Early Morning Confusion

I have no idea what to do next on those damn pants. The next step involves “ease stitching” at the top of the pants, where the waistline will be added. Wtf is ease stitching…and how do I do it?

This is why I shouldn’t allow myself to try this crap at 0200. I keep waking up early, all excited to get to sewing, only to be reminded that I mostly don’t know what I’m doing. Oh sure, I can slap two pieces of fabric together and stitch ’em, but when it comes to terms like ease stitching I’m in the dark. (Ha! Pre-dawn pun!)

I’ve reached out to a Facebook group that’s generally helpful for cosplayers who want to learn about sewing or share cosplays that they’ve made, so I’m hoping that when people start to wake up I’ll get an answer. As for right now, I guess I’m going to write a little more. Got some creative juiciness going on here; might as well not waste it.

As I finished that last sentence someone answered my question. Turns out it’s not as complicated as I thought, but now I’m in bed and comfy. I’ll ease into it tomorrow morning. (Ha! Another pun!)

Pushed too far

It happens everywhere. School, home, work, the Web. I’m talking about bullying.

People bully for different reasons. They may be imitating what they’ve seen other bullies do. They may have grown up in a household of bullies and just not know any other way to act. They may be trying to cover their own insecurities. They may just be assholes. The reasons don’t matter. All that matters is that it needs to stop.

What is the point of bullying? Does it make the bully feel cool? Does it make them feel superior? I mean, why do it? Yeah, I listed reasons above, but those aren’t real reasons. More excuses. Y’know, “I was bullied so I’m just fighting back.” “That’s what my dad does.” “They deserve it for being fat/ugly/stupid/insert lame excuse here.”

All of those excuses mean precisely squat to me. There’s no valid reason for bullying. None. All it does is hurt the targets of bullying and can potentially be harmful. Some victims of bullying resort to self-harm, some even get pushed to the point of attempting (or succeeding at) suicide. It’s extremely emotionally devastating.

So why do it? Are these bullies just racist or sexist or homophobic, or maybe just plain phobic of anything that doesn’t fit their ideal of what a person should look like or who a person should be? You hear that, bullies? Maybe you’re just scared. Pretend predators who are really just frightened little rabbits, nibbling at others’ feelings to try to feel powerful and fierce.

I don’t care what kind of power you may feel when you bully someone. I don’t care if you’re doing it due to some deep-set insecurities. If you find yourself pushing someone–physically, verbally, or emotionally–quit it. Just stop. Just fucking stop.

In short, to quote the immortal words of Wil Wheaton: “Don’t be a dick.”

I hate pants

So frustrated right now. The current pants pattern I’m working on isn’t as complicated as the first pair I did, but this next step in the instructions is confusing me. I can’t figure out how to pin/ stitch it, so I’m taking a break until it clicks.

I had this same problem with the first pair of pants that I made for him. That pair was a semi-historical pattern–well, a costume pattern for some pirate pants, which had a front flap and used a lot of interfacing. It took a lot of looking over several times before it hit me how to do it.

I’ve been forewarned by a friend of mine that the coat I’m going to make will possibly be equally frustrating, so there may be a post in my future that is titled “I hate coats.” But I’ve made sleeved scrub tops before, and the first one had no real “pattern,” just an old scrub top that I had seam ripped to see how it was put together. Still, I’m going to do my best. As Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame would say, I’m going to “make it work.”

It’s sweet that my husband wants me to make his cosplay pieces. He takes such pride in my work that he loves showing it off to friends when he gets the chance. I’m even going to make a prop for him. He’s going to help, but I’m going to do probably most of the work because my OCD will make the paper maché turn out smoother. I don’t mind, though. It’s crafty stuff. I like being crafty, and it gives me a chance to try my hand at fabricating props. I’m not making the prop for my character–it’s too large and complicated–but I’ll at least be able to say I made the majority of the cosplays.

It begins again…

I’m back to it starting this afternoon: more cosplay!

I was going to start this morning, but I woke up kind of late (for me, anyway) and didn’t feel up to pinning and cutting fabric just yet. I’m going to tackle the pants for my husband’s cosplay first, then my kimono.

From what a friend of mine (who has more sewing experience than I) says, the coat is going to be a bitch. Oh well. I managed the complicated pants for the Sith Time Lord cosplay, so this will hopefully be okay. It’s not a Simplicity pattern so there’s no guarantee that it will be something I can do, but I’m going to give it my all.

The good thing is that even though my husband wants all this done by Phoenix Comicon, I have made no promises that I’ll be able to finish. I honestly don’t know if I can, but I’ll do my best.

My hopes are to begin pinning and cutting–hopefully on my lunch break–today, then the task of sewing. We’re buying the fabric in stages, so the coat will not need to be started until the end of the week when we get paid. Also at the end of the week comes more work on the gourd prop for my husband’s cosplay. We’ve got two big bouncy balls from Wal-Mart duct taped together in the general shape of the gourd, and on Friday when I’m off comes the start of paper maché-ing over the balls and tape to make it more gourd-ey. Once that’s done and dry comes the painting.

Oh yeah, and I need to sew the cosplays. Hubby’s getting a wig for his and we’ve bought a headband for me, but I’m divided on whether or not I want to get a wig or try to style my hair for it. It’s going to be difficult to style my hair, but we’ll see. I might be able to swing it, or at least some reasonable facsimile.

Here’s to more cosplay!

Off the Track

I was doing pretty good. Tooling along, going at a good speed…and now I have to cut some of my time to write for something equally creative: cosplay.

Yes, I’ve started it again. I had almost finished with the Doctor Who/Star Wars mashup cosplays when my husband found the next cosplays he wants us to do for next year. Okay, great, plenty of time to work on it and still get some writing in.

Except the cosplays he picked are pretty easy (mine is, at least), so he decided that we can get them done by Dragon Con in September. Still no problem. I can do it.

Now? Now we’re going to shoot for Phoenix Comicon. In a month and a half.

I got this. I think?

Onward towards Twenty

No, I’m not turning twenty years old. I’m long, long past that. No, I’m talking about 20,000 words on my manuscript. It’s slow going, but I broke 19,000 this morning and think I have a decent momentum.

The story rapidly evolved from straight sci-fi to sci-fi/dystopian, which works fine for me. It’s interesting to try to imagine what the world will be like in a century or two. I haven’t fully explored the possibilities yet, but I already have ideas brewing. What wildlife would survive the crap we humans are doing to the environment today? What repercussions will our actions today have on the future environment? What cities/countries will survive the passage of time and what ones will fall?

With my first book, I kept the time frame current and used Christian mythology as a base for some of what I was writing. Now? Now I have almost total autonomy. I’m not creating a new world; I’m not up to full world-building status yet. Still, it’s envisioning the future of this world, so it’s a creation of sorts. I’m creating the future. It’s unreal.

Well, of course it’s unreal. It’s a work of fiction. But you get my point.

Everyone’s a Critic…but that Doesn’t Mean You Should Listen

So I’ve taken a sidetrack from the manuscript to do some more work on the charity anthology (that is, in fact, still in the works). It made me think a bit about critiques and what they mean to a writer/artist (for the purposes of brevity, I’m going to be long-winded for a moment and say that for the rest of this post I’m going to just refer to all writers and artists as “artist”).

They say everyone’s a critic–and they’re right. No two people are going to agree 100% on the style of any piece of art, whatever the medium. But some criticisms are useful. So how do you tell which criticisms to take to heart and which ones to ignore?

In my opinion, the artist is the ultimate decision maker on their art, regardless of what others say. As an artist, you are the creator. You are God. But even a god can make mistakes, and therein lies the rub. You have to be open to acknowledging those mistakes and making changes based on the critiques you receive.

Take your time when giving and receiving critiques. As a critic, try to put yourself in the mindset of the artist. What are they trying to say? Is that sentence fragment on purpose? Is that swipe of the brush an accident or a happy little tree? As an artist, think long and hard about what the critic is saying. Do you really need to rephrase that fragment? Should you make that brush stroke into a happy little tree?

It’s all subjective, of course. Well, not grammar…that’s objective. Except when it’s subjective. Savvy?

Critiques are that simple, and they’re that complex.

OCD or Mania?

So I’ve been organizing my closet for much of the morning, something I normally don’t do. Part of it stems from my husband insisting that I get my junk cleaned out.

Part of it, though, either comes from OCD–the obsessive-compulsive desire to straighten and organize things–and part of it may or may not come from mania. Am I manic, or am I just normal me getting things cleaned up?

It’s hard for me to tell. The depressive episodes are usually pretty clear cut. I can tell when they’re coming on. The manic ones? Oftentimes I have no clue until I’m well into one. I guess that’s the trouble with manic episodes. The euphoria and energy that come along with that feel so good sometimes that you don’t realize something’s wrong.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes–note I say sometimes–it can be a good thing. I get things done that have been tossed to the side for months. But the “I can do anything” part of mania is rarely a good thing. Reckless driving, risky sexual behavior (thankfully I’m married and don’t need to worry about that part anymore), etc. For every good, there’s a bad.

Now that I’ve started typing this, I think that I’m just being OCD. Maybe not even that. Maybe *gasp* normal. I finally let the piles of crap get to the point where it bugged me enough to take action. I want to get things into their rightful places. It’s not a massive desire to go through every single thing I own (which is evident by my husband doing the folding of sheets and blankets right now, something I hate to do and would surely have done had I been manic). And I’m not really cleaning, per say. Just organizing. Sorting.

Sometimes I guess it takes a little outside introspection to figure things out.

When Fans Go Too Far

It’s great when you find something that you love enough to become a fan of–a movie, TV show, book, band, etc. You can meet others who share your love of it, you can interact with actors, writers, artists, musicians … But is there such a thing as loving something too much?

When it comes to fandom, the answer is yes. The members of fandoms in today’s pop culture are becoming increasingly unstable and aggressive. If anything happens to the fans’ obsession that doesn’t fit with their ideal view of how that obsession should play out, the claws come out and the taunts, slurs, and threats begin. It’s a scary thing to view, and sadly it shows no sign of slowing.

Take, for example, TV shows. Seasons are reaching their end, so of course showrunners and writers are trying to amp up the drama. Favorite characters are dying, and fans are in an uproar. Producers and writers are receiving vile messages and death threats on social media. Even the actors whose characters get killed off (often because the actor has chosen to leave the show for a different opportunity) have been targets of the rabid fans.

Is this what we’ve come to? Fans throwing nasty hissy fits every time things don’t go their way? Crying, screaming, typing hate messages and Tweets? What in the Sam Hell made fandoms go so wrong?

Now, I’m a fan of several TV shows and movie franchises. Do I flip out when they kill a character? No. Death is a part of life, and unless you’re going to write a TV series where no one ever dies then characters are going to die. It happens. I don’t take it as a personal affront when a show kills off a character that I like. I may gripe if the way it was written or directed or acted was terrible, but I certainly don’t go into full-on Exorcist mode, becoming possessed by hate for the thing they once loved.

I just don’t see how someone can rationalize that kind of behavior. Is it just that social media makes us feel invincible, or is there a more disturbing reason for the downhill slide of fandom’s mental stability as a whole? I mean, how could a mentally stable person send death threats to a writer or producer or actor for just doing their job?

Fandoms need to take a serious look inside themselves and straighten out their priorities. Is it worth it blowing up Twitter and Facebook with nasty comments? Are death threats really necessary?

Wake up, fandoms. Life doesn’t always go your way, and characters die. It happens. Actors may grow tired of their current role or they may get a new, exciting opportunity to move to another show or movie franchise. Things are going to happen that you don’t like. Just chill the fuck out and get used to it now. It’s not going to stop just because you want things to stay status quo.