Monday 29 October 2012

Halloween and Hot Glue Burns!

AKA: How I spent the last 3 weeks.

Halloween. One of the best holidays around. A time where you can dress up and eat (free) candy, run around the city looking insane without repercussion, and where a dinner of rye and coffee crisp is fine. IT'S FINE, OKAY?!

best part of being Canadian.
pure maple-y magic. I cannot stress how great this is.

Last year, I decided to build a costume from the Portal video game series. Things went better than expected...although I did end up filling my lungs with large amounts of finely ground Bondo!

And spray paint.

 And plastic shavings.

But look at that badass-ery!

And who is that sulky Shaun of the Dead? (tee hee)

...this year, I needed to up my game.

Enter...MASS EFFECT. Possibly the greatest video game series of all time:

One of the (many many) awesome things about the Mass Effect series, is the fact that the main character, Commander Shepard, can be played as male OR female (also, gay, straight, or bi!)...and female Shepard, aka FemShep, is the most popular variation.

...oh my god...she's so badass. :D

And so, the costume challenge began!

Dremel-ing foam = horrible fine black dust that permeates most dust masks! Cut to black sneezes and future cancer scares!

But the gauntlets are looking great!

The lower back piece looks good...after 5 hours of work!

Gotta test out the lower front torso and a leg piece!

 Boob mould! This was the source of many heat gun related also turns out you can heat foam enough that it sticks to your skin on contact! Yay for learning curves!

The back piece construction begins...swearing mysteriously coincides...

Spray painting outside to avoid death via Krylon brand spray paint!

Testing zee legs! Thumbs up = huzzah!

It's all coming up Milhouse!

Electroluminescent wire provided by a gangsta auto outfitter in one is surprised.

Shield indicator lights are a go!

Celebrating by spray painting! Hurricane Sandy brings I inhale Krylon brand spray paint in the basement for 2 days...





After I removed my shiny new glasses (I miss my old glasses), it was time for Halloween adventures in whiskey and candy. (oh, I also painted a Nerf gun, and note the fabulous N7 logos that Mitch painted!)

My "intense" face is more of a "I'm a little confused and hungry" face...sigh.

Halloween isn't over quite yet, but Mitch and I had a fantastic Friday/Saturday as Commander Shepard and Breaking Bad's Walter White! I'll see y'all at the Charlotte Room and on Church St on the 31st!

and next year?

Sheet ghost. Definitely.

Wednesday 10 October 2012


We all had them. We all snuck into siblings' rooms and read them. We cherished them...




I was at my parents' place recently, and came upon my very own horde of poorly written journals. Filled with spelling errors and angst...and I'd like to share them with you.

We find ourselves in 1992:

Things seem sweet and wholesome...but lurking just below the teddy bears are horrible spelling mistakes, illustrations that imply difficulty with hand-eye coordination, and rage over snowpants...!

I got a keyboard...note the hyper-realistic keyboard drawing....?

fig 1
 Snowpants rage post spell check from Fig 1:

"I hate Lisa. She takes a hyper-spaz just because I don't wear my snowpants. She is mental"

Is she the "mental" one Claire? Look at your smarmy smirk and cauliflower hand...also, you might be dyslexic.

We move forward into the month of May. I got my ponytail chopped off into a super cool short hair cut. Maurice Cody Public School was not ready to handle the super chic coolness on my head...

fig 2
Short hair post spell check from Fig 2:
May 25, Tuesday, 1993"I got a hair cut. I like it. But people teased me. I did not like it. I felt like kicking their ass! But I did not. Too bad."
Note the self portrait, complete with post-modern comic book speech bubble saying "Bum", accusing the viewer of participating in the judgement of the hair did, didn't you...Bum.

We jump forward once again to the day I started learning cursive writing. Feeling very proud of my new skills, I decided to employ them in my diary entry... After several failed attempts to remember how to form the letters, I concluded...NOTHING HAPPENED. (in printing).

Claire, what happened? SOMEthing must have happened. You were going to write about it with your fancy new writing skills...did you get a Lik-M-Aid package?!

Ermahgerd! Fern-dep!
Well, we will never know... Because we jump ahead to 1995, where apparently:

  • Ryan has stopped being a pig
  • Mrs. Bee is in a wheelchair
  • The school caught on fire
  • ...and I play hockey.

No time to stop! Teddy Bears are OUT. Super cool blue wrapping paper with newts and bugs is IN!

My diary now has a name...Midnight. Which is coincidentally the name of my cat. I am ashamed of my lack of imagination...or maybe of my fixation with cats ( I'm not ashamed of that)

My taste in films has been solidified. Dumb and Dumber IS (one of) the best movies ever. High five little Claire!

Pogs are now IN. Apparently I have 42 of them. I glue one into the diary to illustrate their awesomeness, but second guess myself and remove it...the glue remains.

1997. Tragedy strikes. My pet snake, Slither has died. I am reminded of how fucking awful pet snakes are.

Over the next year the entries focus on how much I am being bullied at school. I begin to hyper-focus on who my friends are. Listing in each entry those people who are definitely my friends. I do not talk about the good things that happen to me. I know there were good times, but mostly I have focused on being isolated, lost, confused, and angry...oh, so angry.

I feel that under great abuse and stress, we break into two types of people:
  • Those who get sad, and ask "What have I done to deserve this?!"
  • Those who get angry, and say "I don't deserve this. Fuck you."

I fall into the second category, and the diary entries reflect that. Filled with angry rants at other children (who seemed very grown up at the time), who felt that I was worth less than them because I liked Star Trek, reading, and The X-Files... At 27 years old, I stand by my interests. Picard is fucking awesome and will go all diplomacy on your ass...and if that doesn't work, he knows judo and has photon torpedoes. BAM.

From 1997 to 1999, it appears that I hate school, my teachers, get more bad grades than I should, and that I am the most picked-on kid at school. 

...There is a break in the entries for almost 3 years.

I looked over all the sad scribblings of a little kid with no friends, and felt disconnected, until I saw this this final entry from 2001:

"Ummm... yeah. I kinda lost you for 2 years... sorry. 

I'm going into grade 11, and I've had an 85% average since grade 9. I've been to many concerts, read many books, made dozens of friends, had many parties, chosen my future career, gotten a new computer, built a shed in the backyard where I sleep, had a boyfriend, had crushes, been crushed on, made the high school hockey team, made fun of Mr. Bloch, played in the school band, taken up two new instruments (bass, and guitar), joined 2 bands, written bad poetry, watched many movies, met several actors, chosen a new favourite movie, and travelled to new countries. I'm taking a workshop on film and making cheesy movies.

I'm finally happy!


...I may have gotten a little weepy.

I got so used to teachers and adults telling me that being unhappy and picked on was normal, that being unhappy BECAME normal. And then...magic. Somehow between the ages of 14 and 16 things got better. Maybe my high school was big enough for me to find friends? Maybe I got cool? Maybe the bullies grew up? Who knows, I guess all that matters is that I am truly, honestly, and definitely:

Finally happy.

Friday 5 October 2012

The Day I Wore Leather Pants


I've been watching a lot of Freaks and Geeks lately. I didn't have cable when it was on the air, and thanks to the magic of 21st century video streaming technology (ahem netflix) I've been catching up on what turns out to be a pretty fun show.

The show follows two groups of teens in high school. The geeks in their freshman year, and the freaks in what is probably a mix of grade 11s and 12s. It's painfully accurate at times (just substitute the Atari in their 1980 world for a Gamecube in mine).

Recently, I saw an episode where one of the geeks decides to "dress cool"...

...and it brought back a slew of repressed high school memories...

I grew up in Toronto, on Davisville Ave (east of Yonge, south of Eglinton, west of Bayview). Surrounded by the bully-spawn of the stepford wives, I lacked cable tv, social skills, and (naturally) friends.

fig 1

I liked to catch frogs (see fig 1), watch Monty Python, and read (le gasp!). This is not a good combo for a 7yr old who wants friends...

...Anyways, leather pants!

On Bayview there was a craptastic bar called "Originals", whose only real redeeming feature was a game room/ball room that parents could abandon their children in, while they drowned their upper-middle-class sorrows in shitty beer.

omg you guysh! SHKEE BAHLL!

There was a disinterested teenage girl in too much makeup working the prize counter, where one could snag many a whoopie cushion and candy bag for only, say, 100000000000000 tickets.

Being an impressionable youth, I assumed that this pouty soon-to-be-teen-mom HAD to be cool, I mean, she worked in a GAME ROOM and could play arcade games ALL DAY. Pretty much the measure of success to a 13yr old...

Well, SHE had leather pants. You can see where this is going...? There are always people that kids look up to, hell, we think they're cool. Newsflash kids...THEY AREN'T. There are adults (and even teenagers who work in game rooms) that have terrible fashion sense, are very uncool, and can't parallel park to save their lives.

Shame on you grownups...misleading the children like that.

It was grade 9, I was in a new school, it was big, and the cafeteria smelt weird. ...I needed an edge. While wandering through the Eaton Centre (as dumb 14 year old do TO THIS DAY), I saw leather pants...and by leather, I mean pleather. EVEN BETTER.

Being the 90s, number 5 seemed like a good choice, what with its stylish boot cut. *shudder*

Now, in my mind, I would wear these to school and look like this:

But pleather pants make you feel like this:

So, naturally, I paired them with an oversize green crushed velvet sweater...complete with a zippered neck. Oh, did I mention that this sweater was from the local bookstore? Oh yea. Represent your literary dealer, fellow novel gangstas!

It was once I arrived to my band homeform (where I played tuba) that I realized...

So kids, all those horrible memories of shame and embarrassment? Yea, they'll plague you into your adult life...forever reminding you to never try anything different because you'll probably end up wearing pleather pants and a crushed velvet sweater...and you'll have to eat your lunch of fries and gravy alone and filled with regret.

But don't feel bad! You'll grow up, get rid of your teenage acne, kiss a few ladies and/or gents, and get blackout drunk a few times like all those cool folks in high school!

...then you'll get adult acne, grow old, have nightmares about pleather pants and die.