Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Puttin' the face on


   Went to see Logan Lucky with the boys. I put makeup on my face and everything.
   Logan Lucky was a Soderbergh alright. A sort of hillbilly Ocean's Eleven (their words), but not quite as good. Seeing as I'm not a fan of neither Adam Driver nor Daniel Craig, I was only attracted to the Soderbergh heist movie description and Channing Tatum. Tatum was good. Soderbergh was ok. On the whole, it was ok.
   The company was excellent.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Like, really good

Just when I started to relax, lay back, breathe deep and easier, I realised that I'm going back to work next Tuesday. A week from now. I've got a week to just do what I feel at the moment I feel it. Been to the gym (first times since May) two days straight and it felt good. Like, really good. To be going because I feel like it and not because I feel guilty for not going is a treat.
Vacation time soon to be over.
Autumn's approach.
I can do this. (Though I don't want to.)

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Hutt (kind of) Recommends: Black City Saint

Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak

I've played Diablo since I was fourteen years old. For a very long time it was also the ONLY thing I played. If the legends and history of Sanctuary, and Tristram, hadn't intrigued me so I wouldn't have discovered Richard A. Knaak's stories at all. The legends of the Sin War and the stories about Zayl the necromancer all have special places in my bookshelves.
   Obviously, I needed to know whether Knaak had written anything else relevant to my interests and that, my friends, is how I stumbled upon Black City Saint - an urban fantasy tale featuring true 1920's flappers, bootleggers, shapeshifters, dragons, Feirie and saints.


   In Prohibition time Chicago there are worse things than getting mixed up in bootlegger wars to worry about, something Nick Medea is trying his very best to not let people find out about. He's been the immortal guardian set to guard The Gate between this world and the world of the Wyld - the dark Feiriefolk  - these past 600 years, ever since... Well, suffice it to say it's been a bumpy road from once being called Saint George to where Nick finds himself now.
   Ever since The Night the Dragon Breathed and set Chicago ablaze some 50 years ago, more and more of the Wyld have been found on the wrong side of The Gate. The more of the Wyld that gathers the larger the problem it gathers around. Like moths to a flame they gather.
   Nick has to look inward to a part of himself he deeply mistrusts to solve this riddle, at the same time as people from his troubled past resurrects and resurfaces.

   Black City Saint has a lot of the elements I like about Knaak: the somewhat sombre but relatable main character, a sarcastic familiar, plenty of dry wit and a lot of action. Unfortunately, it also has all of the things I don't like about Knaak: too many small characters, a lack of female characters* and a way of getting stuck somewhere in the middle of the story and drone on about something rather insignificant before throwing the final boss fight in your face.
   However, it was well worth it for the sarcasm! But honestly I'd rather read 'Kingdom of Shadow' and 'Moon of the Spider' again if I had to reread anything Knaak. Humbart Wessel brings the best disembodied quips to the party.

 * Black City Saint doesn't even pass the Bechdel test;
the only conversation between two named female characters happen
off screen and is only mentioned to have happened. It's absurd.

So this is August, huh?


  I've been back from the Medieval Week a full week and all according to tradition I've been down with the post-Middle Ages plague - normally 'just' a severe cold starting at the end of The Week, but new for me this year were some nasty ulcers adding to my misery.
   In short I've been busy.

  Just going from the bed to the computer's been a strain on me. My favourite hobby eating has been hard work. Holy shit, I hate not being able to eat, 'cause FOOD motherfucker! And don't even get me started on not being able to drink my normal three buckets of coffee in the morning! The RAGE. I am not a good person without coffee.
  This Medieval Week I haven't done all that much but sitting around, laughing, talking, singing and drinking until 3 in the morning. A lot of hugs. It might have been one of those hugs that gave me the plague but if that's the case, it was well worth it. It's been good. My new red dress and liripipe hood were very useful.

And then yesterday this lanky ginger asshole moved in with me.


Thursday, 3 August 2017

This dress has killed me

This damned dress.

   It took me ages to muster up the energy to fit everything together once I'd assembled both layers of the dress because hand stitching is death... so I redid a few things I'd made a mess of with an older dress. By hand. I'm stupid that way but refitting the arms by hand seemed easier than doing it by machine, especially since I just got a hang of how to refit them.



   It's not entirely historically correct to fit the layers together like I do with my dresses, but with a little help it is quite simple. All historical sources I've consulted point to there being linen undergarments and then a separate outer layer (and then another one after that), normally of wool with silk lining, except in some cases depending on wool fabric quality, but heeeeeeey! So what. I'm really not that strict on the details. This is more of an experimental hobby and even though the amount of money it costs is sometimes beyond absurd it remains only a hobby to me. I'm letting having fun be my first priority and money-worries my second. And I'm planning on having fun in my outfits. Also, I caught on to the idea to fit the layers together in an effort to have a way of not needing to use my modern bra underneath my medieval dresses (makes for a more historically correct silhouette). But that should obviously be something I solve with my linen underwear. It's much simpler (see: cheaper) to redo a linen garment than a wool one. I've done two dresses this way already but it's not quite working the way I want it to (in other words: I still need to wear a bra).

   Just like the people of the late 14th century I have a thing for buttons, and so I'm making my own buttons for the arms; nineteen on each arm in this case just up to my elbows.

   I took a short course on how to weave edges back in 2015 and have been wanting to try it since which of course is also an excellent excuse for buttons this time around. On the other hand this meant I needed a tape loom, something I don't own as of yet, so some improvising was at hand (it ended with me slaughtering a deck of cards, gluing cards together and then carving appropriate windows and holes in them). The books and history nerds I've consulted says the woven edge should be silk (or wool) so I invested in some real silk thread (I've used polyester thread on my previous dresses and didn't want to use wool this time).

   But before I could get to that I picked up on another project; a buttoned and lined liripipe hood. I don't have one and want one since there's nothing better to protect one's neck from the cold.
   My fingers hurt but as my mantra goes; "it'll look beautiful when it's done". So I picked up some old dresses that needed some loving and switched between projects as to not bore my restless mind with the hand sewing.








   And it did turn out beautiful! The hood looks much better than I expected, which is always a bonus (and deserves a friggin' gold star).

  Right! Back to the cotehardie! Weave edges. Yes. Good. Since I had already tried my simplified little tape loom on the liripipe hood (with worsted yarn) I had some idea of how to do it. I also knew that it was fiddly work but oh so worth it. At first I thought I'd use mixed colours but then decided against it (and regret nothing).

   IT LOOKS FUCKING FANTASTIC.
   Next step was to make lacing holes. Again, slow and tedious work, but it's the last piece of the dress I can fiddle together on my own. Just me, my bone needle, needle and silk thread. And then, THEN, turning up the skirt hemline and presto
    - a dress.
And I'm dead. Well, my fingers are.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Three days left...

Three work days left...
   ...and I have to go over references this week and go through the last check points before hiring our new colleague. I am very ready for my vacation.



...and the dress is almost done. Which is good because I'm leaving on Sunday morning.