Date Archives November 2010

Evil will always prevail, because good is dumb.

Attention citizens: there is now a group of masked superheroes fighting crime in Seattle.

If ‘masked’ includes ski masks and ‘fighting crime’ includes taking golf clubs away from raving homeless men and then not being able to file a complaint because they don’t want to reveal their secret identities counts as acts of heroism, that is. They have their girlfriend drive their godmother’s Kia Fate around, looking for evildoers. One can only imagine that they meet back for cheetos, cocoa, and some wicked-tough rounds of Mario Kart at the Rain City Superhero Movement’s headquarters, aka, grandma’s basement. The names of these heroes? Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Penelope and Phoenix Jones the Guardian of Seattle.

However, what have we learned from movies, television, and comic books? Superheroes can’t just fight regular homeless-man-based crime. They need supervillains. I hereby proclaim myself one of those supervillains: Sassmachine, evildoer extraordinaire! My evil powers include aggressive driving and making inappropriate jokes that make everyone laugh and feel bad for doing so immediately afterward. I embody anti-Seattle. I won’t let you merge! I won’t wave you through a four way stop! If you’re an Ave rat taking your sweet time sauntering across the street when you KNOW I’m waiting to turn, I’ll mow your hipster ass down and snap you like a goddamned twig with my Ford Taurus assault vehicle! To demonstrate my total disregard for the rules of the road, I have been driving with one burned-out headlight for MONTHS and I will continue to do so–take that, heroes!

My partner in crime will be Waste Stream, a domestic eco-terrorist. He will perform his evil by scattering tracts hailing our evil deeds and talking smack about the superheroes, printed on virgin paper that has been laminated so it will never biodegrade, accompanied by the occasional half-eaten food product or lead-filled piece of broken electronics.

At this time, we also retain one executive villain assistant, who shouts obscenities at passers-by, points and laughs at the attempts of the heroes, and makes us coffee.

Pure. Evil.

We are accepting further applications for our League of Petty Evil, so if you would like to join, please let us know your name and a little bit about you to make sure your type of evil really meshes with the group. A picture would also help us further determine if you are League of Petty Evil material. As you can see, we have a pretty sweet lair going already.

150570_465319603939_1881689_n Coming soon: mini-fridge. Of evil.

To further demonstrate my qualifications as an evildoer, here I am on a chart among other known evildoers:

Once you’re on a chart, you know you’ve made the big leagues.

My first evil task was to set up a facebook page announcing my evil presence, and ‘liking’ the Rain City Superhero Movement. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before I am both hated and feared.

SnOMG! The individual doesn’t matter. It was a team effort, and I came up with the team idea–ME!

Why yes, that *is* hail bouncing off my office window!

Today, it snowed and then hailed and then snowed some more. Everyone else in the office ended up going home early–my boss offered to let me go saying that he didn’t want me to get trapped there, but the project manager had demanded package tracking numbers which I could not obtain until the late afternoon, so I stayed. At the end of the workday, I scraped the car clean, popped on the heater, drove two blocks, and my jaw dropped. Cars were way the hell backed up, and I prepped myself for a hell of a long ride home, even though I live quite close to work. As soon as I pulled onto a more main road, however, I realized there was a problem…the snow on the roads had melted a bit and re-frozen into a sheet of ice. As I made this realization, the car in front of me fishtailed, hit the curb, and then when it backed up, it nearly hit me.

I made an executive decision: turn into the next parking lot, drive back to work, leave the car there overnight and walk home.

This was the correct decision to make. I would have sat in traffic for a very long time, evidenced by me passing the car that had nearly hit me still sitting almost in the exact same spot in the time it took me to drive back to the office and then walk back. As I made my way up the hill over highway 167, I saw a group of three men helping to push cars up the hill, as so many were ineffectively spinning their tires. I decided to lend a hand, and spent the next hour and a half pushing cars, vans, and trucks up the hill, and even a goddamned semi out of an intersection. We also cleared a path for an ambulance! Along the way, we picked up more people–one woman who had just gotten back from Montana had a bunch of road salt in her truck so she stopped and started spreading salt out on the road in front of stuck vehicles. Another man showed up with a shovel and started digging people out. People in stalled cars further back hopped out and helped people who were farther up the hill. It felt really good to help these people out and be part of the solution, especially since I know I would have been part of the problem had I elected to continue the drive home.

After a while, traffic started to clear, and people were no longer having issues getting up that section of road, so I walked with the guys back up the hill–we parted ways at the hospital, as one of their wives was in the process of having a baby. I continued on my merry way home, simultaneously warm from all the running and pushing and yet cold to the bone, and still ended up pushing another car out of the hospital employee parking lot. I don’t envy those who have to drive anywhere right now, and tomorrow morning after the roads are freshly frozen again, I will envy people less, if that’s even possible. At least in the midwest when it’s so cold that cows freeze into solid blocks and mastadons start thinking about making a comeback, most everything is flat so you don’t have to contend with hills coated in sheets of ice.

This is going to be a nasty winter, and I’m not looking forward to it. If the roads are still this bad on Thursday and Friday, all signs point to me having Thanksgiving dinner at Shari’s diner instead of with friends, which is a thought that defies physics by both sucking and blowing at the same time. But I am thankful to have a little faith back in the general good nature of humanity and willingness to band together to help each other out.

A day with just the right amount of junk.

wedslabyrinth2

 

Yesterday, confusednazgul hosted a Labyrinth-watching party, to which I invited myself–a fairly bold/rude move on my part, given that we’d never actually met in person before. I was fairly certain, however, that she wasn’t going to up and murder me in a back room, and also I was promised crabcakes. Crabcakes and David Bowie Glitterjunk may well be THE enticement required to lure me just about anywhere.

One of my more useful not-so-superpowers is to be able to walk into a room of strangers and be able to strike up conversations, so while I didn’t know anyone going in, by the end of the day, we were cracking jokes and having impromptu raise-the-roof dance parties in the middle of the swankiest apartment building I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing firsthand. It was seriously swanky. In addition to the movie theater, it had a fancy coffee bar, media center, gathering room with a ridiculous amount of TVs, a central wine-storage location…even the bathroom mirrors had embedded TVs, in case you couldn’t bear to be away from one for a moment while washing your hands! Just to put it in perspective, in MY apartment complex, people keep fucking up the hot tub by adding soap and one of my neighbors decorated for Thanksgiving by writing ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ backward on her window in what appeared to be black magic marker. (Christ, I wish I had gotten a picture of it before it disappeared later that afternoon!)

After the movie, we took the party elevator up to the roof, petted the world’s tiniest puppy, and peered in the window of a four million dollar condo to watch a man playing World of Warcraft sans pants and debate about whether or not he was wearing boxers. After we each took a turn peeping at him with binoculars (hot DAMN one of these girls was a proper girlscout), we came to the general conclusion that some form of brief was present, though one partygoer insisted that she did indeed see some junk when he leaned back to stretch…so, in the fashion of the Tootsie Pop Mystery, we may never know.

 

An Open Letter to Starbucks

Dear Starbucks,

Why does the dancing snowman on my drink cup have a schlong? No, seriously, why does he have a schlong? It’s really hard to capture with my cell phone camera, but he’s practically doing a “worship my boner” dance. AND I WANT TO KNOW WHY.

Sincerely,

Mellzah Dildarian

Nom or Vom: Sausage…or in Wisconsin vernacular, sassage.

The Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast corndog–sasuages wrapped in maple-pancakes.

 

Poll #1642235 Nom or Vom: Sassage n cakes Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 70

Would you eat this?

View Answers NOM NOM NOM 38 (54.3%)

VOM VOM VOM 32 (45.7%)

What’s the appropriate dipping sauce for these babies?

View Answers maple syrup 31 (44.9%)

ketchup 1 (1.4%)

honey mustard 2 (2.9%)

ranch dressing 1 (1.4%)

gravy 4 (5.8%)

lard 5 (7.2%)

fuck you for making me contemplate this 25 (36.2%)

 

I love children, particularly their young supple organs.

My last couple of days at the haunt went really well, though on the next to last night, a truck rolled over on Maple Valley Highway RIGHT in front of the park, took out the lighted “Haunted house here!” sign, and boned up traffic for hours, so it was a VERY light night for both volunteers and customers. I ended up sticking around until the end and shot the shit with everyone about bad movies, and the lead artist told me about some of the disasterpieces he’d worked on, and some of the ridiculous offers he’d gotten from people who expected him to work for nothing. I mentioned some of the trouble I’d had with prosthetics so far, and he remembered and brought me THE book on prosthetics to look over, saying that the only place it (and every book on the subject thus far) was lacking was information on sculpting. I suppose because it moves into the realm of the subjective instead of the technical, it’s hard to teach, because there isn’t one RIGHT way to sculpt a nose, etc, but the topic should at least be given more than a paragraph out of an entire book, because otherwise the beginner doesn’t really know how to move past lifecasting. The three of us exchanged contact info, and I definitely plan to keep in touch.

The last night might as well have been called ‘Confessional’. One teenage girl confided in me about how much she desperately liked her friend’s brother but she was afraid that he didn’t know she was alive, even though he had seen her in a short dress! One little girl sat in my chair and gravely informed me that a looong time ago, when she was really little, she used to pick her nose and then eat it, but that she doesn’t do it anymore, unless she forgets and catches herself doing it, but that hardly ever happens.

And Michael Jackson? Michael Jackson was SHAMELESS. MJ: “So, I was wondering, when a guy takes a girl out on a date, how many of them do you think want to just get up and leave when she goes to the bathroom?” Mellzah: “Hmm. I think that depends on how the date is going, and if it’s a group date, because when girls go into the bathroom together, it can be a while and I could see losing patience and wanting to go.” MJ: “Well, when I take YOU on a date, you had better not bring your friends!” Mellzah: “ONE, I don’t plan on going to jail any time soon. Two, you could NOT afford me.” MJ: “What if I get a job?…Don’t you think I’m going to be the sexiest zombie out there tonight?”

ಠ_ಠ

Let’s just reiterate that for a second. A twelve year old. Was hoping I’d find him sexy.

Excuse me while I go die.

Swamp Witch: A Halloween Costume Retrospective

 

This was not my first costume choice; when I had started thinking about costumes back in September, I had originally settled on Medusa. I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go with the costume, because the story has been told so many different ways–that she was created a monster, that she was beautiful and was turned into a monster as punishment, that she is both beautiful and terrible to gaze upon–there were a few different ways I could take it. I also considered going in all white like a crumbling statue of Medusa.

I discussed it with a friend who said she didn’t know if I should go as the Quasimodo of the Greeks, we had a good laugh, and I ordered a wig and some bendable rubber snakes from ebay. I don’t know if you’re aware, but rubber snakes are one of those items you see EVERYWHERE until the day that you need some, in which case you will discover that no store you can think of sells them. No toy stores, no general goods stores with toy aisles, no dollar stores. I searched high and low and nary a rubber snake could be found, which is why I resorted to ebay. I figured if I couldn’t pick and choose the snakes in person, my best bet was to get something wired and bendable so I could make a proper headdress, as I don’t have the materials/talent to sculpt the sort of thing I was envisioning.

When the snakes arrived, disappointment didn’t even begin to describe how I felt. They may have been 24″ long (MAYBE) but they were very skinny and molded into a tightly-coiled shape. They weren’t wired or bendable in any fashion, and if they were pulled out of their coil shape, they looked ‘off’ and snapped back into place. I didn’t want to risk ordering something else and have it not live up to my expectations with time ticking away on the clock, and I knew that there was no way I could put these coiled snakes on my head without looking foolish, cheap, and like a half-assed, snakey Princess Leia. So, Medusa was scrapped. But what to do? I had already bought a non-returnable wig and didn’t much relish the idea of it going to waste, but none of my other ideas would work with it. Part of my problem was that I wanted something recognizable–it sucks going to a lot of work and having no one be able to guess what you’re supposed to be, which is why I have focused heavily on movie recreations/interpretations in the past–but I have also found that to be incredibly frustrating because there aren’t bodies like mine in films and if there are, schlubby comic relief characters NEVER get good costumes because they’re fat. So I stomped around, frustrated, for a week. My friend Kevin apologized to me no less than three times over the course of that week because he had encouraged me to go with Medusa over the other options I’d been considering and he felt like it was his fault that I was in costume fail territory already. I didn’t personally feel like there was blame or fault to be issued, except in the case of the lying liepants liarton ebay snakeoil sellers. I huffed out to have dinner one night, and on my drive, I continued to ponder my options. All at once, it hit me. I didn’t HAVE to do something that’s been done, I could create something of my own and run with it–see how well I could execute something that lived only in my head.

I decided on a swamp witch, something disgusting and foul and looked as if it might stink. The way I expanded on the idea was that the more this witch used her powers, the more she lost aspects of herself to the creatures around her, so I wanted to do patches of alligator skin, one alligator claw hand, and, in an ideal world where I could afford black sclera contacts, part of the face, at least around one eye, with a built-up brow and cheek. I don’t live in that world, so I skipped the face, and this is what I ended up with:

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As far as the makeup goes, I like how well the bags turned out under the eyes. To my eye, they are pretty convincing. I used a couple of cream shadows and a couple of different liner pencils and blended and layered–I feel like I nailed the highlight to make it look swollen. The dot bits I could take or leave. I didn’t have a point of reference for voodoo makeup and as a result, it’s just kind of meh, but I felt like the face would be too plain without it. I really, really should have made a cast of my hand. It would have made the whole thing look better, because there wouldn’t be missing patches on the fingers, visible edge lines along the knuckles, and the claws could have had a more natural starting place from the finger instead of sitting on top of the nail. However, with a cast, I was caught up on the idea of making the prosthetic appliance with GM foam as it’s light and breathable, and that wasn’t going to happen, as it turns out that GM foam gives off sulfurous fumes while it’s curing that leech into the oven and destroy it for food preparation, and while my almond-colored oven from the 70s probably does need to die in a stinky fashion, it wouldn’t be wise to kill something on which I rely so heavily for sustenance–if I had to switch to a raw diet, I might kill someone. Incidentally, this is also why I haven’t been able to do Dick Smith’s study-at-home makeup course, because I don’t have access to a ruinable oven.

Instead, I made the prosthetic appliances with thin layers of liquid latex brushed onto a mold made with apoxie sculpt.

The first mold I made, on the lower right, was a positive mold that churned out that piece of crap on the lower left. I hadn’t given the mold-making process as much thought as was warranted, and realized AS I was coating it in latex that the latex would fill the crevices and with enough layers, it would result in a flat appliance, not the bumpy one I was looking for. Crap in a handbasket. Once I peeled off Latex Disaster #1, I started on a new, negative mold (upper right) that would give me something closer to the results I wanted (upper left). I was still able to use Latex Disaster #1 to give the side of my hand/bottom of my wrist some texture, so it wasn’t a total waste. Once the latex was applied, I colored it with Ben Nye cream makeup and brushed some darker powder across the top to pick up the details and texture. Were I to do it again, I think I would go for a darker green than ‘Frankenstein’, but as it is, my makeup supply is low on greens and this worked well enough. The claws were made out of apoxie sculpt, painted with nail polish, and glued to fake nails which were glued on top of my natural nails. I had thought about doing claws that capped my fingers, and while I still think those would ultimately look better, my concern was that if they were tightly capped and bonded with my nails, that I would not be able to get them OFF and an alligator hand is inconvenient enough for ONE day, much less days and weeks until they eventually grow off. I didn’t realize how much I use my non-dominant hand until it becomes impossible to do things like type or text or open car doors or turn a steering wheel without getting a claw caught in the opposite sleeve, pulling at the natural nail which is SO painful…they did make a pretty awesome clicking sound when tapped, though.

As for the costume itself, I really winged it. I didn’t want to use a pattern, and I think that both helped and hindered me–I was able to make something that was really mine, but at the same time, I would move to a new portion of the costume and be daunted all over again about how I was going to accomplish it, which would cause me to procrastinate which makes creative problems WORSE, not better. I wandered around the fabric store until I found some materials that seemed right–some medium weight black burlap, some scale-print vinyl, some novelty halloween ‘rotted’ material, some gauze, and some muslin with an assload of dye. I wanted something that would be very textured, because in my opinion, the thing most lacking in purchased costumes is texture (and I get WHY it’s that way–expense would go up and people are cheap). I dyed the crap out of that muslin, with browns, blacks, greens, and grays, each not enough to coat the entire amount of fabric solidly, so I ended up with variations in color and tone that were really pleasing and gave it the gross, aged look I was going for. It is REALLY hard to capture on camera, but I promise that in person, it had depth.

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I started with the corset-y top–I did a layer of the snake vinyl under the rotted material–the holes in the rotted material alone would have otherwise rendered me indecent. Once that was done, I laced it onto my duct tape doppelganger and began work on the burlap underskirt. I wasn’t sure at first how I’d feel about burlap. It’s kind of scratchy and it smells funny. But once I got a skirt shape pinned on and began to pull threads and cut out sections and weather it, it felt almost more like sculpting with fabric than it did like sewing. Pull a thread here, and it ruches the skirt. Pull twenty threads here and it makes part of it look worn and threadbare without compromising structural integrity because burlap is so damn strong. It was at this time that I also decided to cover a pair of flats in burlap, because it would make the costume look complete to have shoes that match instead of assuming that no one would see the shoes anyway. Once the shoes were complete, I began work on the second layer of the skirt. After ripping and tearing at the hem, I felt like it didn’t look old/gross enough, AND it obscured a lot of the awesome things about the underskirt, so I began ripping at the whole thing in earnest. I discovered that staple removers are awesome for tearing holes and making runs in fabric, and after a while, the skirt looked a bit more like I had pictured it in my head. I planned the skirts to be high-waisted and hit about mid-calf, and it’s a damn good thing I did, but more on that later.

I was at this point the day before the Halloween party, with a shrug left to construct with two purposes–to cover bra straps, and to make the transition into the alligator hand seamless by hiding everything to the wrist. I was so exhausted after the last night at the haunt that I couldn’t focus to work on it, so I sent myself to bed and set my alarm for early in the morning so if, god forbid, there were problems with the costume, I’d have time to fix them before the party AND affix/makeup the appliances.

It was a damn good thing I got up at 3am to work on it. I’d mentioned earlier that my dress form was now bigger than my actual body, but I figured with the lacing I’d done up the sides that I wouldn’t have a problem, because the top was too small for the form, so it should be just right on me….right? No. Of course not. I wiggled the dress off my imitation duct tape Butt of Doom, slipped it on, tied up the sides…and the dress fell straight off, faster than a prom dress in June. Fuuuuuuuuuuudge, it was much, much too big. The way I fixed it was by bringing in the corset part, dropping it to be the waist portion, and making a whole new top with straps so I wouldn’t have to worry about popping out of it. Had I made the skirts longer than midcalf, this would have been a HUGE problem as they now barely grazed the floor and if I’d done them floor-length before, I would have had to chop off the bottoms of both skirts and re-weather them which would would have taken me a long time. Still, between fixing the top, making the shrug, and applying the makeup, I worked straight through from 3am up until it was time to go to the party…which means I burned out at the party fairly early on. By 10pm, I was dragging. By 10:30, I had made myself a deal that as soon as the costume contest was over, I would go straight home. By 11, I was thinking I should just leave because there was no way I was going to be a finalist ANYWAY, much less win anything, but I dragged so much at actually leaving that it got to be 11:45 and I figured if I didn’t wait the extra fifteen minutes and found out later I was a finalist, I’d be pissed at myself.

As it turns out, I was one of the three finalists in the ‘scariest’ category, and while I didn’t win it, I’m glad to have at least gotten some recognition for my work. Of course, now that it’s been worn once, I don’t know WTF to do with it. I don’t want to throw it away, but it’s doubtful that I’ll ever wear it again.

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