Sunday, 6 March 2016

Timing, Topsy and Thanks

The word of the week is anticipatory.

Feb 29 – Stabilizing

I'm taking each day as it comes right now.

Some days I don't even think about being anxious, as I'm busy or otherwise feeling fine

Speaking of stabilizing, I've been searching through the millions of cyclign videos on YouTube to watch when I exercise, typically 15-25 minutes of light-resistance. I've found that the majority of the videos aren't easy for me to watch, as the cameras wobble all over the place( it's a bicycle, so this is normal ).

So I've taken to searching for stabilized videos, which are eminently more watchable. Here's a lovely example, with mountain scenery:

Watching these videos while exercise is soothing, as I easily slip into my memories of cycling around town. Except that I'm actually cycling in other cities, which is pretty cool: places I've never been but that I feel like I'm touring around in on two wheels under my own power. It's good for the body and the mind.

In a few months’ time, I hope that I'll be ready to head out on the roads again locally, once my muscles have toughened up again with regular indoor exercise. Combine that with some solid walking every day and I should be good to go cycling this spring once more.

Mar 1 – Pencil It In

It's a new month, and my calendar is clear.

All I have on my plate officially is work; my evenings are no longer filled with other things, apart from the occasional writing group commitment and even that is just for critique nights, not presentations.

It actually feels quite good to look at my calendar for March and not see anything, apart from the usual due dates for bills and a few social engagements. Having large swathes 'free time' means that my mental processes can juggle things into place more easily.

Should I work on the book one night? Perhaps work on the costume? Get a few small or necessary tasks around the apartment done? Plan the meals for the week, or tidy up a bit? What about just relaxing for an hour or two?

Having the flexibility to do any or all of those things, depending on my energy levels, is going to be a source of great relief to me. Especially since I am going to be attending a convention in a months’ time with thousands of other people; I really need to get my thoughts settled so that my anxiety doesn't rear its ugly head at an unfortunate time when I'm in Seattle.

I'm doing better in social situations this week: heading into a crowded restaurant or shopping area doesn't give me much in the way of heebie-jeebies, for which I'm quite grateful - a few weeks ago, that would have been a Rather Big Thing.

Besides, crowds have never bothered me before and I'm not about to let being social become a handicap to me, if I can do anything about it. The irony is that right now, this year, I need to spend a lot of nons-ocial time working on my novels, so being anxious about being social really plays right into the hands of my inner author.

However: I like being social...

Mar 2 – Old Star Wars is New Again?

Man, I love the original Star Wars films... and I'm not thrilled with how George Lucas 'improved' it with his Special Edition releases.

Apparently, neither a lot of people. A few years ago, a group of them got together to do something about it and have produced an amazing restored version of the original theatrical release this year! Frame by frame, they've gone through the entire film to remove every visible imperfection and color correct everything.

 Here's a clip of the typical cleanup process, frame by frame:

The original 2-hour Star Wars has close to 175,000 frames, so doing the math, it would take 1 person an entire year of working 8-hour days non-stop to tidy up the film!

You can follow their progress here, as they look to release

Mar 3 – Costuming

I need to pick up the pace.

Emerald City Comicon is in a month and I have yet to do more than print out a few patterns in regards to actually getting the Colonial Marine costume physically started. I have all the bits and bobs that I haven't been able to source locally on order( on the cheap! )and the remainder of them should arrive next week. I have a workstation set up, complete with a brand-new cutting mat( thank-you, Amazon: $30 vs $200 everywhere else! ) as well as all the basic tools I need. Not to mention the massive research I've done for images, parts and plans.

So I really need to get things rolling on my end.

The first order of business is to finish printing out and assembling the templates. I've been using a set of guides created in Pepakura, which is a free program that lets anyone create 3-D objects which can then be printed out on any home printer, then slide and spliced together into their final shape. Here's a picture of somebody else's work made out of tough vacuum-formed plastic:

Left = Final cosplay Middle = paper template Right = plastic parts

Once I have the templates tape together, I will check them for size on ARMeY( my mannequin )and then start cutting out the basic pieces from the foam EVA mats I purchased. From there, I will trim them up to match pictures of the actual armor from the original movie, then do a rough-fit on ARMeY using masking tape to check everything's aligned properly.

After that, it's on to painting, which will take a fair bit of time as I have to do multiple layers in order to reproduce the camouflage correctly. Then once that's been coated in a clear protective finish and has dried, I'll start assembling the clasps and webbing using a rivet gun. From there, it's just small details.

Wish me luck.

Mar 4 – It’s Good To Blog

Thanks for dropping by.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'll repeat myself: thanks, really.

Blogging is a strange thing. Coming up with something new every week is a daunting challenge sometimes, and I can't imagine how some people manage to blog / tweet / post original and unique things more than a few times a day. It's a lot of work and for those people whose lives revolve around social media platform, either personally or professionally, it really eats up your time.

It also takes time to read, which means that I'm thankful for all of you that drop by here on a semi-regular basis. As I've said in previous posts in previous years here and there, I make every effort to keep this blog light and interesting. While sometimes it dips into the deeper into the pool I make sure that I don't spend too much time down there... you tend to run out of air real fast.

When I'm feeling somewhat crunchy of the week, it helps me to know that my friends and family can keep up with what I'm up to and how I'm doing, through the simple medium. I'm able to express my thoughts and feelings plainly, for the most part here, and that does me a world of good mentally to be able to set it all down, to spell it out for you to see.

I hope you drop by again soon. I'll be here.

Mar 5 – Saturday Mornings

I have an idea that involves nostalgia and Saturday morning cartoons, but it don't have time to do anything about it right now. I think it's a great idea, but to make it work would require a large investment of time on a regular basis and even some money, so for now all I can do is shelve it and hope nobody gets to it first.

The idea mainly has to do with your typical Saturday morning lineup from the 1980s, kind of like the intros these ones:

For most of my childhood, I knew what I was doing on Saturday mornings during the regular television season, and it was great.

And what would cartoons be without toy commercials? Here's one of my faves:

It's a shame that those days are gone now. Perhaps my idea will be able to bring them back in a way for many, but we'll see if I can get that off the ground sometime...

Mar 6 – Turvy


That was me all day today: I felt like I had some kind of hangover, but I'm not sure why. I haven't eaten anything unusual this weekend so all I can think of is that the weather's been up and down for the last two days, with Sun and rain and sun again cycling back and forth. Typically, when the pressure changes, it affects me, so shifting back and forth fairly rapidly might be affecting my equilibrium, though I would have been surprised that I haven't had a headache at all this week.

Not knowing also adds to my anxiety, though I fight that consciously.

It's funny how so many little things can make my brain clicked over into worry mode. Am I too hot, or did I have some sugar I didn't know about so that's why I'm sweating? Am I too tired? Did I eat enough for my last meal, at the right time? Did I eat too much and so it's not digesting correctly, since I lack a gall bladder to help with larger or difficult meals? Did I walk enough today? Did I sleep well last night, comparatively? Am I stressing about something that I shouldn't be, or am I forgetting about something that I should remember?

All these things and more are always running through my head all the time, factors jumbling in juggling in a semi-conscious maelstrom of mental arithmetic that leaves me drained sometimes. I need to learn some meditative techniques in order to calm my mind down, so that I can let the small worries fall away and focus on the things I need to get done, sooner rather than later.

That's all for now.

Nothing much more to say: a new week awaits. I think I've got a handle on things now, and I should get a good number of things accomplished by the time of my next entry in a week.