Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Sock Full of Noses

I am trying to improve my doll-making skills so I signed up for a class in August taught by the incomparable Mimi Winer. This is equivalent to someone who has just climbed Pleasant Hill in the park saying "Let's do Everest." In watching her videos -- "Mimi's Modular Mermaid" and "Needle Model a Pretty Face"-- I realized I needed to get better skills FAST. She suggests practicing needle-modeling by making "a sock full of noses" but I need to know how to do more than just noses, so I made a quartet of heads.

All were made from a head pattern by JoAnn Pinto I found in Soft Dolls &Animals magazine.  Two were done in cotton and two out of stretch fabric, and I experimented with cutting out the fabric on different grains. Faces were done with acrylics. Hair is "Maxi" doll hair. The blond hair was put on by sticking strands of hair in rows on the head, the brunette's hair was braided, the white hair was rolled into a ball to make it frizzy, and then glued on, and the red head's hair was wefted and then glued on in strips. All will be styled when the glue is dry.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why I Read Comics, and Two Recommendations

When I was little I read comics like Donald Duck and Little Lulu but when I was ten I got my first library card and started reading books without pictures.

I came back to comics when the Watchmen series came out.   I continue to order a few comic books every month because I find there a unique blend of art and narrative.  For example, the book The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is different from the animation of the story, and the graphic novel is different from either.

I was going to give you a list of my favorite comics over the years but it would take too long. Here are two recent ones you might enjoy:

Level Up and other comics by Gene Luen Yang
Yets!(several volumes)  by Mike Bocianowski.

You can find comic books hidden behind the category "graphic novels" at your favorite bookstore.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Last Comic-Con?

One of hundreds of amazing costumes I saw today. This is a real person, not a mint-in-box action figure.
Looks like no Comic-Con for me next year. For several years I've pre-registered for the next one while I was still at the current one. It took a while to find out where Pre-Registration was and when it was open, but it never took more than an hour. This year, though, things have changed. Now you can only pre-register between 8am to 11am at a hotel away from the Convention, and available passes are limited and distributed over a four-day period. According to reports, even if you got in line before 6 am there was no guarantee that you would get a ticket.  I heard that the line for Pre-Registration on Thursday morning was over a mile long,  and that people have been camping out in line as early as 2 p.m the day before. Now, I have gotten used to the Comic-Con lines for registration and popular panels. I have even been known to camp out in line for important events like the Rose Parade and the Junior Womens' League Rummage Sale but I am older and have more responsibilities now and waiting in line for five hours for the possibility of getting a ticket is no longer an option.  More tickets are supposed to go on sale online "sometime in the fall" so we'll see. I'm not hopeful.

I'll miss Comic-Con. I started going back around 1988, spent many years as a volunteer before I could afford to pay my own way, and I've always enjoyed meeting authors and artists and seeing what was new.  In my ordinary life I do not know many people who are comic book buyers and readers, so it has always been reassuring to go to Comic-Con and find out I am not alone.

I understand why people complained that the four-day-with-preview passes sold out last year to people who were already at the Convention. Those who didn't get their tickets at the Convention had to try to get tickets online and that system did not work very well.

Don't know if this new system is any better.  At least it should guarantee that those who get their tickets this week should be used to waiting in lines.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


It's Comic-Con 2011! Here I am on Preview Night.

I've been going to Comic-Con for years, and I never get tired of it, although it can get overwhelming. It is a good thing that this year my husband and I have full passes so we can work into it gradually. Last night was Preview Night and we spent over an hour just going around the perimeter of Exhibit Hall A-G, gawking at everything. This afternoon we went down a center aisle of the Exhibit Hall and then over to the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton for a program on the Voltron Resurgence followed by an interview with Pen & Teller. Afterwards we walked back to the trolly station over the new Pedestrian Bridge near Petco Park. Heaven!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Joke With Explanation

 I heard a joke Saturday night that I didn't understand. I laughed, anyway. Later, feeling foolish, I did some research, and here for you are the joke AND the explanation:

Joke: Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Godel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar.
 Heisenberg looks around and says "Because there are three of us and this is a bar, it must be a joke, but is it funny?"
 Godel answers "We can't tell from inside the joke. We have to be outside looking at it to tell." 
 Chomsky looks at both of them and says "Of course it's funny. You're just telling it wrong."
Explanation of Joke:
Heisenberg: His "Uncertainty Principle" states that you cannot determine the position AND the velocity of an object at the same time.
Godel: Math systems cannot be proven from within themselves.
Chomsky: A famous linguist, and also apparently terribly opinionated.
More "___walked into a bar" jokes at a thread on Making Light.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"We are not werewolves" - The Perils of Using Actual Places as Sites in Fiction

When The Other Stephenie Meyer wrote the TWILIGHT series, she set the first part of the story in and near the town of Forks, Washington.  This has increased tourism in the area but has also meant that locals are sometimes bothered by fans looking for the fictional characters.

Right now the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) has an exhibit called "Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves." (Link only good through August 14th).  Part of the exhibit is a video interview of several Quileutes. One of the teenagers tries to make it clear that "we are not werewolves."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lady with Unicorn

I was searching for costume ideas for a doll for the Treasures of the Gypsy Challenge when I came across a portrait of a Young Woman With Unicorn, attributed to Raphael. Further, research, however, revealed that this was not the original painting.

For a long time the painting was identified as a painting of Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Perugino. The painting at that time showed a young lady holding a Catherine Wheel. No unicorn. 

In 1934 to 1946 massive overpainting was removed to show the familiar version and the painting was now attributed to Raphael.

In 1959 an x-ray of the painting showed that there was originally a lapdog where the unicorn now sits. Now some people think that Raphael only painted the background and who knows who added the unicorn and who later painted over the unicorn and added the Saint Catherine details.

Art history seems to be full of these "painting overs" such as the disappearance of the three angels in Lorenzo Lotto's Madonna delle Grazie.

Other mysteries are the interpretations of the painting commonly known as The Arnolfini Portrait. You must draw your own conclusions.