Hell Girl

You may recall that I had a big plan to become Hell Girl for my work Hallowe’en party. Well it happened.

After this the pants were tucked into the boots to show them off and I think that worked well. This costume is made up of (in order of awesomeness)
Sawn off foam latex horns made by Bryn and attached with spirit gum
100% authentic HB2 merchandise Hell Boy Hand from The Costume Shop. (Worth every cent.)
Leather coat bought second hand on Waiheke Island
Leather biker boots bought second hand off Trade Me aaaaaaaages ago
Black pants from Paper Bag Princess
Red long sleeve T from Farmers
Lots of red face paint.

The face paint was a bad idea. It was just cheap stuff from Whitcoulls and it started itching after about an hour and then it started peeling. Particularly on the parts of me that move a lot such as my neck and next to my mouth. The effect was good though and I won the prize for best dressed female. Yay!

Walking through town to get to the party was pretty funny. Lee was dressed as my FBI ‘minder’ so he looked relatively normal. I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see too many reactions but I did make some little girls scream. They saw me coming out of a mass of people crossing Taranaki St and shrieked. It was hilarious. Also ran into Steve and someone Lee knew. Even walking through the bar to the private function room was a bit of a trial.

More pics after the cut…
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Things I love Thursday

Beautiful reproduction posters from the early half of last century. There is much LOL in the Health and Safety section (esp “The enemy is Syphilis and Pneumonia strikes like a man eating shark! With it’s pilot fish the common cold!) and much prettiness at the travel and World’s Fair sections.

But the biggest thing I’m happy about right now is that I am done with my super-fast edit and rewrite of Rain. This afternoon it was printed, packaged and sent on its merry way to Auckland to be judged in the Tessa Duder awards. This edit/rewrite was intense. I had a minor hysterical meltdown about it last night. All today I’ve been wired, really tense and worried. That is all over now, there is nothing more that I can do. It’s out, it’s gone and it’s done.

Weird in Wellington on Tumblr is amazing. I’m pleased someone else is documenting street art/weird stuff on the road, because I keep thinking it’s a good idea and then doing nothing. Does anyone know who maintains it?

Things to look forward to: Another epic episode of Fall tonight, work Hallowe’en party tomorrow, my Hallowe’en/birthday party on Saturday night, Leonard Cohen on Sunday. These things are awesome in and of themselves but also because they herald such excellent things as costumes, costume photo opportunities, hanging out with friends, seeing my parents, hearing excellent music and receiving presents. Nice one.

Honourable mentions: This SMBC cartoon is so freaking true, shower when I get home so that I smell nice and feel not-sticky, loving husbands, Scott Pilgrim vols 5 + 6 arriving in the mail for me, reading the Absolute Sandman vol 4 and cool, fresh water.

sock bunny

Using a longer length sock you have more scope for experimentation with your sock creature making. This pair of knee length socks would, I knew, make a charming looking sock animal and the knee length lent itself to long ears. Conclusion: pink striped bunny.

For the most part you make it like you would a sock monkey. You just need to sew long curved bunny ears in the upper part of the sock, rather than little round ones from the foot. Assembling is the same except that the muzzle should look quite different. I went for a nice fat, roundy face for my bunny, stuffing the sides quite separately with rounds of stuffing and then sewing a line down the middle with embroidery thread. Pull it tight and repeat a couple times. The nose is a few lines of embroidery thread.

what do to about the tail? Sock monkeys have long whippy tails. Bunnies should have cute little fluffy cottontails. I used some leftover sock, cut a circle and gathered the edges. A little stuffing and you get a rather adorable round bunny tail.

Sock bunny was gifted to Morgue and Cal along with the baby quilt.

Baby Quilt

When I heard that my friends Morgue and Cal were having a baby my mission was obvious: make a baby quilt.

What wasn’t obvious was how to make this quilt different, to make it uniquely Cal and Morgue.

The answer lay in Spoonflower, their amazing print on demand service and the vast talents of the people who upload their own designs for people like me to purchase. I already had some fabrics which I hadn’t used yet, but I made another order specifically to get Cthulu.

The design of the quilt then had to allow for a large square to show off the design. I have had excellent success in the past with an alternating double square/economy patch design so I did that again.

This quilt ended up having a high concept behind it. It’s about the different worlds you visit when you’re a kid, playing with toys and using your imagination. Yeah, a high concept baby quilt. Here at Talula I just keep on pushing the boundaries don’t I?

These photos are bigger than they’re displaying on here, click on them if you want to see in more detail or with less distortion.

Red Riding hood, toys and monsters oh my!

My father in law thinks Cthulu is too scary for a baby but I say, if you grow up with Cthulu then you don’t need to fear him. If you had Cthulu on your baby quilt then you’d be way more prepared when he actually appears on this plane and takes over. Continue reading

Fall actual play report – 209 “Dig Your Wishing Well”

We started where the last episode left off, Calvin at Darius’s place researching what happens to a human when they are transformed into a vampire. For no particular reason of course. He discovers that vampires are dead humans that have been possessed by demons, the souls are gone. They feed on the living to fill the void, or something. The vampire retains all the memories and some aspects of the human life. There can be obsessions with their previous life – for example they might hunt down and turn or kill family. Vampires have free will, capable of making their own decisions.

Megan admits that she needs some lessons before she rides her bike seriously and leaves it at Darius’s. Gets a ride home with Calvin and asks him when they can train again. Calvin says not tonight, drops her home and then texts Mason asking if he’s free to hang out. Mason texts back “The Limit” and they meet there to have beers. They bump fists and sit mostly silently re-bonding.

At Alex’s house her parents bring out the Monopoly board and she is forced into hours of happy family board game time. Right before midnight she sneaks out of house to patrol. In town she hears a scream and finds five vampire faced girls attacking a bleeding guy. Alex has a new back mounted sheath for her machete, by the way. She heads down the alley.
“Tell you what, you leave him alone and I’ll let you live,” she says.
“You know what, wow. You’ve convinced me, I’ve seen the error of my ways.” The vamp laughs and tells the others to attack.
They come at her, one has a chain, one has a switchblade and the other two appear to be unarmed. Alex ducks the first attack and draws her machete. She slashes at the one with the chain. She sinks the machete deep into her side, making her howl.

The switchblade misses Alex only by a hair, she ducks just in time. The vamp with a chain wraps it around her fist and then slams it into Alex’s gut. The other two connect with punches. Alex beheads the one with the chain. Switchblade screams with rage and tries to embed her knife into Alex’s machete arm. Alex just manages to dodge it again, but the blade goes very close. One slams her foot into the back of Alex’s leg, she dodges the one who had tried to grab her. Alex leaps up onto a skip to get out of their reach. One scrambles up on the skip and Alex stakes her, unfortunately she doesn’t explode into dust – missed the heart.
“You’ll pay for that, that’s my favourite shirt.”
Alex snarls back at her. Switchblade climbs up slowly. Alex dodges an attack from the other unarmed vamp who is still on the ground, then spin kicks to force the stake further into the staked vamp. The System of a Down shirt explodes with the vamp. Two down.

Alex evades the switchblade attack but takes a hit to the legs. The second vamp on the ground grabs her ankles. Alex hits switchblade and knocks her back off the skip. Alex is pulled off the skip but flips her body away from the swinging pipe of the vampire. She swings her machete to get the one who is grappling her, beheading it. The vamp with the pipe swings again but Alex is too quick. She leaps to her feet and brings her leg straight down on the vamp’s head. (Jenni: Sucks to be you vampire! Daniel: Well, they’re all about the sucking.) The vamp falls onto the groud and Alex finishes them both off, with extra kicking and pounding as if she’s somewhat frustrated.
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Things I Love Thursday

Life itself. Attending a funeral tomorrow, for Lee’s grandfather. I feel rather emo about it, although we weren’t close by any definition. It’s that whole reminder that you are mortal thing. On the other hand it reminds us also to cherish the time we have and the people we love. Seize the day, follow your dreams and live the best possible life you can. This weekly list of love is one way I’m working towards that.

My blog gets a lot of traffic this time of year, almost entirely due to the entry about us cosplaying as Jem and the Holograms. Last year the traffic dropped off quite steeply so I’m not convinced that the people who visit to check out our photos stick around to read anything else, but if you did Hi! Welcome! Make yourself at home!

This all leads into my love of costuming. I’ve been getting lots of costume opportunities this year what with all the LARP based fun times. This last Saturday at Fright Night I wore a Gala Darling inspired outfit to be a thrill seeking rich girl, and then I had to dress as a somewhat delinquent-ish early teen. I went with a kind of ragged Avril Lavinge look with my hand painted “Trouble maker” singlet over the top for emphasis. My Hell Boy hand arrived this week along with a couple of other costuming -y goodies which will come in handy when/if I chose to dress as Batgirl again (or Robin come to that), and a big plastic carving knife so I don’t ever have to take a real knife to a party again. (My friends breathe a sigh of relief.)

Quite loving Lego Rock Band, not particularly because of the game interface or the Lego aspect but because of the songs on the track list. Par example:

Dreaming of You by The Coral. Cute as video and an extremely catchy song.

High quality emo that sounds really upbeat but still includes the lyrics “Bury me”…

…and songs I already knew I loved like Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs, Free Falling by Tom Petty and You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi.

In other Lego related things I love, I’m into the blind bag Lego Minifigures now. There’s a wee surfer dude who looks just like Mason from Fall, plus a vampire and a witch and and and! So cute. Plus excellent gifts for all the geeky boys in my life.

Honourable Mentions: Scopa getting us a table at Duke Carvell’s when they didn’t have room for us, delicious food at Duke Carvell’s, playing fooseball, how is babby formed?, lovely thoughtful birthday gifts such as the 4th volume of Absolute Sandman (Lee), a gift voucher for Peter Alexander (Dowsett family), nice smelling bath and shower products and hand made/crafty things. Played Fall again last night for the first time in ages and some stuff happened. Oh yes. It happened. Write up soon, like tomorrow maybe or Saturday.

Finally, Freakazoid and Candle Jack!

Movies about Writers – The Hours

The Hours is a carefully intertwined movie made up of three stories. Three different women in three different time frames. Virginia Woolf writes Mrs Dalloway, Laura reads Mrs Dalloway in the Fifties and Clarissa kind of *is* Mrs Dalloway in the present. Suicide and lesbianism also link their stories.

Writing is shown as being a kind of madness. Or at least the creation process is shown as very closely linked to madness. Virginia is naturally, the only one who demonstrates any part of the writing process and they refer again and again to her fragile mental state. She drifts off in the middle of conversations, talks to herself. You can see her working out plot points and character developments, totally preoccupied with the creation of her story.

I can relate to that. Sure, not on the same level as depicted, but the being distracted, the internal working out of problems. The processing. I’m sure Lee could attest to the number of times I’ve suddenly blurted out a solution to a problem in my work in progress. Generally interrupting him mid-flow. This isn’t a very social thing to do since he doesn’t read my works while they’re in progress so he can’t really relate and probably doesn’t care very much.

Luckily I carry a notebook that I can scribble things into so he doesn’t have to remember for me.

The other writing related message from the film is the impact writing can have on people through the ages. One person writes a book and thirty years later it means something to someone else. Of course this is a romantic, idealised notion that relies on your book being well enough received to stay in print, or saved by kind librarians. One can dream for that kind of future as a writer!

The hours is a very good film, but it’s mostly not about writing. I can’t think of any other pearls of writing themed wisdom to relate. I liked the movie, will watch again.

Fright Night 2010

I went to Fright Night again. I signed up for only LARPish games and I had a blast.

Did you hear the one…?

Sophie wrote a game influenced by the one last year in which the player characters take part in a seance. However Sophie’s game took things quite a bit further with the lights going out, flickering, odd noises, banging on the walls and her walking around ‘invisibly’ affecting us and telling us things. It was a slow burn, with things like characters and rivalries established at the start and the supernatural elements becoming more and more overt.

My character was Eloise – a rich kid thrill seeker who enjoyed being frightened. My sceptic brother was there, played by Ants. Mash played the true believer, Donna my best friend who I had dragged along and then we had Liam playing a reporter trying to get a good story. We’d all heard different stories about the “Turnbull murders” and who the killer really was. After about an hour the lights went out. People tried to leave but were repelled by an unseen force at the door. Cellphones didn’t work. We were trapped and the only way out was to solve the murder case for real.

Over the evening we all became possessed by different members of the family. Ants was possessed by the murderer and as everything escalated I was getting in between him and someone he was determined to attack. The physicality of this game really made it for me. People were leaping around, hiding in corners, grabbing each other, falling down. “Ghosts” were nudging us, grabbing our shoulders…of course it was just Sophie, but it was spooky!

All Hallow’s Eve

I played Ariel, a kid with a very dark past looking to run away from home and the whole town with her best friend Jeremy (played by Ants). The game is set at a Hallowe’en party where a bunch of people have been trapped in a room together by an unseen supernatural force. My character was screwed up. Seriously. She didn’t trust adults or older teenagers, she only trusted Jeremy. Jeremy liked her back, but he had a horribly controlling father who hated her.

The game was odd, another slow burn to shit getting real, but rather than being spooky it was more pure darkness. Scott and Bryn had both warned me beforehand that the game was bleak and dark, so I went in expecting it. I maybe expected *more* darkness than there was actually. When I first read my character sheet and the cast list I immediately suspected that my character was going to be ritually sacrificed by a dark cult made up of the other players. I was pleased when this didn’t happen.

Also I think this game was the most bad ass I have been in a LARP and actually played out. Right near the end of the game I was involved in a Mexican stand off (knife-knife-gun) and managed to save Jeremy’s life. I’m keeping details vague so that the write up’s spoiler free, but it was cool. The only people who knew I had a knife were Jeremy and an older kid Will who was really nice to me. Everyone else was surprised when I pulled it out I think.

Anyway, excellent time. Excellently gigantic thanks to Dale for organising the whole con. Thanks to Scott and Sophie for running such awesome games and thanks to Donna, Amphigori and Ants for being my LARP buddies!

Things I Love Thursday

Lots of lovely happy birthday wishes on twitter, facebook and in person.

I’m into my Gala Darling inspired outfit today. Must try and get a photo of it…

Had a delicious birthday lunch with Sophie and Bryn and the Sweet Mother’s Kitchen staff put a birthday candle in my crab dip. Adorable! And Bryn made me some badges for my Buffy character Calvin. So incredibly sweet.

Time off work to sleep in and get editing done. Did a ‘find’ editing pass to check out my uses of the word “That”. Turns out 3/4s of the instances of that in my manuscript could be removed and once they were the sentences were much stronger.

Honourable Mentions: New Glee! My Little Pony cookies, Lego Rock Band, strawberry cream Oreos, turning over and going back to sleep, patchwork, looking forward to Fright Night on Saturday, exercising (yes, you read that right!), Tomorrow When the War Began the movie and clean clothes.

Movies about writers – Finding Forrester

Finding Forrester was good, heart warming and inspirational just as it was supposed to be. Not very many surprises. I don’t want to talk about the plot though, I want to talk about the writing aspect of the film.

Sean Connery’s William Forrester endorses the organic shitty first draft, says you must write the first draft with your heart and when you go in to draft it again you use your head. In fact it’s depicted as the only way to write something. Now, I may be an organic shitty first draft fanatic but it’s clearly not the *only* way to get stuff written! Still, I suppose it’s the most romantic view of writers: dictated to by the muse and the universe, and much more interesting visually than showing someone doing screeds of research and meticulous planning.

The whole thing where he tells the kid to ‘don’t think, just write’ was neat. I’ve done this exercise myself a bunch of times and in fact, I believe I have to stop myself thinking when I’m writing the first draft of things. Otherwise the internal editor gets in the way and you start to doubt yourself. I think it’s appropriate that they showed just how hard this is to achieve as well. Jamal sits and stares at the typewriter for hours, unable to write a single thing. This is painfully accurate for how writing can be.

Editing and feedback is shown as being crucial to the growth of a writer. I liked that too, since if you’ve been following my writing posts you’ll know how much I get out of good constructive feedback. The simple fact of the matter is that you cannot view your own work with the requisite distance that the best editors have. You have to be brave enough to give your work to someone else and hear what they think about it. Now, if we could all have literary geniuses living up the street with nothing better to do that go through our work with a red pen this whole writing game would be a lot easier. Alas.

The other thing this movie addresses is the idea of a writing prodigy. I’m not really sure how I feel about this concept. I want to believe that my writing is excellent, but I don’t claim to be a prodigy. Does this mean I should give it up? Move over and let the super talented people take the publishing contracts? That doesn’t seem right to me. But then maybe this is another choice the movie makers made to make the film pacier and more interesting. You don’t want to see someone failing and failing to do well.

Overall an enjoyable movie and one I will watch again some day.