Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sick Creativity

Ug. I am officially suffering from a guilty cold. This is day three of an upper respiratory collection of gross. And it's at that point where I feel sick, but I'm not missing limbs and not dead so I should probably go in. One of those illnesses where my attempt to get out and get some air turns into skirting the edge of playing hooky.  The conversation in my head goes something like this: "I'd love to take an easy bike ride to the local thrift store to move and get some fresh air." " Um, hey. If you can ride a bike and shop, then shouldn't you be at work?" "But the biking and shopping is part of the healing!" "But it's fun, and if you're having fun then you're obviously not sick enough to stay home from work." It's a cycle of shame.

Yesterday was a good dose of official "ick", so I harbored no feelings of remorse for working from home. There was enough to do on the computer to rationalize moving my work space to one conveniently surrounded by Kleenex, cold medication, and ice cream (the last of which I'm sure is some kind of mana from heaven when it comes to making sore throats feel better).

Between work stuff I managed to construct another portion of my first costuming project. I really hope this turns out well. I actually have little to no idea what I'm doing. One of my dance friends gave wise advice when I started though: "Oh, just stop worrying so much about patterns and measurements and stuff and just start making something." So here is the something. There's a lot of work to still be done. The beading needs finishing on the left side strap & cup. I'm also putting a round charm/glittery thing/clasp in the center with a few strands of beads looping up to the sides. Those are the easy parts. The hard part is being able to fit it and judge whether or not this is a costuming success or failure. Of course, it still needs a hip scarf to go with it - which will be a new challenge in fringe and avoiding weird patterns on butt cheeks and crotch.

A big shout out to Naima, of Naima's Bellydance Blog, for her post on how to do a blanket stitch to put the lining onto the back of the bra. Mine isn't quite perfect, but it covers up the crazy mess of beading stitches. :) And a HUGE shout out to Amulya and her What Were They Thinking blog. It's been an extremely valuable resource in what NOT to do with a bra top. For example:

 - Putting gigantic round rhinestones dead center on each cup will remind your audience that, not only do you have nipples, but that they're IN YO FACE NIPPLES! In fact, stay away from large circles on the boobs all together, as many of these designs have the tendency to look like targets or eyes. Then again, some people just go for straight up eyes. Creepy... ("Mommy! That dancer's chest is looking at me! Make it stop!")

 - Fringe, when used in excess, can make your chest look like it's crying. When the color of your fringe happens to match the color of your hair, having it on your chest creates the illusion that you need to shave in a place that doesn't often need shaving. In this case, there's some kind of bellydancng Cthulhu.

 - Too much creativity (i.e. not incorporating similar elements throughout the top) can come off looking like a little old lady barfed her antiques collection all over you. Then the top got caught in a vacuum cleaner. Then someone tried to fix it with hot glue. Also, it was probably fought over by several dogs... who had yarn fringe in their mouths.

 - There are just some designs that shouldn't be. This costume would make me feel like E.T.

P.S. I finished adding in the ET picture at 9:30AM. It's currently noon, I've been at work since 10:30AM, am sneezing, coughing, and hacking up a storm, have had three coworkers tell me to go home and one coworker refuse to come near me. It's official: I'm sick enough to be at home recuperating. I am validated and free of my sick guilt. So I'm going to pack up by 1PM, go home, have lunch, and gladly take that therapeutic bike ride.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Whole New World...

There are a few events around Madison that I somehow always miss. I hear about them after the fact and then find myself musing that, hey, I should go to that. Then I end up forgetting the date, spending the whole day cleaning and battling some force of evil on some kind of gaming console, getting to the next morning, seeing the paper and musing that, hey, I should have gone to that. Well not anymore UW Fashion Week!

Last night my husband and I went to the annual MODA fashion show put on the by the university's... fashion department... textiles people... businesses? I'm still really not sure. The point is that the two of us trudged in to the strange world of name brands, high-cut pencil skirts, and men in very tailored pants (Is it still tailored if I can see their ass crack through the back? Or are they just pants that don't fit? These are questions that cement the fact that I will never understand fashion.). 

Other photographers seemed to be gathering around the end of the runway, so I shuffled up there with my cute little Pentax (with a zoom lens!). I can't name most of the other equipment that everyone had, but I noticed that not only were there a variety of flash modifications, but that everyone seemed to be checking to see how large each other's lenses were. Then it hit me. I had stumbled into a contest of my-camera-penis-is-bigger-than-yours, and I was the print model in a sea of porn stars. I was ready to bolt back to my seat in shame, until I made eye contact with another woman holding a small Cannon. Whatever moment we had, it was welcomed on both sides because each of us made a firm adjusting of the legs to claim our territories in prime photography zones. 

And I learned a valuable lesson here: A good place to be at fashion shows is right smack dab behind the camera designated for use by the group putting on the show. Because no one is allowed to sit in front of it, and will be asked to move otherwise. It was like getting my own private force field! And while I used up most of my memory card and wore out my wrist snapping away, the husband helped by taking notes. 

These were our top 5:

 Not as cool, but still cool:

 And the bottom 5 (one of them literally so):
Up, up, and away! To the year 3014, when we will all where superheroes will all be equipped with onseies!
Okay, no hiker looks like that. (The backpack he's holding caused a debate: hiker or kid on his first day of school?)
Crotch arrowed!

Where is this meant to be WORN!?

And coming in as honorable mentions in the categories of:
1). Yes. Yes. I don't care what you're wearing. You've got muscles, look awesome and I want to be you.
2). I'm looking at a walking corpse. I'm almost positive. Um...should I remove the head, or destroy the brain?
3). Again with the walking undead! Get some Midwestern moms in here stat to make them eat something!
4). Best paparazzi face scrunch of the night.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'll be back! ...Maybe.

It used to be that what greeted me in the morning was a hamster. Well, a half-dead hamster. Zeke lived to be almost two years old. And for a dwarf hamster, that's saying something. Now it is no longer a balding, mostly-blind, really-needs-a-long-rest-if-you-know-what-I-mean rodent that starts my day, but a visit down to the bunny room - where I often find that my husband has lost the daily battle with the door that separates rabbit from hay. Theo (Short for Theophilius. Thank you Christopher Moore.) is the newest addition to our household, and is probably the best practice for a child that we've had so far. Except this child likes to chew. We like to think that from Theo's perspective he's actually making our books and game boxes and wires more aesthetically pleasing, while at the same time testing them for poison. So far we have learned that, no, the carpet, our bachelor's degrees, the back of the television and a basement wall are all safe to eat. Take that, would-be assassins!

While Theo continues holding down the fort, I have begun venturing a bit further out of the house and my comfort zone. I finally got pressured into dancing at one of the local hookah cafes. Which, if you are a belly dancer, is the worst way to start anything. I was so stressed about my first performance - about picking the right songs, about making sure my costume fit, about not getting caught in my veil - that I almost hated my first night. I actually did get caught in my veil, but my irrational fear of hanging myself as the veil became snagged on a fast-moving ceiling fan while the audience booed in disgust did not come to pass. I did end up spending the first two nights before the performance crying due to stress levels. I also learned that altering a costume while watching "Casino Royal" is not a good combinations. Ogling a half-dressed Daniel Craig meant that I sewed one of the straps on backwards. Twice. Same strap. Thank you, Mr. Craig, for being my eye candy, but you hampered my ability to be eye candy for others. The second performance truly helped, though. I have my third one coming up next month and I think I'll finally hit the point where I'm comfortable enough with the venue that I'll actually have fun this time. Plus, I get to go shopping for shiny things almost all the time. This is both a waste and a perfect use of money.

I'm not sure if this is an entry that means I'm writing on a regular basis again or not. I would like to get back in the habit, but I'm an optimistic realist (if a person can be both). Somewhere between neutral and chaotic good. Now I just have to figure out where Theo lies. How do you figure out a bunny's alignment when his primary motivation is pellets and treats?