Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Busy Busy!

That's me, all right.

I've made a space just for all my sewing, DIY and design related posts. It's called Loveless Arachne - which also happens to be the name of the shop on Etsy I'll be opening in a few weeks, depending on how everything comes together in the next little while.

So I've been pushing myself and working out some new designs, while steadily and gradually building up stock to put in the shop. I don't intend to list a lot of things right away, but a few items at a time and we'll see how it goes. The first few things I intend to post are all things I worked out over last summer -- the Jellyfish will definitely be a part of this (not so much the Alot of Cake!)

I'm hoping that once I get a few items made up, I can perhaps get a few friends to help me model/take pictures of all my stuff. I really really want to try and keep them classy and more to the editorial and artistic side of things. I love editorial photography, and really want to use live models whenever I can - I think it just adds something. If I can't coerce my friends to do it with my charming zealotry for this project, perhaps I can bribe them (free swag, anyone?) Don't worry, friends who read my blog, I will of course ask/beg you in person when I'm prepared for this step, I'm just honestly really excited for it.

There are a lot of other things to do, of course. But for now the blog is up, and that's a start! ;)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Prophecy in Retrospect

Recently, I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and once again it occurred to me just how similar the character Marshal and I are. Save gender, there's a lot of things about the character I personally identify with. The fact that he was raised in a smaller town in Minnesota gives him similar attributes that I acquired growing up in small town BC - love of outdoors, a large family, and a certain set of values I associate with living in a smaller community. I also identify with Marshal's tendency to sing what he is doing. This is a trait I've been known for, and just the other day Mr. C caught me singing a ditty about the load screen for Dr. Who: Worlds In Time. But, this episode put some light on Marshal's beliefs in the occult, and where it comes from. I, like him, read those stories as a child and saw them as almost a form of religion. It wasn't fake, it was all real, all of it. The possibilities were endless, and all things plausible. I mean, come on, it's a big huge amazing world, and if a book told me that it was possible for certain paranormal phenomena to exist it must exist.

I know a lot of kids who have big wide open imaginations, but I don't think I knew anyone who took it as seriously as I did. I was kind of the Luna Lovegood of my elementary school, as I see it. I was weird, I believed in everything, and kind of encouraged other people to open their minds too. I did projects about aliens, could of gone to a public speaking event for elementary students in grade four or five for a paranormal research speech I gave, if I had said yes but I didn't because I was kind of embarrassed by it. Because even though I believed it, with all my heart, I knew that the other kids thought I was kind of weird for believing it the way I did.

Eventually I learned my lessons in believing in everything you read or hear, and trusting sources and all that sort of stuff. It took awhile, but eventually I learned that sometimes a ghost story is just a story, not a fact.

But you know what? A part of me still does believe in all that paranormal stuff. I just can't close out that part of my mind, no matter what.

So when I randomly found a mysterious book in my house called "Mysteries of the Unexplained" a book published by readers digest in 1982, I was thrown back into my childhood. It wasn't the same book series my Mom has on her shelf that I read to death as a kid, but the stories were similar enough and some of them were even the same that I found my mind being taken to insane realms of possibilities once again. This is the stuff science fiction fantasy is made of, the stuff of my youth. It's a nice way to reminisce while at the same time explore the realm of what could be rather than what is. As a person who dabbles in writing sci-fi fantasy, it's the perfect way to relax and take your mind to new places. At least for me.

So far my favourite section has been about prophecies, and here's why.

The first thing that caught my eye when I opened the book was this image. Which made me think, respectively, of the TARDIS and Balloon Boy. Which made me laugh to imagine someone predicting balloon boy. Then I read the blurb (the book is written all in short blurbs laid out in a seemingly random pattern) which states that these are images from Cyrano de Bergerac's early science fiction works Voyage to the Moon and Sun published first in 1656. First off, I was happy to learn that Cyrano was a real person, it just made me love the play a little more. Second, I was shocked to learn that he was considered a prophet, and that he made references in his works of fiction to rocket propulsion. But there it was. He was the first to write of electricity, light bulbs, tape recorders, hot air balloons, berm houses and mobile homes. Oh, and he also wrote a short story about a Doctor from the sun who travelled through space and time in a box.

The book was published in 1982, so some of the prophecies printed hadn't hit their time yet. By that I mean, there are a few of them talking about the future, and one in particular caught my eye because of current events. It's about the papacy. I thought I'd share.

Basically, the blurb-article talks about the historical popes, and how this Saint Malachy of Ireland predicted what the popes would be known for in only a few words written in Latin. He said there would be 112 popes, and he wrote about each in order. Some of the predictions were really vague, but many of them were considered quite accurate given the facts we know about each popes reign (is reign accurate?). Of course, I looked into it more out of curiosity (here's the wiki on it!), but it seems to me that this St. Malachy was kind of a legit prophet to some extent. The prophecies were short, but they were also kind of eerily accurate. And, if it is to be believed , after this pope comes the end of the papacy as we know it.

So I looked at the state of the church, the papacy, and religion in our modern world. I could easily believe that there's going to be a big change in the church soon, I mean look at the way society is starting to view religion in general. Things are changing, a lot.

That being said, I'm kind of curious to see what happens here. I'm not routing for the end of the papacy, not exactly. I'm routing for the prophecy to wind up being accurate. So that I can confirm or deny it. And this looks to me like a prophecy that may actually be likely to happen in my lifetime. I mean, anyone can try and tell me Nostradamus acurately made prophecies, but his works were published in no specific order with no time frame references. They were kind of a mess, and are rather hard to translate, so you can sort of just slap a "Nostradamus predicted that!" on any global event and it can sorta kinda seem accurate.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Or: A List of Things Hollywood Doesn't Tell You About Being Unemployed

Number one, first and foremost over all other things: You can't afford shit all when you are unemployed. Hollywood always portrays unemployed people as running around in designer clothing, using the fanciest new cell phones, having cool cars and awesome haircuts. (I'm talking about you, Jeff Winger/Carrie Bradshaw). They go into incredibly expensive stores and, while loudly complaining about being broke, purchase half the store. Sure, sometimes TV and movies like to make a big deal about money issues, but they usually gloss it over in the shiny way that Hollywood does, and make a sort of joke about it. All while ensuring that the notably broke and unemployed character looks better than everyone else the majority of the time, and you rarely if ever see them wearing the same thing twice. In reality - it's the small things. When you find that once-loved designer item with only the slight stain on it that you're sure no one will notice at the thrift store you are thinking "score".

Number two: Mad-cap adventures don't randomly start happening just because you are unemployed, and your friends are busy with work and school and stuff.  When you are unemployed, your social network does not all of a sudden become unemployed along with you. (And if by chance some of them do, you're all too busy looking for more work to spend much time together at all). On shows people seem to do more when they are unemployed. They make road trips to Detroit and get lost! They meet new people at the coffee shop who turn out to be mass murderers! They buy a cab! They go on some wacky zany get rich quick scheme that somehow winds up with the male characters being sold into a harem! And most of the time they manage to convince an employed friend to ditch work and go along with them. In this competitive market everyone knows they can be replaced, no one you know is going to ditch work for a road trip. And besides, as point number one addresses: You are broke, you don't have the money for this crap. Anyway everyone you know is probably too responsible for that kind of thing now; they have to look after themselves, they aren't teenagers and thus can't act like them. TV likes to make adults act like stupid kids a lot.

Number three: You're really not going to have a lot to talk about, anyway. Interesting things, although they will intermittently happen, wont happen constantly as they seem to on TV. In shows, interesting things must happen, dialogue must occur, because who would watch a show where nothing ever ever happens? So when you tell people something that happened, you might find you've already told them that a few days/weeks ago. And being unemployed kind of means that you are looking for a new job so most conversations probably are going to start with that awkward "Soooooo... uh, know anywhere that's hiring?" Because that is ALL you can feasibly think about after being unemployed for an extended period of time. Sure, you might do stuff. Like watch daytime TV and spend way too much time on I Can Has Cheez Burger. But really, you've posted all that crap to Facebook already, and we all know you've been tweeting about the episodes of  Buffy you've been re-watching again on Netflix, and there are only so many conversations about your cats that people can take. And eventually, if you're me, you will start talking to your cat (because remember, all your friends are busy at work) about the other cat. Because you've even run out of things to talk about with them.

Number four: People don't often take whatever completely random job comes their way, they hand out resumes and go through interviews first. In a lot of TV shows you will see the job search, by way of the character being on the job site "trying the job out" because they are now going to have a series of hilarious mishaps and firings because they are doing things they've never ever done before. Like the person has never worked in retail/customer service and gets a job in retail and flips out at a customer. Or construction, another thing they've never ever done, and they cause a hilarious series of debilitating groin injuries. Maybe they were a teacher forever, and decide to cook meth even though they never have broken the law once. Or, as it is often portrayed as the most degrading of jobs, slinging burgers for a fast food joint perhaps hilariously thinking the meat is people. Occasionally this part of the story is a montage if it's in a movie. Sadly, I don't think montages actually happen in real life, at least I've never experienced one. And in my experience, jobs don't often let you try it out for a day, and most often you have to interview well before getting thrown on the job site.

There's a lot of uncertainty looking for work. It sort of drives you crazy, and it can kind of feel like you suck personally because of it after a while. And even though Hollywood doesn't always show that part without a bit of a joke or a sappy moment, they still do show it most of the time. In reality, unemployment isn't that bad, there are some bad points to it, sure. But it can be kind of cool, too. It gives you a chance to take some "you time" which every one needs, and it can shift your focus and help you out a lot more than you know. It can be a really cool positive time, and that's the part of it that Hollywood tends to focus on because hey, shows are meant to be entertainment and a distraction from reality. Just don't expect life to be exactly like the movies all the time, and you'll be okay.

(still hoping for a montage)

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Crooked Crochet

Yesterday it was so freakishly nice and warm and sunny out, I wanted to wear shorts. My cream soda shorts. With thigh high leg warmers. I didn't, because I don't have thigh high leg warmers. YET. (also Mr. C might have made that face he makes when I'm dressing too runway. I love having a man who's so honest when I ask his opinion about clothes. Honestly, if it wasn't for him some days I'd probably be a ridiculous explosion of colour and self expression and accessories.)

I recently have been experimenting with crocheting to look like knit ribbing, and I've created a knee high spats style leg warmer in khaki green. I just need some awesome buttons, and then the one will be done. I've started the second one, although I kind of wish I had written down what I had done exactly as I went along because right now they don't look exactly the same... Oh well, next time I decide to whip up something in crochet off the top of my head I will remember to write down the pattern so I can recreate it exactly.

I'll definitely post a picture of me wearing them in the near future... camera needs batteries. And to have the zoom function fixed.

I got a Pintrest account set up today. Decided that it's going to be used (primarily) as an inspiration board for my design. I've slapped some pictures of designs I love and some inspirational photos so far. I like the idea of Pintrest, but I think I have to play around with it more to really know whether I'll use it or not.

I got a scanner for my birthday! So I wanted to show you some of my sketches. I'm gunna go through and pic out the ones I like best, and will make another post of just them. I've made a couple of them already, like the cream soda shorts. I have all the fabric I need to make the long coat, but I haven't started it yet. I've also started the super wide-legged pants. They are so '70's retro inspired that I want to vomit up rainbows, I love the fabric I chose for them so much! And now that I also own my own serger (thanks Mommy! Best Christmas gift <3 <3) whom I have named Sergei, I can get a lot more finished sewing wise.

Although it's difficult to temper mass design/sewing urges with the desperate need for a 'real job'. So I have all these awesome sewing project ideas, but I probably wont have time to get to any of them super soon. I have to finish other projects first. Thus the crochet - it's far more portable, and I can work on it most anywhere. Except this last time I bought yarn I bought a ridiculously huge ball, because I wasn't sure how much I was going to need (I knew I was using it to make leg warmers, but I had no pattern and didn't even know if I was making thigh highs or knee highs).

Also - my crochet always seems to want to lean. Like the leaning crochet of Pisa or something, my rectangles always turn into trapezoids. Even if I'm following a pre-designed pattern. Maybe I'll make that my crochet signature.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Movin' and Groovin', Shakin' and ... Bacon?

I really have to buckle down, I say as I type on my blog as a means to procrastinate. Well, that's not entirely true - I did just put a load of laundry in the wash. And the printer is printing resumes.

I need to crack down on the resume thing, because this is getting a little stressfully ridiculous. EI is up at the end of March, still haven't found a job. It's frightening, is what it is, and has been a factor in my horrible moodiness lately. I got my printer set up today, started printing off resumes with the intention of going out on the prowl today, only to discover I have no shirts clean that aren't logo T's, and not even ones I designed. I know, I know, it sounds like yet another excuse, but I really can't hand out resumes in khaki green cargo pants, a M*A*S*H t-shirt (that's almost the same colour as the pants, so really I'd never leave the house in this outfit) and red canvas sneakers. I mean, I could, but I wouldn't call me in for an interview dressed like that. I have standards, and expect other people to share those standards or at the very least have a set of their own. 

So the laundry is laundering, the printer is noisily printing away (complete with curious cat investigating) and I'm preparing myself for my plans for next week: The resume week from hell. I've sectioned off my entire city via bus routes and primary hiring locations, I've prospected out the most likely hiring locations, and I've devised the most efficient way to hand out resumes at every corner of this city. If you're local, expect to see me at your place of employment with a resume in hand, a smile on my face, and a pair of killer heels. Because everyone respects a chick who'll hand out resumes in 3" tall heeled army-inspired boots when they are walking and busing it,  right?

Anyway! Other than that -- I've been feeling a little bit better lately. Still not really 100% myself, but I think getting back on track and employed will help that. 

I was going to blog about my opinions today, I had this whole thing planned to go off about bill C-11... and then I decided not to. Why? Well, mostly because I'm going to research my opinion a little bit more, learn a bit more about C-11 and current copyright law in this country. I want to get my facts straight, and then I'll blog about it. But! I will say this: I am firmly opposed to C-11. After the Prez' of the USA vetoed SOPA, I had hoped that politicians in Canada would see the devastating effects of such ridiculous laws. But I'm not going to rely on that hope - our current administration here in my beautiful country has already put into place some policies I'm dead against, and made some real jacked up decisions lately.

What it all boils down to: I just have a huge issue with copyright infringement sentencing being harsher than sentencing for rape, murder, child abuse, molestation -- well, pretty much the only thing I've seen lately that they will serve harsher sentences for is marijuana and other drug related charges. (Which is also really f@%^# up, in my humble opinion). Why do we need reform when these laws are already in place which are effective, and serve up sentences which seem ridiculous and cruel? I mean, come on! Kim Dotcom from Megaupload was denied bail, even though he is not a violent offender. Even though his only crime was to create a website, where other people uploaded the content, people from around the world he didn't even know. The US wants to extradite him and his colleagues (Thank you Gov't of Canada for opening that window of extradition on ridiculous charges. See: Mark Emery) and the case against him is claiming he owes over $620 million in lost revenue due to pirated content of the website, and is allegedly being charged a minimum of 50 years to life in prison. (Okay, I know he hasn't been sentenced yet, and he was a hacker and was charged for some insider trading and fraud in the past. But these previous cases against him aren't being included in this new copyright based one)

How about we shift focus for a moment, and start punishing REAL criminals? You know, the murderers, the rapists, the gangs and the child abusers? How about we focus our criminal justice system on the people who are actually killing other people, and stop putting so much focus and attention on what should be considered petty crime? This year in Peru an American was in the court system for mass murder. He was sentenced but will serve no jail time due to a misrepresentation of evidence, even though he plead guilty. In 2005 a child rapist in Vermont was sentenced to 6 months in prison for over five years of repeated offence. The judge said long term sentences do nothing for these kinds of offenders, so there was no point sentencing him for a longer prison stay. He had no monetary fines, and was permitted out on bail in less than a month. This year in Vancouver, BC a man who broke into a home and attacked a 12 year old was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with chance of bail. Because of time already served, he was honoured a credit in the system and will be getting out in about 5 years. 

Fuck that noise. I'm sorry, but in my mind all this proves is that the justice system is completely fucked up. That people with money make the laws, that all us regular people have no rights. Unless of course, we're criminals, because then we must be treated fairly while incarcerated. I would never kill or rape or hurt another person on purpose for any reason. But because I download shit, because I use YouTube and occasionally enjoy spoofing something, because I may have once or twice grabbed a few pics off of Google without crediting them, I'm a horrible criminal who must be punished to the harshest sentence possible? GIVE ME A GODDAMN BREAK.

I just made myself very angry

Now that I'm calm - I understand Kim Dotcom is not just a regular person. He's an internet mogul who is in charge of all the "mega" websites. He created a space for people to upload content - similar to youtube, really. But less control over copyrighted content. How can he be blamed for the content users of the website upload? Allegedly the person who uploaded Wolverine: Origins to the website was to be incarcerated for a year. That doesn't seem too extreme. However, where does it stop?

Mash up videos, spoofs, a song playing in the background of the video of baby's first steps - will these be pulled for unauthorised use of copyright content? Will the uploader be fined or incarcerated?

A teenage girl downloads a song from an album her parents wont let her buy because they decided it's too racey. All her friends listen to it, and sing it, she wants a part of that. She's a kid, what does she know of consequences? Too bad the download she picked had a tracer, and now she's being fined for copyright infringement.

That bronie over there, the one making the video of the My Little Ponies using that li'l Wayne song - is he going to be charged twice?

I just can so easily see these control measures turning into something awful. Something akin to censorship, a control measure to stop people from freely accessing information. I remember how the internet used to be, a few hackers here a few there, chat rooms and terribly designed web pages with inaccurate information floating around all over the place. Then the flood gates burst, and it was like the world shifted focus. We don't look out our windows any more, we look at our Windows. Or whatever OS you're using. 

How about lets make it easier for websites to obtain licensing to show television programs online, without restrictions like "you're from Canada, and even though you GET THIS CHANNEL you can't watch any of our shows online because you're from Canada!" Nothing drives me towards downloading more than that one little thing. Even though I have cable with 2 different channels that show South Park, I never seem to catch the new episodes. And I can't watch the damn show online anywhere because I'm not allowed. Even though I would be considered part of the shows audience. Even though I would be willing to put up with shitty ads if I could just watch the damn show when I want, not when it's scheduled to be on TV. So yeah, I will download it. Because you've given me only one (2) other option(s), that never seem to pan out. Every time I tune in, it's an old episode I've already seen.

Maybe Netflix spoiled me. Maybe Megaupload and other free streaming sites have corrupted me. Or maybe, I just see the innovation of it, the potential. Maybe if television could give me a better, more affordable option to watch the shows I want to watch when I want them without having to pay out the ass I would be able to. But as it stands I can barely afford the basic cable I have now. I can't afford to add 28 more channels just to get HBO, because to get it I'd have to upgrade twice because you can't have tier 5 without tier 3 and 4. Cable television is a money grubbing horrible HORRIBLE corporation, that feeds on societies addiction to entertainment. And they are threatened by the fact that internet gives us even more than what they are providing. 

Anyway, now that I'm seriously riled up again, I think I'm gunna go watch some episodes of Buffy. On Netflix. Because like there's anything I actually want to watch on TV right now.