Category (f)Art

Next year, a new spin-off from ITV:

dogton abbey

Not going to lie, I would watch every episode of this. Cats stirring up trouble at the garden show? Sumptuous kibble feasts? Dogs in a variety of adorable costumes? I’m so in. Plus Lady Mary can still be a total bitch.

Stay Awhile and Listen: A Trip to Diablo Lake

I think we’re all familiar with the fact that Pinterest is full of subtle deceptions and outright lies. Occasionally, I forget, and earnestly believe something that I should be looking at with a more critical eye. Like, for example, this photo of Diablo Lake that I immediately re-pinned on my list of places to visit:

diablo lake lie

That’s a barrel of lies, right? But no, a little searching and the state confirmed Diablo’s unique color:

“Fine glacier sediment feeds into the lake through creeks, giving the water its brilliant turquoise luminosity.

The Diablo Dam, named from a Chinook word influenced by early Spanish explorers meaning “devil,” was once the world’s tallest dam, standing 389 feet tall.  Today, the uniquely colored waters of the lake are home to brown and rainbow trout.  The surrounding glaciers grind rocks into a fine powder that stays suspended in the lake reflecting an intense turquoise color.”

Intense turquoise color? I’m in, let’s go take a trip to this magical lake!

….oh.

While there might be a slight turquoise cast when the sun is hitting the lake directly, it mostly just looks like a lake. Until you photoshop the shit out of it, that is.

 

Oh wow, so breathtaking! But why stop there? Come see the amazing ever-changing multi-colored waters of Diablo Lake, the greatest all-natural wonder in the world!

the-amazing-rainbow-waters-of-diablo-lake

Save

Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good: Pinata Bash 2015

skarsgaard

I heard about the Pinata Bash about six months before the actual event date, which was plenty of time to make a killer pinata. Naturally, given six months to make it, I really only got started in earnest the week of the event, because time pressure makes me excel, or at the very least, gives me a primo excuse for not making something to the best of my abilities (“What did you expect, I put it together in ten minutes?“). I ultimately ended up making a dragon pinata primarily out of cardboard with a thin skin of paper mache, because I remembered all too well how quickly the last pinata I made was sliced in half.

The rules were as follows:

-Your pinata must contain a prize pocket

-The contents of the prize pocket can be anything so long as it’s not liquor, liquid, or potentially hazardous (but it was indicated that it would be ideal if you put in things that people would actually want)

-The pinata can’t be bigger than 5’x5′ or too heavy to lift with a rope and pulley

 

That was pretty much it! My dragon rolled in at just under five feet long, with jaws that snapped up and down when he moved, and was stuffed with seven pounds of atomic fireballs and chocolate coins. I was happy with my construction and my chances at snagging a prize until I got to Re-bar and realized that some people had worked way, way harder on theirs than I did and deserved the prizes way, way more than I did.

clash of the titansClash of the Titans

death starDeath Star

emoji twinsDancing Emoji Twins

ghostbuster pinataGhostbusters

kandi kidzKandi Kidz RaverBallz

romy michelle escape helicopterRomy and Michelle’s Escape Helicopter

smash the patriarchySmash the Patriarchy

sadzillaSadzilla

The first portion of the evening was the judging portion–the judges checked out all of the pinatas, made some initial notes, and then each builder was invited onstage to answer questions about their pinata. Seattle’s Mayor of Burlesque, Jo Jo Stiletto, wanted to know my dragon’s name, backstory, and magical powers, and I was suddenly thankful for all of the bullshit I make up on a regular basis, because while I walked into the club with a generic nameless dragon, I was able to come up with something on the spot. “He’s an…uh… Icelandic dragon who goes from house to house at night, breathing in his minty fresh breath through the windows. Whenever people wake up in the morning and say “Ooooh, it’s crisp!”, that’s him. His name is, uh, Skarsgård.”

After everyone talked about their creations, the judges conferred and selected the winners.

First place: Clash of the Titans. Obviously! This thing had light up eyes and the creators spent a full six months perfecting it.

Second place: Smash the Patriarchy. This one surprised me–sure, the name and concept were funny, but I would have pegged the death star or the ghostbusters ghost for this slot.

Third place: Ghostbusters. It even came with a proton pack smashing stick!

Last place: Sadzilla, where the only prize was a hug from the judges. They were openly cruel to this girl, not just about her pinata, but about her–one said she seemed retarded, and I was appalled. It doesn’t seem like this is how you should treat someone who spent time, effort, and money creating something so you could have an event to destroy it AND paid more to enter a pinata than they would have if they’d paid cover as a smasher. That was the big bummer of the evening to me.

The other bummer was how damn stingy builders were with their prizes, which is what I found out when we got to smashing. The entire point of smashing open a pinata is to get at the goodies inside, so yes, it is a total dick move to stuff your pinata full of glitter, opened fortune cookies, and old dirty socks. Or three starburst.

glitter floor

one sad smiley face

skarsgaard strung up

emoji twins swingSkarsgård went down in one hit (the pinata curse continues), and the crowd fell on him and pocketed his guts within seconds. Someone carried around the head like a trophy, eyeless, because someone else had ripped them out as their trophy. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’m even more convinced that I would not do well in a mob-type situation. Someone get these people some candy, stat! And take away their sticks!

Makin Stuff: Save the FLDSMDFR

As I’ve mentioned before, Jason is the WORST to shop for, because everything he really wants, he buys for himself. This past Christmas, we’d already discussed that we didn’t want to spend a ton of money on gifts because it’s so easy to get caught up in an exponential increase in spending each year to try and top the previous year’s gifts. Let’s face it: we all have spending limits and less than an infinite amount of room for stuff.

I brainstormed for a while and decided that it would be really fun to make him a board game. We both have had a lot of fun playing board games together, but we’d had a bad string recently of games he bought that I hated. Mostly the sort with gigantic instruction manuals that you have to reference constantly throughout your turn, twelve different kinds of tokens to keep track of, and completely different rulesets for different players, so we’d be competing against one another and ultimately I’d lose because of something in the rulebook I hadn’t seen and then I’d be unreasonably pissed off for hours afterward. Ugh, kill me now. So I knew that I wanted to make a game with a simple ruleset where we worked cooperatively. Something fun, reminiscent of games we’d played as kids, easy to pick up and play, with a cute theme. We’d tried to go see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 on our honeymoon with disastrous results, but saw it later and loved it, so I decided to infringe the hell out of their copyright for my personal enjoyment and made Save The FLDSMDFR.

The object of the game is to reach the FLDSMDFR with one of the foodimals before Chester V arrives and takes it for himself. Players control their own foodimal and take turns moving Chester V, rolling a die and following the instructions on the board, having to land on the final rainbow space with an exact count. Should a foodimal and Chester V end up on the same square, there is a struggle determined by the roll of a die, the loser of which goes back to the starting square–in the event of a tie, both figures stay put. Between the struggle mechanism and various board features (which includes slides that move both ways), there’s a lot of back and forth in the game, and it’s generally anyone’s game up until the very end.

Jason and I have been enjoying playing so much that I ended up making him an expansion pack of foodimals for his birthday!

Spotted on the Roadside: The Dinosaur Doctor

Dr Max

While dashing to and fro taking photos for a friend’s ridiculously demanding photo scavenger hunt, I spotted this velociraptor and immediately pulled over. First of all, I wish my orthodontist had been dinosaur themed. Mine had more of a pain theme going on, between the palate expansion and the headgear and the three years of braces and the incorrectly made retainer which shifted my teeth so much overnight that I needed braces for another entire year and the multiple shitty remarks (while my parents were out of the room) about how sad it was to do all of this work on my teeth when it was really my jutting chin that was ruining my face. Because what every child needs to be told by their orthodontist is that they essentially look like a fat Beavis. Ahem, I seem to have gotten a bit off-track.

Anyway, I can appreciate a dinosaur themed orthodontist, whether that means that the orthodontist is a dinosaur or that he treats dinosaurs or that he only uses the really old school kind of braces. I’ve also taken the liberty of shooping their statuary with an addition that I believe would make it truly next-level.

Dinosaur dental work

Think about it, Dr. Max!

 

Spotted on Main St in Monroe, WA.

One the master, one the apprentice

balloondog

 

Napodog’s desire for the things others have never wanes, be it food, toys, random pieces of paper, socks, musical instruments, or the magic detrius found at the bottom of a purse or garbage can. Sometimes it’s impossible to discern what he actually wants, you can just barely hear him grinding down your willpower and your sanity over whatever else it is you might be doing. A former roommate called these his “whisper whines”. I’ve taken to automatically lifting him up to my bed every night just to stave off the pathetic cries–I know this is basically giving in to dog terrorism, but frankly, sometimes it’s just easier to let him win.

Leveling the WoW Playing Field

poopstain debuff

I love playing WoW, but there are seriously some parts of it that are so terrible. On my server, there are people who sit in trade all day and talk about rape, say fucked-up racist shit, rant about politics and the n-word president, and are generally just awful examples of humanity all around. I’ve got an ignore list as long as my arm. Unfortunately, the same guys just keep turning up so I guess blocks are not permanent or they keep rerolling with very similar names. And then you’ve got the guys who will follow your low level characters across an entire zone, killing them instantly every time they resurrect and struggle to get away until you log out in frustration…and sometimes they’re still there the next day. And the day after that, because they have dedicated their shitty little lives to griefing. These people deserve one another. Decent players don’t. Please, Blizzard, give us the Poopstain Debuff.

At least they make your butt look good.

 

cenobite jeans

All of my jeans are Cenobite Brand Jeans. If they aren’t too damn tight when I buy them, they loosen up over the course of the day and they’re falling straight off. You’d think all of this junk would be able to hang on to a pair of jeans. You would be wrong. If I’ve got a pair that’s sort of OK, I will wear them until they fall apart before I even start to think about going jeans shopping. THAT is how much I hate it.

What do you do? You get the best looking ouija board I’ve ever seen and put it in the middle of our living room–explain that to me!

Sometimes, when you want something done right (or at least, large), you have to do it yourself. I had an Ouija board out at my last Halloween party, but it was plastic-y, cheap, and not the eye-catching spooky centerpiece that I was looking for. If I was going to turn my house into a proper Goth Downton Abbey in October, I’d need something grander.

Something grander started with a big hunk of plywood at Home Depot. I took the measurements of my coffee table and had them cut the board to those dimensions. (I ended up having to wander through the store for a while looking for an employee, and as the piece of plywood was so large, it looked like I was using a clever disguise to hunt wascally wabbits.)

giant plywood

home depot camouflage

Once that sucker was cut to the proper size, I brought it home and used a woodburning tool on all of the edges so they wouldn’t be so bright–I wanted them dark enough to almost visually blend with the coffee table in dim lighting. I could have accomplished this aim in any number of ways other than woodburning: stain, paint, marker, blood of the innocent…I just chose the method that tickled my pickle at the time.

workbench

After the edges were to my liking, I put a couple of thin coats of Restor-A-Finish on top to bring out the grain and darken the wood a bit. I chose Restor-A-Finish for a couple of reasons: one, I had it on hand already so it was effectively free, and two, Restor-A-Finish has only a small amount of stain in it so I didn’t have to worry about accidentally making the wood so dark that it would compete with the lettering on top.

stained

As usual, it’s at this point in the process where I got so involved that I stopped taking pictures, because I always forget about maybe blogging the project later in the heat of the moment. But it’s not like there’s that much to it, either. I wanted the board to have a creepy woodsy theme, so I used very thinned-out black acrylic paint to wash on a couple of trees on either side of the board. Thinned out acrylic soaks into the wood much like watercolor and by layering it, I was able to get the overall effect I was looking for. I found a free font I liked on dafont and printed it out huge. Using that as a guide, I eyeballed it and penciled a larger approximation of each letter onto the board. When I was satisfied with placement, I then used a sharpie to fill them in. I went with sharpie over paint for the ease of crisp lines, a generally matte texture, not having to worry about chipping, and keeping the lettering area smooth. I have zero intention of ever using it as a functional board (I don’t believe in it and even if I did, it’s too dang big), but I wanted it to look as though it could be used as one, and letters with any amount of raising would keep the planchette from moving smoothly.

planchette

Speaking of the planchette, I decided that instead of the standard heart-shaped piece of wood, I wanted something that looked sort of like a crow skull. To make it, I used a cheap monocle I’d bought as a photo booth prop for the wedding and sculpted the skull shape using apoxie sculpt around it. I love apoxie sculpt–you mix equal parts of the putty thoroughly and you have 1-3 hours working time to get it shaped it exactly as you’d like, after which it cures hard and waterproof, able to be painted, sanded, drilled, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. I find it superior to sculpey and the like because it doesn’t need to be baked to cure and I’ve found it to be less fragile as well. The only downsides are the shorter working time and higher cost per ounce, but I’m still using the one pound pack I bought in 2010, and I’ve found that if I don’t finish a small sculpting project within a couple of hours, I won’t ever finish it, so the shorter working time actually works for me in that it keeps my butt glued to the seat and focused on what I’m doing. Once the apoxie sculpt finished curing, I painted it with some acrylic paint.

Spooky, no? If I was going to do it over, I’d use a larger magnifying glass lens instead of a monocle, and I may yet do so, if only because the magnified area is so relatively small compared to the size of the letters. But for under $12 (basically, the cost of the wood, since I had all of the other materials on hand), I definitely have something that’s much more dramatic and eye-catching than the cardboard board game!