Friday, May 31, 2013

The Crucible

This morning (Wednesday) was not the best feeling I'd ever had. It was the case of waking up and realising that what you needed was at least another six hours of sleep and a week off. But I don't have either of those things on hand, so I made the foulest coffee in the world and headed to uni.

It wasn't until I arrived at Fibres, and pulled the door open, that I realised that this week was probably the Crucible of Directed Studies.

The Crucible is a term used in writing, but it's also a physical object. And a book, but that wasn't something I had to do for school, so I didn't read it.

So yeah. A real-life crucible is a ceramic pot, and you use it for heating things to get a reaction. When used in writing, a crucible is a situation where the conflict comes to a head, and the darkest hour of the hero's trial comes to pass. The crucible refers to that moment when the change takes place, and something arises out of the ashes of the fire that devastated the situation.

Life isn't a novel, but I'm sick of things feeling worse off with uni work. It's nearly the end, and I'm actually losing track of days because they're all just bleeding into each other. Night and day aren't really clearly marked out, even by the sun. There's too much work to be able to rest for very long. And there's too much going on to be able to even stop and think about trying to get a grip on circumstances.

But. Things have to keep going. I know I can't kick off and up until I hit bottom. But the coffee I had this morning has had to have been part of that. It was possibly the foulest coffee I've had all year.

I'm going to keep digressing on process for a moment, because I have another scene from a book in my head. I'll tell you about it at the end of the post.

This week's progress:

I finished the thigh plates. This brings the number of pieces I have left to finish to two, which is a big encouragement. It was big enough of an encouragement that I tried everything on as soon as the glue cooled on Wednesday night. And that's kind of big because I properly burned my fingers. Blisters and stuff. And fatigue, and doing more of the business of cutting folds the wrong way.

Not all fun. This is the part where we wear thin and burn brightest. Of course, it's easiest to burn bright when there isn't much to be opaque with.

"Quick, imagine someone pinched your undies"
was literally what Bec said moments before
she took the photo. It's one of my peeves.


Um, on Tuesday, I had enough hemoglobin in my system to donate blood. Which means a bit considering I'm usually anemic.

And some other time during the week, I can't remember when, I was told I had good chopstick etiquette.

What else?

So, my current challenges with Directed Studies are thus:

Get to the networking with the airbrush that I know is at university. I contacted the person I needed to about it, and he was 'yeah, come in and see it and make friends with it. I'll be in on Tuesday'
I read this info on Tuesday night, and immediately cursed my not-checking-the-mail-earlier-business.

Finish Tex, and explain the full extent of the concept and why it is I picked her (aside from the 'hey, let's make Spartan armour). This has spoilers for the character in it, so I'll put that at the beginning of a post or something.

Start and finish Sheik. I'm hoping to use as much of the current patterns I have for that one, and modify everything else. I have better skills this time as opposed to last time I made the outfit, but this one should be a sight more difficult also. Still confident I can do it in two weeks with little sleep. Pretty sure I'll still be taking the sewing stuff from home back to Newie though.

Get some photos of Tex, possibly in situ or something. I talked with my supervisor about photos, and she suggested booking the studio at uni, and then I mentioned that I'd actually like to take photos outside. I mean, studio photos with a cosplay look good, but photos in the open air, or in an area that correctly corresponds to the world of the character is really a lot better. It completes the motion of moving the character from the world of fiction into reality, transcribing the motion. Whatever. I'll just sit here and hope it makes sense; I'm enjoying the chill feeling of a good ginger beer and mulling over the two movies I just finished - Looper and Ice Age 4.

Significantly different kinds of movie.

And I mean, I'm kind of glad I ended up watching Looper. I initially read the premise and was like 'aw heck, now I'm not going to be able to release Shift for another ten years'

Shift was a novel I wrote in 2011 for National Novel Writing Month. It needs rewriting and fleshing out, and I've kind of got a whole other story arc planned out for Alexander, the secondary character (what makes him decide to go and save the main character, Caspian, in the first place. That one isn't spoilers. It's first chapter stuff.)

But the big themes that floated around were kind of similar. How exactly, I don't want to expand on, because spoilers and stuff, but there's time travel, and mobs, and touch screens and people.

But in the end, the plots are totally different. Not a stack, but enough that they could probably actually exist in the same universe while being totally unrelated.

And just thinking on the side, like, I could see Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing, maybe if he was more restrained as in Inception, and didn't have Bruce Willis' nose. And was blonde or something. Alex is blonde. Maybe if I had the time travelling devices used in the book, I'd actually go and pick Edward Speleers or something. And I dunno. Now I'm trying to think of who I'd cast as Caspian instead of writing a blog. Jeremy Renner? Hahahahaha. Yeah, that's not actually a bad idea.

The man with no memory

The time-traveller
And I can't think of who I'd cast as the female lead. Someone less well-known. Or Emily Browning or something. This all works out, there's time travel.

Except that it's written as a novel, not a movie, and it's not a screenplay, and I don't have the resources to cast people like Jeremy Renner or Ed Speleers or whoever else into a movie of my story.

Moving right along.

What else of this week?

I felted an owl for a friend's baby shower that's happening tomorrow, which is also why I've gone back to my folks' place for the weekend.

It's the one in the middle. Moot and Nee-san came along for
reference sources.

And then I go home, and there's all of this going down:

3500 word art theory essay (due Thursday)
polishing the blog for my Titanic of an art course, Professional Practice
Finishing Tex
Starting Sheik
Getting photos of both, as much as I can
working out the fine details for directed studies supplementary material
finishing the armour for my Fibres project
finishing the other thing for Fibres (I think it's going to be called Testify, or something)
finishing the documentation for Fibres in general

Directed Studies gets assessed on the 19th of June

Fibres will be on the 24th.

And then I will sleep.


So, as mentioned earlier (I think?) I've gone back to my folks place for the weekend. This was primarily for a friend's baby shower, but also a bit of an escape from Newie, and the bit where I had stuff for Tex that I could have got done here.

Back when I did dance, I had a pair of Jazz Boots. They're hard to describe, so photo:

Mine were a size too big, and I have non-existent arches in my feet, so they usually hurt a bit when dancing in them. Ballet for a year helped. But I need shoes to build the armour boots onto, and realised that they were perfect, because they were all black, and the way the shoe was built was ideal.

And then I remembered that they were probably still at the family house, and we'd just moved.
I've just spent the last hour or so poking around the potential boxes that could contain the mystical boots, but to no avail. I think Mum may have Op-Shopped them. And it's after 12 now, so there's no real ability for me to go poking about in the op shops to see if they're still there after a month.

This is a little frustrating, but I guess I'll just have to go looking for different shoes again. Which is a shame, because I was kind of keen on those boots in particular.

On the upside, we found a pair of my brother's cycling gloves that he never uses anymore, which didn't get thrown out. And they're coming back with me because I need gloves with detailing on the fingers. They're getting a wash first I think though. Stinky.

So yeah, that's kind of where things are. I'm now tossing up between trawling ebay for more jazz boots, or trawling op shops for shoes, or caving and getting some cheap sandshoes from Kmart, which have no height-granting abilities, no support and no detailing. But I'm running out of time, so I can't jettison the idea purely on aesthetics.




Oh. The thing I promised at the beginning.

There's this series of high fantasy novels I read or started reading in year eight of high school. And read all the way through high school, and they've only just finished, and I haven't read all of them, and they're the series where the author died before all of the books were written.

Anyway. The scene in my head is from the prequel to the series. It's called New Spring, and it's the shortest of all the books. If you want to read one of them, you could read that first. Or read The Eye of the World first, because that's where the story starts and I can't remember how much world explaining Robert Jordan skips out on in NS.

There's a scene in New Spring where Moiraine Damodred, the protagonist (and keystone character in the main series) is undergoing her final test to become a fully qualified mage (Aes Sedai). Part of the test involves  jumping into synthetic realities, and weaving a complex piece of magic in them while being put under severe stress. They do this multiple times.

There's a part in the test where the synthetic reality Moiraine is dropped into is a ballroom from the palace she grew up in. She starts the piece of magic, and then a stack of Orcs (Trollocs) start attacking her from all sides. Because one of the requirements of the test is that she keeps her cool at all times, she then has to figure out how to dispose of all the orcs before they can get to her. They appear one at a time at first, and she's able to dispatch them with fireballs, because she's a mage. And then more and more come and she'd end up failing the test if she were to stop the complex weave and panic and try to take out all of the orcs at once.

So she starts to dance.

Moiraine dances in the centre of the ballroom, which allows her to turn quickly, seeing the orcs as they come and react thusly with balls of flame, all the while maintaining the complex piece of magic required to advance from the stage.

And she does it. She's not allowed to bat an eyelid to the situation that is going on, but still manages to take down a room full of orcs by herself, all the while managing to work on the big project whose completion would allow her to advance. And then she finishes, bows the the imaginary partner she'd been dancing with, and keeps going through the trials, eventually succeeding and becoming a full-fledged mage (Aes Sedai, which means Servant of all in Old Tongue, FTR)

And all I'm saying is that currently, I feel like I'm in this situation. There's a buttload of things that need doing, and they keep piling on, and I can only take out as many as I can see, and I can't afford to lose my cool on this.

Let's dance.


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