Welcome to those of you who are new readers; I've opened this journal up to the public a lot, but there are still the rare friends only posts - so if I know you, drop me a note and I'll make sure to add you.
Feel free to dig into my past posts, ask questions, etc... interaction is good, as long as it's civil; if you're an asshat you will be banned and as an fyi all anonymous comments are screened.
As to who I am/what I'm interested in:
* I'm an old school punk (for real - born in 1966), now a "dainty punk" living in LA
* I have a Bachelors in Film/Video (after spending three years as a Chem-E major and realizing I'm good at but hate that stuff) and am all but thesis on a MFA in Theatre Design (I fail at department politics, and refused to keep paying the department to tell me I was too alternative/confrontational when that was the theatre I love).
* I love cooking, sharing food with friends, clubbing, reading (everything from Tolkien to Shakespeare, Atwood to Allende, Artaud to Gaiman, Kiernan, Ellis, Jemisin, Butler, Buckell, and Morrison), theatre, good films, fun movies, creating stuff, music and dancing.
* I'm polyamorous, queer, I fail at fitting into traditional gender or sexual roles, and I sometimes write about this stuff, but it's always flagged for those of you who don't want to read it
* I'm mixed-race, female(ish) in appearance and very anti-racism, anti-patriarchy, anti-homophobic, anti-rape, pro equality and I may write about that too
* I've had arthritis in my right hip since a fracture over 20 years ago, and chronic pain in my shoulders/upper back forever. I have been more recently diagnosed (between 2005 and 2007) with Hashimoto's Thyroid/Auto-Immune Adrenal Deficiency, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia and I'm still learning how to cope with these conditions as they get worse - although figuring out the right treatment for this many problems is hard. I have what the neurologist calls Transient Global Amnesia; no known cause for that. I also can't afford many of the suggested treatments and struggle to pay for the absolute must haves; I don't a job, and Medi-Cal (thanks ACA) helps but not enough.
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First full length photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/lou.capuano
. It was taken before the costume contest at Bent Con on Saturday; I'm hoping there will be more later as loads of people took pictures, including some with other cosplayers - the new Thor, an incredible Skeletor (he won the costume contest), and loads more I've already forgotten.
And I had multiple questions this weekend about how I made it so...
The sheer striped cotton and the velvet for the headpiece were some of the many remnants I've picked up over the years at the Lip Service warehouse sales - I rarely buy finished clothes from them, but the rolls of fabric leftovers are awesome. The gold was from the fabric district, it's specifically a shop that specializes in African sourced fabrics; I think from Kenya in this case, but I'm not sure. And the trim is leftover from another cosplay project - rounds of satiny cord with sequins which had to be hand-sewn (bleh - not my strong suit).
The headpiece was shaped of 1" foam with a bent coat-hanger inside to give it the curves, and gaff tape wrapping to reinforce the shape and stiffness. It's a bit tight around my head, but it also stays on no problem. After I got the shape, I covered it with the velvet, using some gathering in the center front to keep the valley between the curves sharp; there's also a layer of batting and velvet lining inside so the shape doesn't get wonky because my head is sticking through the frame. If I wear this again, I'll probably re-visit the headdress - I'm not entirely pleased with the way the form fits or it's smoothness under the velvet, and I'd like to be able to wear it longer without a headache.
The dress itself is a modified chiton - two pieces of full width material attached at the shoulders/arms and sewn up the sides: http://www.dl.ket.org/latin1/things/romanlife/greekdress.htm
. I wasn't happy with the way it was hanging around the waist and it didn't replicate the movie stills as well as I wanted so I nipped in the waist to under my arms, separating the sleeves from the body of the dress. The gold starts as an overlay, but once past my hips, it is used as a gore to widen the front lower portion of the dress, and at the bottom to lengthen it further. The train is gathered in the center back and runs about 5' from the bottom of the main dress. I'm really pleased with everything except the belt - I need to re-make that with real leather and add the tassels that were front and center in the film version, but I worked with what I had in the stash of pleathers we'd been gifted.
Overall, I really enjoyed making this and how the finished product turned out, even if there are things I would change. I'm not bad at this stuff, but I've had no training except occasional hints from friends which means all my cosplay (and clothing making in general) is of the try it, make it work, go back and re-do the things you want to later. Thank fuck I have a good eye for fabric and lines or none of my stuff would look okay.
Last year, a few of us were planning on costumes from David Lynch's film of Dune. They didn't get finished due to time and $. So my Jessica Atreides Bene Gesserit costume got finished this year. Here's a first look from the club on Halloween night; I'll get some full length pictures this weekend I hope.
And in case you haven't seen the film, one of the stills I pulled as reference for the cosplay:
I'm really happy with how it turned out, and the contacts showed up a lot better than I expected! Yay Hollywood for having them OTC the weekend before for only $30.
And thank you to http://www.violetphotography.com
for taking this shot!
Oops... I missed this Saturday. Not that I really have anything left to come out about, but from my point of view making myself visible is always good, and my thinking about who I am has definitely become clearer over the years.
Basically, I'm queer, bi/pansexual, genderqueer, hard femme, and polyamorous. But I didn't always know all of that - some of the terms weren't around when I was younger and trying to figure out who I was, and I've grown with time too.
Queer became a part of my life as a teen - when I started working with Act-Up and the gay community to fight for equal rights and proper treatment. At that point, I knew I liked girls but other than the occasional kiss I had only been involved with boys, so I was questioning but not yet bi/pansexual.
I knew I liked girls as well as boys when I was still in school, but I didn't identify as actively bi until my first relationship with a girl when I was in my 20s. And pansexual (which is a better definition), didn't come about until years later and is less known in the mainstream - but it means I'm attracted to people everywhere on the gender spectrum.
Genderqueer and hard femme came into my life in my 30s - I wasn't aware of them until then, but they are both excellent descriptors of who I've always been. Gender is very performative for me, and I deliberately chose to present myself in a way that fits those labels when I was 20 something. I strongly dislike pants (as in I have two pairs in my closet - for the motorcycle), so skirts and dresses with an edge are my daily wear, and I don't like makeup etc so I skip parts that are expected of women and girls even when I'm going out dressed up.
Polyamorous took the longest. I failed and failed at monogamy in my late 20s and early 30s, and then when my ex and I got involved we agreed on an open relationship. We had very few rules, the main ones being don't lie to me (including by omission) and always have safe sex. At first, it was very unbalanced in that he wasn't okay with me seeing other men, just women, which really limited me. Meanwhile, he was hetero and slept with whoever he wanted. Eventually, that changed in a few ways - I got involved with a great male friend, and I had a successful relationship with a stunning and smart woman like me, and somewhere in there I sorted out that I was polyamorous. That basically means multiple loves. In practice, I don't get involved with many people, but knowing that I can and dating someone who does the same is important for me. I'm currently involved with an amazing man who's also involved with a wonderful women with whom he has a newborn (and very cute) daughter. And there are friends who might become more to me - only time will tell. Sometimes poly is complicated, but I'd rather deal with that than fuck up every relationship I have - or not have at least one partner on a regular basis. But I also understand that poly/open relationships don't work for lots of people - this is how I'm wired, it has nothing to do with being queer/bi - and lots of people of all genders/sexualities are wired for monogamy. I thought I was monogamous for years, but as I grew up I realized that I don't do jealousy and I wasn't happy dating someone who acted as if they owned me (which caused friction and was part of the failing from 25ish on). I have too much room in my heart to only love one person and to have them think that loving others (sexual or not) isn't okay, so poly it is.
I just finished reading John Scalzi's excellent Lock In
which prompted me to re-read the preqel: http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/05/unlocked-an-oral-history-of-hadens-syndrome-john-scalzi
And at the end of the novella, he writes "The half-life between story of the century and not even the story of the day is quicker than you would ever guess.
But then I ask my students: does this mean that it stops being a story worth telling? And I say to them the real journalists among them know the answer even before I ask the question. And the answer is that the story is worth telling every day. The trick is not to find the story of the century. You won’t miss that story when it happens. No one will miss it. The trick is to find the story of the day and for that day make whoever reads it or hears it care about it so intensely that it doesn’t leave them. Then it becomes a story of their life. Maybe even the story of their life."
And it hit home for me that the media seems to fail at the long tail more often lately. We get one new story after another, but not the threads that tie past to present to potential future. They cover Ferguson (after we yell at them enough) but ignore systemic racism and fail to tie it to the other 4 deaths of unarmed black citizens at police hands in the same week. Gaza coverage ignores the history of virtual apatheid there. Sexual assault/rape is almost always treated as an isolated incident rather than a systemic problem that is deliberately underreported by many police to the tune of 1,000,000+rapes at a minimum since 1995 (http://www.thenation.com/article/180441/how-did-fbi-miss-over-1-million-rapes
). We need to demand better.
Also, you should read Lock In; it's a near-future detective novel with 'robots', viruses and amazing tech. Trust me, it's one of the best things I've read this year.
So I'm taking an online philosophy of film class, and this week we're talking about Inception, dreams vs. reality, and free will.
This was my answer to one of the discussion questions:
Do you ever feel disappointed when you awake from a dream?
As someone who struggles with chronic illness and chronic pain, I dream of life before at times. So yeah I can be sad when I wake. But the world I live in, real or constructed, isn't all bad. There's real love, moments of joy, even rare days when my broken isn't too bad, and I can forget for a little while. That usually involves dancing, which is something I don't dream of, so I'll struggle in this world - the center I find in dance is more peaceful than a dream.
Losely inspired by various 'summer of salad' recipes on http://www.seriouseats.com
and the tons of 'food porn' currently streaming online.
2 cups of couscous cooked in chicken stock/olive oil (as directed on the package) with added spices - if it's not thoroughly moist, add more stock - you want this moister than usual as it'll be served cool. I used 3 cups of stock for my 2 cups of couscous, when it called for 2 1/2 cups. I would have preferred the pearled couscous, but that wasn't available.
Tumeric - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Ancho Chili - 1/4 tsp
Cardamom - 1/4 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Paprika - 1 tsp
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Grilled vegetables (clean then marinate thoroughly in a mix of olive oil, pesto, salt and pepper). I put an open foil pack of cherrywood wood chips over one burner for added smoky flavor. The vegetable tray went in the center of the grill, with the center two burners off and the outside two on high. Grill until tender and the tomato skins start to split, then chop to smaller size when cool (2-3 pieces per bite).
1 1/2 pounds large crimini mushrooms, cut into sixths or eights to get more surface to grill/smoke
2-3 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and pushed flat
2 baskets of cherry tomatoes and/or 8-10 smaller regular tomatoes (cut the regular ones in half)
2-3 bunches of asparagus
2 pounds of thick cut boneless pork chops grilled over medium flame (170F) then cut into small pieces when cool. I made a quick marinade of the same spices as the couscous with a bit of oil/balsamic, and let them marinate while the veggies cooked. I pulled the wood chip package before putting the pork on as I wanted a clear flavor difference with the vegetables.
As you get the vegetables chopped, mix in a large bowl, adding the couscous in small batches so it doesn't clump. After they're all in, add a block of feta cheese crumbled, then the pork bites and mix thoroughly. Serve cool, not hot. (I would have also added cucumbers not grilled, but our refrigerator froze them for me).
This is an easy meal to adjust for vegetarians or vegans (replace chicken with vegetable stock, remove cheese/pork, etc) and to swap flavor profiles by changing spices/marinades - this was actually motivated by a thai rice/fish sauce salad which I can't have so... You could sautee or pan roast the vegetables if you don't have a grill or the weather prohibits it's use. And feel free to change up the vegetable choices to whatwever's in season or you like. It would also make a delicious hot side (sans meat) in the colder months, but we're both struggling with eating well in this heat so cool salad sounded good. Leftovers are in a tupperware in the fridge (we'll reheat to room temp as needed), and will be fine for 3-4 days, by which time we'll have finished them.
More food pron...
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 package (16-20oz) ground turkey or ground beef
2 large bell peppers
1 package taco seasoning
3 large tomatoes or 1 can (~14 oz) diced tomatoes - drained
1 can refried beans (16 oz)
Brown the ground meat in the olive oil in a large skillet. Meanwhile, chop the bell peppers into ~ 3/8" cubes after removing seeds and pith. Once the meat is no longer pink, add peppers and the package of seasoning. Chop the tomatoes the same size as the peppers and add them. Cook for ~15 minutes over low heat until the peppers and tomatoes are tender and have released their juices. Stir in the refried beans, mixing thoroughly.
1 box pasta (elbows or similar, your choice of dreamfields, quinoa, regular wheat, etc)
1 stick butter
1 pint half & half
1 pound shredded cheese (mexican, or a mix of cheddar and mozzerella)
Cook pasta as directed, leaving it a bit al dente as it will cook a bit more in the oven. Drain pasta and set aside. In pasta pot, combine cream and butter and warm over low heat, then add the shredded cheese. Mix thoroughly until you have a uniform sauce, then add the pasta back and stir to coat evenly.
1/2 cup shredded parmesan or romano cheese
1/2 pound shredded cheese (same as the pound)
Coat a 9x13 pyrex dish with cooking spray, then add the cheesy pasta, distributing to an even level. Add the meat, veg, and bean mixture and smooth out evenly. Top with a parmesan/romano and 1/2 pound of shredded cheese. Place on a baking sheet to catch any drips, then put into a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, until everything melts together and there is some browning on top. Let this sit and cool for at least 10 minutes so it doesn't fall apart on slicing. Makes 8-12 servings depending on hunger levels, and is a complete meal. We leave leftovers in the pan covered with press & seal or if we're not going to eat it all in a few days, slice and wrap in individual portions then freeze in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Notes: you can make this with gluten free pasta, skip meat and replace with mushrooms or meat substitute, make it vegan, etc.
Mmmm... this one was dreamfields penne with ground turkey. Not fancy but delicious, filling and fairly healthy.