anotheranon: (busy)
I've not posted in almost a month, so here's the quick and dirty version of what's been up:

  • Health: The "bunion" turned out to be just bursitis, and now I have custom orthotics to keep it from getting worse.

    Fun tip: stick-on velcro in the sole works well for holding orthotics in place.

  • Media: have been sucked into Sleepy Hollow (makes free and loose with the history, but the characters have good chemistry) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a couple of strong episodes but still finding it's feet).

    Saw Thor 2; thought the world/main characters were better than in the first one plus more Loki and Darcy = yay. Saw Ender's Game; I enjoyed it but never read the book so I didn't have nostalgia/expectations going in (yes, I know. I rationalize because D. loved the book as a kid before we all knew what a 'phobe Orson Scott Card is).

    Watched "Goonies" and "Beetlejuice" for the first times since…high school? [ profile] jlsjlsjls: Beetlejuice may have showcased the first documented pair of swants (scroll down), and Delia's other costumes definitely pioneered Japanese designers.

  • Sewing: bwahaha! Writing has eaten my sewing time.

  • Writing: still consumes me though I did not do NaNoWriMo; had good writing days both alone and with [ profile] dustdaughter.

    Teaching myself Scrivener because I'm rapidly losing track of multiple Word files.

  • Reading: mostly crunchy academic tomes for the book sprinkled with occasional fiction so my brain doesn't explode. See: Hollow City, Ooomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way, Halo Effect.

  • Thanksgiving: we spent with [ profile] kiya and [ profile] lady_masque and friends with tons of food.

    Played Arkham Horror for the first time and am staggered at the complexity of the game play.

    Turned everyone on to Alton Brown's cocoa brownies (which I've linked to before but are so good it's worth doing again).

  • Cats: routine vaccination updates turned into clearing up an aggressive ear infection for Spice; she is deaf now, though we don't know whether this is because of infection or treatment :( Due to the stress of repeated vet visits she didn't eat for a week and we're now plying her with tuna and canned food to bulk her back up.

  • Fencing: competed a couple of weeks ago and am proud I was only defeated 10-6 by a scary B rated vet in my final direct elimination.

    Arrogantly(?) think I stand a chance of getting my D this season if I can keep my head on straight.

  • Holiday: only thing planned so far is D.'s office party which is 1) 1920s themed and 2) in CA. So costume and slightly warmer weather = win.

  • Whisky: hoo boy yeah!

I'm very slowly catching up with y'all. I probably won't comment much but know I AM reading.
anotheranon: (books)
Given the repetitive nature of some of my work, I've taken to downloading audiobooks from my library to move the day along. Almost everything has holds so what's available is rather hit or miss, but two with a similar theme became available at the same time.

Simon Pegg's Nerd Do Well was an exercise in deja vu - his stories about seeing Star Wars for the first time, being an X-Files fan and his childhood interest in ghosts and UFOs so resemble my own experiences growing up it was like listening to tales from my "brother from another mother" or something. It's also very illustrative that American tv and movies are so pervasive that people in my demographic the world over have similar pop cultural references. It's wonderfully funny and Pegg clearly has had an incredible time getting to where he is.

Speaking of pop cultural references, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is chock full of them. Cline first came on my radar years ago with his spoken word Nerd Porn Auteur [YouTube, language mildly NSFW], and it turns out he's also the guy behind the Star Wars fan road trip movie "Fanboys", so this should perhaps not be surprising. The book is largely a love story dedicated to 1980s video games, but if you grew up in the '80s the entire book is kind of a pop cultural in-joke. And this is not a BAD thing - Cline does an adequate job of explaining what is what to readers who might not know, AND there is an actual story here - a competitive virtual reality game where the tests are entirely based on the players' knowledge of 80s music, movies, tv, and arcade games. Very enjoyable - I'm tempted to get it as a gift for friends if only so we can ooh and ah over "I remember that game/commercial/catchphrase!" etc.

brain work

May. 2nd, 2013 06:17 pm
anotheranon: (books)
Surprise travel this past weekend gave me the chance to do some reading.

I was able to read all of When the Girls Came Out to Play during my round trip flight, not just because I had time because it was good. I'd told a Costume Society acquaintance about my embryonic fencing gear research and she recommended it as a "dry academic" background read, so I was expecting a slog. But no, it's quality non-fiction and turned out to be exactly the book I needed that I didn't know existed.

geeking )

So I realize rather stunningly that this research may lead to something other than noodling on my desktop and in my LJ :P

It is cutting into sewing time though. I doubt I'll have anything new for Dress U, and guess who is taking forever and a day to put the sleeves on D.'s scholar's robe?

Time management, I can not haz.
anotheranon: (books)
This Christmas was unquestionably the year of the book.

D. plundered my Amazon wish list and got me a number of the fashion folios I've been drooling over for awhile. Some are HUGE: the Rick Owens and i-D monographs could actually serve as coffee tables if I stuck legs on them :P In addition there are some academic books in there - Berg Publishers owns me...

In addition, I picked up a slew of fiction and funnies for Christmas eve (book giving is traditional for my fam) including I Could Pee On This, which is funnier than it has any right to be.

These are just a few of many more; if y'all are really interested I can do up a list (opening the library!). Suffice it to say I have a lot of very good reasons to hole up in my library this winter :P

During our visit we went down to the new location of Book Nook, which is incredibly still in business and under the same management. The new layout even mirrors that which I remember as a child, when J. and I would sit in the pets/animal section while my Dad traded in sci-fi paperbacks (he kept a running tab).

Also over the holidays, we saw the Hobbit twice, once regular, once on Imax. I enjoyed it, though it's not as epic in feeling as the LOTR films I don't think it's supposed to be (I have never read the Hobbit, though I've tried twice. Yes, I know...)

Also saw Skyfall, which was fantastic. Javier Bardem's performance was breathtaking - Hannibal Lechter level creepy.

The holidays are a nice break from the everyday but always kind of disorienting, so now I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things.

on books

Oct. 19th, 2012 10:43 pm
anotheranon: (books)
It's going to be another 6-8 weeks before our bookcases arrive. As such I'm sitting here with the twitchy need to look something up, and being unable to, because all of the books are still boxed.

D. and I had a hard time purging the collection of volumes we still like but were in tatters because in our minds books are sacred (albeit in a secular way). It just seems viscerally wrong to destroy a book, even if it's an ancient rotting copy of the "19XX Consumer Guide to [$outdated product]". The information was useful or the story inspiring enough at one point that someone saw fit to put it to paper and print it, so to destroy that information feels like snuffing an idea.

Relatedly I recently received The Book Nobody Read. My sister recommended it to me as a thrilling (intellectually) tale of bibliographic detective work: the 20+ years one man spent tracking down every surviving copy of Copernicus' De revolutionibus, the groundbreaking work on astronomy that a prominent modern astronomer still insisted that "nobody ever read". In the process he discovers copies no only clearly read but also annotated by the likes of Galileo and Kepler and many more that someone felt were valuable enough to save for 500 years, whether it was read or not. Even if no one HAD bothered to read it at least Copernicus' ideas survived his death. What if he'd never written them down, or shared them at all?

At the end, donation was clearly the way to go. Friends of the Library will make sure the ideas we no longer want are still available to someone, and have the stoutheartedness to throw out what really can't be salvaged. After all, we're creating a personal library, but not an archive.
anotheranon: (busy)
Just looked at the ol' LJ and doG, it's been awhile since I updated:

Christmas prep moves along. I am *mostly* done with gift selection. I kept meaning to add more to the "tree" but given that we're traveling next Wednesday I've resigned myself to further decoration just not happening. I WILL be celebrating with chocolate chip cookies this weekend.

Cats are doing much better. Spice was finishing up her medicine over and the pet sitter got scratched a couple of times :( Both are frisky because of the colder weather. Which works out, because the pet sitter also got them used to getting a treat of canned food every morning :P

I did finally finish cutting the vest out of the fashion fabric, but have been distracted by an ongoing intriguing stacks of books (sidebar: Goodreads is fantastic for keeping track of my reading, and doesn't have a puny 100 book limit like LibraryThing). I could share the saga of my extravagant wine spill on my copy of Moda a Firenze II(!! thank the publisher for slick paper, or it would be in much worse shape than it is).

Got D. "Hogfather" as an early Christmas present and we watched last night (see: yesterday's writer's block). We're planning on seeing the new Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy if I can pull D. away from Star Wars: The Old Republic long enough (I am a video game widow, at least temporarily. Which is fine with me as D. has been a fencing widower at least 3 times a week for years now :P).

Speaking of which: my improvement is slow, but does continue. I managed to have a good day at a big regional competition a couple of weeks ago despite having an asthma attack (or problem - I could breathe, just not well. Sidebar: dry air is definitely a trigger), and got some video at club this week per the gently insistent advice of my coach. I've also decided that instead of letting video back up I need to figure out how to burn it to disc. To that end I'm downloading video editing freeware. Hopefully in the new year I can make good on giving discs to my fencing buddies who get filmed along with me.

And I'll have time to do this because I have to use up excess leave before the end of the year, which gives me just over 2 weeks away from work, with travel bookended by free days on both sides - huzzah!
anotheranon: (goodstory)
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Fencer, Tailor, Bookworm, Geek.
anotheranon: (busy)
Here's what's been going on:

Fencing club has a new space - high ceilings and more space between strips means no more accidentally parrying into the air ducts or taking one's life in one's hands to referee. S. seems a bit disappointed at how much the restrooms take up floor space, but I think it's pretty sweet. Especially considering that fencing is small enough of a sport that having a dedicated space (i.e., not a gym where we have to set up/take down every time) is a good thing in general.

Received Moda a Firenze II as a late birthday gift from my mother-in-law. It is GORGEOUS! I'm at the point of trying to remember the vocabulary.

Turns out that manhandling cats 3 times a day to give them medicine stresses them out - who knew? :( Spice is having to wear a t-shirt to keep her from scratching her healing back and slinks around like something is pressing down on her from above. She's taking out her stress by peeing out of bounds :( Happily she's not soiled anything that isn't washable, and while I'm tired of cleaning up after her I can't blame her terribly. Trying to remedy the situation with liberal sprayings of Feliway, a new huge, clean litter and not pushing myself on her, but petting gently when she comes over. Kisia is only having her ears done, which she hates but is weathering somewhat better.

In between fencing and cat wrangling I've finally managed to finish the Palmer/Plesched vest pattern. Turns out I have large bust, hollow chest, rounded upper back, sway lower back and forward shoulders. I'd be more upset about not mirroring the norm but then I remind myself that clothes should fit the person, not the other way around. I'm going to try drafting the rest of the pieces to match this evening and start construction sometime after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of which, T-Day has snuck up on me and I realized with a shock that we fly out Wednesday! So I have to bring the pet sitter up to speed, pack, and cat-proof what I won't be here to monitor.
anotheranon: (wtf)
I decided to take a 1930s detour before I started the vest by doing a 1/3 size test version of one of the patterns from Kirke's Vionnet book. This was intended to be a short, throwaway experiment, but hasn't turned out that way.

For the uninitiated: Vionnet was a couturier of the early 20th century who specialized in drape and bias cut. The book in question is one woman's flat pattern drafts based on these garments that were originally designed on a 3 dimensional form.

Given that the pattern pieces aren't shaped like traditional flat patterns, I'm using an old sheet and making a small version so as not to waste tons of good fabric on a learning curve. At the same time, I do have a pattern and it's only 3 pieces, so I figured, how hard can it be?


I got turned around right away. Part of this is that it's not going together the way I expected and part of it is poor written directions and no diagrams. Check it out:

1. Match lines F-D of wool part II to the back of lines F-D of part I.
2. Stitch lines F-D of velvet part II on line stitched at (1).

Wait, what? was I supposed to stitch something at (1)? Match WHAT side of the wool part to the back of I? Does "back" mean back of the garment or wrong side of the fabric??

So this is turning in to a pile of crazy comparable to the Donna Karan mobius dress.

I've only found one account online of someone who's tried to scale up these patterns and she recommends a Japanese book by Bunka Fashion College tutors that includes diagrams and scale. Not sure I want to pony up for this book just yet as I have so many other projects/books in the queue.

Ideas/solutions welcome. I'm going to take one more crack at this before moving on to the vest.
anotheranon: (books)
Monica Ferris' "Needlecraft Mysteries" series - I've not read any but it looks like a series of novels with punny names set in a Minnesota yarn shop, Crewel World.
anotheranon: (books)
What I've been reading:

Kim Newman's "Anno Dracula": What would have happened if Dracula hadn't been killed at the end of Bram Stoker's novel? Newman plays in the London of 1888 with every prominent vampire and Victorian you can think of, so if you're familiar with the genre and time period it's an adventurous running in-joke - but if not there's lengthy notes at the end that describe his influences. I heard about this novel years ago but wasn't able to get a copy until it was reissued this year. I hope the sequels come out as well!

Jeff Sharlet's "C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy": this is a continuation of his research into the Christian Right elite that he started in 2008's The Family. Using interviews with members and the Family's own documentation, he demonstrates that these aren't the outrageous Bachmanns and Perrys, but wealthy, well positioned (usually) men who are content to work slowly to achieve their goals of rolling back social progress: in their world LGTBQs would go back into the closet, the poor would be content with their lot, women would shut up and act nice, while they paternalistically run everything. What's most chilling is how firmly they believe that they are God's instruments, confusing their own egos with divine will. Not a happy read but very much recommended.

Leslie Kean's "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record": I know, I know: most UFO books are by nutty believers or stern debunkers, but this is one of the most sane, sober treatments of the subject I've ever read. Shoving the assumption that UFOs = aliens aside, the contributors to Kean's book recite their experiences and suggest that unknown things in the sky need to be taken seriously as flight hazards and defense threats. Excerpts here.

Jon Armstrong's "Yarn": I'm not done with it but I'm including it anyway because it's a compulsive read - I almost dread getting to the end because it means I won't get to read Armstrong's clever use of fashion/textile language to describe SeattleHama, a future capital of sex and fashion, with violent sales-warriors and specialty yarn-stealing (and hallucinogenic drugs that make you see everything as fabric. I want some of this drug). A tailor is on a mission to get an illegal fabric to ease the suffering of a former lover, and his story is told in flashbacks along the way. It's described as "fashionpunk", and you can read the first chapter online.
anotheranon: (busy)
I did stuff other than sew this weekend:

  • After much (well, some) indecision I finally shelled out for Seventeenth Century Women's Dress Patterns and am so glad I did! I would even offer that the authors do Janet Arnold one better: the garments are x-rayed, the photos are in blistering high-res color, and in addition to the patterns, instructions (including painstaking hand-stitching how to photos) are included! The book is so densely packed that I'm reading it slowly, a couple of pages at a time and then breaking to "digest".

  • 20 lunges before and after fencing practice, plus another 20 after a 45 minute lesson. My knees and arches are cranky but I'm not in agony, nor do I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I'm taking that as evidence that my endurance is improving.

  • Catching up on cheezy teevee: the second best part of watching the WTF-ery of True Blood is io9's Pro vs. Con recaps (spoilers abound). Have not seen Torchwood "Miracle Day" yet, but I am patient.

  • Little blue cat is on a timed feeding schedule because she is not quite so little as once she was :P Mostly she's adapted, but on weekends still dances around singing the "Food Now? Food Now!" song every time we approach the bowl. I'd feel worse, but this is the most active she's been in months! Running around all day also means she's too tired at night to play her favorite new game, "boop" (in which she sticks her paws in my nose and mouth in order to wake me up - eeeew!)

  • Turned in a groupon for an upper body massage and my first ever facial. The former was VERY good, though she couldn't quite work out the marble-like knots in my shoulders, they're looser than they were. The facial left my face soft and moisturized and quite relaxed (scalp massage!) but I'm not sure it did much to shrink my pores, but then one can't have everything.
anotheranon: (books)
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Books, oh doG, books.

Not something I set out to collect, but I think scoring a copy of "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd" for ~$30(!) around 10 years ago is what really got my costume history library rolling. My interests dictate that most of these involve European costume, but in recent years I've been drifting into non-European and social/dress theory as well. I only try to get all books about specific designers (Fortuny, Miyake, and Westwood) and have a mental block about purchasing books I can't read* (my shelves are thankful that I'm monolingual).

For sanity's sake, I try to restrict my book purchases to non-fiction/art for reference and fiction I can't get at the library. This has helped limit the crazy.

*Except for the Pattern Magic series. I don't read Japanese but I do read "pattern".
anotheranon: (books)
I'm accustomed to reading more than one book at a time. In an effort to make a dent in my backlog and have something on hand to suit every mood, I'm trying to keep one each of fiction, costume, and non-fiction by my bed. Today the combination is:

Fiction: Kushiel's Justice - haven't started yet as I just finished Mortal Companion (does this have a sequel? or will it?)

Costume: Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East: makes me want to make loose silk tunics and baggy trousers. I need to add to my "want to make" list the same way I need a fat hole in my head :P

Non-Fiction: Just finished Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (not the newest scholarship but a fairly solid, infuriating intro to the "Indian Wars" from the Native American perspective) and next up I'll either finish Understanding Fencing or start Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati. Or both - development of good fencing habits vs. extravagant eccentrics (hey! Tilda Swinton as Casati) makes them different enough to feed different moods.

What are you currently reading?
anotheranon: (Default)

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anotheranon: (busy)
Most costume/fashion; one not:
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anotheranon: (Default)
[ profile] shemhazai visited last weekend, and it was the first time we'd seen each other in over a year (!) We had a fine old time museum hopping, drinking chocolate and limoncello, and talking over all the things we've not had time to talk about on the phone because we've both been busy/unavailable. She helped me rattle some of the creative cobwebs off my mind - even got me cranking on the Regency again, and together we finished taking apart the burgundy drapes.

It works out that I'd kicked off a sewing jag. Tuesday ice had me teleworking, so I was able to spend my lunch hour at my own kitchen table binding the sleeve seams. They look and feel beautiful - I've been doing all the finishing by hand in part because of the delicacy of the cotton and partly because it's just pleasant to handle :)

This weekend I stayed in and mostly read a lot - finished Palimpsest (strange and beautiful) and continued Bess of Hardwick (jailing the Queen of Scots can create a huge strain on your marriage, even if Elizabeth I is your BFF).

Fencing comes and goes. I recovered from last week's overtraining and have been performing some impressively deep lunges, but I'm still struggling to concentrate and put a plan behind the power. It's frustrating both how long it's taking me to focus and how irritated I get that I can't seem to fall into "flow" as tidily as I was before the holidays.

I'm just sad at how the weather is making me more disorganized than usual. It's a combination of cold weather lethargy/SAD slowing me down and hazardous driving conditions derailing what plans I'm able to put in place. I did finally remember to register for the March NAC, mostly because it's something I can do from my desk, and set up a few reminders so I'll get to hotel/flight booking in a timely manner.

Having said that, I'm trying to spend less at-home time online because LJ, blogs, Twitter etc. suck me in and keep me from doing Stuff That Needs Done (in the time it took me to write this I was looking up flights and who does those awesome Romulan tabi boots in the Star Trek reboot in other windows. You see my problem?)
anotheranon: (790)
Am fighting off a possible kidney infection. As of now only feeling like heck and am medicated/resting but I know the hell to which it can escalate, so I'm angrily staying home from work.

Angry because I need to be busy this time of year, angry because I want to fence my last lesson of the year tomorrow and must be able to fly comfortably on Friday. D. has been an angel, getting me every formulation of cranberry juice under the (weak, cold, winter) sun and Spice has been sympathetic enough to let me have repeated pets. C'mon Cipro, come on...

Not all is lost - I've had the chance to read (Changeless, On Monsters), and was even inspired to pick back up the Regency gown after watching the Lord of the Ring costume design extras. I may not want to costume for money, but I wish I had Ngila Dickson's resources (her own dye house!!) I was further along than I remembered and will likely finish the dress soon after the new year.
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