Reinventing Superheros and Uninventing Them: The Batman Chronicles (a review)

I am not a Batman fan.  Superman has been my guy since I was 8.  So, I don’t eagerly anticipate the next movie release, and I don’t jump on every bit of Batman paraphernalia I come across.  That is to say, I’m not inclined to love anything and everything Batman for Batman’s sake.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I do still love the big oaf.  I did grow up with the guy, after all.  He’s just not my main dude, so to speak.

So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, may I recommend this little web series to you?

The Batman Chronicles is a fan-made film funded through Indiegogo.  The creative team behind it have a passion for the source material that is evident throughout.  From the description on a teaser trailer promoting their Indiegogo campaign:

“The Project is important to us because it has been in our hearts for as long as we can remember. Everyone on the team is a die-hard Batman fan, and wants nothing more than to show the world THE Batman and his world from the comics that we all know and love, and never have gotten to see fully realized on film.”

I subscribed to their YouTube channel months ago based purely on that teaser trailer, which you can see below:

The performer, Anthony Misiano, is a well known Joker cosplayer as well as an experienced stage and screen actor, but I had never heard of him.  I was hooked and waiting for the first installment based solely on the impression he made.  In this trailer alone, I felt he gave the most authentic and true to comics performance of the Joker that I’ve ever seen captured for video.  And, yes, I loved both Jack Nicholson’s and Heath Ledger’s performances.   They were both extraordinary, but they weren’t The Joker the way this guy is THE Joker.  He just nails it, like the comic coming to life before your eyes.

Well, that’s my thoughts on it, anyway.

There are 3 installments to the web series, so you can easily catch up and form your own impression.  In fact, you can even watch the first episode right here:

I am blown away by the production value brought to this little independent project.  You have to remember, it’s a labor of love for these guys.  They aren’t expecting to make money off of this.  They just want to see the original vision of Batman put on screen.  I respect that kind of creative passion.  I’m also in love with their use of film noir style cinematography.  Batman just lends itself to film noir.  Now that I’ve seen it, it’s a no-brainer.  And I just love the momentum independent filmmaking has gained in under a decade.  With technology and distribution (via internet) so accessible now, I feel like we’re witnessing a creative revolution akin to watching  the rise of an entire new industry based on innovative talents like Chaplin and Keaton.  It’s an exciting time for aspiring filmmakers and enthusiasts.

The original Batman film (1989) directed by Tim Burton came out when I was in high school.  It was a great movie, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me a fan.  Nor did any of its sequels or the more recent reboots.  Perhaps if it had been made by these guys in this classic film noir style reflecting the comics so well, it would have.

 

February Style

Over on Instagram I’ve posted a few outfits of the day lately, starting with my look for Valentine’s Day.

This outfit had to last me day to evening, but not in the way you expect.  Instead of a hot date, I went to a Mardi Gras parade and traded in the heels for combat boots to go stomping along the parade route.

Victorian boots (Sheplers.com) with argyle socks over black leggings (Walgreens), favorite ruffled cardigan (thrifted) over Too Fast lace front, sugar’skull-button cardigan (clearance at Hot Topic) over red Jockey camisole (too old to remember), basic black, knee-length swing skirt (thrifted).  Black heart pendant (too old to remember).

Standard work attire for me.  Hey, look!  There’s that sweater again!

Snakeskin print blouse (thrifted), Too Fast cardigan (Hot Topic), Onyx pendant (forever old), black pin-stripe, straight-leg trousers (old, but probably Burlington Coat Factory.  A wardrobe staple.), Vera Wang black, studded combat boots (Kohl’s, on sale + discounted).

The next outfit is why I have trouble getting rid of things.  I meant to get rid of this blouse; haven’t worn it in more than 5 years, I bet.  Suddenly fell in love with it again and realized it’s over-sized shape could make my fitted Tripp skinnies look decent for the office.

Sheer white, crinkle-pleated blouse (oh so, so old!), Tripp black-on-black stripe skinny pants (thrifted), black, studded skinny belt (Hot Topic on clearance), double-strand, black bead cross necklace (Burlington Coat Factory), long, dark chain necklace (unknown, but probably the same), black w/ white polka dots socks and comfy flats (unknown).

Lastly, I was a bit proud of myself for getting creative to adjust the proportions of this slightly large blouse.  I find myself often drawn to this color lately, including in my hair.  It may be my signature color by now for all I know.

Deep turquoise fitted blouse (thrifted), black ribbon tied as sleeve garters (local flea market), long faux pearl and black faux glass beads (Burlington Coat Factory, I’m sure.  I call them my “flapper beads” since I first bought them for a 1920’s style outfit.), Manic Panic hair dye in VooDoo Blue (Sally’s Beauty Supply).

This is a good representation of what I wear to the office on an average day.  A couple of them may be called Corp Goth, though I’m unsure.  That’s still pretty much a gray area for me.

You are, of course, welcome to come follow me on Instagram.  My pictures cover a range of interests and glimpses into my life.  Posting on any particular topic seems to happen in spells.  I may continue posting outfits, or I may not.  Depends on how the inspiration lasts.

Aside

Hello, Neglected Blog!!

Well, it’s a new year, and according to my WordPress “Year in Blogging” report, I have posted a grand total of 1 time in 2013. That’s right. A whopping ONE TIME! Perhaps that’s no shock to you if you follow this blog (and seriously, why would you? I never post!), but that report was a dismal approbation for me on many counts. It isn’t only that I’ve neglected this blog, but that it pretty well summarizes my creative life over the last year. Do you know how many posts I’ve begun in the last year? Of course you don’t, but obviously only one made it through. And vlogging! Do you know when I last posted a video to my YouTube channel? APRIL! I started VEDA in April, but didn’t make it through a week. Now, do you know how many ideas I’ve had or footage I’ve recorded intending to make a video. No, no, no – you can’t, because it’s all in my head, where it has remained hidden for most of last year. That is just unacceptable.

I’m not given to New Year resolutions. I pretty much hate the idea and avoid it, really, This, however, plays into something that has been on my mind for a while and has already become a prime focus in other areas of my life. I have gone through a bit of a life reassessment, as one does from time to time, and realize the picture of my life doesn’t look the way I want, and the only one responsible for that is, of course, me. I have given priority over to things that aren’t at all important, usually a little at a time, and this is the result. So now I’ve found that even things I truly enjoy, like writing, or vlogging, or crafting – all my creative outlets, really, have gone lacking. I do not feel like a very productive or organized person in any capacity, and I attribute this problem to a lack of focus and discipline. This is where I want to concentrate on improving. I hope to make this blog a part of that effort.

As of now, I won’t set a posting schedule. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever want one. It was never intended to be that kind of blog. I meant for this to be sort of a brain purge with no set topic or schedule. What I’m looking to accomplish is more a change of attitude, in which I finish what I start, stop bogging down in vain efforts at perfection, and make time for creative pursuits (especially writing) on a regular basis, weekly, if not daily, with intention for the writing to be read, whether or not it actually ever gets seen. (I’ve been doing a lot of journaling under the excuse that it’s writing. I’m saying that won’t work anymore.) I learned a long time ago that making promises and setting deadlines are most often counter-productive when made prematurely. The change of heart and habit must come first. That’s where I care to concentrate.

That being said, I hope you can anticipate seeing more of me around “teh ‘webs,” as it is my pleasure to mosey through now and then. I look forward to some new adventures, and hope to see you around, too.

So, back around Christmas time…

I went to a party, and I looked like this:

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2012-12-16

 

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Gothica Incognita

So, a Goth walks into a bar.  Or, not a bar in this case … a new alternative shop in town.  And not a Goth as you imagine per se, but a “gothically inclined” individual who has just gotten off work at her 9 to 5 office job.  You might note her rather monochromatic attire in shades of gray, but then again you might dismiss it as typical, conservative style.  You might notice the streak of dark purple in her bangs, but then again perhaps not, since indoor lighting makes it blend in more with her naturally dark brown hair.  You might think she doesn’t understand the type of place she’s in as her eyes sweep across the sparsely laid out floor space and you direct her to the nearest rack of sales items.  A twinge of self-consciousness might even spur you to state, “We sell mostly gothic-y type stuff,” as she gently pulls a garment into better view.  And you might be surprised when she answers with a big smile,

“Oh, I know.  I like the gothic-y type stuff.  That’s why I came here.”

You’re surprised, but still not sure if she’s someone who genuinely likes Goth stuff, or someone who just fancies herself as someone who likes it.  You point out the t-shirts.  “I don’t know if you’re into the punk side of things,” you say handling a shirt with a girl’s image.  She saw the Deathrocker shirt from across the room and loves it, she tells you.  Then, deciding to give you a frame of reference outside her present appearance, she says,

“You gave me your card a couple of months ago during Artwalk when you stopped my girlfriends and I to ask for a picture.  We were all wearing colorful wigs.”

You had no memory of this woman until she mentioned the wigs.  Then it was instant recognition, not of her, but of the moment.

                                                                                              

Those wigs were a show stopper.  I’ll have to tell you about it sometime, but not now.  This is about a typical day in my life in which I am Gothica Incognita.  I walk into a Goth shop; they don’t recognize me.  Earlier that morning, feeling that I looked pretty snazzy, I took a couple of snapshots thinking I’d share them with the Ladies in Black Facebook group since the lovely group-mistress, Miss Bethezda of Bethezda’s Preoccupations, had entreated for more outfit-of-the-day pics.  I thought of it as a corp goth contribution, but the images fell short.  Hardly worthy of an outfit-of-the-day on everyone’s computer screens, especially when that particular “Everyone” are people connecting over gothic-y type stuff.  The shop owner confirmed this for me.  We still managed to connect over a long chat, though.  Gothiness does that.  It has its way of creeeeeeping out.  Hehehe.

But still, I did look pretty nice.  And so comfy, too!

Why, yes. Standing on a chair in the restroom seems perfectly natural to me.

On another note, I have an outfit post or two to catch up on, but after that I should be able to get back in full swing with picture related posts in a way I’ve been unable for months.  I finally replaced my digital camera!  Huzzah!  and Glory Hallelujah!  I’ve been relying almost exclusively on my camera phone for still shots, which doesn’t work well for taking pictures from more than arms length away.  My brief experiment with using still frames from video just didn’t pan out.  Too grainy.  I’m so glad to have a real camera again, and just in time for the holiday season.  Now I need to go play with creating some FUN outfits so I’ll have an excuse to give the camera a spin.  Wheee!!

Finally, some quality pics to come!

Entre La Dame

As any good Southerner knows, the cogs of society are oiled by the gossip of its ladies, and the Mmes. Crouch and Latimer were doing their part.  Ever since Madame La Vert left the city in disgrace, having shamelessly entertained the occupying Yankee scoundrels, the social affairs of the local elite had proved of little interest, but that all changed when the widow Lady Welmsley came to port.

“I hear she’s a genuine Lady of British nobility,” stated Mrs. Crouch with resolute authority, hoping to impress her peer with this tidbit. “A countess, or even a duchess!”

“Can’t be,” retorted Mrs. Latimer.  “Haven’t you heard her speak?  Not only is her accent American, it’s distinctly Southern.  I was at the Battle House only this past Sunday and overheard her inquire after our local theater.  She spoke eloquently enough, I’ll give her that, but she’s no Briton, to be sure.”

“Well, she certainly looks the part,” countered Mrs. Crouch.  “Did you see her walking dress yesterday in the square?  Fashionably well-made out of that beautiful aubergine silk brocade … extremely flattering color, too, even if it was made suitable for late mourning.  And she carries herself with such a regal air!  She could teach our debutantes a thing or two about how to promenade with grace, I’d say.  I hear she’s taken up residence in the Battle House’s finest suite.  Wrote ahead to have it reserved … ”  She leaned in conspiratorially, finally ready to reveal her trump card.  “on a crested letterhead and signed ‘The Lady Peregrine S. Welmsley,’ and sealed by the same crest.”  With a nod, Mrs. Crouch leaned back with a self-satisfied grin.  What did it matter that she improvised the crested seal bit?  It’s a safe enough bet that a crested letterhead was accompanied with a crested wax seal.

Mrs. Latimer eyed her cohort skeptically. “Even so, she is not a Brit,” she repeated decisively.

Willena smiled to herself, holding a fresh strawberry against her lips and softly thanking the street vendor before moving on.  Lady Welmsley would be pleased to learn she was the subject of local gossip, exactly as she’d planned.  Learning to navigate the murky waters of British society had provided her the understanding of what drives all elite:  the chance to be more elite.  Provide social climbers a carrot to pursue, and they’ll hardly stop to question it.

The lady was pleased, but not at all surprised.  She had observed herself only that noonday how all eyes fixed on her and the way whispers flew about as she made her way into the hotel dining hall.  Of course, part of the intrigue was in seeing a woman dine alone … one who, other than the company of her lady’s maid, was likewise traveling alone, but their curiosity lasted throughout the meal, and the hotel staff seemed more graciously attentive than usual.  She was surprised, however, by the rapidity with which news of her had spread in the lazy port city.  She had expected to be there a full week or more before seeing evidence of it.

“I’ll be glad to have a place of our own where we can dine together again,” Lady Welmsley confided to Willena with a sigh after sharing the report of her lunchtime experience.

“Now, you know that cain’t happen once you hire a cook an’ servants to be hov’rin’ around an’ then gossipin’ with all the other ladies’ servants.  You’ll be done lost all the good standin’ you’re workin’ for.  You know how thangs is!  They ain’t changed that much since the war.”

The Lady’s countenance fell as she couldn’t deny the truth of it.  Singling out one servant to be treated as equal, though one so longstanding and familiar as her personal maid, would be regarded as wholly alien and unnatural, even for a foreigner.  With a sigh she reached to dislodge the dark ringlets pinned at her crown, but then, tossing the hairpiece onto the dresser, suddenly straightened and declared, “Well, then, we’ll all eat together!”

“What?!?” cried Willie, completely caught off guard.

“When not entertaining, all of us … the staff, you and me … will dine together.  It’s sure to inspire gossip and queer looks, but it won’t do any true harm.  It won’t single out any one person, so attention won’t be drawn to you.  It will just be my own peculiar custom, easily explained as a way for me to stay on top what’s going on in my own home, while also serving to foster good feelings and hopefully loyalty among the staff.  That’s it,” the Lady said, slapping her skirts; “I’ve decided.”

“You done lost yer mind,” said Willie flatly.

“Nope.  I’m just going to run my own home as I see fit.  I’m in charge of my life now, and I won’t let anyone else’s notions about how I should behave override my own ever again.”  She stood and walked around the little vanity stool to return her fancy hair comb to the valise.

“You will if you want to be a society lady,” Willie said to her back.  “You don’t get to be a part of high society while rejectin’ its rules.  That ain’t goin’a work!”

Lady Welmsley turned with head bowed in thought, then strode slowly to place a firm hand on Willie’s shoulder.  With chin still lowered, she regarded Willie sternly through her lashes and said, “Look.  I am all too well aware you didn’t have to accompany me here.  If I hadn’t convinced you to come with me, there’s any number of other, better places you could have gone to build a new life for yourself than Mobile, Alabama.  I owe you more than I can say.  There’s no way I could manage to establish myself here without you.”

“Miss,” said Willie, arms akimbo and cocking her head to one side, “You ain’t foolin’ me.   I know nothin’ can stop you once your mind gets set.  You’da found a way with or without me.  An’ stop this fool talk like you tricked me into movin’ here wiv you or somethin’ like that.   I jus’ hadn’t thought of it myself is all.  What you did was show me how to hope after sump’n that had gone so far out o’ my mind, I didn’t e’en know I’d lost it.  You paid me a kindness in that, and you cain’t tell me no different.”

Lady Welmsley grinned slightly, and, taking a step back said, “any differently.”

“Huh?”

“I can’t tell you any differently.” The Lady turned on her heels to busy herself about the room. “That’s the proper way to phrase it. You can’t say ‘not’ and “no” together in a sentence because they cancel each other out, and ‘different’ should be ‘differently’ because . . . well, we can get into that later.”

Willie thought Dire could turn a conversation on a dime, so it was more out of frustration with this fact than for the correction that she replied with some indignance, “I di’n say ‘not.'”

“You said ‘can’t,’ which is short for ‘can not.’  If you want the appearance of being the lady that you are, we might as well get started with fixing your grammar.”

“Hah!  ‘Lady,” you say.  You’re the only one who’ll ever see it, no matter how much you fix me.  My skin’s the wrong color for most e’rybody else in the world.”

Dire straightened from arranging the items on the vanity to look squarely at Willena.  “You’ll see it, Willie.  When you see it, you’ll feel it, too, and then no one can ever put you down, no matter how they speak to you.”

The air hung silent between them for a moment, broken by a rap at the door.  A bellboy stood outside holding the calling cards of a Mrs. John Forsyth.  “The lady waits downstairs for your answer,” he said while handing them over.

“Forsyth . . . ,” Lady Welmsley pondered.  “Why does that name sound familiar?”

“If I may, ma’am.  Could be because her mister is editor of the newspaper,” volunteered the bellboy.  Dire cut her eyes at Willena, who had already spun around to swoop up the latest edition lying nearby and hand it to her.  Skimming the page to easily find his name, she grinned wryly.

“Tell Mrs. Forsyth I’d be only too happy to receive her.”  The bellboy nodded and turned to go.  “Wait!  Tell her I’ll meet her downstairs.  If she likes, we might enjoy a coffee.”  The bellboy nodded and was off.

“Better than being visited by a society lady is to be seen being visited by a society lady,” said Dire conspiratorially.  “Quick!  Replant my hair while I check the register.”  She stopped by the steamer trunk positioned near the door to retrieve the Dagron Spectrodex and a card file before moving back to the vanity stool for Willena’s ministrations.  With adept fingers, she flipped the card file open with one hand and pulled the “Fo-Fy” reel while holding the device steady in her lap with the other.  Working quickly, she removed the top dowel to slide through the spool and clicked back into place, working the film’s loose end through the apparatus and into the slot of the spare spool on bottom.  Giving it two cranks, she held the Spectrodex up by its base pole to look through the visor on front.   A couple of presses to the right-side lever allowed her to pass quickly through the F-o-b to F-o-p names.  Then, using the dial beneath it, slowly perused the subsequent names until she found Forsyth.  John Forsyth, editor of the Mobile Register, former U.S. minister to Mexico, mayor of Mobile, and state senator, Democrat, Episcopalian, advocate of states’ rights.  Father, deceased, was once governor of Georgia and Secretary of State to President Andrew Jackson.

“Dear lord,” Dire said under her breath.  With nothing other than a raised eyebrow, Willie fervently continued working to reassemble Dire’s tresses.  “Typical,” Dire muttered, dropping the device back into her lap and looking to Willie in the dresser mirror.  “A wealth of information about the gentleman and a dearth of information about his lady.  Well, this gadget is still going to be worth it’s weight in gold, even if it is painfully cumbersome to haul around with all those card files.  Knowing exactly what I’m getting into before I’m getting into it?  That’s a new one.  Might take some getting used to,” she said with a wry chuckle.  She felt Willie pat her upper arms to signal the last pin had been placed, so she swept up and passed off the Spectrodex while making haste to the door.  “The wife of a famous newspaper editor and politician ~ what a coup for introduction to society!”  At the door she paused as a new thought occurred to her, and turning back to Willie with bright eyes said, “You don’t imagine she could be feeding a story to her husband?”  Without awaiting response, she was off, leaving Willie to shake her head in bemused disbelief.

Starting out in an excited rush, it was all Lady Welmsley could do to slow to an appropriate pace and not get winded for her introduction to the stranger.  Having shared society with dignitaries and nobility of every variety, this should not have excited her so.   There was, however, the mixed elements of hope and danger in this instance that none other had possessed.   The thrill of a challenge had been present before, but it wasn’t the same.  All hope for her future was at stake now.  It was enthralling, invigorating, and wholly impressive, but the words “daunting” or “intimidating” were not allowed to pass through her mind.  Total commitment without restraint was needed, or else there was little point in making any effort at all.

Entering the lobby, she came upon a gentlewoman in her mid-50s of diminutive stature, wearing a charming, though simple, gray on gray striped day dress.   Salt and pepper hair was neatly arranged at the nape and protected by an equally simple bonnet.  Despite the severity implied by such presentation, there was nothing severe about the plumply rounded face or the sparkle of warm, brown eyes.   From the lady’s bodice an amethyst gemstone brooch winked at her.

“Mrs. Forsyth, ” she greeted as the lady stood.  “I’m privileged to receive your visit.  May I offer a coffee,” she said, gesturing toward the open French doors of the café.

The young stranger’s unreserved reception left Mrs. Forsyth stunned for the briefest moment, quickly replaced by a spreading smile of appreciation and approval.  “Er, thank you, no.  I’m only here a moment.  I hope I’m not intruding.”

“Oh no,” Dire quickly assured her.  “You’re my first visitor since arriving in Mobile.  To tell the truth, I have been lacking female companionship since leaving Ireland, with the exception of my maid.  Of course, that’s not the same is it,” she said with a light laugh.

“Well then,” replied Mrs. Forsyth feeling completely welcomed, “perhaps I will have that coffee.”

The two ladies fell into easy conversation.  As it happened, Mrs. Forsyth had heard of Lady Welmsley’s arrival and her intention to settle there from her son, Charles, the Commercial Editor at his father’s newspaper.  “That’s why the name was familiar!” realized Dire, for she had dropped into the Mobile Register offices across the street the day prior hoping for advice on acquiring a local solicitor to help in her search for a residence.  She had been happily provided a list of recommended professionals and invited to return should she need further assistance.  It was a relief to find the widely reputed Southern charm had not been lost in the war.

“I was visiting my boys across the street when Charles told me about the predicament of a most interesting new guest at the Battle House who had paid him a visit.  Since I was so close by, I saw no harm in stopping in to offer a welcome.  Wherever you choose to settle in town, I’m certain our paths will cross.”

Mrs. Forsyth was eager to tell about the charms Mobile had to offer, informing Lady Welmsley about the best places for seafood, the lovely parks, theatrical entertainments, and opportunities for amusement across the bay.  Presently, she was brought up short with a thought.

“Please forgive my ignorance, but I must ask.  I’m afraid I’m not sure how to address you.”

Dire realized this was the lady’s genteel way of trying to find out more about her, with which she was more than happy to oblige.

“My official title is Viscountess Welmsley.  Formally, I am addressed as Lady Peregrine Welmsley or Lady Welmsley, but underneath it all I’m just the widow, Dire Welmsley.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss.  You’re young to be a widow.  Of course, we have many young widows around since the war.  I take it your husband passed on a while ago?”

“Just a month past 2 years,” Dire affirmed.  “He was considerably older than me, but it was still quite unexpected.  Apoplexy,” she said, finally raising her eyes from the cup enfolded in her hands.  “We were married only 4 years.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry.  How dreadful,” said Mrs. Forsyth, denying herself the motherly instinct to place a comforting hand on Dire’s arm.

Dire nodded her acceptance of the lady’s sympathy.  “His son is viscount now.  Never really took to his father marrying an American woman, especially one near his own age.  It made an uncomfortable situation for remaining after my husband died.  Would become even more so should he marry.  Can’t have two viscountesses, you know.  So, I decided it best if I returned here to set up a new life.  I have missed it so.”

“Well, what about your own family?” asked Mrs. Forsyth, suddenly feeling the loneliness of this poor woman’s situation.  “Surely you would want their support at this time.  Do they live nearby?”

“Oh no.  No,” replied Dire.  “I mean, I could return to them, of course, but I’m afraid Chapel Hill won’t do now, after having been part of London society.  The season can get to be a bit much, and I doubt I’ll miss all the prescriptions of elevated society, but the sedate, small-town, country life couldn’t satisfy me after all that.  So, it’s a fresh start for me, and I couldn’t imagine a better place for it.”

“Well, Mobile is glad to have you, I’m sure,” said Mrs. Forsyth, “but life is very altered since before the War.  I don’t know that Mobile will ever resemble her old self, but hopefully you’ll find plenty to make you happy here.”

“No doubt I will,” said Dire, giving the other woman an assured grin.

Sensing this was the perfect moment for drawing their tête-à-tête to a close, Mrs. Forsyth announced she had better be moving along, declaring the conversation to have been “delightful”  along with the pleasure of meeting the Lady Welmsley.  Dire could only return the same.  Before parting, however, Mrs. Forsyth turned back with a proposition.

“Tomorrow night is a performance of La Rue’s Minstrels at the Mobile Theatre. They’re here all week.  My husband and I will be going as part of our wedding anniversary celebration.  My sister and brother-in-law are going along with us.  Perhaps you would like to join us, as well.  Get out of your rooms for a bit.”

Although delighted with the idea, Dire initially responded, “Oh no.  I couldn’t intrude upon your anniversary,” but upon the lady’s insistence, she acquiesced.  So, it was determined she would accompany the ladies and their husbands upon an excursion to the theatre.  Thus was the Lady Peregrine S. Welmsley introduced to Mobile society.

The Dire Predicaments is a web-serial chronicling the adventures of Dire, Lady Peregrine S. Welmsley starting a new life in the Reconstruction Era South.  Copyright © 2012 ~ The Airstepper’s Adventures.  All rights reserved. 


	

Red & Black: DIY Sinister Lovebug Hat

Time to wrap up Red & Black week already?  Awwww, it seems like we only just started.  (Because this girl did.  Doh!  Still have some blog reading and commenting to do, though.  That’ll be fun.)  =)

Today’s post is about a little DIY project undertaken for a friend’s birthday party.  ~ A friend who loves throwing themed parties almost as much as I do and decided she wanted a “crazy hat party.”  For some reason, my silly mind merged this idea with one I’ve had of giving a Ya-Ya Sisterhood tea party, where everyone crafts their own makeshift, zany chapeaus.  All I needed was a direction to go in.

Are they eating her brain??

And Voila!

This picture of Princess Beatrice from the royal wedding was posted on the invitation to demonstrate the party theme.  It makes me laugh because, while realizing most people (including myself) regard butterflies as charming little creatures of delicate beauty, the idea of them swarming to the side of your head is … well … creepy.  I’m sure many don’t see it like that.  Certainly not the milliner and Princess Beatrice, but for me, a bug in the hair is a bug in the hair . . .  Eww.  So, I began imagining a way of reinterpreting the hat with a less appealing, yet equally innocuous creature, just to show how creepy the concept really is.  I was idly throwing around in conversation the different creatures I might use and stumbled upon the perfect one: the lovebug.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the unattractive lovebug is a type of march fly common in parts of Central America and the Southeast United States, especially along the Gulf Coast where I’m from.  They don’t sting or bite;  They just create a nuisance by emerging twice a year to mate and getting themselves plastered all over the hoods and windshields of our cars.  The most sinister thing about them is their acidic blood, which can leave pock marks in paint and chrome if left too long.  Well, maybe also that they get stuck together and fly around conjoined for possibly days, the larger, stronger female dragging the little male along by the gonads wherever she goes.  I guess that’s one way to make sure your man won’t cheat.

All I knew at the onset was that the petals from some black artificial flowers I already possessed would make ideal wings.  A trip to the craft store retrieved red beads for the thorax and some sheer black ribbon for filler, because I doubted being able to create enough actual “bugs” to cover a whole headpiece.  Other than that, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do, especially for the hat construction.  I wanted something stiff, but flexible for the base.  I thought the little drawstring, muslin-like bag would be perfect once dyed, but the dying process softened it too much.  The tacky glue was going to be the method of affixing bugs to the base.  Probably.  Maybe.  Uh, not really as it turns out.  Ah, the joy of DIY!

Upon learning about my recent hat design aspirations, my sister enthusiastically shared the idea that a pair of red shoulder pads she’d come across would make perfect ladybug wings.  (*blink|blink*)  Clearly, my tendency to turn what I hear into something else I was already thinking and like better is hereditary.  When I’d spoken of creating a lovebug hat and made the correlation to Rosita as a “Love Bug,” Sis heard “ladybug.”

“Who would want a head full of lovebugs?” Sis would later say when explaining her mistake.  Exactly, Sis.  Exactly.

Her idea didn’t go to waste, though, for I had two spare, black, shoulder pads laying around, and it occurred to me that attached to each other they would perfectly cup the shape of  a person’s head, just like a beanie.

After sewing the flat edges together, I began twisting the ribbon back and forth across the top, tacking it down with stitches rather than glue, until I had covered the entire top half.  Then I was able to work on the “bugs.’  Unfortunately, I failed to get a picture of this part, but what I did was cut the petals off the flowers either individually or in pairs.  The lovebug only has one set of wings, so I stitched two petals together at the narrowest part, ran the thread through two red beads, and then tacked it to the outer edges of the ribbon.  The “bugs” were placed randomly all over the ribbon until time ran out.  I was adding bugs right up until leaving for the party.

The result was both satisfying and a little disappointing.  The hat looked quite nice.  Almost too nice.   The reference to lovebugs was clearly there . . . but only after you’d been let in on the joke.  Running out of time had prevented the achievement of total swarm effect.  However, the hat was pretty.  It sort of looks like a 60’s pillbox hat, and with the lovebug reference being so obscure, I’m sure I can wear it again without it looking “costumey.”  I dare say, something of which Princess Beatrice should have been warned (Or should have heeded the warning).

As it turned out, I was the only one to wear my very own creation, although there were many wonderfully, silly hats, and was awarded “Favorite Hat” by the birthday girl for my trouble.  She, by the way, has her own blog if you’re curious.  You can find her at In Search of a Better Title (formerly known as A Smattering of Static).  I’d call it mainly a humor blog about her odd encounters and impressions.

The birthday girl (right) and me

 So, a question:  what innocuous creature would you use as inspiration for your own crazy swarm hat?

Red & Black: Rosita, the Sinister Lovebug


I hate that I’ve come into Red & Black week so late.  I had so many ideas!  I started out ahead, but somehow ended up falling behind.  This is usually my way.

For our next installment, I want to introduce you to something very special to me.  Meet Rosita, the Sinister Lovebug.  =)

Taken around Christmas last year. Yes, I coordinated my clothing to match her. =D

When persistent transmission problems caused me to lose faith in the old, handed-down Ford Taurus last Christmas, I needed to find new transportation pronto.  I didn’t go looking for a New Beetle.  I actually had my heart set on an HHR, but my Dad happened upon her sitting roadside with a “For Sale” sign in the windshield.  The price was right, and it all worked out.  She’s a 2001, has over 100,000 miles on her, but I’m loving it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve driven such a small car.  A coupe is the best fit for someone like me who doesn’t haul much or frequently carry passengers.  She’s fun to drive.  I tell people it’s like riding in a bubble.

I started calling her “The Sinister Lovebug” after working on my “Sinister Lovebug Hat” and realizing not only was it a great play on words with the Herby movies, but the color scheme matched.  My sister isn’t so fond of this designation.  Have you seen a lovebug?  They’re harmlessly obnoxious and unattractive creatures that show up in swarms to mate twice a year.  Sis wants her to be adorned with black dots all over like a ladybug.  I started out thinking of her as a ladybug, but I couldn’t do that to her.  Too cutesy for me.  I would like to get her some eyelashes, though.  That’s not cutesy, though; it’s flashy.  Right?  ;^P

This is the first car I’ve ever anthropomorphized like this.  She is named for her red color, of course, and also the fact that she was manufactured in Mexico.  That’s right.  These little German-engineered cuties are Mexican-made.  I also think her black interior, red exterior lends a Spanish feel to her.   The current windshield mascots are a couple of Mardi Gras throws caught during parades.  The skeleton’s name is Harold (I don’t know why.), and he dances for me as I drive.  The puppydog was not supposed to become a fixture.  It has no name.  Suggestions?

Red & Black: My Crypto-106 Boots

It’s the 2nd annual Red and Black week, hosted over at the lovely Victorian Kitty’s Sophistique Noir blog.  You know what that means?  We’re about to pass the one year mark of when I discovered the lovely blogging community of (mostly) gothic ladies, including Ms. Kitty, Stripey Tights and Dark Delights, This is CorpGoth, Still Dark @ Heart, Military Fashion Show, and many, many more.  I happily stumbled upon them too late to participate in last year’s Red & Black Week, but only just.  Nearly missed out this year, too, since this is actually Day 4 (aghhhh!) of the event.  I’ve been waiting a whole year to jump on board, though, so let’s do this!

To tell the truth.  I absolutely fall in among those who love this color combination.  I use it frequently and have plenty of material for this theme.  With this being  for me a kind of an anniversary with Kitty’s blog, let’s start off tying this in with the very first theme for which I ever wrote: Boots!  In my post from last September I mentioned coveting a particular pair of boots, using a picture from an online store.  Now, I can show you the real thing.

They’re MINE! ALL MINE!!!

I absolutely love these boots, and never fail to get compliments on them from all types of people.  My 79-year-old mom even loves them!  I’m not going to lie, though.  They took some getting used to.  From what I’ve read in reviews off of various sites, Demonia’s sizes tend to run small, but I had the opposite problem.  I count that as a good thing, since you can always stuff a shoe to make it fit.  It has also been a challenge working them into my wardrobe.  It’s a mental block more than anything.  I tend to think of shoes as accent pieces complementing the outfit .  At first I was trying to pair them with a nifty shirt or a pretty skirt, but it’s best to not give them competition.  These shoes definitely need to steal the show.

Arlo wanted to model with me. =)

And, if you’re interested, here is my video review of the Demonia Crypto-106 boots:

Preoccupation Situation

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you’re well aware I have a penchant for long absences.  It isn’t that I forget about the blog or run out of ideas (you should see my drafts folder!), but rather an issue of making time and knocking out my relentless perfectionism to get something written that’s publishable.  Or you could call it laziness, too.  That would be just as accurate.  I’m interrupting this particular posting drought, however, to let you know the primary reason for it is creativity on another front.  If you wish to visit my YouTube channel (link in the sidebar), I am currently preoccupied with VEDA, which stands for Vlog Every Day in April and consumes a surprising amount of my spare time.  I participated in it for the first time last year and enjoyed it so much, I had to return for another round.

I’m just letting you know so that if you’re wishing to find me here and can’t, you can currently find me there.  The vlogs aren’t necessarily about creativity (and, given the short deadlines, can sometimes be about simply the minutiae of my day), but are creative endeavors at self-expression in themselves. We are past the halfway mark of VEDA now, but none of the vlogs go longer than 6 minutes, so it shouldn’t be too tough to catch up.  If you are so inclined, that is.  Otherwise, I suppose I’ll see you on the flip-side of April.

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