken by other people.







Yep. That's all of them.

Oh, wait. I saved the best feedback for last.

Remember how I said 80% of people thought I was Master Chief?

This was kind of the highlight in terms of feedback I got from other people on Tex.



This tweet was sent by one of the guys manning the stall at 'Nova that sold Roosterteeth merch. Keep in mind that it's RT that created the Red vs Blue series. The guy at the stall recognised the character, and tweeted the photo he took to Kathleen Zuelch, the woman who voices Tex.

And the image was re-tweeted by the lady who voices Tex.

While there wasn't verbal feedback, getting a shout out from the voice actor of the character is about the coolest kind of feedback you can get.

The guy couldn't remember my Twitter handle, but it wasn't hard to find later on.

The rest of my day was spent taping the bits of armour back on, and being incredibly thankful for the hydration pack that I'd been able to borrow before heading out. I don't know how immediately obvious it is to the average joe, but a wetsuit gets pretty hot pretty quickly. Hydrate or get real dizzy real quickly. And yes, that happened.

What else would be worth mentioning about the day? There were many people, and many people I was trying to find that I now know because of conventions. I didn't find all of them, but also got pretty peopled out pretty quickly.

Oh. I bought a grifball!



It's a plushie tank mine.

The costumes were pretty incredible at Supanova, but I also think it was to a degree a wider range of the spectrum that I see at every other convention - there are always brilliant ones, and midrange ones, and ones that will get better in time. There were like fifty million Eleventh Doctors though.

Lots of TARDIS dresses, lots of Doctors. I get it, it's a cool outfit, and it's okay for you to love the series. But the only outfit I saw more than Matt Smith's Tweed-and-Fez was the Pikachu Onesie.

So many Pikachu onesies.

There should not be that many at a convention. My goodness gracious.

*shakes head, tries to not bump bruised finger*
I really hope this isn't broken. Silly paranoia.

OKAY, WHAT ELSE?

I stayed for the cosplay comp on Saturday, to see what the competition would have looked like.

It was pretty varied. Some were absolutely incredible. I would have been hard-pressed to match the best stuff, but not by much.
Next year, I guess. Animania is for anime; I can't enter Tex in the prejudging. Next year, with a gun and armour that doesn't fall apart or have ink pouring off it because of the ruddy weather. Or I'll just take the next planned thing.

It's probably my biggest problem with cosplay in general. I have this neverending list of things that I should be making at any given point in time. And the point in time when this list gets longer is usually when I'm in the middle to end stages of another costume.

So next year's big costume is probably going to have a shotgun that folds out into a scythe/sniper rifle combo.

Glutton for punishment.

Back to nova:
Sunday was a little more laid back. I took some edo-period clothing in and got to browse the stalls a little better. And remembered an umbrella. They make a big difference when you've got to walk a kilometre in the kind of rain that says 'I am not letting up, no matter how much you wish it'.

There was a stall for Weta workshop, which is better explained as the SFX group that made the costumes and paraphernalia for the Lord of the Rings movies, the Narnia movies, the Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, Avatar, District 9, and half a bajillion other things.

And when it was noticed that they had a panel that you could attend to see what they did and what they  were up to, I was like 'yes.'

And then I was like 'what does it take to get a job as a costume designer with Weta?'

And the guy at the stall was like 'send us a portfolio'

I think it would be equal parts exciting and freaky to get to work with Weta. On the one hand, it's a dream job for someone like me. On the other hand, they're based in NZ and I still get homesick if I don't go home at least once a term at the moment.

Mad industries that I want to work with, why you all outside of Australia?

Keep going, keep looking. Keep making.

So I guess that with looking at Supanova as a whole, I was a bit underwhelmed. Although I can kind of put those down to several factors:
The company I kept had me on edge the entire time
I'd not been ready for the kind of crowd
I took a huge cosplay while not being ready for the kind of crowd
Said cosplay had some major failures and I wasn't able to enter it in a competition I'd been winding up for the entire month prior
My shoes leaked on the Saturday and Sunday
I was overtired from finishing uni

Not sure if I'll go next year. I mean, I'm not ruling it out. I just wasn't prepared for what was going to be there.

Never underestimate how miserable wet feet can make you.

I guess these kind of feel like a little bit of a downer. There were some positives I guess. The tweet from Kathleen was one of those. Seeing an incredible amount of costumes was another. Weta was a third.

I had a lot of people ask about the armour, which was great. And I got to tell a few people about the blog too. Next time I should try for contact cards or something.

So yeah.

Next thing?

The Return of Texas




As mentioned earlier, the ink ran on the armour in the rain, which was a bit disappointing.
I also had some structural failures occur as well, some of which can be fixed, others of which I will just Improve so they don't break in the same way again.

Yesterday I took the armour out on the front lawn of my parents place and hosed as much of the ink that would come off as I could. And then wiped the helm down with a chux instead because it has batteries and lights inside it.

The idea at the moment with fixing the armour is to repair the foam that failed structurally, repaint the armour so it's uniform and won't get black everywhere when it gets wet, sew the velcro onto the wetsuit properly and fix up the vent holes and pretty much redo the entire shoe, because those suckers fell apart disappointingly fast.

And a gun. I want a gun. Although that is probably something I'll work on when I get back to Newie, since all said foam is in Newcastle and I'm not buying more unless I absolutely have to. There's three and a half full sheets in Newie. Enough to make half of the armour over again. At the moment I'm tossing up between building the assault rifle or the sniper rifle.

I think there's more things I can write on, but at the moment my decrease in typing speed is sufficiently getting to me. I'll leave you with the link for Weta's project list so you can see how cool they are,

a picture of Nathan Fillion holding a sniper rifle for no explainable reason



and the first trailer of the RWBY series, because it has my next planned big cosplayable character in it. It's a bit violent though, so do consider yourself warned.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Another note on dreaming

Okay, consider this the unrefined ramblings of someone with a thought and an argument. The post is not about speculation-dreams, but rather, that thing your brain does to pass time when you log off for a bit.

I don't remember my dreams very often, but when I do they're rarely everyday things. The last two NaNo novels I've written were based off dreams I'd had - for whatever reason being in the middle of some really weird scene, and then waking up and going

"what the actual heck"

Usually they're insanely vivid, and I can remember every detail. Or enough to write about them.

Last year's novel was about a character who gets inflicted with a virus, and nearly kills someone else because of it, and is only able to save them by giving them the virus as well.

Man that sounds weird when you phrase it like that. But that's the summary of that dream, and that scene was the fastest 2000 words I've ever written.

Come back to the present.

This morning was pleasant. It was just nice, and nice for a few different reasons. And then I woke up and had to deal with a reality where none of the things that made that scenario nice were present. It really just meant I had an odd taste in my mouth for the duration of the day, as well as one particular Anchor & Braille song stuck in my head.



It provoked thought. Would we be more satisfied with life if we didn't dream? I mean, my biggest problem with dreams is trying to deal with these two completely different worlds and how they're supposed to relate when I know one of them is just my brain having a spack so it's not real but it felt real at the time.



I guess that this is what happens when you spend too much of your waking hours reading and writing fiction. You start to live it, and get disappointed when it doesn't turn out that way.

Or whatever. I can deal with it not being real in the same way that I can deal with Aes Sedai, Shinigami and birdkids not being real. Draw the heck out of it and start making costumes.

It's the part where you have to master the two worlds and not act like the way you relate to that person or this person is different in any way from what it was like before the dream. I can deal with waking up and not being able to walk through walls - I do that all the time.

It's the people thing that gets me. Do I behave differently because of this spack-attack my brain had? Because the other party is going to get mighty confused if so. They've missed out on a whole chapter of 'what's going on at the moment' because my brain decided to fill that bit in.

Stupid brain.

Oh hey, let me tell you how else my brain is stupid.

Let's talk about memory.

My memory is weird. It's amazing at remembering things like the difference between Iceland and Greenland, why it is you shouldn't be selling lye water commercially, the extra language in the Wheel of Time series, and which Grammy awards ceremony the Gorillaz performed at.



2006. And oh-my-goodness-gracious-Murdoc-and-Madonna, you can stop watching halfway through.

And yet somehow I still manage to forget people's names. I'm useful for winning trivia nights, but pretty useless for everything else. My head records everything useless about my day, and stores it all.

Which is why I had difficulty particularly the last week, trying to remember crucial details about an event when I've had shock pretty much obliterate said details. Not being able to remember is my problem.

Although, that ends up being a paradox sometimes, since I've of late been desperately trying to remember the important things, and trying to cash in my useless memory ability. There's things that happen, and I get trapped inside my own head, trying to figure them out, when it feels like it'd be easier to forget everything and move on. Forget the useless details and remember the ones that matter.

Yeah, good luck.

So, sometimes when something is uuber important for me to remember, I'll write it down. But it's rare that I'll record everything. I hate recording everything. You tell me to write a journal and I'll immediately have my hackles up, because it's...it's...

Imagine this scene.

A library, vast and extensive, and a desk in the middle of it. The desk is completely covered in paper, stacked high in great piles. Paper stacks crowd around the desk, each like a small child wanting to be picked up by their mother next. There's no-one at the desk.
You begin to search the shelves, tentatively, for the person you seek. They're not at the desk. Your eye catches onto an odd sight nearby - a clerk's desk sitting next to the end of a shelf. There's a pen standing upright on an open, blank book. It's scribbling furiously in a script that is halfway between a cursive and a print, its writer absent. You read what it's scrawling out, and catch words like 'cold' and 'grey'.
"Odd place for you to be,"
You hear a voice, and caught off guard, spin around.
There's a girl. She's shorter than you, but it doesn't seem to register. Her hair, the colour of sunlight, hangs loose, long and wild. Her boots are scuffed but cared for, poking from the turnups of her faded blue jeans. Her top has some print on it, but you don't register the joke it's making because she's speaking again.
"Can I help you?"
You shiver and straighten your grey coat, suddenly registering what the book had been recording when you began observing the pen. You swallow, then stand up straight. You are here to offer Advice. It will be Beneficial and bring Order to this library which is in dire need of such help.
"Can I interest you in-"
The girl has already snatched the sheet of paper from your hand. She gives it a cursory glance, before turning and placing it carefully on the tallest pile of the desk in the centre of the room. She tilts her head, shakes it and returns to where you stand.
"Why do I need to provide an inventory of my library?" she asks, frowning.
You feel taken aback. This wasn't the answer you were expecting.
"Because...because it will help you stay organised?" you manage.
The girl turns, takes in the library in its entirity - the two-storey-high shelves, complete with sliding ladders. The stacks of loose books as tall as a man and four times that height in width.
The ink-stains, frayed rugs and overwhelming smell of old paper.
And then the girl turns back to you. You didn't see how or when it happened, but her attire has changed. Her hair is now bound back, and she is wearing a faded blue bomber jacket. Something in her face has changed too - more reserved, and a little sad.
"What makes you think my library needs organising? The book piles? The paper? The absence of any prior-installed regiment?"
You think carefully about what to say, but she begins to speak again.
"Have you tried to pin down memories before?"
You nod, hoping to inform the girl of the usefulness of said pinning.
"I don't like to do it more than I have to," she says quietly, "it's like taking a camera everywhere."
You stop nodding, puzzled.
"The problem with taking a camera everywhere," says the girl, "is that you can very quickly become obsessed with documenting the moment instead of just enjoying it. It becomes more important to have some tangible proof of your experience than to have that experience in the first place. And that's kind of sad.
My books, they all decay. Some do it faster than others, but the ink bleeds sometimes, or the paper gets crumpled. They're alive, see, and they all have a limited lifespan. I could try and inventory them, but that wouldn't make them any better or worse. The time I'd spend writing down the information on the outside of the book is time I could be spending inside the book, or I'd be so focused on documenting the book that I'd forget to spend time with it and it'd fall apart in my hands. My library might look disheveled, sir, but let me assure you, I know it. It is my library. Very little happens in it that I do not know of."
Behind her, you notice the paper piled on top of the desk. It is moving of its own accord, floating towards the girl. There is a rustling sound as the paper rearranges itself, although you can't discern what the rearrangement is until two great angel wings unfold from behind the girl.
"This is my world," the girl says again, "I know it well enough."
And then the floor of the library ceases to exist and you fall into the sky.

...

...

...

Okay. I got carried away with that last part. But anyway. You get creative writing out of me as well.


I got stuff to do.

*paper rustles*

Brooke out.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Retrospective: Breaking Down The Fourth Wall

Did I use that word correctly?
*googles*
...Okay. Yes. Good.

Now, with Mumford and Sons in my ears, and the rap from The Fresh Prince of Belair stuck in my head, lemme tell you about how my world got flipped, turned upside down...

Gah. Get a life, Will Smith.

This is kind of the wrap-up post for Directed Studies. It's due tomorrow, so there's that. There's probably going to be a post-script for the unit next week, because this weekend is Supanova and I think I should review how that goes for various reasons.

Okay.

At the beginning of semsester, when I kind of started wrapping my head around what Directed Studies was going to look like, I basically went "I would like to make costumes"

Subsequently, I planned out this sweeping grandeur of outfits, and had in my head that I was going to get four high-caliber costume out, in spite of the fact that on average I only have enough time and sanity and money to create on average one per year. And I was going to do all of this in a semester, plus some work experience.

Never let it be said that I don't have ambition at the start of a project.

Now, the thing that I didn't check or understand fully at the start of the project was the concept of time. See, I finished the first costume in good time, and then I had some delays getting the pattern sorted for the Halo armour. And the website that I was consulting about all of this had mentioned that it would take me about 300 hours to complete, but that didn't register in my head as a comprehensible amount of time when I first read it. I kind of just looked at it, and broke 300 hours down as 'two and a half weeks, working every day for eight hours'

You can't understand what kind of time that takes until you are in the middle of it. To my folly. The armour took so much longer than initially expected, that it effectively swallowed up my other two projects, and about fifty percent of the time I would have spent on another course. Probably more.

But. It's finished, and at least ready for marking tomorrow. I finished it yesterday morning, and immediately went out and got photos. Props to Micah for that. They look Spectacular.






I feel a little odd about it, because...well, because every time I go to make a cosplay, I hop on DeviantArt and check out what other people have done. They end up posting these absolutely radical, professional looking things, and when the photos were done, I was looking at something which had a caliber equal to those outfits. I was a little weirded out and chuffed at the same time.

So there's that.

Now you know what I planned to do, and what I actually did. Now lemme tell you about what I want to do next.

Supanova is this weekend. I'm planning to, after Tuesday, make a rifle for the outfit so I have somewhere to store my things while I'm walking around (No pockets for Tex. I'll just make the stock and cartridge hollow in the rifle and put my things in there). I also entered into the cosplay competition at Nova, because it's kind of worth seeing how my thing stacks up against everything else. I mean, I'm still expecting the mad freakout because everyone else in the advanced category will have radical stuff too. And I can't enter the novice category because I've been making costumes a while. I've just got to step up my game.

Also, I can't enter Tex in any Animania competition for cosplay, because she's not from an anime, manga or video game. Which is a pity but hey.

But there wasn't such stipulations for Nova. So I may as well see what I can do.

Now. Future stuff.

I'm still keen for an internship bout in the film industry. I just ran out of time for it in Directed Studies. I'm currently looking at options for taking some next semester. And by that I mean 'incredibly flat out, will start looking as soon as I can start working at normal times again'

Can I talk about that for a moment? Since Semester classes ended, I've pretty much been working until 2 or 3 in the morning, and then packing up and sleeping in. It's a weird method, but it works. Until your dad needs you to go and get an ignition coil from somewhere in Newie, and you've gotta get there at 8. Or you have an assessment date to meet on Monday at 10am. And you find it difficult waking up before 10.
Then you're in trouble.

*sighs*

I still want to get to make costumes for (probably) film. If I had the choice, I'd probably stick with the idea that The Beta Experiment was kind of looking at: That essentially, all of my projects are prototypes and they don't usually get past the Beta phase because I only make one-offs. I can think of next or exciting ways to make the things easier next time (So, I now have patterns for the armour if I ever want to make them again, and if I could, I would probably make them in fibreglass. Which would be easier to mass-produce, because I could just make one mould and cast from that.)
I love creating things, and I love designing things, and I can do either of those, but I have stacks of fun when I get to do both. So designing and prototyping my stuff is probably the best outlet at this point in time. I guess in a way I tend more towards the manufacture side of things though, because the cosplays are already determined in their aesthetic appearance. I just have to figure out how to make the ruddy things work. It's brilliant.

If I was better at maths, and had enough time to keep studying, I'd go do engineering or something.

*laughs manically*

So, how do I feel at the end of this shebangabang?

I think, in spite of the time-consuming-ness of the armour, I'm happy with it. I'm satisfied with everything that went in to the project, and I'm satisfied with how it turned out. I've got plans on tuning up both of the costumes that I made anyway, and will probably get onto them sometime in the near future.

(Invest in a morphsuit for the Hollow, so I never have to worry about paint flaking off)
(See if I can improve the mobility of the armour. Once everything is on, I no longer have the option of scratching my nose currently.)

I'm also really tired, because this course demanded a lot, and I gave a lot. But it was a good a lot.

In first year, I visited some friends who at the time lived out in the glasshouse mountain country in southern Queensland. One of the days we were out there (there was a few of us) we climbed one of the mountains; Mount Tibrogargan (best. name. ever.)
And it toasted me. I was so worn out by the time we got to the top. And then we saw the view.



And that made it completely worth it. Even if all we'd brought to eat were peanuts.

That's kind of what it's been like doing Directed Studies. I've had fun. I hope that everyone following the blog has had fun too.

...

This blog will, probably in the near future, go back to being my standard blog. I'll still end up writing heaps about making cosplays and stuff, but Directed Studies is just about finished, and so am I.

There's still a bit for me to get done before things are ready for tomorrow. I'll hop to it.

Brooke out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SOON

It's now Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

Imminent deadlines cause me to go nocturnal, for some reason. This is sometimes a good thing.

On Tuesday, I painted the armour. And then tonight, I painted the armour.

Tuesday was working with an airbrush, which meant that I got all of the armour done - probably the most constructive day I've had in relation to this whole project in a long while. And just now I've drybrushed on some silver to the edges of the pieces so the things look like they've been made outta metal.


Guess which genius lost the nice camera?


And it's 1 AM and I'm sitting here, sipping mulled wine and listening to Anberlin. If I didn't have so many deadlines, this would be a rather nice place to be.

Where to begin?

Okay, there's the paint. This afternoon I also did a spotlight run.

Can I just talk for a moment about how much I detest spotlight? I mean, it's a good place to go find stuff, and your odds of finding stuff to sew with are reasonable, but for me to go there is like for an electrical engineer to source parts for a build from Dick Smith.

Once upon a time, Spotlight would have been a good place to go buy everything. For the most part now though, they stock stuff for quilts, craft, making-your-own-formal-dress and little else.

Fortunately, I just had to buy velcro. So the armour can stick when I put it on. I forgot the glue that I'll need for the wetsuit, which means I have to go back tomorrow TT.TT

Yeah. The wetsuit, which I cannot remember if I mentioned earlier, is the suit that I'm building the armour off. I like the visual texture of neoprene and how it kind of looks like it could work as a real-life interpretation. I mean, the other options I had were standard/close cut clothing (too baggy) or a morph suit (not substantial enough).
So I was really always going to be using neoprene. If I could have built it from scratch, and cost wasn't an issue, I'd have used something much thinner, but hey. I have a steamer that's two sizes too small and that's what I'm using. I'm cutting panels into the suit to compensate for the small size and will cover them with mesh to avoid heatstroke and the dozen other things that can happen when you wear a long wetsuit for too long on a hot day.

I kind of wish I had a camelbak to fit into the thing. That would make the carrying of drinkable water easier. Anyway.

What's left?

I have to finish the paper side of things for Directed Studies - there's bits like techniques and artists I looked at and things I went to that I didn't mention in the blog, and they all need to be written out.

The wetsuit has to be vented, detailed and finished.

The armour needs some finishing things done to it - small details and sealing. Sticking the velcro in. I showed Dad the helm tonight over Skype and suddenly he's pretty keen to help me put some LEDs in it. Which is exciting and nice. That happens this weekend.

I need to go back and find all the bits for the Hollow so they can get presented on the 18th, which is assessment date.

And photos.

I chucked this up on facebook the other day, but it's worth sharing here because there are people who read the blog who don't have me on facebook.

Bec and I headed out to the industrial area behind Cardiff on Monday arvo, in search of a slightly urbanised yet desolated area that would be good for location photography. We've gone out to this area before - Bec's shot a video installation out there, and it's where we took photos of a storm a few months back. It's the kind of area that attracts hoons, something which the scattered rubbish and patina of black elevens on the bitumen can attest to. So we weren't really surprised to see a police car parked next to some purple souped-up thing about 800m from where we were.

I think the place was originally planned as housing, or maybe more industrial zoning, but there's nothing there but sealed roads. It's not uncommon to see L-platers around the area either. But yeah. The other cars were like the next street over but because there's no buildings, we still had line of sight.

I took some photos with my phone, for looking at later and assessing viability.





And then about fifteen minutes later, the police car ambled up next to my vehicle.

It's funny how even when you haven't been doing anything wrong, and you know you haven't been doing anything wrong, that a policeman with two giant German shepherds in the back of his car can make you feel a little nervous.

Anyway. He was headed over, and I could see him heading over - I was near the car, and in a position where 'can't walk off, he's seen me. Can't get in car, he's seen me.'. So I stuck my hands in my pockets awkwardly and waited.

The next five minutes was probably the most amusing I've had trying to explain some facet of cosplay to someone not familiar with it.

He asked what I was doing.

"Oh, just looking for a place to take photos of a costume,"

"What kind of costume?"

I paused. This was the easiest and hardest part to explain.

"Halo armour?"

It got a laugh. Thankfully, it seemed that the man knew about the video game.
Once he understood that I was looking for a place that would make for a good backdrop, he seemed satisfied, and went to go talk to another soupy-looking car that was parked a way down the road. The dogs barked madly as he left.

I guess I could understand the interest. It wasn't until later I realised that the dogs might have been for the smelling out of harmful substances, and from a bystanders view, we were a couple of girls who drove somewhere, hopped out and started looking at the ground and taking photos of it. I think there's a fenced-off mining area nearby too, so yeah. That was Monday's adventure.

I think maybe there's one more blog post I could try for before assessment date. It'll be a retrospective.

I may or may not have just entered the costume in the Cosplay prejudging competition at Supanova. Hopefully it'll go well. We'll have to see.