Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wax your car with beeswax, maybe.

After years and years I picked a name for the submobile. It's the Knotilus, in the punny tradition of boat names, because I think it's funny that it's a fifteen year old car but is faster than a top of the line military sub. It goes top-of-the-line-military-sub-speeds in third gear. (In case mariner stuff isn't your forte, I'll mention that knots are like miles per hour, except nautical miles per hour.) I tried to lay out the lettering myself, but it was a disaster, so Dad did it for me. Sign painting is really its own specialty, and my drawing and painting skills were no help.

I intended to letter it with enamel, but there was none at the craft store. Instead I chose a permanent paint pen. The paint pens were in a locked cabinet, so I asked for help opening it, and the woman I asked didn't have clearance so she went to get someone else. While I was waiting I figured out how to open the case, but I didn't do it because I didn't want to be rude. I selected a color called Brilliant Blue, which looked like it would match my rims. On my way up to the counter, though, I noticed that it was marked "flourescent" and that wouldn't do. So I got to break into the marker case after all, to swap it for black.

I don't know if it's clear in this photo, but the lock shank is so long that if you turn it sideways it lets the plexiglass doors swing out. 

I'd started to refer to the car as "my eyesore" since the coat of paint from 2011 got really dull and wouldn't take a second coat without flaking. It was so dull that the doors had fingermarks from where I closed them with lotioned hands. That gave me the idea to coat it in linseed oil, but before I had a chance I found an old chunk of beeswax and on a hot day started buffing it onto the car (before and after, above). I am really pleased with the initial results. Right now it is coated with pollen, I think I can preserve the surface by washing it when it's cold out, then parking it in the sun once it dries off. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cosplay as yourself: Hivemind

 At work we have to wear radio earpieces. We don't like them because they hurt to wear for 8 hours. I don't like mine because customers think I am on the phone, when really I am greeting them, or think I am talking to them when really I am checking on something for them. Sometimes customers hear one side of a radio game and think one of us is unstable. So we all prefer to use the radios clipped to our belts without the earpiece attachment. I got the idea of playing up the transhuman/cyborg aspect, and ran it by my boss, who said, "You can do anything you want with it." presumably because that would be one fewer person to scold about non compliance with regard to the earpieces. (as an aside, I am about the quietest, least deaf person on staff so the earpiece works better for me as a transmitter than the radio does, so I do wear mine when it's not lost.)

Anyway, I read an instructable about fake sugru and was all over making my earpiece into an upsetting biological thing. The first iteration is pictured above. It looked a little Neverending Story special effects in person, so I scrapped it and used a latex glove to make a wrinkled one, but it was too shiny and bulky so I trimmed it down and put on a lot of tendrils for the current iteration.
These are the supplies, except the top is some other cyborg things I was thinking of coating. Like, can I open a sealed house, write, or slice things, except when augmented? But ultimately I have not had time to mess up my hairdressing scissors or anything. Cornstarch, the kind of silicone that smells like vinegar when it cures, a half credit card wand for stirring, and a colorant. I used eyeshadow most successfully. The foundation pictured combined with the white cornstarch to be too bright for my skin.

So, cosplay. I don't think it's proper to spend more time thinking about your presentation and garb for an annual event than you spend, total, day to day. Or to have an idealized avatar and a whatever self. Sometimes I want to cosplay a Katniss braid but I just tell myself, spend that energy developing your style. So I have purple streaks at my temples and I am medium buff and I never wear pants. I get that doing it this way doesn't connect you to other fans, but my planner is covered in royal blue goatskin and literally I am wearing a dress subduction printed with inaccurate dollar bills. Also not to be too intense but I drive a submarine.

I was going to write about the mechanism of the hivemind but I am pretty tired. In essence, I am the unit able to be gracious with the fifth person of the day who wants to tow without a vehicle equipped for towing, and I can read the scheduling log, so I am the user interface bit. I draw extensively on my coworkers, via radio, for information about where a person might find any given replacement bit for a trailer, who truly needs electric brakes, and then all the regular corporation stuff, where one person is apprised of a weird situation but it's not me.

Right now I am training two of my coworkers to man the counter, to make myself a bit more obsolete in anticipation of starting substitute teaching this term. They are both great and competent, but kind of passive. Like one is three years my junior (so should be running circles around me when it comes to computer things) but waits for me to direct everything she does, and the other is like a finance guy who maybe has forgotten 10-key. Jump in, guys, literally all the mistakes are recoverable.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Forays with Adobe Illustrator

 Well, I followed some Illustrator tutorials and finally stopped doing this with the pen tool:
It turns out you have to draw everything with rectangles and ellipses that you stretch out and combine. 

I made this worksheet to take to work. The U-Box shipping has a lot of components- the cross-country shipping, local shipping, and rent on the box plus insurance. I'll print some of these out and be able to give out a cohesive quote. This took two extended sessions of drawing rectangles and trying to get the proper rectangle in front. As someone who already put in my time learning to draw, this was excruciating. 

I have found one easy trick so far. It turns clean pen and ink sketches into vector sketches. In the object menu, scroll down to Image Trace and then select "Make".