Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thinking out loud

Bear with me guys, I've got an assessment for Directed Studies due tomorrow, and I was going to write it this weekend.

And then I got sick on Sunday. My head feels like a Cadbury Cream Egg, and I have no real desire to go to class this afternoon. Time to get stuff done.

So this is kind of like getting the assessment straight. It's a recap of where Breaking Down the Fourth Wall has been and where it's going. And somehow I need to jam it all into a five-minute speech with a power point.

Actually, consider this the extended edition. Hopefully it makes sense.

Breaking Down the Fourth Wall is presented in studio brief format, with physical pieces and extensive documentation and research. It's an investigation into costume design; particularly the niche culture of Cosplay, and presents theoretical and physical results.

Translation: Uni project about Cosplay. Finished product is a few cosplays with extensive documentation on concepts, theory and techniques.

Things about costume and Cosplay in particular that are interesting:
The idea of assuming an identity already determined and presented by someone else.
The theory and implications of assuming identities of these pre-existing characters and how that relates to the self. (e.g. My fascination with the Hollow because it reminds me of my own shortcomings)
Meeting complete strangers and becoming buddies because you don't need to introduce yourself.
Is the output of Cosplay original?

Meanwhile, Brooke fills up the web browser with Anchor & Braille YouTube tabs and sneezes again.

The original plan for Breaking Down the Fourth Wall:
Was nuts. I'll go over the things that have changed, and then what's left.
Initially, I had three projects in mind, that would have an output of four costumes done at a professional level, plus work experience.
I dropped one of the projects, changed some dates on the schedule for other stuff, and have decided to do work experience next semester.

Sorry, Aerith. Some other thirty seconds.

The projects that are left are:

The Sequel Machine (Parts A and B)
This project looks at the idea of creating something from an already-established design. I mean, that's kind of the point of Cosplay, but explaining this with movies or on an industrial scale with someone who doesn't know about cosplay means you have to take a different route. Comic-book hero movies are a prime example of this, as well as sequels and reboots - you have an established design for the character. The challenge actually lies in satisfying the look and feel of the character without traipsing into unrealistic outfits or upsetting the pre-existing fanbase too much.

Part A of The Sequel Machine was taking a pre-existing costume and making it better (The Hollow) - similar to how a sequel looks compared to the original movie. Part B is redesigning and creating an outfit that I've made before, but remaking it entirely and doing it better (Which will be Sheik from the Zelda franchise).

First rendition

Sequel Machine. Photo credit: Travis Lin

The Beta Experiment
Beta is a look into how pretty much every costume I make is a one-off. With the exceptions of the Weeping Angels, I've never made more than one of a costume, and never sorted them out for wide-scale production, partly because cost, partly because time. I guess there's also a mindset in there that wants the work to be individual, and progressing, which is why I don't usually revisit stuff often.

The Beta Experiment is my more intense unit - it'll be Agent Texas from the series Red vs. Blue. Better explained to those unfamiliar as armour from the Halo games (although it erks me a little whenever I explain that and they immediately go 'oh, Master Chief.' I know it's the only identification that they might have, but Master Chief is Jim's planned set. Tex is way cooler.)

Waaaaaay cooler,

I had planned to finish Beta much earlier in term, but it took longer than expected to get the patterns together. I'm hoping to have it finished in the next couple of weeks. I know that I can probably knock over the Sheik outft in a week or two, if I forgo sleep.

I guess the plan is to blog all of this - the techniques and conceptual journey at least, as well. With photos and stuff to allow everyone else to see what I'm doing.

Did I mention how amazing foam smells when you unwrap it? Only when it's fresh. Heat-sealing it is super-smelly business.

So that's kind of the overview done.

Where am I up to now?

Well, if you've not been up to date,
I've finished the work with the Hollow, and took it to a convention about a month ago to see how it compared to the rest of the stuff being competed. Didn't win anything, but still looked mad. Got covered in paint an already have a few more ideas in place to make it better next time (Invest in a morph suit, do the nails better, glass eyes for the mask)
The paper patterns for the Halo armour are about 90% done - I've got to finish the handplate and belt. I chopped up the shin this weekend and transferred it over to high-density foam, and have nearly cut it all out. I plan to do some more shaping with a knife, heatgun and soldering iron, and otherwise have to glue it into a 3D form with hot glue.
And I'm blogging like crazy.
And I got sick yesterday.

Okay, you're pretty much up to date.

I had originally planned to take the finished Halo armour to Ironfest (which was not the weekend just past, but the one before). Since this didn't happen, I'm planning on taking it to Sydney Supanova, and every costume party I go to forever afterwards. Provided it isn't too hot.

See, the black suit business I got to go under the armour is a wetsuit. I'm planning to cut big vent holes in it, but am still a little worried about heat exhaustion. Still, I wanted a wetsuit, or neoprene for this. Could have gone with tights/skivvy or a morphsuit, but I particularly wanted something that would have the visual texture and feel of something that was supposed to be worn with one-tonne-space-marine-armour. And a wetsuit is kind of the closest you can get. Plus, they suck your gut in for you.


What else do I need to fill you/the lecture room in on for tomorrow?


Because this is Fine Art, it always strengthens your point to include actual fine artists in the thing.

This is the work of a guy called Ricky Swallow

There are a few things you should know about this piece. It's called Killing Time, was made in 2003-2004, entirely by the artist (as opposed to guys like Jeff Koons and Daniel Hirsch, who employ minions), is life size, and was carved from one piece of wood.

Pick your jaw up off the floor and have a look at a few of his other works:

I had Swallow introduced to me because he creates all his stuff himself, makes stuff that is life size/to scale, and creates things that look like they should be made out of something else.

Seriously, when I was shown this work:

Come Together, 2002

My first thought was pretty much 'I wish to jump in that beanbag.'
My second thought was 'That is made out of wood and will not be soft. It is a lie of softness, like every time you used to jump on the demo beds at Spotlight.'

I was a terror at Spotlight as a small child.

But yeah. That beanbag, regardless of the skull that looks casually thrown in, as opposed to carved from the wood, is pretty much the same size and shape as one we had when I was a kid at Hannem Vale. It was this big black vinyl thing that Dad had, and would get sticky when you sat in it in summer. I think it was the place I used to hide under when we played hide and seek since it was so enormous. I got sat on more than once.

So yeah. Things that look like they're made out of other things.

And then I found one of the earlier sets of works that Ricky Swallow had done.

YAHHHHHHHH The book's in at uni grherksgnhouhn[aofrkgh can see it later.

Basically, one of the first things that Swallow did that got his name out were these tape decks and hi-fi systems from the 70s and 80s, reproduced perfectly in cardboard.

Sounds a little familiar...

So yeah. There is a fine artist, making stuff that looks like it's made out of other stuff.
Which is kind of what I do with the costume business, since it's not cost-effective, time-effective or comfortable to make full space-marine armour out of legit materials/metal/whatever the Mjolnir armour is supposed to be made from. Not to mention I do not possess the crafting skills.

So costume is a kind of halfway thing. We figure out how to make paper look like bone, and foam to look like metal. It's fitting, since the idea of a costume is playing pretend anyway.

And then there's this Korean sculptor named Lee Bul, who does these mad-gnarly cyborg things that look like they're from a cyberpunk anime. It's the shapes that are interesting here, I think.

Lee Bul, Vanish (Purple White Cyborg Torso), 2001

There are others, but they're troublesome to find. I'll scan a couple in from the books.

Yeah. Like, these are cool artworks, and they're about the body and the cyborg and perfection and imperfection and they really just remind me that one day I want to do an Appleseed cosplay. Or maybe just build Briarios' head and have it sitting somewhere.
Artist credit because I remember where I found that.

That doesn't sound like a half bad idea actually, aside from how creepy a disembodied head would be with glowing eyes in someone's apartment. I could talk to it though.

So yeah.

Now you know what I had planned, and where I'm going now, and what I'm doing, and where I'm up to, and also that there's fine artists that have done stuff that's similar to what I do.


I've now got about an hour fifteen minutes before I have to be somewhere. SLEEPCOMEHERE. PICTURES, WHY YOU TAKE SO LONG TO FIND?

To my friends I see in everyday life. It means a lot when you mention that you read the blog. It says that you put time and effort into reading something I wrote, or that you found it engaging. This is not a note to remind people to say it more often, or to pressure people into feedback or whatever.
It's just letting you know I appreciate it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My art is not like your art

I was supposed to be working on Directed Studies last week, and blogging like a regular person, and then realised I had three assessments with a combined weighting of 100% due in five days. And had not really done any work on them. So the armour had the brakes applied, to my chagrin, and then it was a week later.

I guess one of the more exciting things I can say about this week is that I should be able to start with the foam soon. Like, next week soon. I may have been aiming to have the whole thing finished as of last week but hey. Better to do a good job than to do a quick-and-sloppy. Especially with the materials I'm using.

Just saying. Cutting corners is all very well, but if you're paying a stack for materials regardless, you may as well do a proper job of it.

So I have the belt and the handplate to finish, and then all of the paper is done. It's an exciting prospect.

See the breastplate? That's more than 12 hours worth of cutting, folding and gluing. I didn't actually believe the guide when it said it'd take about 300 hours to make.

I take that back. I'm fast with the construction, but not incredibly so.

What can I say to get back on topic?

Ironfest was last weekend, but I wasn't able to go. No time and no money, and 70% worth of assignments that I wasn't ready for on Monday. It bucketed rain in Newie, and my housemate was out, so I kind of shut myself in and worked. Jim got to go though, and enjoyed it.

Fun fact?

Ironfest 2012, I went with three mates and we dressed as Weeping Angels. I blogged that visit, actually.

But the 2013 program leaflet-booklet-thing had us in it. It was essentially this picture, taken by someone else, so it was from a different angle.

So yeah.

This week. And last week.

Wait, was it the weekend before?

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

I had to try and explain Cosplay to my Directed Studies supervisor, and we stumbled across a few different things that make a Costume Designer in Fine Arts make a little more sense.

See, most of my classmates make the standard kind of art. Photos, sculptures, paintings and drawings. Things that you can hang in an art gallery and actually sell. And there's stacks more to it than that, but it's the basics. They make stuff and it's good stuff and it's quantifiable and looks good and sells.

And I make costumes by shredding old pairs of pants and sewing them together differently.

Pictured: Watt Space's Open Show project 2012

I worked a straight week on this

and barely slept

Result: finished thing. Got nowhere in the comp though.

It's been an odd peeve, but in spite of my being in Fine Arts, I've not ever felt like the typified 'artist'.

Maybe it's because my outlook on life is different. Maybe it's because I cannot draw as well, or make typical art as well.

A note to the artists reading: I am aware that the art world is trying to gravitate towards non-traditional art. I am also aware that it's usually traditionally-presented art that actually generates an income, and accolades and awards and attention.

But yeah. Cosplay.

Miranda asked me if the Halo armour I was making was original.

But that's the odd thing about cosplay. It's something that is original and not at the same time. The design is established by someone else, and the idea is established by someone else, but you still have to figure out how to make the flipping thing work.

And what usually happens is you end up checking out how everyone else did it as well, or if anyone else has done what you plan to do. You find out from others whether or not things worked for them, and how to make things kind of work for you too. And then you contribute to the circle of life and tell the internet how you did it too.

I don't think cosplay would have worked as well in the world before social media or the internet. Manga and Anime and video games all existed, but less people would have thought about replication to the Nth degree and then going to a convention where everyone else was doing the same thing and interested in the same thing and been super friendly with complete strangers.

But I digress. Cosplay is odd because it's original and it's not.

And it's my art form, but it's not like traditional art.

I wouldn't naturally hang it in a gallery, as it's not traditional art. But the equivalent would be taking it to a convention - it gets to be seen and interacted with a bunch of people who are interested in it.

Will I actually put in in a gallery?

I'm planning to in first semester next year. And have a bunch of cosplays wandering around in the gallery space. Just because my art is not like that of my cohorts doesn't mean they shouldn't get to see it.

I'd be nice to actually have people from Fine Arts get to see my stuff as opposed to just being the shut in that I am.


What else can I cover in this post?

There was the last week. And my art is not like your art. Um.

I get to try and explain everything that I'm doing to the rest of my class next week. So this is kind of like a precursor to that. Biggest challenge with that is explaining everything that I'm doing for Breaking Down the Fourth Wall in five minutes.

Yeah, good luck.

It's actually my hope to have a timelapse of a paper pattern done before I'm finished with all of them. Can't tell yet whether that'll actually happen as I only have the handplate as something that isn't finished yet, and it's not the most amazing thing. Maybe we can have a timelapse of a transfer to foam?

Time will tell. I'm going to go get the next thing done.

Brooke out.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I was going to title this blog post something intelligent, like 'progress for the Beta Experiement' or whatever, and then realised that there was a much more succinct way of expressing what was going on at the current time.

See, I'm still constructing the patterns for Tex, and Ironfest is not this weekend, but next.

I'm still to cut up the patterns, transfer them to foam, cut and shape the foam, construct the armour, paint the armour and modify the wetsuit I bought to wear under the armour.

I mean, last week it was all fine. I was on break, fighting the printer. Suddenly, I'm not sleeping properly and working entire days sticking paper together and hoping it will come together in time.

And my weekend's pretty much booked out.

Not sure what I'm doing at this stage. I think it's mostly just putting my head down and trying not to think about the deadline too much. Everything else is kind of on hold, and I really just want some sleep.

Now that I've whinged to the internet about current standings, let me give you a diagnostic on how things are at the moment:

I've completed the patterns for the forearm, shoulder, thigh, shin and head. I'm halfway through the boot, and have been saving the hand for later, since it's the smallest piece. I haven't started the belt or the breastplate. Started that yesterday.

"Oh. Hey, Lopez. How'd you get there?"

Dunno man, the chest piece just freaks me out. I know that there's like six pages of struts in there, but it was still a thirty-one page document. I'm going to die.

Let me walk you through how I make the paper armour, before I lose all sense and reason and find a corner of the library to curl up and cry/sleep in.

Uh, yeah. I'm writing from the uni library at the moment. So this post is being constructed and designed for photos, but all of those are at home. I'll have them up shortly. (Better now).

The process actually starts with a software program called Pepakura. It's a Japanese-designed program and can be downloaded for free. It's for papercraft - folding paper into 3D forms. Well, Pepakura and the files for the armour.
If you want to get it.

Pepakura has a freeware version, and then just has the ability to save/export files disabled. So, I load the files into Pepakura, rescale them and rearrange them for printing.

It's important to address how I scale things at this stage.


See, your standard Spartan from the game Halo is something like seven foot tall. I am not seven foot tall, and had to scale the patterns so they'd fit. To accomplish this, I started with a turnaround.

A turnaround is an image of a character in a neutral pose, viewed from the front, back and side. One of these is generally used when showing the basics of a character or their outfit. They're used in gaming and a bunch of other things. I make them occasionally to make sure that I know what I'm doing with a costume. In the fashion industry, they're comparable to technical flats, which are the final drawings given to a pattern maker before they get to designing the thing.

I measured (In cm) how tall the turnaround was when printed out onto an A4 page, and then worked out the scale needed to match it up to my height. Then I applied that scale to the armour pictured in the turnaround. This meant that I could figure out a rough estimate on the maximum length (y-axis) of the armour pieces. I checked this by grabbing a ruler occasionally and making sure that yes, having a forearm piece that was 26cm long was going to work for me, and then rescaled the pattern pieces with this in mind.

It's a technique that is difficult for me to explain, but is really simple in application and use. I figured it out back in year 8 so I could make tiny medieval weapons to scale for a school assignment.


So, the patterns were rescaled, and then reshuffled to allow for printing, and then I proceeded to have a fight with every printer I could come into contact with. I solved this problem when I went home for the Easter break, and printed out the whole lot.

Then I got to work on the 3D bit.

I kept the individual documents separate, to avoid mixing up pages from different patterns, and things kind of went like this:

1. Cut piece from pattern sheet

2. Fold all lines on piece

3. Glue down any tabs that stick to the single piece

4. Pick a couple numbers (usually ones next to each other) on the piece and go look through the document for ones that correspond. Or stick the piece to the main body, if it wasn't the first piece to be cut out.

5. Consult your sulking fish.

I learned a couple of things along the way that actually made things a lot more livable.

1. Only cut out a many pieces as you can manage at one time (One most of the time. Two if the second piece was also visible and immediately stuck to the first piece)

2. Try and just build the individual pieces onto one form. If you can help it, you want to avoid multiple pieces floating around that you have to work on.

3. Scan for a couple of numbers as opposed to just one. Don't focus too heavily on the individual numbers; speed read the pages. Two-digit numbers are actually the easiest as most of the patterns have at least a few hundred glue tabs (The breastplate, for the record, has over 1400. TT.TT )

So, I start sticking things together, and usually have headphones in. In spite of the tediousness of the folding, and the enormity of the project, it's actually kind of meditative to do it. Cut, fold, stick, press. Snicker at whatever is going on with the podcast I'm listening to and keep going.

Probably the most rewarding part of the process, aside from actually having a finished item in your hand, is the point where you suddenly recognise what part of the armour you're working on. So, you might have a vague idea of where you're starting from, but there comes a point further down the track where the spatial reasoning part of your brain remembers what it is you are constructing and you get to see it. And that is actually my favourite part of any costume-making process. Getting to see what the final thing will actually end up looking like while it's still in the process of being made. Progress and stuff.

Ugh. What was it? I had something in mind that was also about the process, and now I can't remember what it was. This is going to drive me nuts.

Well, at least for the next little bit. It's 1:22 AM because I got back from a bible study thing at 10:30 and had drive, so kept working on things.

GAH. COME ON, Brain. Get it together.

Oh. Do you know how satisfying it is to finish punching all the pieces of a pattern out of one sheet of the document? Because, like I mentioned earlier, the breastplate is 31 pages of document, and when I finish chopping out all the pieces in one page, it's an amazing feeling. That's one less page I do not have to scan when I'm looking for the next piece.



As you progress through a piece, eventually you get to be able to see what chunk you need next. The search field is able to be narrowed as you scan for something that's vaguely triangle-shaped and things become a lot easier to find.


I'm realising, as this is being written over three separate sessions, that there's a lot of things I type in that are often made redundant. I leave these in because it makes things more entertaining. I think? If it doesn't, you need to let me know.

This segue is kind of important, because I realised something important and a little sad over the last three days.

We had a crew of four coming to Ironfest. And then two of them had to drop out, because being a uni student with a job often means you have to work weekends. One of those folks is the spearhead of this trepidation. So, that's kind of put a lid on whether we can or can't go to Ironfest.

I'm a bit sad about this, since the costumes we took last year were popular enough to warrant bringing back this year, and fit the title perfectly. Plus, you know, I spent weeks at the beginning of the year telling everyone how I was going to make Halo armour to take to Ironfest (so I couldn't chicken out), and now I can't go.

But in all honesty, it's probably a little bit helpful. The pace I'd have to get this sucker done at is faster than I can manage (and I usually make stuff at a pretty fast pace anyway), and I can't afford to go. Probably better to save time and money and sanity and take this to Supanova or something.

I dunno. Is it cold at Supanova? I'm going to be wearing a modified wetsuit under the armour and I don't want to get heat exhaustion.

And somehow, I know that this is all justification. Trying to make feel better about backing out of something I said I'd do, and I hate having to do that.

That said, I'm not going to be slowing down on the costume a whole lot. I still have one more for Directed Studies to make, and it's going to be a big procrastination tool otherwise. Generally, if I have a thing to do that will cause procrastination, the best outcome is to bury myself in it and get it over and done with.

It usually results in withdrawals, but hey. I need to get this project finished.

Group photo progress shot.

I guess one of the other, on-the-side advantages to giving myself a little more time to finish the Beta Experiment is that I won't be worn out when it's finished and at the convention. Being worn out can be a problem. The upside is that I might even have enough time to train a little, so I can at least partially sell the movements of the character.

Anyone feel like teaching me a bit of MMA before Supanova?

That'd be a laugh.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How Brooke feels about the modern use of the #hashtag

So last night I was keyboard punching away at the blog, and explaining to Mum about how I'd pretty much hijacked it for the purposes of Directed Studies, and then she advised that I 'make sure you're not alienating your original audience'.

I'm not too sure of the demographics of my original audience, but I do know that the last two months, the posts have pretty much been Costumes. This one is a little different, because I was then like 'what do I actually post about? Like, just adventures and stuff. Thoughts about things.

For reasons I can't fathom, the post with the most hits is the one I wrote at the start of 2011 about binary dates.

And then I thought of something else that an opinion can be given on, that can be presented in blog format.
No, it's not my argument about a second season of Firefly. It's the rise of the Hashtag.

I believe it started with Twitter. And then Tumblr, and then Instagram. So, a bunch of social-media websites where the amount of space for a post was limited somewhat.

And it does have a purpose with this I guess. They're useful to the rest of us in classifying the nature of the post.

So, I go looking for a gif of, say, Gavin Free's (from Rooster Teeth) reaction to having soggy bread slapped on his desk (running outside and falling over like a ragdoll). (It was part of an RTLife video they uploaded to youtube last week or something.) I search the tags for 'Gavin Free'.

Boom. Gif file found.

So, when used as a method of searching, tags are pretty useful. Provided your social media platform allows for that kind of filing.

And then Twitter and Instagram.

I mean, tags are useful for filing with these platforms as well, but they're also used to express emotion or thoughts. And this is kind of useful too. It can give context to something that otherwise would make no sense.

I mean, I could tweet something like

"Pleats, you are my joy and my pain."

And that, with no context, makes no sense. But you only get a limited amount of space for explaining what you're doing with your day.

So I add hashtags for relevance.

"Pleats, you are my joy and my pain. #cosplayerproblems #hakama"

Now you know that the box pleats have something to do with whatever kind of cosplay I'm making. because I've added the hashtag for hakama, you can probably guess that it has something to do with the giant pleated pants that are dated to Edo-period Japan and used for Kendo, Akido and various cosplays.

But seriously. I tend to make these things out of cotton drill, which is a medium-heavy weight fabric but creases like you wouldn't believe. And there's a lot of fabric in those pants. They totally are joy and pain.


Hashtags when used for filing and searching are useful.
Hashtags for providing snippets of context are useful.

Why to a lot of people hate them then?

I have a couple of guesses.

For starters, they don't use the typical grammar conventions that we would otherwise use in everyday life. We don't use hashtags in speech (often. You can hear them sometimes when people sum things up really quickly). We don't use hashtags in prose.

It's something that has a time and a place to be, and that time and place is not always 'here' and 'now'.

Back in the days when phones had a keypad and could be kicked over buildings, reassembled, and suffer no harm, text message speech was a lot more common.

U instead of 'You'
R instead of 'Are'

And so on. Some made sense when read out loud. Some just made you sound silly. I will never, ever write 'sorry' as 'soz' ever again, for example.

Why is that?

Well, if I'm apologising for something, I need to mean it. Writing 'soz' isn't the best way to meaningfully apologise to anyone. 'Soz' says 'I need to say 'sorry' but it's too much time and effort to actually put in the two extra characters, so I'll leave it at that.'

Fair go, text message space was limited. But we don't use the language conventions as much now because we have access to fancy things like qwerty keyboards and autocorrect. I remember a time in school when we were lectured on needing to use proper English conventions in exams and essays and that's because there is a time and a place for text message speech.

And it is not on a place like the internet. Not any more. Comments box; facebook status; blog post. We're a culture and society that directly associates proper grammar conventions and spelling with the intelligence of a person.

This is a little unfair at times. But it's how things are.

So where does the hashtag belong then?

It's a useful device for short summations, context and filing.

It's less helpful when you have someone post a hashtag on a place that has no use for it.

e.g. Facebook.

I mean, we can still use it for conveying emotions or giving context. But the posting space isn't as limited. It's a little like using text message language in the world of qwerty keyboards, autocorrect and larger message sizes.

I can see the point of them, but I also have mixed feelings about them. About using them profusely on platforms that have little-to-no use for them, where they don't fit with the grammar conventions.

I mean, "#timeforabreak #timeforanintervention #justwaituntiltheyactuallyaddhashtagingtofacebooktheniwillbeunstoppable"?

No man.

Trying to catch up/Introducing the Beta Experiment

Today is Easter Saturday.

I went to bed at about 2am, and woke up late. Played computer for a few hours after I got up and then went into town, hopes held high that I could find all the bits I needed for the redux on the Weeping Angels that I'm doing with my mates.

Hopes fell. It was not my best day, and mostly consisted of driving around and not finding the plaster bandage that we need to redo the masks. There's like, one shop I know of in Newcastle that stocks the stuff - a two-dollar type thing that's down the road from my house. They didn't have any in stock. I tried spotlight, and failed, and tried Eckersley's, and couldn't even find the shop.

Filled with sads, I gave up on the bandage and went to bunnings, determined to be able to tick off at least one thing on the list. Finding mop heads, bondcrete and gap filler made things a little better. And then I remembered that there was ice cream at home, and maybe splurged a little.

It's now 7pm, and I'm sitting in the loungeroom, in winter flanno pjs, sucking down water because ice cream headaches are your own fault. The lights are off, and I'm staring into the soft white glow of my laptop screen, relying on the light spilling onto my keyboard and the touch-typing skills that I picked up in NaNo to write.

The house is very quiet - housemate is at a music festival. Just my music and the tattoo of the keyboard.

Anyway. Consider that the ice-breaking story for the day. I'm being a little quiet, and a little by myself, and I've not done the blog post for this week for Directed Studies. (Yes, I posted yesterday, but that wasn't in my plans for Directed Studies; it was more like something that happened along the way.)

So, this video tab has been sitting open on my browser for ages. Thought now would be a good time to talk about my next project.


You forgot the 'n', Gerard Butler.

Historical inaccuracies and the hilarity of having a man with a Scottish accent play a Spartan aside, my project has nothing to do with 300, or Sparta.

Spartan, though...

Last year, I made the foolish decision to start watching Red vs Blue. I mean, it's entertaining, and clever, but I got hooked and spent far too much time watching it when I could have been working.

Lots of Internet
Lots of Time
Understanding for internet humour
High tolerance for foul language

Win some, lose some.

The character Tex was appealing. The Halo Spartan armour was appealing. The job was something ridiculously impossible looking.

It was really only a matter of time before I took the project.

Why was it that Tex was appealing? How she fit in with the story, I guess. She starts off as a mercenary, and then you find out all sorts of interesting backstory that is...yeah. Interesting, and cool, and a little bit sad. She's a formidable fighter as well. (I'll probably end up putting her backstory into the documentation for Directed Studies rather than here. Spoilers. Blah blah blah.)

The thing that was kind of stopping me from taking on the project was uni. Mostly because it would be a big one, so I'd either need a lot of time or some way to actually incorporate it into my course. And then Directed Studies came along.

And I began the Beta Experiment.



At least according to Wikipedia. "In computing the term "beta" is used as (usually) the last pre-release in the software release life cycle. It is sometimes referred to as 0.x in version numbers or x.x bx where x represents a number."

So, the draft for your assignment or project that is titled "final_last_absolute_last_2.0_FINAL" before you go and rename the thing to send to your assessor? That's the Beta. The last version before the production model.

Beta is relevant because of the nature of the project, and Beta is relevant because of the nature of the character. I can only address one of these without referring to things that are a bit spoiler-ish in nature, so if, for whatever reason, you choose to familiarise yourself with the RvB universe, Beta becomes clear enough eventually.

Beta is an exploration into how I do things. I mean, I'm pretty good with figuring things out. But I always come out at the end of a project and go, 'this would have been easier if I'd done this and this and this...' And because all of my costumes are one-offs, they're never slated or made in a way that's suitable for production. My costumes are fun, and I love making them, but they're never cost-effective. I have friends ask if I could make this or that, and I usually end up directing people to a source that's better than mine. I mean, I could make costumes for other people. But I take too long doing them by themselves, and would end up feeling really bad about charging a price that would accurately reflect the amount of time put in.

So generally, my costumes are all left at the beta stage. There are some that I get to revisit (See 'The Sequel Machine' and also the post about the Weeping Angels. Ironfest is coming and we're getting the band back together.) but for the most part, once I make a costume, that's it.

This project kind of deals with that. Not as a problem. Not as something that glorifies that in-between state of imperfection (because that is something I find simultaneously fascinating and infuriating. Like having a picture hung just a couple degrees shy of straight). Just the ness of the state, if that makes sense.

I don't know if it's making sense. I started writing this post on Saturday night and it's now Tuesday. I've gone home, and my sisters are alternating between beatboxing and trying to get me to look at different things on the interwebs.

At the moment Prue's talking about the activity on her Tumblr. Something about Daryl Dixon and a dramatic zombie.



Thinking is at the moment, something I have to do by yelling in my head.

I guess Beta also kind of works with the armour because Boyfriend is making Halo armour too. And while I'm adamant at least in my head that I can't make his as well, I know mine will be the experiment. The one that has most of the mistakes happen because I'll figure something out, and then his will benefit from it. But I guess that's fine. Tex's armour can be the beta.

#firstbornproblems, or something.
ugh, hashtags.

Anyway. If it makes the entry any more amusing, I'd let you know that I put a box on my head this afternoon and actually felt really good about it. It was like some kind of security-helmet-thing. If this project doesn't turn me barmy, then I think it may end up propelling me through the other side of crazy. Ironfest is in three weeks and I haven't made anything.

I'm going to DIE.